HELP US REACH KENTUCKY WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!

EveningWorship

WE HAVE GREAT NEWS! Beginning April 27, 2013, EVENING WORSHIP WITH PASTOR ROBERT EARL HOUSTON will be joining the television lineup with Frankfort Plant Board Cable Channel 20.  We will reach the entire Franklin County community with a special emphasis on Nursing Homes, Hospitals, the sick and shut in. This is completely sponsored by Robert Earl Houston Ministries.

WE NEED YOUR HELP. We would greatly appreciate a donation – no matter how large or small – to continue broadcasting in this area. This will allow us to improve our broadcast, our equipment, etc.  Your donation is GREATLY APPRECIATED!

USE THE DONATE BUTTON BELOW TODAY:

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Pastor Robert Earl Houston’s first solo book, “See You In The Morning” is NOW AVAILABLE.  The book is just $10.00 with an additional $2.99 for shipping.

Some comments from readers . . .

“I couldn’t put this book down . . . I stayed up all night and I was so blessed by this . . .”

“I recently lost my father and this book helped me put things into perspective.”

“Good job! I hope you will publish another edition!”

“Pastor Houston, I’ve been a fan of yours since your San Diego days and to read this book, I could imagine seeing you preach this! I think this book should be at some seminaries to help students learn how to minister to the bereaved with hope.”

All books are available for purchase through the Paypal Payment Gateway, which means that you can purchase your book using your favorite debit/charge card and it is a secure payment gateway – MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, American Express, Discover and Electronic Check.

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It’s Not a Vacant Church, It’s a Vacant Pulpit

by Robert Earl Houston

Houston08282013I’ve been producing (at no cost) a list of “vacant churches” for the past 20 years plus. I was inspired to do so by the work of Dr. A.V. “King” Fisher of Fort Worth, Texas, who for years produced a magazine widely read by preachers called “The E.R.R.P. Report.” I found out about the magazine from my pastor, the late Dr. A. Bernard Devers, and it contained a list of “Vacant Churches.” Since the advent of the internet, way before others did so, I had a list of “vacant churches” for the African-American baptist church community. 

I did so to destroy the “old boy” system of placing pastors in pulpit when it was “who you knew” and “who you owed” when getting called to a church. Young pastors would be beholden to older ministers who held “that favor” over their heads for years and years and years. It was a terrible system and I had been exposed to it and didn’t like it and thought there had to be a better way.

I’ve been calling it “vacant churches” for twenty years. Today that stops. 

It’s not a church congregation or building that’s vacant – it is the pulpit. 99.9% of the congregations that I know that go through pastoral transition survive. Yes, sometimes in a tense atmosphere. Yes, sometimes during a season of division, political in-fighting and issues. Yes, sometimes when a clear candidate of the pastorate is before them. And yes, sometimes when there is no suitable pastoral candidate on the horizon.

But the work of the church continues.

Worship services still are held.
Preaching is still being preached.
Listening to preaching is still going on.
Singing is still being performed.
Ushers still usher.

Someone once said to me that a “real church is one that has a pastor.” I beg to differ. I do believe that a church should search prayerfully for a pastor. I also believe that a church without a pastor can still be effective in ministry beyond the borders of the building – working harmoniously together, while waiting for the Holy Spirit to fill the vacancy.

If your church is without a pastor – keep on doing ministry. Occupy yourself with ministry. Try to keep as much as possible. Pray more than you ever have. And the supplier will send someone to fill that vacant pulpit. 

Are We All Supposed to Be Blessed in 7 Days?

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PASTOR ROBERT EARL HOUSTON

by Robert Earl Houston

I am a fan(atic) about preaching. I love preaching and love the art and craft of gospel preaching. My portfolio of favorite preachers crosses denominational lines, age barriers, and gender. I just love great Bible-based preaching.

Preaching is not my issue. What I’m concerned about is that we are making unrealistic prognostications over the pulpit that sound like the Will of God, however, it’s not really in His will.

