|<< Previous 1 - 2 Next >>|
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | September 18, 2014
When hope is strong, but strength is weak; stay with hope.
When light is coming; but darkness is present; keep looking for the light.
When friends don’t understand, remember God can.
When you resent your circumstance, take a stand and find your rest in the Lord.
You may be angry at God, and too afraid to say it; but He cares for you, and still skillfully controls your fate.
Remember God loves you even when you hate yourself. He doesn’t need a reason. He just does.
Ahhhhhhhhh! That's Love Divine!
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | September 5, 2014
Remember to touch.
Touch is an expression of love.
Touch love is deeply sensory. And it is different from sex.
Sex is often robotic, and too often thrives off the short term, the animal instinct and the exotic. A friend touches.
Touch love is spiritual, sensory, soulful. Touch acknowledges a person’s being.
It says, “I am with you.” It says, “I care.”
Ambivalence is cold, unmoved. But touch warms. It activates.
The very nervous system is heightened with touch.
So, touch him. Touch his face; ease his fears.
Touch her! Touch her hand. Don’t hold it!
Hold it only, for security. But, touch it for sensory sensation.
Touch for affirmation.
Touch for love.
Don’t be afraid, touch me.
Husbands love your wives…
“…the greatest of these is Love.”
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | August 29, 2014
...and the common people heard him gladly.
Some things are a mystery. Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that. (The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.) Why do children die? You may not understand--why there is so much evil or bad in the world. Why do natural disasters destroy innocent lives? And Look! We cannot figure out how free will coexists with predestination. How can there be a thing called God's Sovereignty without God ever participating in sin, leaving man’s moral choices as man’s primary responsibility. We don't like it, but we cannot understand why it seems like bad people get away with everything, while good people suffer so much. But don't let what you don't understand stop you from responding in faith to what you do understand.
The Bible teaches us simple things that we can understand. Things like, God loves us. Jesus reminded us that, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). But, Jesus was not really interested in winning religious or philosophical arguments. He was not interested in scientific explanations or philosophical frustrations that dismiss God’s existence simply because a person cannot understand life’s major crisis and God’s place in them. Instead, Jesus was interested in getting people to enter the Kingdom that the Father was building through him. ...and the common people heard him gladly. Jesus did not seek out the deep thinkers like Nathaniel (John 1:46 - And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?). Deep thinkers searched for Jesus. (For example, Matthew 23:35-36 35 - Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?) Even today, Jesus is not interested in helping you understand everything about the origin of man, the tension between free will and Providence, the detailed intricacies of human travel from life on earth to or through death; but there are things that He knew and knows that simple people need to hear.
Common people, simple people are both phrases that refer to people who live life based on a clear understanding about life. They are not "stupid" or "ignorant". They, like those who consider themselves to be educated, make a choice of what presupposition they will build their lives upon. Whatever they do not understand, they wait until it is revealed in some way. They do not try to solve the mysteries of the universe. Common people read the record that God left on the earth and His imprint in the sky. Common people heard Jesus say blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), and despite the crowd, they found themselves in (Matthew 4:24 - 5:2 “and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them. And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying…”) they say Amen. Common people understand Jesus' statement, "you must be born again” (John 3:3). They are not theologians who try to break down the process of salvation, if Jesus said it, they simply believed it must be done, and it can be done, and will be done for those who will surrender. Common/simple have no problem understanding that Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10; Matthew 18:11).
Simple people know that there are moments that miracles happen; but they understand that not every moment is a miracle. They know that a daughter is healed when doctors have given up, is a miracle (Matthew 9:18). Simple people know that a terminally ill leper whose science and culture could not cure him, received a miracle (Luke 17). They need no deep understanding of fasting, and its relationship to preparing a path for God to work. Simple people are cognizant—mentally aware—that since there is God, a blind man may be made to see at any moment. They do not ask why every blind man is not healed, they simply trust that one day, God’s generosity will overtake them. Simple don’t try to explain things, they are just thankful.
