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Decatur Community Workshops Highlights - Identity Crisis (Mistakes Urban Youth Make)

This video provides highlights from our recent workshop "Identity Crisis (Mistakes Urban Youth Make)". This event was a production of Decatur Community Workshops and Singles Point of View. It was hosted at The Body Church, 3009 Rainbow Drive, Suite #142, Decatur, GA 30034.

Our faith-based group hosts monthly workshops in the Decatur area that are free, interactive and open to the surrounding community. Topics include leadership, personal finances, investing, professional networking, career advancement, real estate, grant writing and many more. We are open to suggestions and are always interested in welcoming new people. If you love to learn new things especially for free, this group is for you.

For more info, visit www.meetup.com/decaturcommunityworkshops

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Identity "Christ-is" (Part Two)

Date - Sunday, July 19th, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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The Body Church: Identity "Christ - Is" (Part One)

Date - Sunday, July 12th, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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Pressure

Pressure

Turn on your television, browse the Internet or flip through the pages of some popular magazines and what will you see? You'll see images of success everywhere. You'll see popular, smiling, good looking people with perfect teeth, perfect hair, fit bodies, big houses, fancy cars, money to spare, happy families, amazing talents, thriving careers and everything else you DO NOT have. Compare yourself to any of them and what happens? You will feel the pressure of not measuring up. Man! If I was just a few inches taller. Man! If I was just a few sizes smaller. Man! If I just had a better job. Man! If I could just do something with these gray hairs that keep popping out. Man! If my knees would just stop hurting me. Man! If someone would just notice me. Goodness! My name is not AIR. I'm not transparent. Give me a chance!

2 Corinthians 10:12(NKJV) - For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Comparison is so dangerous. When you compare yourself to other people it is not wise. Nothing good usually comes out of it. If you look down, you'll feel like you're higher than you really are. If you look up you'll feel like you're lower than you really are. If you look around you'll feel average. When we measure ourselves among ourselves, we measure with a sliding scale which is skewed in whatever direction the world wants it to be. The scale changes suddenly so even if we measure up today, tomorrow we might be big disappointments.

If any of this connects with you, keep reading. Welcome to today's blog. If you enable the audio capabilities of the device you are using to read this message right now you will hear the song, "Pressure" from Jonathan McReynolds playing in the background. Scroll down and you'll also see the video. All I can say is "Wow!" That song has been ministering to my soul for the last two days. The Lord has been using this brother to speak the powerful truth which has the power to bring freedom in every way. He's been assigned to remind me of what really matters.

John 21:19-22(NLT) - Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

Take a look at that fascinating exchange between Peter and Jesus. After Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, Jesus told Peter how he would die as a martyr. Peter looked around and saw John. So He asked Jesus about John. Jesus' response was classic; "Why is that any of your business? You follow me!" Wow! Jesus made it clear that what He called Peter to do was between Peter and Him and what He called John to do was between John and Him. He didn't want Peter comparing himself to John. That's the Word of The Lord for us too. You be who God created you to be and do what He created you to do. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing or not doing.

Revelation 12:11(KJV) - And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

This topic is close to my heart because just like you, I have had to deal with this in my own life. Let me be real with you for a minute. The pressure is real. Ministry pressure, career pressure, social pressure, etc. abound and have done so for years. Yet, nothing and nobody puts more pressure on me than I do. Everyday I wake up, everything I do, everywhere I go, I constantly remind myself that I could be better and I could do so much better. I'm 35 years old and I wonder, "What have I done with my life?"

When I look around at the kinds of amazing things people have accomplished at my age around this earth I'm reminded that I'm nowhere close to the best. So what do I do? I work harder. I try harder. I think harder. And what happens? Nothing really. I just end up tired. Tired of trying and getting mixed results. Tired of giving it everything yet not getting everything in return. Tired of wondering when I'll finally get invited to join the others at the top. Tired of getting a pat on my back and the customary "Good job. You're the man." Then nothing but the sound of crickets when it's time for something substantial.

