A dark-skinned baby boy, from the tribe of Judah, was born in Palestine 2000 years ago, to save the world. Many in that clan were people of color; also, the Romans [Gentiles] had not converted to Christianity or Judaism at that time.

 

“The Black Nazarene is a dark-skinned depiction of Jesus, which has been worshiped for 400 years." Catholic Church. There are pictures of these scenes in museums in Russia and Poland. It is named the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. St. Luke himself painted this portrait.

 

 The region of Palestine was divided into three areas; they were Galilee, Samaria, and Judea.It was called Israel under David and Solomon’s rule.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem a city in Judea, during the time of King Herod (Mathew 2:1).

 

Scripture Text

 

Jesus family left the city shortly after his birth because Herod wanted to have him killed. This is confirmed in the record about the visit of the wise men. They came sometime after the birth of Jesus to Jerusalem and traveled from there to Bethlehem, where they found the child in "a house” (Mathew 2:1-12).

 

 The word for "child" used here in the Greek text, paidion, does not refer to a newborn baby (as does the word brephos used in Luke 2:12); this also indicates that the wise men did not come to the house immediately after the shepherds.”

 

Birth of Jesus

 

 The visit of the wise men, was only a relatively short time, before the death of King Herod, and from the mention that Herod sought to kill all male children of an age "two years and under" it can be concluded that Jesus was no longer a newborn baby.

 

 After the visit of the wise men, the family departed into Egypt in obedience to the instruction given by the angel where they remained until after the death of Herod. They must have been a family of color to blend in there. They returned to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, where Jesus grew up. Joseph, Moses, and Paul mistaken also for Egyptians (cf. Genesis 42:3-8 and Acts: 23-3).

 

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

 

Tribe of Judah

 

In the book of Revelation, Christ is named the Lion of Judah and the Root of David as a reference to both his family lineage and his victory. There were 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus genealogy comes from this tribe. David and Solomon also came from this tribe.

 

The Tribe of Judah, which is the folk that Jesus descended from, was a Black Tribe of Hebrews.  Historian Wilson Armistead states quite plainly: “The descendants of a colony of Jews, originally from Judea, settled on the coast of Africa, are black.” (A Tribute to the Negro: Being a Vindication of the Moral, Intellectual, and Religious Capabilities of the Colored Portion of Mankind; with   Reference to the African Race by Wilson Armistead. Manchester and London: W. Irwin, 1848, pg. 66)

 

Mixed Multitude

 

‘Judah was the largest Israelite tribe to leave Egypt, which means that of the mixed multitude that left with Moses. Judah was the tribe that was more mixed.  Judah married two different Canaanite women.  Judah had five children between these two women.

 

  All of Judah’s children were Black. Judah married Shua, a Canaanite woman.  She bore Juda three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah.  When Judah selected a wife for his eldest son Er, he once again chose a Canaanite woman, Tamar. What also needs to be taken into consideration is that out of the 12 tribes of Hebrews that left Egypt, Judah was the largest tribe.  There were over 74,000 people in the Tribe of Judah,’ says Irwin.

 

Canaanites

 

The original Canaanites were Black. Here are the original children of Canaan, the descendants of Ham. Ham is said to be the father of all black and brown people.

 

These people are related to the earliest inhabitants of the land of Israel. They are the Natufians, the Cushites and the Canaanites who lived on the land even before Abraham came as an immigrant to the land (cf. Genesis 10 and Numbers 34).

 

 

 Another interpretation of the connection to the lion comes from medieval literature, which suggests that the lion represents resurrection. The literature goes on to suggest that a lion cub is brought to life on the third day after its birth by its father.

 

Priesthood

 

The book of Hebrews uses this very issue to make a point of the fact that, in coming from the tribe of Judah, our Lord's new high-priesthood signals a change from the Old to the New Covenant. As of course, in accordance with the Mosaic Law, all prior priests have come from the tribe of Levi (see especially Heb. Chap. 7-8).

 

 One important reason for the selection of the tribe of Judah, for our Lord's genealogy, is the membership of David in that tribe. Jesus, of course, is David's greater Son, and in the mentions of our Lord's lineage it is usually His descent from David that is the point which is emphasized rather His tribal affiliation per se (e.g., Matt.1:19:2722:42Lk.1:321:69Rom.1:32Tim.2:8Rev.22:16; cf. also Rev.5:5 where "from the tribe of Judah" is immediately reinforced by "[from] the root of David"). For Jesus is the "Son of David", the One who fulfills the covenant to that great believer wherein he was promised a Son who would reign forever.  

 

Prophets’ Testimony

 

‘Throughout the New Testament, the reader is constantly made aware of the fact that Jesus has come into this world in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. No more dramatic example of this can be found than that of Isaiah chapter 53. In this portion of scripture, the prophet vividly describes how the Messiah will come as the suffering servant and lamb of God to bear the sins of the people.

 

 In the book of Acts Philip, the evangelist has occasion to meet with a court official of Ethiopia who was in Jerusalem to worship. This man was reading from Isaiah 53:7-8; but did not understand of whom this portion of scripture was speaking.

 

Philip explained to the man that it referred to Jesus and starting there Philip continued to preach the good news about Jesus to him (Acts 8:26-40). Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah which describe the suffering of Jesus for the sins and iniquities of others.’ God for Us

 

Closing

 

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

 

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

 

Esco Yancey, Jr. Ed.D. © 2016


 

  • Rev Joe, Oct 15, 1954, Hurricane Hazel made landfall in North Carolina. We had a concert scheduled that day, that concert was in Kingston, North Carolina at the Tobacco Warehouse. We were staying at the Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina, Home Eckers Hotel. That was our home base. We knew the Hurricane was coming and would make landfall near Kingston at the time of the concert, we assumed the concert would be canceled. The promoter of the show was “Hotfoot” Lawson, The Hotfoot Man, Hotfoot called Davis and said, “You all better get down here. Hey, man, I got a houseful of people here. They ain’t going nowhere. What do you want to do? Do you want to take a chance.”

    Davis came to us, and said, “We got to go.” He didn’t have to say anything else. We knew the sacrifice and risk that the audience was making to come out to the concert, and we couldn’t do less.

    Kingston was better than an hour away in good weather. We knew the hurricane was coming. The hurricane wind was already happening. When Davis said, we got to go, no one questioned him. Davis, Tucker, Beachy, Walker, Bobo, and me we all got into the car quick and James B. Davis drove to Kingston, and that was before there were any Interstates. Signs were blowing down, the wind was very strong. Water blowing across the road in sheets everywhere. When we arrived and entered the concert hall, the place was packed. As soon as we entered, they started clapping and started yelling, “They’re here!” They’re here!” We got a standing ovation just walking into the place. They kept cheering and crying and yelling as we set up. We never saw anything like it. It didn’t take long to set up. When I started playing the guitar to introduce the first selection, people were standing up, and then they got quiet, real quiet. Nobody moved. Absolute silence and stillness. Sent a shiver up my spine, They wanted to hear what we played, they wanted to see our movements. Our first song was, “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen.” Tucker’s voice soaring above the storm outside. We were blessed that night, because we did the full concert, and people almost never sat in their seats. When the lightning flashed there was feedback, but a feedback that was in perfect pitch, like a 7th voice, like God had decided to harmonize with The Birds. And you could feel a little shock when you got too close to the mike. I wondered if this was what Moses felt in God's presence at Mt Sinai.

    There were two mikes, Tucker and Walker swapping one mike, snatching it out of each other’s hands to the rhythm of the song. And it seemed the thunder kept the beat. I’d let the guitar string flash with the lighting and fret it to play with the howl of the wind. That was some kind of gospel that night like we were all in Noah’s Ark. And like always they never wanted us to quit. People hugging us as we finished and wouldn’t let us leave. And you couldn’t help but be crying yourself. As we were leaving, People praying for a safe journey home. People sometimes rode mules to get to our concerts, back of pickup trucks, horse wagons. People all dressed up in suits and beautiful dresses and hats, nobody dressed better, like kings and queens and dignitaries, Maybe they got their suit out of the pawn shop just for our concert, and put the suit back in the pawn shop the next day. You know, at our performances people got pretty emotional and this concert was no different. We got back in the car and started back to the hotel in Raleigh, and we talked about what it would have been like if we missed this one. We understood how dangerous hurricanes can be. What was amazing when we exited the concert building there was a calm during the storm. We just trusted in God. We knew that it wasn’t always easy for people to get to our concerts back then. People didn’t have cars the way they do now. It wasn’t easy for everybody. Everybody was sacrificing. People riding in the back of flatbed trucks to get there. Walked. And all this in the middle of a hurricane. We were all on the same ship, and we knew if this ship floated or sank, it didn’t depend on us, we were all in God’s hands. When we finished the concert and everyone was leaving going home, there was a calm outside, no wind, no rain. I guess it was the eye of the storm. God opened a door in the storm so we could all go home and come back another day to praise His Name.

    This wouldn’t be the last hurricane we encountered. There would be tornadoes, blizzards, lightning, deserts, mountains to encounter. The audience showed up under these circumstances, we couldn’t do less. So when Davis said, “We got to go,“ We know we had to go. Because it was important to a lot of people.

    On the drive back to the hotel in Raleigh, nobody slept in the car on the ride back to the hotel which we often did, although we should have been tired, should have been worn out. We were wide awake. We talked and we marveled at the power of the Lord we served., as He had calmed the storm for us during our drive, we too, like the disciples marveled, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” We always felt the living presence of Jesus was with us. His Holy presence blessed our everyday.

    That was Hurricane Hazel, biggest hurricane to that date, and we were in the middle of it. Pretty much all of North Carolina was Dixie Hummingbird country back then. Baseball was really big back then in North Carolina. Everybody had a team. The job where they worked, the barbershop, the mechanic shop, the funeral home, the schools, the banks, the bakery, the grocery store, but every baseball schedule had to be adjusted to when the Dixie Hummingbirds were in town, because nobody would show up for the baseball game if we had a concert. Weddings were scheduled around The Dixie Hummingbird concerts. Funeral directors would tell families they had to wait until the next day for the funeral after the Birds were done. Sometimes people would ask us to pray and they would sing and call out the name of a dying relative, praying and singing to the Lord to keep them alive until the end of our concert so they could pray with them one last time and tell them about The Birds concert. These were Our people, We were their people, What a People We Are! No white music producer or company had enough money to take us away from Our People. My God, what a people we are.

    And later sometime after the hurricane, the Anniversary Concert in Raleigh was even bigger, two shows, Swannee Quintet, Soul Stirrers, Crume on the guitar with Soul Stirrers. Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. After the first show, the audience filed out and the new audience walked right in. Different promoters from all over North Carolina would organize busloads of people, the price of ticket and bus ride and box lunch included. Back then people couldn't go into restaurants so food had to be taken along. Finding a bathroom was always a problem. No hotels. So they slept on the bus on the ride home. Sunday was Hummingbirds Day. They loved us there.

Lucia, the beginning as opposed to the end, the alpha, not the omega, the original not a copy. These pronouns describe a lady who lived here in the Americus before the ice age, before the native American Indians and certainly, thousands of years prior to Columbus’s “discovery of America.”

Walter Nerves,the renowned archaeologist, studied the skull of the first human and named her Lucia. In his book ‘the first AMERICAN’ he describes the tedious process that allowed him to ascertain the Negro features of this woman.

 Images of giant armadillos, which died out before the last ice age, show the artists who drew them lived before even the natives who greeted the Europeans. This evidence suggests that the Americus was home to a great diverse family of people. Lucia was the mother of a race of people who came to America 50,000 years ago.

 Lucia represents the beginning of Americus Family. This family was far more diverse than previously believed. It included Negros, Indians, and Europeans.

 Scripture Text

When God began working with Abram (his name was later changed to Abraham), God gave him a command and an amazing promise. The command was “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Explaining the promise He would give Abraham in exchange for his obedience, God continued: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great :and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you, and in you ,all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (verses 2-3).

 "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:27-29).

 Christian Family

 ‘It's no stretch to say that a person has a serious advantage in life if they come from a loving, supportive home. Many people still succeed though they come from less-than-ideal family situations, but having our basic needs met, knowing that our parents love us and learning life lessons at home make all the challenges of day-to-day living that much easier to face. Likely, as an adult you want a happy home for your family,’ says David McKay.

 Happiness within our family will most likely be achieved when it’s founded on the teachings of Jesus. That means being unselfish, honest, loyal, loving and a whole host of other virtues, not to mention a lot of hard work.

 Church Family

 When a person becomes a Christian, he doesn't just join a local church because it's a good habit for growing in spiritual maturity. He joins a local church because it's the expression of what Christ has made him—a member of the body of Christ. Being united to Christ means being united to every Christian. But that universal union must be given a living, breathing existence in a local church.

 To understand the difference between the local church and the universal church, one must get a basic definition of each. The local church is a group of professing believers in Jesus Christ who meets in some location on a regular basis. The universal church is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ worldwide. The term church is a translation of a Greek word having to do with a meeting together or an “assembly” (1 Thessalonians 2:142 Thessalonians 1:1).

  Christian Church Family Threats

Many African-Americans view Christianity as the White man's religion and associate conversion to Islam with recovering their ethnic heritage. Thus, to effectively evangelize African-American Muslims, it is crucial to understand the development of the American Muslim. If the conversion rate continues, Islam could be the dominant religion among Black Men by 2020.

The nation of Islam does a much better job of teaching Black Men their identity, than the Christian Church. It also provides food, housing and jobs to individuals and families in need. The nation serves as a family for Black Men.

Today , the Islamic sects ,are all challenging the African-American church, for the minds of the next generation. Because of Islam's emphasis on external religious practices, African-American adherents, tend to operate on their internal instincts, which are essentially Christian.

‘If the church takes the Muslim challenge seriously and theologically addresses the issues of dignity, African identity and global significance, then there is the potential of a great harvest among these Muslims. If the church fails to take the challenge seriously, then the Muslim presence will become a Muslim dominance and this will be a scourge upon the church,’ says Clifton Marsh.

‘Hip Hop, has a greater influence on young adults ,than the Christian Pastors. In 1968 three out of four young people attended church. Today ,only one in four young people attend church. These are challenges the church must address,’ says Michael Waters.

The megachurch seems to be a female-centered middle-class movement. These churches, do very little to address the social issues facing Black Members. They are silent on issues such as criminal justice reform, voter suppression, and police violence. These churches teach, that donating money, will result in God giving you a greater return on your investment. Maybe, providing scholarships and emphasizing education would be more productive. What are the educational, cultural, and social benefits of these churches to society?  That is the big question. What type of family does this church provide?

God’s Family

'So today, I base the message on this great truth: we Gentiles who believe  Jesus the Messiah are fellow heirs with Abraham and with him will inherit the world. Jews and Gentiles together, who believe in Christ, are heirs of the world. The text is Romans 4:13-14, "The promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he is  of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Abraham and his descendants will inherit the land; Abraham will rise from the dead and cannot be defeated by death; Abraham and his descendants will be triumphant over all their foes. What is the implication of these three promises? Paul saw these promises fulfilled in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Messiah is the heir in the fullest sense,' says John Piper.

Heavenly Family

Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.Believers in Jesus are heirs to the promise of Abraham on earth and in heaven.We will be members of his heavenly family (Mathew 28-19).

Esco Yancey, Jr. Ed.D. © 2016

Carver's Favorite Poem, "Equipment"

"EQUIPMENT" by Edgar A. Guest was Dr. Carver's favorite poem; he can be heard reciting it at an audio station at the George Washington Carver Museum. An inspiring video of his life can also be viewed along with a superb collection of artifacts demonstrating his achievements. The Carver Museum and TheOaks, home of Booker T. Washington, comprise a National Historic District, on the Tuskegee University campus.

EQUIPMENT


Figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You've all that the greatest of men have had,
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes
And a brain to use if you would be wise.
With this equipment, they all began,
So start for the top and say, "I can."

Look them over, the wise and great
They take their food from a common plate,
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces, they tie their shoes.
The world considers them brave and smart,
But you've all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if you only will.
You're well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have legs and arms and a brain to use,
And the man who has risen great deeds to do
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place,
You must say where you want to go,
How much you will study the truth to know.
God has equipped you for life, but He
Lets you decide what you want to be.

Courage must come from the soul within,
The man must furnish the will to win.
So figure it out for yourself, my lad.
You were born with all that the great have had,
With your equipment, they all began,
Get hold of yourself and say: "I can."

--Edgar A. Guest

By

Dr. E. Faye Williams, President of the National Congress of Black Women

July 28, 2017

 

Washington, DC—After the U.S. Senate vote to repeal ‘Obamacare’ failed again, Dr. E. Faye Williams said, “The stakes were high, and when it was time to do the right thing, Senators John McCain (AZ), Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) rose to the challenge, along with 48 of their Democratic colleagues, and voted to defeat efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act—known as ‘Obamacare.’

There is such a thing as justice, and it finally landed on the side of the people who worked so hard for so long to save healthcare for the least of these. Eight years after Senator Mitch McConnell vowed to make President Barack Obama fail as President, instead, he was just handed a stinging defeat to his many attempts to make ‘Obamacare’ fail, and therefore Mr. Obama’s legacy.

In his moment of defeat, Mr. McCoTHEY HAD 71/2 YEARS AND FAILED

 He read from his already prepared notes of concession. The people who stayed on this issue of saving healthcare—those who resisted and persisted—celebrated their power.  Senator Charles Schumer spoke graciously and made us proud to be Democrats again. It was one of his finest hours as he called for bipartisanship when he said, ‘We’re not celebrating. We’re relieved.’  He spoke for many of us who saw our nation headed in the wrong direction. It is my prayer that the Republicans are ready to move forward and work to improve healthcare for those who need it most.  Democrats firmly expressed their desire to make the necessary improvements in ‘Obamacare’ instead of sabotaging what President Obama was able to accomplish.

Just as I said last November after the stinging defeat Democrats suffered in the election, ‘God has got this,’ and he gave the ‘Resistance Movement’ a clear indication that ‘People Power’ works! It’s time for more of us to Resist and Persist until total victory for the people is accomplished in every branch of our government. Now it’s time to get those insurance rates down so that it’s affordable for all.”

###

FATHER KNOWS BEST! For all fathers, especially Black Fathers, whose voices have not been heard, I sense your pride, feel your pain and hear your cry! Today is your day! The role of black fathers is one of the strongest and most important traditions in the black community.There is no question that in their earliest years in the New World enslaved African-Americans were concerned about their fathers- Moreover, their loyalty to their fathers.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: The president of the Chicago branch of the Lions™ Club, Harry Meek, is said to have celebrated the first Father's Day with his organization in 1915; and the day that they chose was the third Sunday in June, the closest date to Meek's birth date. Ms. Dodd of Spokane Washington did a lot for Father's Day. Ms. Dodd felt she had an outstanding father .He was a veteran of the Civil War. His wife had died young, and he had raised six children without their mother. Her church then started celebrating Father's Day.States and organizations began lobbying congress to declare an annual Father's Day. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson approved of this idea, but it was not until 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event on the third Sunday in June.

TEXT: I would like to call your attention to the following text for Father's Day. This scripture is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. The son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.But the father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:21-24)

THE TEXT AND ITS APPLICATION! The text deals with the parable of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke. This account is familiar to most of us. It's the story of a rebellious son who rejects his father's upbringing. Prideful and strong, the son heads off to a far-away land, leads a wild life of adventure and squanders everything of value (literally and symbolically). Not until he's confronted with failure and despair, does he return home, repentant and willing to do anything to win back his father's favor.;To his surprise, and the surprise of others, he's welcomed, without question, into his father's loving and forgiving arms.

No amount of time, no amount of money, and no amount of rebellion could get in the way of the father's patience and unconditional love for his son. "For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:24). Of course, the awesome message of this parable is that God is patient and gracious with all of His children. He is willing to welcome each of us home to His loving and forgiving arms.

The Prodigal Son is a reality for many of us. In the journey of life, we soon realize there are no guarantees as Christian parents. No matter how hard we strive to teach our children about God and His Word, and no matter how often we pray for our children to discover Jesus Christ and His message of salvation, some decide to reject it all! Even in those families where God is loved, trusted and glorified, children sometimes rebel and run from their roots! PRODIGAL SON!

The road to God for each Prodigal Son is different. However, as the two stories above tell us, we should never give up - no matter how far away they seem! God gives us these examples in scripture so that we realize that our children may turn against God. He also gives us instruction on how to dig in spiritually for our prodigal children: Be in constant prayer, always lead by example, and follow through with love and grace, no matter how despairing things get.

WHAT IS A GOOD FATHER! Remember God's promise to those who raise children in a Christian home: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).This is the foundation for fatherhood or parenting period! Great fathers make God the head of the house!

What is a good father?The text seems to emphasize three major qualities of a good father. They are love by example, patience ,and unconditional love. I am sure there are many others. EXAMPLES OF GOOD FATHERS! Gardner Taylor is now 88 years old. He is considered one of the fifteen greatest English-speaking preachers in the world. He was asked who had a major influence on his decision to become a minister. He stated that his father was that person. Rev. Taylor said that his father was not well educated, however, he taught himself by reading in many areas.

This is a good example of ...love by example. I was involved in teaching young children chess in the 1980's.A young man called me from South Africa who was an outstanding teacher in that area and said he would like to come to Raleigh where I was at the time and do a class. I said sure! He came with his father and brother. His father was a medical doctor and his brother was a medical doctor .I was amazed that his father loved and respected his son the teacher just as much as his son the medical doctor.

This is a good example of a father's¦ love and patience. I was very blessed growing up. I had the pleasure of growing up with my father and grandfather. They were both God fearing men. They were both farmers. They taught me great work ethics. I had to work very hard on the farm from the time I was six years old. However, we had a lot of down times. I still can remember the fishing and hunting trips I went on with my father and grandfather. There were many times my father could not go with us; my grandfather and I would go fishing or hunting. They were great examples of how to work hard and have quality down time.

When I did something wrong they were quick to show me the error of my way. When I got in trouble, they always knew what was best and could lead me in the right direction. My father and grandfather were great examples of unconditional love.

PRODIGY SON! My brother George learned much from them! He is a third generation farmer and has carried on their tradition well. I heard him say several weeks ago about his accomplishments as a father. He said that his two daughters had graduated from college and owned their own homes. He also has... two grandsons... to follow after him. What a great accomplishment as a father. He was the only child of four who built his career in the same town he was born. The other siblings moved away from home. He had the pleasure of being around my father and grandfathers all of his life. He has been successful in farming, mechanical engineering career, personal building and construction. He and his wife have also been successful in the assistant living business.

Now, his leadership impacts the lives of hundreds of individuals in the community, on the job, and among family members. He and his wife were invited to the White House to be ...recognized by the... president for being ...successful minority business owners.

THE BLACK FATHER! Belle Hooks, in her "Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism" (1988), reminds us that "scholars have emphasized the impact of slavery on the black male consciousness, arguing that black men, more so than black women, were the real' victims of slavery." She documents the reality that "sexist historians and sociologists have provided the American public with a perspective on slavery in which the more cruel and dehumanizing impact of slavery on the lives of black people was that black men were stripped of their masculinity, which the psychologists and historians argue resulted in the dissolution and overall disruption of any black familial structure."

BLACK FATHERS WILL OVERCOME! I HEAR GOD SAYING...KEEP THE FAITH...FATHER KNOWS BEST! Regarding family and personal relationships, today's African-American males are no less sensitive than their forefathers. According to one black physician, "black men come to the psychiatrist's office in large numbers, in pain and genuinely seeking help. They have little or nothing to say about the statistics, myths and other sociological pronouncements so often made about them. Rather, they come in talking about depression, anxiety, frustration, fear, guilt, esteem issues and anger that are most often related to the close, ongoing relationships in their lives," (Henry E. Edward, "Black Families in Crisis: the Middle Class," 1988).

KEEP THE FAITH...FATHER KNOWS BEST! FATHER KNOWS BEST!! CONCLUSION God's promise to those who raise children in a Christian home: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).This is the foundation for fatherhood or parenting period! Great fathers make God the head of the house! Of course, the awesome message of this parable is that God is patient and gracious with all of His children. He is willing to welcome each of us home  to His loving and forgiving arms. The same way the father did the Prodigal Son. FATHER KNOWS BEST! HAPPY FATHERS DAY!! Esco Yancey, Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2008 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES

"For all mothers whose voices are still not heard," I hear your cry! It has always been amazing to me how women can succeed in raising their children with fewer resources than men in most cases.The great majority of successful individuals assert that their mother is the foundation of their success.Booker T.Washington, George, Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Bill Clinton, this list is just a short example. I attribute all my success in my life, to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I got from her, said George Washington.

The text gives us a great paradigm of a woman who goes beyond the norm as a wife, widow, and mother.I call your attention to the following verses: Ruth 1:16-18 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. Ruth, the Moabite, became King David's great-grandma. Her lineage... extends all the way to Jesus... because of her faithfulness to the Israelites. She was not a Jewish Semite.

Moab was a prosperous country. However, the people worshiped false gods. After the death of Naomi's sons, she was the loyal daughter-in-law who clung to Naomi and followed Yahweh, the God of Israel, giving up her complete heritage and lifestyle.Un like Orpah, the other daughter-in-law who separated from Naomi never to be heard of again.

At the end of her book, Ruth becomes the wife of the wealthy Boaz' and the mother of Obed's. The Book of Ruth has four chapters which entail the story of a virtuous woman.It was written some time after the period of the judges (1375-1050 B.C.). The books of Ruth and Esther have the distinction of being the only two books in the Bible written about women.

The dominant cultural stereotype of the "good mother, said Coll, is a woman who is married and works outside the home in a job that does not take her away "too much" from her parenting responsibilities. She has no more than two children, and they have no handicaps or behavioral problems; she conceived her children and is raising them in a heterosexual relationship, and she and her spouse are older than 20 and are of the same ethnic and racial background.

Mothers who are compromised in their ability to access resources will be vilified, such as welfare mothers, mothers in prison and mothers who are homeless. Other mothers will be the target of political campaigns such as lesbian mothers, working mothers, and single mothers. "The extent of mothers' self-sacrifices and their ability to cope with everything ... from breastfeeding a two -pound newborn... to raising a child who is disabled or has a difficult temperament ...is astonishing," said Coll. However, just as astonishing ...is society's inability or unwillingness to recognize... the true difficulty of all these endeavors!

It has been said, a mother understands what a child does not say." I remember visiting the Greensboro, NC Urban Ministry Homeless Shelter. That facility had 132 beds total ...for men and women. There were 116 beds ...occupied by men and only ...16 occupied by women. This pattern seems to hold true all over the country. Most churches seem to have more women as members than men. There are more African American Female business owners than men. The percentage of individuals in prison is greater among men than women.It seems that the great common denominator between Ruth and the successful mothers of today is perseverance.

This character trait seems to be the foundation for all achievement. I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles, said Christopher Reeve. What can we learn from Ruth and today's exceptional mothers? The case is clear! God Blesses Diligent and Faithful Mothers.

Consider the following: Ruth refuses to leave her mother- in-law Naomi Ruth gives up her wealthy country of Moab to stay with Naomi Ruth gives up her false god to serve the true God of Israel Ruth is willing to work as a servant in Boaz's fields Ruth marries the wealthy Boaz Ruth gives up everything for God and family Ruth is a labor of love.

When Mothers stay with God and Their Families; God Blesses Them! Trust in the Lord and do well; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:3-5, 7a) Esco Yancey, Jr. Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2008 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES

By: Amos Jones Posted: 2/8/07 He was among Harvard's earliest black Ph.D. recipients, a professor at Howard University, and a columnist in newspapers of distinction. He refuted prevailing stereotypes and chronicled black achievements. He criticized the professional education process as delivered to black Americans of the 1920s and 1930s.

 "He" was Carter G. Woodson, the founder of what is known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the organization through which he systematized the study of Black History and gave the world Black History Week, which we now observe as Black History Month, February.

 As Howard University historian Daryl Michael Scott notes on the jacket of Woodson's legendary and recently republished 1933 book of observations, prescriptions, and analyses, "The Mis-Education of the Negro," Woodson "dedicated his life to two simple yet Herculean tasks: vindicating the black race from the charge of inferiority and restoring Africans and peoples of African descent to their proper place in the annals of history.

 His field of battle was scholarship and knowledge, and his weaponry, historical truth. Though he had many predecessors and co-workers, Woodson's singularity of purpose [and] his immense skills as a scholar, a businessman, and an institution builder garnered for him the much-deserved title of the Father of Black History."

 I recently read the 123-page book for the first time. It's brief but powerful arguments left me refreshed, inspired, energized, and transformed. I regard Woodson as the essential cross between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, a black thinker of their era who sketched a vision for blacks that bridged formal learning with utilitarian ends. I gave copies to everybody in my immediate family for Christmas.

 Woodson would be delighted to see that black and white Americans have improved in key respects since the 1930s. He would be dismayed (but not surprised), however, to learn that so much of his criticism of both communities remains applicable to their conditions 76 years after his death in April 1950.

 Some scholar should produce a contemporary annotation of Woodson's book, a chronicle that explains the extent to which Woodson's ideas have been actualized, and where we find ourselves as a result. I found myself glad that certain conditions have changed since he wrote, but I am intrigued by the fact that many other observations still ring true, particularly those concerning the effects of slavery upon interracial and intraracial dynamics.

Carter G. Woodson wrote with unusual clarity, power, and authority. As we conclude the first third of Black History Month 2007, I offer some fascinating passages from his 1933 volume. "When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told.

 In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary." "Cooperation implies equality of the participants in the particular task at hand. On the contrary, however, the usual way now is for the whites to work out their plans behind closed doors, have them approved by a few Negroes serving nominally on a board, and then employ a white or mixed staff to carry out their program. This is not interracial cooperation.

 This unsound attitude of the 'friends' of the Negro is due to the persistence of the medieval idea of controlling underprivileged classes. Behind closed doors, these 'friends' say you need to be careful in advancing Negroes to commanding positions unless it can be determined beforehand that they will do what they are told to do.

 You can never tell when some Negroes will break out and embarrass their 'friends.' After being advanced to positions of influence some of them have been known to run amuck and advocate social equality or demand for their race the privileges of democracy when they should restrict themselves to education and religious development."

 "The Negro will never be able to show all of his originality as long as his efforts are directed from without by those who socially prescribe him. Such 'friends' will unconsciously keep him in the ghetto."

 "In the schools of theology Negroes are taught the interpretation of the Bible worked out by those who have justified segregation and winked at the economic debasement of the Negro sometimes almost to the point of starvation. Deriving their sense of right from this teaching, graduates of such schools can have no message to grip the people whom they have been ill-trained to serve.

Most of such miseducated ministers, therefore, preach to benches while illiterate Negro preachers do the best they can in supplying the spiritual needs of the masses." "In schools of journalism Negroes are being taught how to edit such major metropolitan dailies as the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times, which would hardly hire a Negro as a janitor; and when these graduates come to the Negro weeklies for employment they are not prepared to function in such establishments, which, to be successful, must be built upon accurate knowledge of the psychology and philosophy of the Negro."

 "Negro law students were told that they belonged to the most criminal element in the country: and an effort was made to justify the procedure in the seats of injustice where the law was interpreted as being one thing for the white man and a different thing for the Negro.

In constitutional law, the spinelessness of the United States Supreme Court in permitting the judicial nullification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments was and still is boldly upheld in our few law schools."

 "In the schools of business administration Negroes are trained exclusively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street and are, therefore, made to despise the opportunities to run ice wagons, push banana carts, and sell peanuts among their own people.

 Foreigners, who have not studied economics but have studied Negroes, take up this business and grow rich." "In the case of the white youth of this country, they can choose their courses more at random and still succeed because of numerous opportunities offered by their people, but even they show so much more wisdom than do Negroes.

 For example, a year or two after the author left Harvard he found out West a schoolmate who studied wool [during college].  On the contrary, the author studied Aristotle, Plato, Marsiglio of Padua, and Pascasius Rathbertus when he was in college. His friend who studied wool, however, is now independently rich and has sufficient leisure to enjoy the cultural side of life which his knowledge of the science underlying his business developed, but the author has to make his living by begging for a struggling cause."

 "The Negro girl who goes to college hardly wants to return to her mother if she is a washerwoman, but this girl should come back with sufficient knowledge of physics and chemistry and business administration to use her mother's work as a nucleus for a modern steam laundry."

 "Graduates of our business schools lack the courage to throw themselves upon their resources and work for a commission. The large majority of them want to be sure of receiving a certain amount at the end of the week or month. They do not seem to realize that the great strides in business have been made by paying men according to what they do. Persons with such false impressions of life are not good representatives of the schools of business administration."

