God in America

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, September 30, 2009 0 comments

We are moving in a dangerous position when forces are attempting to eliminate any mention of God in our country. Even in our pluralism we should never forget that we are a Christian country. In God we trust provided for us a foundational premise upon which we could appeal to a higher power when earthly forces sought to inhibit freedom. While God will never be confided by man's actions. God is always seeking people who will acknowledge him and praise his name. In times such as these we need to turn to God instead of away from God. Biblical historical record has illustrated what has happened to nations when they turn their backs on God. Therefore, we must insist, we must instill, and we must insure that God will remain in America and that he is ultimately King of Kings and Lord of Lords and under the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess.

Have you ever experienced troubled waters? Did you ever need a bridge to overcome unexpected waters? If you have are you sure you know who you got over your situation or circumstance? Many people take for granted that there will be a bridge to take them over life's troubling waters. Some people face troubled waters and think that is the end of life's journey.

Life has taught me that in this journey we will experience troubling waters. Life as also taught me that the engineer of all life is able to build supportive structures that are able to take you over. Life has also taught me that the chief engineer can create a structure that will take you under life's troubling waters. That why I rejoice every morning and praise the name of the Lord. He is able to do everything but fail.

Head Start Sunday at Union Baptist Church

Posted by Unknown Sunday, September 27, 2009 0 comments

A simple symbol is these building blocks colored in red, white and blue. This symbol is the logo for Head Start.

"Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families."

Today is Head Start Sunday at Union Baptist Church. Through the vision of Rev. Vernon Dobson, Ms. Dorothy Mapp, and Ms. Lavern Stewart they embarked on this mission over 41 years ago to develop the Union Baptist / Harvey Johnson Head Start Program. Over 7,000 children have graduated from this program during this period of time. In 1995 Union Baptist Church built a single purpose building to house its Head Start Program which is located at 1211 Druid Hill Avenue.

I'm preparing a sermon for this morning entitled, "Children are an Legacy from God." Text: Psalm 127

Indeed they are a blessing to each of us and our community. "Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them the beauty they have inside."


Posted by Unknown Saturday, September 26, 2009 0 comments

Over my career I have had the opportunity to interact with various Washington Administrations: President Carter, President Reagan, President Bush 41, President Clinton, President Bush 43, and now President Obama.

We can be excited about this President. His administration understands that they have this moment to make a difference. Also, the difference they have to make is to insure that everyone has a place at the table.

In yesterday's meeting with Senior Staff of President Obama's various department we were invited to establish professional relationships with his key personnel. We have a wonderful opportunity to go directly to Federal Government Officials and do business. Most of us have had to operate at the whims of our local government. Now the Federal Government is saying to local and state government, "show us the partnerships you have established with non-profits and faith based organizations.

This is clearly the time to set up all of our games. This is the time to get to know people who talk to President Obama regularly. This is the time to press our case directly to the Federal Government for improvements in education, housing, employment, and other direct services. This is the time to think innovation. This is the time to "think out of the box."

Not only is President Obama seeking to make a difference. We must understand that the difference he is seeking to make is to permit persons such as myself (and also you) to know that they are welcome in the corridors of power.


White House Briefing for African American Clergy

Posted by Unknown Friday, September 25, 2009 0 comments

Around 4:00 p.m. on Friday, I am honored to join African American Clergy in a private briefing by the White House. The Obama administration is setting the standard for public engagement and transparency in government. The briefing is off the record and not for press purposes.

I may be sworn to secrecy, but I leave excited about the new level of access to places of power God has afforded me.

This one thing you can be assured, "I will not eat the King's meat."

We Live in a Rich State

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, September 23, 2009 0 comments

Good news and bad news! Maryland is the richest state in the America. Maryland has one of the highest poverty rates in America.

Which part of the state do you live in the richest part or the poverty part? Or do you live somewhere in the middle? Unable to go up, but precariously on the edge of going down! The paradox of there being these two worlds existing at the same time with meager attempts to address the needs of those whose faces are at the bottom of the well should make us all ashamed.

I pray that those who hoard their resources do not find themselves after building bigger barns proclaimed a fool.

We know how God treats those who are last. He makes them first in His Kingdom!

Big Play Ray

Posted by Unknown Monday, September 21, 2009 0 comments

We learned alot from Ray Lewis play last night. If you are not aware he made the game saving tackle on the Chargers last play of the night. As a result of his tackle, the Raven's won a hard fought game.

What is the lesson? To play the game of life until the end. To play with enthusiasm and to play with endurance.

My prayer this morning is that each of us will obtain the gift of endurance because the victory is not giving the the swift, but to those who endure.