To be in a room full of believers and then promise them that in 7 days they will all be blessed or in 6 months they’ll all have brand new houses seems to me to be in the realm of preaching malpractice.

To be in a Pastor’s Conference and then promise to every Pastor that when you get home your church is about to “blow up” and that you’re about to move into the national arena seems to me to write a promissory note that cannot be cashed.

To be in a conference and tell the room that when you get back home you’re ministry is going to increase and see things that you’ve never seen before and then you return and get put out, it seems like either the prophet was confused or the hearer confused – I choose the prophet.

In an effort to create empowerment in the body of Christ, some of us have forgotten that “the poor will be with you always.” (Matthew 26:11).  It’s God’s will, yes, that you would prosper as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2) but if you look at most translations of that original text, it’s conjunctive with health and not wealth.

I have been in services and prophesied over and there have been times when the prophesy just flat footed did not come true – by no stretch of the imagination. I’ve become convinced that to speak “thus saith the Lord” without any authorization or authenticity from the Lord is to basically lie on the Lord in order to score spiritual points with a crowd. It may make good television but it does not make good and faithful believers – and it opens a door to doubt causing serious spiritual damage to the one who receives it.

I’m currently preaching through a series on healing but I also am fully aware that as I preach it, all healing is not in my hands nor in my words. God has the final say so. And people still die.  People still get sick. However, I can honestly say that if the Lord wills so, He can heal – and he can heal you with or without the medicine or with eternity.

I vividly remember hearing the story of a minister who had a member come forth during worship, riddled with cancer, and then he prophesied over her and said “in 7 days, God is going to heal you completely.”  She died 5 days later. The minister’s daughter went to him and said, “Daddy, I thought you said that she was going to be healed.”

I think it would be appropriate to stick to the book (The Bible). Encourage yes. Placate no. Offer hope in Christ yes. Offer hope in our words no.  Be authentic yes. Be a showman no.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED

Vacant Church: First Baptist Church, Columbia, Kentucky (deadline: October 3, 2014)

From the American Baptist Newspaper

The First Baptist Church in Columbia, Kentucky is seeking a minister to pastor our congregation. He must preach and teach sound doctrine, without compromise. He must love the Lord and love all God’s people. The Pulpit Committee will not be responsible for any expenses incurred by a candidate, i.e., all travel and lodging expenses. Resumes and letters of inquiry should be sent by October 3, 2014 to:

First Baptist Church
Pulpit Committee
P.O. Box 956
Columbia, Kentucky 42728

Thank You Mildred Lee Bell

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Pastor Robert Earl Houston, First Baptist Church, Frankfort, KY and Pastor Milton E. Chambers, Sr., New Hope Friendship Baptist Church, San Diego, CA

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – For the past 48 hours, I have been in San Diego for the home going services for my dear friend, Sis. Mildred Lee Bell, charter member of the New Hope Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, where I served as their pastor for nine years, from 1995-2004.

I’m here by invitation of her family. Mildred and I were close. Not only was I her pastor, but after going through a horrendous storm of divorce and the aftermath of it affecting the congregation, after my resignation, it severed professional ties, but Mildred would not let me go. We stayed in touch. We had monthly telephone calls where we laughed together, mourned together, and encouraged each other.

When I left here in 2004, I had vowed I would never return. I was hurt, bruised, beaten, and broken of spirit. I had been through hell like I had never experienced nor would I wish on anyone else. When I came to clear out my office, I will never forget the glare of the then chairman of deacons and a member who would go on to become a trustee, who came to the church to watch me pack up my belongings. As I single-handedly packed my belongings into my vehicle, I stood on the final step and shook my foot three times – remembering that scripture found in Matthew 10:12-14. I had shaken the dust from my feet.

It’s hard to fathom that 10 years have gone by since that day in 2004. So many things have happened – the great recession, the election of a black United States President, Wars overseas, domestic problems – and for me personally it has been a journey in the hands of the Lord. I’ve preached as a full-time evangelist, worked for a prominent immigration attorney, served as a Senior Project Manager for an international ministry, served as a full-time assistant pastor in Nashville, married an amazing and supportive woman that has no equal in her love, and now, serving what I believe is the church of my dreams, First Baptist Church, in Frankfort, Kentucky. I’ve been tremendously blessed by the Lord.

