Saturday, June 25, 2016

Relationship w/Accountability

Luke 15:11-32
A father has two sons but one son, for whatever the reason decided he no longer wanted to be in fellowship with his family. But he did want the benefits of a fellowship. He wanted the financial 
resources that would only come to him because he was his father's son. But he did not want the relationship with his family. 

Often times, family members decide that they want to live independent of us because they don't want to have to come to terms with their decisions. The scripture says train up a child in the way that they should go. The sad thing is if we look at some people who identified themselves as Christian, it becomes more and more noticeable that there is no desire in them to be in relationship with Jesus, with the Father, or with the Holy Ghost. They want what they feel should come to them as a result of saying they're Christians. 

Sometimes we have desires we want God to fulfill, even if we are living in rebellion to the word of God. When the desires manifest we'll say it's the blessing of God when it's the grace working in your life. Why grace and not blessing? God doesn't bless rebellion. It's the grace of God that's keeps all of us from being struck down, or receiving the judgment of God when we are operating in open rebellion. 

So the son comes back home, and the family is restored because of the action of the father not necessarily because the action of the son. The restoration of the relationship was based on the actions of the father. God is the type of father who always is at a place where He wants the family to be restored. Grace has been so bountiful yet those who advertised themselves as Christians have abused it.

Commit yourself to the word of God. Intercede for those you know who are living a contrary life. Actually talk to them and urged them to live righteously before the Lord. It's just reasonable service that can result in a restored family. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Protection for New & Weak Converts part 2

Protection for New & Weak Converts part 2
Rev. Dr. Cecelia GreeneBarr

Education is vital for every convert, especially those who are new to the faith in Jesus Christ and those who are not yet strong believers.

When you become a citizen in the Kingdom of God, there’s a lot of things that you have to learn. Kingdom citizenship and church membership are not the same thing. You can join the church, in fact any denomination, and never learn anything about the Kingdom. Even when you join the church there are things you need to learn about that particular local church and denomination. Effort and intention will have to be exercised to learn the order of the house and the principles by which the members are expected to serve. Yet, in every local assembly there are new members who never take the time, or put forth the intention to learn about the congregation they have joined. But in the Kingdom of God, there is a lot to learn. One of the things you have to learn in the Kingdom is what to do with your faith. Another thing you have to learn in the Kingdom of God is how to protect your faith. And in the Kingdom of God you really need to learn how to grow your faith. You have to learn these lessons because we do not know them by instinct. We do not know them by hearsay. These are lessons that must be discerned, learned and applied by faith.

Keep learning because simply existing is not enough. Spend time each day learning how your faith can become a factor of change in the most exciting and positive ways. What will you do with your faith?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Protection For New and Weak Converts

Protection For New and Weak Converts - part 1
Dr. Cecelia GreeneBarr 
Luke 17:1-2

This lesson is directed towards those who have found themselves being tempted to sin by other believers. Feel inspired to share with a friend, new convert or anyone else under pressure to temptation so that they will know that God is looking out on their behalf. Enjoy the lesson and more will be shared soon. 

King James reads, "It is impossible but that offenses will come” but when you read that scripture in the Amplified Bible it says temptation instead of offenses. What the Message Bible is trying to get across is that it is impossible to live in this life without some kind of temptations coming into your life. All people will be subjected to temptations, and specifically temptation to sin. In verse 2, Luke records Jesus as saying, “It were better for him that a millstone were hung around about his neck and he cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones”. Here again we see another insight to the message when looking at the Amplified Bible. Instead of the word offend, the word is "cause to sin", so the lesson that is being communicated here is that in life, temptation will be presented to every one in some way, shape, or form. However, the warning here in verse 2 is that believers should not cause offense. Believers should not cause someone to sin.  In a culture where individuals are now so easily offended, someone might mistakenly think that their tendency to become offended over any little matter, is the believers responsibility. Not so! There is a difference between having your feelings hurt and being caused to sin. Here is the warning for those who cause people, especially new converts or weak in their faith to sin. He is saying, you, the tempter, the stumbling block, will have to pay the cost and not from the people but from God. Unfortunately, when some people accept the truth of Jesus' gift of salvation, they are immediately exposed to spiritual sabotage.  They are exposed to temptation. If you have caused someone who is new in the faith to sin, if you caused or tempt someone who is weak in their faith to sin. God issues a warning. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

It’s Saturday morning and I’ve had a very fruitful campaign week but now I’m ready to return home. I stop at the breakfast bar for coffee after my morning workout. The area is full of black women in orange tee shirts. They are eating together and fully engaged in conversation. They seem like happy people. I know they are church folks, but as I glance upon the table closest to me I hear the Holy Spirit say one word; “CAUTION”. 

