Friday, September 25, 2015

ACE #402: Scandal Time - Two Popes in One Day

Yesterday, the world was mesmerized and captivated by two Popes.  Pope Francis, current Pope and spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, is visiting the United States of America this week.  He has basically shut down a large part of Washington, D.C.  People have crowded the streets to get a view of him.  He is known for his compassion and kindness toward the poor, the sick and immigrants.  While speaking to a joint meeting of the United States Congress, he stated:

Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

He brought many in the audience to their feet and to tears as he concluded his speech with "God bless America."

But it was the other Pope that flooded social media in the latter hours in the episode, "Everything's Moving Too Fast".  Olivia Pope, that is.  As we open with the story, it pretty much picks up where last season left off...Olivia and Fitz in the "reunited and it feels so good" stage.  Mellie is nowhere in sight.  It took me a while to realize where this storyline was going, but I still wasn't ready.

This episode took me back to a sad moment in time that was reminiscent of the death of Princess Diana of Wales.  It appeared like a mirror image...almost. Princess Emily was also killed in a horrific car wreck.  The difference?  One was a paparazzi incident gone horribly wrong, while the other was a murderous cover up.  One was make believe, while the other was very real. (And Liv wasted a perfectly stunning coat on the girl's lifeless body. But Liv's dress was killer). Shonda Rhimes gets really close...a little too close for comfort sometimes like with the play on the Ferguson, Mo. tragedy.  Or have we forgotten about Michael Brown?  Okay, moving on.  But when the Evil Queen said that the only job for the Princess to do was to give them "an heir and a spare" I could have hollered.  That was just funny. But she told Olivia, "Now, you may go."  That was the way to dismiss somebody from your presence and think nothing of him/her.  But the Evil Queen always goes down, honey.

The dialogue in this episode was classic banter as usual.  Sally Langston was brilliant, but I bet folk wish they would have never helped her cover up her husband's death.  She is still as self-righteous as ever.  And Elizabeth read Mellie straight up one side and down the other...even though Mellie had the "flu".  Mellie got served twice in this episode (a tongue lashing and divorce papers), so much so that she broke out in the "ugly cry".  She said to Cyrus, "Fitz hates both of us."  Yep, he does.

Huck - still crazy.  Cyrus - still pitiful.  Quinn - still angry.  Jake - still looking good. Yep, I am still #TeamJake! But I am not sure how Jake can help Huck...too different kinds of crazy. #AssassinNation

Then Liv and Fitz had a little lover's quarrel.  We are used to that.  Now, somebody (or Liz or Abby) has exposed here we go again.  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  Either way, it's will be undermined.

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

ACE #401: Know Your Weaknesses

Our daughter has taken a fancy to the character "Popeye".  As I was watching the movie with her this morning, it reminded me of the story of Samson.

Samson was born a Nazarite, which meant “one who has a vow”. Nazarites were Israelites who were consecrated, or separated/set apart, to the service of God (Numbers 6). Samson, specifically, was a child of the promise as an angel had visited his mother prior to his birth.  He was never to drink wine, his hair was to never be cut, and he was not to come in contact with corpses.  He grew up to be the strongest man - a perfect warrior against the Philistines.  As long as he kept the vows, unbroken, he would always be victorious over his enemies and his supernatural strength would remain intact.  But everything changed for him when he met Delilah.  Her deceit and trickery exposed Samson’s weaknesses.

The reason Delilah was able to get Samson to reveal his innermost secrets was because his weakness was…wait for it…women.  If you read the story from beginning to end, then you will recognize that Samson slept with many women, even prostitutes. His father even enabled his behavior.  He also had a wife that was untrustworthy, yet he still loved her.

Judges 16
Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels[a] of silver.”
So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”
Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

There’s something to be said about revealing your innermost secrets to just anyone, particularly if it makes you vulnerable and causes you to break your commitment to God. Samson was delivered into the hands of the Philistines, who also blinded him.  He was as weak as any other man and could not even defend himself.  As time passed, in order for Samson to be as strong as he was before, his hair had to grow back.  But more importantly, he had to renew his covenant, his vow, with God.

28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
31 Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led[d] Israel twenty years.

If you have weaknesses that cause you to turn from God and to break your commitment to Him, ask God today to help you overcome your weaknesses and temptations so that you can become stronger in Him and more effective for the Kingdom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

ACE #400: Are You Ready?

Matthew 24
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

1 Corinthians 15:51-53
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Watch: "Are You Ready?"

Welcome to the next level of ministry of The 'After Church' Experience...

Celebrating two years of service,


Be blessed!

Monday, September 21, 2015

ACE #399: What Is In You?

What is tucked away in your heart? 

Remember the Gatorade slogan, "Is it in you?" According to the advertisement, when you drink the product, it is a mixture of ingredients that helps you refuel and get back in the competition. Gatorade is to restore our energy, at the right moment, so we can carry on. We drink it hoping it can give us the replenishment and energy needed to finish. To many of us, we feel that we are drinking something that will produce better results at the right moment, for our bodies.

Well, the scripture says, 

...For whatever is in your heart determines what you say (Matthew 12:34).

Sometimes, as Christians, we are just not giving enough attention to what we are putting in our hearts. The results we expect are not the results we are witnessing. Why? Because we are not carefully monitoring what is going in to our hearts. We allow music, television, social media, print and other media to paint pictures for us and to speak for us instead of God's word in us. Our hearts seem to be overflowing with the popular things of the world and that's what is coming out of us. As men and women of Christ, we must partake in things that will build up the kingdom of God and His word. When we put His word and His will in our hearts, abundantly, what an overflow! We will be able to continue the race and speak to our issues, our enemies and over our lives with the goodness of God, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus.  

The Gatorade is just an analogy, but is the word of God in you so that when the time comes you will produce good and not evil? What is in you? 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

ACE #398: Has 'Fall' Shown Up In Your Life Yet?

We are slowly but surely heading into the Fall season, yet Summer is holding on. The interesting part is that it is blazing hot right it is June. I can't help but get excited though for the awesomeness of the beautiful colors of the leaves shedding from the trees and the crisp morning breeze.  (As someone who has asthma, the Fall is actually more comfortable for me than the hot and humid Summer months).

Consider this:
What are you holding on to (Summer) that you should shed (Fall)? The reason entering into a new season is painful/uncomfortable is because we are holding on to things we should let go of (shed) to get to the "beautiful" God has waiting for us in the new season.

There are going to be times in our lives that we will not want to move into a new season, or a new place of blessings, like the Israelites.  God was moving them into a new season, or new territory, but all they did was complain.  This is what they said in Exodus 16:3:

The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."

They would have rather gone back to a place of bondage than to just be obedient to the new thing God was trying to do in their lives.  But God rained down Manna and Quail to meet their needs anyway. Eventually, they began to complain about that too and found themselves wandering the wilderness for 40 years. When we refuse to shed some things, it is exhibiting a rebellious spirit just like the Israelites. 

Ask yourself the questions: Is it time to shed some things? Is it a "what" or a "who"? You and God know.  Be obedient so that you can go into your personal Fall season.

Embrace the new season!