 "Often when [the highly educated Negro] sees that the fault lies at the door of the white oppressor whom he is afraid to attack, he turns upon the pioneering Negro who is at work doing the best he can to extricate himself from an uncomfortable predicament." "'Educated people' hope to make the Negro conform quickly to the standard of the whites and thus remove the pretext for the barriers between the races.

They do not realize, however, that even if the Negroes do successfully imitate the whites, nothing new has thereby been accomplished. You simply have a larger number of persons doing what others have been doing. The unusual gifts of the race have not thereby been developed, and an unwilling world, therefore, continues to wonder what the Negro is good for."

"The differentness of races, moreover, is no evidence of superiority or of inferiority. This merely indicates that each race has certain gifts which the others do not possess. It is by the development of these gifts that every race must justify its right to exist."

 "We have long had the belief that the Negro is a natural actor who does not require any stimulus for further development. In this assertion is the idea that because the Negro is good at dancing, joking, minstrelsy and the like he is 'in his place' when 'cutting a shine' and does not need to be trained to function in the higher sphere of dramatics. Thus misled, large numbers of Negroes ambitious for the stage have not bloomed forth into great possibilities.

 Too many of them have finally ended with roles in questionable cafes, cabarets, and nightclubs of America and Europe; and instead of increasing the prestige of the Negro they have brought the race into disgrace." "The Negro church, although not a shadow of what it ought to be, is the great asset of the race. It is a part of the capital that the race must invest to make its future.

 The Negro church has taken the lead in education in the schools of the race, it has supplied a forum for the thought of the 'highly educated' Negro, it has originated a large portion of the business controlled by Negroes, and in many cases it has made it possible for Negro professional men to exist. It is unfortunate, then, that these classes do not do more to develop the institution.

 In thus neglecting it they are throwing away what they have, to obtain something which they think they need.  How an 'educated Negro' can thus leave the church of his people and accept such Jim crow ism has always been a puzzle. He cannot be a thinking man. The excuse sometimes given for seeking such religious leadership is that the Negro evangelical churches are 'fogy'.

 They say that in some of the Negro churches bishoprics are actually bought, but it is better for the Negro to belong to a church where one can secure a bishopric by purchase than be a member of one which would deny the promotion on account of color."

 "The large majority of Negroes [in the arts] have settled down, then, to contentment as ordinary clowns and comedians. They have not had the courage or they have not learned how to break over the unnatural barriers and occupy higher ground.

 The Negro author is no exception to the traditional rule. He writes, but the white man is supposed to know more about everything than the Negro. So who wants a book written by a Negro about one? As a rule, not even a Negro himself, for if he is really 'educated,' he must show that he has the appreciation for the best in literature.

 The Negro author, then, can find neither a publisher nor a reader; and his story remains untold. The Negro editors and reporters were once treated the same way, but thanks to the uneducated printers who founded most of our newspapers which have succeeded, these men of vision made it possible for the 'educated' Negroes to make a living in this sphere in proportion as they recover from their education and learn to deal with the Negro as he is and where he is."

 Amos Jones ('06) is a Visiting Scholar in the Faculty of Law at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Reach him at amosjonescomment@aol.com-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- © Copyright 2008 The Record Amos Jones in Australia AMOS N. JONES is a Washington, D.C., attorney who recently served for nine months as a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar and Visitor to the Faculty of Law at the University of Melbourne's Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies. He analyzed the influence of political culture upon the legal development of the Bill of Rights and collateral social allowances proposed for Australia.

 In addition to lecturing and speaking, Jones served as a Residential Tutor in Whitley College, the Baptist College of Victoria, while writing his occasional column in the Harvard Law Record.  Jones’s scholarship focuses on the law of racial discrimination, the development of international human rights, and the role of religion in lawmaking.

 He has advised legal practitioner-scholars in the Republic of Georgia on liberty provisions of that country’s constitution drafted after the Rose Revolution of 2003. Jones’s recent publications include Crimes of the Holocaust, an international law book note at 19 HARV. HUM. RTS. J. 299 (2006); The Ghosts of Ward’s Cove, an employment-discrimination article at 21 HARV. BLACKLETTER L.J. 163 (2005) (D. Alexander Ewing, co-author); and Black Like Obama, a constitutional law essay at 31 T. MARSHALL L. REV. 79 (2005). Jones’s recent publications include Setting Aside the Will of the Plaintiffs, a professional responsibility article at 23 GA. ST. U. L. REV. 289 (2006), and Egypt’s Competitive Liberalization in Services: Bilateral, Regional, and Multilateral, an international-trade article (co-authored with Professor Mohamed Hassanien) in 16 CURRENTS INTL TRADE L. J. (2007).

 Last year Jones earned the Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard University, where he served as an Executive Editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal and the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal and was a Columnist for the Harvard Law Record. In Cambridge, he also served as a Research Assistant for Professors Lani Guinier, Charles Ogletree, and Kenneth Mack and as a fund-raiser among alumni for the Harvard Law School Fund, a five-year, $400 million capital campaign. Jones spent his law school summers in large, international firm settings in Washington, D.C., and New York City, concentrating in International Trade Regulation, Labor/Employment Litigation, and Public Law and Policy Strategies.

 In 2003 Jones earned the Master of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as President of the Columbia Journalism Guild and Resident Trustee on International House New York’s board. Before entering graduate school, he worked as a journalist in the southeastern United States for Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers of the New York Times Company, Cox Newspapers, and Knight Ridder, all Fortune 500 publishing companies.

While working as a News Copy Editor for The Charlotte Observer in 2000-01, Jones also was a Staff Violist in the North Carolina city’s fully professional Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra. Jones earned the Bachelor of Arts cum laude in political science from Emory University in Atlanta, which he attended on the full, academic merit-based Woodruff Scholarship and where he was awarded the Burt and Betty Schear Family Prize as the Emory undergraduate most likely to make a uniquely positive impact on his or her universe.

 USA Today placed Jones on the national newspaper’s Year 2000 All-USA College Academic First Team, ranking him as one of the twenty most outstanding college students in America. He is a 1999 Harry S. Truman Scholar, carrying a distinction conferred annually by the federal government upon not more than eighty-five college juniors in recognition of leadership potential. In July 2000, he addressed 1,000 delegates at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church, affirming the denomination’s historical relationship with Emory University.

 He served as an American Honors Student Delegate to the Academy of Achievement’s October 2000 summit in London, England, which culminated in the Banquet of the Golden Plate at Hampton Court Palace. Jones is a native of Lexington, Kentucky, where in 1996 he received the Commonwealth Diploma and was named a National Merit Scholar at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. On January 17, 2006, he returned to his home state to deliver the first offering in the Christian Vocation & Public Life lecture series at Georgetown College, a Baptist-affiliated liberal arts institution chartered 1829.

RENEWAL

By

Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

12/30/2016

TriceEdney -- For years, I’ve listened with great interest to messages of inspiration, hope, and motivation. Some may think many are too commercial, but I welcome the perspectives of positive speakers like Dr. Willie Jolley, Joel Osteen, and Michelle Obama. Each, in his/her own way, seems to live the messages of self-help she/he delivers and has prospered from it. They affirm their belief that the same prosperity is available to those who would only reach for it in true faith. 

I take great solace from the messages of inspiration delivered by many great theologians who reach out with messages designed to provide uplift to those weary with and overcome by the trials and travails of daily life. They serve as a beacon of hope to those willing to live their lives in faith.

In my own life, I’ve made self-directed and aspirational motivation a part of my daily routine. I’m rooted in the belief that the essence of a healthy life is a healthy mind and place the health of my mind in the hands of God.  I believe that, in periods of distress or trouble, He is willing to protect me and can deliver me from any misfortune. I have great faith in my God and the skills and gifts with which He has endowed me. I cannot allow myself to believe that He would place an insurmountable obstacle in my way.     

The greatest motivator and guide through this life we live is God.  Most of His greatest life-remedies can be found in the Book of Proverbs.  In fact, if you look closely enough, most, if not all, of the recommendations suggested by great speakers can be found in Proverbs - hidden in plain sight!

Irrespective of any individual life, God's plan for His Creations is one of renewal and redemption.  I know you've heard it said that “God is a God of Second Chances."  In His infinite Wisdom, He has given us markers and transition points by which we can measure our success, the limits of our tolerance or at which we must start or start again. In our lives, we use seconds, days, weeks and years as these markers.

God also uses each sunrise, sunset, and changing of the season as markers for us to use in navigating through life. Each of these transition points signals a beginning or ending, and gives us the promise of something new to come - something new for which we can look forward. By providing us with these markers, God signals us that any problem we encounter is temporary at best (or worst) and that with faith we can move through it and past it.

Looking forward to 2017, I see and believe we have a need - greater than before - for the faith to move into the future. Current circumstances suggest that this year, and the coming four years, will change the nature of our country and the world. 

Security for the vulnerable seems at risk while the rich and powerful seem to be welcoming a period of greater prosperity. The politics of divisiveness appear to have overtaken the aim of seeking a society of greater commonality and good. 

Health and education appear to be moving into a period where the right to both will be dictated by the depth of one's bank account.

As with the fox and henhouse, the administration of (in)justice appears to be moving into the hands of those intent on turning back the clock of progress.

Despite the appearance of a future filled with great negativity, I know that God will cause the sun to rise, the seasons to change and fill our future with the opportunity to renew and do greater good. 

I wish you a Happy New Year.

(Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women.  202/678-6788.  www.nationalcongressbw.org)

A Gift Beyond Description Dr.James Richmon Shady Hill Baptist Church Roxboro,NC . A Gift Beyond Description (2 Corinthians 9:15; Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:1:14). The text is only 8 words long. Paul says, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift or His indescribable gift. It is the time of year when we are trying to choose the right Christmas gifts for special people in our lives. What kind of gift does it need to be in order to be called "indescribable?" Is it a gift that will - evoke emotion - cause commitment - engender friendship - promote relationship - create making up - last forever - instill treasured memories?

On "Good Morning America", some ideas of gifts that might be called indescribable were presented. One was a Jaguar 220 automobile that cost $587,000 and they only make 250 of them a year. Now the wax to keep the paint job looking good cost $3,400 for 8 ounces. I guess if the giver can afford the automobile, the receiver ought to be able to buy the wax. If you decide to give your pastor a Jag 220, just throw in the wax to make it truly an "indescribable" gift.

Good Morning America also mentioned a $300,000 gold and silver toilet seat inlaid with precious stones. I guess someone can sit pretty on a seat like that, even if there is no number one or two to do. Of course there were cheaper gifts - an $18,000 frisbee - a $10,000 yoyo - a $12,000 mousetrap - a $27,000 pair of sunglasses - and for the proud grandparent, a $28,000 pacifier! Such gifts are mind boggling, but they are not indescribable. The manufacturers can and do spend lots of money describing them on TV, and in newspaper and magazine ads. Every human gift is describable by someone (a diamond by itself™ carat, clarity, and cut or facets; gold by itself™ purity, pressure, and polish; a gem by itself™ rarity, richness of color, rendering or supply; clothes by the brand name, even if it made in China, Bangladesh, Mexico or Hong Kong; a person by oneself™ family lineage - father and mother - grandfather and grandmother - in-laws and out-laws - and possessions).

In today's text, Paul begins writing about human gifts. The church at Corinth is taking up offerings to give to the poor Christians in Jerusalem. Paul commends them for the eagerness to help, and reminds them that those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly, but those who sow generously will reap generously. Then, the text shifts from human gifts to God's gift of sending Jesus to earth for us! At this point, words cannot be found to describe the gift of Jesus. The statement simply says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

" At this time of year, we do our best to depict and portray God's gift of Jesus to us. Musicians have composed some of their greatest music on the this theme: Handel's "Messiah"; Bach's "Christmas Oratorio"; and the beautiful hymns of "Joy to the World", "Silent Night"," O Little Town of Bethlehem", and the more popular songs of White Christmas, the Christmas Song (chestnuts roasting on an open fire), Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and Fevliz Navidad (I want wish you a Merry Christmas).

Poets, painters, and sculptors have used the tools of their trade to pay tribute to Jesus, God's indescribable gift of love! There are at least four reasons why the Gift of Jesus is Beyond Description. It is because of His: 1st . Nature (How do you describe - a baby born of a virgin - God with us in flesh - one who is completely and eternally Holy - one who is sinless - one without an earthly father - the Son of God - one who is perfect in the Godhead and humanity - the gift of Jesus to a commercially minded and sinful people?

There is something about His - makeup - measure - mind-set - manger---- that's beyond human and verbal description! 2nd . Purpose (When God looked at us, He knew that our greatest need was not more - wealth - knowledge - government - power - churches - servants - Christians. Our greatest need was the gift of a Savior. So, He sent Jesus to earth that we might be redeemed for sins.

There is something about His - plan - position - presence - power ------ that's beyond human and verbal description! 3rd. Grace (Not from - sales - wrappings - requests - works - seeking - wisdom - hoping - service - preaching - singing - praising - righteousness. It's free! It's a gift beyond description. It's God's gift through Jesus Christ! There something about His - fulfilling - feeling - future - fortifying or added strength (like bread with added vitamins, minerals and fiber, Jesus was fortified with love, healing power, patience , compassion and sinlessness or purity) ---- that's beyond human and verbal description 4th. Effect ( This indescribable gift is "the gift of gifts."

This gift changes - sinners - hearts - criminals - thoughts - minds - outlooks - directions - lives - traditions - doubters - possibilities (all things are possible, if you only believe) - past - present - people here, there and everywhere! The effect of the gift offers - forgiveness - protection - salvation - eternal life - peace - heaven (a mansion/kingdom).

There's a Christmas card with these words: If our greatest need had been information, then God would have sent an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, then God would have sent a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, then God would have sent an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasures; then God would have sent an entertainer. But, our greatest need was for forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

The gift of Jesus was sent out from Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. His - Nature - Purpose - Grace - and Effect made Him an unspeakable and an indescribable gift. Truly, a gift beyond description. You may spend a lot of money selecting the best gift for those you love. God spent a lot of time and planning on the first Christmas gift for us.

So, if you want to give the PERFECT GIFT, give the gifts that you'll never - return - exchange - lose - alter - regret - hate - deny - polish. And "His size fits all, His presence is good for all, His way is good for all" His style looks good on all, His policy accepts all, His credit is extended to all, His love embraces all, and His mercy and grace endures forever for all!

That's why we can sing: Joy To The World, because it was Away In Manger in that O Little Town Of Bethlehem when He Came Upon A Midnight Clear, As Shepherds Watched Their Flock By Night, that the invitation read Comes All Ye Faithful on this Silent Night, Holy Night; as We Three Kings of Orient came bearing gifts to see laying in a crib in the stable, a baby A Gift Beyond Description, ’Luke 2:1-14.

Isaiah prophesied that unto us child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name shall be called - Wonderful - Counselor - The Might God - The Everlasting Father - The Prince of Peace - Immanuel (God with us!) . Song: So, Go Tell On The Mountain, Over The Hill And Everywhere, that Jesus Christ is born. Amen. http://www.shadyhillbaptist.org/ Disclaimer

This sermon was delivered during morning service on December 23, 2007 at Shady Hill Baptist Church, Roxboro, NC 27573 by Dr. James A. Richmond, Pastor. Parts of the sermon are adapted from selected readings and messages from various sources on the Christmas narrative without intent to comprise the work of an original author. Contact me with any concerns deemed worthy. Feel free to use this sermon in your ministry to bless and benefit humanity and the church. 336-599-7454 (Redaction 12-10-15)

OUR GOD HAS THE POWER TO MEET ANY CHALLENGE

By

Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

 

In 2008 and again in 2012, Black women played a key role in electing President Barack Obama.  That was one of our proudest moments in history.  We came back again in 2016 and did all we could to save America. Unfortunately, we were not successful. 94 percent of us stood together and voted for the person we believed would be most helpful to our community. Unfortunately, bigotry and an unhealthy amount of sexism took over where even a great number of our white sisters and almost all white men preferred being white to allowing us to break the barrier of 45 men only elected to become President of the United States. There is no denying that a lot of the vote was rooted in backlash for a highly successful President who succeeded despite all the roadblocks put in his way.

 

Early after the election, I decided to tell our members and friends who were having a difficult time dealing with the election results that God’s Got This.  We’ve been through so many challenges in our life time and our ancestors went through even more.  There’s one thing Black women know how to manage, and that’s hard times!

 

We are seeing the conclusion of the term of a President who stood up for the least of these!  He allowed over 20 million more people who had no health insurance to finally have a plan.  He paid attention to climate change and to saving clean water. He brought many young men and women back home from the war zone in Iraq.  He organized a way to help young men of color through “My Brother’s Keeper.” He’s fought for law enforcement reform and against voter suppression.

 

I applaud him for these things as well as for finding a way to get the middle-class tax cuts and the unemployed a new lease on life when he extended unemployment insurance in his first term. He saved the automobile industry.  When he came into office, I think the most urgent thing for the President to do was to lift up the least of these in the spirit of the holiday season.  We were filled with joy and thanksgiving. 

Black women have lifted our voices to tell our stories, tell our truths as we were inspired by our wonderful and brilliant First Lady, Michelle Obama.  She lifted our spirits, and we were proud to have her unveil the Sojourner Truth statue that we were responsible for having it placed in the U.S. Capitol, making Sojourner the first Black woman to be honored there.

 

The President and First Lady have definitely made us proud that we worked so hard to get them into the White House. They did not disappoint us. 

 

What a difference 8 years have made in our lives!  We will never forget the impact they’ve made on our families. 

 

Our challenge is to return to the unity we once had in the Black community, and remember that the same God who was in charge when Barack and Michelle came to us is the God who will take us through the next years as we witness what this new Administration will bring. 

 

From all indications, there will be hardships, but we will get through it if we remember that our God brought our ancestors through slavery, through Jim Crow and a lot of very difficult times. He is still powerful enough to bring us through whatever the new Administration has in mind.

 

We invite Black women from all walks of life to join us in our quest to look out for our brothers and sisters even when others try to pull us apart. Know that our God has the power to help us to meet any challenge.

  

(Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. is National President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.  You may reach her by calling 202/678-6788 or see the NCBW website at www.nationalcongressbw.org)

"For all mothers whose voices are still not heard," I hear your cry! It has always been amazing to me how women can succeed at raising their children with few resources than men in most cases .The great majority of successful individuals assert that their mother is the foundation of their success .Booker T .Washington, George, Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Bill Clinton, this list is just a short example.

I attribute all my success in my life, to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I got from her, said George Washington. The text gives us a great paradigm of a woman who goes beyond the norm as a wife, widow ,and mother .I call your attention to the following verses: Ruth 1:16-18 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. Ruth, the Moabite, became King David's great-grandma. Her lineage... extends all the way to Jesus... because of her faithfulness to the Israelites. She was not a Jewish Semite. Moab was a prosperous country. However, the people worshiped false gods. After the death of Naomi's sons, she was the loyal daughter-in-law who clung to Naomi and followed Yahweh, the God of Israel, giving up her complete heritage and lifestyle.

Unlike Orpah, the other daughter-in-law who separated from Naomi never to be heard of again. At the end of her book, Ruth becomes a wife to the wealthy Boaz' and the mother of Obed's. The Book of Ruth has four chapters which entail the story of a virtuous woman .It was written some time after the period of the judges (1375-1050 B.C.). The books of Ruth and Esther have the distinction of being the only two books in the Bible written about women.

The dominant cultural stereotype of the "good mother, said Coll, is a woman who is married and works outside the home in a job that does not take her away "too much" from her parenting responsibilities. She has no more than two children, and they have no handicaps or behavioral problems; she conceived her children and is raising them in a heterosexual relationship, and she and her spouse are older than 20 and are of the same ethnic and racial background.

Mothers who are compromised in their ability to access resources will be vilified, such as welfare mothers, mothers in prison and mothers who are homeless. Other mothers will be the target of political campaigns such as lesbian mothers, working mothers, and single mothers. "The extent of mothers' self-sacrifices and their ability to cope with everything ... from breastfeeding a two pound newborn... to raising a child who is disabled or has a difficult temperament ...is astonishing," said Coll.

However, just as astonishing ...is society's inability or unwillingness to recognize... the true difficulty of all these endeavors! It has been said, a mother understands what a child does not say." I remember visiting the Greensboro, NC Urban Ministry Homeless Shelter. That facility had 132 beds total ...for men and women. There were 116 beds ...occupied by men and only ...16 occupied by women. This pattern seems to hold true all over the country.

Most churches seem to have more women as members than men. There are more African American Female business owners than men. The percentage of individuals in prison is greater among men than women. It seems that the great common denominator between Ruth and the successful mothers of today is perseverance. This character trait seems to be the foundation for all achievement. I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles, said Christopher Reeve.

What can we learn from Ruth and today's exceptional mothers? The case is clear! God Blesses Diligent and Faithful Mothers. Consider the following: Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth gives up her wealthy country of Moab to stay with Naomi. Ruth gives up her false god to serve the true God of Israel .Ruth is willing to work as a servant in Boaz's fields .Ruth marries the wealthy Boaz. Ruth gives up everything for God and family. Ruth is a labor of love.

When Mothers stay with God and Their Families; God Blesses Them! Trust in the Lord and do well; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:3-5, 7a) Esco Yancey,Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2008 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES

GOD SPEAKS TO HIS PEOPLE IN THE WILDERNESS! And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face (Ezekiel 20:35). For now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known(1Corinthians 13:12).

You feel all alone. You have lost your direction. You do not know where to turn .You feel like a ship that is being tossed , turned and battered by an angry sea! You could feel like you are walking in a cold dark desert at night without a road map home.

So, if you ever feel all alone, like you are in a wilderness all by yourself. You could be in the spiritual wilderness! RELAX YOU ARE NOT ALONE! YOU ARE GETTING READY TO HAVE AN ONE ON ONE EXPERIENCE WITH GOD! TEXT Ezekiel warned the tribes of Judah that because of their apostasy they would be taken captive into Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. Ezekiel preached to Jews of the Babylonian captivity from 593 BC to 563 BC .He also predicts that after years in a spiritual wilderness God would restore their worship and fellowship with him.

God had to allow this captivity in order to have a face to face encounter with his people .It was a teachable opportunity! Paul takes the case further, in the New Testament. He asserts that we do not see things clearly until we come face to face with the Lord .In other words, when we are in our spiritual wilderness , God will speak to us ,if we would only listen.

 We all have a mission in Kingdom Building. Unfortunately, we have to end up in the wilderness to get the message from God. This will be a spiritual face to face encounter with God. COMMON GROUND All believers share a common experience. They all spent some time in the wilderness.

Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Elijah was there. Even Jesus was there. Their examples were meant to guide us as we also pass through the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:11). By "wilderness," we are referring to the times of God's tests and trials in our lives. In Hebrew, the word for wilderness is mid bar. It is surely interesting that the root of mid bar has the meaning of "speak" or "word."

God speaks to us in the wilderness. God also humbles and proves us in the wilderness (Deut.8:2). The wilderness period can last days, or years, depending on how quickly we learn our lessons. Since the wilderness is a common experience of our faith, we need to learn about it. Especially, we need to learn the rules of spiritual survival in this wilderness.

We might ask the question, when are we most likely to experience the wilderness? That is a good question! However, we do some of our best work in the wilderness! Just keep the faith! GOD HUMBLES AND IMPROVES US IN THE WILDERNESS Strangely, these experiences often come on the heels of great spiritual breakthroughs.

 The children of Israel were just miraculously delivered through the sea as they escaped from Pharaoh and Egypt. They had also just received the Torah (law) and had experienced the very presence of the Living God in smoke and fire. Very soon after their mountain-top experience, they had to wander in the wilderness.

Many centuries later, after Jesus was baptized and after he heard the voice of God speaking to him from heaven (Matt. 3:16-17). He was led into the desert to be tempted by the devil forty days and forty nights.

GOD WILL NOT FORSAKE YOU OR LEAVE YOU ALONE! SUCCESSES IN THE WILDERNESS: Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote his great letter from the Birmingham Jail. Colleges all over the world are using this material today in their classrooms. He did this in the wilderness!

Fred Shuttlesworth leads the successful civil right movement in Birmingham, Alabama right after he was beaten by a mob, wife stabbed, and his home was bombed .He did this in the wilderness!

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin after overcoming her depression about the loss of her mother .She did this in the wilderness! Jacob needed a blessing in the wilderness. He wrestled with the Lord's Angel all night. After that experience, he cried I have seen the Lord face to face!

 Ezekiel the prophet predicted that the Lord would bring his people to the wilderness and speak with them face to face. Paul wrote his greatest epistles to the church in jail and finally on death row!! He said, endure hardness like a good soldier of Jesus Christ! He was tried and found guilty of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ by the Roman Courts.

Jesus was also sentenced to death because he told the world that he was the Son of God. However, he warned the world by saying...that if you lift me up I will draw all men unto me. He started his ministry in the wilderness.

WILDERNESS PRINCIPLES :THE CASE IS CLEAR! GOD USES THE WILDERNESS TO FULFILL HIS PURPOSE FOR OUR LIVES! WILDERNESS PRINCIPLES: 1.Wilderness experiences are learning opportunities 2.Face to face opportunity with God 3.Listen for God's message 4.Opportunity to clarify your mission 5. Opportunity for a closer walk with God. CONCLUSION Despite these negative wilderness associations, we know that Jesus often went to the wilderness to seek solitude and respite.

 Indeed, Gerhard Kittel believes that for Jesus the wilderness is a place where nothing separates him from God. What he primarily seeks there is the stillness of prayer. The Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness so that he may have time apart with God to prepare him for his public ministry, time that is interrupted by Satan. However, Jesus refuted Satan in the wilderness simply by quoting the word of God in Scripture to combat each of his attacks.

 When Paul was on death row, he only had a few more days left before he was to be executed .He urged us to endure hardness like a good soldier .He said; he ran the race and he had fought a good fight! He kept the faith. You might be in the wilderness with your career, children, home, finances, health, or ministry. Your way could be as dark as night! GOD-- IS SAYING--RUN THE RACE--FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT--FINISH THE COURSE--KEEP THE FAITH--THOU GOOD AND FAITHFULL SERVANT! Esco Yancey,Jr.,Ed.D

 

FATHER KNOWS BEST! For all fathers, especially Black Fathers, whose voices have not been heard, I sense your pride, feel your pain and hear your cry! Today is your day! The role of black fathers is one of the strongest and most important traditions in the black community. There is no question that in their earliest years in the New World enslaved African-Americans were concerned about their fathers- Moreover, their loyalty to their fathers.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN! The president of the Chicago branch of the Lions’ Club, Harry Meek, is said to have celebrated the first Father’s Day with his organization in 1915; and the day that they chose was the third Sunday in June, the closest date to Meek’s birth date. Ms. Dodd of Spokane Washington did a lot for father’s Day. Ms Dodd felt she had an outstanding father .He was a veteran of the Civil War. His wife had died young, and he had raised six children without their mother. Her church, then started celebrating Father’s Day. States and organizations began lobbying congress to declare an annual Father’s Day. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson approved of this idea, but it was not until 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event on the third Sunday in June.

TEXT: I would like to call your attention to the following text for Father’s Day. This scripture is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.

(Luke 15:21-24) THE TEXT AND ITS APPLICATION! The text deals with the parable of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke. This account is familiar to most of us. It's the story of a rebellious son who rejects his father's upbringing. Prideful and strong, the son heads-off to a far-away land, leads a wild life of adventure, and squanders everything of value (literally and symbolically). Not until he's confronted with failure and despair, does he return home, repentant and willing to do anything to win back his father's favor. To his surprise, and the surprise of others, he's welcomed, without question, into his father's loving and forgiving arms. No amount of time, no amount of money, and no amount of rebellion could get in the way of the father's patience and unconditional love for his son. "For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:24).

Of course, the awesome message of this parable is that God is patient and gracious with all of His children. He is willing to welcome each of us home into His loving and forgiving arms. The Prodigal Son is a reality for many of us. In the journey of life, we soon realize there are no guarantees as Christian parents. No matter how hard we strive to teach our children about God and His Word, and no matter how often we pray for our children to discover Jesus Christ and His message of salvation, some decide to reject it all! Even in those families where God is loved, trusted and glorified, children sometimes rebel and run from their roots! PRODIGAL SON!

The road to God for each Prodigal Son is different. However, as the two stories above tell us, we should never give up - no matter how far away they seem! God gives us these examples in scripture so that we realize that our children may turn against God. He also gives us instruction on how to dig in spiritually for our prodigal children: Be in constant prayer, always lead by example, and follow through with love and grace, no matter how despairing things get.

WHAT IS A GOOD FATHER! Remember God's promise to those who raise children in a Christian home: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).This is the foundation for fatherhood or parenting period! Great fathers make God the head of the house!

What is a good father? The text seems to emphasize three major qualities of a good father. They are “love by example, a€ patience and unconditional love. I am sure there are many others. EXAMPLES OF GOOD FATHERS! Gardner Taylor is now 88 years old. He is considered one of the fifteen greatest English speaking preachers in the world. He was asked who had a major influence on his decision to become a minister. He stated that his father was that person. Rev. Taylor said that his father was not well educated, however, he taught himself by reading in many areas. This is a good example of ...love by example.

I was involved in teaching young children chess in the 1980’s.A young man called me from South Africa who was an outstanding teacher in that area and said he would like to come to Raleigh where I was at the time and do a class. I said sure! He came with his father and brother. His father was a medical doctor and his brother was a medical doctor .I was amazed that his father loved and respected his son the teacher just as much as his son the medical doctor. This is a good example of a father’s… love and patience.

I was very blessed growing up. I had the pleasure of growing up with my father and grandfather. They were both God fearing men. They were both farmers. They taught me great work ethics. I had to work very hard on the farm from the time I was six years old. However, we had a lot of down times. I still can remember the fishing and hunting trips I went on with my father and grand father. There were many times my father could not go with us; my grandfather and I would go fishing or hunting. They were great examples of how to work hard and have quality down time. When I did something wrong they were quick to show me the error of my way. When I got in trouble, they always knew what was best and could lead me in the right direction. My father and grandfather were great examples of …unconditional love.

PRODIGY SON! My brother George learned much from them! He is a third generation farmer and has carried on their tradition well. I heard him say several weeks ago about his accomplishments as a father. He said… that his two daughters had graduated… from college and… owned their own homes. He also has... two grandsons... to follow after him. What a great accomplishment as a father. He was the only child of four who built his career in the same town he was born. The other siblings moved away from home. He had the pleasure of being around my father and grandfathers all of his life. He has been successful in farming, mechanical engineering career, personal building and construction. He and his wife have also been successful in the assistant living business.

Now, his leadership impacts the lives of hundreds of individuals in the community, on the job, and among family members. He and his wife were invited to the White House to be ...recognized by the... president for being ...successful minority business owners.

THE BLACK FATHER! Belle Hooks, in her "Ant I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism" (1988), reminds us that "scholars have emphasized the impact of slavery on the black male consciousness, arguing that black men, more so than black women, were the real' victims of slavery." She documents the reality that "sexist historians and sociologists have provided the American public with a perspective on slavery in which the most cruel and de-humanizing impact of slavery on the lives of black people was that black men were stripped of their masculinity, which the psychologists and historians argue resulted in the dissolution and overall disruption of any black familial structure."

BLACK FATHERS WILL OVERCOME! I HEAR GOD SAYING...KEEP THE FAITH...FATHER KNOWS BEST! Regarding family and personal relationships, today's African-American males are no less sensitive than their forefathers. According to one black physician, "black men come to the psychiatrist's office in large numbers, in pain and genuinely seeking help. They have little or nothing to say about the statistics, myths and other sociological pronouncements so often made about them. Rather, they come in talking about depression, anxiety, frustration, fear, guilt, esteem issues and anger that are most often related to the close, ongoing relationships in their lives," (Henry E. Edward, "Black Families in Crisis: the Middle Class," 1988).

