Monday, December 18, 2017

Cleaning for Christmas! Psalm 51

During this holiday season, many assemblies and individuals take part in a religious tradition called Advent. It is the four Sundays and weeks leading to Christmas. Advent is a time of reflection and hope as people prepare and recognize the real meaning of Christmas and the coming of Jesus Christ. In fact, the word “Advent” in Latin means coming. 

There are three meanings of coming that Christians detail during Advent

  1. Jesus’ 1st coming to the world over 2,000 years ago
  2. Jesus’ 2nd coming is into our hearts and our lives
  3. Jesus’ 3rd coming is when Jesus will return to the word as righteous King and Judge

Of the many ways that Advent is counted down, the most popular are calendars and candles. The calendars have little windows with different daily gifts and pictures. The Candles are arranged in a wreath or on a candelabra - three purple candles and one pink.

So…what’s the point. 

All of this effort is to prepare for and celebrate the coming of Jesus. My question for you is are you prepared?

The other day I was giving my father-in-law a ride home. During the journey, he showed me pictures of his Christmas decorations and told me about annually winning for best decorations. I was somewhat intrigued but it was what he said as he prepared to exit my truck that caught my attention. He lamented, “We decorate and do the most for a child’s first birthday, why not decorate for the celebration Of Jesus, our Lord and Savior’s first birthday.

Take a look at Psalm 51:1-19.

This 19 verse chapter is an extremely transparent moment between David and God. David has done something against God and his Kingship. He impregnated a married woman (Bathsheba) then had her husband (Uriah) killed in battle. But, it was when Nathan the prophet addressed David’s sin that David began to relent and become truly repentant. (2 Samuel 12)

In Verses 1- 12 of Psalm 51, David was adamant about recognizing his wrongs and seeking forgiveness. The transition to gratitude and how he would express it took place in the last seven verses.

Just as we eagerly prepare for family, friends, and house guests for Christmas - I am challenging you to consider if you have cleaned up for Jesus’ return home. 

Here are three things to consider as you clean:

1. Recognize your dirt
“Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.[a] 5 For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:4-5)

If you don’t recognize it is dirty - you won’t make effort to clean it. 
Sin is missing the mark - not by being off target a little bit but like an archer that knows his target and shoots in a different direction.

The intriguing thing about David’s open moment with God was that he had no remorse for his actions until Nathan met with him. By that point, the child was born and had been on the earth for some undisclosed amount of time. David had justified and forgotten his actions and may have never relented had he not been called on his behavior. That was nearly a year after the initial action. Dirt is relative to the individual. We tend to focus on the “big” sins when even the little sins carry the same weight. Dirt is dirt and it all needs to get cleaned.

2. Determine your cleaning process
When you have guests, do you only clean what can be seen or your entire home? Do you start with one area and clean really throughly then progressively diminish your efforts as you address other areas of your home? The same effort you put into cleaning one part should continue throughout the house or you. God desires us completely - we need to consider all of our life as we pursue a life of righteousness. Admittedly, I am not that great at cleaning up. I neglect areas and get lazy about things I don’t want to clean. But, thank God for help. Understand, there are some things you can’t clean alone. I love the show hoarders. It’s interesting how people on the show don’t see their collecting as a problem until it has severely limited their quality of life. As bad as they want to fix it, it takes the employed efforts of family and professionals to restore and repair their dirty situations. Who is willing to help you clean? Is their an area you are struggling to complete clean up? With God anything is possible - He’s an extreme clean agent.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

3. Make it a lifestyle and not an occasion (Psalm 51:17) - 
Here is a simple one. When we get in the mode of maintaining the areas that tend to attract dirt, cleaning is not an arduous process. Before my brother married my dentist, I neglected the dentist for a good amount of time. Although I ate well and brushed regularly, my absence from a good cleaning created issues. When I visited the dentist, she told me that the cleaning she needed to do would take multiple visits to get the deep results. I didn’t enjoy those sessions but I was better because of them. Don’t neglect those cleanings with Christ. 

Quick tip: Some things take longer to clean than others. Instead of getting frustrated at how long it is taking - trust that you will be better soon and the maintenance will be easier than the repair. 

