Even though I was only fifteen, going to church for me meant a lot more than the music, the preaching, the devotions, and the activities. I wanted so much to gain an understanding of what I believed and why. I had no mentors or spiritual fathers to guide me, so with a hunger that was eating at my insides and a poem that filled my mind, my spiritual journey began. It wasn’t so much the peer pressure that made me leave school as the need to not socialize and be alone that was consuming me.
Learning to navigate around the bible was instilled in me early. I learned the books of the bible, the divisions, the authors, and any basic bible knowledge I could retain. My mother taught me the importance of prayer and that it was those private times with God that were more important than the information I was trying to ingest.
I haven’t spoken much about my spiritual encounters that I guess began as early as when I was 8 years old. I would have strange dreams of the future and see ghostly figures come to my room at night. It was not the normal nightmares of children because with most of these I was fully awake. They didn’t frighten me just disturbed me. For the next few years I got used to nightly visitors to my room. But by the time I was twelve, they suddenly stopped. Now before you think I am crazy, let me interject that my childhood development sat the stage for my later spiritual maturity.
This is Part 4 of a series. Part 1 can be found at –
Or you can move on to Part 5 at
I was raised in church, the older of two sons my parents had at the time. My dad, Bishop Milledge Golphin, now deceased, was a memorial preacher in Baltimore and was known as “the preacher’s preacher.” My mother, also deceased, sang in the choir and played the piano. My brother, Gregory and I were raised singing duets in the church. So it was not that unusual that I gravitated toward ministry early. What was unusual was how my childhood developed. My parents separated over “church experiences.”
You see in those days, my dad founded a Baptist church in 1947, having migrated from South Carolina with only a sixth grade education. He taught himself to read studying the bible and following a reader as he preached. His personal insights in the scripture were legendary. We grew up on the Westside of Baltimore and somehow, my mother and a few of her friends at my dad’s church, were attracted to an “Apostolic Church” in south Baltimore. They received the “Holy Ghost” and came back speaking in tongues in my dad’s conservative Baptist church. I vaguely remember the church meeting that voted my mother and her friends out of my dad’s church, but from then on we (my brother and I) were going to the “store front apostolic church” in south Baltimore with my mother.
This is Part 2 of My Journey. If you started here, you need to read Part 1 –
Or continue on to Part 3 here:
I discern that at some point, we have to stop going outside the present Church and starting new churches. We have to step back and stop reinventing and start maintaining. Churches are not man-made but God-given, and they are God-given through an actual historical tradition of faith and order. In fact, The real Church is hidden under, a mass of social, cultural and theological debris. To rediscover this ‘one true church’,which is there in all the three traditions of the Church, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, one must bathe in scripture, prayer, and tolerance for other expressions of worship pursing toward the same goal.
We talk unity but practice division every day. The practice of Christian unity is a difficult task for the church. Many things divide Christians from other Christians—gifts, doctrine, church government, mode of baptism and so on. Whether we like it or not, divisions have occurred, and we must live with them. But we must be inspired and guided by Scripture and prayer to do better or things will only get worse. But real unity is not unity in sameness but unity in purpose and function. We must all be united in the fact that God is God; that Jesus Christ is Lord; and that the Holy Spirit is present today in the believer’s life. How that works out in every day practice is the struggle of sameness, not unity. What we believe ought to be consistent. How we practice what we believe is the question.
When Jesus came, the religious elite were fussing over what Moses really meant in the Law. Standards of holiness were redefined and people mentally, socially, and economically were in bondage. Sound familiar? Jesus solution in His day was to offer rest (Mat 11:28-30) from tradition, power positioning, and intellectual gaming and just demonstrate “love” (Jn 13:34-35) as an antidote for power shifting.
Today, this MEMORIAL DAY, we celebrate those who made the ultimate sacrifice of defending our nation as well as honor those who are today in foreign battlefields facing dangers every day.. Memorials are appropriate. They challenge us to stop, remember and give thanks. Throughout scripture, The Lord instructed His people to set up memorials and to remember His faithfulness and deliverance. He knows us well, that we are a forgetful people. Thankfulness must be cultivated. Memories of God’s faithfulness strengthen our faith and fortify our love for God. While we are memorializing this day, think of making an memorial to God marking and thanking Him for countless blessings.
When 120 people emerged from a secret prayer meeting and announced a new move of God, and converted over 3,000, it was not received with great elation. In fact, persecution, discord, and confusion of the new Faith began immediately. Although miracles were common and the Apostles were charismatic, culture, religion, and government has hindered the growth of the church. If judgment is going to begin with God’s house, then we are viewing the beginning of the end. Fallen leaders and spiritually bankrupt churches are a constant reminder that something is out of sync. Is it God not caring or the church not commanding? Revival is needed.
Jesus brings the experience of the resurrection from the realms of hope and then introduces it to the arena of faith. Many times our problems seem too difficult for us, but they are never out of range from the Holy Spirit. Jesus stated that “I am the Resurrection”. That is a powerful statement in light of hope and an even more powerful concept when we view eternity. Jesus is stating that He (Logos) is the eternal life and He has the power of the Holy Spirit. The difference between Lazarus and the believer today is that we will come back more than we were. Lazarus was restored to his previous existence. We will be resurrected a new creation.
The resurrection to us should mean three things: New Life—the body will become lifeless; but the spirit will become glorious and the soul immortal. (2) Perfect restoration of All Saints- – we will no longer be affected by the cares of this world, and (3) The Immortal Kingdom- the New Jerusalem- the place of the presence and power of God Almighty. By accepting the fact that Jesus is the resurrection, we experience the life-giving power of God within us. One hidden truth of the resurrection is to take our eyes off the event and focus our attention on the one who gave it.
The power of the resurrection lies in who gets the glory. If we take credit for our success in life, we miss the mark. The principle is to give it all to Jesus. The hope of the resurrection is in what we expect. Our expectations should be to fulfill our purpose and calling. The joy of the resurrection is to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. Another truth is really knowing your own personal identity in Jesus Christ. Paul expressed that he was “crucified with Christ,” but his identity was not replaced, he lived. We have to realize that resurrection power lies within your inner man. The power to accept the counsel of the Holy Spirit without doubting.
Remember, Jesus made the resurrection personal. Having faith for the present battles prepares us for our ultimate victory in glory. The truth of resurrection power is not to believe in a death experience only. It is the ability to take on God’s abundant life in our flesh today. The need to express confidence in who you are will telegraph a message to your enemy that you are indestructible. Go ahead; boast to the enemy. We must also learn to demonstrate a power praise. Praise that has the authority and the ability to get the job done and overtake our enemies.
I am convinced that the greatest singular act of personal worship that you can render the Lord is to have a thankful heart. I believe that the Lord desires you and I to worship Him with the fruit of our lips as we receive blessing after blessing. When we are thankful, it ultimately crucifies self-interest and motivations. Being thankful helps one recognize God for who He really is, as the source of everything, and not just because we receive. Thanksgiving is always able in the midst of difficult circumstances, to praise the Lord. To focus beyond the pain to the plan of God for now. If you are a thankless person, you have missed the point because the whole of our Christian life is to finally come to the place of thanksgiving and praise continually.
The greatest teaching of Jesus was not to show who was politically or religiously accurate, but to show love in spite of social conflict. To show love where even unity can’t be glued; to express love even in hostile environments in the home, society, and even in the church