I Peter 5:6-11 - "Humble yourselves therefore under
the mighty had of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. Be
sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a
roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom
resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions
are accomplished in your bretheren that are in the world.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal
glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while,
make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him
be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."
I must admit, Co-Pastor Owens is one of my favorite preachers.
I love her personality. Her sassiness. Her ability and strength
to say whatever it is she has to say….just HOW she needs to
say it. She is most definitely a powerful woman of God (when
operating in the Spirit). Co-Pastor Owens starts this sermon
by giving the text, giving her topic, and admonishing prayer
warriors to pray by saying "whenever you begin to talk about
sin, or going against the powers that be, you gon' need some
help. And like I told them in the 8:00 service, make sure
your neighbor doesn't sleep; and I DARE you to get up and
walk out, I DARE you to move 'cause I WILL embarrass you."
But she did say her assignment was to strengthen the faith
of the saints, increase the level of faith so that the saints
could stay on their path, strengthen the maintenance of the
faith (?), and increase faith so the saints could stand up
and tell the truth. Did she obey and complete her assignment?
She moves on to talk about a letter she received at her house
while she was away preaching. The person who wrote it had
been in intercessory prayer on her behalf because she could
feel in the Spirit that Susie was engaged in an intense personal
struggle, but should keep the faith and continue on in God.
Knowing that God is YET FAITHFUL, and would bring her out
victoriously. After reading excerpts from the letter, she
talked about things that she saw on CNN that week, and how
much it grieved her. She was shocked that CNN anchors would
be delivering these news stories. They were..
As of September 2003, New York City would open it's
first Gay and Lesbian High School. She felt it was totally
out of order for Gays and Lesbians teens to have their own
school. She didn't feel it necessary (and according to the
groans of the congregation, they agreed).
Forget the fact that gay and lesbian youth deal
with the threat of unwarranted physical violence, heightened
social persecution, and are more often depressed and fearful
simply BECAUSE they are gays and lesbians. Is it not necessary
for a city to ensure that ALL of their children receive quality
education in a safe environment conducive to learning? Could
it be that that best way to protect these students from violence
and abuse was to create a school specifically for them? OF
COURSE NOT….THEY'RE GAYS AND LESBIANS. THEY DON'T NEED TO
FEEL SAFE SO THEY CAN CONCENTRATE ON GETTING GOOD GRADES.
LET THEM FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES!
According to Co-Pastor Owens, a new "virtual reality"
television show was coming out. BOY MEETS BOY. "And it's
not gonna be airing on Cable or Direct TV, but Prime Time
on REGULAR TV STATIONS during the time that our children
are at home watching TV. How dare they put a TV show on
where men would be parading around in front of other men
like it's okay!" she exclaimed. And the congregation roared
Well, BRAVO is a cable station…NOT a regular
network station. And most cable services give you the option
to block certain things that parents find unsuitable for children.
Note to parents: Start parenting again. If you feel something
isn't good for your child, DON'T LET THEM WATCH IT!
The "Epistopal (not Episcopal, but Epistopal) Church
voted to ordain and accept an openly gay priest!" From the
way the crowd moaned and groaned, you would have thought
someone died. She felt it reprehensible for a church to
sanction a gay man to speak the oracles of God.
Nevermind the fact that the people who elected
and ordained him felt that he was a good priest. He helped
people. The parishioners LOVE him. His work spoke volumes
of his character, his love for God, and his devotion to showing
God's love to people. He was obedient in doing what priests
should do. But no, he shouldn't be ordained. After all , HE'S
GAY! Let THAT be what we judge him on.
She went on to say how the devil tried really
hard to stop her from preaching this sermon. But she told
him, "I'm gonna preach this sermon if I gotta crawl to do
it. I gotta tell the TRUTH!" The congregation went WILD! (Now
stay with me here, she's getting somewhere….I promise.) Co-Pastor
Owens then said, "let the tape and the record show, that I
AM NOT a homophobic person. I AM NOT a 'gay bashing' preacher.
I just don't applaud the gay and lesbian lifestyle. SIN IS
SIN! I don't care if you a fornicator, an adulterer, a murderer,
a liar, a thief, or if you love to gossip…ALL OF IT IS SIN!"
She said she started to get depressed and upset by the things
going on in this world. "The more you tell people that God
loves them, the crazier they get!". Well Pastor Owens, first
of all WRONG LIST! Gays and Lesbians go on the list with Jew,
Gentile, male, female, black, white…you know? The list that
tells the diversity of people? Not the list of sins. Though
homosexuals DO commit such sins just like everyone else. But
being born who they are? NOT SIN!
Lastly, she made a snide remark about "you
gays that are taking the pills thinking you're delivered,
trying to get your lil' T-cell count up…check out the latest
medical report. The HIV virus can over time develop a resistance
to those pills. So, what you thought could make you able to
go out and continue what you were doing…THE PILLS AIN'T WORKIN
NO MORE. If you don't be careful, God will take what was meant
to bless you and use it to curse you." Now, I thought this
statement was mean, heartless, and just downright horrible.
