Time is in God's Hands

Posted by Unknown Friday, December 30, 2011 0 comments

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God...For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." Psalms 90: 2 - 4

Like most people, I will watch the clock move from 11:59 p.m. on December 31st to 12:00 a.m. on January 1st. I will proclaim, "Happy New Year." 

It's an age-old ritual to sing, "May old acquaintance be forgot." In reality, very little changes within one's life by the simple movement of the hands on a clock; t change happens within one own spirit, mind, and soul. It happens when one makes a decision to either do something or refrain from doing something. It's not about New Year Resolutions. It's about changing habits, practices, and patterns. It's about adopting a new paradigm.  

What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to start doing? Well, January 1, 2012 is a Sunday. Why don't you begin your change by attending a Synagogue, Mosque, Church or a place of Worship?

2012 will be a year of miracles, if you only believe!

Three Men in Baltimore with Power

Posted by Unknown Thursday, December 29, 2011 0 comments

People in Baltimore may not quickly recognize the men in the picture. Left to right, they are Willard Hackerman, Chairman and President of Whiting and Turner Construction, Robert Embry, President, Abel Foundation, and Peter Angelos, Owner, Baltimore Orioles. 

The influence of these three men extends to all areas of our community. 

I met today with Bob Embry to review progress in the City for the past year and to identify areas for potential growth in the coming year. 

I left my meeting with a greater sense of urgency for members of the faith community to become more adept at navigating the waters of public policy and public financing. 

If Baltimore is to grow, it will need people from every social strata sitting at the table of economic opportunity. The protest era is long gone. This is the era of negotiating and brokering power relationships and alliances. 

The dreams and aspirations of a lot of people will hinge upon our ability to create change from within the system that benefits those who are outside the system.  

Faithful Prayer

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, December 28, 2011 0 comments

"Devote yourselves to prayer." Colossians 4:2

Like many people, I have friends from different faith communities. My Jewish and Muslim friends are devoted to regular prayer. When I'm in meetings with them at their appointed prayer hour, they stop and pray. For my Christian colleagues, I offer this suggestion that in 2012, we devote ourselves to more fervent prayer. Within the Christian, community can you imagine the effect of us stopping to pray five or six times a day? The effect would be powerful and demonstrate a belief in God that is unshakable. Therefore, I suggest we join our Jewish and Muslim colleagues and devote ourselves to faithful prayer in 2012. 

Mr. Michael B. Mitchell

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, December 27, 2011 0 comments

I met today with Mr. Michael B. Mitchell. We had an amazing conversation that was historical, practical and monumental. He is a deep and profound thinker with a unique grasp of history and the roles we must play to continue the race. I look forward to working with him in 2012.  I grew up in the shadows of him and his brothers. C3 is my political godfather. Keiffer is my physician. My prayers go out to George, my childhood playmate. Continue the struggle! The race is not given to the swift, but to those who endure. 

Going to the Movies with My Family

Posted by Unknown Monday, December 26, 2011 0 comments

Yesterday was absolutely fabulous. Today I'm going to the movies. Tom Cruise has a new film for the holidays - Mission Impossible 4. The experiences of life are made special when you take someone special with you. I'm taking my family to the movies. Time spent together is divine.

Also, movies provide a kind of escape from the routine of life. I never take a movie seriously. It's entertainment!

What I take serious is the strengthening of my faith in God.

Happy New Year and enjoy every moment of life.

The Gift of Salvation

Posted by Unknown Sunday, December 25, 2011 0 comments

Merry Christmas! This morning's sermon will unpack the most important gift that God gives: The Gift of Salvation. Matthew 1: 18 - 25 discloses that Jesus Christ came to save us. When you think about the moral, mental, and the man made dilemmas we face everyday, how can you navigate the quicksand terrain of this reality. I would argue you need a greater reality. The greater reality is that we come from God, we should live with God and that we go to God. The middle premise is the one that cause us difficulty. How to live with God? Jesus Christ provides the answer. We are to walk humbly  before the Almighty God.

Christmas Eve at Union Baptist Church

Posted by Unknown Saturday, December 24, 2011 0 comments

You are invited to share in a meaningful worship experience at Union Baptist Church. Our Christmas Eve Service which begins at 7:00 p.m. is led by the Youth of Union. They bring the innocence of their youth to the timeless interpretation of the Birth of Jesus Christ. The one hour service features the contemporary reenactment of the Christmas Story, sharing in Holy Communion, the audience lighting lites, and wonderful singing. The one hour service is always packed to capacity by persons who understand that "Jesus is the reason for the season." 

