Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Dividing Line is Coming

As I sit here this morning I think of the mandate God has given us to reach the world.  The Great Commission.  But as I think about it I am reminded that Jesus said the world would hate us because it hated Him.  And that those who love darkness always try to get away from the light.  Because the light exposes their actions.  That light is the Word of God.  Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path."

That light is also the person of Jesus.  John recounts in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

This world is vehemently opposed to the truth.  We want to be "gods" ourselves.  Determining for ourselves what is right and wrong.  But that is NOT reality, we can not be our own god.  The end will be eternal death (eternal separation from God along with eternal punishment.)  There IS a war happening.  And you WILL be found on one side or the other!

The middle ground is shrinking.  WHO DO YOU BELONG TO?  I think of the movie Elf, where Will Ferrell sings, "I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"  The true "Church", the ones in love with Jesus are NOT ashamed of the truth.  They are NOT ashamed to be counted among the followers of Jesus.  You can not ride the middle forever.

Satan and God are unified in the fact that neither of them will accept anything but full obedience.....they will mark those who belong to them.  It will happen...there will be NO 50 shades of grey on this one.  Which one will you choose?  The world, or Jesus...The Way, The Truth and The Life.  You will make a choice.  You are making a choice.  Indecision is a decision.  I appeal to you, give Him (Jesus) everything today...

Man's system that is coming will be one of the tools God and Satan use to identify their own.  The world is converging into a single entity and rule.  This is not a new concept.  It's in the Bible.  They (the world) will "mark" you with their system in the right hand or forehead according to Revelation 13 and you will not be able to buy or sell unless you have it.  If you take it you have sealed your fate.

The timeline might be vague but friends the time to decide is TODAY.  God has NOT been vague in His word.  Who are you serving?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Joel Brown & Halloween

Halloween.  Trick or Treating.  The last thing I want is for the world not to know where I stand. So, do I celebrate, honor, give it personal recognition or worth?  

Below are my thoughts.  Each of us MUST wrestle with what the Holy Spirit is saying to us about what we celebrate and join ourselves to.  And this is where I have landed.  Each one of us must act on our convictions.

My convictions are that I am in a covenant relationship with God.  A Marriage.  And I think to myself, would my wife like it if I were to flirt with someone other than her?  And if it would not sit well with my wife then why would I flirt with Halloween, evil spirits and the celebration of the power of death.  Would my Jesus who I am intimately connected with and committed to be ok with my flirting with others?

The seed / origins of Halloween is demonic.  These demonic spirits are the "others" I am referring to...and what we celebrate we open ourselves up to.  So if our lives are being effected by impatience, depression, anxiety, fear, stress, anger, frustration, worry...then somewhere we have opened ourselves up to the demonic.  Because those are the fruits of the flesh and the Kingdom of Satan.  The Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faith and self-control.

All we have to do is look at the fruit of what is driving our lives and it will show us which Kingdom we may be truly celebrating.  With that said:

  • I DON'T want ANYTHING but my covenant relationship with Jesus and to celebrate Him alone.  
  • I DON'T want to compartmentalize and add mixture in my life.  Satan does not want to truly remove Jesus from our lives, he just wants to add other things as well and dilute God's power in us along with His connection with us.
  • I DON'T flirt with celebrating the power of evil spirits and death.
  • I DON'T want my life which is to be a living testimony of that covenant relationship end up confusing those around me...I want the world to see I am sold out God and to ONLY those things that lift Him up.
  • I am convinced we are called to stand out.  To be different.  To give our lives wholly and completely to whatever gives honor and praise to the one and only true God.  Jesus Christ.

Psalm 101:3 says, "I will not set anything before my eyes that is worthless."  

Celebrating the power of death is not what I personally aim to do.  I don't even want to feel like I am encroaching on that.  To me it is worthless.  Nothing good will come from me celebrating the power of the demonic or death itself.  Unless it is the power that came AND STILL COMES from the death and RESURRECTION of Jesus.  

Evil defined by Ravi Zacharias is this:  The violation of purpose.  I was not designed to give honor or glory to anything other than my Creator, to celebrate life in Him.  So that's what I'm convicted to stick to.  

And I am EXCITED 1 Corinthians 15:55 says, "Death where is your victory?  Death where is your sting?"  Death your not even worth my time.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Two Things That Hinder...Watch Out.

I was reminded lately that selfish ambition plays a large part in offense.  James chapter 4 asks us where the conflict and fights come from that are between us?  Isn't it from the selfishness that wars within us?

Have you ever heard a statement that unveils a persons insecurity? Have you ever sensed another persons jealousy because maybe they are not being seen enough or used enough?  Is this you?  Here are just a couple of quick thoughts:

Offense is just the sign that you are not dead yet.  Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, "...whoever wants to be my disciple MUST DENY THEMSELVES take up their cross and follow me."  Jesus also said not to fight back if anyone takes advantage of us.  Christians, it could be said are merely defined as the the living dead.  If you are able to be offended as a Christian you are wrong.  It's not all about you.

If you can not deal with people getting more attention than you, you will never let Jesus get more attention than you.  Which means God can not at this point promote you to where you are actually wanting to be because insecurity will DEMAND you get worth from that promotion, NOT from God alone.  When you are alright with not having the attention here on earth from people you will see your promotion.  Because at that point Jesus will be able to be first, in front of you.