KEEP THE FAITH...FATHER KNOWS BEST! FATHER KNOWS BEST!! CONCLUSION God's promise to those who raise children in a Christian home: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).This is the foundation for fatherhood or parenting period! Great fathers make God the head of the house! Of course, the awesome message of this parable is that God is patient and gracious with all of His children. He is willing to welcome each of us home into His loving and forgiving arms. The same way the father did the Prodigal Son. FATHER KNOWS BEST! HAPPY FATHERS DAY!! Esco Yancey, Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2008 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES

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"For all mothers whose voices are still not heard," I hear your cry! It has always been amazing to me how women can succeed at raising their children with less resources than men in most cases .The great majority of successful individuals assert that their mother is the foundation of their success .Booker T .Washington, George, Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Bill Clinton, this list is just a short example. “I attribute all my success in my life, to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I got from her,” said George Washington. The text gives us a great paradigm of a woman who goes beyond the norm as a wife, widow and mother .I call your attention to the following verses: Ruth 1:16-18 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. Ruth, the Moabite, became King David's great-grandma. Her lineage... extends all the way to Jesus... because of her faithfulness to the Israelites. She was not a Jewish Semite. Moab was a prosperous country. However, the people worshiped false gods. After the death of Naomi's sons, she was the loyal daughter-in-law who clung to Naomi and followed Yahweh, the God of Israel, giving up her complete heritage and lifestyle .Un like Orpah, the other daughter-in-law who separated from Naomi never to be heard of again. At the end of her book, Ruth becomes wife of the wealthy Boaz' and the mother of Obed's. The Book of Ruth has four chapters which entails the story of a virtuous woman .It was written sometime after the period of the judges (1375-1050 B.C.). The books of Ruth and Esther have the distinction of being the only two books in the Bible written about women. The dominant cultural stereotype of the "good mother, said Coll, is a woman who is married and works outside the home in a job that does not take her away "too much" from her parenting responsibilities. She has no more than two children, and they have no handicaps or behavioral problems; she conceived her children and is raising them in a heterosexual relationship; and she and her spouse are older than 20 and are of the same ethnic and racial background. Mothers who are compromised in their ability to access resources will be vilified, such as welfare mothers, mothers in prison and mothers who are homeless. Other mothers will be the target of political campaigns such as lesbian mothers, working mothers and single mothers. "The extent of mothers' self-sacrifices and their ability to cope with everything ... from breast feeding a two pound newborn... to raising a child who is disabled or has a difficult temperament ...is astonishing," said Coll. However, just as astonishing ...is society's inability or unwillingness to recognize... the true difficulty of all these endeavors! It has been said,” A mother understands what a child does not say." I remember visiting the Greensboro, NC Urban Ministry Homeless Shelter. That facility had 132 beds total ...for men and women. There were 116 beds ...occupied by men and only ...16 occupied by women. This pattern seems to hold true all over the country. Most churches seem to have more women as members than men. There are more African American Female business owners than men. The percentage of individuals in prison is greater among men than women. It seems that the great common denominator between Ruth and the successful mothers of today is “perseverance.” This character trait seems to be the foundation for all achievement.” I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles,” said Christopher Reeve. What can we learn from Ruth and today’s exceptional mothers? The case is clear! God Blesses Diligent and Faithful Mothers. Consider the following: Ruth refuses to leave her mother in-law Naomi Ruth gives up her wealthy country of Moab to stay with Naomi Ruth gives up her false god to serve the true God of Israel Ruth is willing to work as a servant in Boaz's fields Ruth marries the wealthy Boaz Ruth gives up everything for God and family Ruth is a “labor of love.” When Mothers stay with God and Their Families; God Blesses Them! Trust in the Lord and do well; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:3-5, 7a) Esco Yancey,Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2008 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES

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I would like to submit to the hearers of the text that the majority of you would admit that the “Messiah” has come and that the reading of this scripture is an illustration and a celebration of that fact. It is my hope that those who are opposed to this position will be forced to reconsider their conclusion. With this in mind, I believe the following scripture sums up our sentiments today. I call your attention to the book of St John, the 20th chapter, the 24th through the 29th verses: But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus,/ was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples said unto him,” We have seen the Lord.” But he said unto them,” Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails,/and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” And after eight days again his disciples were within,/and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus/the doors being shut/and stood in their midst and said,” Peace be unto you.” Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy hand/and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said into him,/"My Lord and my God.” Jesus said unto him," Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed./Blessed are they that have not seen/and yet believeth." The above scripture deals with a post resurrection incident. The Roman Court and the Jewish hierarchy had put Jesus to death. The disciples that had followed him were confused and frustrated. They had seen their leader put to death. The disciple Thomas ,who was a rational thinker, had heard some rumors that Jesus was alive. He stated to the other disciples that he did not believe it. He said that he would not believe until he saw for himself! Thomas was the last disciple to believe. Thomas was trying to base his religion on empiricism. This is based upon what one can see, touch and observe. Many of us are like this today! This form of thinking has many limitations. Faith is greater than reason! Jesus Christ represents ultimate faith! Without faith, it is impossible to please him! Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of our religion! Faith is not just the utterance of words, however, but a firm belief and conviction with one's mind and heart. It is also a commitment to be acted upon. Jesus does not need your senses to communicate with your heart, spirit and soul! Thomas was trying to evaluate this situation based upon facts and what he had observed. Ultimate faith rose from the grave that Easter Sunday Morning! Jesus rose from the grave that Easter Sunday Morning! Jesus rose that Easter Sunday Morning with all power in his hands! Then came Jesus/the doors being shut/and stood in their midst and said,” Peace be unto you!” If you have fears ,trouble and problems, I hear him saying,” Peace be unto you!" Your way could be as dark as night. I hear him saying,” Peace be unto you!” He can come into any situation and say,” Peace be unto you!" I would like to close by repeating the words of Jesus,” Peace be unto you." Rev. Esco Yancey, Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI)--Click Press for Audio

A Gift Beyond Description Dr.James Richmon Shady Hill Baptist Church Roxboro,NC A Gift Beyond Description (2 Corinthians 9:15; Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:1:14). The text is only 8 words long. Paul says, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift or His indescribable gift.” It is the time of year when we are trying to choose the right Christmas gifts for special people in our lives. What kind of gift does it need to be in order to be called "indescribable?" Is it a gift that will - evoke emotion - cause commitment - engender friendship - promote relationship - create making up - last forever - instill treasured memories?

On "Good Morning America", some ideas of gifts that might be called indescribable were presented. One was a Jaguar 220 automobile that cost $587,000 and they only make 250 of them a year. Now the wax to keep the paint job looking good cost $3,400 for 8 ounces. I guess if the giver can afford the automobile, the receiver ought to be able to buy the wax. If you decide to give your pastor a Jag 220, just throw in the wax to make it truly an "indescribable" gift.

Good Morning America also mentioned a $300,000 gold and silver toilet seat inlaid with precious stones. I guess someone can sit pretty on a seat like that, even if there is no number one or two to do. Of course there were cheaper gifts - an $18,000 frisbee - a $10,000 yoyo - a $12,000 mousetrap - a $27,000 pair of sunglasses - and for the proud grandparent, a $28,000 pacifier! Such gifts are mind boggling, but they are not indescribable. The manufacturers can and do spend lots of money describing them on TV, and in newspaper and magazine ads. Every human gift is describable by someone (a diamond by itself™ carat, clarity, and cut or facets; gold by itself™ purity, pressure, and polish; a gem by itself™ rarity, richness of color, rendering or supply; clothes by the brand name, even if it made in China, Bangladesh, Mexico or Hong Kong; a person by oneself™ family lineage - father and mother - grandfather and grandmother - in-laws and out-laws - and possessions).

In today's text, Paul begins writing about human gifts. The church at Corinth is taking up offerings to give to the poor Christians in Jerusalem. Paul commends them for the eagerness to help, and reminds them that those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly, but those who sow generously will reap generously. Then, the text shifts from human gifts to God's gift of sending Jesus to earth for us! At this point, words cannot be found to describe the gift of Jesus. The statement simply says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

" At this time of year, we do our best to depict and portray God's gift of Jesus to us. Musicians have composed some of their greatest music on the this theme: Handel's "Messiah"; Bach's "Christmas Oratorio"; and the beautiful hymns of "Joy to the World", "Silent Night"," O Little Town of Bethlehem", and the more popular songs of White Christmas, the Christmas Song (chestnuts roasting on an open fire), Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and Fevliz Navidad (I want wish you a Merry Christmas).

Poets, painters, and sculptors have used the tools of their trade to pay tribute to Jesus, God's indescribable gift of love! There are at least four reasons why the Gift of Jesus is Beyond Description. It is because of His: 1st . Nature (How do you describe - a baby born of a virgin - God with us in flesh - one who is completely and eternally Holy - one who is sinless - one without an earthly father - the Son of God - one who is perfect in the Godhead and humanity - the gift of Jesus to a commercially minded and sinful people?

There is something about His - makeup - measure - mind-set - manger---- that's beyond human and verbal description! 2nd . Purpose (When God looked at us, He knew that our greatest need was not more - wealth - knowledge - government - power - churches - servants - Christians. Our greatest need was the gift of a Savior. So, He sent Jesus to earth that we might be redeemed for sins.

There is something about His - plan - position - presence - power ------ that's beyond human and verbal description! 3rd. Grace (Not from - sales - wrappings - requests - works - seeking - wisdom - hoping - service - preaching - singing - praising - righteousness. It's free! It's a gift beyond description. It's God's gift through Jesus Christ! There something about His - fulfilling - feeling - future - fortifying or added strength (like bread with added vitamins, minerals and fiber, Jesus was fortified with love, healing power, patience , compassion and sinlessness or purity) ---- that's beyond human and verbal description 4th. Effect ( This indescribable gift is "the gift of gifts."

This gift changes - sinners - hearts - criminals - thoughts - minds - outlooks - directions - lives - traditions - doubters - possibilities (all things are possible, if you only believe) - past - present - people here, there and everywhere! The effect of the gift offers - forgiveness - protection - salvation - eternal life - peace - heaven (a mansion/kingdom).

There's a Christmas card with these words: If our greatest need had been information, then God would have sent an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, then God would have sent a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, then God would have sent an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasures; then God would have sent an entertainer. But, our greatest need was for forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

The gift of Jesus was sent out from Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. His - Nature - Purpose - Grace - and Effect made Him an unspeakable and an indescribable gift. Truly, a gift beyond description. You may spend a lot of money selecting the best gift for those you love. God spent a lot of time and planning on the first Christmas gift for us.

So, if you want to give the PERFECT GIFT, give the gifts that you'll never - return - exchange - lose - alter - regret - hate - deny - polish. And "His size fits all, His presence is good for all, His way is good for all" His style looks good on all, His policy accepts all, His credit is extended to all, His love embraces all, and His mercy and grace endures forever for all!

That's why we can sing: Joy To The World, because it was Away In Manger in that O Little Town Of Bethlehem when He Came Upon A Midnight Clear, As Shepherds Watched Their Flock By Night, that the invitation read Comes All Ye Faithful on this Silent Night, Holy Night; as We Three Kings of Orient came bearing gifts to see laying in a crib in the stable, a baby A Gift Beyond Description, ’Luke 2:1-14.

Isaiah prophesied that unto us child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name shall be called - Wonderful - Counselor - The Might God - The Everlasting Father - The Prince of Peace - Immanuel (God with us!) . Song: So, Go Tell On The Mountain, Over The Hill And Everywhere, that Jesus Christ is born. Amen. http://www.shadyhillbaptist.org/ Disclaimer

This sermon was delivered during morning service on December 23, 2007 at Shady Hill Baptist Church, Roxboro, NC 27573 by Dr. James A. Richmond, Pastor. Parts of the sermon are adapted from selected readings and messages from various sources on the Christmas narrative without intent to comprise the work of an original author. Contact me with any concerns deemed worthy. Feel free to use this sermon in your ministry to bless and benefit humanity and the church. 336-599-7454

Real Prosperity "For you know what our Lord Jesus Christ gives freely, that though He was rich, for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich,”( 2 Corinthians 8:9). ‘Prosperity theology finds its foundation in the interpretation of several passages of Scripture. One of these is in the Third Letter of John, where in the greeting John expresses hope that the readers "may prosper and be in good health that it is well with your soul". The current form of the prosperity gospel says that this is more than just a greeting or a blessing. It is a way out of poverty. This prosperity gospel has a great attraction to those in poverty. Especially those who see no hope for a change in their status, this seems to be away out of poverty. It appeals to middle and lower income people who have more to loose. It also appeals to individuals on social services and are not highly educated. Here’s how it is sold: God wants you to be rich (and/or healthy), but He can not bless you unless you first send or give money (also known as a “seed-faith offering”) to whichever televangelist, minister or leader who tells you about this proposition. You put your money in and a blessing pops out,’Bible.org. As scholar James R. Goff noted, God is “reduced to a kind of ‘cosmic bellhop’ attending to the needs and desires of his creation.” This is a wholly inadequate and unbiblical view of the relationship between God and man and the stewardship of wealth. ‘The immediate context of what Paul wrote in our text, however, is very clear. He was trying to get his fellow Christians to give money for the sake of other believers who were materially poor in the Jerusalem area. Paul was telling them to give what material wealth they could, so that those who were poor could be helped. The poor would be able to get the things they needed. Does this sound like he wants them to claim wealth for themselves? Paul was not saying "claim it", he was saying "give it", as an act of love. Be careful here, many prosperity preachers acknowledge the Bible's call to give freely, but turn it into a call to give to their ministry’ (which really means 'give it to me’, Apologetics Index. “So I took the word “prosper” apart in the Greek and found out it’s made up of two words—the first word means good or well and the second road. It’s a progressive word, so it’s like a journey. So, here’s John saying, basically,”Beloved, I want you to have a good journey through life as your soul has a good journey to heaven.” It was a greeting! It did not have any thing to do with money,” Jim Baker. Love is spiritual prosperity. In the two greatest commandments, Jesus encourages us to love God and love your neighbor. He said all the commandments are based upon this principle. He also taught his disciples, that if they desired to become great-then ,they should be the first to provide love and service to those in need. ‘In a prosperity gospel, I am what it's all about: my needs, my wants, my wealth, my success. I me mine. The only 'blame' I have is not from my behavior, but from the act of not withdrawing from the unlimited bank account that God has given me. Push the Gimme Button and expect it to come. The desperate and the gullible get suckered into it, especially with such limited-time offers such as the "hundred-fold blessing", the Ginsu Knife of the prosperity crowd, where you put your money down on a 100-to-one bet on God ‘(or the preacher), Spirit Home. But critics, from Bible-quoting theologians to groups devoted to preserving the separation of church and state, abound. At best, they say, such a theology is a simplistic and misguided way of living. At worst, they say, it is very dangerous. Michael Scott Horton, who teaches historical theology at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, Ca, calls the message a twisted interpretation of the Bible – a “wild and wacky theology. “Some of these people are charlatans,” Horton said. “Others are honestly dedicated to one of the most abhorrent errors in religious theology. “I often think of these folks as the religious equivalent to a combination of a National Enquirer ad and professional wrestling. Its part entertainment and very large part scam.” Sociologist William Martin of Rice University said that most people who follow TV religious leaders put so much trust in them that they want them to thrive. Martin is a professor of sociology at the university, specializing in theology. The preachers’ wealth is “confirmation of what they are preaching,” Martin said. …prosperity-tinged Pentecostalism is growing faster not just than other strands of Christianity, but than all religious groups, including Islam. Of Africa's 890 million people, 147 million are now "renewalists" (a term that includes both Pentecostals and charismatics), according to a 2006 Pew Forum on Religion and Public life study. They make up more than a fourth of Nigeria's population, more than a third of South Africa's, and a whopping 56 percent of Kenya's “TBN is a very successful and wealthy Christian broad casting company. This organization supports the doctrine called the "prosperity gospel," which promises worshipers that God will shower them with material blessings if they sacrifice to spread His word. This theme — that viewers will be rewarded, even enriched, for donating — pervades TBN programming. "When you give to God," Crouch said during a typical appeal for funds, "you're simply loaning to the Lord and He gives it right on back." Though it carries no advertising, the network generates more than $170 million a year in revenue, tax filings show. Viewer contributions account for two-thirds of that money. Lower-income, rural Americans in the South are among TBN's most faithful donors. The network says that 70% of its contributions are in amounts less than $50. Those small gifts underwrite a lifestyle that most of the ministry's supporters can only dream about,” Los Angeles Times September 19, 2004. ‘Most Christian leaders condemn the "prosperity gospel," the idea that God will reward the faithful with health and wealth. Yet observers say it is enjoying new popularity in this economically tenuous time, when many people are not prospering. What's come to be known as the prosperity gospel began as a staple of fire-and-brimstone preaching in early 20th-century revival meetings. It surged in popularity with television preachers in the 1980s, until scandals revealed that some preachers used money donated for ministry to support their own lavish lifestyles. Now observers say the prosperity gospel is spreading among churches large and small, denominational and independent, as well as through the ministries of televangelists such as Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Paul Couch and Kenneth Copeland. These pastors, critics say, encourage their followers to "sow a seed" of faith by spending money - often in the form of a donation to their ministries - in order to reap prosperity in the future. ‘Many Christian leaders have long condemned prosperity gospel as aberrant theology, but most did so quietly. No more. In the past year, African-American pastors met at a national conference to discuss a problem they see spreading in their denominations. Mega pastor Rick Warren declared the prosperity gospel is wrong, and he challenged evangelical Christians to focus less on themselves and more on the poor and needy. Critics have even questioned the ministries of such nationally prominent mega pastors as T.D. Jakes – whose Potter’s House does extensive outreach to the poor -- and Joel Osteen -- pastor of Lakewood Church, the largest mega church in the country -- saying their brand of divinely assisted self-improvement is just a vamped-up version of the prosperity gospel,’ Christianity Today. But when prosperity still does not come, and for nearly all it won't, eventually they walk away in bitterness, believing that Christianity is a con job. This undermines the true Christian witness .Christianity, the way it was taught by Jesus, is not and economics system. But the impact of prosperity gospel preachers is undeniable, is found everywhere, and is highly visible. It's also damaging, as the number of people who are embittered keeps rising. The followers, of prosperity preachers, give from their modest incomes, only to see these preachers and their ministries prosper. There is a difference between the prosperity preachers and the prophetic minister. Most of the prosperity preachers have not had seminary training. Professional pastors, such as- Martin Luther King, Calvin Butts, Otis Moss, Jr., James Forbes, and Vashti McKenzie preach the whole counsel of God. These individuals graduated from qualities schools with graduate degrees in divinity and earned doctorates in ministry from accredited programs. They have an understanding of the humanities, philosophy, Bible History, and are even teachers on the college level. They are qualified to explain Biblical concepts as they were intended by the original writers. They can also explain how these principles apply today. The pulpit has been the basic institution for the cultural education of the Black Ccommunity for years. It has also been the force behind civil rights, social justice and community concerns for Blacks Americans. In a real sense, the minister educates the community. Our children are influenced by our pastors. The greatest role model is Martin Luther King, Jr. The prosperity gospel offers false hope and a short cut to success. In the real world, there are no short cuts. This prosperity approach undermines the true Christian doctrine and old fashion work ethics. It is hard to get a blessing when you need a high school diploma. Your money could be better spent on more education. We need to stick with the principles that have made the Black Community successful. Success is not an easy process; it requires discipline. Here are some recommendations: Adults can be trained in trades to earn more Develop and support Black Businesses Educate our children Fight racism in your community Make sure our pastors are educated Mentor young people in the community Pastors must combat the prosperity doctrine Read and be informed Register to vote Work with progressive community leaders. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that a sermon should appeal to the heart, imagination, and the intellect .His sermons appealed to all educational levels. In his message, he included a variety of disciplines: economics, history, science, philosophy, literature, and much more. Most people felt inspired, educated, and they also felt the need to research or read further into those concepts mentioned in his message. His messages forced us to read and study more. This is a good thing for children and adults. This is a good thing for society. One of the major problems with the prosperity preacher is that they do not have a command of the humanities and the correct knowledge of the Bible. These ministries do not model knowledge of educational theory nor do they promote education as the primary tool of success. Education is the major tool, for an ethic group ,to improve in society... not false hope. Your odds at getting a big financial blessing, by giving a prosperity preacher your money, is probably worse than playing the lottery. Jesus taught love for your brother. He also said that the greatest person in the kingdom of God is the least among us. The greatest among us should be the servants of the poor. There is not a Biblical example where Jesus or his disciples took money from the poor so they could live rich and plush life styles. In closing, the worse problem prosperity gospel is creating for Christianity and the world is its syncretism or topological approach to scripture interpretation. This approach has been condemned for years. These ministers will take a scriptural verse and interpret it according to what it means to them. Even though, it could sound logical; it is not sound. Rules of higher criticism require ministers to interpret scripture in the context of the history, sociology, and culture of the time. Your job is to understand what the original writer intended in the text. Most scripture compares a pastor to a good shepherd who takes care of his flock. This is pretty much the example Jesus established himself. However, the prosperity ministers have reversed the concept. They are trying to accumulate wealth by taking money from the flock .They would like for the poor flock in many cases… to provide for all their needs.They are fleecing the flock. Esco Yancey,Jr.,Ed.D.(ACSI).© 2008 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES
By Connie King-Young, Mentoring Coordinator I saw a diagram recently that really got me to thinking about our youth, but at the same time it made me sad. Too often youth are written off as society’s hopeless and hapless, but they are neither. Young people are in dire need of guidance, encouragement and the tools necessary to build a successful future. These same youths are the ones who will sit in our chairs, run the businesses and make vital decisions as to what will happen to the prior generation – us. We must take a proactive part in their welfare now. Dr. Benjamin Carson, Sr. said it best during his visit to Ocala. He challenged us that the state of our youth is not one group’s problem, but everybody’s. If we train, teach and invest in them, the less money we will spend to rehabilitate and resuscitate them; either we participate on the preventive end or pay later at the penal end. The below statistics were provided by the Department of Children and Families from a study conducted in 2006. Outlined were common factors involved of families whose children who had been removed from their homes during some part of 2006. • 90% were un-churched or had no faith involvement • 88% were from single parent homes • 86% came from families with no high school or college education • 79% had unemployed parents • 71% had no formal childcare setting (latchkey kids) • 75% were not involved in the community 40 years ago Jack Eckerd, the founder of the Eckerd Drug store chain and Eckerd Youth Alternatives, Inc. sensed a need to help at-risk youth tap into their inner strengths and talents. He began by putting them in a wilderness outdoor therapeutic environment. The organization has evolved into a continuum of care with more than 40 programs nationwide. You may have heard of the Hi-Five program in Marion County, but not sure of its purpose. The Hi-Five program is an early intervention and prevention program that teaches 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students empathy, conflict resolution, problem solving skills, and anger management. The Eckerd Mentoring Program is the latest effort of responsibility to youth. This mentoring program is unique in that it provides children of prisoners educational and relaxation opportunities outside of the classroom. The youth is matched with an adult who will model positive behavior. The mentor will spend a minimum of one hour per week for one year with the youth. I am touched by the solid response from the community. Teach a young man how to fish, or another woodworking skills, share your passion for model cars or airplanes; perhaps a young lady could learn how to quilt, explore a higher education; the sky is the limit, because all of us have so much to teach. If you are unable to mentor, please give the information to your local church or civic group. We must find a common ground and build on it. Please call (352) 445-1410 for more information.

By A. Carl Prince, M.Div. July 10, 2006 While the 1st and 2nd Century verdict of preaching was perceived as foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to Jews, it is my pervasive predilection that the core and circumference of liturgical life militates around preaching. So essential is preaching in the life of the ecclesiological arena and secular culture that in Romans 10:14-15, the Apostle Paul posited the following threefold interrogative. How, then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Consequently, I am categorically convinced our spiritual formation is shaped by preaching, e.g.-that which we believe and hold true theologically and anthropologically is hammered out on the anvil of preaching and is generally enunciated by a perpendicular personality called the preacher. Philosophically, the Apostle Paul saw the preaching of the gospel as his ontological obligation and its abandonment as an affliction. In terms of preaching the gospel, Paul posited in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” What is this phenomenon called preaching? Couched in ambiguity a clarification of the phenomenon of preaching are many splendid things. To say the least, the phenomenon of preaching is multicultural, multi-linguistic, multifaceted as well as unquestionably multidisciplinary. Not only is preaching a multicultural art form that addresses the cultures of countless countries and ethnic groups; preaching is multi-linguistic, lifted in various languages around the globe. As a multifaceted phenomenon encompasses many genres of preaching that will be addressed in greater detail later in this exchange. In a multidisciplinary manner preaching speaks to a range of psycho-social and spiritual contexts. Comprehensively preaching comprises all the preacher says and does both verbally and nonverbally. Categorically preaching is both a visual as well as vocal process. Preaching is an articulate as well as well as anatomically action-oriented activity. While we may not always perpendicularly and piously posture ourselves behind an ecclesial dais expounding the Word of God, we preach through our human interactions. These visualized, action-oriented preaching presentations beyond the sacred desk often provide a public theater of our persons that speak louder than any sermon ever preached in the parish. They linger longer and arrest the attention like none other. In terms of the art of preaching, Homiletics is the science of preaching and teaching and comprises all forms of preaching, viz., the sermon, homily and catechetical instruction. Consequently, preaching is no helter-skelter exercise in empty elocution. There is a procedure and progression to preaching. There is a course of action to its engagement, even a method to its madness. Sermonic presentations or preaching isn’t monolithic but pluralistic. There is no infallible, all encompassing global cookie-cutter approach to preaching. Nonetheless, preaching remains at its core a process. In his book, The Certain Sound of the Trumpet, the late pulpiteer, educator, theologian and par excellence homiletician Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor posited a dialectical method of preaching. In this prophetic paradigm, he emphasized an antithesis, thesis, synthesis methodology of preaching. The late Dr. Miles Jerome Jones, former pastor of Providence Park Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia affirmed Paul Tillich's correlation method of preaching. Through the correlation method, Dr. Jones, as skillfully as the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci placed paint on canvass, made preaching come alive in all of its hues. In the book entitled On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, Fourth Edition, by John Broadus, Vernon Stanfield hones in on topical, textural, topical-textural and expository preaching. In Preaching, Fred B. Craddock lifts a theology of preaching that proceeds from silence, is heard in a whisper and is shouted from the housetop. In Homiletic by David Buttrick, Buttrick lifts the moves and structures of preaching, the place of preaching, the language and style of preaching and more. Three of the most prominent sermons include the topical, textual and expository sermons. Delineated thusly, topical preaching preaches about the bible. Textual preaching preaches from the bible and expository preaching preaches the bible. Other sermon types include biographical preaching that traces the story throughout the bible while evangelistic preaching emphasizes conversion. The genre Redemptive-Historical preaching is considered contextual-soteriological preaching, connecting the biblical context with salvation. While Jesus Christ was the world’s greatest extemporaneous preacher, preaching without notes in the Sermon on the Mount, others remain manuscript preachers who employ notes in their sermonic presentations. History is replete with preachers who waxed eloquently unfolding the mystery of the Kingdom of God. Just as their types of sermons preached varied so did the thrust of their message. The leading exponent to the Gentile world the Apostle Paul preached Christ crucified. Peter preached repentance. Bishop Ambrose, the fourth century Bishop of Milan was a mystagogical preacher. The Great Awakening preachers preached fire-and-brimstone. Although there is often a disturbing disconnect between their preachments and political practice, many evangelicals today preach morality. In Preaching for Black Self-Esteem, Dr. Henry H. Mitchell, a venerable, 50 year voice from the black pulpit and theological academia weighed in on the black experience and black preaching offering stellar self-esteem insight to resurrect the buried hopes and dreams of African American youth. In his book Preaching Liberation, James H. Harris, Senior Pastor of Second Baptist Church and professor of Pastoral Theology at the School of Theology at Virginia Union University both in Richmond, Virginia echo Cone as he posits Liberation preaching as the prophetic instrument that restructures society. “Liberation preaching encourages blacks and the poor to participate in the system, to get an education, to get involved in the political process and to do those things that will gradually help to change and transform society.” In terms of preaching in the black church tradition the thesis of Dr. Cleophas J. LaRue, Homiletics professor at the Princeton University Divinity School provide instructive clarity for the homiletic exercise. In short, LaRue’s thesis is that the distinctiveness of black preaching lies in African Americans’ conception of God and their way of interpreting scripture. Moreover the social experiences of African Americans have provided the matrix for both the theological conception and the biblical hermeneutic. While there are a multiplicity of ways of conceptualizing God as noted by Europeans cosmic conceptualizations that maintained the illegitimate system of chattel slavery for four hundred years in North America and Process approaches that see God as universal and indiscriminate in his affection, James Cone, celebrated as the Godfather of Black Liberation preaching posits an alternative view. Cone contends a black theology of liberation is indispensable in altering systemic societal arrangements that run afoul of ethics and integrity. Cone identifies his conceptualization and biblical hermeneutic as antithetical to both Eurocentric and Process theologians indicating, “God is on the side of the oppressed.” For the black theologian James Cone, black preaching is definitive preaching. It not only centers on sin and the ethical imperative to love one another and honor God in our actions but it prophetically pivots on the systemic ills of society and calls both humanity and systems of evil to account. The salient normative in black preaching is its healing anthropological hermeneutic and a hopeful ontological homiletic. Black preaching affirms our ethnic identity and pays homage to both the hope of our existential arrangement as well as our eschatological aspirations. Thus, black preaching, e.g., black homiletics and hermeneutics is contextualized preaching in a decontextualized context. The ontological and epistemological assumptions of black preaching suggest there is something spiritually off center within the culture, something egregiously inconsistent, at venomous variance in humanity that needs eternal atonement, which needs to be spiritually set right. Black preaching then is the preaching of an atonement theology that seeks to set things right cosmologically. It is participatory communication that calls humanity to participate in God’s cosmic call to be spiritually, socially and ecotheologically reconciled to Him. When the black preacher assumes the theological task of speaking on behalf of God, often body bent in a semi-perpendicular posture from the wear and tear of their years, they stand in dignity with a distinctive word from the divine for sun scorched sons and daughters of the Diaspora. Black preaching is an axiomatic word of liberation to captive masses yearning to be free. In the black socio-cultural context Black preaching does not capitulate to the majority culture but seeks to overhaul Western hegemony that routinely seeks to undermine black self-determination. The domains of black preaching are multifaceted and include feminist preaching. Within the framework of theological discourse, the epistemological mandate of feminist preaching is to challenge and seek to shift the paradigm of androcentric patriarchal structures and stereotypes that unceasingly undermine and interrupt women’s authentic and equal access, inclusion and advancement in the ecclesia. Grounded in an unashamed understanding of the call of God upon his/her life, black preachers’ preaching celebrates the assorted African American genres of God talk. In terms of social justice, black preaching unapologetically speaks truth not only power but holistically to the human experience. Black preaching speaks truth to systemic structures of power from a unique theological, anthropological and historical vantage point. It lifts a prophetic word to its oppressor through perpendicular personalities that have been personally pierced by the pain and paralysis of poverty and prejudice. Lest we become arrogant as prophetic personnel, we must remain vigilant that our place in the prophetic peccking order does not become paralyzed by pride. For at best, we are nothing more than dust on duty for divinity. Despite our mega churches, prestigious appointments, conspicuous consumption or copious credentials, we are no more than earthen vessels, soiled servants. Our genesis came from the ground. Though we have been categorically called and commissioned by the cosmic, sent by the celestial and empowered to articulate and advocate on behalf of the eternal, we need to stay grounded, never overlooking where we came from. Let me park here parenthetically to say unapologetically, in a culture that deifies humanity, the office of the pastorate as well as professorships often have a tendency to succumb to egomania. Regrettably, many clergy have developed a catastrophic condition. Tragically too many clergy today have psychologically and spiritually lost connection with their grounding. In their extraordinary arrogance, they’ve developed a spiritual amnesia that has not only caused them to overlook who God is but to disregard who they are not. Many have tragically forgotten who called and commissioned them for Christian service. Rather than celebrate the God of their salvation for His willingness to employ them in his enterprise, like charlatans they merely celebrate themselves. Yet, despite our stratospheric stardom, we need to remain psychologically and spiritually grounded, fully cognizant of the fact that we are not indispensable to the process. While black preaching is not a perfect profession, I am heartened that overall, God still has an innumerable host who are authentically called to the redemptive enterprise and remain grounded in the unapologetic understanding that they’ve been honored to serve in the black preaching profession. Regardless of their positions of prestige, their extensive accolades or the countless thousands they stand before weekly, they understand their identity remains one of disposable dust on duty for divinity. With this anatomical and theological ethos historically, black clergy have ministered to their collective social striving from the contextualization, concretization and conscientization of their African, African American and Christian heritage. In Africa under kings and queens, black preaching was with us. Through our dehumanization as chattel slave cargo aboard blood soaked slave ships of the Middle Passage, black preaching was resident among us. Throughout our African American odyssey as instruments of European exploitation and forced Western acculturation, black preaching sustained us. Though we were compelled to be collateral for colonial commercial exchange, our constant companion has been the apparatus of black preaching. It marvelously ministered to our masses mired in misery. Black preaching honors our ancestry’s slave religion, acknowledges the anguish of our American experience. Black preaching preaches hope to the hurting huddled masses despite their often hellish conditions in a politically raging inferno. Black preaching is hopeful preaching in pathos. It calls the black community to dare to dream despite its Western destabilization deprivation, degradation and often disintegration in their contemporary context. Let me clarify the goal of preaching in the church and society. The goal of preaching is not to pander to the preconceptions of the pew, politicians or the mainstream media. Neither is the goal of black preaching to prove the preacher’s perspicuity, i.e., their prophetic grandiloquence. The goal of black preaching is redemptive communication through divine revelation for the purpose of holistic liberation through the dual venues of social and spiritual transformation. In its most uncontaminated configuration, black preaching is not counterfeit commentary but authentic utterance that comes undiluted from the oval office of eternity. Black preaching is divine revelation for the purpose of spiritual education and empowerment. Black preaching is celestial communication with an eye to social and spiritual transformation with the ultimate end of human salvation. Black preaching is informational, inspirational and transformational preaching. Black preaching lifts the light and love of God’s Word for the dual purposes of spiritual emancipation and social empowerment. Black preaching sets free that we might engage in socially redemptive service for the one who has called us out of darkness into the marvelous light. Black preaching was born in African slave religion and has been our constant companion throughout our African American odyssey. The sacred text is the central source and soul of black preaching. Black preaching is the locus of faith development. For millennia in the recursive arena of black preaching, faith has been fashioned for billions and whether via trained or untrained black clergy, it was by the foolishness of black preaching that blacks found a stimulus for their faith formation. The preaching trajectory or homiletic arc of black preaching has always included a minimum of six systematic fundamentals including a theology, Christology, a celebration of our theological anthropology as made in the imago Dei, soteriology, pneumatology, and eschatology. While the style may have been different, i.e., mystics, lecturers, hoopers, etc., the black preaching genre has long been intimately acquainted with these distinctive elements under various classifications. Preaching is not a secular but sacred process. In the House of God and the global community, black preaching is a theological exercise exhibited in a sociological context that intentionally seeks the ear of fallen humanity. Black preaching is a portable process. Black preaching is not confined to the lofty pulpits of American, African or European culture. Black preaching is a portable process that crosses continents, cultures, and socio-spiritual conditions. Internationally, black preaching is universal preaching. It is a prophetic word for the world. Yet it is simultaneously in process preaching. That is to say black preaching is never a finished product. Like an unfinished masterpiece, black preaching is dynamic preaching, continuously being conceived, stroked and critiqued by its practitioner as well as its prime mover. While others have weighed in on this matter, I contend preaching a text without a context is a pretext for serious hermeneutical and homiletical misappropriation of the manuscript and any prophetic voice who engages in such is guilty of prophetic malpractice to say the least. Yet tragically, all too many preachers preach with no critical consideration of the context of the text, what the German Protestant theologian Hermann Gunkel considers the Sitz im Leben or setting of the text. The relevant question is how can we preach a particular pericope without doing our exegetical work to excavate and elicit the authentic context or setting of the text? For a proper discernment of the context of the text is crucial for an authentic exegesis and engagement of the text. Black preaching is contextual preaching. It critically examines the Sitz im Laben or setting of the text, e.g.-the occasions certain biblical passages were written for, the genres in which they were written such as in the form of letters, poems of lament, parables, psalms, and songs. Through the Sitz im Leben or social setting of the text, black preaching explores the myriad interrogatives of the text in terms of who the speaker of a passage is. An examination of the Sitz im Laben raises questions of their role in life, the nature of their audience, etc. Taken out of context, the original meaning of the pericope is often shattered. Things literal become allegorical. Poetry is taken as prose and more. Thus, the Sitz im Laben of the text is critical in reconstructing the culture and conditions of the Judeo-Christian tradition for black preaching today. Preaching a text without its proper context creates catastrophic homiletical confusion. What’s more, this questionable exercise raises serious psychological and spiritual questions of the preacher guilty of such malpractice. While other religious preachments pivot on prominent persons, we do not merely preach a prominent person. The person we preach is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity in the express personage of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The apparatus of Black preaching is forever contemporary, continuing to have social and spiritual relevancy today and tomorrow. As quiet as its kept, black preaching like all other preaching is a phenomenon in fitful flux, always striving but never quite arriving and constantly seeking a more excellent way. While I feel strongly there have been many outstanding black clergy across America, several prominent prophets are unsurpassed. In Richmond, Virginia, the persuasive and prophetic, 55 year plus, venerable voice of Dr. Benjamin W. Robertson, Sr. and Dr. John Kinney, Dean of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University come to mind. In Washington, D.C., Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr. stands at the apex of all prophets. In Baltimore, Maryland, the young Son of Thunder, Dr. Jamaal Bryant is unsurpassed. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania no one is more skilled a homilitician than Dr. William A. Shaw, President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. In New York, Dr. Johnny Youngblood, Dr. Floyd Flake and Rev. Al Sharpton remain unrivaled. In Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Charles Adams and Dr. James Perkins transcend anything terrestrial and extraterrestrial pulpit giants. In Atlanta, Georgia, Rev. Dewey Smith is spectacular. In Dallas, Texas, Dr. Freddie Haynes, III. is untouchable. In Houston, Texas, Dr. A. Louis Patterson and Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell are scintillating. Charles Booth in Ohio is a preaching professional. In Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Jeremiah Wright and Rev. Jessie L. Jackson are two of the most anointed and informed intellectuals of the black pulpit ever. In Los Angeles, California, Bishop Charles Blake stands superlative. Finally, former Arch Bishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa is the Godfather of black preaching in the motherland. In a stratosphere all their own are the intellectually exciting and homiletically inviting Dr. Renita Weems, Dr. Katie Cannon and Dr. Vashti M. McKenzie. Posthumous preachers include the late Dr. Prathia Hall, Dr. Martin L. King Jr., Dr. Emmanuel Scott, Dr. E.V. Hill, Dr. E.K. Bailey, Dr. William A. Jones and Bishop Gilbert E. Patterson. Retired preachers include two quintessential princes of the pulpit in the personage of Dr. Gardner C. Taylor and Dr. Caesar A. W. Clark. Black preaching is the black preacher’s perpetual preoccupation. Categorically, like the ebb and flow of the tide, black preaching is an unappeasably unfinished business. The authentic African American cleric of any ilk, having traversed the world, nonetheless, finds preaching insatiably irresistible. In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, it is fire shut up in his/her bones. From American slave plantations through Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Jim Crow Era, Civil Rights Movement, the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa to our 21st century odyssey, black preaching has been and remains a deep and durable phenomenon. Though in many instances black preaching struggles to find its voice and its message is often threatened by megaministries that preach a prosperity gospel that celebrates immediate gratification for the sake of Western assimilation and personal gratification, black preaching shall stand. Black preaching shall stand because God is on the side of black preaching. Despite a new homiletic that emphasizes immediate access; God continues to rouse the moral conscience of the nation through the eloquent intonation of black preaching. While I have clearly left many things unelucidated in this critique, this was done intentionally. For no word on the depth and breadth of black preaching is ever the final word. It is only a word, however erudite. Let me posit as a postscript that black preaching has a rich and robust heritage. Through the ages black preaching has been iconoclastic, organizing and mobilizing the masses to take a stand against oppression to change the world. When the dust settles and the history has been written on the phenomenon of black preaching, I am persuaded it will hear God, the Heavenly Father say, well done thou good and faithful servant. To God be the glory for the distinctive of black preaching! 2006 Mount Hope Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved. Preaching Quiz 1. Explain Apostle Paul’s position concerning the need for preaching? 2. What is the phenomenon called preaching? 3. What is the ontological nature of preaching? 4. What is catechetical instruction? 5. Explain Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor’s method of preaching. 6. Explain Dr. Miles Jerome Jones’s method of preaching. 7. What is the difference between textual and topical preaching? 8. Why Jesus was called an extemporaneous preacher? 9. Dr. Henry H. Mitchell believed in preaching to enhance self-esteem. Please explain? 10. What is liberation theology? 11. What is a deductive message? 12. What is an inductive message? 13. When would you preach an expository message? 14. What is the difference between exegesis and hermeneutics? 15. What is a “griot”? How does it relate to preaching? 16. According to Amos Jones, preaching should do three things. What are they? 17. What roles do your proposition; argument and proof play in preaching? 18. What has been the role of preaching in history? 19. What is the distinctiveness of black preaching? 20.What is biblical preaching? Using Dr.Proctor's method, prepare a 1200 word or less message called, "God is on the side of the oppressed." This project is due by April 30,2008.First,second and third place awards will be given.Contact:escoyancey@yahoo.com