Review of "The Mountaintop"

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, December 21, 2011 0 comments

Broadway Reviews
The MountaintopTheatre Review by Matthew Murray - October 13, 2011
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall. Directed by Kenny Leon. Original music by Branford Marsalis. Set & projection design by David Gallo. Costume design by Constanza Romero. Lighting design by Brian MacDevitt. Sound design by Dan Moses Schreier. Hair & wig design by Charles G. LaPointe. Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett.
Theatre: Bernard B Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
Schedule: Tuesday at 7 pm, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 pm, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 pm, Sunday at 3 pm.
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission
Audience: May be inappropriate for 12 and under. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted in the theatre.

The Mountaintop
Samuel L. Jackson
Photo by Joan Marcus.
Few performers can truly make a bad play good, but great actors can always elevate a passable evening to the status of special event. That's certainly the case with Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, who are doing miraculous things with Katori Hall's less-than-transcendent playThe Mountaintop, which just opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs. The two stars may have derived most of their experience, and functionally all of their fame, from film work, but they navigate the script with such ferocity, precision, and size that you'd never guess they weren't stage pros.
That's no small achievement given the circumstances. True, Hall's play has as its subject a man and a time that would seem to inherently inspire adventurous, mezzanine-engulfing performances: Martin Luther King, Jr., on his last night alive. The setting is ripe for righteous examination of how far America has come in terms of race relations and how far it still has to go, and would enable a probing discussion of the very nature of prejudice. A true crusader confronting his legacy head on is a theatrical conflagration — and likely a Tony Award — waiting to happen.
Hall has provided something rather different and, if you can believe it, lower key here. King has arrived at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis following his landmark "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech on April 3, 1968, and is steeling himself for a long night of work. That requires coffee, so he calls room service to order some. It's delivered by a maid named Camae, who is thoroughly familiar with King's work, and more than a little in awe of the man. The two strike up a conversation, and spend the next hour and a half or so discussing the nature of the world and the people in it until it's time for King to face the assassin's bullet.
Okay, maybe there's a little more to it than that, as Camae is keeping a secret about who she is and why she's there, but that's the gist of what goes on. No adoring throngs, no history-sweeping action, not even a set that reconsiders King's accomplishments on an epic sale (though the hotel room David Gallo has designed is right for what it is). So subdued is the treatment, in fact, that if you didn't know who King was and why he was important, you might wonder from what Hall has written whether he really deserves a play at all. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's an unusual approach for one of the last half-century's legitimately titanic figures — and one that won't easily pay dramatic dividends.
That, of course, is where the actors come in. Jackson is famous for releasing a certain kind of fervor in his films, a heat that's always tinged by what seems to be rage at the existential nature of the universe. Yet here he displays not a trace of anger, infusing King's passion instead with a different slate of qualities we might more readily associate with the actual man: love, hope, optimism, exhaustion, and perhaps most tellingly of all fatalism. Jackson's King trudges through life with the gait of a man who knows he's walking a prescribed path, and maybe no longer wants to, but feels compelled because he honestly believes no one else could fill his shoes.

The Mountaintop
Angela Bassett
Photo by Joan Marcus.
So with his portrayal, Jackson effortlessly justifies Hall's decision to downplay King's impact. Jackson has carefully carved out the regality within the deceptive Everyman part he's been given, and thus makes King at once familiar and fresh. That he maintains this razor-edged duality up until the final second of the play, when he at last confronts his destiny head on, is central to the work's success, and reflective of the commitment and creativity within the fire that has characterized Jackson onscreen. If not for his unfortunately consistent reluctance to hold his lines until audience laughter abates, there would be no fault to find with his work here.
Bassett is every bit as good in a role that offers far fewer opportunities. She's an adept comedian who can turn the hoariest of gags into a theatre-bust-up laugh line (something Hall requires more often than she should, especially since these are variations on the same "simple girl doesn't know how to behave before her idol" theme), yet acquires a glorious stateliness when serious that can puncture lines that aren't intended to be anything like sermons. Her final speech, musing on the African-American relationship to both the past and the future is written as more slam poetry than a barn burner. But by the time she approaches the climax, she's whipped the audience — and most likely you — into such a frenzy you won't be able to tell the difference between the two.
Some credit for the production's success must go to its director, Kenny Leon. He's cut his teeth in New York primarily on the works of August Wilson (he was at the helm of the excellent 2010 Broadway revival ofFences), who built his career on bringing a sense of epic size to people who wouldn't traditionally be considered worthy of it. That's exactly the approach needed here, and Leon's ability to make as unremarkable a script as this one as affecting as it is should be considered one of his finest New York theatre achievements to date.
If one can't help but wish that Hall had made more emphatic choices for this unusual biography, it's difficult to argue with the results. Even if they're due more to factors outside the script, they're firmly present nonetheless and an energizing early salvo in the Broadway season. You can complain if you want to that, in this case, a great American did not get a great play written about him. But why not just be happy that Leon, Jackson, and Bassett have made The Mountaintop from a molehill?

