Am I Giving God My Best?

Truth be told, when I look around our congregation and what's going on in our community and world, I am forced to ask the question:  Am I giving God my best?  The New Year's messages from our ministers and the Youth Dept.'s theme of "Commitment" for the year should also cause us to reflect on this question.

Think back to when Jesus was attending a celebration after Lazarus was raised from the dead.  According to John 12:3, Mary, Lazarus' sister, welcomed Jesus by breaking open a jar of expensive oil and rubbing it on his feet with her hair.  She gave Him her best.  We all can learn from this loving act.  For some it may seem simple on the surface, but it carries a powerful message - Mary gave Jesus the very best her family had to offer. 

You may not know how precious Nard was in that day.  It was extremely difficult to get, which added to its value.  It comes from a plant that is grown in the Himalayan regions of China, India, and Nepal. So just getting it to Judea was no easy feat!  People of Jesus' day valued it immensely for its scarcity, its healing properties, and its smell. Judas Iscariot tells us that this oil was worth a fortune and estimates that the amount Mary used was equivalent to one full year's wages. This jar of oil may well have been the most valuable possession her family owned.
 
I want to challenge you to break open your spiritual jars of Nard. 
Your presence in the service is extremely beneficial to you as well as to the congregation.  When you are missing there is a void that only you can fill. Are you willing to push past your comfort zone, are you willing to look around and see what needs to be done and do it?  Are you willing to commit your finances, time, and talents?  

Mary and her family demonstrated their willingness to give God their best.  There was nothing too good for the Master.  Jesus had given them back their brother and they were grateful so nothing was too good, too expensive, too treasured to not be given to our Lord in thanksgiving.

I want to challenge you to ask yourself - how grateful am I for what Jesus did for me? For what He has done for my family, my church?
He not only saved my family and friends - he saved ME.  I can't forget how He gave His life for me!  He was brutally tortured, stripped, mocked, and spat on for you and me.
 
As you reflect on the question: "Am I giving Christ MY best?"  I am certain you will not say you have given a year's worth of wages! But are you able to say that you are faithful in your tithing?  I dare say that in many cases the response my be "I am not even giving God ALL of ME."
But now that the question has been raised, ask yourself  how grateful you may appear to God based off your actions and ways you can improve.

Let me share some ways you might consider this during our time of LENT:

1.  Fasting with a specific focus and a specific time.
 
2.  Attending our 6:00 am prayer Monday - Friday
 
3.  Attending our Noonday Prayer on Wednesday and Friday
 
4.  Give of  "First Fruits"
 
5.  Scripture memorization - challenge yourself to remember a scripture per day. You might want to start with:
a. "If any one of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross and follow me closely. If you insist upon saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live." ~ Mark 8:34-38
 
b. "So no one can become my disciple unless he first sits down and counts his blessings-and then renounces them all for me." ~ Luke 14:33
 
c. "Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything-home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property-for love of me and to tell others the Good News, who won't be given back a hundred times over..." ~ Mark 10:29-30
 
 
6.  Commit to faithful Bible Study, Sunday School and  Worship Service
 
 
Some will say I am scolding or fussing but that is not my intention.  I am challenging us to do better.  It is time to step up!
 
In LOVE,
 Your Pastor
Dr. Larry Green


Let's Take The Mystery Out of Lent...
 
Lent is a time of preparation for Christendom; is a time of spiritual cleansing, renewal, and submission to God's will.  It is a time of reflection lasting 40 days, reflecting on the 40 days our Saviour spent in the wilderness fasting and praying.
 
There has been some confusion as to when Lent starts and ends. Lent lasts for 40 days and the first day is always Ash Wednesday.  This confusion derives from the fact that there are actually 46 days between Ash Wednesday and resurrection Sunday and partly due to confusion between the period of the Lenten fast and the liturgical 'season'.  The six Sundays within the liturgical period are not fast days (Sundays are always feast days in the Christian calendar) and therefore not counted in the 40 days of Lent.
 