Never Forget the Children

Posted by Unknown Friday, September 18, 2009 0 comments

This has been a topsy turvy week from the samurai sword incident to the Whitney Houston interview to the health care debate to a lack of civility of persons towards each other; I'm taking a break and thinking about the children of the community.

Children who seek affirmation. Children who are a bundle of energy. Children that offer us hope for a better tomorrow. Jesus reminds us in the midst of adult created problems and issues to understand that unless you become as a little child you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Never lose the child like quality of curiosity. Never forfeit the child like quality to bring joy into someones life. Never forgo the child like quality to enrich your home and community by your presence.

Stevie Wonder once sang, "with a child heart there will be no worries of the day."

MJ continue the song by saying, "worries turn into play and no need to worry and no need to fear, just being alive make it all so very clear."

The New Symbol - Samurai Sword

Posted by Unknown Thursday, September 17, 2009 8 comments

An extremely disturbing occurrence in Baltimore was the killing of a African American man who broke into a garage by a Caucasian student of Johns Hopkins. The weapon used to kill the garage burglar was a samurai sword.

One will remember the Kill Bill 1 & 2 movies where the main character used a samurai sword to avenge her shooting when she was pregnant and about to be married.

When persons in the community of the killing were interviewed many expressed their anger that they were tired of being burglarized and terrorized and they where not going to take it anymore. Instead of focusing on the gruesomeness of the killing, the news media began a discussion about the African American man lengthy arrest record. State Prosecutors proclaim they need to investigate whether or not the Johns Hopkins student should be arrested and charged for his actions. Lost in the hysteria is that a man is dead for making a wrong choice of breaking into a garage.

The fact of the matter is race has to be factored into the discussion. Long ago it was thought that a Black life did not have the same value as a White life. When Whites became angered by actions of Black they would string them up and hang them from a tree by a noose. So prevalent was these actions that anti-lynching laws had to be placed on the books to makes these actions illegal.

Now we have a new symbol, instead of a noose it is a samurai sword. While the symbol may be new the actors are the same, a White Man can kill a Black Man anytime they choose for any reason they wish. A Black life is of less value than a White life.

In our current environment those of us who remember "Emmett Till" will have to be vigilant. Vigilantism is on the rise particular when it comes to assaults verbal and physical against African Americans.

Lost in our cultural context is the Biblical Mandate, "Thou Shall Not Kill."

Swine Flu and the Church

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, September 16, 2009 0 comments

If this is the image of protection from H1N1 (Swine flu) what are we going to do in the church were people congregate in close proximity to each other. Do you tell people to where masks? Do we provide hand washing solutions for every to have in the pews? Do we tell people to leave if they sneeze or appear sick? What do you suggest? Why is it that all of a sudden of all the many disease in the world, we are confronted by a projected swine flu epidemic?

Recently in my international travels I encountered person in airports and on planes wearing masks? The fear is real. Is it grounded in reality? Are the medical and pharmaceutical forces aligned to make a quick buck out of all the publicity generated by this H1N1 mass hysteria?

My question is still on the table what do we do in the church? Do we wash down and sanitize all of our surfaces where peoples hands may touch? Do we tell the ushers to keep hand sanitizers in their pockets? As the pastor do I cease shaking peoples hands or giving them an embrace?

I'm open to suggestions!

Let's Play Tennis

Posted by Unknown Monday, September 14, 2009 1 comments

I watched the tennis match with Serena Williams. It is unfortunate that the official interfered with the match. She was having a difficult time as it was.

For those who have watched tennis over the years, you have seen some nasty displays by others, such as Illie Nastase who was nicknamed Nasty. You may also remember John McEnroe who also had outbursts on the court.

At every level African Americans are held to a different standard of behavior in athletic endeavors. Can't condone the behavior but fairness should prevail.

Facing FEAR

Posted by Unknown Sunday, September 13, 2009 0 comments

Preparing for today's sermon the 2nd in a series entitiled, "Why Do You Fear?" Last week I dealt with "Fear that you won't make it!"

Later this morning I will deal with, "Fear that you don't matter!" Jesus throughout his ministry addresses people by saying, "Fear Not!"

We should live fearless lives grounded in knowing that God is with us all the way.

Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Avenue, Baltimore at 11:00 a.m.

The Market Place

Posted by Unknown Saturday, September 12, 2009 0 comments

As the season changes from Summer to Autum, one thing I will miss is the open air markets of fresh vegetables and fruits. There is something magic about a fresh item in season. In the Baltimore area our growing season seems so short. There places around the world where the growing season is longer and the fruit is constantly fresh. We have markets in our area, but the produce is lacking and the quality is suspect.

