What Do You Anticipate in the New Year?

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, December 31, 2013 0 comments

As the moments of 2013 wind down and 2014 looms in the distance future, what do you anticipate happening in the New Year for you? For some, resolutions are made as a way of establishing goals or benchmarks. Still others write a plan with specificity in terms of times and deliverables. What do you do to shape your sense of anticipation for the New Year?

May I offer a few suggestions:

1. End the year and begin the year in prayer.

2. If you have not, begin writing a journal of your thoughts, deeds, and aspirations.

3. Promise yourself to and develop deeper spiritual disciplines

4. Within your family and friends tell your loves one that you love them and don't take them for granted

5. Within your community of faith increase your giving: time, talents and treasure

6. Exercise and eat healthy

7. Travel to places you have never been before

8. Take periodic walks through parks, nature trails, and county roads

9. Meet and develop a relationship with persons from a different ethnic group

10. Share in a worship experience of another faith tradition

HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR! ANTICIPATE GOD DOING GREAT THINGS IN YOUR LIFE!


BCPD 5 Year Strategic Plan

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, December 30, 2013 0 comments

www.gbc.org/news/BCPD-Strategic-Plan-for-Improvement-Nov2013.pdf


As we hover over the edge of a new year, my prayer is the Baltimore City Police Department become an agent for positive change in our communities through effective community engagement.

The Last Sunday in 2013

Posted by Al Hathaway Sunday, December 29, 2013 0 comments

For those who believe in God, the last Sunday in the year is a time for reflection and celebration. Since all time is in God's hand, the ability to live in this moment is a divine gift. It is one that should not be taken lightly. How marvelous it is to experience such a moment? It is one that will never come again. The ability to learn from your mistake, to celebrate in your victories, to travel and witness the wonders of this world, and to think that God has kept you for a specific purpose. My prayer is that you discover that purpose and live the rest of your life in God's will according to God's way. Every one has experienced moments of extreme difficulty. Every one has experienced moments of extreme ecstasy. In life one has to learn the lessons of the mountains and the valleys to be able to testify to the goodness of God. Life has its ups and downs, life is a never ending series of changes, but we have the assurance of knowing God who never changes. That's why God is called a rock in a weary land and a shelter from the stormy blast. Celebrate this Sunday with your highest praise!

Getting Ready for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Speeches

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, December 27, 2013 0 comments

On the dawn of 2014, I'm preparing for a series of speeches honoring the legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Sunday, January 12, 2014 beginning at 10:00 a.m. I will speak at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and share reflections on The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Friday, January 17, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m.,  I will be the guest of Druid Hill Family Center, YMCA. I will speak for their 2014 Y Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Breakfast. The Theme is "Connected to the Dream."

On Saturday, January 18, 2014 beginning at 9:00 a.m., I will be the guest of the Maryland Classified Employees Association, (MCEA). I will speak on their theme, "Celebrating Dr. King's Divine Purpose."

On Sunday, January 19, 2014 beginning at 2:00 p.m., I will be the guest of The Reginald Lewis Museum. I will be on a panel discussion the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after previewing a film that will be shown that afternoon.

I'm honored to have these opportunities to publicly address the meaning of this amazing man to our times and to our journey. It appears he was larger than life, but he was a man who God used to uplift humanity. With God all things are possible, He is preparing someone right now to continue the legacy of service exhibited in Dr. King's life.


Christmas Eve

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, December 24, 2013 0 comments

As one gets older the traditions you create have a lasting meaning. Anticipating Christmas Day as an event were one receives gifts dulls in the context of the economy and the costs associated with those gifts.

How do you place the Christmas Day in its proper context is largely determined by what you are doing on Christmas Eve and how you feel today? Are you satisfied with who you are, where you are and whose you are? Are you feeling inadequate because of what you don't have, wasn't able to give or what you know you will not receive? Is more emphasis place upon what something costs over and against what the meaning is from who gave the gift?

One year I made a wooden plaque and gave it to my mother for Christmas. She displayed such joy because I was able to give something I thought about, something I made, and something I could afford. I love my mother and the gift I gave her was all I had and it was full of love for her.

