Monday, December 27, 2010

Faith without deeds

Ever since Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, the Christian Church has had limited involvement in any social movement or the community for that matter. I personally find that disgraceful and appalling! The Christian Church is not just a religion or a political figurehead, it is the body of Christ. Meaning we all must work together to spread the good news AND reach out to help our fellow man. Ephesians 2:10, Matthew 25:31-36, and Proverbs 11:24 are just a few verses where this commandment can be found. This is a true testament to the greatest commandment that the Lord gave us which is to love your neighbor as yourself. If you were homeless wouldn't you want someone to offer temporary housing, if you were hungry wouldn't you want people to give you something to eat, if you had no clothes wouldn't you want someone someone to offer you garments, if you didn't have enough money to get on the train wouldn't you want someone to pay for your metro card, if you were struggling with a class wouldn't you want someone to use their God given knowledge to help you prepare for an exam? Brothers and Sisters let us put aside our selfish needs and put ourselves in our fellow kinsmen disposition.

If we all lived this way day by day this world would be a much better place. I am tired of people in Church praising God, singing worship songs, attending prayer meetings, and bible study but not reaching out to help the homeless or to mentor disadvantaged youth! The christian ideals are exemplified the best when you not only allow God to guide your ways but also make an effort to reach out to the community. Ask yourself a question. Are you really living a Christ centered life if you are happy and holy while watching the whole world suffer? What sense is it if everybody in the church is saved but youth in our community are dying of gun violence, parents are affected by the drug epidemic, education is failing, suicide is rampant, and children are starving?

If we live our lives to emulate Christ in his likeness we need to try harder and strive for excellence even if we fall short (which is what God's grace is there for). If we step over a homeless man to go inside church and do not ask if he is hungry or cold then we might as well not go inside the church or not call ourselves "Christians" because a true Christian thinks of others before themselves. If we scoff at drug dealers on the corner but choose to do nothing about it then we are in the same boat as them because we have chosen to accept the situation and remain silent. If we have faith in the Lord that HE will answer our prayers and grant our desires but do not help the next man when his car breaks down then we have have done that to the Lord.

As it says in Matthew 25:40: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. If we do not feed the hungry or give money to the poor we have done it to Jesus. Every time we pass by a homeless man and do not care to offer him gloves when it is cold or a drink when he is thirsty then we have failed as Christians. May we have the compassion to help our fellow man and go in peace. Our duty as Christians is to strive to emulate Christ in his likeness. When Jesus walked this earth he healed the sick, helped the less fortunate, fed the hungry and walked with pariahs. Jesus left the world better than he found it! So in order to be the best Christians we can be we must cultivate an environment where love is seen through our acts and not just our words! Let us take up our cross daily and show the world what a true Christian is about!

James 2:20: But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead

Temporary solutions to permanent problems

Today I was thinking about some of the social problems that plague our society and how we attempt to solve them. One of them is drug addiction which we attempt to solve through medical treatment, counseling, and rehab centers. Crime we attempt to solve through law enforcement and the penal system. Teen pregnancy we attempt to solve through abortion clinics, contraceptives, or sex-education. Education disparities we attempt to solve through better schools and more money. The health care system we attempt to solve through granting everybody insurance. Domestic and international political conflicts we attempt to solve through electing better presidents, assuring better diplomacy, making more just legislation and mobilizing NGOS to work in certain countries. The issue of Disadvantaged youth we try to solve by encouragement through mentoring! We attempt to solve world hunger through foreign aid, food drives, and benefit dinners!

All these problems are relevant in today's world! Although we do not have a definite answer to these problems there are individuals who are contributing to the solution. I ask because I participated in programs that have served to help solve the problems. But what the Lord revealed to me today is that all these solutions will only provide a temporary solution or momentary fix! If you receive counseling there is a chance that your condition will improve but it will be nothing compared to the spiritual healing that Christ has to offer. Perhaps prisons will provide an all too familiar temporary fix to crime that just recycles prisoners that continue to get re-incarcerated. The Red cross will help with Health care and relief but mainly during natural disasters. Maybe a loved one you know has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy which will only provide a temporary solution to such a severe situation.

Amidst all of these social issues, there is one person that will provide an everlasting solution. This person is Jesus and he is the fountain of eternal Hope! As we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior and allow him to change our hearts we will overcome the struggles we experience and continue to grow closer to him! When you thirst for Jesus and seek GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART HE will bless you in inexplicable ways (part of pastors sermon today). One of the ways that HE will bless you is by eradicating sin and delivering you from that ungodly desire! Once you drink from the well of eternal life you will thirst no longer. You do not need counseling, psychics, nor money to solve the issue! Jesus Christ is here! GOT ISSUES JESUS CHRIST IS THE ANSWER! HAVE NO FEAR JESUS CHRIST IS HERE!

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Trials II

After the retreat I came back and had to face another pharmacology exam. I hesitated to attend the retreat because of this test, but in the end I chose the retreat and trusted in God! I earned an 86 on the exam which was 2 points short of an A. So close I could feel it! I was pleased with my grade but still knew I could do better, but I also understood that God was with me because I had gone on the retreat and didn't do any actual quality studying but stilled pulled that grade off! I learned that the Lord puts us through the fire to develop our faith perseverance, and devotion. The Lord will also allow us to experience pain or afflict us so that we can grow and/or to get our attention(pastors message I wont take credit for that either way, GLORY TO GOD). I think HE was testing my faith and seeing how badly I wanted him! One of my friends says we are like diamonds because He will put you through the fire to remove all of the impurities and be refined into the person he created us to be.