Why am I sharing this? Because it is true: Time heals all wounds. I stood in the pulpit for the first time in 10 years to preside at Mildred’s services and I was welcomed by her family with wide open arms, and most, if not all, of my former members, warmly greeted me, hugged my neck, wrapped their arms around me, and even those young people who were small children when I became their pastor (many who I baptized) ran up to me and said “we miss you” and “we still love you.”

It says something that sometimes the biggest obstacle to our healing may be ourselves. Sometimes our perception, right or wrong, of how others feel about you, may be building a wall needlessly. Every pastor has supportive people, those who are on the fence, those who are against – but it’s not our job to be popular – it’s our job to feed the flock, and a grateful flock will respond in kind. The many years that I stood behind that pulpit and labored in the word did not go in vain. Even though circumstances were stormy – the storm is not only over, it’s literally water under a bridge.

I suspect that it took the home going of Mildred to bring us all together. It had a feel of a reunion. How an 87 year old woman could accomplish this is only by the grace of God. The current pastor, Rev. Milton Chambers, preached a classic sermon and he went out of his way to welcome me back to New Hope Friendship. When I arrived, the signage was up and we worked together to make sure that Mildred had the kind of home going service that she deserved. I presided. He preached. And God received all of the glory.

So I’m about to pack my bags and I’m eagerly looking forward to coming home to a beautiful, loving wife and a prayerful and supportive congregation, to continue ministering in the pulpit that the Lord over 5 years ago. But I leave San Diego this time with a smile on my face, joy in my heart, and an appreciation of the healing and reunion that took place this weekend.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED

Give Somebody Else a Chance

by Robert Earl Houston

IMG_0510In this wonderful nation of ours there are over 300,000,000 people who live here. There are 50 states, over 3,100 counties, over 30,000 cities. There are four major traditional baptist conventions, each claiming over 1,000,000 members. There are easily at least one state baptist convention in each state, some have as many as 4 or more. There are hundreds of district associations, state conventions, district congresses, state congresses, general associations, national conventions, local/state/national fellowships, and on and on and on.

So why is it that we only utilize a handful of preachers to speak at these events?

No one will dare say it, but in the hallway of most of our conventions, the same faces and names appear on the program year after year after year. Surely by now there should be some new faces and voices emerging from the diaspora of the African-American church experience. However, it’s the same people preaching conventions all over the nation – basically utilizing the same five sermons – and frankly, it’s tiring.

Our General Association of Baptists in Kentucky had invited a minister to be our guest speaker this year and he fell ill and was unable to be here. Our State Moderator and his wife were on the way to Cancun, Mexico when he received the news – a little less than 3 weeks away from the annual session. After consulting with a friend and praying over it, he selected Reverend Cory Ramont Morris. A minister that most of us in Kentucky had never heard before. However, by the end of the week, he became the talk of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Great theological mind. Young but seasoned. A rare ability to connect with the old, the middle aged, and the young. Tremendous delivery. Friendly and approachable. Not haughty and not stuck up. And yes, a close that could easily be construed as one of the best I’ve heard in recent memory. Outstanding scriptural approach and exegesis. Teaching while preaching.

And we LOVED it. 

IMG_0503Maybe our problem is that we look to the stars of the church rather than to the Hills (from whence cometh our help) – and instead of considering those who are solid in the faith, upcoming, and striving pastors – we get the same old soup in a new bowl with all gravy and no meat. My former pastor, Bishop Darryl S. Brister used to say “all you need is one moment of exposure to change your life.” There are a plethora of ministers who if just given the opportunity to be programmed, you may discover what all the fuss is about in their local communities.