Maybe our joy and our commitment to witnessing about the presence of Christ in the world would increase, if we spent less time looking for deep sayings from all of the deep thinkers in the family of God. Our experiences with God are profound without any attempt by us to magnify our journey. Christ does the common things for common people. He gives healing, assurance, and provision. He makes us aware of our place in the Kingdom of God.
Finally, simple people do not need to be impressed; they need direction. They need encouragement. They need the power of a word from Christ. Simple people heard Jesus because His message was simple, plain. In the context of Mark 12, Jesus had refuted religious arguments and openly dealt with an ernest seeker. But when he turned to the common people, the simple people, He gave them a simple narrative question that presupposed that their answer would be, “because He is God.” That’s all they needed. Simple interrogations! Simple declarations! The narrative itself put to rest the questions about who He was and where He came from, so that Jesus could return to the plain/simple teaching of the Kingdom.
This week, why not try to listen to the simple things that Jesus had to say. You will find yourself refreshed in the spirit and ready to live this new life in Christ with new excitement.
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | August 29, 2014
It's bad enough that another man was killed. It's sad that their reporting about the incident is being analyzed, and made to look like the wrongness or rightness of the killing is simply a matter of racial perspective. The only possible good (and this is minor) that may come out of this is the acknowledgment of a constantly denied fact that the basic fabric of our country's social and legal structure is predicated on racism, classism and fear. This is not an indictment of all white or non-African people. It is a fact that remains, regardless of the skin color and culture of the highest officers in the land. The structure in which we work to secure the rights of all people has shown itself historically to be jaded against AFRICAN AMERICANS particularly.
The recent shootings of African Americans (Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown to name a few) and the injudicious ways that the killers were cleared of wrong-doing should alarm every American and serve as a call to action. Our actions must not only include flowers and memorials (as honorable as they are), meetings and public forums where we vent our frustrations; they should include training for those persons in our society who are still afflicted with the "black bogey-man" consciousness. The idea that a black man is dangerous or threatening to a person of another race simply because he is big, or speaks loudly or possesses any other social trait seen as normal in others, but magnified and vilified in African Americans, can only be dispelled when we begin to play a larger role in the intellectual development of how people in this country and across the world understand us.
The truth be told, there are people who are African American that have been mis-educated about their own people, distance themselves emotionally and culturally from us and contribute to the ongoing justification of Black abuse and murder. Not all of them are educated or raised in white institutions. Some are urban misfits who themselves see Black life as worthless or at best expendable, as they seek to gain control of our communities for their own purposes. So whether one has grown up in pristine white neighborhoods that demonize blacks, or whether one has succumbed to the "make it in this world by any means necessary" ideology (even when it means contributing to the creation of a deadly or hostile living environment), Americans collectively must work to stop the violence that targets blacks because they are black. It doesn't matter whether the killer is brown-skinned, white-skinned, black-skinned or clothed in blue, our justice system, and the broader societal attitude that it fosters by its conclusions must see the need for change from fear of blacks and affect that change that is so badly needed to save black life and protect the innocent. We should never feel content to hear the statement, "I felt threatened" from individuals who are armed while their victims are unarmed.
A mother and father will bury their 18-year-old son today. Most cultures would see this young person for what he was, "a child." Did he make bad decisions? Like most of us who have gone through childhood, yes. Should he be made to understand the consequences of his actions? Yes. But, he did not deserve to die! He should not have died. The children of other groups would have had an opportunity to at least correct their young son. Not so, here. These parents who could have taught their son have been deprived of parenting privileges because someone brutalized him. This is our tragedy. It is an American tragedy. If it is justified, maybe it signals the death of the true American soul, which for others espouses "equal protection under the law," but not for African Americans.
We all deserve to live safely. When we cannot secure safety for ourselves, we have laws, local, state and federal governments to help secure us. But, when our security turns against us, when our institutions endorse our extermination and extinction, how tragic is that?