Christmas Baskets for Our Families

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, December 20, 2011 0 comments

" I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat." Matthew 25:35

Please allow me to share a praise report. We received enough support to fill 300 Christmas Baskets on Thursday, Dec. 22nd. We will distribute them on Friday, Dec. 23rd. My deep appreciation to all those who gave, especially to Maryland General Hospital, The National Bible Association, The Downtown Partnership, and The Church of The Latter-day Saints

The opening of support has blessed my spirit this holiday season. 

Merry Christmas!

The Gift of Peace

Posted by Unknown Saturday, December 17, 2011 0 comments

Sunday, December 18, 2011, The Sermon is titled, "The Gift of Peace." In the world we have trouble, trials, and tribulations. We find ourselves always at our wits end. In the midst of our circumstance, God steps into our situation and speaks peace to the storms in our lives. The peace God gives is not external, it is internal and eternal. The Advent season reminds us that God gives us the gift of peace. Therefore, "be not dismayed whatever be tide, God will take care of you."

Mr. Rodney Bernard Williams

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, December 14, 2011 0 comments

Mr. Rodney Williams is one of my sons who is transforming marketing at one of the major marketing companies in the world. He is an inventor with a patent already on the shelf.

Keep your eyes on the prize and never forget we have young African-American males who are blowing up even in the midst of today's economy.

Rodney tells me that there will always be room for good ideas.

Follow your dreams!

Congratulations my son!

Police Community Relations

Posted by Unknown Monday, December 12, 2011 0 comments

I was asked today to generate some ideas on how to improve police and community relations in Baltimore City. I recognize we have a long way to go, but we must start somewhere. Share with me any ideas you may have, I will include them in my suggestions.

Do You Know

Posted by Unknown Sunday, December 11, 2011 0 comments

Isaiah 40: 28, 29 "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."

My 2nd sermon of the Advent Season is titled, "The Gift of Knowing."

Knowing can be divided into two aspects: knowledge about something or being acquainted with something.

In God's divine universe, He wants you to have knowledge about Him and to be acquainted with Him.

Too many people have knowledge about Him, without probing the depths of that understanding to become acquainted with Him.

Being acquainted means that you know God intimately and personally. Being acquainted with him means you can denote the change; He has made in your life because of your close association and identification with Him.

God wants you to know Him intimately and personally. God wants to be your personal savior.

Christmas Baskets

Posted by Unknown Thursday, December 8, 2011 0 comments

Union Baptist Church is working to make certain that 300 families who live within the 21201/21217 zip code has a Christmas Dinner.

To accomplish that goal, we need concerned person to donate $30 to our Christmas Basket Project.

You may send your $30.00 donations to Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Avenue, Baltimore, Md 21217. If you need more information call: 410-523-6880.

We will distribute the Christmas Baskets on Friday, December 23, 2011.

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning." Ecclesiastes 7:8

The Advent season introduces us once again to the Birth of Jesus. The Book of Isaiah would record, "He was despised and rejected of humankind; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." From this humble beginning, Jesus Christ became the Savior of the World.

That's the paradox of life. It is really not how you start it is how you end. The end can be better than your beginning.

You can become greater than your circumstances. Your context does not define your content. "Greater is He that is in you, then he that is in the world."

Make today the beginning of a new start.

Finish life's race strong!!!

God is Your Help

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, December 6, 2011 0 comments

"Thus far has the Lord helped us." I Samuel 7:12

When I think about the goodness of God over the years, I am mindful through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, "thus far has the Lord helped me."

In examining the past, I can say, "thus far." Furthermore, as I look to the future, I'm not trapped by a past tense God. He is the God, who operates in the future in a "thus far" manner.

Therefore, if I have more trials, more joys, more temptations, more triumphs, more prayers, more answers, more toils, more strength, more fights, more victories, more sickness and more love. I can rest assured that the God of yesterday and today is the God of tomorrow. And He will be available to you and to me, 'thus far."

Pray regularly for your children

Posted by Unknown Monday, December 5, 2011 0 comments

"When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking. Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. This was Job's regular custom." Job 1:5

The greatest gift one can give their child is a life committed to devotion and prayer. I have learned that a child can live off of borrowed blessings. The faith of a parent or caregivers can sustain their children. Burned into my memory are parents who prayed for me. In return, I pray fervently for my children.

"The effectual fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much."

The Gift of Comfort

Posted by Unknown Sunday, December 4, 2011 0 comments

During the Advent Season, I will preach a series of sermons with the theme, "God's gift to the World."

Today, my focus will be "The Gift of Comfort." Isaiah 40: 1 - 11

When you think about the circumstances of the economy, political and social affairs, the news is most disturbing. The tension that is felt in the air creates for everyone a sense of "dis-ease".

Our society and world are sick. The actions by corporate and political interests are sickening. Where do you find peace in the world today?

Isaiah steps to the plate with a powerful word, "Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people, saith your God."

These prophetic words give us comfort for today and bright hope for tomorrow. He tells us that, every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

God gives to us the gift of comfort because in spite of it all, God is with you!

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