Then he said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Today I’m reflecting on following. What it means to follow, what it means to lead, what it means to be led. Because there is a differentiation between following and being led, right?
Today I copied and pasted a link to my Instagram on my Facebook page and I wrote “follow me.” In 2019 this act is nothing major to Millennials. This is the age of oversharing, overshowing, overknowing. But as a recently fully restored Christian I have never been keen to full transparency. I performed my sin in the dark and was adamant about keeping my multiple personas distinct from each other. My work and school persona was separate from my social/hood persona of which I definitely kept hidden from my church and Christ life persona.
My instagram was for my most explicit club pictures and immoral dealings (nothing crazy, maybe I posted a pic eyes bloodshot red high from smoking weed)
My Linkedin was for my professional business persona, academic accolades, Michelle Obama-ness
And good ole’ reliable FB – the catch all for Friends and family and “chuuuch.” Kept everything clean and PG on there because my grandparents are watching and my ultimate goal in life is to make each of them proud.
It goes without saying but all of these pages were super duper private, google unsearchable private.
Toward the end of 2018, I began to really let God live in his temple. I used to give God a dresser drawer for some overnight clothes but little by little, I let him keep a toothbrush in my place, next some closet space for some of the robes he likes to wear. Sigh, God in his perfection has always had better design aesthetic than me so I let him give my soul an interior make over. Double sigh, I got tired of shacking up so I decided to marry him and so here we are.
I am his and he is mine.
Like any significant other in a committed relationship God wanted me to show him off on my social media. Social mmmmmeeeedddiiiiaaa (Soulja Boy voice)
So I had to clean up these online identities. Facebook wasn’t no big thing because the presence of God that lived through my grandparents previously condemned me from promoting sin. My Linkedin is a stale snail, that wasn’t no thing, but my instagram! My instaglam! My #thickthighsavelives #thirsttrap #trapqueengreen! Eeek, that page needed a Thessalonia Wednesday Night Praise and Deliverance service! Lmbo! Seriously though. I’m emphasizing the full intensity of making my instagram page public, giving it to God as a platform for witnessing and then additionally sharing my instagram on facebook for the facebook jury. Big deal, y’all big deal.
God said acknowledge me in all things not some things.
Directly and indirectly many people have questioned me about creating sharlenegreen.net There have been a range of mixed reactions as equally diverse to the historical reaction to Christ.
My favorite critique is “Who does she think she is?” In anticipation of such exclamations of audacity I have coined the namesake of my network, “Who is Sharlene Green?” Lol. That stung somebody.
And with each blog post, poem, video, op-ed, you will seek and find the answer you desire.
What is my inspiration to such a narrow and bold declaration of Christ?
Isn’t that the whole purpose of our faith? Do we not crawl, so we may walk, so we may stand and not grow faint? So we may mount up with wings, like that eagle that soar? Aren’t we not each called to declare and witness and minister the word of Jesus Christ? Then why you and why not me? Am I not allowed to love God as deeply as you? Or care about the souls of men as deeply as you? What’s up with you and your Cain spirit? Are you secretly afraid that God will favor the purity of my burnt offering more than you? hhmm?
Be careful, I wouldn’t want you to burn your foot in your attempts to snuff out my flames.
Peter and Andrew were fisherman. They met Jesus along the Jordan river in the fall of AD 26. Pause. They met Jesus when Jesus was 26. What were you doing at 26?
Back to Peter and Andrew, with their partners James and John they followed Jesus throughout Galilee for several months. In the summer of AD 27 (a year later) they were in Capernaum and they returned to fishing, Jesus decided to do another tour of Gaililee so he called Peter and Andrew then James and John to follow him.
Matthew 4:19 And he said unto them, follow me and I will make you fishers of men
Back to 2019, follow me.
I can’t speak on behalf of non-millennials but rather we millennials admit it or not each of us millennials are concerned with our social presence and more particularly our social media presence.
Men in romantic pursuit of me have actually asked me, “how many followers do you have?”
How many Followers do I have!
Seriously, not asked for my phone number, not asked, “do you have a man?” but these Millennial age men have literally asked, “how many followers do you have?” Shocked then but with a little articulation, they were actually asking me, “what is your impact?” And I presume only people with an impact are equally concerned about my impact and so they inquired, “How many people know you?” “How many people know and are attracted to what they know of you?” “How well do you know and manage the identity that people have of you?”
Well played, my brothers, well played.
A private person I have never been concerned with who followed me. I am only concerned about whose leading me, Jesus Christ. In a concerted effort to change my trajectory, I began studying my word like never before and in studying I received regular, fresh interpretation. With my own store house being completely full I had more than enough to share my overflow and so I did. Thus sharlenegreen.net was created.
