Christmas Eve Service at Union Baptist Church

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, December 24, 2010 0 comments

This evening beginning at 7:00 p.m. The Youth of Union will perform their Annual Christmas Eve Play at 1219 Druid Hill Avenue. The performance last's about one hour. It will feature an original play developed by the youth with costumes. The songs of the season will be sung in the Historic Sanctuary of Union Baptist Church. Together we will share in Holy Communion.

You are invited, bring your children, and share in this memorable hour of praise and worship to Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior.

Christmas Food Baskets

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, December 23, 2010 0 comments

This morning Union Baptist Church distributed 300 food baskets to people within the community. It's an annual tradition that has grown over the past few years. Early in November we collect the names of people who live within the 21217/21201 zip code where our church is located. Yesterday, a team of volunteers packed each of the tree hundred baskets. The packing of the baskets is a joyous period of time as each one of us reflects upon the blessings that God has given us. We also reflect on how good we feel to share a bit of the Christmas spirit with our neighbors within the community.

Today people begin lining up outside of our church at 8:00 a.m. for the start of the distribution which began at 9:00 a.m. From 9:00 a.m to 12:00 noon a steady stream of people came in, showing their identification, and having their names matched with the list we had compiled. Food baskets was going out of the door at a rate of one basket per 45 seconds. The process is effective and efficient. The joy of Christmas is in the air as each of the community members are greeted with a, "Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday."

Indeed it is more blessed to give than to receive. Our church experienced the blessing of giving. I am so honored to serve in ministry with a church who is willing to bless 300 families within its community.

Strength to Face the New Year

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, December 22, 2010 0 comments

"I will strengthen you." Isaiah 41:10

Have you ever had the experience of needing to get a charge for the battery in your car because it wouldn't start?

Many times in life you have had stops and hesitations that required God to recharge your life's spark.

It is comforting to know that the same God who is able to orchestrate a Lunar eclipse; is the same God who has promised to supply your every need, including daily strength.

Remember all God has to do is speak and it is done. Remember what He did for our ancestors. He gave them the strength to face the uncertainty of a new day plagued by the injustice of yesterday. Nevertheless they were propelled into an era of freedom, dignity and worth that didn't come from man, but came from God.

Our God does not sleep or slumber he will give strength to those who are weak and courage to those who are afraid. All you have to do is to wait upon the Lord and He will renew your strength.

Big Brother

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, December 20, 2010 0 comments

Growing up there was an image of "Big Brother" watching your every move, collecting information on everybody, and knowing what you were thinking and doing. It appears that "Biggie is Here." In today's Washington Post is a disturbing article outlining the technology and methods the government is using to track every day Americans under the guise of being potential terrorists. For government to posses this power in an era of political extremism is something to watch. Depending upon who is in political power will determine who is on the watch list. I guess we will just have to be prepared for "Biggie" to watch our every move and to monitor every transaction we make. The old adage is true, "what is done in the dark will come to the light."

Reading Revelation Responsibly

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, December 18, 2010 0 comments

If anyone has had problems understanding and reading the Book of Revelation, I recommend that you obtain a copy of the recently released book by Dr. Micheal J. Gorman, my dean at the St. Mary's Seminary, entitled "Reading Revelation Responsibly".

He walks the reader through a comprehensive understanding of this important book of the Bible.

For scholars and biblically aware people, I recommend this 2011 release of his book subtitled, "Following the Lamb into the New Creation."

As we stand on the brink of the second decade of the New Millennium, all of us need a new Revelation from God which is revealed in this book of old.

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, December 17, 2010 0 comments

The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings has added another accomplishment to his impressive resume. He was elected by The House Democratic Caucus to be the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives.

He will be the primary person charged with insuring that any inquiry into the Obama Administration is fair and above board.

Congratulations to my friend and colleague. He has distinguished himself as one of the finest and most influential congressmen in America.

Rising from a humble background, couldn't be more humble than sitting in class with me in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, his brilliance, intellect and intelligence has taken him into the inner workings of power in America.

I believe we should communicate and let him know, that as he faces the responsibility of doing hand to hand combat with Republicans intent on attacking our President, that we have his back here at home.

Jesus says, "Come to me."