That's what Christmas Eve should be about the love you have for others and your willingness to share that love with them. We are in a cynical time in our culture and history. We place more emphasis on things than on people and relationships.

Make this Christmas a time for healthy and loving relationship with God in the center, you will discover that things really don't matter. Enjoy Christmas Eve by creating a tradition that will stand the test of time: bake cookies, decorate the tree, write hand made greeting cards, or visit Union Baptist Church and share in the experience of the Youth of Union on Christmas Eve. The experience will warm your heart and prepare you for the anticipation of Christmas Day, the Day Jesus Christ enters once again into your life with His love!

Preparing For Christmas

Posted by Al Hathaway Sunday, December 22, 2013 0 comments

Matthew 2: 7-12 records two attitudes in preparation for Christmas. King Herod has one attitude and The Wise Men have another. The deference in their attitudes is striking and understanding the difference may help you in your preparation for Christmas.


For the full word you need to meet me at Union Baptist Church today at 11:00 am.

King Herod placed himself before God. That attitude is reflected by those who think Christmas is all about them and their needs. 

The Wise Men placed Jesus first by going to Him with the attitude of giving to Him.

Is Christmas about what you get or what you give?

Prepare yourself now, three days before Christmas, to have an attitude of giving.

Christmas Baskets Being Given Today

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, December 20, 2013 0 comments

Getting ready to go to church to assist the Board of Deacons with the packing and distribution of Christmas Baskets. This annual service to our community focuses the attention of our church upon giving to others. Its what Christmas is all about. The sharing, caring, and companioning together as one celebrates the gift of Jesus Christ to the world.

Given the federal governments cutback in the SNAP program (food stamps) people are experiencing hardships and difficulties feeding their families. We need more compassionate people in our government and definitely more compassion within the faith community.

Thank you to everyone who has given their support to this ministry.

God really does love a cheerful giver!

Every Tub Stands on Its Own Bottom

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, December 18, 2013 0 comments

I remember a distinguished professor from Harvard, Dr. Preston Williams would say, "Every Tub Stands on Its Own Bottom." He was communicating the idea that everyone is responsible for their own actions, their plan, and the results. Responsibility is the opposite side of the coin marked freedom. If you want freedom, you have to take responsibility. They are inseparable. They are forever connected.

Its a travesty to see so many people shirking responsibility and wondering why they are not free. They wonder why programmatic changes hamper their access to benefits. They wonder why segments of our population continue to say, "no free lunch."

It is unfortunate so many people are dependent on the systematic distribution of benefits, but when its time to impact policy changes or to vote, they are no where to be found.

This is how our secular system works. Freedom and responsibility are connected at the hip. If you desire something in life, you must work for it, work to protect, and work to keep it. You must be responsible to be free.

Take a pledge today to be responsible for your freedom. Endeavor to work, to participate, and to advocate for resources and benefits for you and your community.

Never relinquish your freedoms to others whims. Be responsible and be free!

Performance Under Pressure

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, December 17, 2013 0 comments

Monday Night's football game between the Ravens and the Lions featured a 61 yard field goal by Justin Tucker. Throughout the night for the Ravens, he was their scoring machine. He kicked 6 field goals accurately. Nevertheless, a 61 yard field goal with the game and his team's playoff chances hanging in the balance was a pressure filled moment. We witnessed Justin Tucker perform under pressure. He said to his coach, "I got this!" as he was standing on the sidelines waiting to come into the game. 


Few of us may ever have the opportunity to perform under the pressure of a game situation, but we are always under the pressure of having to make a decision between right or wrong. Those pressure packed situations happen everyday. Someone plucks your last nerve, someone defames your integrity, someone calls you out of your name, or someone wants you to join them in wrong doing, we are constantly in pressure situations. You face  the personal tension of yielding or not yielding to the seduction of sin or willing entering into a sinful matter. You feel the tension as your nervous system wrestles with the ideas in your mind. Do I treat someone right or treat them wrong? That's another pressure packed moment for you.