2 corinthians 5:17 - This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Here is my close:

I often refer to the story of the children israel when i teach because of the depth of information in their journey. For today, there is one particular thing that stands out. Moses is standing at the Red Sea’s edge with a multitude of individuals behind him. God gives him the directive to move. Moses stretches his hand out points with his staff and the red sea splits. The bible says that they crossed on dry land. Mud leaves tracks and dry land (not sand) doesn’t leave a trail. The spiritual washing that God wants to do in your life is saying this for you today - the trail to your past was erased when you stepped into this cleansing process in christ. Not only was your trail erased so were pharaohs army, which mean even the things that are pursuing you will be wiped away as well. He has wiped it all away to clean you up. Don’t pick up what God has helped you to release 

Jesus is coming home - will you be ready?

Friday, December 1, 2017

What if you can't see it? Faith beyond sight...


If we were to compare success to an EKG machine, a straight line would equal death. Just as the machine’s constant beeps and peaks let us know we are living, the great mountain tops and deep valley lows let us know that life is happening and we must keep living.

In Psalm 121 we find the psalm of ascents or the song of degrees. That basically means it is a gradual psalm. 

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

David is in a hole similar to the ruts that many of us unfortunately experience. While there, David speaks of “looking to hills” but you must understand his context. David speaks of seeking help/hope in a place that was physically and spiritually beyond him. David knew that although he could not actually see his refuge he was certain that it was available to drastically alter his location as well as his outlook - and he had access.

Our church youth group punctuated this message with an activity. I asked one of the teens to take a sticky note and place it as high as he could on one of our room’s walls. Being a decent basketball player, the teen bent his knees, leapt as high as he could and adhered the sticky note to the wall.

I continued teaching.

1. To go there you must start here. 
Before you can cross the finish line you have to leave the starting line. It’s not enough to have great dreams, good intentions, and wonderful ideas. You must put action to those items if you ever want to see their reality. Rarely does anyone choose to dwell in despair. David wanted desperately out of his current state so he decided to move. Have you made any moves?

2. To get there you must believe you will arrive there.
Although there are times that the road is foggy we must be clear that Jesus has given us a destination and road indicators. Even if the road is hard to see - your faith in the future will lead you beyond your lack of visibility. 

3. To go there you must trust who is guiding you on the way there
Have you ever driven your car to the point that the fuel indicator arm was resting on E. Even though the indicator displays empty, the vehicle is still moving. It is because the vehicle has more built into it when the display says there is none. The “more” that is in you Is the divine intervention that pushes you beyond your own capacity. If you can trust your car to travel beyond the “E” display - it is obvious that you can and should trust your Heavenly Father to kick in and stretch you beyond your empty feeling.

Are you feeling empty right now? Have you traveled as far as you feel is physically possible? Trust me, there is more. You can go further!

I closed my message with our youth group by asking my sticky note participant if he really placed that note as high as he could go. He said, “No” then grabbed a chair and jumped again. He went higher!

#AimHigher #ThereIsMore

Monday, November 20, 2017

Are Likes better than Views?????

We live in a digital society that craves compliments and validation through virtual followers and emoji notifications. An individual’s popularity is figured by how many followers have subscribed to that individual’s various social media accounts and what the response is to the account holder’s daily if not hourly musings. Yet, I pose the question, which is more important? Is it better to be liked or to be viewed? Let’s use Instagram for our experiment.

According to a blog on

- There are over 600 million monthly Instagram users

- Over 40 billion photos have been shared to date with an average of 95 million photos and videos posted per day.

- Instagram users “like” 4.2 billion posts per day

These numbers are astronomical. Everyone from tweens to fortune 500 companies is fighting for “likes”.  

The average photo receives an average of 37 interactions per 1,000 followers, while videos average 24 interactions per 1,000 followers.

Here is the point. With all of the effort to beat the Instagram algorithm and garner as many likes as possible, there are some followers who will rarely if ever like the things you post. 

Matthew 7:20, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

People may not like everything you do…

However, they are watching everything you do…

Grab a big glove and catch this. The bible said nothing about testing the fruit to see if it tastes like what it is called. I know an apple, pineapple, banana, or grape before I touch or taste them. An apple will never be a grape and you shouldn’t put effort to be anything other than yourself.

