Tindley Times Newsletter July 2020


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From A Distance

From a Distance

Jesus hungered. He found nothing but leaves (Mark 11:12-13). Coming out from Bethany, with his disciples, Jesus was hungry. On the side of the road, He noticed a fig tree full of leaves; however, when He went over to inspect the tree for figs, He discovered only leaves, no figs. Imagine the disappointment to believe your hunger will be satisfied only to discover there is no food where

it appeared food should be. Jesus said to the fig tree “May you never bear fruit again”. Immediately, the tree withered.

Even though it was not in season for figs, there is a relationship between the presence of leaves and the production of figs. The leaves had given a sign of promise that the beginning stages of fruit would be found within the branches although the actual crop season was not expected until later. Because the tree had not developed its early fruit this was a clear indication the crop would not come in. The tree was barren. From a distance, the fig tree gave an outer appearance of fruitfulness. Being full of leaves, it appeared promising. From a distance, it appeared to be what it was expected to have become. A fruit-bearing tree. Jesus is not concerned with appearances; He’s looking for substance.

God, having invested in His people, expects His children to produce much fruit. John 15 tells us Jesus is the true vine; we are the branches, and His Father is the gardener. When I think of the word branches, I see a branch as an extension of what it comes from. An extension of something bigger. Branches reach outward. That which reaches outward is supposed to give. It is supposed to give what the ingredients on the inside said it is to produce. A fruit tree, with outreached branches that does not bear fruit, is a tree that is occupying space while not doing what it was created to do. John goes on to say every branch that does not bear fruit will be taken away. Without Christ, we are barren. If we abide with Him, He will abide with us and we will produce much fruit. God is glorified by the fruit we bear, fruit which reveals us to be His disciples. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22:23). For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:9-11). Let us bear much fruit and show ourselves as His disciples.


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God Is…

God’s Answer to Fear and Anxiety

 

“Daddy, don’t let go!” my daughter pleaded, terrified of what might happen if I did. I had been teaching her to ride her bike, running alongside her, holding onto the seat to help her balance. When the time came for me to let go, she would freak out every time.

Despite the helmet and all the safety precautions we had in place, fear and anxiety were overpowering her so much that she was too frightened to move forward. We stopped on the side of the road, and I knelt down and looked her in the eyes, trying to calm her nerves:

“Has your father ever let you fall? Don’t I always catch you?”
“I know…But what if I fall?! What if I crash?! I don’t want to get hurt!”
“Look, I am going to be running right beside you the whole time. I’ll be right here to catch you if you fall, but I need you to trust me.” Then I smiled at her and added, “You are going to love riding your bike, and I cannot wait until you and I can go on bike rides together. The first step is me letting go and you doing what I know you can do! You are strong enough to pedal and good enough to stay up. You can do this!”

We had that pep talk countless times until she finally believed me and started pedaling on her own. In time, she got the hang of riding and was soon zooming down our street! 

The most common mental illness in the U.S. are anxiety disorders

While I’d like to think the fear and anxiety associated with the “what ifs” in life are just a childish phase that everyone eventually grows out of, that isn’t the case. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the most common mental illness in the U.S. are anxiety disorders, affecting nearly one in five adults every year. The New York Times cites that Americans are among the most anxious people in the world, causing us to spend over $2 billion on anti-anxiety medications every year.

As a culture, we are stuck biting our collective nails, and all we get for our anxiety is increased health problems! We all know that worry will not help us solve anything, and despite our medications and self-help books, every time something large or unknown comes up in our lives, the “what ifs” kidnap our minds, holding our thoughts and feelings hostage.

What is the answer to anxiety?

The Bible speaks a lot about fear and worry. One passage which has helped me personally is Romans 8:14-15: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father’” (NLT).

Understand your identity

When we truly grasp what it means to be adopted into the family of God as His children, our fears begin to subside. When a person places faith in Jesus, they take on a new identity. As a Christian, you are no longer trapped in fear because you are a child of the King of kings! You are an heir of God’s glory along with Christ! Not only that, you are one of his favorite children!

He was thinking of you before you were even born! Scripture says, “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son” Ephesians 1:4-6 (MSG).

Next time you worry about a bill you need to pay or a situation at work, ask yourself, “Would a favorite child of the most powerful King in all the universe, in all of history, have to worry about something like this?” I would imagine the answer is no.

Know who your Father is

You have a heavenly Father who made the universe by merely speaking the words! He made a dead man come back to life by simply calling his name! He controls the course of history; He sets up kings and rulers, He is above all rule, all power, and all authority in heaven and on earth!

If this powerful God is your Father and He loves you so genuinely that He was thinking about you before time began, who or what could ever stand against you? With a Father like that looking after us, what do we have to worry about?