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, December 16, 2010 0 comments

"Come to me." Matthew 11: 28

The cry of the Christian religion is the gentle word, "Come."

The Jewish law harshly says, "Go, take heed to your steps as to the path in which you shall walk. Break the commandments, and you shall perish; keep them, and you shall live."

The law was a dispensation of terror, which drove people before it; the gospel draws with bands of love. Jesus is the good Shepherd going before His sheep, bidding them follow Him, and ever leading them, onwards with the sweet word, "Come." The law repels, the gospel attracts. The law shows the distance which there is between God and mankind; the gospel bridges that awful chasm, and brings the sinner across it.

From the first moment of your spiritual life until you are ushered into glory, the language of Christ to you will be, "Come, come to me." As a mother puts out her fingers to her little child and woos it to walk by saying, "Come," even so does Jesus. He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow Him as the soldier follows his captain. He will always to before you to pave your way; and clear your path, and you shall hear His animating voice calling you after Him all through life; while in the solemn hour of death, His sweet words with which He shall usher you into the heavenly world shall be - "Come, you blessed of My Father."

Tupac's Testimony

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, December 15, 2010 0 comments

Tupac was a very misunderstood poet. His talent was able to take him to heights unknown. His ego distorted his role in society. It is unfortunate that while he wrote and rapped about the streets; he felt he had to live the street life.

Too many of our youth fall victim to street life before they have had the real experience of life. "To do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God."

True Strength

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

They go from strength to strength." Psalm 84:7

True strength comes from a mighty God who endows each of us with His spirit, grace and mercy. In life's journey each of us need to rely upon the strength of the Lord. If we learn to develop our spiritual muscles and our faith resources, you will find that when life seeks to press you down and forces seems to be arrayed against you; you will have a source of strength that will never lose its power.

Yes, the power and strength of God is inexhaustible. It is from everlasting to everlasting. Therefore, the psalmist understood the secret to gaining true strength when he wrote, "Even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

We are all connected to a power source which is God. That's why our light cannot be dimmed or extinguished.

Salt without limit

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, December 13, 2010 0 comments

"salt without prescribing how much." Ezra 7: 22

For persons who suffer from high blood pressure, too much salt is a bad thing. But for those who read scripture, you will know that salt is a biblical metaphor for grace. Therefore a theological reading of the Ezra text is that King Artaxerxes promised to give Ezra the priest, grace without limit.

That's what God does he places no limits on the grace that He will give to you. "Ask and it shall be given to you."

A person may have too much money, or too much honor, but a person cannot have too much grace. More wealth brings more care, but more grace brings more joy. Increased wisdom is increased sorrow, but abundance of grace brings a spirit filled with joy.

Go to the throne of God for a large supply of heavenly salt: it will season your afflictions, it will preserve your heart, and it will kill the effects of your sins.

Everyone needs much salt: seek much and have much!

Rev. Craig Mathies, Sr.,

Posted by Al Hathaway Sunday, December 12, 2010 0 comments

The story of Rev. Craig Mathies, Sr., being elected to the office of County Commissioner in Somerset County should not be overlooked. He is the first African American elected to an office in Somerset County in over 300 years.

"Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own."

I commend Rev. Mathies, Sr., Pastor of Zion Baptist Church, for listening to the voice of God and setting into his place in history. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., says it best, "the right time is always the time to do right."

Ms. Aretha Franklin

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, December 11, 2010 0 comments

Ms. Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul. Her regal air has commanded the respect of music loving people for decades. We have witnessed her presence throughout her very public career. From the humble beginnings in her father's church she has become an iconic image with international fame. Her private life has been pretty much private. Her public life is known to all. Her refusal to travel by plane, her battles with weight, and her failed attempts at marriage. We know a lot about Aretha Franklin; she belongs to us and is revered by us. Now she faces the battle of her life. Now she needs the support and prayers of all those who have invited her into the private places within their hearts and spirits.


Serving Others

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

"It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:24

We need to place the idea of service in its proper context. When you serve it is unto the Lord. Too often we become tired, anxious, or disenchanted with serving others. Their problems seems to great. Our efforts are too meager. The system will not change. We focus upon the results instead of the process.