How do you respond when you are under the pressure of Satan seeking to steal, kill, or destroy your joy, your hope, your salvation, your peace, or your very life? How do you respond in the pressure filled moment when you must choose between right our wrong?

My prayer is that you perform under pressure in a manner that causes the angels to sing and that pleases God. I pray that you make the decision to follow the path of Jesus Christ all the way. It may feel like pressure for the moment, but after you perform under the pressure, you will discover an unbelievable joy. You will win the victory over sin. You will become God's hero.

Make this the day, just like Justin Tucker did last night, that when you are facing your moment of extreme pressure, tell God that because He is on your side, "I got this!"

Worry or Worship?

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, December 14, 2013 0 comments

Ruth Bell Graham once said, "Worship and worry cannot live in the same heart; they are mutually exclusive."

The choice is before us this Christmas season. Do you worry about the things on earth, or do you worship Him that is above the earth?

Yes, evil may be lurking at your door. Satan may be planning one of his tricks or traps. I want you to know that God is worthy of worship and God is able to lift you in the midst of your despair. The song says, "don't worry, be happy!"

Yes, be happy in your worship of Jesus Christ! He is the Lilly of the Valley. He is the Bright and Morning Sun. He is the Lifter of your head. He is Alpha and Omega. He is the Truth and the Life.

A final note, "worship is not taught from the pulpit. It must be learned in the heart."

Honoring Our Seniors

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, December 12, 2013 0 comments

Another reflection from the Nelson Mandela Memorial Services was the honor and respect given to this senior statesman. We should always honor our seniors.

Dr. Howard Thurman shares this thought,"We remember the old people. Those whose fires have been banked, and who sit in their solitariness, some with minds broken by the hardness of their days, who cannot be comforted by the memories of other times; some who at this season of the year hunger and thirst for the love of their children, and find it not; some who live in homes for the aged, surrounded by those of their kind, who huddle together, hoping that in the warmth of each other's personality and spirit they might find strength sufficient for another day."

I share this thought. "May we never forget the sacrifice and contributions of our seniors to our development and well being. They withstood the assaults on their personhood to usher us into a brighter day. They worked tirelessly at jobs without given proper respect to teach us the value of a hard days work. Oh how proud we are for their steadfastness and their belief in the provisions of God. They taught us the power of prayer in the midst of life's storms. They translated the word dignity into a characteristic we should aspire to. They invested wisely in the next generation knowing God would make a way somehow. They were thrifty and taught us the value of saving for a raining day. Now its our time to provide strength to them for their journey. It's our time to be their comfort and companion. It's our time to tell them stories, share jokes, and cook and clean for them. It's our time to tabernacle with them as they tabernacled with us. It's our time to be respectful of the awesome love they shared. It's our time to make them proud by showing them the gratitude they have rightfully earned. May we never forget to honor our seniors. They have been faithful in service to all of us."

Lessons From Nelson Mandela

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, December 11, 2013 0 comments

Yesterday, South Africa began its tribute and celebration of the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. President Barack Obama spoke eloquently at his services. Today at the Washington National Cathedral the Official United States Memorial for Nelson Mandela will be held. My wife and I are honored to receive an invitation from the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa to attend.

When one reflects upon the life of Nelson Mandela there are some lessons I have learned:

1. Truth is a powerful weapon against injustice.

2. Personal integrity means one's willingness to ask for forgiveness and to reflect upon one's actions.

3. Leadership requires organizational capacity and followship.

4. Longevity does have its place.

5. God is ultimately in control of life's nuances.

6. Commitment is yielding the nerve center of your consent such that the yielding means more than whether you live or die.