“Not On My Watch!” by Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney For nearly a year, I have been greatly disturbed by the attack on the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ, which has culminated in recent weeks into a media feeding frenzy that, has tarnished everyone in the process. For 36 years, this man of the Gospel and noted theologian has faithfully served his church, his community and his God, by helping those who could not help themselves and by lifting up those who have lost hope. Dr. Wright's ministry has been consistent and his commitment to the faith unmatched. While media critics, who have not spent a day in seminary, and have no idea how to exegete the Gospel, might find his sermons objectionable, Dr. Wright's theology and sermonic delivery are deeply rooted in the faith and sacred traditions of Black Church. For those who do not know Black Church or for those who simply have not taken time to do the research, here is a mini-history lesson. For the first 150 years of slavery, no organized religious bodies ever attempted to convert those who were enslaved. We established our own congregations and churches, based on our African-ancestored traditions mixed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the process, we became committed to the idea of freedom. There were over 300 known slave rebellions in the United States, the vast majority of which were led by preachers of that day, like Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner.Because of that, two white men had to always be present at any slave-led church service. Even while enslaved we had preachers and pastors who spoke to the needs of our condition. Now, there have always been accommodationist preachers, those who go along to get along. In biblical terms, they are false prophets. A prophet is simply one who speaks on behalf of God and God's people. A true prophet speaks truth to power and is not politically correct. The Old Testament prophets were not politically correct. The Apostle Paul was not politically correct. And Jesus, the son of God, was not politically correct. Jesus upset the status quo. He disrupted the comfortable. Remember, Jesus got angry and threw the money-changers out of the temple. Jesus raised some holy hell. So why can't Dr. Wright? You see, true prophets speak for God, use colorful language and occasionally use a non-traditional method to get their message across. There is a strong, historical and contextual relationship between the slave preacher and the social justice, activist preacher of today. And there is a place and role for God's angry prophets—think Amos, Micah, Isaiah and Jeremiah.They spoke on God's behalf to kings, to the poor and to the enemies of their nation. Then there are the 20th and 21st century prophets like Vernon Johns, Martin Luther King Jr., Samuel DeWitt Proctor and Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. The difference between false prophets and true prophets is the false prophet speaks to what the masses and those in power want to hear. The true prophet speaks truth no matter how painful. There is a price to be paid for being a prophet. And Dr. Wright is now paying that price both publicly and privately. It was author Alex Haley who underscored the role and relationship of the Black pastor and their congregations. He said, African American pastors are akin to the African griot, a leader, shepherd, father and the one in whom the story of one's people has been embodied. For Trinity United Church of Christ and the greater African American faith community, Dr. Wright has been and is a formidable griot. At 81, I am an elder in this tribe of social justice preachers, but I, too, can say the legacy and reach of Dr. Wright's ministry has influenced my faith. So what has been lost in inflammatory rhetoric and the talking heads of the day is that Dr. Wright, a theological scholar who speaks five languages fluently, has inspired a church to create over 100 fully-functioning ministries, created seven separate corporations, led thousands to Christ, speaks Sunday after Sunday out of a long and storied, proud and prophetic tradition of our faith. And he speaks in the tradition of the slave-preacher and social justice proclaimer who believed in setting the captives free. Dr. Wright represents the best among us, one of the best in this tribe of prophetic preachers. He has made his church a place where one could express the centuries-old pain of being Black in America, while finding strength for a brighter day. An attack on this man of God is an attack on all those of the cloth who believe in the social Gospel of liberation. And I will not stand for it.Not on my watch.Not today. Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Pastor Emeritus Mount Zion Baptist Church, Seattle Washington Reverend Samuel Berry McKinney served as pastor of Seattle's Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1958 until his retirement in 1998, and provided the longest continuous pastorship in the history of the church. (Mount Zion is located at 19th Avenue and E Madison Street.) Rev. McKinney was a civil rights leader as well as a minister and did much to shape the conscience of Seattle. A Preacher's Son McKinney was born in Flint, Michigan, on December 28, 1926, to Reverend Wade Hampton McKinney and Ruth Berry McKinney. Young McKinney grew up listening to his father preach, watching him fight discrimination in the Midwestern city, and hearing national leaders such as Thurgood Marshall, Walter White, and A. Philip Randolph speak at his father’s church. Although he had every intention of becoming a civil rights lawyer when he enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, a deep inward drive propelled him into the ministry. After serving in the armed forces, he graduated from Morehouse in 1949 and went on to graduate from New York's Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1952. He received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozier Theological Seminaries (Rochester) in 1975. His book, Church Administration in the Black Perspective (co-authored with Floyd Massey) has gone through numerous printings. Mt. Zion Becomes a Major Force in the Community Before assuming the pastorate at Mount Zion, Reverend McKinney served as pastor of Olney Street Baptist Church in Providence, R.I. When he arrived in Seattle, the congregation at the church at 19th Avenue and E Madison Street numbered 800. Forty years later, as a result of his leadership, the church had more than 2500 members, making it the largest black congregation in the state, a church where political candidates have found it compelling to make a stop. Thousands of people have been fed, clothed, counseled, and educated within the walls of the Mount Zion Baptist Church. Early on, the community knew of his stance on human rights and civil rights because he caused his voice to be heard not only in the church but in high offices. He worked to sensitize the community to the needs of the less fortunate, both black and white. He soon became the voice of the black community. In 1961, he convinced his college classmate and friend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to come to Seattle for a speaking engagement. Arrangements were made at the First Presbyterian Church, but at the last minute the church cancelled the agreement. The Eagles Auditorium was engaged, and Dr. King spoke there on November 10, 1961, during his only Seattle visit. A reception followed at the Plymouth Congregational Church. During the 1960s, Reverend McKinney’s civil rights commitment grew even stronger. He marched in the streets of Seattle and, along with the leaders of CORE, NAACP, and the Urban League, pushed for equal job, housing, and educational opportunities. With other black church leaders, he was arrested when protesting apartheid in front of the South African consul’s house. He marched with Dr. King in Washington, D.C. in 1963 and in Selma and Montgomery in 1965. During his 40 years of leadership at Mount Zion, a new African-inspired sanctuary was built (1975), the first black Protestant church credit union in the Pacific Northwest was founded, a day care center and kindergarten were established, and a scholarship fund which annually awards $20,000 in academic scholarships was instituted. Another legacy is the Samuel Berry McKinney Manor built in 1998, across the street from the church. The residence has 64 units, 40 of which are for low-income residents. Reverend McKinney was a founder of Liberty Bank, the first black-owned bank in Seattle and was the first black president of the Church Council of Greater Seattle. He has served on the board of the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Washington Mutual Savings Bank. He is a 33rd degree Prince Hall Mason and a member of the Seattle Rotary, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Sigma Pi Phi Graduate Fraternity. Distinguished Cleric to Retire," The Source, February 1998, p.1; Mount Zion Baptist Church, Pastoral Anniversary and 40th Retirement Celebration (Seattle: Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1998).
I would like to submit to the hearers of the text that the majority of you would admit that the “Messiah” has come and that the reading of this scripture is an illustration and a celebration of that fact. It is my hope that those who are opposed to this position will be forced to reconsider their conclusion. With this in mind, I believe the following scripture sums up our sentiments today. I call your attention to the book of St John, the 20th chapter, the 24th through the 29th verses: But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus,/ was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples said unto him,” We have seen the Lord.” But he said unto them,” Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails,/and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” And after eight days again his disciples were within,/and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus/the doors being shut/and stood in their midst and said,” Peace be unto you.” Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy hand/and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said into him,/"My Lord and my God.” Jesus said unto him," Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed./Blessed are they that have not seen/and yet believeth." The above scripture deals with a post resurrection incident. The Roman Court and the Jewish hierarchy had put Jesus to death. The disciples that had followed him were confused and frustrated. They had seen their leader put to death. The disciple Thomas ,who was a rational thinker, had heard some rumors that Jesus was alive. He stated to the other disciples that he did not believe it. He said that he would not believe until he saw for himself! Thomas was the last disciple to believe. Thomas was trying to base his religion on empiricism. This is based upon what one can see, touch and observe. Many of us are like this today! This form of thinking has many limitations. Faith is greater than reason! Jesus Christ represents ultimate faith! Without faith, it is impossible to please him! Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of our religion! Faith is not just the utterance of words, however, but a firm belief and conviction with one's mind and heart. It is also a commitment to be acted upon. Jesus does not need your senses to communicate with your heart, spirit and soul! Thomas was trying to evaluate this situation based upon facts and what he had observed. Ultimate faith rose from the grave that Easter Sunday Morning! Jesus rose from the grave that Easter Sunday Morning! Jesus rose that Easter Sunday Morning with all power in his hands! Then came Jesus/the doors being shut/and stood in their midst and said,” Peace be unto you!” If you have fears ,trouble and problems, I hear him saying,” Peace be unto you!" Your way could be as dark as night. I hear him saying,” Peace be unto you!” He can come into any situation and say,” Peace be unto you!" I would like to close by repeating the words of Jesus,” Peace be unto you." Rev. Esco Yancey, Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI)--Click Press for Audio
"When Faith Trembles" Biography The Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall has been pastor of the Mt. Sharon Baptist Church in her native Philadelphia since 1978. She graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and is ordained in the American Baptist Church, where she has served on the Advisory Council of the Women in Ministry Project. Dr. Hall was Dean of Spiritual and Community Life, as well as Director of the Harriet Miller Women's Center, at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. She was a Visiting Scholar at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. Prathia Hall was dedicated to the struggle for justice and equality. She participated in the freedom rides and served with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960's. Prathia Hall died on August 12, 2002, following a long illness. Ebony Magazine ranked her as the greatest female preacher; our research supports that conclusion!!! "When Faith Trembles" Do you question God? Some will answer: Never! Others will answer: Of course I do, all the time. Most of us, however, will respond: I try not to; but yes, sometimes I do question God. We often have feelings of anxiety and discomfort when we question, sensing that it is irreverent to question God. We feel that we are stepping outside the appropriate boundaries of the created to creator relationship. When we are in those desperate spaces, when we feel that our backs are pressed to the walls of life, we pray for the faith of Abraham or of Job in his illness when he declared, "Although God is killing me, yet will I trust God." We pray as in that very old hymn: ...for a faith that will not shrink Though pressed by every foe; That will not tremble on the brink Of any earthly woe. Habakkuk is the story of a question written against the pain of ancient Israel's struggles with internal injustice, military defeat, desperation, decimation, deportation and destruction. The prophet Habakkuk had been praying a very long time. But the divine response was a long, frustrating and, I think, enraging silence. Finally, Habakkuk could take it no longer and so he pranced into the holy presence wringing his hands and even shaking his fists at God. God, what's the matter? Is it you, or is there something wrong with my prayers? How many of us stand in Habakkuk's sandals? We have been praying so long and God is silent? We begin to wonder--has God heard us? Or does God care? Habakkuk had some urgent questions for God: How long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you, "Violence!" and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at troubles.... The law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous--therefore justice comes forth perverted. Finally, God answered: Habakkuk. Look and Wait! Look at the nations and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told. God explained that the Chaldeans or Babylonians were being raised up as instruments of God for the correction of the nation's wayward injustice. Habakkuk persisted: God, why are you silent when the wicked swallow the righteous? Soon there was need for deliverance from the deliverers. God's answer was: Write the vision. Make it plain. If the vision seems delayed wait for it. It will surely come. (And in the meantime let) the righteous live by their faith. Next, God's promised vision was that of woe to the wicked: Woe to you who heap up what is not your own. Woe to you who get evil gain for your houses Woe to you who build a town with bloodshed Woe to you who (worship stone and wood, gold and silver)... See there is no breath in it at all. But God is in God's holy temple; let all the earth keep silent before God. God's reply moved Habakkuk from complaint to fervent, reverent prayer: Lord, I have heard of your greatness and I stand in awe of your work. Now, in our time, Lord, revive it, in our own time make it known; in wrath may you remember mercy. So many of us have prayed this prayer, "God you are so great and so good. Please show up right now, in our time. Make your greatness and your justice and your mercy known right here and right now." Finally, Habakkuk testified of a new vision. Not of deliverance via another nation. Not of woe to the wicked. No, this vision was the appearance of the Almighty God. The objective conditions have not changed. Wicked still swallow the righteous and justice is still perverted. The change is in what the praying prophet sees. Habakkuk tells us that he saw God, marching from Sinai toward Edom, for the deliverance of God's people. He tells us that God's glory covers the heavens and the earth is full of God's praise. God's brightness is like light rays flashing from the divine hand. The earth shakes and the nations tremble before the divine gaze. The eternal mountains are shattered and the everlasting hills sink low. The prophet looked, listened and gave witness. "I hear and I tremble within. My lips quiver at the sound, rottenness enters my bones, my steps tremble beneath me." Habakkuk is now ready and willing to wait for God's action. He says, "quietly will I wait for the day of trouble to come upon those who attack us." Habakkuk then gives to us one of the most profound canticles of praising faith and faithful praise in all the liturgy of worship: Though the fig tree does not blossom and no fruit is on the vines, though the produce of the olive falls and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exalt in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength, God makes my feet like the feet of a deer and makes me tread upon high ground. Wow! Is this the same person who pranced into the holy presence and shook his fists at God? How has this transformation occurred? What brings a believer from the point of excruciating questions, to such exultant praise? Habakkuk has had a vision of God. There is the ancient tradition that one cannot look at God and live. Yet it appears that in the Bible, every time God wants to use a person in a powerful way, that person has a visual encounter with God. Prophesy itself can be understood as a glimpse of God. The biblical roll-call includes Jacob, Moses, Job and so many others. God shows up in places God was believed to have abandoned, but we must also ask, could we have ever received that marvelous hymn of praise in Habakkuk 3:17, if ages before, the weary anguished prophet had not trusted God enough to ask God his questions? Do we dare question God? In faith, I must answer, yes! Definitely! By all means! God can handle our questions. Do we believe for one moment that when questions press us to the wall, God, who knows us by name does not know that there are questions tearing at our very being? So when the questions rage, hang up the telephone. Your conversation partner has questions too. Why not take them directly to God? Faith is not faith until it is tested in the crucible of struggle and the fiery trials of life. Elizabeth Achtemeier writes that Habakkuk's questions are not born of doubt. They are questions born of faith. I agree. After all, if all we know about Job is his patience we have not-read the book. Job had raging questions and he confronted God. And even from the cross, our Lord Jesus utters the most agonizing question ever to pierce a grieving heaven and a hurting earth: "My God. My God why have you forsaken me?" God can handle our questions. There seems to be a profound relation between the quality of the hymn of praise and the vehemence of the prophet's questions. Some might consider Habakkuk's exuberant pledge to rejoice in God even when there is famine and utter desolation in the land, foolish gibberish. But Habakkuk's own witness is that there is blessing in the praising. There is strength in the joy. There is power in the prayer. Habakkuk can now wait for God because he has already seen that for which he waits. I have stood in Habakkuk's space. I am sure that you have too. Many of the faithful before us have stood there also. Martin Luther King was fond of quoting James Russell Lowell's wonderful hymn, written for just such moments in our lives when faith trembles. For our time, I paraphrase Lowell slightly: Truth forever on the scaffold Wrong forever on the throne But, the scaffold sways the future and beyond the dim unknown Standeth God within the shadows Keeping watch upon God's own. Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall Interview with Prathia Hall Interviewed by Lydia Talbot Lydia Talbot: Dr. Hall, your powerful message centered on the Prophet Habakkuk's enraged dialogue with God, his shattered faith yet ultimately sustained. Can you talk about when your own faith has trembled; when you too stood in his sandals? Prathia Hall: Oh, my. There have been my moments. There were certainly times back in the Civil Rights Movement when we faced so much pain—shootings, burnings of our churches, the killing of loved ones. Those were difficult moments and yet we were surrounded by God's presence and that's really all we need. Talbot: And the loss of your own daughter, Simone? Hall: Oh, yes. Talbot: Her tragic death. Hall: I am still learning to live in that space. My daughter suffered a massive stroke at the age of twenty-two and died three years later at the age of twenty-five. And it is an awesome question to learn to live in a space without the physical presence of the child of your own body and one who had been in your life for twenty-five years, but I am learning by living the question. Talbot: And your faith is sustaining you? Hall: There is no other way. I have learned through this experience that faith makes it barely bearable. Talbot: The crucible of struggle that shows us the way. Thank you so much, Dr. Hall, for your powerful message. Hall: Thank you.
Live well—wear your own shoes - by Joy Bennett Kinnon MOST women can't wear another woman's shoes. Even if they are the exact same size, another woman's shoes will pinch and hurt and will eventually be flung aside. But while we can't wear another woman's shoes, we sometimes let other women tell us how to live our lives. Overheard at the wedding of a much-married friend--"Is this her last husband?" Overheard at the supermarket about a woman with more than 2.3 children--"Girl, I hope this is her last baby!" General discussion from a group of singles--"How many jobs has she had? Is this her last job?" Overheard at a high school graduation--"You know that gal ain't gonna be much." It is amazing how jackleg soothsayers can pronounce with great finality over your life. Even more amazing is that some women, particularly young women just starting out in life and older women afraid of gossip, try to live their lives by what others say. Focusing on their history instead of their destiny, these women may never achieve their full potential. It's better to just be yourself. As the old Black church Sister once said with ungrammatical brilliance, "It's hard enough being who you is, let alone who you ain't." Serena Williams found that out when she decided to stop trying to copy her big sister Venus and just be herself. She told EBONY, "I was Venus." But she didn't become the No. 1 tennis player in the world until she became Serena. "I realized that I liked doing different things, things' that Venus didn't like to do. I realized that just because she didn't like it didn't mean that I didn't have to like it. It had taken me all this time to realize that my name was Serena Williams, not Venus Williams." She is now at the top of her own game. We recently lost two powerful examples of women who lived their own lives and the world and Black people were richer because of their courage. The first, the Rev. Dr. Prathia LauraAnn Hall, became a preacher when few people believed that women belonged in the pulpit. In 1996 she was one of EBONY's 15 choices for "Greatest Black Woman Preachers," leading the nominees in the magazine's historic first survey of the best women ministers. A community activist since high school and a graduate of the Freedom Movement of the `60s, she told me that the central commitment of her life could be summarized in two words: faith and freedom. Her oft-repeated statement is the mantra of Black female ministers: "I stood in the total authenticity of my being--Black, preacher, Baptist, woman. For the same God who made me a preacher, made me a woman. And, I am convinced that God was not confused on either count." We need women like Prathia Hall to stand in the gap. We need to stop wasting our precious time trying to fit our lives into an accountant's ledger, adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying and tallying the totals. We need to discover what God has called us to do, spending time in prayerful meditation trying to discover our own task. "Service is the rent you pay for living," says Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund. "It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time." There are some pronouncements that cannot be made this side of the grave. As long as there is breath in your body, you can serve. Another Black woman who lived life on her own terms was the writer June Jordan. She knew that life is not a dress rehearsal and there is no time to do it over. Jordan succumbed to breast cancer this year, but she never allowed the disease to define her. The college professor was the author of more than 25 books, including poetry, fiction, essays, journalism, plays and even a libretto. She was defiant in the face of the disease. "I don't define myself by what assaults me or tries to destroy me, whether it's disease or sociopathic hatred," she said. Jordan knew that labels tend to confine and distract and sometimes destroy our uniqueness as women. And what we learn from Williams, Jordan, Hall, Edelman and others is that every day is opening night. We learn from them that every day is a new day and that you are more than the sum totals of OPP (other people's predictions) on your life. The world badly needs your light, your own unique contribution to heal our land. Wear your own shoes. And wear them well. COPYRIGHT 2002 Johnson Publishing Co. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group Prathia Hall grew up in Philadelphia, but her family's Southern roots were deep. Her father, Reverend Berkeley Hall, was a Baptist minister and a passionate advocate for racial justice. Hall was nurtured in what she would later describe as "Freedom Faith," the belief that she was God's child and was therefore loved and important. As a young girl, she lived sheltered from the indignities other black people in America dealt with. But her family could not always keep her safe. At age five, on a train ride South to visit her grandparents, she and her sisters were forced to sit in a car behind the engine. Hall recalls the incident as her first encounter with the dehumanizing effects of racism. Hall attended predominantly white schools until college, so she was insulated from Southern racism. By age 15, Hall ached to join the Civil Rights Movement. After graduating from Temple University, she joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She became one of the first women field leaders in southwest Georgia. Hall and her companions in the Freedom Faith movement found courage and spiritual transformation in the prayers, songs, and examples of their peers. Prathia Hall lived to tell her story. Many who fought with her were not as fortunate. Hall was ordained a Baptist minister and became pastor of her father's church, Mount Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia. She received her doctorate in theology from Princeton, where she specialized in womanist theology, ethics, and African-American church history. In 1982, Hall became the first woman to join the Baptist Ministers Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity. Hall was also an associate professor at Boston University School of Theology, holding the Martin Luther King Jr. Chair in Social Ethics. Prathia Hall died on August 12, 2002, following a long illness. KEY MOMENTS OF FAITH BORN WITH A MISSION Prathia Hall had a sharp eye and ear for the causes that affect social justice, and she described her origins in "freedom faith" as follows: "Well it sounds presumptuous to say you were born with a mission, but I have always had a deep passion for justice. I was raised by my parents in what I believe to be the central dynamic in the African-American religious tradition. That is, an integration of the religious and the political. It is a belief that God intends us to be free, and assists us, and empowers us in the struggle for freedom. So the stories of our history helped me to understand that we were called to be activists in this struggle for justice. " SNCC: ACTIVISM AND DANGER Prathia Hall helped Charles Sherrod to pilot SNCC's 22-county SW Georgia Project. Prathia was one of three voter registration workers wounded by night riders' shots in Dawson, GA in the summer of 1962. Charles Sherrod remembers: "Out of the night that covered us, pitch black, there were two blasts. Jack Chatfield (now an Associate Professor of History at Trinity College/Hartford) crouched, gliding into where I was. Suddenly, he snaps around, explaining quite suprisedly but not too excited - 'I'm hit.' Prathia Hall and Christopher Allen were grazed, one on the finger, the other on the arm. We were all on the floor. We were working together on Voter Registration. We had been shot at. Some were hit. There was blood. We were afraid. Where was the Federal Government? We crawled about on that floor as if we were in Korea on Pork Chop Hill." BLOODY SUNDAY The 600 marchers meant to call attention to their struggle for suffrage by marching from Selma to Montgomery. But state troopers at the Edmund Petttus Bridge blocked their way. Then they attacked. Television cameras recorded the event; public outrage over it led to passage of the Civil Rights Act. But that day, Prathia Hall's faith in the strategy of nonviolent confrontation was shaken. In retrospect, Hall said that a nonviolent movement "has to make space for the expression of authentic anger, even rage…we might have had even greater power if we had somehow found a way to allow space for the expression of righteous anger." CRISIS OF FAITH AND PERSONAL TRAGEDY Through four or five years, Hall struggled through a crisis of faith before deciding to go to Princeton Theological Seminary to take up her father's profession. She became one of the first women ordained in the American Baptists' Association. She suffered through tremendous personal tragedy — her daughter died at 23, after suffering a stroke; and she herself battled continued health problems stemming from a car accident. POST CIVIL RIGHTS: PRATHIA HALL'S NEW MOVEMENT Prathia Hall answered the challenge to her faith by digging deeper. She worked tirelessly through ministry to make a difference. She served on the steering committee of the American Baptist Conference (the Northern Baptists' conference) on the Partnership of Women and Men in the Community of Faith and served as chair of the Program Committee of the Progressive National Baptist Convention. She became known as a womanist theologian. Hall held the Martin Luther King Jr. Chair in Social Ethics at Boston University. Rev. Prathia Hall died August 12, 2002. Biography of Prathia Hall
Amos's Sermon: What I Would Tell Fellow Graduates By: Amos Jones Posted: 4/20/06 CAMBRIDGE, MASS., APRIL 17, 2006 - In preparation for Commencement Exercises and in anticipation of nostalgia, certain to set in as I pack up and move away from this campus, I paid a visit to the Pusey Library, home of Harvard's Special Collections. There I examined Harvard artifacts including old Commencement Programs, which used to be printed in Latin. I was drawn there when I learned that a very distinguished Baptist pastor and 33-year president of Howard University delivered a graduation oration when he received his degree from the Divinity School in 1922. His topic was "The Religion of the American Negro." Eighty-four years later, I would take a similar approach. My topic would be "Social Engineering," my aim to affirm students of all political and social persuasions to contemplate their inevitable functions as social engineers. My speech would go something like what follows. Look to your left. Look to your right. There is no Black House here. Let me explain. On this campus, in this community, racial constituencies are intentionally integrated. All Harvard students have been co-mingled since the undergraduate Houses were made open in the middle of the last century. This has not been the case elsewhere. Amid the tide of social upheaval that defined the 1960s, many institutions similar to ours found themselves distracted from ordinary academic concerns because of extraordinary socio-political events - especially the apex of the Civil Rights Movement. In the wake of its successes, a push from many Black student groups came forth loudly and ceremoniously: "As we come to this campus," the pleading went, "grant us the option of living among our own. We want you to erect for us a special place where we can feel truly at home." Despite some reasonable arguments supporting the appeal, Harvard seemed to say, "Been there, done that." The University, to its everlasting credit, rejected the idea. The result today is one of the most thoroughly integrated environments in the academic world. We stand in the middle of a living example of sound social engineering. In 2004, Americans celebrated what is widely regarded as a high-water mark of social engineering. We toasted 50 years of life under the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. That case declared the concept of separate but equal unconstitutional. And although its impact remains somewhat ambiguous because racial disparities in education remain, the case is generally regarded as prudently decided. It spurred the gradual eradication of legalized racial discrimination in all other areas of American life. Last fall, Harvard University vicariously celebrated the decision in honoring one of the Law School's most influential alumni. Charles Hamilton Houston was the intellectual architect of the legal strategy that resulted in the Brown decision, which was unanimous. Dr. Houston was the first Black editor of the Harvard Law Review. He earned the Bachelor of Laws in 1922 and the Doctor of Juridical Science in 1923. As dean of the Howard University Law School, Dr. Houston acted upon his belief that without the diligence of law teachers and legal scholars, the law might never be more than precedents, with new judgments merely confirming the correctness of earlier judgments. The Brown decision, of course, flatly reversed the 58-year-old Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson. (Talk about bad social engineering!) Thankfully, Dr. Houston and his students, including Thurgood Marshall, set out against that judicial travesty, which authorized from the bench a 58-year reign of terror. Dr. Houston famously and continually announced to his students, quote, "A lawyer's either a social engineer or he's a parasite on society." In September of last year, Harvard Law School opened the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice. But the question remains. Just what is a social engineer? A social engineer, in Houstonian jurisprudence, is a highly skilled, perceptive, sensitive lawyer who understands the Constitution and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of communities and in bettering conditions of the underprivileged citizens. Now, please keep in mind that social engineering, like engineering within the natural sciences, can have positive and negative consequences. The Big Dig in Boston would represent generally good engineering. The levee system that failed New Orleans would represent generally bad engineering. If I have learned anything at Harvard - in the Law School and also in the two Divinity School courses I took - it is that solving vexing problems requires the input of an informed, empowered, and self-aware aggregation of committed individuals. And lawyers are rarely the parties primarily responsible for large-scale social transformation. Lawyers, in fact, are constrained to act upon the requests of clients and potential clients. Social engineering, therefore, is primarily the province of everybody. The Reverend President Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, who spoke from this platform as a Divinity School degree candidate in 1922, articulated the theological manifestation of this mandate. In his capacity as a Baptist pastor, he had written: "This religion reemphasized with new aspects to suit the modern needs will bring forth great moral and spiritual engineers. God grant that I might be one of these among my own people!" It is worth noting that several years later, as Howard University's first Black president, Dr. Johnson facilitated Dr. Houston's promotion within the Howard Law School. Recall, as well, that at the micro extreme, Brown v. Board of Education began with a walkout orchestrated by the late Barbara Johns, a 15-year-old Black girl fed up with dilapidated school facilities in Prince Edward's County, Virginia. At the macro extreme, the fulfillment of Brown's promise was animated by the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., who channeled the will of multicultural masses into an edifice including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. It is already the year 2006 - and there is no Black House here. But we cannot afford to assume that the hardest questions are not re-appearing in other forms. Important choices of substantial societal impact are certain to present themselves over and over. As products of these esteemed graduate and professional schools, we will choose how to respond. We will sit on the premises of what we have learned, or we will stand on its promises. In contemplating our new degrees - these auspicious indications of sharpened sensibilities - may each of us resolve to contribute in some way to rightly transformative social engineering.
Amos's Sermon: Why This Column is So Called By: Amos Jones Posted: 11/17/05 During my 1L year, an extremely impressive member of my Harvard Law School class told me that he was atheistic. He explained that he was unlike his grandparents, that he did not attend religious services. He admitted that he saw no sense in going around a bunch of people who gather weekly "to feel good about themselves." I was startled that somebody so smart could be so uninformed; what he was claiming to avoid is not what happens during typical religious services, which have at their hearts the delivery of a sermon. Effective sermons challenge. They convict. They inspire. They call listeners to self-examination, to choose the moral value systems upon which the sermons are based or, if that decision has been made, to live more consistently with those values. These are the purposes I pursue in this space, the sufficient condition, in my opinion, of a work's qualification as a sermon. It is a happy coincidence that my parents named me after the most famous Amos in history, the one of the Old Testament, who cried out in Iraq, told the truth regardless of the consequences, and was condemned by the authorities for his uncompromising sermons - all during the days around 760 B.C., when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel, presiding over glittering economic prosperity and listless ethical complacency. More recently, it was the American sermon that influenced the first patriot freedom fighters who would help fulfill the American Revolution. (That's one of the reasons for which the Communists shut down houses of worship after the Bolshevik Revolution.) It was the American sermon that startled many ordinary black Americans into active resistance to slavery in America. (That's one of the reasons for which the government of South Carolina virtually shut down the African Methodist Episcopal Church there during the mid-1800s.) It was the American sermon that captured America's imagination and compelled the country to live up to its ideals. (That's one of the reasons for which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.) The Rev. Dr. D. James Kennedy, whose sermons are televised around the world weekly from his pulpit in the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, has written and preached about what happened a few miles from our Harvard Law campus 230 years ago: "The clergy of New England mobilized their flock for war against Britain and stood with them when the 'shot heard round the world' rang out. The Rev. Jonas Clark was the most influential churchman and politician in the Lexington-Concord region at the time of the Revolutionary War. On the night of April 18, 1775, he hosted John Hancock and Samuel Adams at his home. When the warning came that evening from Paul Revere that Gen. Gage's soldiers were advancing on Lexington, Clark's guests asked whether the men of his town would fight. He is said to have replied, 'I have trained them for this very hour.'" Clergy today continue in the grand sermonic tradition, as can be seen on congregations' Web sites. On a recent Sunday in my hometown of Lexington, KY, the Rev. Dr. Michael Mooty, Senior Minister of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), opened somewhat existentially: "How did you get here this morning? … By that I mean, what and who influenced you, shaped your life, so that you came to the conclusion that Christian faith says something fundamentally true about human life and that following Jesus of Nazareth is the way that you can live most fully and most deeply and most richly? How did you come to the conclusion that the church is important, important for the growth and nurture of your own spiritual life, important because together we make a difference, we transform human life and change the world?" Sermons, you see, take up serious questions. In his Rosh Hashanah morning sermon on October 4, titled "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions," Dr. Anthony D. Holz, Rabbi of Congregation K. K. Beth Elohim in Charleston, South Carolina, advised: "The High Holy Day season reminds us that decisions have consequences. This is true for us as a nation, as individuals and as a congregation." The rabbi anchored the message in passages from Exodus and Deuteronomy, reminding congregants in this home of the first stirrings of American Reform Judaism: "When confronted with pressures and problems, it is very important to make wise decisions, the kind that will lead to a better future, because the alternatives are not good. Hurricane Katrina provides a compelling example. … Because leaders at all levels would not or could not find the funds to do what was needed, it is now clear that the water damage and destruction is enormous and the economic costs will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Katrina is evidence not only of a failure of political and economic leadership but also of moral judgment. At the mouth of the Mississippi River, New Orleans is a major shipping port and tourist attraction; Louisiana is a state awash in oil; and the current wealth of the United States is without rival. But the huge income available was never permitted to reach tens of thousands of poor people who lived permanently with poverty and crime and no hope of escape. … [B]ecause (whether led by Republicans or Democrats) our Federal Government ignored repeated warnings and so permitted this state of affairs to continue indefinitely, we are all tainted by the toxic sludge of New Orleans." Sermons, you see, address tough issues. From her pulpit at the Arlington Street Church in downtown Boston, the Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie explained two weeks ago her denomination's tendency to rely on humanistic principles: "[Unitarian Universalists] call ourselves a living tradition; we believe in evolution and reformation, including the evolution and reformation of our faith. We say, 'Revelation is not sealed.' Neither doctrine nor dogma unite us; we are a free faith. There is a through-line, though, of this faith tradition, reflected in our principles and purposes, ethical teachings that express our devotion to the world, this world - not whatever might come next, but what is right here, before us." Sermons, you see, offer challenges to conventional thinking. We today enjoy access to manifold sermonic traditions. Even though we all never will agree on every message or the validity of the foundational authorities, we all can appreciate that sermons often deliver on their mandate to serve as forces for collective good. And that is my aim in writing this column. Amos Jones is a 3L from Lexington, KY. Reach him at amosjonescomment@aol.com. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- © Copyright 2008 The Record
From the Desk of the Editor... Every February, Americans celebrate Black History Month. This tribute dates back to 1926 and is credited to a Harvard scholar - Dr. Carter G. Woodson. The son of former slaves, Woodson spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines and enrolled in high school at age twenty. He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. The scholar was disturbed to find in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population. Woodson took on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation’s history, gaining them a respectable presence in history books. He established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro- American Life and History) in 1915, and a year later founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. However, February has much more to show for its significance in black America history. For example: • February 23, 1868: W.E.D. DuBois, important civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP, was born. • February 3, 1870: The 15th Amendment was passed, granting blacks the right to vote. • February 25, 1870: The first black U.S. senator, Hiram R. Revels (1822-1901), took his oath of office. • February 12, 1909: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by a group of concerned black and white citizens in New York City. • February 14, 1957: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed with Martin Luther King, Jr., as president. • February 1, 1960: In what would become a civil-rights movement milestone, a group of black Greensboro, N.C., college students began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter. • February 21, 1965: Malcolm X, the militant leader who promoted Black Nationalism, was assassinated in Harlem by three Black Muslims, members of the Nation of Islam. In an effort to bring national attention to the contributions of black Americans, Woodson dedicated his life to ensuring that black history was accurately documented and widely dispersed. From Rosa Parks to Tiger Woods, Black History Month pays tribute to inspirational African Americans from the past, as well as those who will make great and lasting impressions well into the future. Unite is dedicated to serving the community and surrounding areas, focuses on positive news and accomplishments of minorities. Unite is published quarterly, with additional special issues published periodically. Subscriptions are $12 a year and can be paid by check or money order. We encourage you to contribute articles for Publication. All submissions are due by the 15th day of the preceding month and are subject to editing and approval. Unite is looking for a part-time salesperson. If you have sales experience and a familiarity with the Ocala community, please contact us. This position is commission-based, and your earnings are only limited by your ability. Patronize our advertisers! They patronize your community and they appreciate your business. 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A Gift Beyond Description Dr.James Richmon Shady Hill Baptist Church Roxboro,NC A Gift Beyond Description (2 Corinthians 9:15; Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:1:14). The text is only 8 words long. Paul says, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift or His indescribable gift.” It is the time of year when we are trying to choose the right Christmas gifts for special people in our lives. What kind of gift does it need to be in order to be called "indescribable?" Is it a gift that will - evoke emotion - cause commitment - engender friendship - promote relationship - create making up - last forever - instill treasured memories? On "Good Morning America", some ideas of gifts that might be called indescribable were presented. One was a Jaguar 220 automobile that cost $587,000 and they only make 250 of them a year. Now the wax to keep the paint job looking good cost $3,400 for 8 ounces. I guess if the giver can afford the automobile, the receiver ought to be able to buy the wax.If you decide to give your pastor a Jag 220, just throw in the wax to make it truly an "indescribable" gift. Good Morning America also mentioned a $300,000 gold and silver toilet seat inlaid with precious stones. I guess someone can sit pretty on a seat like that, even if there is no number one or two to do. Of course there were cheaper gifts - an $18,000 frisbee - a $10,000 yoyo - a $12,000 mousetrap - a $27,000 pair of sunglasses - and for the proud grandparent, a $28,000 pacifier! Such gifts are mind boggling, but they are not indescribable. The manufacturers can and do spend lots of money describing them on TV, and in newspaper and magazine ads. Every human gift is describable by someone (a diamond by its’ carat, clarity, and cut or facets; gold by its’ purity, pressure, and polish; a gem by its’ rarity, richness of color, rendering or supply; clothes by the brand name, even if it made in China, Bangladesh, Mexico or Hong Kong; a person by ones’ family lineage - father and mother - grandfather and grandmother - in-laws and out-laws - and possessions). In today’s text, Paul begins writing about human gifts. The church at Corinth is taking up offerings to give to the poor Christians in Jerusalem. Paul commends them for the eagerness to help, and reminds them that those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly, but those who sow generously will reap generously. Then, the text shifts from human gifts to God’s gift of sending Jesus to earth for us! At this point, words cannot be found to describe the gift of Jesus. The statement simply says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift." At this time of year, we do our best to depict and portray God’s gift of Jesus to us. Musicians have composed some of their greatest music on the this theme: Handel’s "Messiah"; Bach’s "Christmas Oratorio"; and the beautiful hymns of "Joy to the World", "Silent Night"," O Little Town of Bethlehem", and the more popular songs of White Christmas, the Christmas Song (chestnuts roasting on an open fire), Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and Fevliz Navidad (I want wish you a Merry Christmas). Poets, painters, and sculptors have used the tools of their trade to pay tribute to Jesus, God’s indescribable gift of love! ‘There are at least four reasons why the Gift of Jesus is Beyond Description. It is because of His: 1st . Nature (How do you describe - a baby born of a virgin - God with us in flesh - one who is completely and eternally Holy - one who is sinless - one without an earthly father - the Son of God - one who is perfect in the Godhead and humanity - the gift of Jesus to a commercially minded and sinful people? There something about His - makeup - measure - mind-set - manger---- that’s beyond human and verbal description! 2nd . Purpose (When God looked at us, He knew that our greatest need was not more - wealth - knowledge - government - power - churches - servants - Christians. Our greatest need was the gift of a Savior. So, He sent Jesus to earth that we might be redeemed for sins. There is something about His - plan - position - presence - power ------ that’s beyond human and verbal description! 3rd. Grace (Not from - sales - wrappings - requests - works - seeking - wisdom - hoping - service - preaching - singing - praising - righteousness. It’s free! It’s a gift beyond description. It’s God’s gift through Jesus Christ! There something about His - fulfilling - feeling - future - fortifying or added strength (like bread with added vitamins, minerals and fiber, Jesus was fortified with love, healing power, patience , compassion and sinlessness or purity) ---- that’s beyond human and verbal description 4th. Effect ( This indescribable gift is "the gift of gifts." This gift changes - sinners - hearts - criminals - thoughts - minds - outlooks - directions - lives - traditions - doubters - possibilities (all things are possible, if you only believe) - past - present - people here, there and everywhere! The effect of the gift offers - forgiveness - protection - salvation - eternal life - peace - heaven (a mansion/kingdom). There’s a Christmas card with these words: If our greatest need had been information, then God would have sent an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, then God would have sent a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, then God would have sent an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasures; then God would have sent an entertainer. But, our greatest need was for forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior. The gift of Jesus was sent out from Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. His - Nature - Purpose - Grace - and Effect made Him an unspeakable and an indescribable gift. Truly, a gift beyond description. You may spent a lot of money selecting the best gift for those you love. God spent a lot of time and planning on the first Christmas gift for us. So, if you want to give the PERFECT GIFT, give the gifts that you’ll never - return - exchange - lose - alter - regret - hate - deny - polish. And "His size fits all, His presence is good for all, His way is good for all" His style looks good on all, His policy accepts all, His credit is extended to all, His love embraces all, and His mercy and grace endures forever for all! That’s why we can sing: Joy To The World, because it was Away In Manger in that O Little Town Of Bethlehem when He Came Upon A Midnight Clear, As Shepherds Watched Their Flock By Night, that the invitation read Comes All Ye Faithful on this Silent Night, Holy Night; as We Three Kings of Orient came bearing gifts to see laying in a crib in the stable, a baby A Gift Beyond Description, ’Luke 2:1-14. Isaiah prophesied that unto us child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name shall be called - Wonderful - Counselor - The Might God - The Everlasting Father - The Prince of Peace - Immanuel (God with us!) . Song: So, Go Tell On The Mountain, Over The Hill And Everywhere, that Jesus Christ is born. Amen. http://www.shadyhillbaptist.org/ Disclaimer This sermon was delivered during morning service on December 23, 2007 at Shady Hill Baptist Church, Roxboro, NC 27573 by Dr. James A. Richmond, Pastor. Parts of the sermon are adapted from selected readings and messages from various sources on the Christmas narrative without intent to comprise the work of an original author. Contact me with any concerns deemed worthy. Feel free to use this sermon in your ministry to bless and benefit humanity and the church. 336-599-7454
Jesus: The more excellent ministry Jesus was, as our first reading (Heb 9:11-14) tells us, the high priest of the New Testament. Far from opposing Jewish worship, Jesus came to fulfill Jewish worship and liturgy. The high priest of the old covenant went into the Holy of Holies once every year on Yom Kippur and sprinkled blood to offer atonement for sins. Jesus entered the Holy of Holies in heaven offering his own blood and this sacrifice was effective for all time. The high priest of the old covenant offered an animal without blemish, he could not offer himself because he was a sinner. However, when Jesus as high priest of the new covenant entered the Holy of Holies in heaven he did so as both priest and victim, he was “unblemished” and could offer himself. In the old covenant, the animal offered in sacrifice was transformed by fire during the sacrifice. When Jesus offered himself in sacrifice, because he did not offer something external to himself but his whole self, he was transformed, and now reigns in heaven and is the means of our salvation. Sacrifices 'It is important to note that the sacrifices offered on the Day of Atonement brought a threefold cleansing: 1) to the high priest and his family (Lev. 16:6, 17), 2) to the people of Israel (v. 17), and 3) to the tabernacle (v. 16, 20, 33). It is interesting to note that the holy sanctuary would be defiled and need cleansing, but it is stated in Scripture. Levitical High Priest According to Numbers 16:5 the Levitical priests were commissioned by God, separated unto God, and were allowed to approach God. "Then he said to Korah and all his followers: 'in the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him." The Levitical priesthood began with the tribe of Levi and proceeded through the sons of the family of Aaron, according to Numbers 18:1,8 and Exodus 28:1, which says, "Have Aaron you brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests." However, physical blemishes disqualified any male descendant of Aaron, according to Leviticus 21:17-23, from which 21:17 is presented: "The Lord said to Moses, 'Say to Aaron: 'For the generations to come non of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God.'" The duties of the Levitical priesthood included: the teaching of the Law, Leviticus 10:11; offering the sacrifices, Leviticus chapter 9; maintaining the Tabernacle and the Temple, Numbers 18:3; officiating in the Holy Place, Exodus 30:7-10; inspecting ceremonially unclean persons, Leviticus chapters 13 and 14; they adjudicated disputes, Deuteronomy 17:8-13; they functioned as tax collectors, Numbers 18:21,26; Hebrews 7:5. Forty Years in the Desert On their way out of Egypt, the Hebrews spent 40 years wandering in the desert of Sinai. During this time all who left Egypt died, including Moses himself who saw the "promised" land but did not live long enough to enter it. Consequently, the Hebrews arrived in Canaan/Phoenicia uncivilized nomads with very little skills or knowledge, which civilized people of the area, had. By the time they captured Jerusalem c. 1000 BC they have had very little newly acquired capabilities other than fighting wars with the Canaanites/Phoenicians, the Philistines, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Aramaeans, the Ammonites, the Amalekites and the Edomites. Temple needed The Hebrews never had enough opportunity to master the art and science of building in Egypt. They were hardened in the desert and in battle but lacked the knowledge to build palaces worthy of kings or a Temple worthy of God, the Ark of the Covenant, the Tablets of the Law and the Pentateuch of Moses. These important items of the Hebrew religion were treasured in a tabernacle (tent) up until this point in time. David and Solomon's contributions When David was chosen king and, thereafter, Solomon; they were in need of artisans, architects, craftsmen, builders and building material especially wood and precious metals to build a temple and palace. The best-known and most gifted people to fulfill the kings' needs were the Phoenicians. Hence, both kings sought and received Phoenician expertise and materials. Solomon built a great temple for God. However, the Jews were victims are several captivities. The great temple was destroyed. This lead to the development of the Synagogue, this provided a place of worship in any land. Jews could set up these houses of worship in any land they found themselves. All they needed were ten adult males to make it legal. Functions of a Synagogue At a minimum, a synagogue is a beit tefilah, a house of prayer. It is the place where Jews come together for community prayer services. Jews can satisfy the obligations of daily prayer by praying anywhere; however, there are certain prayers that can only be said in the presence of a minyan (a quorum of 10 adult men), and tradition teaches that there is more merit to praying with a group than there is in praying alone. The sanctity of the synagogue for this purpose is second only to The Temple. In fact, in rabbinical literature, the synagogue is sometimes referred to as the "little Temple." A synagogue is usually also a beit midrash, a house of study. Contrary to popular belief, Jewish education does not end at the age of bar mitzvah. For the observant Jew, the study of sacred texts is a life-long task. Thus, a synagogue normally has a well-stocked library of sacred Jewish texts for members of the community to study. It is the place where children receive their basic religious education. Most synagogues also have a social hall for religious and non-religious activities. The synagogue often functions as a sort of town hall where matters of importance to the community can be discussed. In addition, the synagogue functions as a social welfare agency, collecting and dispensing good to the community. It could be considered the storehouse,' History of the Jewish People. Conclusion It is important to remember that if one is to see the Lord and live eternally, one must approach Him as He describes. The moment Jesus died on the cross concluded the old priest hood .He became our High Priest at that time. We all come to the Father through faith in His Son and through His shed blood at the cross. There is no other way! Jesus reminded us that anyone who tries to come to the Father any other way is a “thief and robber.” (John 10:1) Have a happy and save Christmas! Esco Yancey, Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI)
Church without walls: The climbing vine ‘On May 10, 1931, the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, as usual, was packed. There was a buzz in the crowd. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., the pastor, was ill. His son, Adam, Jr., would deliver the sermon. The pulpit hardly frightened Adam Junior. He was raised in this church. The women in the audience had known him since he was an infant, saw him take his first step, and stocked his room with beautifully-wrapped gifts on special occasions: he was theirs. But some of the older deacons were wary of young Powell. To them he was a bad boy, a whistler in the dark. However, his sermons would become as compelling as the works of the great literary giants of the Harlem Renaissance area. Even though he was engaged to a showgirl, he commanded the pulpit that Sunday Morning,’ Wil Haygood. The period from 1910-1931, represents a very important phase of Black History as well as American History; this period covers the beginning and end of the Harlem Renaissance. The close of that period represents the beginning of the great depression. The Harlem Renaissance was normally characterized by poets and writers, with the likes of Hughes and Hurston; however, religion, church, and particularly the “sermon” defined the modern concept of the “church without walls.” In a Sermon entitled, "A Hungry God", Powell addressed his congregation about the depth of poverty in New York during the Great Depression. He provided clothing, soup kitchens, help with social, and political issues facing families in Harlem. He felt religion was about compassion, care, and service to his people. “You and I can add to God's power on Earth. We clothe God by clothing men and women. Jesus interpreted this as meaning to clothe men and women when they are naked. When you give men and women coats, shoes and dresses you are giving clothes to god. If the Bible does not mean this it does not mean anything,” Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. ‘The importance of this "sermon" to this inquiry was that it accomplished far more than pacification of its hearers and achieved much greater than blind obedience to the pastor's word. Rather, as was Powell's essential objective, it enlightened the congregation about the destitute state of many of their brothers and sisters throughout New York. Further, it is a prime example of how Powell kept critically in touch with his community, surveying its expanses and attending to its needs. In a very real sense, he pastored Harlem,’ Eric Deggans. Our scripture text compares excellent in life and ministry, to a climbing vine. “The son of a fruitful (vine) is Joseph; the son of a fruitful (vine) by the fountain: The daughters (branches) shoot over the wall,” Genesis 49:22.Joseph was the son Jacob the great Patriarch. He was sold into slavery. Joseph worked his way to the king’s court and became a climbing vine, because he went outside of his traditional surroundings to feed his family and care for his country. The creeping vine tends to curl up and not grow very far from its roots. This vine can be contained behind a wall easily. Adam Clayton Powell ,Jr.went far beyond the walls of his church to feed and nourish Harlem during the great depression. He could be considered a climbing vine ,which bore much fruit. He also produced a great church ...without walls. The word for “wall” is “phragmos” in Strong’s which means a fence, or enclosing barrier. It goes back to “phrasso,” which means to block up, to silence, and to stop. What has kept so many churches enclosed? What has kept so many pastors enclosed? What has kept so many Christians enclosed? What has kept so many ministries form climbing through the community and world? What has kept us form climbing over these walls to reach God’s people? ‘I submit to you that the answer to this question lies in the two walls that enclose the church and make us creeping vines, rather than climbing vines. That first wall is denominational. Men have built these buildings and enclosed themselves, with doctrinal prejudice. The ministry or church without walls, should be able to reach into any denomination and preach a sound, and sensible word. The Bible says there is a fivefold ministry. God is very big .No denomination has cornered the market on God. There is room in ministry for all colors, shapes, and textures of ministries. Even the great Hebrew Levitical order of Priesthood only ministered to one nation or denomination, but Paul preached to the Jew and Gentile. This wall needs to come down! Today,Al Sharpton has a great ministry; his congregation covers the entire United States. We must consider him a climbing vine, but he does not have a physical church. ‘That other wall that needs to come down is the “herd mentality.” These churches ,ministries ,and leaders would like to round up followers like cattle and bring them inside their walls. And fill them with their style of worship or dogma. They want to build their ministry from the inside out, rather than the outside in. Although, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. had 10,000 members at Abyssinian Baptist Church;his ministry vines climbed all over Harlem and touched the entire city. He ministered from the outside in,’ Kelley Varner. His ministry vine inspired the NAACP, National Urban League, New City Council, Medicare Legislation, Head Start, and many church coalitions working to help the needed. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Harlem's Pastor, is an example of a climbing vine. This man destroyed many walls that were blocking the progress of his people. I would like to close by saying that ...Jesus is our ministry High Priest .He is the true climbing vine. He says that we must go into communities and by-ways first before we can bring some of them into the store house. If we prepare a great feast inside our walls and the quest do not come, the good servant will go into the streets, highways and the hedges. “So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind,” Luke:14:21. I challenge all believers this Thanksgiving to become climbing vines and good servants of the High Priest. Have a happy and safe holiday. Esco Yancey, Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2007 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES
Nothing much happens without a dream “Time loses its energy, meaning, and power unless it moves us toward our dreams. Taking the time to listen to our wishes, dreams, and fantasies opens up our unique genius, talents, and reasons for being. It's very easy to get "too busy" for dreams, and when we do, a very special part of us dies. Nothing much happens without a dream. For something really great to happen, it takes a great dream.” Robert Greenleaf ‘One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neal Hurston’s beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice, it is about a woman who refuses to let sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish dreams prevent her self evolving development. Her life was also marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. After reading Ms. Hurston's novel, I was puzzled as to why she named the book, Their Eyes Were Watching God. After reading further, it appeared to me that it was about fulfilling or expressing your God given gifts. It is truly a literary masterpiece. Her imagery is simply beautiful. Many say that her accounts of black heritage remain unparalleled today; yet, she died poor and was buried in an unmark grave. From Darwin Turner's early and scathing criticisms of her work to Hemingway’s balanced praise and Alice Walker's enthusiasm, Zora Neale Hurston has been the subject of intense critical attention since her "re-discovery" in the late 'sixties. The most prolific African-American woman writer of her time or earlier, the power of her imagery and the richness of the culture which she brings to life through her writings have found her enthusiastic new audiences in recent years. Hurston herself was unable to make a living from her writings and worked as a teacher, a librarian and a domestic in order to earn her livelihood. She spent her later years in Florida, continuing to write articles which were published in various local and national venues and three additional novels which were rejected for publication. Her death in 1960 in a welfare home went largely unnoticed by the world and she was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1973, during a time when Hurston's eminence was finally being recognized, Alice Walker placed a marker in the field where Hurston lay,’ Their Eyes Were Watching God. Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist, discovered during his four-year imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp that of the prisoners who escaped the gas chambers, those who had a life purpose (or dream) were far more likely to survive. Those who didn't died. Bernie Siegel, a surgeon and teacher at Yale Medical School and oncologist Carl Simonton also report that having a meaningful purpose is a primary factor for patients who successfully recover from cancer. Our scripture lesson explores another great woman that experienced poverty and wealth letting neither diverts her from the mission. Esther was a very beautiful woman, but her virtue was not only her beauty. Her virtue was sacrifice. Zora and Esther share qualities that are very strong and common between them. These women developed their talents into great strengths in their lives. Esther’s greatness is based on her willingness to sacrifice. Esther was willing to put everything she ever had including her life at stake for a higher cause. Esther was a poor Jewish girl who became Queen of Persia. But she was willing to risk all of this to save her people. Esther appears in the Bible as a woman of deep faith, courage, and patriotism, ultimately willing to risk her life for her adoptive father, Mordecai, and the Jewish people. That she was raised up as an instrument in the hand of God to avert the destruction of the Jewish people, and to afford them protection and forward their wealth and peace in their captivity, is manifest from the Scripture account. Zora was a queen in her on right, because of the God given talent that was given her. She also was a beautiful girl with a lot of courage. She scarified prosperity to peruse her writing career and articulate the Black Culture through her works. Today, she is recognized all over the world. She died poor, but her sacrifice and work has touched many and made the world richer and a better place to live. Yet, today, the economic goal of many and corporations has been profit. This has been challenged in a most peculiar way. On the one hand, an economic system based on a single-minded focus on profit is challenged by, of all things, schools of thought, in favor of “corporate social responsibility.” This concept suggests that companies and the rich should invest back in mankind and society. Even corporations have realized that the pursuit of profit alone can not make this world a better or kinder place. The Harlem Renaissance represents a period in American History when many talented Black writers; poets, musicians could not peruse profitable careers and business ventures, but they still expressed themselves through the arts. How much are you willing to risk pursuing your calling? You know within your heart and soul that God has called you to do something special with your life, but for what ever the reason it has not been done. I don’t know what it is__ but you know. It could be a promise you made to God many years ago or a natural gift that has not been developed. I have good news for you, it is not too late. It was very important for me to graduate from college. My grandfather hoped to see his first grandson achieve this goal. Regardless of how difficult like got for me as a young man, I would always thinks about my grandfather’s desire for me to complete this goal. Fortunately, he was able to see me achieve this goal three months before he passed. Without an inspiring dream, life loses its zest. Whether your dream is taking an unforgettable journey to Europe or moving to Paris, start your own church: Hold your dreams in your mind and heart and enjoy a renewed spirit and energy they will bring to you. "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes Esco Yancey,Jr.,Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2007 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES
Change the world for someone “Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them,” (Mark2:2). The scene in our text is very compelling. There are so many people gathered at this home that no one can get in or out the doors. Several men in the city suggested building an elevated platform so everyone can see the speaker. The residents of Capernaum are witnessing a man change the world. This man is doing things at that times which have never been done before and has not been duplicated since that time. He has proclaimed power in heaven, earth ,and a new kingdom not of this world. He eats with sinners; he heals people; and he has power to forgive sins. Jesus is there to deliver a sermon .This scene ends when four men bring a man to him who has been paralyzed for along time and is completely unable to walk. Amazingly, Jesus tells this man to pick up his bed and walk. Mark the writer of this text vividly captures events that unfold the day Jesus paid a visit to the house in Capernaum. This city is significant in that four apostles came from there. Peter, Andrew, James, and John are believed to be from this city. It is also believed to be the home town of Jesus. It sits near the Sea of Galilee; however, it does not exist today. As you well know, Palestine at the times was divided among Galilee, Samaria, and Judea.Capernaum was a city in Galilee. The new kingdom that Jesus mentioned in the text also needs to be explained. This place refers to his heavenly kingdom. The rules there are different from the earthly kingdom which we have to live in now. There are several principles there which I will discuss which are quite different from our standards of success today. They are as follows: 1. Success is measured by love and service to mankind not money and power. 2. Greater individuals in this kingdom are required to serve the least among us. 3. Lesser ones among us should be served by the greatest among us. 4. Angles rejoice in heaven when one person on earth finds Jesus. Everyone is special. We are all here for a purpose. Each of us has a unique gift or talent that was given to us to make a difference in the world. We all have an opportunity to be great or change the world. We can make a difference; you can make a different. Where would the world be without these great individuals who made a difference? Where would we be without these giants who dared to make a difference? Where would we be without Abraham Lincoln? Where would we be without George Washington Carver? Where would we be without Sojourner Truth? Where would we be without John F. Kennedy? Where would we be without Ben Carson, M.D.? Where would the paralyzed man be without the Savior? Where would we be without the Lord? Where would we be without Jesus? If you can’t change the world for everyone, change the world for someone! CHANGE THE WORLD FOR SOME ONE This reminds me of a story which illustrates how one person can change the world for someone. The story goes as follows: ‘Once a man was walking along a beach, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a little boy going back and forth between the surf's edge and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide. The man was stuck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached, the little boy continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf. As he came up to the little boy he said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The little boy looked at the man. He then stooped down and picked up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, "It sure made a difference to that one," Loren Eisley.’ WORLD PARALYSIS Jesus’ visit to Capernaum that day resulted in the world being changed for the man who was paralyzed. His visit also gave that region a new perspective and hope for a better future. Jesus’ sermon that day explained to those people how they could have inner peace and joy in their personal world regardless of what was going on in the larger world around them. He eloquently illustrated that the kingdom of God is at hand now. He explained that he was the high priest in this kingdom. Our world today is still paralyzed by war, poverty, violence, greed, and hate crimes, just to name a few. There has been a war some where in the world for the last 2000 years. The United State Annual Military Budget could feed every person in the world for several years. The starfish was paralyzed without the help of the little boy. This world would be paralyzed without the help of Jesus. Millions of individuals are paralyzed with hunger, disease, fear, drug addiction, and all manner of afflictions. Jesus attracted a huge crowd that day in Capernaum because he represented hope for a crippled world. NEVER MIND YOUR CRITICS Critics will say to you that it is impossible to help everyone so don’t even try. One person cannot make a difference in this crazy world of our. If you come up with a good idea, they can tell you why it won’t work. God is not a practical joker. If he placed a mission on your heart, he will provide you with the inspiration to achieve it. Jesus had some critics that day in Capernaum. Two men were observing events that day from a distance. They were trying to ridicule Jesus. They challenged Jesus by saying; ‘only God can forgive sins and heal.’ Jesus approached them with a dilemma. He said, ‘which is easier to say thou sins are forgiven or pick up your bed and walk.’ When he told the paralyzed man to pick up his bed and walk, this proved that he was the son of God. PICK UP YOUR BED AND WALK...SAYS JESUS WHAT EVER YOUR CONDITION...JESUS SAYS PICK UP YOUR BED AND WALK CONCLUSION We must give some respect to the four men who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus. Neither History nor the Bible gives us any specific information about these four men; we don’t even know their names. I have searched scripture diligently for information about these four men and was not able to find anything .However, these men performed the greatest act know to mankind. This act they performed is greater than winning the super bowl or becoming president of the United States. I would submit to you that it was greater than any things Michael Jordan did on the basket court. What they did caused the angels in Heaven to rejoice. They took time out of their schedule to bring a man to Jesus. This is the greatest thing that can be achieved in this world. But… you know; we all can do this. We can bring someone to Jesus. We can change the world; maybe not, but we can change the world for someone… by bringing one person to Jesus. Esco Yancey,Jr., Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2007 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES
MINISTER OR EQUIPPER More than a Bullfrog (Jeremiah 1:4-10) Back in the fall of 1973, I was beginning the confirmation process in the Lutheran Church. My pastor was leading the class. After beginning the class with prayer, he asked us who Jeremiah was. Well I raised my hand and responded, everyone knows the answer to that pastor, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog and he was a good friend of mine." The class broke up laughing, but the Pastor was not impressed or pleased that his class was now singing the hit song from Three Dog Night "Joy to the World," which some of you who grew up in the early 70's will remember begins with the words, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog, he was a good friend of mine, I never understood a single word he said but I helped him drink his wine, and he always had some mighty fine wine." Now I don't know what was worse, referring to one of the greatest prophet's as a bullfrog, or announcing that as a 14-year old I helped him drink his wine. But I can say the Pastor was not pleased with my response. Not one of my finer moments, but whenever I hear the Three Dog Night version of "Joy to the World," I remember that night. Well this week I was wondering if Three Dog Night in anyway was referring to Jeremiah the prophet in their song, or were they simply referring to a bullfrog named Jeremiah. So I contacted them to find out. They responded to my message telling me the song was actually written for a children's television show by Hoyt Axton, before they received the rights to it. So I guess the official answer to my inquiry is that Jeremiah was a bullfrog, at least Three Dog Night's Jeremiah. And my guess is they actually changed some of the lyrics because as you go further into the song some of the lyrics would be inappropriate for a children's television show. Now our Jeremiah was certainly more than a bullfrog. Our Jeremiah was a great prophet, a man of God, and a person to admire. Yet he didn't start out that way. From our scripture reading this morning we learn that Jeremiah wasn't comfortable initially being God's prophet as God had called him to be. After receiving God's call Jeremiah in affect said, "Hold on now God, I don't know how to speak, and I'm way too young to be your prophet." But God was quick with his response saying, "Don't tell me your only a boy, I'll tell you where to go and you'll go there. I'll tell you what to say, and you'll say it." Now clearly Jeremiah was afraid that no one would listen to him, a young boy, proclaiming to speak for the Lord. But God assured Jeremiah he would be with him, therefore he shouldn't be afraid. And then, according, to scripture, God equipped Jeremiah to speak by touching his lips giving him the words he would need to convey God's messages. Among all the many things God is, I see God as an equipper and one who empowers others. God equips us and empowers us to caring out his purpose for creation. God gives us the means to be his hands and feet, as he did Jesus. I find one of the most important roles of the church, and of its leaders, is to equip others to be in ministry. For many, many years it was thought that those called to leadership positions in the church, whether clergy or laity, were the ones called for ministry and no one else. But this in fact is not true, as we have discussed many times before. Leaders of the church are called to equip and encourage others for ministry, sometimes a more daunting task than just doing the ministry yourself. This is accomplished by helping folks discern their God given gifts and abilities, by encouraging them to pursue what they feel lead to do, and yes by pushing folks sometimes to try something new, moving them beyond their comfort zone. I consider one of my most important roles in ministry is that of equipper and encourager, and yes as some of you can attest to personally sometimes I do push. In the book entitled, "Lead On," by Wayne Schmidt he states that pastors generally fall into two categories: minister or equipper. Schmidt defines a minister as "one who is primarily a doer of ministry, someone who uses personal gifts to touch the lives of others." "Ministers act directly - they preach sermons, give counsel, teach classes, make visits," and are generally intimately involved in all aspects of the churches ministry" An equipper, on the other hand, is primarily a developer of other people and their gifts. Equippers minister indirectly - they prepare others to serve on the front lines of ministry. While they engage directly in preaching or teaching, their passion is to develop others to use their God given gifts (and abilities) on the front lines of ministry. Rather then being totally on the front lines of ministry by themselves they work to develop and empower others to be in ministry together. Now as I discern my gifts and my role in ministry I see myself as more of an equipper than a minister, as defined by Schmidt. I view ministry as a role that all Christians undertake. In my view we as a church can have a greater impact on the kingdom if we focus energy on equipping and empowering all of us to use our God given gifts and abilities. I believe we as a church can have a much greater impact on the kingdom if we are all working towards making a difference for Jesus sake. And lets face it, one person cannot do the level, or quality of ministry that we all can. Having one person, or even a few people in ministry, is limiting the impact God can ultimately have on this world. Now ministering and equipping are not mutually exclusive of one another. Every equipper should continue some level of involvement in direct ministry, and every minister should equip others to do some of the work of ministry. The key is understanding your passion and your call, and for me I can say my call and passion is one of equipping and empowering the whole body of Christ. Therefore my vision is that all of us will be actively engaged in ministry, so that through our collective ministry, our friends and neighbors will come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. By our efforts lives will be changed throughout the world. I'm absolutely convinced, with all my being, if we will allow ourselves to be equipped for ministry, if we follow our passion and trust that God will be with us every step of the way, our future will be so bright we'll need to wear sunglasses to church on Sunday mornings. If we all engage in ministry, not only will people be drawn to Jesus, this congregation will grow, and as the congregation grows our opportunities to share God's love will grow. When I look out into this congregation, I don't see complacent people, I see saints resolved to do the work of God. When I look out beyond the doors of this church, I don't see people content with business as usual, I see possibilities for spiritual growth. When I talk with people from the community I don't hear words of unbridled joy, I hear words of need. And when I consider what the future holds, I see Christ reaching out to us saying, "The future is now." It's time to go to work. It's time we allow God to help us transcend our limitations, our fear, and our self-doubt. It's time we allow God to equip and empower us to build his kingdom. Sometimes we're hesitant to go to work because we fear we may fail, or we may never see the results of our work. But we must proceed with our calling trusting that God will equip us, even though we may never see the end results of our work. After all we're workers, not the master builder. We're ministers, not messiahs. Yet like Jeremiah we are called to be more than bullfrogs, we are called to be prophets of the future, paving the way towards a new kingdom, a place where all creatures of our God and king will live together in peace and harmony. Thanks be to God! 313 West Main Street PO Box 481 Emmitsburg, MD 21727 (301) 447-3740 Trinity United Method Church Pastor Rev. Wade Martin wade@emmitsburg.net (301) 606-8393
" We can take charge of our lives" http:www.carsonscholars.org/ Benjamin Solomon Carson, Sr. had a childhood dream of becoming a physician. Growing up in a single parent home with dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper, and low self-esteem appeared to preclude the realization of that dream. But, today, he is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, a position he has held since 1984 at age 33. He is a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics. In 1987, Dr. Carson gained world-wide recognition as the principal surgeon in the 22-hour separation of the Binder Siamese twins from Germany. This was the first time occipital craniopagus twins had been separated with both surviving. The procedure employed hypothermic arrest (the deliberate lowering of body temperature) and circulatory arrest, as well as sophisti-cated surgical reconstructive techniques for success. In 1997, Dr. Carson was the primary surgeon in the team of South African and Zambian surgeons that separated type-2 vertical craniopagus twins (joined at the top of the head) in a 28-hour operation. It represents the first time such complexly joined twins have been separated with both remaining neurologically normal. He is noted for his use of cerebral hemispherectomy to control intractable seizures as well as for his work in craniofacial reconstructive surgery, achondroplasia (human dwarfism), and pediatric neuro-oncology (brain tumors). Dr. Carson is a recipient of numerous honors and awards including more than 20 honorary doctorate degrees. He is a member of the American Academy of Achievement, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans, the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and many other prestigious organizations. He sits on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, the Yale Corporation which is the governing body of Yale University, and America's Promise. In addition to his academic responsibilities, he is a highly regarded and requested motivational speaker who has addressed varied audiences from high school graduations to the keynote address at the 1997 President's National Prayer Breakfast. He is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. He hopes this program will positively change the perception of high academic achievers among their peers across our nation. His three books, Gifted Hands, THINK BIG, and most recently The Big Picture, provide inspiration and insight for leading a successful life. He believes strongly in God and in America and believes that we all can play a positive role in creating a better world. Dr. Carson has been married to Candy Carson for 26 years and has three sons. His wife and sons comprise the Carson Four, an accomplished string quartet. And yes, his mother, Sonya Carson, who made all this possible, is alive and well. Don't forget the Carson Scholars Event-Octomber 2,2007--410-828-1005
If your armor is on When I was a young man and felt like collapsing, falling, sinking or dropping from the pressures of life. I would call my mother for advice. She never gave me along discourse on the situation, nor did she give me any specific advice, she simply said, “Stand, just stand.” Some how those words gave me the courage to fight on when I was ready to quit. It is my belief that many of you share my feeling on this condition or have experienced this for yourselves. With this in mind, you should be able to appreciate Paul’s comments in our text today. Please, focus with me on the following scripture;as he encourages the Church to persevere in the face of great persecution by the Roman Government. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. "Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...." Ephesians 6:10-18 TEXT The following verses make up Paul's concluding remarks to the church at Ephesus . These verses contain very familiar verses and metaphor. Paul begins his concluding remarks by exhorting the Ephesians to be strong. Specifically ,he tells them to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. He urges Christians and the Church to be strong so they will be able to stand against the enemy. One frequently misunderstand concept here is that we are fighting the forces of evil on an equal bases with God. This is not true! Satan’s power is not equal to God’s power. There is no equal… but opposite relationship here. Jesus said, ‘I beheld Satan like lighting hitting the ground.’ Syntax To take up or maintain a specified position or posture; to be in a particular state or situation; to hold a course at sea, these are three definitions of stand. I believe Paul was making a syntactical argument here. He explains or illustrates the nouns in the sentence with a metaphor …shield of faith, etc. However, the syntactical approach says the verb is the theme or goal in the sentence, paragraph or passage. When we look at the verb “stand,” it stands alone. Stand does not need a direct object; it stands alone. It makes a complete thought. STAND FOR SOMETHING Many today have embraced the philosophy of tolerance for everything, mistakenly believing they haven't taken a stand. Failure to take a stand is often a stand. How can you determine for what you should stand? Success in life means taking a stand for others as much as taking stand for what you believe. It also means taking a stand for God. When you are challenged for what you believe, whether in terms of biblical doctrine, morality, basic honesty, or God's existence, hold your ground, stand and speak and stay on course, as long as your beliefs are firmly rooted in the Word of God. Job Such an effort is worthwhile. Throughout Jewish and Christian history Job has spoken powerful words of hope and comfort to people who have suffered or who have found faith difficult. For people who are not satisfied with simple answers, Job rings a word of truth. Having lost everything, money, property, children, and health, he would not turn from God, nor lose faith in him. He is one the greatest witnesses of the true God in the Old Testament. When God discussed his case with the Devil, God himself, said there was none finer than him. John the Baptist There are many fine words written about different individuals in the Bible. None more compelling than what Jesus said when he was eulogizing John the Baptist. Luke 7:28. "For I say unto you, among those that are born of women (that covers most of us) there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he" also Matthew 11:11 to 14 gives an account of the same scripture. John was greater in the eyes of Jesus, than Moses, any of the patriarchs. He was greater than Joshua, any of the kings, including David. He was also greater than all the prophets and all of the disciples. He preached the Gospel of the coming of Jesus before Jesus started his own ministry .He even baptized Jesus and predicted that he baptized with water but there would be one to come who would baptized with the fire and Holy Spirit. He was executed by Herod because he would not stop preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rev. Greg Boyd 'There was a remarkable story in today's New York Times called, Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock. The story recounts how Rev. Greg Boyd "grew" his suburban, evangelical mega church from 5,000 to 4,000 simply by suggesting that the United States of America is not "the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ." Actually, that's not all he did. He preached a six-part sermon series called, The Cross and the Sword, in which he challenged the growing alliance between evangelical Christianity and the pro-war, pro-rich, Republican party platform, which has used the abortion myth and scare tactics about homosexuals destroying the family to their political end. He explains how the religious right has distorted the faith and that it is not in line with what Jesus taught which are love, compassion, and mercy for everyone, 'Myth of a Christian Nation.' Stand, Stand, Just Stand Remember, if you are an aggressive soldier like David, you might be able to lighten up on your armor. But make sure you have the following armor so you will be able to withstand and stand: Shield of faith Helmet of salvation Sword of the spirit, the Word of God Key to the kingdom: Prayer is the key to the kingdom. CONCLUSION Have Faith, Stand Tall. Don't give up; don't lie down but Stand Tall. When life's problems and challenges confront you, Stand Tall! He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3) We shall not; we shall not; we shall not be moved! We shall not; we shall not; we shall not be moved! Esco Yancey,Jr.,Ed.D.(ACSI) © 2007 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES
A Carrot, an Egg, and a Cup of Coffee--- Which are You? A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the daughter replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity—boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. "Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?" Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything—they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.(Story Unknown Author) GTM would like to thank Dr.Williams and the National Congress of Black Women for changing the water conditions for women through out the nation and world.Dr.Williams is ranked by Ebony Magazine for being among the top 100 most influential Black Women in America.
Theme: Women of Friendship United in following the Vision Topic: WHAT GOOD IS FAITH WITHOUT WORKS? Delivered at Friendship Baptist Church/Rev. Tim May, Pastor Pensacola, Florida, Sunday, May 20, 2007 By Rev. Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. Well, Scripture asks us in James 2:14 & 18 “What doth it profit my Brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? Yea, a man may say thou have faith, and I have works: Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Throughout his years of public service, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged everyone to participate in community service. In his Drum Major for Justice Sermon, he said: "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's ˜Theory of Relativity to serve. You don't have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant." "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve." Mark 10:45 NKJV Jesus entered the world to serve. And we should enter our jobs, our homes and our churches - to serve. Servant hood requires no unique skill or seminary degree. (1) To serve is to love the overlooked. Jesus sits in your classroom wearing thick glasses, outdated clothing and a sad face. You've seen Him. He works in your office. Pregnant again, she shows up late and tired. No one knows the father. Water cooler rumors say even she doesn't. You've seen her. When you love the misfit and befriend the hurting, you love Jesus. "Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored . . . you did it to Me" (Matthew 25:40 TM). (2) To serve is to wave the white flag. We fight so much: "Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from?" asks James, "Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way" (James 4:1 TM). Real servants don't struggle, they submit. (3) To serve is to do something each day that you don't want to do. Pick up someone's litter. Surrender your parking place. Call that long-winded relative. It doesn't have to be a big thing. Helen Keller once told the Tennessee Legislature that when she was young she longed to do great things and could not, so she decided to do small things in a great way. Don't be too big to do something small. "Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort" (1 Corinthians 15:58 TM). Today, I say to you, my sisters, one of our duties is to serve our God and our people by EMPOWERING THE NEXT GENERATION TO BE ALL THAT THEY CAN BE. We can talk about various verses in the Bible, and what is said therein, but of what good is faith without works. We can get down on our knees and pray everyday, but at some point, we have to get up and follow up our prayers with action. We can talk about how too many of our young people are irresponsible, unthoughtful, ungrateful and don’t have a clue about accountability and responsibility. We can talk about the virtuous women year after year on Women’s Day, but what about the children? Who is empowering them to take over where we leave off? And what does it really mean to empower the next generation “be they young men or young women? To me, that means investing in someone in order to enable growth and development in that person, and if we are going to spend time helping them to grow and develop, we might as well do it in a way that they can make a difference that makes a difference. We, women, are called upon to do so much. We have always held up more than our share of the sky with dignity and with grace, and as Dr. Dorothy Height always say, We women don’t always do what we want to do, but we always do what we have to do. And we don’t deserve some of the things our young people have been calling us in gangsta rap, on street corners, in videos and some to our faces “without shame or remorse. It is as though many have forgotten that some mother lovingly, and often through great pain, carried them for 9 months, nursed them through childhood and into adulthood. In her dying words to her daughter, Lucy Stone, the famed human rights activist, said, Make the world better. I believe we are empowering the next generation for a noble cause when we challenge them to do something to make the world better. As we grew up, we had role models, and the role models began with our parents in our own homes. We saw adults, including our parents, going about the business of making the world better, and we wanted to be like them. We read about women like Sojourner Truth. We could hardly believe she had the courage to do all the things that she did under very trying circumstances. I was talking with Cicely Tyson the other day, and she said that Sojourner’s speech, Ain’t I a Woman, one of the most empowering speeches in the world for anyone especially for women. She delivered her most eloquent and empowering recorded speech in 1851 at a women's convention at Akron , Ohio , and she motivated and empowered those who wanted the right to vote with the following words: Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the Negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about? That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman? Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [Member of audience whispers, "Intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or Negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full? Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him. If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them. Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say. With all the limitations in her life that might have discouraged the average person, Sojourner Truth worked to abolish slavery. She worked to gain the right for women to vote. At the same time, she took care of her children without the benefit of a father in the home to help her. She didn’t know Standard English; in fact, she grew up speaking Dutch. She was not a formally educated woman. She was not legally a free woman much of her life; in fact, she was an enslaved woman “but in her mind she was free. She filed lawsuits seeking justice on more than one occasion, and won something that was almost unheard of for Black people to do in her day and time. She challenged an unjust system that shut women and Black people out so that they had no power to make their lives, or the world at large, better “but did she accept that condition? Oh, NO She didn’t sit around and moan and groan and complain about what was wrong. She worked, and showed others how to meet their challenges. As a result of her efforts, she empowered future generations to work to make a difference “to make the world better. More than a hundred years later, women who were inspired and empowered by Sojourner have caused Congress to pass a bill to honor Sojourner by placing a bust of her in the United States Capitol to memorialize her work. In October of 2008, the National Congress of Black Women will proudly hold a ceremony in her honor, and that will be a day that every Black woman can lift her head, throw back her shoulders and take pride in old Sojourner because she will be the first Black woman in an honored place in that Capitol and she will stand there for the entire world to see the historical achievements of Black women. She empowered not only the women and young people of her generation by her example, but she empowered generations for years to come. Empowerment is a simple term, and all of us have the ability to empower ourselves and others to take action to make the world better. Mothers are the first teachers of our young people and that is a role that most of you have played with great pride. There was a time when mothers taught young women not to leave home being indecently exposed. Mothers taught their daughters how to be respectful so that they are treated with respect; to be honorable so they will be honored; to be loveable, so that others will love them; I challenge mothers to do that again. That’s how we can empower young women to make a difference that makes a difference. Teach young men and women again how to say Yes Mam and No Mam to those older than they are; we can teach them by doing it ourselves. Yes, we can teach much by example, but when example is not enough, and they just don’t get it when we show them, don’t be afraid to call them aside and explain it to them until they do get it. Don’t try to talk with them in some fancy vernacular; tell them in simple words what they need to know. I know my mother said to her 9 children that she had to raise without the benefit of a father in our home Baby, I can’t be with you all the time. All I can do is teach you what you need to know to survive, but you’ve got to live your own life and die your own death, and somewhere in between you’ve got to justify your existence and she empowered us to do just that. All of us, whether we are mothers to young people by birth, or mothers to them as adults who work with them and play the role of mother, let’s go back to the basics and teach our young people some of the valuable lessons we were taught. Teach them the golden rule to do unto others as they would have others do unto them. Teach them that where there is a will, there is a way. Teach them about honoring their fathers and their mothers. Talk with them in a language they can understand. Women still play the major role in teaching our children what they need to know to survive. just as women have done historically “but what happened to our children. How did our children begin disrespecting their parents and other adults? How did children begin murdering their parents and grandparents, and thinking nothing of taking the lives of their peers? Somewhere we failed too many of our children, and weave got to take back the roles we once had of being the nurturers of young people from the cradle to adulthood. The Bible tells us to: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. The problem today is that so many of our children are not trained; they are just allowed to grow up doing their own thing “whatever that is. When you love your children, you won’t allow them to just grow up on their own without showing them the way. Showing the next generation the way is the responsibility first of the parent, mainly the women, but also of other relatives, of teachers, of tutors, of preachers, of the entire community-- and as Senator Hillary Clinton says in her book by that name, It takes a village to raise a child.. We are all a part of that village, and if weave been blessed, it is our duty to empower the next generation to be all that they can be. A part of empowering them is to teach them about the challenges they will face on their way to becoming what they want to be. Despite all of the wonderful, beautiful, heartwarming things that occur in my life, I know that I have had challenges I sometimes thought that I could not bear; yet, I worked to overcome them because my mother and other ancestors empowered me by teaching me to overcome obstacles in my life; they taught me that barriers were made to be broken. Like many of you, I have sometimes needed to dig deep down within to come up with answers, but the seeds to do so were planted, and I shall never forget them. Now, how did my mother empower me, and pass on to me the seeds for empowering those who come after me? Well, by example, she taught me to have a very strong faith in a power that is bigger than I am, and to know that I could do the things God has blessed me to want to do in life if I believed in myself and worked hard to achieve them. She taught me to always remember who I am and from whence I came. She taught me to always be willing to do an honest days work for every day of pay I receive, and she taught me that the road wouldn’t always be easy. She taught me to always recognize and honor those who paved the way for me, because all of us stand on the shoulders of somebody who sacrificed before us. She taught me the importance of giving back to the world something meaningful for all the blessings I have received, and a part of what I must give back is the empowerment of others not only to do what I have done-- but to do it even better. She took her children to church, and taught us to acknowledge that there is a God, who is always with us, and when we just don’t know where else to turn, turn to God and we will find that God is enough! If we believe in God, we must learn to trust the God we serve, knowing that nothing is too hard for God. Life is not always easy, so there are times when we have to turn everything over to God, and trust that God knows what to do. We can’t just throw up our hands and say children will be children; they are our children and nothing can be more important than teaching our children right from wrong, and the basics of life that our parents taught us. That’s how we empower them. We must provide for our children a legacy of love, hope and all the things Mary McLeod Bethune talked about in leaving our generation a legacy. That’s how we empower the generations after ours. We must teach young people respect and how to be grateful for what they have, courageous to do the things they should, to settle disputes non-violently as Dr. Martin Luther King taught us to do a principle for which he paid the ultimate price by giving his life. We must show our children the way, and not just expect them to know these things. If we don’t teach them, there is always somebody out there just waiting to shape and mold their minds to do things that are not in their best interest. Our love for the next generation must go deeper than the lure of popularity or the "in thing" that all of their friends are doing-- and you know all the reasons young people can give for having their own way. My niece e-mailed me the other day and told me she just had to have a cell phone with unlimited text messaging because all of her friends had one! We have to teach them how to live without many of the things their friends have and not be persuaded by that reasoning. Some young people may think that good manners are old fashioned or taboo, and that disrespect of elders is funny. We must teach them that it isn’t so.. Please and thank you are always in style. Teach them the basics because no matter how difficult the job is, it is cheaper to build a child than it is to repair an adult. We must not buy profane, obscene, indecent lyrics for our children, nor allow them to buy them or listen to them. Let us not be afraid to go back to the basics with our children and young people for whom we are responsible. As Sojourner Truth said, If one woman could turn this world upside down, then surely together, we women can turn it right side up again .Let us work together to turn it right side up. Young people have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. Be their example. Empower them to be the very best that they can be. Empowering the next generation to make a difference that makes a difference depends upon our doing so. Putting your own oxygen mask on first sounds like such a sensible and obvious thing to do, because if you can’t breathe during an emergency, surely you cannot help anyone else. It seems that we must have our own lives in order before we can help someone else, because we cannot teach what we do not know. We cannot give what we do not have. There was a time when parents, or any adults for that matter, expected children Do as I say do, not as I do but that doesn’t seem to work today. We women can and must lead the way. Despite our struggles, we are so blessed because God has given women the ability to be so many things to so many people and they depend upon us. Let’s not waste our blessings. Let us reach back and empower those who come after us. Let us always acknowledge that there is a God who is always with us, and when we don’t know where else to turn, turn to God and find that God is enough to help us to do what we must do to make this a better world for all of God’s children. Amen. Amen. Amen. For more information or to contact Rev. Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq., see her websites (www.efayewilliams.com or www.npcbw.org) or call 202/678-6788. You may also send an e-mail to efayed@aol.com
Someone should testify! If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10) The fact that I had believed the words of Jesus and put them into practice made all the difference imaginable. My life took on purpose and depth as I experienced the Savior through faith. Many years of discovery followed. I experience powerful miracles as well as painful trials as a Christian. I remain convinced that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and is still alive today. This is my testimony. --Emory Rowland Each Morning I ask God to lead me to someone to whom I can witness. I expect Him to do so. As you read God's Word, ask Him to give you a message that day for someone who needs your witness. Will you be a witness? --Joe Johnson INTRODUCTION It is times to open the service for testimonies,If the Lord has been good to you this week or he has done something special for you,please stand and share that with the congregation at this time.Those are words I have heard many times growing up in Church.Little did I know or understand the seriousness of the testimony.It asks ... you to answer... life's greatest question! Who do you say Jesus is? The two paragraphs above are critical to the Christian Life. The former is an example of a testimony. The latter is an example of witnessing. These two activities are practiced and required by all Christians. If you do not witness and testify, you could be denying Jesus. He says ,'if you are ashamed of me on earth, I will be ashamed of you in the kingdom of the Father. ' "A time comes when silence is betrayal, "Martin L. King, Jr. TESTIMONY Your testimony is required for salvation. You must believe that he was raised from the dead and lives today. You must believe in your heart and confess with your mouth. Your testimony is sufficient for salvation. HE IS LORD OF LORDS, KING OF KINGS, AND PRINCE OF PEACE. BELIEVE IN YOUR HEAD OR HEART There is a difference between believing something cognitively and accepting that in your heart.You must believe and accept in your heart. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, in your heart and confess him with your mouth and you will be saved. The second commandment says,’ Love the Lord with all your heart and soul.’ Let me contrast this point; Satan believes in Jesus and knows all the scripture concerning Jesus better than we do. However, he tried to stop Jesus when he was in the wilderness and tempt Jesus to serve him. He did not want Jesus to start his ministry.Satan and his followers rebelled aganist Jesus in their hearts. King Herod believed the prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus who would become king of the Jews. He felt that this would be a threat to his kingdom so he had all the Hebrew boys killed that were two years old and under. So, Satan and his workers believe, but they are working to prevent Jesus’ plan of salvation for the world. ARE YOU WITNESSING Witnessing is simply sharing what God has done for you with others.Your goal is to get them to trust in Jesus and make him center of their lives.Testimony can be between you and Jesus and it can also be shared with others.It is when you assert your knowledge and relationship with Jesus.Witnessing is the foundation of ministry.It is reaching others.What is your witnessing ministry? WILL MY GOOD WORKS SAVE ME Some of you are asking yourselves this question.If I do good works in my community ,why wouldn't that be enough for salvation? Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify the Father(Matthew 5:16).Your works should glorify the Father which is good.Revelations says those believers written in the" Lamb's Book of Life"will be rewarded for their good works.Nevertheless,scripture says we are saved by faith along.Please allow me ...to illustrate the problem... with this approach.I know a famous person who sponsors a Christmas dinner for the poor each year.It seems like a good thing,however, this individual makes sure the TV Cameras are there so the community will be aware of this jester.The issue that Jesus will be concerned about is ...the motif.Is the dinner for the cameras to capture or is it done simply to help the poor .Jesus sees the heart. HE IS THE UNDISPUTED KING OF THE UNIVERSE... KING OF KINGS ,MIGHTY COUNSELOR, PRINCE OF PEACE... MESSIAH Arguments’ I would like to present three irrefutable arguments concerning Jesus as the undisputed king and savior of the universe. 1.Jesus made claims that no one in the past, present or future can make. If you disagree, please step forward and show me that entity. He claims to be God’s son. 2.I believe he can get us from earth to glory. He promised us eternal life. No one else can make that promise. " Who wouldn’t serve a God like that," Willie Darby. 3.Satan believes he is a living reality. When Jesus approached demon possessed individuals in scripture, they recognized him as” Thou Son of God.” Evidence’ I would to present three sources of evidence to support the above arguments. 1.He lived which is a fact . 2.He was crucified which is a fact . 3.He was raised form the grave and there were about 500 witnesses. HE IS THE CHRIST, SON OF THE LIVING GOD WHO JESUS SAYS HE IS By looking at what He said,there can be found an extremely unique phrase that shows His deity; in other words, He spoke with authority. At least 10 times, He uses the phrase, "I am," to describe himself. In the Old Testament of the Bible in the book of Exodus 3:14, God says, "I AM THAT I AM." He said, "Thus shall they say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent them unto you." And, in John 8:58 Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am." In other words, Jesus claimed equality with the Father and the Holy Spirit. This is evident in the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 where He said, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Also, in the benediction of 2 Corinthian's 13:14, where the names of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all linked together. CONCLUSION When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his followers, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist. Others say you are Elijah, and still others say you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Then Jesus asked them, “And who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because no person taught you that. My Father in heaven showed you who I am.” (Matthew 16:13-17, NCV) I BELIEVE SOME ONE HERE... MET HIM ...IN A STORM ONE NIGHT I believe some of you no who we are talking about today. Because when you thought you had gone the last mile of the way, I believe you went down on your knees and looked up at Heaven and said, ‘Father I stretch my hands toward The… no other help I know.’ The storms were raging in your life; your problems were complex, and your way dark. Jesus stepped in and said, Peace be still’ and there was a great calm in your life. HE IS THE ROSE OF SHARON…THE LIILY OF THE VALLEY..THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR….THE MIGHTY COUNSELOR…THE PRINCE OF PEACE I believe Jesus is a living reality today! I believe he lives today! If he is not real, who watched over my bedside while I slept last night? Who taught the birds to sing? He told the flowers to grow? Who placed the sun in the sky? Surely, someone greater than you and I! He is real today because I can feel him deep down in my soul. My God is real!Do you no he is real today?Can you feel him deep down in your soul... ? And he asked Simon Peter , "Who do you say the sun of man is? " You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” KJV. Esco Yancey,Jr.,Ed.D. © 2007 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES
DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO DANCE ABOUT? (Psalms 149:3-4) "Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the(timbrel and harp. For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation." (Eccl 3:4) "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..." (Luke 15:25)" Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. " Since Biblical times, the Jewish or Hebrew people have expressed joy through dance. Throughout the centuries, dance has become a part of religious, communal, and family celebrations. The West African tradition is very similar to the Hebrew or Jewish tradition. There is a dance for each occasion in their society. African Americans are descendants from West Africa. If we shout in church or try to suppress that feeling, we are innocent. It comes to us from our Western African lineage. CONTEXTUAL ISSUE 'The problem facing us today interns of whether we should or should not shout or dance in church depends on what source we use as authority .There are three well known sources of Christian authority. They are the Bible, Church History, and tradition. The Judeo Christian tradition is a dancing rejoicing one. In the Aramaic language, which Jesus and the Jews spoke, the word for ‘rejoice’ and dance is the same.The Peshitta is the only authentic and pure text which contains the books in the New Testament that were written in Aramaic...However, the educated Black Clergy in the 1950s tended to try an emulate the White European style of service and consider that normative. They could not remember or respect their West African dancing heritage .Nevertheless; C.L. Franklin was educated and remained true to his culture .He maintained a great balance between intellect and spirit at that same time frame,' The Soul of Black Folk. ' Daniel A. Payne ,who served the A.M.E .Church as bishop from1852 to 1896 was well know for supporting a dry European form of service, because he wanted to be accepted by Whites .He considered shouting primitive.Unquestionably ,W.E.B. Dubois disagreed .He felt that Blacks should be true to their songs ,devotion ,spirit ,dance, preaching ,shouting, and style of worship .He felt that the genius of the Black style or genres would carry the race through the storms of life and have a major impact on the American cultural and world .He was the most educated Black at that time (1924).Dubois was correct .Most ethic groups are true to their cultural,'Henry Mitchell. We need a proper balance between intellect and spirit! "There are two types of Negro churches that have failed to provide the bread at midnight. One is a church that burns up with emotionalism and the other is a church that freezes up with classism. The former is a church that reduces worship to entertainment, and places more emphasis on volume than on content. It confuses spirituality with muscularity. The danger of this church is that its members will end up with more religion in their hands and feet than in their hearts and souls. So many people have gone by this type of church at midnight, and it had neither the vitality nor the relevant gospel to feed their hungry souls. The other type of Negro church that leaves men unfed at midnight is a church that develops a class system within. It boasts of the fact that it is a dignified church, and most of its members are professional people. It takes pride in its exclusiveness. In this church the worship service is cold and meaningless. ...The tragedy of this type of church is that it fails to see that worship at its best is a social experience with people of all levels of life coming together to realize their oneness and unity under God,"Martin Luther King,JR. COMMON DANCE-RING DANCE The Hebrew, West African, and the Black Slaves in America had this dance in common. It could be called the Stroll o f the early60s or the Electric Slide of the 80s.The ring dance was very common in the 1940s in some Black Churches .Bishop Payne condemned this dance after a visit to a church in Baltimore in 1878.He said, "After the sermon they formed a ring,and,with coats off sang,clapped their hands,stamped their feet in a most ridiculous and heathenish way... I believe King David would have joined in on some of the Holy Dances in the early Black Churches. He might be considered the first, “Full Gospel King.” THE OLD TESTAMENT ‘The Israelites danced both in worship in ordinary life and on occasions of triumphant victory and festivity. Of the forty-four words in the Hebrew language for dancing, the most frequently used root for the word ‘dance’ in the Old Testament is hull which refers to the whirl of the dance and implies highly active movement. The types of dances used in Israelite society included the circular or ring dance, as well as the processional dance. In Psalms 149 and 150, we are told to praise His name in the dance and with the timbre (tambourine),’ Denie Riggs. THE NEW TESTAMENT ‘The Bible tells us that worshipping God in the dance was accepted as a form of worship and on joyous occasions. The New Testament gives a few direct references to dance. Evidence of the use of dance as an accepted expression of joy is reflected in Jesus’ comment in Matthew 11:17 and in the parable of the prodigal son, when there was dancing and rejoicing on the son’s return. (Luke 15:25) There are more references to dance in the New Testament than originally thought. In the Aramaic language, which the Jews spoke, the word for ‘rejoice’ and ‘dance’ is the same. So when you include ‘dance’ with ‘rejoice,’ there are references to dancing and leaping for joy as well as ‘dancing in the Spirit’ all throughout the Bible. Dance was a vital part of worship in the early church. The Bible shows that in the first five centuries of the Christian church, dance was acceptable and very much a part of worship and celebration. After about 500 AD, as the church underwent changes, dance worship did as well,'KJV. 'Worship Dance was divided into two types: 1. Dance performed by priests and church leaders on special occasions. This was the beginning of the church being divided into laity and audience. Before this time, all men worshipped God on an equal basis. 2. The congregation danced circle sacred dances with the approval and guidance of the church. These were in conjunction with church ceremonies and festivals. The dances were usually performed to hymns or carols. ‘To carol’ means ‘to dance.’ Most carols were divided into the stanza meaning to ‘to stand’ and the chorus, which means ‘to dance.’ Thus during the chorus, the people danced and unless a solo dancer performed for the stanza, there was little movement when the stanza was sung. As time went by, the world began to slip into worship dance and pervert it. Dictators and church leaders eventually shut down worship dance, ’..Denie Riggs. DANCE UNTIL YOU FEEL BETTER...ITS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH.... I believe that God created dancing for praise and adoration for His people to give Him glory .I believe God created music, instruments and music for us to dance and rejoice. It is an entire body form of praise.Psychologists' research indicate that dance is an effective activity for promoting the health and well-being of individuals .If you disagree, you will have to remove the book of Psalms from the Bible and the day of Pentecost .People also rejoiced when Jesus healed them. There is no Biblical record where Jesus told people to sit quietly after he healed or blessed them. Those were some noisy rejoicing scripture. King David danced .James Brown says, “Dance until you feel better.” WEST AFRICAN DANCE—PRE DATES SHOUTING 'The term African dance refers mainly to the dances of subsaharan and West Africa. The music and dances of Northern Africa and the Sahara are generally more closely connected to those of the Near East A central trait of African Dance is that it is polycentric. This means that - unlike many other regions of the world - the body is not treated as a "stiff" unit but is segmented into several centers of movement (shoulders, chest, pelvis, arms, legs etc.) that may be moved according to different rhythmical components of the music or even add rhythmical components of their own. This may result in very complex movements "inside" the body, as opposed to the movement through space of the whole body that plays the most.The roots of African American Church shouting started here,' Wikipedia. DANCE DEFINED Dance defined in the New King James Open Bible is an emotional movement of the body. Dances that are pleasing to God are Christ centered. Original translations define dance as: twisting or whirling in a circular manner, to bring forth, shake, travail or to tremble. 'Hebrew words for Praise Barak (Judges 5:2) - meaning to bless, to praise, to kneel, and to salute. Halal (1 Chronicles 16:4) - meaning to shine, to be foolish, to rave, to celebrate and to boast. Shabach (Luke 19:37-39) - meaning to shout, to triumph, to command and to give glory. Dancing In the Church Celebration Dance - Jumping and leaping in celebration of Christ’s victory and majesty. A demonstration of our proclamation by lifting glory up to God with our whole being. Praise Dance - Praise is our faith in action. God ordained us to praise Him at all times. This is not only in song, but also in dance. (Psalm 146:1-3; Psalm 150:4) Prophetic Dance - A spontaneous dance inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is a dance which the people hear and see the message from God.It could be shouting. Travail Dance - A victory dance by faith, thanking God for answers to prayers before they are seen. It is confessing and showing that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above anything. Warfare Dance - Movements that express warfare would be punching, stomping and kicking. Warfare dance would be done by faith to bring all types of breakthroughs. Worship Dance- An expression of awe, reverent fear and loving passion birthed from the spirit of the dancer to the Spirit of God. (Eccl 3:4) "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance'...Hebrew History. ________________________________________ CONDEMNED DANCING Every instance of dancing that is not considered sinful was done in worship or praise to God. Here are some more principles to keep in mind in considering dancing: Ecclesiastes 3:4--There is an appropriate time to dance (and inversely an inappropriate time to dance). Psalm 149:3 & 150:4--Both passages mention that we can praise or worship God through dance. The only times that scripture condemned dance...is when God’s people were dancing before false gods. CONCLUSION In the book, “History of Gospel Music," a very interesting point was made. It stated that the problems that secular music was having in the 50s centered around the fact... that the black church's rocking and rolling was more than what happened in the night clubs. Ministers like C.L. Franklin and Julius Cheeks were allowing the spirit to have its way in churches. Groups such as the Caravan, Dixie Hummingbirds, Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Swan Silvertones where providing spirit filled people a rejoicing outlet. Then, James Brown switched from gospel to soul and took soul and the shout beat to the secular world. The secular world embraced it on the dance floors, all over the world. However, the rejoicing beat ...can not and will not ...be suppressed. The secular world even had a song called, "Why don't we shout.” It came directly from the Black Church. Churches can choose to be dead any dry; they certainly have that right. However, there will be side effects. These side effects will manifest themselves in the form of ...youth leaving traditional churches, Christian Centers popping up in your community, and T.D. Jakes coming to town with his crusade. He has a full gospel approach to his ministry. H e will allow people to let the spirit have its way. I have tried to present some information on this issue; the decision is yours to make. I don’t know about you, but I have something to dance about. When the spirit moves, I want to dance when the band is not playing. Sometimes, I feel like running, when no one is bothering me. Sometimes, I want to cry and I am not sad .Sometimes, I feel there is a fire burring deep down in my soul and I need to leap for joy. I feel the need to close this message, because I am and getting ready to dance and leap for joy right now. When I consider... how good the Lord has been to me, it makes me want to ...dance. Now, I understand why King David danced so much. WHY DON'T YOU DANCE UNTIL YOU FEEL BETTER Wikipedia KJV A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Esco Yancey,Jr.,Ed.D. © 2007 GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES
WHEN GOD SHAKES YOUR NEST "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31) TEXT Isaiah the 8th century prophet gave words of hope to the captive people of the southern kingdom.At that time,the country was divided between Israel in the north and Judah in the south.Under King David the entire area was called Israel. He urged the people to wait on the Lord.Waiting on the Lord is like being safe in a nest,regardless of the storms around you.You can trust God.However,you must remain devoted in your worship during this period of nesting.If you don't wait on the Lord,You will experience what a baby bird experiences when it falls from the nest without the mother being there to help.It can be fatal.The nations that did not believe in God during Isaiah's time were destroyed, even though they seemed invincible.When you wait on the Lord ,he will give mature Christians the strength to mount up wings like an eagle. EAGLE After researching the text, I have decided that my job was to convince you that you can soar like an eagle .The eagle is the only bird that checks out the wind and current and soars like a kite. Eagles ride columns of rising air called thermals and can average speeds of 30 mph (50 kilometers). Effortlessly, an eagle can circle in a strong thermal to a high altitude, and then glide along .Other birds have to flap their wings to fly. . .So, I am asking you to emulate the eagle and not become your average bird, Christian, employee, or what ever your calling in life is. CONFORT IN THE NEST The second thing I would like to discuss is the limitations of the nest. The eagle's nest is a safe place for the eaglets. They are supplied with food shelter and safety from other predators. The location of the nest also protects them from the storms of life. This is a great environment for young eagles until they learn to fly .However, as they grow older they must learn to fly so they can provide for themselves .Thus, the nest provides them with a false sense of security,because they don't have the skills to soar like a great eagle. ITS TIME TO FLY... GOD MUST DEVELOP YOUR WINGS! When it is time to fly, the young eaglet gets the shock of a life time. The mother will shake it out of the nest. The young eaglet is terrified; it seems to be falling to a sure death as it tries to fly unsuccessfully. Just before it smashes against the rocks, the mother swoops under it and gives it a ride .This procedure is repeated about a dozen times before the young adult eagle learns to fly. Another interesting thing about eagles... is that they don't let the storms of life bother them very much. They are very good at forecasting the weather. They simply take notes of the weather variables and fly above the storm. When the storm is over, they go back to their normal routine of eating poisoness snakes , rodents and fishing. MODERN DAY EAGLES Michael Jordan was an eagle of a basket ball player. With seven seconds remaining in the games, he would consistently soar to the basket to win the game. Ali the heavyweight champion was as fast in the ring as an eagle. David the little shepherd boy rain out to meet the giant Goliath like an eagle seizing it's prey. Paul could interpret scripture concerning Jesus Christ with the spiritual vision of an eagle. He is still teaching us today. "What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well, "Martin L .King, Jr. GOD WILL SHAKE YOUR NEST When you feel like you are going through a storm in life as a young Christian, God is just shaking you out of the nest.Remember,you prayed and asked God for success!This is the next step. It is very important for you to become a stronger Christian. It is important for you to learn to fly and soar like an eagle. FLY OVER STORMS We are so use to God guiding us through the storms of life. As soon as we get in trouble or see a storm cloud on the horizon , we begin praying to God to take us by the hand and lead us through the storm ,God does this for a while, until it is time for you to fly and soar like an eagle. When God shakes us out of the nest, we feel like God has deserted us .We try to buy a new house and one mortgage company turns us down. Just, go to seven more until you get a yes .You need a new car and one dealership said your credit was bad. Go to five more companies until someone sales you a new car. Your church does not have enough members .Why don't you take the church to the people; that is what Jesus did. He did his trial sermon on the side of the mountain .Have church in the park one Sunday .Just soar like an eagle over that concern. EAGLE OR AVERAGE BIRD God made many varieties of birds ,but there are only a few eagles in the world to day compared to other birds. You are blessed, because you can decide to become an average bird or a mighty eagle. If you mount up wings like an eagle ,you shall run and not be weary; you shall walk and not faint. That is because you want have to ...waste your energy... flying in and out of storms ...like your average bird. God has provided a current that goes upward toward heaven ; just stretch your wings and let the current take you over all your troubles and concerns. THANKS GOD FOR SHAKING YOUR NEST! NOW SOAR LIKE AN EAGLE! CONCLUSION The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God's power to lift us above them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure, and disappointment in our lives. We can soar above the storm. We can soar like an eagle. . They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. One of these old days it is going to be all over for me on this earth.God has promise... that if I keep working in his Kingdom, he will give me two pairs of wings,so Ican fly away to glory.Up in glory,I have a long white robe.Up in glory,I have a new pair of shoes.When I get to heaven,I want my new pair of wings.I am working each and every day for my wings. I want to soar to heaven like the great eagle. Historical Information KJV Encyclopædia Britannica -- Eagle Information Esco Yancey,Jr.