Run to your Father

I would venture to say that most of the anxiety in my life comes when I get my eyes off my Father and onto my situation. I am not saying that we should be unaware of what is going on around us, but instead we must have a greater awareness of God’s immeasurable power and His great love for us than of the problems we face.

The image Romans 8:14-15 paints for us is that of a child crying out for their daddy. When a child cries for their father like that, merely being in the arms of their dad calms all fears. Anxiety no longer binds us because we can run to our Father.

The truth of the matter is our fears have done nothing but hold us back from the freedom offered in Christ. Jesus said it best in Luke 12:25-26, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?” (NLT).

When we know who we are in Christ, and who our heavenly Father is, we do not need to worry because we can take anything to Him.
So let me ask you, has your Father ever let you fall? Doesn’t He always catch you? He is running right beside you. Because of Him, you are strong enough to overcome and good enough to stand up! You can do this!


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Trust The Process

 

Trust the Process

 

There are times when God puts things in our hearts (dreams, aspirations, goals) and He gives them to us right away. There are other times, and this seems to be the majority, when God puts things in our hearts and then makes us wait.

Often, we can wonder what God is doing. We can begin to ask, “Did I really hear from God?” Or perhaps the biggest question we can ask is, “God, what is taking you so long?”

I have found that during those times of waiting, God prepares us for His promise. During our waiting, He teaches us things. He grows our character, our faith, and our ability to do what we feel called to do. God takes us through a process. The question is, “Will you trust the process?”

Will You Trust the Process?

In 1 Samuel 16, God came to Samuel and told him, “I’ve rejected Saul as king. Go to the tribe of Jesse where I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

Samuel was a prophet, but it didn’t take a prophet to assume that anointing another king while Saul was on the throne might not go well.

Samuel responded to God and told him that he would be killed if Saul found out. God then said, “Take a cow and put together a sacrifice to me and invite Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice.”

When Samuel arrived in Bethlehem to speak with Jesse, the elders in the town were afraid. After all, when a prophet appeared in those days, it meant there was trouble. Samuel told them, “Don’t worry. I’ve come to make a sacrifice to God, and you are invited.”

Chosen By God

Jesse, his sons, and the whole town showed up to watch the sacrifice. As Samuel watched Jesse’s sons arrive, he had a hunch about who Yahweh had in mind for the new king: Eliab, the oldest son.

1 Samuel 16:6 says, “When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

Samuel probably had his reasons for considering Eliab for the throne. He was the oldest and would have been first in line to receive his father’s inheritance. He was also probably the tallest and most physically fit out of Jesse’s sons. Perhaps he had even starred as the wide receiver for Bethlehem High School football or made the All-Judean All-Star team. With all this to frame his thinking, Samuel thought Eliab was definitely the one God had in mind.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

So, one after the other, each of Jesse’s sons passed in front of Samuel.

How about this one? No.

This one? Nope.

This one? Nope.

Until all seven had passed in front of him.

Finally, Samuel asked Jesse, “Are there any more?!”

1 Samuel 16:11b-12 says, “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

So, Jesse sent for his youngest son, David, and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

The Process Brings the Promise

After reading about his anointing, I assume David takes the throne immediately. If this story was a movie, Saul would be instantly kicked off the throne, and David would be carried in on the shoulders of his people to begin ruling that day. But, that is not what happens. Samuel anoints David, and then the story stops. There’s a break in the story. You may ask, “What does that mean?”

When this part of the story ends, the Bible tells us that David went back to what he was doing before: watching the sheep.

There’s a part of us that wants to say, “Well, that doesn’t make any sense! Why would God anoint him and then send him back to where he had him before? What was the point of anointing David anyway? Why not wait until He was ready to make David king?”

God anointed David so long before he became king because God wanted to take David through a process, and the anointing was a reminder of the promise that the process would bring.

Things Have To Change

process is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.

God knew that some things needed to happen in David’s life before he could be king. Likewise, there are some things that need to happen in our lives before we can step into what God has for us.

When I think about processes, I’m reminded of a story I heard about the Chinese Bamboo Tree. The tree begins as a nut planted in soil and must be watered and fertilized every single day for five years before it finally breaks through the ground.

All that time, it spreads out its roots, and if at any time the watering or fertilizing process stops, the Chinese Bamboo Tree dies in the ground. But, in that fifth year, the Chinese Bamboo Tree finally breaks through the ground and grows to nearly ninety feet tall in just six weeks! The tree must take five long years of developing a strong, deep, wide root system so it doesn’t topple over when it is grown.

We tend to get frustrated when we don’t get five-year results immediately. The truth is, though, that the process is essential, and everyone must go through the process to get results.

The question is, will you allow the waiting to develop you or embitter you?

Get Better, Not Bitter

David could have quickly become bitter in his waiting. But, David doesn’t become bitter. Why? David knew that God was using the process to bring about God’s promise for him to be king.

Bitterness is unbelief in the promises of God.