Case in point. A West Virginia pentecostal pastor has been attending a Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma for years and gets the opportunity to meet the host. One year, one of the speakers can’t make it, and the host calls him and asks him, at the last minute to fill in. The minister preaches a dynamic sermon and most people had never heard of him. The conference is televised and the owner of the world’s largest Christian television network sees his presentation, picks up the phone, calls him, and brings him to his network studios, and launches him into preaching history. The host was Bishop Carlton Pearson. The event was Azusa. The network owner was Paul Crouch. And that West Virginia minister, who admitted that at one point he was the pastor, musician, usher and janitor, is named Thomas Dexter (T.D.) Jakes.

Because he was given a chance.

I was the recipient of opportunities. Outside of my home church, people like Dr. O.B. Williams, Dr. J.A. Boles,  Dr. S.M. Lockridge, Dr. Ray Williams, Dr. H.F. Dean, Dr. Willie T. Snead, Dr. Melvin Wade, Dr. R.C. Williams, Sr., Dr. Clyde E. Gaines, Dr. A.E. Reid, Dr. A. Russell Awkard, Dr. Bernard Crayton, Dr. C.B. Akins, Dr. Walter Parrish, III, and others GAVE ME A CHANCE.  They took a chance and gave me opportunity to preach or serve in conventions – even when I was pastoring a storefront church and pastoring for free because the church was not in position to pay me; even when I was pastoring a church and I had to make it to the conventions on my own dime; even when I was fighting for my pastoral life and the storms were raging at full blast; and even at the church of my dreams – I have been the recipient of an opportunity.

I’ve preached for state conventions in Oregon/Washington/Idaho; Kentucky; California; North Carolina.
I’ve preached for district associations in Oregon, California, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
I’ve preached for city-wide revivals in Newark, NJ, Gary, IN, Albuquerque, NM and other places.
I’ve preached in Revival or for special occasions literally around the nation.

Because I was given a chance. Maybe before the next leader of a group invites Rev. Dr. So and So or Bishop So and So or the Pastor who is pastoring the large church over in the next state or many the denominational leader who you know really can’t preach, but has a big name.

There are gifted young pastors, middle aged pastors, even elderly pastors who have never been given the opportunity to preach because they didn’t graduate from a certain school or they didn’t have the opportunity to complete college or they had a family to support and sat under the feet of their pastor or college was not for them – and yet they minister faithfully, biblically and with integrity. They are in every state – just waiting for a chance.

I’ve always prayed, Lord, if I ever get in the position to help someone else up, please help me to do so. I wonder what would happen if our conventions do today what they use to do in yesterday and give an opportunity to young preachers like E.V. Hill, Melvin Wade, Stephen Thurston, A.L. Bowman, Sandy Ray, C.L. Franklin, Jasper Williams, E. Edward Jones – and other young pastors who were given the opportunity to preach nationally at a young age.

When our session in Lexington closed after hearing a session that will live in the annals of history of this 149 year old institution. The name of Corey Ramont Morris will stand in the hearts of minds of the delegates that trusted their Moderator to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. We didn’t know him then. But we know and appreciate him now.

Give somebody else a chance.

YOUR COMMENTS WELCOMED.

The Season of Familiarity

by Robert Earl Houston

62283_431076337044_588887044_5520111_3984722_nI’ve been privileged down through the years to officiate at many, many weddings. Matter of fact, I have had the joy of uniting couples in Oregon, California, Tennessee and Kentucky. I’ve officiated at the weddings of strangers, friends, acquaintances and relatives. All weddings are filled with pageantry, poignancy, and personality. No two weddings are the same. But all marriages come to that point of where familiarity sets in and that which was special on the day of the marriage is now no longer special, excitable nor does it move you like it used to.

So it is in marriage, so it is in ministry. Every pastor and every church comes to a point of familiarity. If a church and a pastor are not careful, that familiarity can breed contempt.

I recently preached a sermon entitled “Don’t Let HIM Down” when Jesus received the complaint of a father who brought his son to Him after the disciples could not heal him. Jesus said that the Disciples had demonstrated a lack of faith and needed at least the faith the size of a mustard seed. My point is that when the spectacular seems ordinary, when the possible is viewed as impossible, and when steak is referred to as hamburger, a season of familiarity has begun.