Everyone knows that HIV is NOT A GAY DISEASE. Women and Children
are DYING from HIV related illnesses just like gay men are.
And they didn't get it from GAY MEN! They got it from DISHONEST
PEOPLE WITH NO INTEGRITY. The severity of HIV in this country
is passed epidemic proportion! People take those pills so
if they DO get the flu or anything else, THEY WON'T DIE! Not
so they can have an excuse to go out and have sex like wild
animals! To say this statement was TRUTH or of GOD, is A LIE!
It was foul. It was unnecessary. And it was WRONG!
During this little tirade, I thought to myself…what
is it about gays and lesbians being extended the same liberties
and freedoms as everyone else in this country that she finds
bothersome? So much so that she feels threatened or cornered
to the point that she has to engage in this fierce battle
against this powerful foe? She felt so disturbed by this that
she felt her "telling the truth" about this issue could take
her off the international circuit of preachers, and she would
be become unpopular. Equal rights for gays and lesbians is
so terrible that the territorial demons in this country were
trying to bring a shift in the purpose and plan of God…and
SHE had to risk being a martyr and stand against it. Now,
what ALL THAT propaganda and pontificating going on….WHAT
THE HELL DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE TEXT? Peter was writing
to Christians who were struggling with issues that could weaken
their faith, he felt he needed to encourage them in the Lord,
so they wouldn't lose heart. OH, I SEE IT NOW….homosexuality
(and the spirit of sexuality) is running wild in our society,
and Christians need to know how to finish strong in the fight
against it…right? WHATEVER!
THEN SHE STARTED PREACHING! When she FINALLY
started dealing with the TEXT she gave in the first place,
got out of her flesh, and stopped venting about her issues…she
preached a good sermon. She said the problem with the church
is we are afraid to stand up and tell the truth because we're
afraid of starting trouble. "START SOME TROUBLE!" she said.
"GOD DIDN'T BRING YOU OUT FOR YOU BE QUIET! STOP BEING AFRAID…START
SOME TROUBLE!" Okay Co-Pastor Owens, we will take your advice!
She pointed out that Peter gave Christians a "formula for
how to end strong". I don't think she honestly realized that
what was meant to discourage gays and lesbians, is actually
the Word of God FOR them.
- Be humble! Knowing that this battle isn't gonna be fought
in your own strength. Understand that this battle ain't
about you. Just because you on the Lord's side don't mean
you don't have issues that you're dealing with. So make
sure you keep it in perspective. In your battle, know that
you are fighting to please God…not so you can get all puffed
up and proud. Everything you have comes from Him. Even your
strength to fight.
- Be sober! Not sober, as in not under the influence of
alcohol or drugs. But sober as in practicing self control.
Exercising discipline. In order to win in ANY battle, you
have to be disciplined. And that means being able to tell
yourself NO! When something tempts you, and you feel yourself
getting weak, remember your goal is the Glory of God. Do
what it takes to stay away from things that can hinder you
in reaching your goal.
- Be vigilant! Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
Know what is REALLY going on around you. Don't get comfortable
and think you're doing your thang! There are things going
on that can overtake you if you aren't aware. Stay alert
so you can't be taken by surprise.
- Resist the your enemy! Your enemy is roaming around like
a lion seeking whom he may devour. Remember battles aren't
won when you retreat. You must stand and fight! The Bible
says that if you resist the devil he will flee from you
(James 4.7). Resistance brings about strength. If you resist
your enemy long enough, he will leave you alone if you don't
kill him first. DON'T RUN….STAND AND FIGHT!
Co-Pastor Susie Owens is a powerful preacher (when she's
REALLY preaching). And there's no doubt in my mind that she
loves God. I believe that she loves God's people too. But
with this sermon, I think she got a little carried away. The
pulpit should never be used like a police badge that allows
you to say what YOU want to say just because you are dealing
with issues. I don't see how her sharing her feelings about
what she heard on the news and how she feels about it was
helping ANYONE! And I don't think she was trying to be malicious.
I think her "venting" was more of a smoke screen. Pump up
my personal agenda, get the crowd hyped up and feeling like
their God given rights and privileges are being threatened
by the enemy and those he has deceived, and use this scripture
as a war cry.
Fortunately, the entire hour wasn't filled with the abusive,
divisive, homophobic, gay bashing rhetoric we all have heard
time and time again. Aside from her venting, she was true
to her calling. She completed her assignment. No matter what
you're up against…social injustice, poverty, illiteracy, bigotry,
spiritual (or any type of ) abuse, depression, or political
misconduct, if you are gonna end strong, you MUST be humble,
sober, vigilant, and never fail to resist our enemy. And you
resist your enemy by not being silent. But by opening your
mouth, lifting your voice, and declaring HIS TRUTH! If you
do this, trust me YOU WILL END STRONG!