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First to Urge Churches to Fight Slavery!! Domestic Goddess Harriet Beecher-Stowe1811-1896(1) is most famous for her controversial anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. FIRST AMERICAN SOCIAL PROTEST NOVEL! Stowe was born in 1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut, the seventh of nine children. Her father was the well-known Congregational minister Lyman Beecher and his wife was Roxana Foote Beecher. Roxana Beecher died when her daughter was five years old, causing Beecher to feel great empathy, she felt, for slave mothers and children who were separated under slavery. As Elizabeth Ammons points out in her preface to the Norton edition, if Beecher had been a man, she probably would have followed in her father's footsteps and become a minister. As it was, she was also wife and sister to preachers. She maintained that it was her Christian passion which compelled her to write her novel. The Stowes' family was not rich, and therefore, Harriet's life was sometimes conflicted between the necessities of motherhood and writing, or, between vocation and avocation. She eventually bore six children, with whom her writing competed. Stowe chose to write Uncle Tom's Cabin because her sister-in-law urged her to use her skills to aid the cause of abolition. The novel was incredibly popular and sold more copies than any book before it, with the exception only of the Christian Bible. "Today, Uncle Tom's Cabin raises many questions. It requires readers to confront and think about racism, and theories of race in the United States. It provokes important questions about differing feminist ideologies and agendas across race and time" (Ammons, intro). Whatever our feelings about the novel, it remains one of the most influential American texts written by either man or woman. It is possibly the first American social protest novel, and anyone concerned with the state of race relations should read it. Critics often denounce the novel for its often sentimental and stereotyped portrayal of its African-American characters, and for romanticizing slavery, but others answer their claims by saying that the critics have not read or completely understood Stowe's intended message and agenda. Whatever your personal feelings about the novel, and Stowe's agenda, it remains an important text for our history. Stowe's other novels, including Oldtown Folks and The Pearl of Orr's Island contain another picture, one of the domestic lives of the northeastern region that Stowe grew up in and was familiar with. We can find, by studying all of her works, a more complete portrait of her as a writer, and we can possibly understand more about Uncle Tom's Cabin when we read all of Stowe's writing. Amons, Elizabeth. Foreward. Uncle Tom's Cabin. By Harriet Beecher Stowe. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1994.
Oldest African American Church 1777 The First African Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia, the oldest black church in North America, was established when the Baptist Church was laying its foundation in America. The "Heroic Age" of George Leile marks the beginning of the church in 1773. He was ordained May 20, 1775 and enjoyed absolute freedom. He constituted the church December 1777 and thus became the first pastor of the First African Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia. The First African Baptist Church, a survivor of the Revolutionary War, during the over-awing hand of the hostile British, a growing body of the Reconstruction Period and a strong force during the Revolutionary changes of the 1960's for the Black community had its beginning in 1773. She was officially born May 1775. Through the years, the First African Baptist Church has rendered service for the community on behalf of all people and is a standing monument for the role she has played. One of the slaves baptized by George Leile was Andrew Bryan. He was permitted to preach by his slave master Johnathan Bryan. He became the spiritual leader of the church that was established by Leile. Bryan was ordained January 20, 1788 and he became the second pastor of the constituted church. He purchased the fourth site on which they worshipped on West Bryan Street. The congregation changed the name of the church in 1822 from the First Colored Church to First African Baptist Church. On July 26, 1826, the first Black Sunday School in North America was organized in the church. The initiative was taken by the Independent Presbyterian Church. The present sanctuary, was erected in 1859 by the members of the congregation doing the work themselves. It is rated excellent in architecture and listed in the National Register of Historic places. This is the first building constructed of brick in the State of Georgia owned by blacks. For years it was known as the "Brick Church." The pipe organ was installed in 1888. The baptismal pool is located in the pulpit. The church houses the first museum in any area black church. It contains archives and memorabilia that date the church back to the 18th century. Copyright First African Baptist Church
Resource For Pastors Independence Day Sermon! Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth(center photo above )was a civil rights leader from Birmingham, Alabama. Shuttlesworth grew up in a rural, black community and was educated at Selma University and Alabama State Teachers College. He became a Baptist minister and served a church in Selma and later in Birmingham. In 1956, he founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) and the following year, along with Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy(left photo above)organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He also helped the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organize the Freedom Rides, two interracial bus rides through the South that tested the enforcement of recent Supreme Court rulings A fearless advocate of racial equality, King called Shuttlesworth "one of the nation's most courageous freedom fighters." Shuttlesworth was often subjected to violence as a consequence of his actions. In 1956, Shuttlesworth announced that unless the Birmingham city buses were desegregated, black residents would begin sitting in the front of the buses on December 26. On Christmas night, a bomb blast destroyed his home. Incredibly, Shuttlesworth emerged only slightly injured, and the demonstration took place as planned. Over the years, he was assaulted by police dogs and knocked unconscious by a high-pressure fire hose. In 1957, three years after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Shuttlesworth and his wife escorted their children to Phillips High School in Birmingham in an attempt to integrate the all-white public school. A white mob that gathered beat him with brass knuckles and chains, and stabbed his wife. Although he was nearly killed by the mob, Shuttlesworth did not strike back at his attackers, but instead moved through the hostile crowd as best he could. At a mass meeting that evening, Shuttlesworth used the incident to teach a lesson on nonviolence. He asked everyone who was angry about the attack to stand. Everyone stood. Then he asked everyone who had been beaten that day to remain standing. Everyone sat down. He said, "That's strange, I was beat up and I'm not angry." He went on to say, "You got to suffer for what you believe in. . . . It's going to better the lives of people around you and behind you. That's what we are fighting for. . . . That's what the movement is all about." Over the years, Shuttlesworth was instrumental in organizing bus boycotts, student sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, and boycotts of segregated businesses, and he initiated lawsuits attacking segregation ordinances. In March 1965, he helped organize the march from Selma to Montgomery to protest voting discrimination in Alabama. Today, Reverend Shuttlesworth is a pastor in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he continues to fight injustice. In 1981, he organized the Shuttlesworth Housing Foundation, which provides grants to help poor families in Cincinnati become homeowners.Teacher's Domain In 1961, Rev. Shuttlesworth moved to Cincinnati to become pastor of Revelation Baptist Church. While continuing his activism in Birmingham, Shuttlesworth fought for human rights in Cincinnati as well, joining other black ministers in a campaign to make William Lovelace the city’s first African American Municipal Court judge. He also advocated changing city council elections to increase minority representation and pushed for the hiring of minorities by the police department. In 1966 he became the pastor of Greater Light Baptist Church in Avondale and with that echo of “What would you have me do?” still ringing, Rev. Shuttlesworth continued to look into his community for opportunities to improve conditions for the poor. He established the Shuttlesworth Housing Foundation to provide low cost housing for the needy. When he was honored by leaders of the civil rights movement on his 80th birthday two years ago, he said “I have seen us come so far, but we have so much farther to go.” The Greater Cincinnati Area Chamber of Commerce named him a "Great Living Cincinnatian" in 2000. The following year, President Clinton awarded him the President's Citizens Medal. Horstman, Barry M. 100 Who Made a Difference: Greater Cincinnatians Who Made a Mark on the 20th Century. General f920.07714 H819 R.R., Cincinnati Historical Society Library, Cincinnati Museum Center.
IT MUST BE THE LORD'S WORK! 17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; 18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. (Luke 6:17-19) TEXT The text explains how the world reacts to the Lord's Work .Luke is recording events for the Gospel Record, however, he is also recording these healings in his medical journal .Luke’s medical practice served Jew and Gentiles. He was also Paul’s doctor. Luke points out that Jesus was healing people of their physical problems, but the text also points out that being healed spiritually was more important than the physical healings. The world was enamored by the healing ministry of Jesus! INTRODUCTION It has always been said... that when you have a serious medical condition... get a second opinion. The general practitioners will send you to see a specialist for an extremely serious case in his area .But, what do you do when the doctor needs a doctor? What should you do? Houston Texas in the late 90s,hundred of medical doctors filled a conference room to hear Herbert Benson, the chair of the Harvard Medical School ,open a conference on Spirituality and Healing. Dr. Benson posed a questions to the doctors .He said, 'how many of you have been operating and things got so out of control that the only reason your were successful is that the Lord intervened. At least 99.99 % of the doctors raised their hands; I was in Houston that morning to witness that for myself. It was a humbling experience. In 1944, John Hopkins Hospital , Brother Vivien Thomas a young black man at the time ,had to assist in this operation. He took over the scalpels and operated with his eyes closed. He could feel blood vessels and arties better than he could see them. The enigma was that he did not have a medical degree or a college degree either. When the operation was completed, the chief surgeon said, it was perfect. He said,'it must have been the... Work of the Lord!' It was in the early 60s, the Rev. Julius Cheeks was in the hospital. Rev. Cheeks was a man filled with the Holy Spirit. The doctors said ,call your family; you don’t have very long for this world. He told the doctors that he was waiting for his... last doctor to come. They were confused and puzzled. All his medical doctors... had agreed that ...they could not help him. He said,' I am waiting for Dr. Jesus!' It was said, that about 12:00 midnight the nurse reported seeing a visitor in his room. The nurse came by to find out who his visitor was. H e said, he was talking to his doctor and his name was ...Dr.Jesus! He told them that this doctor said... every thing was going to be okay. Was it the... Work of the Lord? Was it something that God did? Is Jesus still practicing medicine today? Was it luck? Could it be a coincidence? It could have been an anomaly!Larry Dossey,M.D.,says,"Prayer is good medicine." YES!JESUS IS STILL OPERATING! WE DON'T HAVE TO GO TO HARVARD TO UNDERSTAND THAT! IT IS THE LORD'S WORK! Well ,Harvard Medical School felt that there were too many cases of Jesus practicing medicine, all over the world. So, they decided to do a scientific investigation. It is happening so much; it is statistically significant. In other words, it is not luck, there is a causal variable. Harvard Medical School does a Spirituality &Healing conference each year .Check it out for yourself! DO YOU KNOW HIM? HAVE YOU TRIED HIM? HAS HE BEEN GOOD TO YOU? THE LORD’S HELPER BROTHER VIVIEN THOMAS On November 29, 1944, a small, frail child was wheeled into an operating room at the Johns Hopkins Hospital for the first attempt to treat tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart malformation that robs the blood of oxygen. This life-threatening condition is often signaled by a bluish or "cyanotic" cast to the skin, hence the term, blue baby. The procedure joined an artery leaving the heart to an artery leading to the lungs, in an attempt to give the blood a second chance at oxygenation. It was the first blue baby operation and came to be known as the Blalock-Taussig Shunt. Vivien T. Thomas was a key player in pioneering the anastomosis of the subclavian artery to the pulmonary artery .The surgical work he performed with Alfred Blalock paved the way for the successful outcome of the Blalock-Taussig shunt. In January 1930, Vivien Thomas, a young African-American who was forced for lack of funds to leave his first year of college, came to work for Blalock in his laboratory. At that point Blalock's increasing obligations were cutting into the time he could spend in the laboratory and he needed a surgical assistant. A more fortunate choice could not have been made. Vivien Thomas learned to perform the surgical operations and chemical determinations needed for their experiments, to calculate the results, and to keep precise records; he remained an invaluable associate throughout Blalock's career. Thomas supervised the surgical laboratories at Hopkins for over 35 years, and in 1976 he was appointed instructor in surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1979, upon his retirement, he became instructor emeritus of surgery. Vivien Thomas's achievements were widely recognized by his colleagues. In 1976, he was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Laws, by the Johns Hopkins University . THE LORD’S WORK! Luke was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and the Gospel writer. He was also a medical doctor. Jesus had just recently completed the selection process for his disciples. Luke had the opportunity to observe Jesus in his early ministry. The religious leaders, scribes, community leaders, and legal authorities were having difficulty understanding the amazing works of this man. They began to complain among themselves. Jesus had upset the status quo! He had become the center of attention. These community leaders were having a problem ,because the great works of Jesus had undermined their influence in society. Jesus was taking medical cases that were ...too advanced for ...doctors at that times .He was healing all manner of disease. The doctors of the law met with him to ask questions; they were overwhelmed with his wisdom. They wanted to know by what authority he could do these amazing things. Where ever Jesus went, he drew large crowds. People came for basically two reasons. They wanted to become his disciple (learner) or they were seeking an opportunity to be healed. We are still seeking Jesus 2000 years later for the same reasons. Jesus healed lame legs and gave them strength. He reached his hand to blind eyes and gave them sight. He touched weak minds and restored order. He forgave sins and cast out demons setting people free from spiritual, emotional, and physical bondage. Thus, Jesus is healer of both body and spirit. In other words,he is a heart fixer and a mind regulator!He brings peace to a troubled mind! SPIRITUAL SICKNESS The greatest problem facing the world to day is spiritual sickness. Spiritual sickness can be an eternal problem. Some of the major spiritual ills are hate, false doctrines, violence, pride, greed, racism, deceit, fear; just to name a few. We can not be healed physically all the time ,but we can overcome these spiritual vices. Paul said, “Love is a more excellent way.” WHOLENESS HEALING Jesus sees wholeness as the well-being of the total person: psychological, spiritual, physical. There is no separation of body and spirit because Jesus understands them as bound together in a living unit. Jesus understands that whenever our psychological and spiritual life is out of balance, we can not find peace. The song writer says, "This joy that I have the world didn’t give it to me.” Remember,when Jesus touched the blind man,he reported seeing two lights.He saw the sun light and he saw the Holy Light. THE LORD’S AUTHORITY (Isa 61:1 NKJV) "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (LUKE 4:18) Jesus went into a synagogue one Sunday Morning. He was asked to read the scripture .He read the above scripture and closed the strolls. He then said,' this scripture has been fulfilled.' This prophecy was written 750 years before the birth of Jesus. The Lord sent him to heal the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives. IT MUST BE THE LORD’S WORK! IT MUST BE THE LORD’S WORK! DO YOU KNOW HIM? HAVE YOU TRIED HIM? HAS HE BEEN GOOD TO YOU!! IT MUST BE THE LORD’S WORK!!! Rev.Esco Yancey,Jr.