I thought the system was "merit-based". At least that's what I was told by those who seem to be enjoying the benefits. If you work hard, it will happen for you too, they said. 🙂 Umm.. really. So, where does that leave me? LOL! I stopped being angry about it a while ago. I can laugh about it now but there was a stage in my life when it was not funny at all. Thankfully, God was with me all along and one day, He decided to kick in the door and turn things around. Now I have a testimony and it's real. If God brought me through the pressure I was under during some of the toughest seasons of my life He can do the same for you.

Psalms 139:13-18(NLT) - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Lord, how can I thank you? I know the truth and it cannot be taken from me. I matter to you. I mattered to you while I was in my mother's womb. I mattered to you the day I was born. You made me exactly the way you wanted me to be. I'm not in a competition with random people all over the world. I am in a competition with my best self. Your expectation is that I be the man you created me to be and I do what you created me to do. You laid out all the days of my life in full detail before it started. You spoke the end of it before the beginning. You did it. It was you all along. I love you.

Romans 12:2(NLT) - Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Oh, you're still reading. I just had a little personal time with The Lord there. Now, back to the blog. Don't be a copy of anyone else but let your thoughts match God's thoughts concerning you. Renew your self-image by seeking out your true self through the scriptures. It's time to discover your purpose. Aren't you curious to find out what God had in mind when He laid out the days of your life? Find out now.

One of the greatest sources of pressure is the lack of knowing who you are and what you were born to do. It's easy to measure yourself against other people when you are unable to measure yourself by your best self. If you don't know who you are you won't know what's best for you. Changing yourself to match what you see around you is a fruitless exercise. Find out who you are and just be you. If you need help, we have resources available at Well Done Online.

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Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

1 Peter 2:9-10(NLT) - But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

Pay close attention to this line; "Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God's people." What does that mean? The moment you become a Christian your identity is in God. You are no longer defined by anything or anyone outside of Him. You are who God says you are. You are not who you were before you gave your life to Jesus. You also are not defined by any natural measures. You are not who people think you are based on their worldly, carnal standards.

Galatians 3:27-29(KJV) - For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

You are not your race. You are not your status. You are not your appearance. You are not your socio-economic class. You are not your education. You are not your hair. 🙂 None of these things define you. So why obsess yourself with these things while the things that really matter remain undeveloped? You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. You are the called-out ones who were removed from the darkness of this world and placed into God's wonderful light. You have put on Christ so now you are hidden in Him. He has become your identity.

Romans 12:2(NLT) - Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

If you don't know who you are the world will tell you who you are. If you don't know how to think the world will tell you how to think. My question today is, "Who's influencing who?" Are you influencing the world around you or is the world influencing you? Are people outside of God's Kingdom trying to be like you or are you trying to be like them? Do you have something that they want or do they have something that you want? The moment we take our eyes off Christ we lose ourselves and that's when we lose track of God's Will for our lives.

Colossians 3:1-4(NKJV) - If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

What's your mindset or more importantly where is your mind set? Is your mind set on things above or things on the earth? What's driving you each day? Where is your motivation for living? When you became born again you died and you were born again into Christ. Now your life is hidden inside of Christ. Christ is not just the source of your life, He is your life. That's why The Father sees Jesus when He sees us. We don't resemble Jesus. We are in Him. This means that if Jesus is not controlling our lives we are wasting it because He does not empower us to do anything outside of Himself.

Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:18(KJV) - "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." Apostle John says in 1 John 2:17(NLT) - "And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever." How much time, money, effort, blood, sweat and tears have you invested in earthly pursuits? How much of the same have you invested in Godly pursuits? Which do you think will matter for eternity? If we are really God's children and He lives inside of us what concerns Him should concern us.

Each day I see a vision of the future. I see a throne in heaven and one by one I see each of us standing before it. We will each have to give an account for the time we spent on earth. At that point, all the time we wasted pursuing the things of this world will seem silly. Only what we did for God will count. Whether we like it or not, once we stand before God we're not getting a second chance at life. Jesus said in John 9:4(KJV); "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."

