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Archive for the ‘The Bridge’ Category

We are in Day 3 of our Seek Solemn Assembly at The Bridge.  I’ve been encouraged by the great testimonies and hearing about what God is doing in people’s lives.  It’s amazing!

We are at the half way mark of our fast.  This is where things get tough. Fasting tends to bring out the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We realize how much we need God and press into Him.  We draw closer to Him and experience His presence.  Yet, our struggles and desires tend to rise to the surface.  Satan throws darts to get us off course.  People often break or adjust their fast at this point.  They quit, cheat, or make adjustments to make thing easier.  I am ashamed to admit that I have broken fasts in the past.  One day, I embarked on a three day fast only to end it on day two.  I remember standing at a snack machine praying, “Lord, as this fasting time comes to a close…” My justification was that I’m under grace and not a legalistic law.  In 1 Kings 13, God told a prophet to fast until his assignment was complete. After God used him to heal a king, he rejected the king’s offer to reward him with food.  Later on, he allowed himself to be deceived by another prophet.  Instead of standing his ground, he ended up going to the prophet’s house for a meal.  Breaking a fast reveals several things about us.

1.  We live by bread alone.  Both Jesus and Moses said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but only the word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” They both said it after times of intense fasting.  Moses was telling Israel that there’s more to life than their bellies and desires.  More than likely, the things and people in our lives have a stronger hold on us than we realize.  We may read God’s Word, but it hasn’t become our bread.

2. We fail to follow through.  Breaking a fast revealed something about me that was true in other areas.  There were projects I started that I had not finished.  There were things I said I would do and never got around to doing them.  When we make a commitment, we have to see it through to completion.  We not only have to be great starters, but great finishers.

3.  We don’t persevere.  One of the keys marks of a disciple is a willing to persevere under trials.  Hunger is symbolic of difficulties in our lives.  Unfortunately, many people crumble and complain their way through trials.  Trials come to make us strong and strengthen our faith.

4.  We are hypocritical.  We say one thing, but do another.  We tell people we are fasting publicly, but are munching away privately.  There may be other areas of our lives that we haven’t submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

5.  We are self-sufficient.  When we are fasting, we are placed in a situation where we can’t help our hunger.  We try to take control of the situation by trying to “beat the system.”  We justify taking snacks.  If it’s a sun-up to sun-down fast, we try to eat a huge meal right up until the sun rises to alleviate hunger pains through out the day.  Fasting teaches us to be dependent on God and yearn for His presence.  We have to take a hands off approach and trust in God to sustain us.

6.  We are addicted to comfort.  There’s nothing more comforting like comfort food.  Food is one of our greatest idols.  There are millions of people in are world who live in poverty and hunger.  Fasting allows us to remember that there are people around the world who are hungry.  Like our High Priest, we get to relate to the infirmities of the week.  Unlike those of us who are fasting, their hunger is not by choice.

6.  We are selfish.  In Isaiah 58, God challenged Israel’s selfishness.  God wanted them to see that the purpose of fasting wasn’t to receive something.  He wanted them to be righteous, generous, kind, and pursue justice.  Life is not centered around us.  God wants our lives to revolve around Him.

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I’ve posted some pictures from our last Expression. Click here to check them out. Shout outs to Alvin Lowe for taking such great pics! Appreciate you, bro. You can actually see the rest of the pictures in Facebook.

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It’s a wrap, ladies and gentleman:

1) We launched our new series Tough Love.  It was a tough message to preach.  We talked about accepting people that are different from us.  When we encounter people that are different from us, we tend to 1) isolate ourselves and drift towards others like us or 2) move towards tolerance, where we embrace anything as acceptable yet never get around to truly loving others.  True acceptance is when we say, “Even though I may not agree with your ideas or lifestyle, I will still love you for who you are.  I’ll accept you just as God accepted me.

2) Toying with the idea of doing some kind of first timers connection on Sunday.  We’ll see…

3) The Open House was awesome.  We had about 40 people who were there to connect with others and learn more about The Bridge.  The venue, Psalm 117, was amazing.  Even though the venue is privately owned, it fits the personality and culture of our church.

4)  Our volunteers were on point yesterday, especially our Connection Team.  They were on the ball setting up food, handing out pamphlets, and making people feel welcomed.

5)  Keep us in your prayers as we seek to impact Greater DC for Christ.

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1.  Things went well this Sunday.  Smooth transitions, felt good about the message, increased attendance from last week, and people continue to serve and participate with enthusiasm.

2.  We had one small blooper.  Jeff began showing a video that I decided not to use again.  However, I forgot to tell him.  All my fault.  He was able to transition out of it smoothly because: a.  He’s just a great guy. b.  He happened to catch my “cut it off signal” from aaallll the way on the top row of the theater. c. ProPresenter allows you to transition from one video to another without any problems or delays whatsoever.  Investing in a MacBook and ProPresenter is probably the best thing we could have done for our Sunday morning environment.  I don’t know how we could do it without them. Seriously.

3.  The band donated danishes on Sunday.  It’s great to see that they feel a part of what we do.  God has blessed us with some great and faithful musicians.

4.  I can’t wait to start Tough Love next week.  The Creative Team and some other committed volunteers participated in a video shooting of improv skits for the series.  For many of them, this will be their “big screen” debut.  I gotta say it.  They held it down like pros!  I’m anxious to see the finished product.

5.  Tons of people have signed up for The Open House!  We surpassed our goal of 20.  Thus far, about 40 people have expressed interest.  Next week, we’ll see how many of those people actually show up! 🙂

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Here’s some of the footage from the dance session with my brother-in-law, Fulton.  I put together a teaser commercial for all the “webites”: those who visit us on Facebook and our website.  I actually decided to save all of his dance moves for our Sunday morning trailers.  Enjoy.  And yes, he really is stretching.

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Dafnette, my mom, and I hung at Zion Church last night for their New Years Eve service.  We had a blast!  The youth praise and worship band, Vertical, did an outstanding job.  It’s a blessing to see how much they have grown.  Their style is worshipful, but extremely edgyKeith Battle, the senior pastor and my mentor, gave a great message as usual.  It was great seeing everyone again.  I left encouraged about what God is going to do in and through The Bridge in 2008.  I’m praying for God to do some ridiculous things.

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It’s a Wrap

shepherd-1.jpgWe ended 2007 with a bang at The Bridge. A lot of new things occurred this past Sunday:

1. Daryl did a great job with the welcome. It was his first time doing it. He is one of the most faithful and committed persons I know. He came that morning with the welcomed written up and rehearsed!

2. Jackson stepped in and did announcements. Thanks for holding down the fort, bro! This was his first time doing the announcements, as well.

3. Alex, our worship director, was sick last week and lost his voice in the process. Tre, one of the members of the praise team, stepped in and led worship. He handled it like a pro. God used him in a great way.

3. I did The King That Tried to Steal Christmas message in a home made shepherd costume. (Walking stick courtesy of the outdoors.) Yep! The old bearded dude in the picture is me! Some people didn’t even recognize me. People were saying, “Who’s that guy on stage?” Then they realized it was me! This was the first time I did anything like it at The Bridge. I was nervous to be honest, but God came through. You should have seen the looks on the face of movie goers as I stood in the hallway dressed like Moses! Trust me. I’m already dreaming of what next Christmas is going to look like next year. I’m pumped.

4. My sister did a dance to Come Oh Redeemer Come by Fernando Ortega. This was her first time doing a dance solo at The Bridge. She tore it up, as usual. She too was dressed like an ancient Israelite.

Well, I’m off to celebrate the New Year. See you next next year!

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