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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hall Memorial CME Church mourns the loss and celebrates the life and salvation of sister Virginia Buckley.
The Homegoing Service will be Thursday, July 29th, at 11 A.M.
Thursday, July 29th, from 10 A.M. - 11 A.M., Sister Buckley will lie in state in the Hall Memorial CME Church sanctuary.

Stop Saying & Start Praying

The Holy Spirit pointedly convicted me  of a failing in my personal prayer life. It hurt, but that pricking of my heart turned into a message that, as I wrote, opened one of the most familiar scriptures in a fresh way. The Lord showed me a deeper view of the Lord's Prayer.  This much repeated prayer is more than a recitation or a formula. Listen and find out how much more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Proverbs 3: 9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.

James 4: 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

We demand PRESENTS, trying to be just good enough for just long enough, to hustle what we want out of Santa. But once the PRESENT has been delivered…Oh, it’s on!

We pray for the GIFTS of God, and we pray submitting our desires to His will and seeking to align our requests with His name.

PRESENTS we use for our pleasure.

Spiritual GIFTS we use for God’s glory and to express godly love to other people.

PRESENTS we feel entitled to, and if the Giver is rich, we get offended if He doesn’t get us exactly what we want.

We are honored by Spiritual GIFTS because we understand that God, having given the ultimate gift of Salvation paid for by the ultimate price of His Son’s life, owes us nothing.

We consume and waste PRESENTS. We even trade our PRESENTS to others when they have something shiny that we want—all with no thought to how the Giver feels because, “It’s mine now. They gave it to me.” Or, sometimes, we hoard PRESENTS, never sharing, never enjoying, just collecting and guarding it while screaming, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

We cherish spiritual GIFTS. We study and nurture and increase our GIFTS. We find joy in our GIFTS only when we are sharing our GIFTS with the world and finding ways to make the GIFT glorify God more and more.

We only give a PRESENT back if we can get something bigger or better in return.

We totally and completely commit all of our GIFTS to the Giver. The moment we open and engage our GIFTS, we essentially sign them back over to the Giver.

PRESENTS run down, run out, depreciate over time, grow insufficient for us as we grow, diminish in the pleasure they bring, and ultimately rust, rot, get lost, or get stolen. (Matthew 6: 19, 20)

Spiritual GIFTS have no expiration date (Romans 11: 29)

Now---Handle your money like a GIFT from God, not like a present from Santa.


My Mama used to say to me, “Boy, when I get you, I’m gonna get you for old and for new.” Through the prophet Amos, God delivered the same message to His people Israel.  Listen to the Word God gave me for a recent sermon and find out why. You need to know, because God has a message for you, for me, and for all of his children to day. It is a message we cannot afford to ignore.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Proverbs 3:1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; 
2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.

Growing up, I thought that my father (Buford Graves) was waaaaaaayyyy too hard on me.  Now I'm a man trying to be a good husband, a good father, and a good pastor in a world that seems unequivocably committed to destroying the family, undermining the gospel, and opposing every good and right thing.  Now, I understand what my father was doing.  Buford did for me what Solomon tried to do for his son with the book of Proverbs.  He gave me the tools I needed for success in a world that would hold more opportunities and more perils than what Daddy had known. 

So, let me share with you just a few of the things my father taught me.  (I've had to clean up the original language quite a bit.) 

1. Just because it isn’t your fault doesn’t mean it isn’t your responsibility.

2. A man who won’t work isn’t a man.

3. Nobody cares how you feel. They care what you do.

4. Get your tail out of bed, there is work to do; and it’s not going to do itself.

5. Half-doing it is the same as not doing it.

6. Do right by everybody. You don’t know who they know.

7. Mind your own business.

8. Never spend your last dollar.

9. Quit crying.

10. However bad things may get, if you own some land you’ll never be homeless.

11. Nothing and nobody makes you run when you’re in your own yard.

12. In an organization, find out who can say, “Yes,” when everyone else has said, “No;” and

“No” when everyone else has said, “Yes.” Meet that person.

13. If you stab somebody in the back, expect somebody else to shoot you in the head.

14. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But mostly keep your mouth shut.

15. Know where the exits are.

16. Protect women. Protect children.

17. Listen to old folks. They didn’t survive that long by being stupid.

18. Things don’t always go your way.

19. If you carry a knife, keep it sharp.

20. Keep gas in your car.

21. Don’t be stupid.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Let me tell you about the time my father cussed me out on the way to church… That story introduces a message about expectations, truth, gasoline, interpretations, and the narrow path to God’s blessings.


There are pastors in name only, and then there are “real” pastors. The difference is the difference between being supposedly power-ful and being actually power-filled. Learn what that means in this message Pastor Anderson Graves delivered for the pastoral appreciation of our dear friend Rev. Pierre Primm of Garners Chapel CME Church.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Do You Like Being Bad?

I was watching the movie Spiderman 3 with my nephew.  Although I've seen this movie a dozen times, I noticed one particular line I had never caught.  There's a climactic fight scene in which the brightly uniformed hero is fighting a black-suited version of himself.  The villain in black (called Venom) is actually a regular guy who is under the influence of a powerful entity from another world.  (Already seeing the spiritual parallels
aren't you?)

Spiderman calls out to the man inside the monster. He offers to help him, to free him from the influence of the evil entity from another world. "Let it go," pleads Spiderman.

The man inside the monster responds, "I like being bad. It makes me happy."

In the end, the man chooses to be destroyed with the monster rather than to be separated from its power and its pleasures. (Revelations 20: 10, 15)

You see, the way the Venom monster controls the regular guy inside is by forming a bond with him and then amplifying the worst traits the person already possesses.

James 1: 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

Some people get saved because the see the beauty and promise of Jesus's love and they just love Him back.  Others only come to Jesus when they see the ugliness and doom in their Christ-less lives.    However, the sad truth is that some of us just like being bad.

I grew up in the church.  I had heard the gospel preached, taught, sung, and explained hundreds of times before I finally gave my life to Christ at age 22.   Why'd it take me so long?  Because I liked being bad.  It made me happy.

Until I found myself in the dark, crying, lost in the pointlessness of all the garbage I had piled up in my life, I was content to live in sin.  Addiction counselors call it "hitting rock bottom."  The Psalms calls it being of a broken and contrite spirit. 

In my time of brokenness the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the lessons I had been taught on Sunday mornings.  As I lay on the very rock bottom of my life, God honored the prayers of my parents and my grandparents.    Being bad no longer made me happy.  I didn't like myself being bad.  I surrendered to Jesus and he delivered me from my bond(age) to the devil and to my own sin.

The saddest truth is that some people won't stop being happy with being bad before it's too late.  In the end the monster from the other world (the devil) will be destroyed in fire. 
Before his time comes, our time will come and we must each make the choice in advance: 

Will you let Jesus help you?  Will you let go of your sin?  Will you come out of the darkness?


Do you still like being bad?