But this page is about more than sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I move forward in my career I wanted to experiment with boldness. I wanted my identity to be completely consumed in Christ. I wanted potential employers to readily accept or reject me because of my alignment with Christ. I can do this with confidence because I have 1000% trust in God’s ability to bless me for my bravado.
Sharlenegreen.net is my Solomon’s temple. It is my church, my burnt offering, my creation to God, where I showcase his infinite glory, indicated with infinite expression, infinite decorations, a curtain there, a new leather couch there. People ask, why do you do this? I say, “why not do this?” “Why not serve God? Why not make him proud?” Why wait to transcribe our memoir? This perilous and romantic walk together? Why not?
This website in its pure creation and pure maintenance is my after death insurance policy. God will never tell me I knew you not. In his right hand is the book of life in his left hand will be my memoir.
God will say give an account of your life and I will respond, from which volume would you like to begin?
We each will be judged for the talents we were given and the work we were instructed to do. My talents will not be buried instead my givens will be doubled and reapportioned according to the measurement of my faith.
People have asked me what’s your end game do you want to minister? Of which I am hereby answer, the end game?!
I bbbbeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnn, in the game.
Call me the water boy.
Fresh water in the game.
I am beyond the place of taking my cross and go. My back is bruised with the heavy weight of this ministry, I have taken my cross and gone.
Seriously, no I don’t want to be a pastor.
No I don’t want to minister in church.
Nor sit on a pulpit.
I don’t even enjoy public praying.
I’m not here too play games with yall. More importantly, I’m not bout to play myself before God on Judgement Day. God gave me a job to do and I am going to do it and only it.
I have to be accountable to my work lest I be judged for my rebellion.
This site here is more than enough work for me. Many people will never step foot in a church but they will secretly visit this page, they will continue to secretly contact me and I will continue to retain their confidence. Secretly and earnestly praying for them.
What is Spiritual Purity? How do we access spiritual purity? How do we maintain spiritual purity? Seek and find..
Yesterday I spoke about being your brother’s keeper, about loving one another about being strong enough in God to love your enemies.
Today I’m doing an 180. Today I’m talking about rejection. Whew, that’s a painful feeling right? Arguably the worst, being rejected. But what about when you’re the one that has to do the rejecting? That has to tell a great guy, I’m so sorry but I’m just not interested.
Let’s talk about rejection. Yes, rejection. Herein Paul writes 1 out of 3 of the epistle letters where he would dictate how the church should be led. Titus had the painstaking task of establishing Crete, a notoriously sinful island well-known for idolatry and false teaching. God calls Titus there to replace the corrupt teachers with obedient leaders.
Pause – have you ever experienced church hurt from the byproducts of a corrupt church teacher. Sigh. Though it hurt so deeply, if you could trust the lesson you can receive the blessing! Thank God who restores and uses both good and evil to teach good.
Moving on, Titus had this giant task of telling people what to do. Nobody wants to be the one to tell people what to do. Has your parent ever given you an order to relay to your siblings and you ran through the house with a big puff of prideful air before reciting with inherited authority, “Mama said… do the dishes, daddy said… clean the house… mama said you gotta take me with you”
Felt good right?
But what about the assignments that don’t feel so good?
What about the big stuff? What about when God says, leave your boyfriend and serve me. Quit your job and return to church on Sunday mornings. Isaiah, GO counsel King Ahaz, Jesus take your cross and go. I mean it gets real right?
So back to Paul and Titus. The people in Crete are wilding. Crete is the 4th largest island in the Mediterranean. Islands in themselves are unique because they’re surrounded by water. Less easily amendable to surrounding influence. Crete had sunken to moral deprivation – the people were gluttonous, lazy, dishonest. When I think of Crete I imagine this luscious mediterranean city where everyone is partying, they are an attractive people eating olive oil and sea food, doing whatever they want to whomever they want. The gospel which is infectious at this time has spread like wildfire through Greece, Rome, Middle East, Asia Minor has sizzled off around Crete because Crete was Blocked off from everybody.
It’s funny how sin operates in darkness, right? Very rarely do people misbehave in the light because where there is light there is truth and where there is truth, there is chastisement.
What good is salt that has lost its flavor?
was tryna be discrete
had lost its flavor.
And without Titus
Crete nearly lost God’s favor
So as the shepherd always goes for its one tiny sheep, Paul and his VP Titus emboldened with his “brother’s keeper” spirit goes after Crete to bring the people back to Christ.