God designed the world in a manner that service is integral to its functioning. During this Advent season let us recommit to serving others because in reality we are serving God. "It is He that has made us and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." If we ever learned to serve as a testimony to how good God has been to each of us; the world would be so much better.

My God Open Your Heart this morning

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, December 10, 2010 0 comments

The Dells use to sing a song, "I'm going to open up my heart this morning and see if I can help a friend." Some of you old school people may remember it.

"The Lord opened her heart" Acts 16:14

In the book of Acts you are introduced to a woman of means, Lydia. The above text reads that "The Lord opened her heart." She did not open her own heart. Her prayers did not do it; Paul did not do it. The Lord Himself must open the heart, to receive the things which make for our peace. He alone can put the key into the hole of the door and open it, and get admittance for Himself. he is the heart's master just as He is the heart's maker. The first outward evidence of the opened heart was obedience. As soon as Lydia had believed in Jesus, she was baptized. It is a sweet sign of a humble and broken heart, when the child of God is willing to obey a command which is not essential to his or her salvation, which is not forced upon him or her by a selfish fear of condemnation, but is a simple act of obedience and of communion with the Master. The next evidence was love, manifesting itself in acts of grateful kindness to the apostles. To the saints love has always been a mark of the true convert. Those who do nothing for Christ or His church, show little evidence of an "opened" heart. Lord, constantly give us an opened heart.

Rev. Dr. Charles Spurgeon

Through us God provides for the Poor

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, December 8, 2010 0 comments

"From your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor." Psalm 68:10

One of the mantras from the Civil Rights era was, "the maximum feasible participation by the poor." The implication was that the recipient of services should be involved in the decision making and delivery of those services. In this manner, those who are poor learn how to fish versus being fed.

We have slowly but surely retreated from addressing the needs of the poor. Too many of us feel that our own sense of self is being threaten that we witness less and less advocacy for those who need a hand up instead of a hand out.

That's why when President Obama sought a tax break for the middle class; the rich pushed back with saying what about them? Therefore the tax breaks for the rich were retained for another two years.

We cannot simply point the finger at the rich. Many of us have taken a back seat to advocacy for the poor and we tend to denigrate them for being in that state. No one wishes, desires, or needs to be poor. Any factual analysis of American Capitalism reveals that a class relegated to poverty is necessary for capitalism to sustain itself. Our economic system is designed to foster a state of poverty among people.

What should be our response? We must ceaselessly advocate on behalf of the poor. We must diligently work to eliminate the conditions that create poverty. We must never be satisfied with our bellies being full, when there are those among us who are hungry.

Thinking about your special someone is always in order

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, December 7, 2010 0 comments

"He chose the lowly things of this world." 1 Corinthians 1: 28

Advent is your opportunity to think anew about the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. He came into a world that was drowning in sin to save those who were lost. The world continues to drown and His mission and ministry is as essential today as in later days. Too many people think that they are okay and that they are immune to sin. It is surprising to me that so many "so called Christians" fail to believe that they must seek repentance everyday. Too many feel that their particular addiction to sin is manageable; while everyone else is sinning "big time." The love of God is available to you right now and right where you are. The need to repent and turn from any way that is not pleasing in God sight is always appropriate and the right thing to do. Don't delay! Forsake the evil that so easily besets you and walk into the marvelous light of God's love and forgiveness.

Take one step and God will take two!

Posted by Al Hathaway Sunday, December 5, 2010 0 comments

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.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Ask and it will be given to you." Matthew 7:7

I'm reflecting upon the bond of kinship that I feel for my colleagues: Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary and Rev. Dr. Lester A. McCorn. These brother took a powerful step which is depicted in this picture. They stepped out of their comfort zones into the history of Baltimore City. The annuals of history will record that the residents took a stand on November 22nd for their own empowerment and dignity. The reverberations from this action will ring within our city for years to come. Many thanks to these brothers for taking this step. Indeed honor to a gracious God who made these steps meaningful.