It is ok to go against the majority. Leaders don’t follow the crowd, the crowd follows the leader. Winston Churchill put it this way, “Kites rise highest against the wind not with it!” 

In your efforts to gain likes are you losing your real identity in a filter or a mask?

There are people who are supporting your good morals, great choices, and positive moves without letting you know. Living a righteous life is still the right thing to do even if you don’t get recognized for it.

When we work to please God, He will prepare opportunity for us to get rightfully noticed and “liked”. Matthew 6:33 and Colossians 1:10-12

So, back to the original question. Is it better to be liked or viewed?

Here is my answer. 

Knowing that there are viewers/followers that may never “like” you or physically tell you they “like” you, I believe that you should be the best you everyday. Share your accomplishments be proud of your achievements and witness about God’s faithfulness. If they like you, great. If they don’t, they still saw how good God has been to you. 

Here is a bonus. Likes and views are fun, but God requires more than earthly appreciation. There is a button I love to use on Instagram, it looks like a paper airplane. That button allows me to give others the things that have made me laugh, smile, rejoice, and reflect. 

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples and us were left with a great responsibility. We were told to share.

What have you done worth sharing and who have you shared with/about today?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

That's some EXPENSIVE Trash - How to find value where you least expect it

If you were to inventory the least valuable items in your backpack, purse, pockets, or vehicle I am confident you would come up with some pretty interesting objects. However, at some point, those items carried a good value.

I believe that the basis for determining an items’ value rests in understanding the battle between an item’s ownership versus the item’s possession.

Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
The popular designer, Moschino recently produced a trash themed line of clothing. Of note is a dress made of plastic dry cleaning bags including the “We heart our customers” hanger cover. What’s more entertaining is that the dress retails for $737!

It is the ultimate personification of “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The bag's purpose has trash built into it but designer, Jeremy Scott, refined the trash into an expensive treasure.  Only a creator can find value in broken and discarded pieces…

The difference is knowing ownership versus possession.            

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6

In the right hands, anything can have value. However individuals often underestimate their own hands or allow the hands of people with no authority to falsely authenticate their things.  Let me help this make sense.

One of my favorite television shows is called Pawn Stars. It is about a family owned pawnshop that sells nearly anything. People bring their things to the pawnshop and the individual behind the counter gives the seller an estimated value. If the seller agrees, the pawnshop will take the item off the seller’s hands. If the pawnshop dealer is unable to accurately determine value, they call in an expert.

1.     Pawn shops always under pay and often overprice. Everyone you ask to value your heart, hopes, or future will not see them for their worth but will sell them for more than what they paid.
2.     In order to get an accurate assessment you need to go to an educated creator.

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14

To compliment that verse, 1 john 4:4 says that we belong to God. He doesn’t possess us like a gifted keychain ornament that is tarnished from abuse. He takes pride in the fact that He created us and carries is in the hollow of His hand as a priceless jewel never to be released. (John 10:28)

There is a difference between Possession and Ownership.

You must take ownership of your body
You must take ownership of your heart
You must take ownership of your hopes, goals, and aspirations

Even when others have misused and discarded you/your stuff – it may hurt but it is not la total loss. Avoid the pawnshop middleman and take your stuff to the Creator. Your God can heal your hurt and help you find true value.

Telling firefighters about what sets you on fire is like trying to strike a match against a wet surface. Futile. People can’t rain on your parade if they don’t know what street you are coming down…

Share with those that have been where you're going.

#BeAwesome because God says so 
#BeAwesome because you said so

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Thank you.

Will Cumby
@willc27 - IG

Thursday, October 12, 2017

And By His Stripes...


I love how we are effortlessly amazing. The unique traits of our genetic make up cause us to have varying heights, colored eyes, beautiful complexions, and specific fingerprints. I am most amazed by our body’s organic way of healing and repairing itself.

Depending on your immune system, within seconds of a split to your skin's surface a sticky substance called platelets rushes to work creating a protective barrier or scab.

How beneficial is a scab anyway?

It was roughly 10:08 pm on Sunday, October 1st.  For nine to 15 minutes, a lone gunman randomly rained bullets from the 32nd floor of a hotel room.  Concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival were ducking, running, and scattering with hopes of avoiding the barrage of bullets heading their direction. When the chaos subsided, 58 individuals were killed and nearly 500 injured.