Paul and Titus convert the island and Paul leaves Titus with the work of establishing the church and of the teaching the leaders how to be God led and not self led. Titus would later become the first bishop of Crete and spend the rest of his life in Crete to be buried there.
On the island of Crete where island natives and Jews reside. Paul refers to their spirit leaders as rebellious empty talkers – obsessed with the Old Testament law such as Leviticus unclean foods and circumcision and less about cleaning the souls and circumcising outdated Jewish elitism that begets hate.
I wanna pause for a moment because I want y’all to grasp context. You had native islanders following nobody’s law and you had the old school Jewish clergy – rejecting the New Testament to hold on to an expired law. I can only imagine the level of drama occurring before Paul came. These were island people surround by lobster, crab, shrimp, crawfish but the Jews under the Leviticus authority were refusing to consume the delicious foods readily available to them. Likewise, I could only imagine the wild boars running freely around the island the native islanders were eating bacon wrapped shrimp provoking the Jews were to a moral war with the islanders for cultural control. Absolute pettiness with no attention to Christ.
Old things have passed away and Jesus did away with burnt offerings, priest hierarchy, expired rituals and empty routine.
Here we see the alpha and omega at work. The same way God used Saul turned Paul to teach unconditional love, God is using former gentile Titus, converted by Paul STILL uncircumcised to teach about Gods New Testament to Christians.
God will take a fresh new convert and use he/she to minister to stale souls and he does just that at Crete.
So first Paul is with Titus. You ever been in a place in your life where you were comfortable then suddenly, wwwhhooppp, you’re pushed out the bird nest, flapping desperately, sweating, bending your young wings as frantically as you can, trying to catch your rhythm in this thing called life?
That’s how Titus feels when Paul leaves him alone on Crete to complete his work.
Has God ever left you alone to finish your work?
Has God ever isolated you from your friends, from your family, from your hobbies so you could complete your work?
I’m sure these natives and the Jews got on Titus’ last nerve.
“We don’t do it that way.”
“This our island.”
“Who mans is this?”
“You too young.”
“You don’t know God’s word well enough.”
I’m sure they picked and picked and chiseled at his patience but Titus’ persisted in Christ love intent on being his brother’s keeper. Titus made a committed decision to yet love who he didn’t like then finally aaahhhh! Paul’s letter arrives!
How exciting must that have been for him! Have you ever tarried and fasted and praised and mourned with sackcloth and waited and waiting and prayed so hard like Hannah crying out for a child that the church folk thought you were drunk?!
Well, I’m confident God’s voice through Paul’s letter filled him with the mighty strength to complete his life’s work!
Two lessons are happening simultaneously:
A. Titus, has rejected his former life of sin
B. Paul is giving us the church via Titus a lesson on rejecting unproductive fruits.
Whoo, the spirit of God just sat on my chest like fire, LETS GO!
3 part teaching: The book of Titus is only 3 short chapters so this lesson on purity is divided per the 3 chapters in the following sections:
1. Titus 1:15, spiritual purity
2. Titus 2:11-12 How to access spiritual purity
3. Titus 3:10-11 How to preserve spiritual purity
The beautiful thing about this same forever: yesterday, today, tomorrow God is that God doesn’t deliver any new lessons in the New Testament.
God simply teaches us how to understand his original lessons more comprehensively. How to seek and find him more purely.
Part 1 Titus 1:15 Spiritual purity
“To the pure all things are pure but to those who are defined and unbelieving nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience are defined.”
God explains why evil must be rejected. Because evil contaminates goodness and it ultra consumes.
This is why two should be equally yoked because when two aren’t bonded in purpose – they don’t agree and what they produce is a hybrid mutation.
Mutation = change. Both entities combining and dividing are neither all good nor all bad.
They are what Jesus hates – lukewarm bystanders of time that fought on neither side of the war but sat idly while the laborers prepared the harvest only to later cry for undeserving mercy when the locust swarm the villages.
Reproduce, reproduce, reproduce, reproduce.
You are commanded and created to produce edible fruit – if you prosper nothing then you are worth no thing.
Titus 1:15, Paul opens up with this “to the pure all things are pure but to those who are defined and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.
Oh my heart hurts so bad. Oh my tears are so hot and mournful. Paul is preparing Titus to accept, my friend you won’t save everyone because everyone won’t believe. As a reminder, today’s title is rejection.
I’m moving slow today but this is not a message for the faint. If you’re still here, let’s journey on with cramped legs to God.
Part 2 How to access spiritual purity Titus 2:11-12
Boy oh boy, the fire is great this morning.
Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age.”
