Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where Is Your Brother?

In the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis, the story of Cain and Abel was told. As you know, Cain allowed the powers of sin to overtake him, and in a fit of rage; he killed his brother, Abel. Afterwards, God asked Cain an intriguing question. “Where is your brother?

I want to ask you that same question today. Where is your brother? I’m not talking about your biological brother. I’m talking about the men, women, boys and girls that you come into contact with everyday in the brotherhood of mankind.
We all know someone who is hurting. They may have lost their home or their job. They may have gone through a divorce and are estranged from their children. Someone that is close to them may have recently died or one of their family members is in prison. They might be battling with some type of addiction or they may have just gotten on your last nerve. The bottom line is, they are hurting.

Every one of us knows someone who needs a helping hand or at the very least, needs an encouraging word. God is asking you, “Where is your brother? Can you see him? Can you see his hurt and his pain or have you just given up? Where is your brother?”
When Cain was faced with that question, he gave the answer that all of us have thought about at one time or another. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” It amazes me how quickly we can give up on someone because of his or her predicament. But we are thankful that there was someone that did not give up on us when we were in our mess. I’m not just talking about you. I’m a member of that club too.

You have been hurt. You have been disappointed. People that you love have lied to you, stolen from you, and fooled you time and time again. You have cried many tears because of the things that they have done to you. But God is still asking you that same question. "Where is your brother?"

God told Cain something that every one of us needs to hear. He said, “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” God does not want anyone to perish. That is why He is so patient. Remember, He was patient with you too.
The next time you pray; say, “Lord, here is my brother. I am putting him in your hands. Then trust God to do the rest.

AUDIO: "Where Is Your Brother?"

- Rev. Burton Barr Jr. (Author of "The Hoodlum Preacher" and "Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over") & Cedric Mixon

Sunday, March 21, 2010

God Created You

Life is not fair. Job understood this when he said, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). In a country that is as rich as ours, millions of people go to bed hungry every night. That is, if they are lucky enough to have a bed or a home for that matter. The amazing thing is, many people blame God for the misfortunes of humanity.

On a very cold, winter’s day, a young girl stood on a busy street corner begging for food, money or whatever she could get. She stood there cold and shivering as vicious winds penetrated her thin, tattered clothes. Hundreds of people walked past her but only a few dared to look in her direction.

A well-dressed, prosperous looking gentleman looked at the young girl and shook his head before getting into his expensive automobile. When he arrived at his huge, warm, luxurious home, he sat down at the dinner table with his family and began to feast on a meal that was fit for a king.
After eating his dessert, his mind went back to the hungry little girl that he had seen earlier. As he thought about her thin, dirty, shivering body, he started questioning God for allowing such conditions to exist. He said, “God, how can you let this happen? Why don’t you do something to help that little girl?”

He heard God responding to his question with the words, “I did. I created you.
God blesses us so that we can bless others. But instead, too many people have subscribed to the philosophy, “I got mine. You get yours.” They don’t care if you have enough food as long as their refrigerator is full. They don’t care if gangs terrorize your neighborhood as long as their community is safe. They don’t care if you have health care as long as their family is insured.

There are a lot of problems in this world. But God has already done what He needs to do to solve them. He created you.

"God Created You":

- Rev. Burton Barr Jr. (Author of "The Hoodlum Preacher" and "Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over")

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Bench

A couple of months ago, I told you that I broke my foot while loading a truck with some donations for one of our ministries. I had been off work and missed going to church during the first few weeks of my convalescence. When I returned to church, I was on crutches. Therefore, I sat on the first bench that I could get to. It was the bench that was closest to the door.

After a few weeks, I noticed that everyone that sat on that particular bench was crippled in one way or another. I came in on crutches. Someone else came in a wheelchair. One person used a walker and another rode a scooter.
One Sunday, a lady came in on a walker. She looked around, in search of a seat, but the bench was full. Just then, the person that was sitting next to me got up, escorted the lady to his seat, and moved to another bench.

When I looked around the church, I realized that there were people all over the sanctuary that had sat on that bench at one time or another. Now they are sitting on other benches. Some of them are sitting in the pulpit. Some of them are sitting in the choir stand. Some of them are ushers. Some are deacons, praise dancers or serving in other areas of ministry.

The church is full of people that were crippled by one sin or another. Some of us were crippled by drugs. Some of us were crippled by lust. Some were crippled by greed while others were crippled by pride. God has delivered all of us from something.

All of us came to the church crippled and broken. Then one day, we felt God tugging at our hearts. We walked down the aisle, shook the pastor’s hand, and took a seat on the “crippled bench.” The problem is, some of you are still sitting there. You have been sitting there for years. You have become content just sitting on the bench with the crippled people.

God did not deliver you so you can just sit and do nothing. He delivered you to serve. It is time for you to get up, escort a crippled person to your seat, and do what God has told you to do.

"The Bench"

- Rev. Burton Barr Jr. (Author of "The Hoodlum Preacher" and "Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over")

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bad Choices

Everyone makes mistakes. I made one on last week’s blog when I changed the scripture reference that I used, but I forgot to change the book that the scripture is found in. Matthew 10:10 should have been John 10:10. Did anyone notice that?

We must learn from our mistakes so we won’t make them again. The problem is, some of us do make the same mistakes… over and over and over again. I want to throw a curve at you right here. Some of the wrong things that we do are not mistakes. They are bad choices.

If you get in your car and drive away, not realizing that you left your driver’s license in your other jacket, that is a mistake. But if you get in your car and drive away, knowing that you don’t have a driver’s license, that is a bad choice. If you walk out of a store with an item that you forgot to pay for, that is a mistake. But if you walk out of a store with an item that you know you didn’t pay for, that is a bad choice. When you do something that you don’t know is a sin, that is a mistake. But when you knowingly disobey the word of God, that is a bad choice.
I made a lot of bad choices in my life. I turned my back on God and then walked away from the church. Bad choices. I hung out with people that meant me no good and often sought their approval. Bad choices. I got involved with drugs and participated in criminal activities. Bad choices.

What kind of choices are you making? Are they bad choices? You might go to church every Sunday, but what kind of choices do you make Monday through Saturday? You might tell your children what is right, but what kind of choices do they see you make?

When I was lost, my father never stopped praying for me. That was a choice that he made. When I was running the streets, he was praying for me. When I was strung out on drugs, he was praying for me. When I was in prison, he was praying for me.
My father did not live to see his prayers answered. He died three years before God saved my soul and delivered me from that lifestyle. But I believe that when Dad was laying in that hospital bed in a coma, the last thing that he said to God before took his final breath was, “Lord, save my boy.”

What about you? Are you praying for your loved ones? If you are not, that is another one of your bad choices.


"Bad Choices":
"Just Do It":
"Be Thankful":
"How Bad Do You Want It?"