There is nothing like fresh fruit in season. I pray God will keep me for another growing season of his goodness towards us.

A Mother's Love

Posted by Unknown Friday, September 11, 2009 0 comments

Their is something very special about a mother's love for a child. A tender embrace, a warm smile, and reassuring caress affirms in a child that the world is safe and secure. It also says to a child that they are important and significant. So much is communicated when a mother holds her child and transfers to the child an assurance that no matter what "I am with you."

Losing a mother is a deep loss for every child. The safety blanket is gone. The anchor from the storm is no more. The depth of feeling one is used to receiving is replaced with a wound that never seems to heal.

Enjoy the love of your mother. Treasure the presence of one who affirms. Cherish the memories of times together.

I miss my mother and every now and then I wish she where here so I can talk with her about the blessedness of life's journey. I would thank her for always been consistent about the love of God and the salvation found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. I would applaud her for giving her all for my best interest. I would show her the awards, certificates, diplomas and news clipping telling of some of my accomplishments that I had dedicated to her.

I would remind her of the many things that her grand children are doing that shows "that God truth endures from generation to generation."

There is nothing like a mother's love. It really makes the world go round.


Look to the Hills!

Posted by Unknown Thursday, September 10, 2009 0 comments

On a hill overlooking Rio De Janerio is one of the seven wonders of the world: the statue of Christ the Redeemer. This statue is the dominate image throughout the area. It is an awe inspiring image. It constantly reminds you of the watchful eye of God and the tender mercy of Jesus Christ.

I took this picture on a cloudy misty day and was unable to see the statue even when I was very close. For a moment the mist rolled away and I was able to take this picture.

The misty day and the eventual mist rolling away reminded me that in life there will be moments when you will not see God clearly. Even though he is present willing and able; there will be some obstructions in your way. Obstructions, hurdles or obstacles should not deter one from seeking or inhibit one's faith from believing that God is very near. And as the songwriter says, "he is there just when you need him most."

I pray that everyone will resolve in their spirits "to look to the hills from whence cometh your help, your help cometh from the Lord."

Fountain of Youth?

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1 comments

Has anyone found the proverbial fountain of youth? Well this is not it.

This is a fountain on Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore Maryland that has been inoperable for over 20 years. Finally the powers that be within City and State Government have included a little aesthetic beauty within this historic African American Community. Many Thanks to Council member Cole for returning the fountain to service.

Back to the question about the fountain of youth, is it possible to retain your youthful vigor and energy? I believe you can by eating properly and exercising regularly. Also, staying within the loving embrace of a God to whom you pray.

True youth is in how you think and act. We age too quickly be foregoing the zest that life instinctively brings.

Who is Man's best friend?

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, September 8, 2009 1 comments

Whoever came up with the saying,"that a dog is man's best friend?" Dog make good pets. Dogs provide a service. Dogs sometimes act as a protector. But I have never placed them in the category of being a best friend.

When you think about a friend; I think about a confidant. I think about a constant presence. I think about a counselor. I think about a companion.

As I have walked this journey, I think about my relationship with Jesus Christ. He promised to be my best friend. In fact his word says, "I will be a friend that sticks closer than a brother." Over and over again, He has proven to be that type of friend. One who accepts me warts and all. One who encourages me even when life is tough. One who comforts me in moves of despair. One who give me joy in moments of triumph. Have you had a similar experience with the love Jesus has for you and me?

The song writer says it best. "There not a friend like the lowly Jesus. No not one! No not one!

Labor Day - Hooray!

Posted by Unknown Monday, September 7, 2009 0 comments

In the Bahama Island you will find the marketplace. The marketplace is an area of commerce where persons buy and sell commodities that people produced. There is value in producing something by the "sweat of your own brow".

Unfortunately we have gotten so far away from producing that on this Labor Day we collectively have been reduced to working for others and increasing their net worth while ours is either remaining stable or declining.

On this Labor Day we should begin rethinking how we can enter the economy system as producers: either through the "sweat of our brow" or the "intelligence of our mind." We come from an ancestral culture of inventors and producers. It is in our spiritual "DNA" to be the "head and not the tail."

Change the paradigm we have been on vacation for far too long!

Union Baptist - The Servant Church

Posted by Unknown Sunday, September 6, 2009 0 comments

For over 105 years, Union Baptist Church has stood in the middle of the 1200 Block of Druid Hill Avenue. Throughout its 157 year history the ministry, the ministers, and people have had a far reaching impact on the social conditions of persons living in the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and America.