It's interesting that when it's time to get money or have fun, people are ready and willing to get moving but when it's time to handle God's business many people are too busy. Not unsaved people, Christian people. Too busy doing what? The night is coming. It's time to work. It's time for us to get over the identity crisis. We are Christ followers. We are kingdom people. We live for God. Nothing else matters. We don't do what the world does with their time, money and effort. We're different. We live for Jesus. He is our life. We need to know who we are and what we were born to do. Let's do it and let's do it now!

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Jesus - The Ideal Man

Jesus - The Ideal Man

Today's blog is Part 2 in this week's series on Biblical manhood. Click for Part 1; "Ask Donnell - What Is A Real Man?" There is so much confusion about manhood in our society. As a result, many men have gotten out of position and the devil has taken advantage of that by attacking their families. Unfortunately, a popular reason why these men are out of position is that they grew up in households where their fathers were also out of position making their actions the continuation of a vicious cycle.

Role models are like precious metals. They are rare and extremely valuable. Since men are visual, it really helps when we can see someone model the type of man we need to become. In a perfect world that person should be our fathers. They don't need to be perfect, they just need to be good examples. Every man is unique so it's impossible to be a carbon copy of another man but the core principles by which our role models live are transferable.

Regardless of our personal situations, there is one ideal man after whose life we can all pattern ourselves. His name is Jesus. He walked the earth as a man for thirty three years and set the standard of manhood before returning to heaven. He operated in such dominion that one day His disciples asked the question in Luke 8:25; "What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him."

In another instance, in John 7:46, the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to seize Jesus. Yet, they were so mesmerized that they went back empty handed and said, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” Also, the scriptures say in Matthew 7:28-29; "And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Jesus was some man and nobody else was even close! Let's now take a closer look at what made Him so special.

Jesus - The Ideal Man

1) Jesus knew His purpose from a very young age.

Luke 2:42-52(NKJV) - And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

What's your purpose? Do you know it? Can you articulate it clearly? When purpose is not known, abuse (abnormal use) is inevitable. Before we get into any other characteristic of Jesus let's start when He was twelve years old. Jesus was about His Father's business. He knew what His Heavenly Father sent Him to the earth to do and that's what He was doing. Even though His family didn't yet understand He was already focused. He knew His purpose. That's the first step to being a man like Jesus.

The earlier you know your purpose the better. It will save you valuable time and energy. When a man knows his purpose and exhausts his life working to fulfill it, he is demonstrating Biblical manhood. Discover your purpose today. God called David a man after His own heart in Acts 13:22 because he fulfilled all of God's Will. Can God say the same of you?

Proverbs 29:18(KJV) - Where there is no vision, the people perish (run wild, lack restraint, stumble over themselves): but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Many young men don't have a vision for their lives so they run wild, lack restraint and stumble over themselves. It's impossible to have a vision for your life if you don't know why you were put on this earth. Maybe this explains the epidemic of issues with men in our society. They don't know their purpose. Jesus was the ideal man and He knew His purpose from a young age. That's the standard set for us.

Jesus - The Ideal Man

2) Jesus was anointed.

Matthew 3:13-17(NKJV) - Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Luke 4:16-20(NKJV) - So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

Before Jesus stepped out into formal ministry He was anointed. The Holy Spirit rested upon Him after He was baptized preparing Him for the task ahead. He no longer operated as a mere man, He had the power of God upon His humanity. The Anointing transforms a natural man into a supernatural man. If a man wants to be anything like Jesus he must have The Anointing on his life. For more details on The Anointing read the following blog; "Ask Donnell - How Do I Recognize The Anointing?"

3) Jesus successfully resisted temptation.

Matthew 4:1-11(NKJV) - Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Jesus destroyed the devil in the wilderness! Satan knows that the best way to bring down a strong man is not to fight him where he's strong but to lure him into areas of weakness through temptation. Think about Samson. The Philistines had no chance when they tried to physically fight him so they found his area of weakness and sent Delilah to exploit it. Goliath could not stand against the power of David. King Saul had no chance against the power of David. Powerful armies were brought to their knees by David but one look at Bathsheba and he was done.