Caution is how we are instructed to proceed when we are driving in a work zone or going around a dangerous curve. Caution is how we are instructed to proceed when danger is not noticeable with the natural eye. Caution is symbolized by tall orange barrels along roads. You can proceed if you want to, but you are not safe if you do, at least if you don’t move with an awareness that danger of some sort is present but not seen.

Well, by this time the women are looking at me a little and I can see they want to talk so I decide to make a move. I thought it was an innocent move, but I could hear the Holy Spirit say, “CAUTION”. Those reading this who have that kind of relationship with the Holy Spirit that you are able to actually hear the Lord speak, know exactly what I’m talking about. You also know exactly how valuable spiritual discernment really is for living in the “now” of God. 

Back to the experience. I asked one of the women, “Good Morning, may I read your shirt”? She smiled, held up the top portion so I could read it and then here presents the DANGER. I was only two words into the reading the shirt when another woman, for whom I was not talking, just begins to quote scripture to me about going to church. “The bible says, the bible says, the bible says etc…” Then with an angry aggressive tone she asked me if I knew Jesus Christ. I said yes. Well, maybe I didn’t look saved enough to her since I had on exercise clothes but she continued to tell me that the bible says we need to be saved. I told her again; “I know”. Listen, this was an awkward situation and I was becoming annoyed. I wasn’t even talking to this woman and all I wanted to do was read the other lady’s shirt. The bible verses kept flowing as if some kind of spiritual stones. I finally said to the lady, “I know the Lord Jesus, I know the word, I go to church in fact I am a pastor.” That’s where Danger went off the charts. 

Danger, and the other women who clearly belonged to the same sisterhood, all began to shake their heads rapidly, bulge their eyes, huff and throw more scripture at me. “Didn’t you read in the bible that a woman should not have authority over a man”. “I thought you said you read the bible.” This crew was pouncing on me like some hungry pit bulls who had been tied to a short leach and now had someone to sink their fangs into. Amazingly I remained calm, unflappable and here is the truth. As I stood there with these “experienced Christian witnesses” pouncing on me, I looked at them and thought to myself; “I sure hope the believers I teach don’t attack people like this, all in the name of the Lord.” When they exhausted themselves and finally came up for air, I took that pause moment and said in my clearly articulate Southern accent; “Ya’ll have a good day”. 

I moved to the fresh fruit section of the breakfast bar to get something and as I stretched my hand to grab my fruit, I was again pounced upon by one of the women from the table. I guess she decided to use a softer pounce to deliverer me from error because the next thing I know she is in my right ear saying; “That’s right ma’am, God doesn’t call women to pastor”. I thought to myself, “Lord, you told me CAUTION but wow, some people will hound you with error. I didn’t bother to respond with words. I simply smiled and walked away. If you don’t know this about me, I try not to argue with irrational people. Besides, my grandmother told me that if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.  I was done with these folks, or so I thought. Keep reading because this is where I saw the purposes of God in the midst of this danger.

Over an hour had passed and it was time for me to depart. I went to the lobby to wait for my driver and to my dismay there were still more of the orange shirt women in the breakfast area. I’d had enough of their version of evangelism so I decided to avoid ALL of them and sat in the far side of the lobby to wait. It would only be 5 minutes; I should be safe from their madness. Well, my driver was uncharacteristically late and slowly there were three of these orange shirt women who had come all the way over there where I was sitting. Hum…all these chairs and couches and you’ll have to come and sit on the couch with me? Lord Jesus! Well, I decided to sit quietly and keep my eyes on my watch, as if that would hasten my driver’s arrival. I would have gone outside to wait had it not been hot and humid. 

One of the women noticed me eating my breakfast bowl and asked; “What is that? It looks like it might be healthy”. I smiled and responded; “It’s my breakfast and it is healthy”. You and I both know that question was nothing more than an opener for her to ask me if I knew the Lord. Yes, I know the Lord. Yes, I’m saved. Yes, I’ve heard of your denomination. No, I can’t attend one of your churches in my home area. I work on Sundays. Yes, I work every single Sunday. Yes, I know that God has given me life. Yes, I know I should serve Him. Come on…tell me where you work. No. Why not? I’ve already been attacked once this morning by members of your group when I told them where I worked, so that enough for me today. No, somebody attacked you today. Yes, one of your people…aren’t you with the orange shirt women? Yes, but God tells us to be kind to people. It doesn’t matter what you are bound by, Jesus can fix it. Yes, I know he can. 