7. Stability in your personal relationship strengthens your public persona.

8. Learn to be intentional in your statements and wise in your judgements.

9. Think globally and act locally.

10. Personal sacrifice is a reality of public life.

11. Be willing to train others because no one is indispensable.

12. Ultimately true change occurs within the system while agitation occurs outside of it.

13. Prisons can hold your body, but not your mind and spirit.

14. Relationships have no racial, sexual, economic, geographic, or religious limits


Back To Back

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, December 10, 2013 0 comments

In the Baltimore area we have experienced back to back snow episodes. This could be called piling on. Piling on is when you have not fully recovered from one experience and another similar experience happens. Depending upon the experience, it could be called, "double the pleasure, double the fun, or double the trouble."

For me the snow is a pleasant experience, it changes the nature of the household from a bee hive into a sanctuary. It gives everyone the opportunity to pause and interact with one another for an extended period of time. It makes every morsel of food special because you can only eat what you have and you definitely don't waste any food during a snow episode.

On a spiritual level I love knowing that God is able to send you back to back experiences. He does it everyday. He sends you back to back blessing, that we sometimes take for granted. He sends you back to back grace, that gives your strength for the journey. He sends you back to back forgiveness, that gives your another chance to approach the mercy seat.

I thank God for back to back episodes because he demonstrates to us over and over again that He is God!

Going Out in The Snow

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, December 9, 2013 0 comments

It snowed on Sunday while we were in worship. Our service was spirit filled but everyone was concerned about their travel home. Fortunately, our members made it home safely. They most likely watched an exciting Ravens and Vikings game. The Ravens won with a few minutes remaining on the clock.

Today I peeked out the window to see the condition of the streets. From my vantage point it looked pretty hazardous. I live on a side street. The salt truck came out, but its not plowed.

It is interesting to note, that how life is, from your vantage point it may look dreary. Cold chills in the air, ice on the streets, and snow everywhere.

But, once I went out and cleaned off the car, started my engine and ran some errands; I discovered the streets were relatively clean. The temperature was modestly nice. It was a great day when I went out in what I thought was a snowy day.

Isn't that how life is, your situation may seem dreary, but if you move from your place, you discover the peace God has in store for you just around the corner.

Christmas Caroling and a Evening of Joy

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, December 7, 2013 0 comments

Yesterday two choirs from area schools participated in an evening of Christmas caroling and songs. The Golden Voices of The Booker T. Washington Middle School for The Arts and The Furman L. Templeton Academy Choir shared in the joyous spirit of the season with beautifully arranged songs sung with the enthusiasm of our youth.

Over 250 people were in the audience, parents, caregivers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, school teachers, school administrators, and members of Union Baptist Church. The Room of Remembrance was standing room only.

How marvelous it was to spend an evening listening to our youth remind us of the reason for the season? Too often we miss opportunities for fellowship and communal sharing. There was a time when people would walk through the community singing the season's songs. Unfortunately we have lost that kind of cohesiveness, but we shouldn't lost the spirit.

I was truly blessed by the outpouring of the spirit that brought all of us together yesterday. Oh the blessed thought of youth singing songs of praise, thanksgiving and joy bringing us together every day. That's a glimpse of heaven - joy to the world and peace, goodwill towards all people - everyday!

I'm so happy to know the spirit of the living God can fall fresh on you once again.

Oh How Powerful Love Really Is!

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, December 6, 2013 0 comments

"He loved us not because we're lovable, but because He is love." C. S. Lewis

In the loneliness of our struggle, we sometimes miss understanding the love God has for each of us. The love He has really is not based upon reciprocity. What we give to Him is not a measure of what He gives to us. His love is not predicated on what we do, but on whose we are. We are God's creation and He loves what he created!

The challenge we must recognize is if His creation is not functioning as it should, God will destroy and recreate, He will also retool to make His creation better.

I live for God's retooling, but I am fearful of God's destruction. The retooling is what the Prophet speaks about when God places you on the potter's wheel to mold and shape you. The destruction we see in the story of the flood and in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

God reserves for Himself both options towards His creation. Therefore, I live for His retooling.

On how powerful God's love really is when in spite of my inconsistency, He is willing to retool me into His creation.

I submit myself to the power of God's love throughout life's journey.

Oh to be able to love like that, wouldn't the world be so much better!