Hebrews 4:15(NKJV) - For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus was the ideal man because when He was tempted He did not fall. He responded consistently with The Word of God. He understood what was written in Psalm 119:11; "Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You." Jesus taught us by example that even though we are human we don't have to let sin control our lives. He also gave us another key to defeating temptation in Matthew 26:41(NKJV); "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

4) Jesus carefully selected His inner circle.

Matthew 4:18-22(NKJV) - And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

One by one, Jesus handpicked His inner circle. This is rarely taught but it is an important factor in His successful life on earth. In many ways, your life is defined by the people you surround yourself with. We sometimes confuse the people Jesus interacted with while carrying out His ministry with His inner circle of friends. He was willing to minister to and interact with anyone but showed great discretion when selecting the people He would share His heart with. He described His disciples as His friends in John 15:13-16.

Proverbs 13:20(KJV) - He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

1 Corinthians 15:33(NKJV) - Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

If a man wants to be like Jesus he should handpick his friends. We'll continue from here with more tomorrow.

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What's Your Philosophy?

What's Your Philosophy?

It's a new year. Are you ready to get down to business and accomplish some big things? If yes, then let's start the journey right now. Today, I'll do something special. I'll give you a sneak peek into one of the new books I'm currently writing.

Excerpt from "Limitless ....... - .... God-Given Potential" (Complete name hidden for obvious reasons);

Who am I? That sounds like such a simple question. Still, some of us spend all of our lives searching for the true answer. When you don't know who you are you build your life on the shakiest foundation possible. Each challenge you face in life openly asks you that question. Depending on your response you will either rise to the challenge or fall as a result of it.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.- Proverbs 4:23 NLT

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... - Proverbs 23:8 KJV

The Webster's New World Dictionary defines the word philosophy as the following:

1. The study of principles underlying conduct, thought, and the nature of the universe.
2. The general principles or laws of a field of knowledge
3. A particular system of ethics
4. Composure; calmness

Your philosophy of life is the system of principles which form the framework of your worldview. From it you get your perspective on everything you encounter. It's this perspective which then determines your reality. Simply put; “You think so therefore you are.” If you don't purposefully develop your own philosophy of life, one will be given to you.

I first heard of this concept from my father while growing up. As an excellent Bible teacher, leader, consultant, businessman and motivational speaker he continually emphasized and demonstrated its importance. He would often ask the congregation of his church in Diego Martin, Trinidad; “What's your philosophy of life?”

As a child, I only understood his point in a limited fashion but that all changed as a young adult. For a season of my young adult life I became obsessed with understanding the secrets of success. I invested time into studying the lives of very successful people. I researched their life-stories with a special emphasis on what they said during in-depth personal interviews or discussions.

This revealed some fascinating things. Many people who shape culture, break barriers or change the course of history are philosophers with strong convictions. They see the world from a unique perspective then dedicate their lives to creating the reality they perceive. They also use whatever resources are available to promote their worldview.

We may only notice what they achieve but it's their philosophy which makes them different. That being said, how do you develop your own philosophy? How you see the world affects what you think needs to be changed but how you see yourself affects your role in implementing that change. Consequently, your philosophy is a direct reflection of your identity.

What's your philosophy?

We'll continue from here tomorrow.

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The Power Of Commitment

James 1:5-8(KJV) - If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
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Do You Believe What You Say?

Romans 10:9-10(KJV) - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
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May 17, 2012 Posted by admin in Identity

Ask Donnell - Is Atheism a Religion?

I received the following question from Chris;

"Hello Mr. Donnell,

Recently, I was in a rather heated discussion on facebook, concerning the subject of athisem. One of my facebook friends posted something derogatory concerning religions, so I pointed out to her that athiesm was also a religion. 80 comments later, I was still in the discussion, she concluded by saying “atheism has no moral code or doctrine of manifest, you can be atheist and believe or do ANYTHING ELSE. Not all atheists believe in evolution, not all atheists celebrate christmas, or ramadan..”. Can you please further elaborate on why athiesm can be considered a religion?"

To submit a question of your own visit the "Ask Donnell" section of our website.

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