Now all of them sitting near me are thinking that I work in sin. I’m thinking this situation is ridiculous and where is my driver. One of the other ladies ask me if I was leaving. Yes, I’m flying home in an hour and I’ll be back at work in the morning. Then she shares how she is afraid to fly. She further shares that her son has moved to the west coast and really wants her to come and spend time with the grandchildren, but she will not go because she is afraid to fly. As I’m listening, I hear God tell me to minister to her and get her free from the spirit of fear. How exactly am I going to do that and not reveal the anointing? Crazy, but yes, I was trying to keep the anointing under wraps. I walk too closely to the Lord to withhold deliverance when God wants to set someone free. This was going to be a challenge.

I looked outside and saw a car pull up and I was sure it was my driver. Alright then! I can minister deliverance to her, expose the anointing and walk right out of here and get in the car before they have time to attack me for being a pastor. God had given me a way of “escape”. I went in straight, no chaser (as my members always describe my ministry style) and said to her; “Woman of God, how are you going to let a spirit from God’s enemy keep you bound and disconnected from your family?” All of them stopped talking and listened and I ministered to this lady. When I finished I asked if I could pray for her and she quickly agreed. I prayed, the power of God manifested, we rejoiced, I picked up my purse and said my goodbyes. The woman who had started the “evangelism of my soul” was now on the edge of her seat and insisted I tell her what type of work I do. As I rolled my luggage to the door I stopped, looked at her and said; I AM a pastor, now ya’ll have a good day. She almost jumped out of her seat and said; I knew it when you prayed!!! You have a strong anointing! What kind of church do you pastor? I pastor an AME church in Michigan. Here it is…the reason why you’ve stayed in my testimony until the end… She announces to me, I USE TO BE AME! 

Well, there you have it, another USE TO BE AME. She didn’t want me to leave because she was now facing a collision between her spiritual heritage and her current denominational affiliation. She didn’t think there was spiritual power in the church of her spiritual origin. Now, as a woman she is bond by a mindset that God doesn’t use women to lead. I said my goodbyes and left her with her new spiritual reality that God is indeed moving amongst the believers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

There is so much discussion about that congregation of I USE TO BE AME and why people are leaving our denomination. For those who thirst after the manifested presence of the Holy Spirit, they leave because they are yearning the power of God. My assignment amongst this group of women who had traveled to that city to evangelize, was perhaps meant to shake a crumpling foundation held in place against 50% of the human equation; women.  God said, “CAUTION”. It was in fact dangerous and uncomfortable to experience their version of “Attack Evangelism”. But I learned another lesson on how to instruct those for whom I teach and mentor in the things of God. Don’t lead people to Christ in such a way that upon your approach the Holy Spirit has to say to your prospect; CAUTION. 

Blessings to you and I trust you were inspired by my testimony.

Rev. Dr. Cecelia GreeneBarr


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Biblical Preaching in 2015

What I've liked best about church is the preaching. I really like hearing the heart of God and a well developed sermon brings it into view like nothing else. The challenge I see is the vocal presentations that come from behind lecturns and are labeled "sermons" or "preaching" yet there is a vital component missing. Generally, the missing component in these vocal presentations is biblical principals and what is more frightening is the absence or mispresentation of the man who paid for the Kingdom with his life; Jesus, the Christ. 

Maybe it is sensitivity to the current state of events, but political preaching has become the flavor of our times and too many itching ears are making it's orators very popular. Early in my spiritual development I prayed for the supernatural gift of discerning of spirits to be active in my life. Now, I sense the need to pray earnestly for believers to have this supernatural gift in operation in their lives so that they are better able to distinguish between emotional hype, mental domination, spiritual and financial exploitation and authentic biblical preaching. 

To guard my own preaching I've turned to my home library that has been amassed since my training years at Princeton, and I've picked up Haddon W. Robinson's book; Biblical Preaching: The Development of Delivery of Expository Messages to read again. The first point of chapter one is bearing witness to my soul as he makes the case for the devaluation of preaching. As a tech savvy "Spiritual Engineer" who spends a respectable amount of time using social streams of communication, I whole-heartedly agree with his point that "...Preaching takes place in an over-communicated society" (p18).

Call a phone and the answering machine message is a 30 second "spiritual nugget". Read a social media post and what you get is a mini "sermon" largely by people who play with bibilical truths. Over communication in society means that the time it takes to do a good expository sermon is barely tolerated when others offer Sonic type services in which you really don't need to leave your car for the short 55 minutes that you will be in the building. 