To put it into perspective, in the days that Hurricane Harvey dumped 14-15 trillion gallons of rain, 36 people lost their life.

After each of those threats relented there was a call for assistance. In Houston, it came in the way of physical and financial donations. People gave in record numbers. Vegas requested something different. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman sent out a call for blood.

 October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Within moments Vegas residents and visitors, eager to give, filled the blood donation centers and created lines that stretched around block. Regardless of whether or not they knew the individuals in need, donors were passionate about helping to save someone else’s life by giving blood.

Scripture teaches us this:

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” – Romans 5:8 (NLT)

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

There is something about being covered and protected until you are made whole again. The healing process may not look appealing but it is what is happening underneath that matters most. the ugliness is just masking what is being made new again. The scab of your pain is coming off and your reemergence is about to be seen - you will be whole again. Jesus knew that we would experience and inflict pain yet he purposefully gave His life. As Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross, there was no hesitation about what He was doing. That moment provides immediate healing to anyone that is in need.

“And by His stripes we are healed.”

Just as quickly as blood platelets create a protective scab that covers the break in our skin and the white blood cells fight bacteria without our request, Jesus and His angels step in with immediacy to heal, protect, and save!

The Blood of Jesus COVERS
The Blood of Jesus HEALS
The Blood of Jesus PROTECTS

Together we experienced the hurt from Hurricane Harvey, the viciousness of the Vegas attack, and the tirades on twitter. Despite the efforts of those atrocities to create gaping holes in our nation’s fabric we are the United States of America and we are the body of Christ – together we must follow Christ’s example by binding together, rising to the top, and protecting our nation as we heal.

“And by His stripes we are healed.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The battle within!!!

The Battle

Tattooed on both arms are the numbers 815. They represent a government housing development at 815 Harrison Square and a tough start that pushed this individual into a successful future. He, his three siblings and his mom struggled for everything. Dad was absent, mom was battling cancer, and he was forced to work multiple jobs in addition to his academic and athletic responsibilities. Instead of Pop Warner organized football, it was pick-up games in the street with gang members.
With all of these circumstances standing against him He could have fallen for anything but yet Deshaun Watson has battled to become a star in the NFL. One f his arm tattoos includes a pair of dice and a deck of cards to represent the mantra of "play with the hand you are dealt."

When you win the battle within you will win the war ahead.

In Genesis chapter 32 we find the prelude to a battle.  Jacob was Esau’s brother and an individual that was characterized by his craftiness. In fact, his name meant trickster or supplanter. After a life of tricking nearly everyone in his life and running away, Jacob forges his relationship with God. Now he is about to come to terms with his brother who had treated the worst.

Before Jacob’s meeting with Esau, Jacob has a conversation with God.

“Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’” Genesis 32:11

His prayer was like a desperately thirsty person taking a bucket full of holes to water.

The battle of the mind is the beginning to all success. The body can only go where the mind directs it. Even if your body is prepared for battle if your heart and mind are afraid to fight – you are going to lose...

Jacob knew that he had to face his brother but until he faced his fears he could never battle his brother.

The next part of the story is where things get great. Instead of God fighting Esau on Jacob’s behalf, God gifts Jacob on Jacob’s behalf. Be mindful that when you pray for God t
o fix things in your life – that He will choose the best method to answer your prayers. In order to fix your problem He may have to fix you first!

In the final verses of Genesis 32, God wrestles with Jacob and Jacob declares, ““I will not let you go unless you bless me.” This battle was bigger than Jacob’s issue with his brother. The battle was Jacob’s issue with who people had labeled him and who he believed he was. God eventually has to break Jacob of his thinking and leave him with an impression from the battle. When it was all said and done, not only was David mentally and physically changed, he was spiritually changed as well. From that moment on Jacob was known as Israel or “God Preserves”

I’m  a Texan fan to my heart and reading the story of our current quarterback, Desaun Watson, is wonderful. But I know his story would have never been known had he not beaten his internal battles. Battles happen everyday and we must continue to fight. Deshaun’s first few moments as a NFL quarterback were shaky but I believe Desaun remembered how he has won in shaky places before and beat back his thoughts of inadequacy. He could have quit but God preserves.

Your first win must come from within.