All People belong to God

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, December 4, 2010 0 comments

"I have many people in this city." Acts 18:10 Scripture reminds us that all the people are God's people. It is an unfortunate reality that we label people or classify them into categories. That's not what God does. He sees people as people and souls that need to be redeemed and saved. Our world and our urban environments would be so fulfilling and the quality of life for all would greatly improve if we understood that all of the people belong to God. If we functioned that way, the resources would not be hoarded by the few. If we governed that way, the benefits would not just accrue to the rich and powerful. If we lived like that, we would participate in God's grand design for His "beloved community." As we move through the Advent Season, we must believe in our hearts that God has many people within the cities of America and the world. People whom God send His Son to save!

Baltimore's Schools

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

Recently The New York Times wrote an article entitled, "A Mission to transform Baltimore's Beaten Schools." It highlights the work of Dr. Alonso. It's an article that was clearly written to propel him onto a national stage. Possibly with the intent to be added to his resume as he is seeking to be courted by other school systems. While Dr. Alonso is a pretty likable guy, there have been some glaring missteps during his tenure that has impacted education within the communities of Baltimore City. I work within the Upton Community and find myself engaged with five schools: Booker T. Washington. Mount Royal, Furman Templeton, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, and Eutaw Marshburn. In the case of Booker T. Washington, there has been six principles within the past six years. In the article I'm quoted as saying that Dr. Alonso brought principals in with impressive creditable, but they don't know the community and in effect are just using GPS systems to find there way. I wish more of my comments could have been included versus a quote. What I said is that new principles were brought in without true community engagement. They were throw into our neighborhoods without any historical information or current information regarding assets. Each operated under the assumption they had to go out and identify community resources; as if they did not already exist. The second observation I made was under Dr. Alonso we have not seen indigenous talent being elevated. We have outstanding schools of higher education that are training local residents to assume positions within our own educational system. I fail to see where Morgan, Coppin, Towson, or Notre Dame graduates are in positions of responsibility with our school system. It appears to me that Dr. Alonso is tilted towards out of state talent versus local talent. The final observation I made was that under Dr. Alonso we have lost school building being named for historic figures and the result is that students are attending schools with generic names. They lose a sense of pride and understanding of the contributions of past leaders and role models. I wish Dr. Alonso well in his future pursuits. We need a leader of our School System who is committed to Baltimore as their career goal.

Without spot of wrinkle

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, December 3, 2010 0 comments

"There is no flaw in you" Song of Songs 4:7

People tend not to read the wisdom words of Solomon written in the Song of Songs. Some have said that the words are erotic in nature. If you are to understand the fullness of God's love, you must understand it in all of its dimension: brotherly (philia), erotic (eros), and self giving love (agape). Also you must recognize that God loves us completely in all of love's dimensions: philia, eros, and agape.

Therefore, I would suggest that one read the Song of Songs from the perspective of how it describes God's love for those of us within the fellowship of the church. The church is Jesus' bride. Jesus is its groom. In that sense Jesus desires and seeks the church as His love interest. From this perspective the reading of the Song of Songs takes on a new meaning.

"Christ Jesus has no quarrel with His spouse. She often wanders from Him, and grieves His Holy Spirit, but He does not allow her faults to affect His love. He sometimes chides, but it is always in the tenderest of manner, with the kindest intentions: it is "my love" even then. There is no remembrance of our follies. He doesn't harbor bad thoughts about us; rather, He pardons and loves as much after the offense as before it. It is fortunate for us that this is so, for if Jesus were as mindful of injuries as we are, how could He commune with us? Many times believers put themselves out of humor with the Lord for some slight turn in providence, but our precious Husband knows our silly hearts too well to take any offense at our bad manners."

That's why we all should say, "Thank you Jesus!"

We have been blessed to see a New Day!

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, December 2, 2010 0 comments

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men." Psalm 107:8

"If we complained less and praised more, we would be happier, and God would be more glorified. Let's praise God daily for common mercies - common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to perish. Let's praise Him for everything which we receive from His generous hand, for we deserve little, and yet are endowed most abundantly. The sweetest and loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love. We have been led to the cross of Christ - our shackles of guilt have been broken off; we are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can acknowledge the day when we will be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle. Shouldn't we unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, can you be silent? Wake up, wake up, you will posses glory. "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inner most being, praise His holy name." Let the new month begin with new songs.

Dr. Charles Spurgeon

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