It takes personal discipline to hold fast to a method that seems less popular when the quickie, sensational alternatives have the ability to draw large crowds. I remember once when I was curious about a mega church. I wondered what type of messages built mega crowds, so I found the opportunity to attend a worship service in which the co-preacher of the mega church was the featured speaker. For about 20 minutes I watched as a lot of vocal messages were expressed but not one solid biblical nail to hang a theological hat. Yet, the socially depressed, financially strapped crowd were brought to their feet with excitement. I marveled as I observed what was happening before my eyes and I thought to myself; "Now that is the kind of preaching that builds mega crowds, or at least their mega crowd". 

There was something else I said to myself: "I'm not going to do that to the gospel of Jesus Christ, crowd or no crowd." So, here I am encouraging myself in the discipline that I believe holds me true to the message of the cross; expository preaching. I must admit, I don't do it fast. Recently I was invited to minister to a gathering of preachers and laity. I stood and worked the work that God had sent me to do and afterwards I was told my someone I highly respect; "You preach too long". I had no reply because I was on my feet a long time. I ministered in word and spirit and yes it took a long time. With an increasingly biblically illiterate crowd who are suffering from over-communication of spiritual misdirection, is there any way to do expository preaching and spiritual demonstration all within 27 minutes? Maybe, but I haven't been able to master that time frame as of yet. 

Right now I'm retuning my tool of expository preaching. It may not be the method of popularity in this culture, but it certainly serves the Kingdom of God to bring about spiritual maturity and less itching ears. I still believe there is power in preaching and that the name of Jesus must be called in his church. 
Expository preaching is the best tool I've been able to use that makes the gospel plain and clear. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015


This morning I awoke to the shocking news from Charleston, SC as so many others. To say our hearts are heavy is an understatement. To say that humanity across the world are now praying for the family of the slain is expected. Looking at the news reports I saw the question that is always asked during traumatic events "Why God?".

Each Thursday morning at 7:30AM I host a prayer call with the official board of Smith Chapel AME Church and today as we prayed, one of our leaders made a statement that is true. She said that this shooting feels like a violation against and an attack on our church. Unlike many other congregations, we are CONNECTIONAL, even when we think the connection isn't as vital as it was decades ago. What happens in one part of the connection really touches the fiber of AMEs throughout world.

We are in shock now because of this heinous demonic assault against people of faith who had gathered in the presence of God, on their own property, behind their own doors. A city, a congregation, several families, and the entire denomination has suffered a trauma like unto the bombing in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963.

While we yet mourn, pray, comfort and seek justice there is one thing I hear very clearly from The Lord at this precise moment. PRAY AGAINST PARALYZATION! I implore those who are praying over this situation to pray strategically that the spirits of terror, murder, rage, hate, apathy, grief and mourning be dismantled as they seek to move against the denomination in an effort to create a paralyzed body.

Sisters & brothers, The Lord says to gird yourselves against the fiery accusastions against the protection, love and compassion of our Lord. Gird your hearts right now against the paralyzing thoughts that come against true believers in Jesus Christ. Trauma can paralyze...gird yourselves against this wile of our spiritual enemy. This demonic assault, executed by human forces yet to be exposed, is meant to paralyze. Govern your prayers accordingly.
This is the word of the Lord...
It is so...and so it IS!

Dr. GreeneBarr

Sunday, June 14, 2015

WATCHMAN ALARM: Open vision - off shore prison camps

What I'm sharing in this blog came to me in an open vision from the Lord, tonight, June 14, 2015, on my weekly prayer call. I do not know how many spirit-filled, Christ centered people read the material that I make available, but right now I can't concern myself with those details.

We had been praying about 32 minutes. At this time I was entering into the closing prayer when I began to have an unction to pray beyond the normal parameters of our weekly agenda. Earlier in the week the Lord prompted me to pray for black men to "gird up their loins" in reference to the Ephesians passage of God's armor. I began praying this when I saw black men being moved to prisons off shore in other continents. Before my eyes I suddently saw prisons currently under construction. The first prison was surrounded by what looked like redish-brown sand. There was nothing else in close proxcimity to this prison. The spirit of the Lord then told me that contracts are being negotiated to have United States prisoners moved off shore into prisons that are being built to house black men. 

If you are reading this and care anything about humanity in general and black people in particular I appeal to you right now to not turn aside in silence. Awaken every intercessor to this national threat. Satan and demons operate in darkness. Pray for the complete and international exposure of this strategic move against humanity. The strongman is the spirit of slavery. 

Because racism is so strong in America, the segment of believers who could "blow the whistle" on this are less than passionate about the collective African American community, we need God to intervene. 
Sunday, June 14, 2105
Arise watchman! Sound the alarm.