After the retreat I became a lunatic. I prayed over everybody (whether they wanted to or not)lol! I also handed out track cards to everybody(BASIC INFO CARDS). Furthermore I participated in a BASIC table sitting and I really enjoyed the experience. Often, I connect with teens and adolescents, so I think that the Lord is going to place me in that ministry (youth)! I would stop the undergraduates and some of them would gaze at me with a look of intrigue while others just passed by locked into their own little worlds! Some told me they had heard about BASIC while others have never heard about it but were open to coming to the meeting! I spoke to the youth about my experience in college and why and how I was a lost soul and ultimately how I found Jesus after college. I also mention how my life has been so much more enhanced since the I gave my life to Christ. I told other students that I was imprisoned by the club life, crazy college life and the drinking. I was hopeful that through these experiences I would be able to minister to them. Furthermore, I hoped that this would give me a unique opportunity to establish a genuine connection with the youth! Nevertheless I enjoyed doing this and the blessings it would bring. The semester was trying! Later in the semester I participated in the FEED the 500. This is an event that feeds the homeless in Manhattan! God showed me many things this semester and feed 500 was just one of them. We interacted with many homeless people. Some of them were very faithful and knew about the Lord Jesus but others needed the word of God. However, the Lord showed me that every one of them are God's people and we shouldn't treat them as they are below us. Also I dislike when people disregard homeless people's needs.

Overall God has been teaching me that I am not in control and that I am weak when He is Strong! Even when I want something my desires may not match up with God's will and I may not get what I want at that time!I tried my best to excel and achieved all Bs (which is barely meeting the mark). I became distressed and angry when I saw my grades but I came to my senses and thought to myself I passed and I have a million things to be thankful for and to speak about how the Lord has touched me. I am truly grateful to the Lord Jesus for his undying love and the opportunity to pursue my education at a prominent institution! While other youth from the Bronx did not have the opportunity to pursue education I did! Thank you Lord for choosing me! I know these are just trials to test my perseverance and faith. But even in the bad times we must praise. Thank you Lord for your grace mercy and blessing me with (BASIC) a firm support group rooted in YOUR NAME!



Trials, temptations, inner frustrations, regrets, failed attempts, false hopes, ungranted desires, shortcomings. ANGER, Lord why have you put me through this, I thought you loved me?????????? You are not supposed to treat the people you love like this! What did I do to deserve this? My living situation sucks, no heat and I have been commuting by taxi every day of the semester! Most of my grades suck and I feel like I'm studying in vain! I can not explain half of what has happened to me this semester both good and bad! I don't understand if I am giving God my all why isn't HE reciprocating this action. For most of the semester I felt like I was in the desert lost with no vegetation to eat or deserted at sea with no buoy to keep me afloat. I kept getting disappointment after disappointment. In lieu of adjusting to this new and strange environment and the rigorous academic course work I had a weird living situation which I wont delve into details but lets just say that awkward was an understatement!

Most of my academic career since college has been plagued with self doubt. I have experienced qualms about every semester since my first semester in my undergraduate studies. Every semester was an uphill battle. Somehow I thought Grad. School was going to be different, I was hoping since I had matured from my college days and wasn't the same bright eyed kid you saw in Syracuse, that the tides were going to change in my favor. I earned an A on my first test, which established some sort of wayward confidence and at first I was fooled, the direction of the wind was in unison with the boat and I was smooth sailing! However, shortly after, the tides became turbulent and I was quickly thrown off course! I earned a C on my Pharmacology exam! Oh no I cant believe it, undergrad all over again! I panicked and met with my professor. I soon learned that my pharmacology class had what my friend and I call "SHARKS" (extremely competitive undergraduate students). If you didn't know Stony Brook is one of the premier science schools in the North East and maybe in the country. I say this in the most humble tone as I just want to describe the competitive atmosphere in Stony. Most students will stop at nothing to receive an A even if it means stabbing a friend in the back. The classes are intense and undergrads are cut throat, their ferocity stems from the supposed fact that only a certain amount of students get As (around 10 percent). These students that pursue medicine comprise a huge population of kids and compete for a limited amount of spots which explains the survival of the fittest mentality. I struggled to come to terms with my failure, nightmares of pre-med years were revived! I was crying out to God for help.

One day I was printing something out in the computer lab when I saw a girl with a sweater that said Jesus on the back of it. I quickly approached her without being creepy and yet she still seemed startled! I asked her about the group on her hoodie and she said it was Intervarsity. I asked how I could get involved and she told me to email Yekito and to inquire about BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ)! That Monday I couldn't attend but I did the following Monday and it was truly amazing. First we praised and worshiped and then a girl named Esther prayed over me. She knew exactly what I was going through I never had anybody pray over me which I found weird and then people hit the ground and I was taken aback! That was my initial reaction but soon after I learned that it was a sincere sign of praise to the everlasting God! The Lord has been planting seeds in my spirit for a very long time through many different individuals! A couple of weeks after I joined BASIC I went on the retreat and it was amazing! I mean like the workshops and the fellowship was awesome! I met two young girls that were daughters of pentecostal ministers and I enjoyed interacting with them and giving them my advice on different life issues. On the retreat I rediscovered my purpose in life and had a renewed outlook and vigor for life! I felt like the Lord has been calling me to go on a missions trip! I really want to go on a missions trip soon, preferably this summer (if its God will)!