During its 157 year history, ten preachers have served as pastors of this historic church. Four Ministers have had an unusual impact because of their tenure: Rev. Dr. Harvey Johnson served for 50 years; Rev. Vernon N. Dobson served for 40 years; Rev. Baxter L. Matthews served for 27 years; and Rev. Timothy Boddie served for 10 years. Therefore these distinguished clergy served a 127 years of the 157 years. What a powerful testimony to consistency and stability.

I'm humbled and honored to mount the pulpit each Sunday as the 10th Pastor in Union Baptist Church's history.

These times are placing additional demands upon the church. How does it respond to the challenges faced by families and children? How does it help bridge the digital divide? How does it deal with health care disparities? How does it engage a mobile congregation with those still living within the neighborhood? How does it restore an aging physical plant and make the necessary improvements to insure that its continues as a safe haven within this community? How does it continue its history of excellence in music, in ministry, and in the gospel message?

These questions and more create the continuous needs to study biblical literature, references, and the Holy Bible.

I will begin a new series this month on "Why Do You Fear?" Its intent is to minimize our fears and to increase our reliance on God.

I pray that your worship experience this Sunday is fruitful and blessed.

9th Ward New Orleans, Louisiana

Posted by Unknown Friday, September 4, 2009 0 comments

It is hard to imagine that this trailer is still in the 9th Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The after effects of Katrina is still haunting our nation. The media has lost interest. Public opinion has waned. Who really cares?

Claims are made that commerce has returned. Nevertheless, there are people all over America who will never be able to return to their original homes or the area they claim as home. Regardless of what administration, America has failed the victims of the Katrina disaster. While the after shock may have subsided, the Government's credibility is seriously scarred by their inability to restore normalcy to the former residents of the 9th Ward and the persons relocated due to the Katrina disaster.

Keep them in your prayers and forever in your hearts.

As the summer season gives way to autumn, I relish the beautiful flowers of the summer. The wonderful color and aroma of flowers add an aesthetic beauty to life that reflects God's Glory. I thank God for his attention to beauty. Beautiful scenes, beautiful experiences, and beautiful people add zest to life. I remember a line from an old song by Franky and The Spindles, "There is beauty in sunshine and beauty in trees, if you look hard enough baby you will find that there is beauty in me"

Yes we should seek to live beauty lives that are filled with God Glory and Praise.

(for those from Baltimore who understand what it means to be back in the day, I have a treat when you click the link to Franky and The Spindles - the original soundtrack to "There is Beauty." enjoy!)

How to Pray with Power!

Posted by Unknown Thursday, September 3, 2009 0 comments

Just wanted to share the themes from the Summer Sizzler Series, "How to Pray with Power!"

A prayer should be introspective. A prayer should be intergenerational. A prayer should be intercessory. A prayer should be interrelated. A prayer should be intimate. A prayer should be inspirational. A prayer should invite the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. A prayer should ask for your inheritance. A prayer should seek the irresistible grace of God.

These nine powerful elements were uncovered as we preached nine sermons on what we all need to know, "How to Pray with Power!"

How to Rebound from a Knockdown - Real Life

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, September 2, 2009 0 comments

Everyone experiences a temporary setback or even a knockdown in life. The question is do you get back up?

In the case of Whitney I must commit that I am not as objective as others. Her mother Cissy Houston is a personal friend. Cissy is one of the all time great background singers. From assisting Elvis Presley to Luther Vandross, she helped each of them and many others arrange background vocals that added the oomph to the songs we loved to hear. Every Sunday Cissy can be found in her New Jersey Church leading of singing in the choir. She is a tremendous mother and an outstanding person. Being a good mother she only wishes the best for her daughter.

She introduced Whitney at the tender age of 17 to Clive Davis of Arista Records who invested in her career that propelled her to stardom. But as an adult Whitney made some bad decisions that negatively impacted her life and career. Now she is seeking to rebound from the knockdown she so publicly suffered. Now she has to face the public once again to seek redemption and support.

I plan to purchase her CD. I pray for her restoration. Not as a commercially successful singer; but as a child of God who had a prodigal experience and now needs the tender loving care of a merciful God.

You are a Promise You are a Possibility

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, September 1, 2009 1 comments

There was an old saying, "you are a sight for sore eyes." The intent of the saying was that by viewing something or someone your weary eyes were made the better because of what you were viewing.

This picture of students entering Dunbar High School in Baltimore is such a sight.

Prayerfully, our political leaders will learn that it is better to invest on our children on the front end than to invest on the back end. Meaning that it is better to invest in education than in building prisons.

Dunbar has an illustrious history and a laudable record in producing African American Leaders. Our children deserve the best when it comes to their academic careers.

I believe that good schools equals good students.

We should all be proud of each of our children who are pictured here and all children as they journey through their academic careers to reach the promise God has intended for them.

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