So, here’s what happens: People say, “But, I had faith, and God didn’t do it.” And they’re frustrated because they thought God said it would happen and it didn’t.

had faith. This is a past-tense statement.

This is not how faith works. If you think you can have faith in a moment, and have your faith go away when nothing happens in that moment, it’s not faith at all.

Faith is what keeps you going until you see God do what He has promised. Faith causes you to say, “I may not have seen it yet, but if God promised it, I am sure I will!”

If you settle in your mind that you will go through a process that God will use to bring about His promises, it will strengthen your faith. In result, you’ll get better instead of getting bitter.

Anointed, Not Appointed

One of the things that seems to hinder a lot of people when trying to trust the process, is that they mistake the anointing of God for the appointing of God.

David had the anointing to be king, but he didn’t yet have the appointment to be king. Sometimes, you can have an anointing on your life to do something, but not the appointing.

Think about this: David could see the anointing. Other people could see the anointing. When Samuel poured the oil over his head and anointed him as king, everyone was watching.

The anointing moment is where it can get tricky. You can see your anointing; you’re a better salesperson than anyone else, you’re a great singer, you have influence, you can counsel, you can lead! And other people can see it, too. They tell you how talented you are, how great you are, and how far you will go!

This can then cause you to think, “Well, I can see it, and others can see it, why can’t God see it? What is God waiting for?”

And through all of this, we get tunnel vision.

What’s tunnel vision? Tunnel vision happens when you are so focused on the light at the end of the tunnel that you can’t see what’s happening around you. Your eyes can’t adjust to your surroundings because all you can see is the light up ahead and so you miss things, or you find yourself tripping over things because you can’t see!

If you can’t see what God is doing in and around you because you are focused on a future dream, you can miss out on a lot of learning experiences and opportunities along the way.

Preparation is Key

After his anointing, David’s appointment was to watch the sheep. Sometimes, we think that watching is just something we do to pass the time until we can do what we’re supposed to do, but that’s not the case. If you’re watching the sheep right now, you’re supposed to watch the sheep. That’s your appointment.

Here’s a third lesson: Preparation must come before the opportunity.

I went to work at the YMCA when I was 18 years old and had some success in it. I was the youngest program director on staff, and I was making more money than most of my friends’ parents. Then God radically changed my life.

I felt called into ministry, and after talking with Pastor Ellis, he told me I had to go to school if I wanted to be a pastor. When I decided to go to school, I lost my job in the process.

I knew God had called me to be at Tindley Temple  Church. I wanted to work at the church, regardless of the position.

You Can Trust the Process

God was preparing me for the opportunity that would come.

And this is what we see in David’s life. David goes back to tend the sheep, and what happens?

David Plays the Lyre

1 Samuel 16:14-19 says, Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.” So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.” One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.” Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”

It was while David was tending the sheep that he developed his ability to play the lyre and write music. In fact, it was while David was tending the sheep that he wrote Psalm 19:1,

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

The preparation had to come before the opportunity.

Then, fast forward to the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.

David Kills Goliath

1 Samuel 17:32-36 says, And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them.”

Again, the preparation had to come before the opportunity.

If You Shortcut the Process, You Short-Circuit the Product!

David had to prepare. If he had never mastered the lyre, he never would have been chosen to play for Saul, and Saul wouldn’t have been familiar with him. If he had never killed the lion and the bear, Saul would not have let him face Goliath, and the Israelites wouldn’t have accepted David as king.

If David didn’t prepare, he would have squandered the opportunity. But he did, and it led to him becoming king!

You may be in a season of waiting. Maybe you have been waiting for a long time, and you are starting to wonder if God will ever bring about His promise. The fact is: You can trust the process.

Let your faith be strengthened. Know that God is preparing you today for what He wants to do through you in the future. He’s teaching you to trust him, to be bold in your faith, He’s growing your character, and He’s fine-tuning your gifts! Trust Him – the process is bringing about the promise!


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Letter from our Pastor

Dear Christian friends,

 

            I know that during these uncertain times it is easy to lose faith.  Many of us are like the women that came to the tomb wondering “how are we going to make it?” I want you to know that God is able, and he is willing and able to lead us through these difficult times.  We are praying for you daily and asking God to sustain you, keep you, and increase your faith.

            I want us to live in the Joy of the Easter season and live like Resurrection people. I invite you to join us every evening at 7:00 p.m. for our prayer time. Bible study @ 6:30 p.m. on Monday nights. Please spread the word and invite others to our website www.tindleytemple.net  Just as our Lord and savior was resurrected for the grave with all power, we to will come out of this pandemic with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Please be safe, stay indoors and keep the faith.  I want to thank you for being faithful with giving our tithe’s and offerings. Remember the words of Our Lord when he said : “I am with you always even until the end of the world.”

 

Peace and blessing,

 

Pastor Johnson

         


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