Saints that’s a lot right, I had to sit on this like a male penguin on his eggs. (Because the female lays the egg but the male penguins thereafter sits on them day and night keeping them warm in the icy Antarctica until they are ready to be hatched). Likewise, I had to sit, squat, plop, stay over this word and meditate over and over until it developed and matured successfully to produce birth.
One more read, “For the grace of God, GRACE, that brings salvation, SALVATION, has appeared to joy some but ALL men. Teaching us that denying, DENYING, DENYING, DENYING ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present PRESENT age, not future (when I feel like it age) PRESENT age.
GRACE, SALVATION, ALL, DENYING, PRESENT – that’s is how you will access your spiritual purity.
Some of you came off Crete but decided to swim back to shore. For those that are still with me, put your scuba equipment on because we’re yet go deeper in the word this morning. Ready, set, dive!
Grace – This is God’s patience with us. This is his, “aight Noah build the boat.” This is his overwhelming complex incomprehensible love that the flaming rotating rings covered with eyes represent (Ezekiel 10:17).
Paul was passing on to his understudy, “my grace is sufficient for you,” level mentoring.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Acknowledgement of God’s love rich with mercy is what ultimately saves us. When we become overwhelmed by the manifestation that God loves us no matter how many times we cheat on him, it is there the bride (church/you) marries the groom (Jesus).
The beautiful thing about Christ is that it is a life long proposal. We have until our dying breath to say yes or else like the wedding will parable Jesus come and we will have no lamp oil meaning Christ will come and respond depart from me for you knew me not. All not some are saved via grace so Titus doesn’t have to grieve the lost. Non-believers voluntarily choose not to partake in Christ.
Titus 2:12 “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age.”
The same yesterday, today forever God is preserving Titus in the replicate matter he preserved Job via trials and tribulations. I will conduct a separate seminar on T&T later but herein understands God allows us to tempt so we gain practice with denying evil ungodliness. Large muscles aren’t built in one gym session. Correspondingly, to slay powerful demons we must first slay feeble ones.
Have you ever felt like God left you in a storm?
I’m sure Titus felt abandoned with Paul left him with those crazy evil people on an island, an iiissslllaaaaannnddd!
Whoo, atleast Jonah was able to run off to Tarshish! My man Titus couldn’t go no where! He had to stay and fight! Have You ever been in a place in your life where you had no possible way to run from your problems? You had to stand and fight?! That’s where Titus is when Paul writes him. Titus has accessed spiritual purity and now Paul teaches him how to preserve his spiritual purity:
Part 3 How to Maintain Spiritual Purity
Titus 3:10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition. Knowing that such a person is warped and sinning being self-condemned.
Whoa, Paul declares to reject a divisive man. Meaning reject a person with a double mind whom God declares is unstable in all his ways. Meaning reject a person who has not yet decided will they serve two masters when asked of Elijah. Meaning reject a person that works iniquity – seeking to divide and conquer to kill, steal and destroy.
Paul says to reject this divisive man. Take note not to contradict the scriptures he never said not to forgive nor cease love but he did say to reject and he specifically notes such man should be rejected after the first and second admonishment.
Admonishment is a big word. Let’s look it up together:
Forgiveness is written as a sub clause because you admonish then reject then give a second chance admonish then reject for real.
Paul said fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame. On. YOU.
Then Paul continues: knowing that such a person is warped and self-condemned.
Oh my God. Knowing that such a person is warped. God commands us not to judge but he does command us to discern.
So to be clear he’s not calling us to reject our enemies using pastoral power corruptly to distribute blessings with nepotism.
Paul said knowing that such a person is warped and self-condemned. Though we have the power to reject when absolute necessary we are held accountable to God in our knowing. Innately you know if someone is striving or downright wicked/warp with the intention of warping others. He concludes in that verse to say such a person is self-condemned.
There is a classification of wickedness so destitute that it requires the complete utter stripping of your ability to fathom a minuscule scenario where Jesus Christ could ever forgive and love you nonetheless for your witchcraft. I come to rebuke the lies satan taught you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to break demonic chains in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to cry for healing and restoration in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to declare that yes, you God loves even you. When Isaiah warns the destruction of Israel he yet leaves an escape clause. God does not want to kill you. If you don’t choose him, yes you will choose your hell but this is not his desire. God wants to not only give you life but give you life but life more abundantly. Isaiah tells the people though you’ve been wicked and your murders have been as crimson, yet your sins I will yet clean white as snow. That mercy applies specifically to you. Maybe your parents didn’t love you or your spouse betrayed you or your boss fired you but God is rich in mercy and your ability to believe in his phenomenal unexplainable love will set you free from condemnation.