LET US WORK TOGETHER TO END THE VIOLENCE!
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | August 29, 2014
Suddenly it hit me. I was so sad because we loved so completely. As much as it hurts, I would love her again today, and risk the pain and sadness of loosing her again, rather than live the pitiable state of not having had the opportunity to love her at all. So my beloved friends, love for real and love completely because if you never commit to everything about love, you will never know the true ecstasy of it.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV) "So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | September 20, 2013
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
I am a fan of professional sports. You don't need to know which ones, but I can tell you that although do not know everything about every aspect of my teams, I love to see them play, and I am ecstatic when they win. When they play, even during what seem to be sure losses, I have confidence that they will come through in the end. And so, whatever good they do, I applaud. I shout. I find a reason to talk good about them.
Although my worship experience is far too sacred to place in the same category as my sports teams, (because God's holiness is not to be cheered, but revered; His power not to be applauded, but appreciated; and His acts should lead us to thanksgiving, not to mere ecstasy). I believe that the enthusiasm I express during time of worship should minimally, at least ,be equal to that of my sports behavior.
But God should be given more! The command of Paul to his cohort Timothy expresses it well: "Stir up the gift of God that is in you..." Whether worship, devotion to the preparation of sacred things at Church, or to the task of making disciples, we Christians must not simply wait for a new unction or motivation, we must stir up what is in us. God has ensured the abilities that He has given us in several ways. He has given us the Holy Spirit to live within us; given His angels to watch over us and attend to us; He has given us living water springing up into everlasting life, and He has given us the ability and charge to stir ourselves--excite ourselves--for the work He has called us to do.
The Word of God to Timothy is also the Word of God to you and me. Don't wait any longer to do what God has commissioned you to do. Even if you don't feel like it, "stir up the gift of God that is in you..." You will experience joy and victory in Jesus as you find excitement and reasons to do God's will.
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | August 27, 2013
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
It may be that some of the more frustrating times on your journey were like some of mine. For me, these were times that I wanted to be in a different place in my life or times when I just felt like there was no significant, spiritual movement going on within me or in the ministry that God had called me to. BUT, I didn't feel that I had the ability to do anything about the situation, so I smiled and behaved as though, "It was all good!" Huh!
Times of feeling powerless to change your circumstances can make you anxious and discontent. I've learned that these are the times that God is calling us back to simply believe His Word and live in His promises. One of those Words spoke loudly to me in the middle of my day a few months ago. "God...hath given us power..." It's not new news, but when a revelation from God hits you afresh, it's like you never heard it before. I heard God saying to me through this Word, "Stop pouting! Stop whining!" Stop wasting the power that I've given to you to overcome your challenges, simply to brood your way into depression.
You see, God has given us the ability to do the next thing; to go the next mile in the life of ministry. But like Timothy, we are sometimes too timid to approach the place that we are to enter with power and boldness. The problem is no lack of the Holy Spirit. It is a lack of will. And so my beloved brother and sister, I write to remind you that you are capable. You do have the ability.
God has given you the power to do. Trust Him.
You Are Not Helpless, and You Are Not Alone!
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | December 18, 2012
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death: even the death of the cross (Phil 2:5-8).
Christmas is the "most wonderful time of the year." For Christians it is, and always should be more than just another holiday. The celebration is not merely about gift-giving and receiving, nor about bright lights and gayly played music just to lighten the mood for shopping. This day is about the blessed moment when God--in his own mysterious and unique way--entered time and space as we know them on earth, in order to provide for us a way to be born anew into relationship with Himself, and changing the way we continue relationships in earthly society forever!
God, the Son, at that moment, gave up the glory of Heaven and traded it for a body that would suffer the indignity of death. There are simply two thoughts that I would like to share with you in hopes to encourage your life in Christ:
1. Christmas is about redeeming humanity and serving humanity. In our world where people are naturally separated from God, and the God goodness that would accompany our fellowship with Him, we are infected with such a self will that leads us both to evil and even to do good for selfish gain or acclaim. The story of God the Son coming into the world however, is about bringing those people who are so loved by God back into fellowship with God on God's terms. This itself is salvation. Jesus, the Son of God, came to save His people from their sins.