FATHER’S DAY FATHER KNOWS BEST! For all fathers, especially Black Fathers, whose voices have not been heard, I sense your pride, feel your pain and hear your cry! Today is your day! The role of black fathers is one of the strongest and most important traditions in the black community. There is no question that in their earliest years in the New World enslaved African-Americans were concerned about their fathers. Moreover, their loyalty to their fathers. WHERE IT ALL BEGAN! The president of the Chicago branch of the Lions’ Club, Harry Meek, is said to have celebrated the first Father’s Day with his organization in 1915; and the day that they chose was the third Sunday in June, the closest date to Meek’s birth date. Ms. Dodd of Spokane Washington did a lot for father’s Day. Ms Dodd felt she had an outstanding father .He was a veteran of the Civil War. His wife had died young, and he had raised six children without their mother. Her church, then started celebrating Father’s Day. States and organizations began lobbying congress to declare an annual Father’s Day. In 1916,President Woodrow Wilson approved of this idea, but it was not until 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event on the third Sunday in June. TEXT: I would like to call your attention to the following text for Father’s Day. This scripture is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:21-24) THE TEXT AND ITS APPLICATION! The text deals with the parable of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke .This account is familiar to most of us. It's the story of a rebellious son who rejects his father's upbringing. Prideful and strong, the son heads-off to a far-away land, leads a wild life of adventure, and squanders everything of value (literally and symbolically). Not until he's confronted with failure and despair, does he return home, repentant and willing to do anything to win back his father's favor. To his surprise, and the surprise of others, he's welcomed, without question, into his father's loving and forgiving arms. No amount of time, no amount of money, and no amount of rebellion could get in the way of the father's patience and unconditional love for his son. "For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:24). Of course, the awesome message of this parable is that God is patient and gracious with all of His children. He is willing to welcome each of us home into His loving and forgiving arms. The Prodigal Son is a reality for many of us. In the journey of life, we soon realize there are no guarantees as Christian parents. No matter how hard we strive to teach our children about God and His Word, and no matter how often we pray for our children to discover Jesus Christ and His message of salvation, some decide to reject it all! Even in those families where God is loved, trusted and glorified, children sometimes rebel and run from their roots! PRODIGAL SON! The road to God for each Prodigal Son is different. However, as the two stories above tell us, we should never give up - no matter how far away they seem! God gives us these examples in scripture so that we realize that our children may turn against God. He also gives us instruction on how to dig in spiritually for our prodigal children: Be in constant prayer, always lead by example, and follow through with love and grace, no matter how despairing things get. WHAT IS A GOOD FATHER! Remember God's promise to those who raise children in a Christian home: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).This is the foundation for fatherhood or parenting period! Great fathers make God the head of the house! What is a good father? The text seems to emphasize three major qualities of a good father. They are “ love by example,” patience and unconditional love. I am sure there are many others. EXAMPLES OF GOOD FATHERS! Gardner Taylor is now 88 years old. He is considered one of the fifteen greatest English speaking preachers in the world. He was asked who had a major influence on his decision to become a minister. He stated that his father was that person. Rev. Taylor said that his father was not well educated, however, he taught himself by reading in many areas. This is a good example of ...love by example. I was involved in teaching young children chess in the 1980’s.A young man called me from South Africa who was an outstanding teacher in that area and said he would like to come to Raleigh where I was at the time and do a class. I said sure! He came with his father and brother. His father was a medical doctor and his brother was a medical doctor .I was amazed that his father loved and respected his son the teacher just as much as his son the medical doctor. This is a good example of a father’s… love and patience. I was very blessed growing up. I had the pleasure of growing up with my father and grandfather. They were both God fearing men. They were both farmers. They taught me great work ethics. I had to work very hard on the farm from the time I was six years old. However, we had a lot of down times. I still can remember the fishing and hunting trips I went on with my father and grand father. There were many times my father could not go with us; my grandfather and I would go fishing or hunting. They were great examples of how to work hard and have quality down time. When I did something wrong they were quick to show me the error of my way.When I got in trouble,they always knew what was best and could lead me in the right direction. My father and grandfather were great examples of …unconditional love. PRODIGY SON! My brother George learned much from them! He is a third generation farmer and has carried on their tradition well. I heard him say several weeks ago about his accomplishments as a father. He said… that his two daughters had graduated… from college and… owned their own homes.He also has... two grandsons... to follow after him. What a great accomplishment as a father. He was the only child of four who built his career in the same town he was born. The other siblings moved away from home. He had the pleasure of being around my father and grandfather all of his life. He has been successful in farming, mechanical engineering career, personal building and construction. He and his wife have also been successful in the assistant living business. Now, his leadership impacts the lives of hundreds of individuals in the community, on the job, and among family members. He and his wife were invited to the White House to be ...recognized by the... president for being ...successful minority business owners. THE BLACK FATHER! Belle Hooks, in her "Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism" (1988), reminds us that "scholars have emphasized the impact of slavery on the black male consciousness, arguing that black men, more so than black women, were the ëreal' victims of slavery." She documents the reality that "sexist historians and sociologists have provided the American public with a perspective on slavery in which the most cruel and de-humanizing impact of slavery on the lives of black people was that black men were stripped of their masculinity, which the psychologists and historians argue resulted in the dissolution and overall disruption of any black familial structure." BLACK FATHERS WILL OVERCOME!I HEAR GOD SAYING...KEEP THE FAITH...FATHER KNOWS BEST! Regarding family and personal relationships, today's African-American males are no less sensitive than their forefathers. According to one black physician, "black men come to the psychiatrist's office in large numbers, in pain and genuinely seeking help. They have little or nothing to say about the statistics, myths and other sociological pronouncements so often made about them. Rather, they come in talking about depression, anxiety, frustration, fear, guilt, esteem issues and anger that are most often related to the close, ongoing relationships in their lives." (Henry E. Edward, "Black Families in Crisis: the Middle Class," 1988). KEEP THE FAITH...FATHERS KNOWS BEST!...FATHERS KNOWS BEST!! CONCLUSION God's promise to those who raise children in a Christian home: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).This is the foundation for fatherhood or parenting period! Great fathers make God the head of the house! Of course, the awesome message of this parable is that God is patient and gracious with all of His children. He is willing to welcome each of us home into His loving and forgiving arms. The same way the father did the Prodigal Son. FATHER KNOWS BEST! HAPPY FATHERS DAY!! Rev.Esco Yancey,Jr.