These two things will cut off your influence with people and God. GET RID OF OFFENSE & INSECURITY.  My heart is passionate to see all of us free, and in a place of influence.  God must be first and we have to love others MORE than ourselves.

Pastor Joel  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Abuse Must Be Distinguished From Use | A response to atheism that it should be preferred in Europe

This is worth 15 minutes of your time to understand the New Atheist Movement.  John Lennox wins a debate against Christopher Hitchen's motion that the new Europe should prefer atheism.

Great job Professor Lennox.  I thank God that there is someone equipped enough to stand on the platform you do and speak with such clarity to the issue of the existence of God.  We are praying for you that God would give you an even larger voice into this next generation.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


This morning as I am reading through Jeremiah God is speaking as to what is about to happen to Moab.  And it says this:

"Because you trusted in your wealth and skill, you will be taken captive.  Your god Chemosh,  with his priests and officials will be hauled off to distant lands."  Jeremiah 48:7

There is a reoccurring theme throughout the Bible, its history and its warnings.  Not to trust in ANYTHING other than in God alone. And when I say God I feel I now need to qualify that, I mean the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Immanuel, God with us, Jesus Christ.  Acts 4:12 says that there is no other name by which we can be saved.

Romans 10:11 says, "Anyone who trusts in Him (Jesus), will NOT be put to shame." 

We can NOT get our priorities wrong, we will see God's judgement as soon as we begin to make something other than Jesus Christ our foundation, God, Lord and Savior.  He IS our All in All.  The Author and Finisher of our faith, the one and only True God.  No one will be saved but through Him.

Moab was devastated because they trusted in their wealth and their skill.  The Bible says in Zachariah 4:6 it is not by our might (strength) or power but by His Spirit.  The good news is that if we humble ourselves He WILL be faithful to return to us and restore us.

I plead with you today, DO NOT trust in anything other than Jesus. He is the King of Kings and He will not be mocked.  He loves you and if you place ALL your faith in Him He Himself will fight for you, not against you.  The choice is up to you, today is the day of decision.

Joel Brown

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Launching a church | CHR - 6 Months In

As I sit here this afternoon, I am humbled by the story God continues to write here in Hampton Roads Virginia.  We have just passed the 6 month mark after launching Church at Hampton Roads at the Grassfield High School September 16th of last year.  We have developed an incredible relationship with our school, our city and our community.  God has more than provided for us and CHR is growing.  People's lives are being turned around, marriages are being healed and above all, Jesus is being lifted up.

I want to catalog three specific things that God has taught me personally leading up to CHR's launch as it may help those out there who are dreaming and daring to step out in faith in order to be obedient and do the same thing.   

Number One - NOTHING Is Ours

Psalm 24 says that the earth and everything in it is God's.  Not ours. Don't make the mistake of "owning" ANYTHING.  People are not yours.  The church is not yours.  The money is not yours.  The air you breathe is not yours.  Everything you have, touch, taste and smell is God's and it will ALL go back to Him.  This keeps humility in the picture and allows you to manage all He gives you with integrity, character and excellence.  Also, when you are an owner you have ALL the responsibility.  For everything.  You have to now create the result, not sure about you but I am out on that one. When you stay a "manager", then when the lease is due it is not your problem.  When there are obstacles, it's not your problem. When there are giants and people who are opposing you, guess what, IT IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM.  It's the owner's, it's God's problem.  I am ALL about the Creator of ALL things fighting for me. The result of this mindset is absolute peace.  Let Him create the story and the result.  After all, history itself is also His.

Number Two - Get Rid Of Entitlement

When we begin to grind or get frustrated, it is normally the sign of entitlement, the "I deserve" mentality.  What are we truly entitled to?  Death and hell.  Eternal separation from God is what we really deserve.  But because God loves us, He provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him.  So when the thoughts of, "I deserve not to have to go through this..." or, "I don't deserve to have to wait this long..." come up or ANY other question that begins with this feeling, remind yourself that the only thing you really deserve is eternal separation from God but because He loved you He paid for your sins and now ALLOWS you the PRIVILEGE of working alongside of Him to reach a lost world....Where there is no "I deserve" mentality or entitlement there is joy.

Number Three - Trust.  God Has To Be The Builder

Your story is different than anyone else's.  Don't try to replicate other's stories.  Don't manipulate people.  Don't manipulate circumstances.  Rest in the fact the Author of the world promised in the Gospels that He would build His Church.  DO NOT COMPARE. You worry about your obedience to God and let God worry about how fast He wants to bless the work of your hands.  Promotion comes from Him ALONE.  Guard your heart, stay humble and realize your duty as a pastor is just to love God and love people, NOTHING else.  You ultimately CAN NOT change a heart, draw a heart or free someone spiritually.  This is something only God can do.  This does not mean be lazy or abdicate any of your responsibilities, it just means realize that Proverbs 21:31 is true, "The warhorse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord."  You do your part to listen, be obedient, manage well and prepare but then sit back and let the result go, that is His problem. Trust Him and His word, He said He WOULD build His Church.

God, we give EVERYTHING to You.  The victories, the battles and absolutely ALL of the glory.  To Your Name ALONE be ALL the praise forever and ever.  We commit to manage well all you have allowed us the privilege of touching.  And we know that as we manage well you favor us and give us more to manage.  Thank you Jesus for Your faithfulness to watch over us and empower us to do what You asked us to do, to reach people (Matt 28:18).