2. Christmas is about surrendering to the will of God. The Philippian Church was a loving and faithful Church; but it was not perfect. Paul's letter to them compliments them, but also encourages them to continue to give themselves to the service of God no matter what their human or community situation might be. He says, "Let this mind be in you..." The encouragement is this ,"Despite your knowing well your situation, and knowing what you are capable of "Let this mind be in you..." The idea here is that each of us would allow the "mind of Christ" to replace or displace our desire to control life events.
But what does this mean? What is the mind of Christ? The mind of Christ is a mind that causes change for the good of all human-kind. It is a mind that sacrifices to make those changes. Jesus--God the Son--traded the glory of Godness for a body to be offered as a substitute and sacrifice for all who would believe (John 3:16). The mind of Christ is a mind of service. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us in chapter 1 and verse 3 that God's Son (Jesus) is the express image of God himself. In a true sense, to have the mind of Christ is to have the mind of our Creator (to share His compassion, intentions). The mind of Christ is a mind of love and forgiveness. It is also a mind that confronts evil, and its damaging impact on the lives of other men and women.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus..."
The God-man (Jesus), while in the flesh did not think it robbery to associate Divinity with humanity; and despite his heightened consiousness while in the flesh, he humbled himself to the will of the Triune God, and was obedient even to the point of His own physical death on the cross. If Jesus--God the Son--would do this to secure our ETERNAL LIFE, we should also surrender ourselves to work for Lifestyle change and for Eternal Change (i.e. growth in grace) in the lives of others.The story of Christmas is a story of traded glory. But it is also the story of ended tragedy. The content of the story is God's work to remove the effects of sin upon the minds, hearts, and bodies of His people. Imagine the affect upon our own world when we begin to mimic the life of our Savior.
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | May 18, 2010
Ever had those days when you feel like you just don't measure up? You just don't feel like you are what everyone else thinks you are; strong, confident, always on top of your game, always winning. Would you even admit that there are days that you didn't feel so saved? Ha! When days like that come, reach back and realize that you really didn't make your life what it is, God did.
God has "made us fit" to take part in a life with His children of light. Really! God knows that none of us can be what He wants us to be, so "He" is always processing us. "He" is always adjusting us. "He" is always "making us fit" to take part in the life that He has given to us. We have two areas in life that can drag us into apathy or into paralysis: one is not being able to meet the expectations that others have of us, and the second is not being able to live up to the expectations that we have of ourselves.
Our moments of inadequacy do not normally last throughout life, but they are specific times when we are vulnerable and subject to the mental and emotional stresses that Satan--through whatever means he uses--throws into the path of our lives. The Scripture teaches that "we have been made fit (KJV = meet) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." So let's take a minute and thank God for what He did and does for us. Let's thank Him for doing what we cannot do for ourselves.
God is at work in you. Let yourself live in the work that He is doing. You cannot do anything to qualify yourself as a child of God, you can only surrender to what the Father is making you to be in Christ. Give God glory for the work that He has done.
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | February 16, 2010
After coming down from that spiritual elevation, I questioned myself about why and whether the mediocre times in prayer happen too often. The Lord spoke to me and said, "you are spending too much time trying to impress me." Don't impress me; fellowship with me, communicate with me. And, Yes it happens too often." The Lord then took me to a simple Bible passage found in Luke's Gospel, chapter 11 and verse 9: "So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
"Just ask," He said. How simple! I encourage you to speak to God like He is what He is: "your Father." He doesn't require deep thoughts. What He wants is the honesty of your heart and the simplicity of your thoughts. If you're looking for strength today, try an open talk with God.
|<< Previous 1 - 2 Next >>|