YOU CAN TRUST GOD! 1 O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; 2 many are saying to me, "There is no help for you in God." 3 But you, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. 4 I cry aloud to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy hill. 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the LORD sustains me. 6 I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Rise up, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. 8 Deliverance belongs to the LORD; may your blessing be on your people!(Psalm3:1-8) The text deals with the night King David was completely surrounded by his son Absalom and his army. David is expressing his pain, agony and frustration as he cries to God for help. However, David had such confidence in God… that he would deliver him in this situation; he simply went… to sleep… after that prayer. Absalom the son of King David began to scheme against his father to obtain the kingship, and had himself proclaimed king at Hebron (2 Sa 15:1–12). Marching against Jerusalem, he forced David to flee the capital and took possession of the royal palace and of the harem. He disregarded the counsel of Ahithophel and did not immediately pursue the small forces of David, but followed, instead, the advice of David’s friend Hushai, who counselled him to mobilise all of Israel’s army before continuing the pursuit. This gave David time to reorganise his forces and get ready for the decisive encounter (chs 15:13 to 17:23). The battle took place in the "wood of Ephraim," somewhere in Gilead, probably near Mahanaim. The forces of Absalom were severely beaten and in the confusion of battle Absalom was caught by the head in the branches of a tree, and left hanging helpless. While thus suspended he was killed by Joab against the explicit command of David. He was buried like a criminal in a large pit in the wood, and a big heap of stones was erected over his grave. Trust in the Lord in times of trouble! He will be a shield around you! God is building a shield around you as you read this message! The Lord will sustain you! Only believe! Only believe! I know where you are. I know how you feel. I have been there. I know what you are going through. Be encouraged! Be encouraged! OBSTACLES WILL COME YOUR WAY! Regardless of what obstacles you may encounter for a difficult task, these same problems… probably have been… overcome by other people. Some of these people may have written books, magazine articles, or Internet commentaries showing how to… surmount these difficulties. “ You can take from every experience… what it has to offer you. And you cannot be… defeated …if you just keep taking one breath followed by another, “Oprah Winfry. FEAR MUST BE CONQUERED! Fear is also a… major problem… when you are… surrounded… by trouble. David stated in the text that ‘he was not afraid of ten thousand people.’ “ No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear,” Edmund Burke. BELIEVE IN A HIGHER POWER! Another problem in starting or resuming… a difficult task… according to psychologists is a lack of “ empowering beliefs.” These beliefs are such things as self-confidence and a "take-charge" attitude. Lacking these beliefs, you may feel… inadequate … that you can't meet the challenge. To overcome this problem you need to develop ...empowering beliefs. “ In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true,” said John Lilly. BELIEF IN GOD IS GOOD FOR YOU! These “ empowering beliefs” normally result from a… series of achievements. However, you also… can implant… these beliefs… directly into… your subconscious mind. In this way you can remove the… obstacle that keeps you from even… trying to take on… a difficult task. Belief in God… is good for you… physically, emotionally and spiritually.Belief in God is an... empowering belief . "Belief in God… is good medicine,” Herbert Benson, Harvard Medical School. When I was a young college student, I was walking home from class one night ;it could have been a Wednesday Evening. We usually got a pay check each Friday. At the time, I was surrounded by hunger and lack of money. It was also very cold that evening. I stopped by a service station that evening to warm up. As I entered the door, the owner’s wife came by with two pork shop sandwiches for his supper. He looked at those sandwiches and said that he did not want pork shop that evening. He offered me his sandwiches. I gladly accepted. Those two pork shop sandwiches helped me to graduate from college. My point is this… I believed God was going to help me in…that situation. I did not know how, but I believe my situation would change. I don’t know what you are facing! You may feel like you are completely surrounded by your problems. GOD IS ABLE!!! I am here to tell you that …God is able. He can make away out of no way. He can build a fence around you. He will build a fence around you… if you only believe. He built a fence around Moses when he came out of Egypt! He built a fence around David when he battled Goliath! He built a fence around the disciples on a stormy sea one night! He built a fence around Satan when He chained him, death, grave yards, and set the captives free! He built a fence around me one day! I know he will build a fence around you!
When Your Back Is Against the Wall! The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9) Is your back smack up against the wall? You can go no further and you’re feeling trapped. You feel like there is no way out of your dilemma with no one to help you. You’ve tried everything within your power and now you’re desperate. The following is taking place: • Lost job • Attacked on the job • Your company closed • You lost your retirement • Mortgage is very late • Children are out of control • False rumors about you in the community • Lack money for children’s education. Whom can you turn to now? Maybe you’ve heard of God doing miraculous things for certain people, but you’re not sure about all that. It all could have been coincidence, the medicine, or lucky circumstances that made those things come to pass for others. It could also be that those who experienced such wild-sounding claims were “good.” You may even be saying to yourself that you do not deserve any favors from God. Why would He reach down and bother to help you? When you find yourself in this situation, you need to determine... Two Things. Firstly, is your back against the wall because of something you did? If you smoke cigarettes and get cancer, you are the problem. If you are driving 75 in a 55mph zone and you get a ticket, you are the problem.If you don't have the faith or diligence to get a new car,job or home,you are the problem.You need "self protection "from yourself! Secondly, if your problem is caused through no fault of your own or it is caused by the enemy... then ...You Are in Spiritual Warfare. I Have Good News For You! God is going to shift things around for you ...today ...and let things work in your favor! YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE RULES OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE!!! From my study of the BIBLE and life, the enemy has two types of attaches. One is internal .The enemy wants you to fear or be confuse." No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear," said Ed Burke.Don’t fall for this trick! Your Father in heaven has all... power ...in his hands. David taught us the correct method of spiritual warfare. You must have an... action plan. Remember, David rain out to face Goliath.You must take "action" when your back is against the wall." There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction,"John F.Kennedy . The second thing you must do is pray expectantly.David would pray and then forget about the problem. He expected God to answer that prayer. He did not pray and worry. He prayed the "prayer of hope ." The Bible says hope is greater than faith. Let me illustrate this point for you. I have seen good basket ball players shoot the ball and wait to see if it was going through the nets. I had the pleasure of watching Earl the Pearl Monroe play when he was a senior at Winston Salem State University. He came down the floor about center court and shot the ball. He turned around started going back to the other end of the court for defense ...without confirming whether the ball successfully entered... the nets. Amazingly, the ball hit the nets without touching the realms. He shot the ball expectantly . Pray expectantly! Consider it a done! Don't believe it is done!Consider it done! The other attack is external .It includes things... such as... criticism, scorn, false accusations, threats, hindering and conspiracy. The text was written by David the Sheppard Boy ...who was a master ...at spiritual warfare. He faced several situations and won each time against tremendous odds. He faced a bear as Sheppard Boy and won. He went up against the Giant Goliath with a sling shot and won. One night he was completely surrounded by an enemy army. He prayed and went to sleep did not worry about it any more.He got up early the next morning with the help of the Lord and destroyed that army. My grandfather was a very successful man. He was born in 1890 and did not have the opportunities that we have today. There were many obstacles in his way... racism, discrimination, and financial hardships. However, I observed him on several occasions with his back against the wall. His secret was prayer. God would always answer his prayers! I have faced many difficult situations and have prevailed in most cases... with the... help of God. I am not as great as my grandfather and David the Sheppard Boy. However, when I stay in prayer, devotion and Bible study, the solution to my problems always appear. "…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Why do we have such a difficult time taking God at His word when it comes to facing adversity? When the tough times come, God’s people are to stand firm…and yet so many of us cave in under the pressure of danger, hardship or difficulties. The greatest example of having your back against the wall is Jesus .He defeated death and the grave yard one Easter Sunday Morning. When they went to the tomb that Sunday Morning, it was empty. He had overcome the world.This is why we have victory today! We have the victory! Rev.Esco Yancey,Jr.