With this said, at Timothy, Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and ends Resurrection Sunday with a breakfast after our Sunrise Service. At Timothy our tradition is to acknowledge Lent with a special time of devotional readings, praying, and fasting. This year our prayer times will be 6:00 A.M.- 7:00 A.M Monday through Friday and 12:00 - 1:00 P.M. every Wednesday and Friday.  Please come and petition God in fellowship one with another.  You have heard me say on many occasions: "Big Prayer Big Power, Little Prayer Little Power, No Prayer No Power."  Lent is a penitential period, involving the dual disciplines of abstinence and fasting. During Lent many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain foods, habits, or luxuries - for example meat, cakes, and sweets, Pepsi, alcohol, smoking - for its duration (the money saved is often then donated to charity). This is done both as a form of penitence and as a spiritual tool to tame the body and 'sharpen the spirit' for prayer, reflection, and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of Easter.
 
Ash Wednesday is 46 days before Easter.  This is the time when we mark our foreheads with ashes. The ashes are palms from a year or older that have been burned.  We use these ashes as a sign of our conformance to the will of God, our mourning, and repentance to God.  This year at Timothy we will provide 3 opportunities for you to receive your ashes:  6:00 am, Noon and 6:00 pm on Ash Wednesday (February 10th, 2016).

Purple is the color most associated with Lent - during this period purple church vestments (altar cloths and liturgical garments) are used. The purple is symbolic in two ways: it is the traditional color of mourning (recalling Jesus' death) and also symbolic of royalty (celebrating Christ's coming as King).


The Soul of the Black Church

Revelation 2:1-2:7

In my preparation for the celeraton of Black History I ran across this article: "The Soul of the Black Church" written by Nathan Robertson, Jr. based on Revelation 2:1-7. I wanted to share a small excerpt to stimulate your thinking.  Within his article he states, "We take out this time because we believe History is important." When we look at the Biblical Record we see that History plays an important role in the development of God's Children. History is a source of Faith. From History we can learn what God has done for others and have faith that He is able to do the same thing for us.
 
When Moses tried to give the Children of Israel reasons to trust God, he begins his writings not with the Exodus story but rather with the Historical Book called Genesis that tells the story of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. History is also a source of Hope. Daniel, while living behind enemy lines, seeks a reason for hope and does not search the future but the Historical Writings of Jeremiah. History is a source of Understanding. When the Apostle Paul addresses the need for a Savior, he does not use personal or present sins but connects the need of a Savior back to the first man Adam and the original sin. Finally, History is a source of Vision. The vision of Greater Mt. Moriah is rooted in the historical vision of the church being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The Vision of Greater Mt. Moriah is grounded upon the vision of God for His Church.

Black History teaches us about the numerous contribution made by individuals of African descent . Specifically, the History of the Black church can teach us about faith in God in spite of conditions and situations, about the power of prayer, about holding on to God's unchanging hand, and the amazing grace God shows toward us. The Black Church was born in Slavery, reared in Segregation and Discrimination, now in the prime of its life, The Black Church is standing at a crossroads, between ways of its former Oppressor and the way of its ancestors. The choices we make will determine our future. The Black Church is dangerously close to losing its soul.
 
Do you agree that history is important?  Why or why not?
What important lessons have you learned from the history of the Black Church?
Reflect on the choices you have made and their effects on your church.
Do you agree or disagree: "The Black Church is dangerously close to losing its soul." Why?  Why not?



TIMOTHY BAPTIST CHURCH 
35 Highland St.
Roxbury, MA 02119
617-445-3820
tbc@timothybaptistchurchma.com  

Worship With Us!
Sunday School | 9:30 a.m.    
Worship Service | 11 a.m.    
Weds. and Friday Prayer | Noon    


We Enjoy Bible Study (W.E.B.S.)
Monday | 6-7 p.m. | Rev. Green    
Tuesday | 6- 7 p.m. | Min. Darby    
Weds. | 7-8 p.m. | Deac. Grace    

Pastor's Monday Night Bible Study
Teleconference class is from 6-7 p.m. weekly. 
Call (641) 715-3670 and enter the code: 232434#