I use to have a teacher who’d say, I don’t fail people. People fail themselves. Likewise Paul is teaching Titus the same. Don’t lose sleep over people who choose not to believe. You don’t sentence anyone for eternity, they sentence themselves.
Heard, Saul-Paul, heard.
Bishops, pastor, ministers, leaders care about the church like no other. If you’re still reading, you in some capacity probably care about souls being saved like no other. That care brings investment – that investment brings disappointment. Often times you question, “Despite my service, God why are you allowing me to experience so much disappointment? In my child? In my marriage? In my career?” And God is saying, I need you to conquer the role of appointment and dis-appointment. I need you to understand when it’s time to let in and let go. I am returning soon in a blink of an eye and may the overall purpose never be forgotten. May you keep striving father to raise your other son not knowing if your prodigal son will ever return. May you keep striving, King David, though your son Absalom rose against you in attempts to kill and seize your kingdom. May you keep the faith in all things Job, even when your wife, your rib, tells you to curse God and die. May you keep going Titus though laughed and mocked for gentile upbringing because ultimately I will prosper you and make you the head not the tail.
I personally find the biggest truth in the smallest most forgotten bible books. In only 3 chapters God teaches what it means to be pure, how to access purity and how to preserve ones purity.
Most importantly Titus learned to be a successful leader is to know it is permitted and expected to say no.
Every invitation does not require your presence. Every endeavor can not receive your gifts – monetary included. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to APPROPRIATELY reject. It’s okay to feel inadequate for a role and yet be rightly permitted by God to lead. It’s okay to feel weak as long as you don’t faint. Know that in your weakest hour a word from the Lord is arriving. Await for your letter. Encourage yourself while encouragement is coming. Be blessed. Lead with courage. Remain pure.
I was preparing a day for my family to visit the safari.
I arrived at 4pm only to learn the park closed at 5 pm and the picnic site was a 1 hour hike from the entrance so that plan was over.
As I drove into the wilderness sanctuary I noticed a giant sign that said lion feeding den
Next a man – white/light Hispanic with traditional khaki safari attire, shorts, short sleeved button up with pocketed chest was present at the gate. Behind him I see a enormous lion 🦁 hhhuuugggeeee wooly mammoth huge like 40 feet high and 20 feet long huge, slowly walk by in the background. The gate was open so I was in awe/petrified.
Next a completely naked woman of Hispanic descent – age 25 – 35 slim, small breast, small buttocks, hair long down to her waist walks a bicycle 🚲 into the lion den and says, “goodbye.”
The safari guide Hispanic man says, “I liked her,” scoffs then rolls his eyes.
I assumed the lion ate the woman.
So next then Hispanic safari man whom must’ve been confident of his safety in the lion walks into the den of which the lion appears out of no where! Puts his humongous neck down an inch and gobbles the man in one swallow like a human taking a Tylenol and suddenly the woman – now fully dressed in safari gear takes off on the bike ET style in the air!
Then I woke up.
I had been battling anxiety and disappointment in my sleep and I know God was telling me – there’s a lot of people who secretly don’t like you. I like you. There are a lot of people who may try to use evil to destroy you. That is MY evil I will use to destroy them.
And I had a moment before I began thanking God
And praising God for his prophecy. I felt like Daniel in the lions eat. But the lion instructed to eat me – ate the instructor.
I couldn’t get the fully clothed part correct. Why naked to fully clothed?
Perhaps I was vulnerable and God covered me with his protection and favor but it is telling that I wore the costume of my oppressor. Did I disrobe the King and adorn myself in his garment. Idk.
I also think about the bike. God always has an escape clause. There is no prosecution without a fire ladder. I walked the bike in but I rode the bike out – not just rode it out but up.
When God bless he promotes vertically not horizontally. I would like to think I pedaled to Heaven, where else would I go that is up but to visit my fathers house?
Before my church declared a 2 year Bible plan I was already entrenched in my own Bible plan to read the Bible chronologically from Gen to Rev. With much distraction, adhering to alternative instruction I failed to finish out my original goal – to finish what I started.
I’m currently at my namesake – Isaiah 25. I say namesake because Isaiah speaks to me like no other. Isaiah 40 is my verse when I am shaken there is foundation in her. I have found my rest and my purpose to run again – right there.
After much dismay I am back on track – in allegiance to my own way. My own stride. Many will speak ill of my perceived disobedience but I answer to no one but God. I go where he says go. I do what he tells me to do. No other. Has that ever got me into trouble? No. Earthly persecution is not heavenly trouble – in retrospect it is heavenly joy.
I have made up my mind to trust God and only God. Thank you Jesus for relieving me of myself. You are truly freeing.