MOTHERS OUTSIDE THE NORM "For all mothers whose voices are still not heard," I hear your cry! It has always been amazing to me how women can succeed at raising their children with less resources than men in most cases .The great majority of successful individuals assert that their mother is the foundation of their success .Booker T .Washington, George, Washington Carver ,Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune ,George Washington, Abe Lincoln ,Bill Clinton,this list is just a short example. “ I attribute all my success in my life ,to the moral, intellectual ,and physical education I got from her,” said George Washington. The text gives us a great paradigm of a woman who goes beyond the norm as a wife, widow and mother .I call your attention to the following verses: Ruth 1:16-18 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. Ruth, the Moabite, became King David's great-grandma. Her lineage... extends all the way to Jesus... because of her faithfulness to the Israelites. She was a none Jewish Semite. Moab was a prosperous country. However, the people worshiped false gods. After the death of Naomi's sons, she was the loyal daughter-in-law who clung to Naomi and followed Yahweh, the God of Israel, giving up her complete heritage and lifestyle .Un like Orpah, the other daughter-in-law who separated from Naomi never to be heard of again. At the end of her book, Ruth becomes wife of the wealthy Boaz' and the mother of Obed's. The Book of Ruth has four chapters which entails the story of a virtuous woman .It was written sometime after the period of the judges (1375-1050 B.C.). The books of Ruth and Esther have the distinction of being the only two books in the Bible written about women. The dominant cultural stereotype of the "good mother, said Coll, is a woman who is married and works outside the home in a job that does not take her away "too much" from her parenting responsibilities. She has no more than two children, and they have no handicaps or behavioral problems; she conceived her children and is raising them in a heterosexual relationship; and she and her spouse are older than 20 and are of the same ethnic and racial background. Mothers who are compromised in their ability to access resources will be vilified, such as welfare mothers, mothers in prison and mothers who are homeless. Other mothers will be the target of political campaigns such as lesbian mothers, working mothers and single mothers. "The extent of mothers' self-sacrifices and their ability to cope with everything ... from breast feeding a two pound newborn... to raising a child who is disabled or has a difficult temperament ...is astonishing," said Coll.However, just as astonishing ...is society's inability or unwillingness to recognize... the true difficulty of all these endeavors! It has been said,"A mother understands what a child does not say." I remember visiting the Greensboro, NC Urban Ministry Homeless Shelter. That facility had 132 beds total ...for men and women. There were 116 beds ...occupied by men and only ...16 occupied by women. This pattern seems to hold true all over the country. Most churches seem to have more women as members than men. There are more African American Female business owners than men. The percentage of individuals in prison is greater among men than women. It seems that the great common denominator between Ruth and the successful mothers of today is “ perseverance.” This character trait seems to be the foundation for all achievement."I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles,"said Christopher Reeve. What can we learn from Ruth and today’s exceptional mothers? The case is clear! God Blesses Diligent and Faithful Mothers. Consider the following: Ruth refuses to leave her mother in-law Naomi Ruth gives up her wealthy country of Moab to stay with Naomi Ruth gives up her false god to serve the true God of Israel Ruth is willing to work as a servant in Boaz's fields Ruth marries the wealthy Boaz Ruth gives up everything for God and family Ruth is a “ labor of love.” When Mothers stay with God and Their Families; God Blesses Them! Trust in the Lord and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:3-5, 7a) Rev.Esco Yancey,Jr.

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The Virtuous Man Second Peter 1:5-8 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you ...that ...ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Roberto Clemente Walker was a virtuous man. Pride and humanitarianism won him universal admiration. Despite an un orthodox batting style, the Pirates' great won four batting crowns and amassed 3,000 hits. He was equally brilliant in right field, where he displayed a precise and powerful arm. Clemente earned National League MVP honors in 1966, but achieved his greatest fame in the 1971 World Series, when he batted .414. Tragically, Clemente's life ended at age 38 - the victim of a plane crash while flying relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. “ “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” said Jesus. Yes, love is the greatest of all virtues.Oh yes ,Love encompasses all virtues. Well ,without love ...the other virtues are ...invalidated. This text deals with Peter addressing the problem of false teachers in the Jerusalem Church. There were several classes of false teachers within the church, 64 A.D.They were causing considerable difficulty. This letter warns the church against them, and exhorts Christians to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." The plea for steadfastness was prominent, in view of numerous heretics threatening the spiritual life of the saints. He exhorted them to perseverance in truth . Peter was also giving some instructions to individual Christians. He was encouraging them to become virtuous individuals. What is a virtue? I am glad you asked. A virtue is a character trait valued as being good. The conceptual opposite of virtue is vice. A vice is a bad quality such as deceit. The false teachers in the church that Peter was talking about were deceivers of the believers. Love is the cure for lack of virtue. Paul asserted that a more ...excellent endeavor... is love .It is greater than spiritual gifts and faith. A good example of this is the story of a mother. Her child got trapped under a car. Without thinking or believing whether she could lift the car. She picked the car up and freed her child. Yes, love is a very powerful force.It seems impossible to achieve love and lack the other virtues. They tell me that a man... kicked Martin Luther King down in Alabama! Martin turned and said, " I love you brother." It was said that experienced changed that man's life and he later became Martin's friend. Rev.James Forbes,Jr. said, '' If you have love,it will increase in the environment where ever you go.If you do not have love,it will decline in the environment where ever you go."This implies to your,home,school,church or community. According to Aristole, virtue can either have normative or a moral value. The virtue of a speaker is to speak; the virtue of an excellent speaker is to speak well. The normative view is a standard of action. The virtues that have moral value are prudence, reason, kindness, patience, faith, charity, etc. We can conclude that virtues are the sum total of all good moral qualities and actions. In Greek virtue is called[arete ] ‘ ‘habitual excellence’’. The virtue of perseverance is needed it seems for all and any virtue since it is a habit of character and must be used continuously in order for any person to maintain oneself in virtue. Plato claims that all virtues are a single kind of knowledge, possibly ‘knowledge of good and evil’. Most virtues can be achieved through human effort, with the exception of three. According to Christian Theology, these three are faith, hope and charity. These are God given. However, spiritual devotion, study, prayer and acts of faith will allow the spirit to guide you. Peter is saying... when we are attacked by false prophets and doctrines, we must combat this by our qualities of virtue. We know the truth... because we study God’s Word. We increase our faith... by hearing God’s Word. We increase our blessings... because we provide love and service to others. We are persistent in our devotion ...to God and Truth. Yes, the great virtues are faith, hope and charity. According to the Bible, the greatest of these is charity or love. Jesus was the greatest example of love .He loved so much that he laid down his life for his friends. H e also laid down his life for his enemy. This also explains the mystery of the cross.Jesus allowed the Romans to put him to death.He had the power to call legions of angels to his defense.He asserted, '' if you lift me up,I will draw all men... unto me.''He used the great virtue of love. So, be persistent... to be all you can be in... your personal life. Do your best... to seek truth ...in your spiritual life. Seek the more perfect way… which is love. You can become the... virtuous one. Let us pray: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen Rev.Esco Yancey,Jr.,Ed.D.
"...Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand...." - Proverbs 19: 21" A Life of Purpose Can Change the World!" Do you know your purpose for your life? Many of us struggle with God's purpose for our lives. We often measure our success in life by what others think. Young people tend to think of purpose in terms of a job or career. Spiritually minded people think of purpose in bigger terms. A few individuals find their purpose, while the majority wonders... if a purpose exits. I believe we all have a purpose. Every thing in the physical world excluding man has a purpose. The sun, moon, birds, bees, and all the animal kingdom have a predetermined purpose. It is inconceivable that man was created by chance and without a purpose. It has been written,” the purpose in life is a life of purpose.” How Do You find Your Purpose? Paul gives instructions concerning your purpose. He asserts that we are physical beings with a spiritual dimension to our lives. The manifestation of spiritual gifts is given to our spiritual side. We must identify and develop these gifts .Our purpose is defined ...by our gifts. Rather, our gifts define ...our purpose. Paul asserts further ...that this gift is neither earned nor forced.It is God-given, therefore not man-generated. The Greek word for gift is pneumatkos, meaning spirit-energized. In other words, the spirit energized gift moves you toward your destiny or purpose (1Corinthians12:1-29). The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung was the first modern thinker to define this mysterious phenomenon. He called it synchronicity, the perception of meaningful co-incidence. Jung maintained that this is a causal principle in the universe, a law that operated to move human beings toward greater growth in consciousness. In simpler terms, experiences that move you toward your purpose in life. Abraham Lincoln wrote about an experience that moved him closer to his destiny in his youth. One day he encountered a peddler who asked him to buy an old barrel of goods, mostly worthless, for a dollar. He could have easily turned him away, but he gave the peddler the money and stored the barrel. When he cleaned out the barrel, Lincoln found among the old cans and pots a set of law books. He used the books to study to become a lawyer and went on to fulfill his purpose. It has been said, ''It is our choices….that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Martin Luther King was driven to fulfill his purposes in life .He was a man who changed the world. Dr .King was turning his attention to a nationwide campaign to help the poor when he was assassinated. He never wavered in his insistence that nonviolence must remain the central tactic of the civil-rights movement, or in his faith that everyone in America would some day attain equal justice. He stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. '' Jesus Christ changed human history more than any figure. He made a decision to leave the safety of Galilee where he was among friends and relatives to go to Jerusalem . This is where the religious leaders would consider him a threat to their authority. The Romans also would consider him a disturber of the peace. His friends thought this was a bad decision. Jerusalem was the place where he was arrested and given a death sentence. However, when he rose from the grave that Easter Sunday Morning, he became the greatest religious leader in history. Jesus had a mission to fulfill. Jesus had a God to glorify. Jesus had a purpose to fulfill. I am so glad he did it! Will you fulfill your purpose? Rev.Esco Yancey,Jr.
I would like to submit to the hearers of the text that the majority of you would admit that the “Messiah” has come and that the reading of this scripture is an illustration and a celebration of that fact. It is my hope that those who are opposed to this position will be forced to reconsider their conclusion. With this in mind, I believe the following scripture sums up our sentiments today. I call your attention to the book of St John,the 20th chapter,the 24th through the 29th verses: But Thomas,one of the twelve,called Didymus,/was not with them when Jesus came.The other disciples said unto him,"We have seen the Lord."But he said unto them,"Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails,and put my finger into the print of the nails,/and thurst my hand into his side,I will not believe."And after eight days again his disciples were within,/and Thomas with them.Then came Jesus/the doors being shut/and stood in their midst and said,"Peace be unto you."Then said he to Thomas,Reach hither thy hand/and thurst it into my side,and be not faithless,but believing."And Thomas answered and said into him,/"My Lord and my God."Jesus said unto him,"Thomas,because thou hast seen me,thou hast believed./Blessed are they that have not seen/and yet believeth." The above scripture deals with a post resurrection incident.The Roman Court and the Jewish hierarchy had put Jesus to death.The disciples that had followed him were confused and frustrated.They had seen their leader put to death. The disciple Thomas who was a rational thinker had heard some rumurs that Jesus was alive.He stated to the other disciples that he did not believe it.He said that he would not believe until he saw for himself!Thomas was the last disciple to believe. Thomas was trying to base his religion on empiricism.This is based upon what one can see,touch and observe.Many of us are like this today!This form of thinking has many limitations.Faith is greater than reason!Jesus Christ represents ultimate faith!Without faith,it is impossible to please him! Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of our religion!Faith is not just the utterance of words,however,but a firm belief and conviction with one's mind and heart.It is also a commitment to be acted upon.Jesus does not need your senses to communicate with your heart,spirit and soul!Thomas was trying to evaluate this situation based upon facts and what he had observed. Ultimate faith rose from the grave that Easter Sunday Morning!Jesus rose from the grave that Easter Sunday Morning!Jesus rose that Easter Sunday Morning with all power in his hands! Then came Jesus/the doors being shut/and stood in their midst and said,"Peace be unto you!"If you have fears ,trouble and problems,I hear him saying,"Peace be unto you!" Your way could be as dark as night.I hear him saying,"Peace be unto you!"He can come into any situation and say,"Peace be unto you!" I would like to closed by repeating the words of Jesus,"Peace be unto you." Rev.Esco Yancey,Jr.,Ed.D.
Bishop of the Church of God in Christ has passed!!!We lost one of the World's Greatest Gospel Preachers!! www.bbless.org
Mr&Mrs.Willie Dee Walker celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary at the Person County Office Building!! The guest were treated to "SOUL FOOD "prepared by Chef Yancey! It was a great event!! Hats off to the Walker Family!!!
Vir Racers and their guests were treated to outstanding"Soul Food "prepared by Chef Yancey at a local farm near Milton,NC.There were 120 people from all over the country at the event.Chef Yancey has been invited to bring his food style all over the USA!You can reach Chef Yancey by e-mail.escoyancey@yahoo.com
All Yancey Soul Food customers should report to the Stratford Inn,2136 Riverside Drive,Danville,Va.,1-800- 326-8455.This will give you greater food variety and meeting space.Chef Yancey and Chef Jr.Dailey will be collaborating to make sure the quality is outstanding!!If you need Chef Yancey to personally prepare your food for a private party.escoyancey@yahoo.com
Church groups,choir groups, dancers,singers,and ministers from all over the country were there for this great event! Many community leaders were also there.The purpose was to make our communities better by sharing ideas.The Rev.Willie Darby was the guest preacher for the Sunday service.His message was enjoyed by everyone!New Brunswick,NJ
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Please visit her site!www.pominc.org/in.html
THE REVIVAL THIS YEAR WILL BE IN SAVANNAH, GEORGIA! FRIDAY: PASTOR HERBERT P. GRAY, HAND OF GOD CHURCH MINISTRIES, ZEBULON, NORTH CAROLINA SATURDAY: REV. ATTORNEY WILLIE S. DARBY, PASTOR, PENN AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH, OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA SUNDAY: BISHOP T. R. WOOLDRIDGE, ROYALTY OF FAITH CONGREGATIONAL OUTREACH MINISTRY MINISTER BETTY MORRISON, PASTOR, EMMANUAL BAPTIST CHUCH, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA (HOST CHURCH) REV. CARLTON J. WHIDBY, M.DIV, ASSOCIATE PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, RALEIGH, N.C. - PRESIDING HAND OF GOD PRAISE TEAM, CRYSTAL COAST MASS COMMUNITY CHOIR, GOSPEL INSPIRATIONS, AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!
Gospel Times Ministries, "The Gospel Inspirations CD (Prayer Changes Things)," was nominated for the IGMA Best Traditional Gospel Album for 2006. Go to IGMA under "Links to Others" from this directory for additional information.
The Host Church for the Revival: Zion's Hill Missionary Baptist Church Moncks Corner, South Carolina Rev. Al Finley, Pastor ***ABOUT THE GUEST PREACHER FOR THE REVIVAL'S SUNDAY SERVICE*** WILLIE S. DARBY Attorney-at-Law and Pastor, Penn Avenue Baptist Church Oxford, North Carolina Gospel Times Ministries' lead preacher and legal representative, Willie S. Darby is a native of Oxford, North Carolina. He was educated in the public schools of Granville County. While in high school, he served as president of the Senior Class, Captain of the football team and a member of the Drama Club. He enrolled in North Carolina Central University in 1971 and graduated, magna cum laude with a BA Degree in Political Science with a concentration in Criminal Justice. Darby received a scholarship to continue his studies at North Carolina Central University Law School. While in law school, he served as Student Bar President 1977-1978 and Comment Editor of the Law Journal 1978. He received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1978, and he passed the North Carolina State Bar the same year. In December of 1994, he accepted the profound call upon his life to preach the Gospel, and preached his initial sermon February 26, 1995. He became a licensed Baptist Minister; thereby adding to his may duties and responsibilities. Darby has always been involved in the church as a born-again Christian. He served on the Board of Deacons for twelve years. He was a Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent for fifteen years. He served as President of the County Line Sunday School Union for two years. Darby has served as legal advisory for many churches in Granville County. He was ordained by the County Line Missionary Baptist Association on March 31, 1996. He became Pastor of Penn Avenue Baptist Church on April 10, 1997. Pastor Darby presently serves as First Vice Moderator of the County Line Missionary Baptist Association. He is married to Margaret Moore Darby. They have two daughters, Tasha and Fran. The Revival congregation was blessed with a soul-stirring, spirit-filled message from Pastor Darby taken from Acts 12:1-19, entitled: "When There Appears to be No Way Out!" We left Sunday service spiritually motivated and filled with joy! We had a "high time" praising the Lord! TO OBTAIN A COPY OF THIS SERMON, CLICK ON "BUY" ON THIS WEBSITE DIRECTORY.
A "call to preach" by Rev. R. Lumzy, Pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rev. Dr. Esco Yancey, Jr. answered his call and was the guest minister for the Deep South Festival's Sunday service, speaking from Matthew 14:20-23, "A Disciple Will Go Through the Storm and Get a Blessing." He was introduced by his wife, Rev. Dr. Barbara Akins Yancey. The Yanceys (representing The Gospel Inspirations) sang their renditions of their gospel hits, "Morning Train" and "We've Come This Far By Faith." The Lumzy Sisters performed Sunday afternoon. Here is a copy of the article from the TRIBUNE newspaper in New Brunswick, New Jersey. ******************************** North meets South at fest Home News Tribune Online 07/10/05 - advertisements - By JOHN MAJESKI STAFF WRITER NEW BRUNSWICK — City resident Charles Spence made his way through Feaster Park yesterday, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the sixth annual Deep South Festival. Forget a favorite. Spence couldn't choose one. "I enjoy the whole thing," said Spence, a 27-year member of Mount Calvary Baptist Church, the congregation hosting the free event. "I love it." The Deep South Festival, a two-day affair, is scheduled to continue today at 10 a.m. at the park, Commercial Avenue and Handy Street. Contests were held and local church choirs performed under a striped tent while attendees piled their plates with Southern favorites including fried chicken and sweet potato pie. The message was one of unity, organizers said. "We're bringing the church out to the community," said Stephen Bellamy, who chairs Mount Calvary's deacon board. "I believe the best part of this festival is that some man, woman, boy or girl will turn their life over to Christ." The Rev. Brenda Hicks, festival founder and assistant pastor at Mount Calvary, said the event attracts people of various backgrounds and cultures. Hicks, a native of Mississippi, said the Southern bent to the outdoor event has a wide appeal. "You get more people from the deep, deep South that have migrated up north," she said, adding people from as far away as New York City and Louisiana have attended the annual event. While they waited to perform with their church choir, Somerset residents Maggie and Ed Martin noshed on fried chicken and other Southern fixings under the tent with great-grandson Isaiah, 2, who is visiting from Maryland. The couple is part of the senior ministry choir at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, also in Somerset. "I think it's nice," Maggie Martin said of the festival. "That's the whole thing — reaching out to the community." The Rev. Glorious Sanders of Friendship Christian Church in New Brunswick attended yesterday. She said the culinary offerings were a nice touch. "I'm (originally) from the South," said Sanders, who is scheduled to speak at the festival today. "The food is always good, but fellowship is more important than anything. "The best part is the fellowship, the coming together," she added. Other activities planned for the Deep South Festival include a watermelon seed-spitting contests, dancers and a basketball free-throw contest. Mount Calvary currently meets at Paul Robesen Community School while it awaits construction of a new house of worship on Comstock Street. Bellamy said the congregation has between 75 and 100 members. For the most part, the day remained sunny. "The weather is cooperating," Bellamy said in the early afternoon. "God is blessing us." The Rev. Esco Yancey Jr. and his wife, the Rev. Barbara Akins-Yancey, sat under a stately tree and sold shirts with religious sayings. Musicians, the couple hail from North Carolina. "This gives you a chance to chill and listen to music," Esco Yancey said. "This is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon." John Majeski: (732) 565-7260
THE SERVICE WILL BE HELD AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH ON SATURDAY APRIL16,STARTING AT 11:00AM.HE WAS THE PASTOR OF CORNER STONE COMMUNITY CHURCH IN ROXBORO,NC.HE WAS A GREAT TEACHER AND LEADER.HE HAD A MAJOR INFLUENCE ON THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF GOSPEL TIMES MINISTRIES.WE LOVED HIM,BUT GOD LOVED HIM BEST!
Register with Gospel Times for our First Annual Revival to Montgomery/Tuskegee, Alabama, April 15-18! (Go to our "Contact Info" Page and send us an e-mail or call us toll-free.) Our guest preacher is Reverend Carlton Whidby. Read his bio: Rev. Carlton Jackson Whidby is a licensed, ordained minister who obtained his Master’s in Divinity from Shaw University Divinity School, where he specialized in Religious Education. He also has both an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He is the recipient of numerous academic awards, including Who’s Who and a member of The Alpha Chi National Honor Society. Rev. Whidby has dedicated his life to serving others, and he has done this in numerous capacities, including serving as: minister and pastor, Sergeant in the United States Air Force, a corrections’ officer, a deputy sheriff, an Emergency Medical Technician, a firefighter, a supervisor, and as a business owner. Politically speaking, Rev. Whidby was the co-chairman for Jesse Jackson’s 1984 Presidential Campaign for Durham County, which was the only county in North Carolina that Rev. Jackson won. Subsequently, Rev. Whidby was elected delegate from N.C. to the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. He was campaign coordinator for Albert Wynn, the first African-American Congressman from the state of Maryland. Rev. Whidby has also testified before the U. S. Congress on behalf of small businesses. Nevertheless, Rev. Whidby’s life took a dramatic change after he became involved in the Gospel Times Ministries about six years ago, as he began to reach out to those in need of spiritual uplift. He subsequently became the associate pastor at Cornerstone Community Church, teaching Sunday School, preaching, and participating in outreach initiatives for the church. Daily, Rev Whidby puts into action the words of his favorite scripture: Romans 12:13 which says – “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice Hospitality.” Rev. Whidby is currently an Associate Minister at First Baptist Church in Raleigh N.C., where Dr. Dumas Harshaw is the pastor.
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Gospel Times Ministries presented its Third Annual Black History Service on Saturday, February 26, 2005, at The Farmer's Supply Restaurant, 35 Abbitt Street, Roxboro, North Carolina. The Guest Speaker was Rev. Mae Riddick, Associate Pastor of Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, Roxboro, North Carolina. Guest Music Ministries included: *The Crystal Coast Community Mass Choir from Morehead City/ Atlantic Beach, N. C. *Next Level, a young, male gospel group from Martinsville, Virginia, and *The Gospel Inspirations! Historic Poetry by Ruth E. Royster from her private collection of poems entitled, _______________

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