President Nelson Mandela

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, December 5, 2013 0 comments

During my lifetime God has gifted the world with some amazing and courageous people. Leading the list is President Mandela, he elevated world statesmanship into an art form. He demonstrated a depth of commitment very few have every reached. He served with a grace and style that was tempered with wisdom. He walked the earth like a King and loved people like God. 


I count it a joy to know my life was lived on a planet he inhibited.

The Source of Your Strength

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

"God is the one who provides our strength, not only to cope with the demands of the day, but also to rise above them. May we look to Him for the strength to soar." by Jim Gallery

Reflecting today about the source of one's strength to soar. There are moments in life when you spiritually need to spout wings and fly about the issues of the moment.

Birds appear to display this unique gift from God to avoid danger on the ground by lifting their wings and fly to a higher level, far from danger and securely positioned in the air.

How marvelous would it be to be able to flee or avoid danger by flying above it and being suspended in the air, soaring and gliding, getting a bird's eye view of your problem. From the air your perspective changes, from the air problems are reduced to specks on the ground, and from the air the space around you is cleared of all obstructions. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could spout wings and mount the wind currents of the sky and soar above the issues of the day?

I've discovered the amazing ability to imagine great things God is able to do in one's life. Divine inspiration is capable of transporting you to places far removed from a linear plane. Divine revelation is able to pierce your cloudy day and expose you to the sunshine of God's presence. Divine meditation is able to lift your mind's eye to God's timberline where your perspective rises above and your spirit soars above the pettiness of life and the triviality of this moral existence and you feel the reality of the eternal.

Beware of the tendency to be trapped into a fleshly existence, when you should be living a spiritual existence.

In John 3: 1-8 (KJV) you discover a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. In that conversation Jesus discloses that some things in life are strictly spiritual and can only be understood in a spiritual way.

Likewise, when you learn to appreciate and come to understand the source of your strength is God, you will be able to mount up on wings of eagles and soar above the mundane and experience the sublime.

Work to Do After Christmas

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, December 4, 2013 0 comments

For my meditation I reread this massage from Howard Thurman, entitled The Work of Christmas.

"When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart."

Given the conditions in our society and world today, there is much work to do after the Christmas is gone this year. Therefore, the question is what will you do not for Christmas, but after Christmas to usher into reality, The Savior Has Come!"

It appears we are fighting never ending battles against enemies who are always seeking to steal our joy, rob us of our peace, and to kill our dreams.

On this day I proclaim, "Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world."

I believe in the greatest of God who is able to overcome any situation, any difficulty, any circumstance, and any problem.

Yes! Our God is a great God!

Conference Call

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, December 2, 2013 0 comments

I have an important conference call at 1:00 pm today. The other person is in Hollywood, California and we are going to discuss the promotion and viewing of the forthcoming movie,"Son of God" which will be in movies throughout the country on Feb 28, 2014.


Can you imagine a long distance call to talk about Jesus Christ?

The only thing better is the long distance call you can make directly to Jesus Christ, who is only a prayer away.

A New Sunday God Has Given to You and Me

Posted by Al Hathaway Sunday, December 1, 2013 0 comments

"When I live my little segment of time, I must live it in the light of the fact that all of the vast complex of which my little segment is a part, gives to my little segment its meaning. Therefore, I cannot say about my life that it is of no account, I cannot say of the time that I am living that nothing seems to be happening, because this is not one of the great and tempestuous or creative moments in human history or in the history of worlds. My time is my time, and I must live my time with as much fullness and significance as I am capable of, because my little segment of time is all the time that I have. I cannot wait to begin living meaningfully when I will have more time, because all the time that I can ever experience is the time interval of my moment, so that my minutes, my hours, my days, my months, must be full of my flavor and my meaning.

Therefore, I will bring to my day, as commonplace and insignificant as it may seem, the fullest mind, the greatest purpose, and the most significant intent of which I am capable, because my time is not merely mine, but because my time is in His hands as well."

By Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas, p. 37.

With this thought in mind, may you see December 1, 2013 as a new day in God, instead of just another day on the calendar. Use today in a significant way!

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