No one is exempt from this. It’s going to come. No matter how they holler, run and shout today – the day will come where they will talk instead of holler, walk instead of run, and stare instead of shout. Not all church members, thankfully, are like that – but Pastors have to make sure that they don’t become so familiar with their congregations that in order to pacify people, principles become pulp, preaching becomes pablum, and pastoring becomes pointless.

Even in the largest megachurches in the nation, no sanctuary is 100% full every Sunday. Even the largest churches carry some of the highest debt load even higher than some businesses. Even the television ministries carefully pan the audience not to show the empty seats. In other words – when things are familiar, the excitement and the crowd is subject to change.

The best way out of this is this: preach!  Don’t carry your burdens to the pulpit. Don’t let their familiarity draw you into a stage of lethargy. If you worked hard on your sermons when you got there, keep on, as our guest, Rev. C. Ramont Morris said to the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, showing up! Skeptics? Keep on showing up! Naysayers? Keep on showing up! You don’t have to battle with anyone because the battle is not your’s, it’s the Lord’s.

Then pray for a Revival – not for the people, but for you. Pray that God will give you that freshness and awe of the place where you stand every Sunday. Pray that you’ll love on those who come to hear you preach every Sunday and not become bitter about those who leave because you couldn’t turn water into wine and you couldn’t accommodate their problems. Don’t be bitter, be better.

I’m going back to my pulpit on Sunday, with a word from the Lord, grateful that He sends people for me to sow into their spiritual lives every Sunday, and with the idea in my heart that i’m going to stand there, with everything that I have, and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ like it’s the first time. The Season of Familiarity will not be one that I plan to experience, but for a short time.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED

A Nugget . . .

IMG_8271by Robert Earl Houston

One thing that has to be remembered by all of us who serve the Lord as pastors is that there are some things that we will never be in control of. Do your best every Sunday. Preach like it’s the last time. Teach like someone’s life is in the balance. Preach in season and out of season. Preach when you’re popular and preach when you’re not. Preach when the house is full and preach like the house is full when it’s not. Celebrate the good days and reflect upon the bad days. Be there when they cry and be there when they can’t open their mouths nor their eyes. Rejoice at their weddings, celebrate their accomplishments and be that presence when their world is falling apart. Don’t take your anger to the pulpit and don’t let your anger permeate your preaching. Smile even when you don’t feel like it and laugh when no one is around. Just a few words of advice after 25 years plus of pastoring . . .

BOOK REVIEW: “On Preaching” by H.B. Charles, Jr.

by Robert Earl Houston

As an opening disclaimer and to be quite honest, I have been friends with H.B. Charles, Jr. for the past 15 years or so. H.B. (please forgive my informality) was the speaker for the San Diego City-Wide Revival for many years at the church I pastored for the Noon-Day session. We have managed to keep in touch down through the years and I have watched him ascend the crystal stairs of the preaching fraternity from Los Angeles to Jacksonville.

Now, having said all of that . . .

I believe that every preacher, ESPECIALLY YOUNG PREACHERS,  should have this book in your library or on your tablet or on your smart phone. H.B. has penned what many of us who have been around could say are “cliff notes” for those who desire to not just preach, but preach effectively.

If you have no desire to excel as a preacher – this is not the book for you.
If you want to grab onto the newest fad in preacherdom – this is not the book for you.
If your desire is to “kill ‘em” every Sunday with a whoop and no substance – this is not the book for you.
If you want people to call you “Doc” to your face and laugh at you behind your back – this is not the book for you.

This is a collection of practical, easy to read advice on how to construct a sermon – not the whoop, not the holler – but from the mindset of preaching, utilizing personal theological foundations, to the “why” and “what” a minister should pray before one syllable touches a piece of paper or on a computer screen.

H.B.’s passion for preaching is redundant throughout the book. He’s been preaching since he was a young teenager and he describes this not as a instructional map but as words from one traveler of the art of preaching to another. It is quite clear that H.B. does not want to remain the same in your preaching if it’s below par and he doesn’t want you satisfied if your preaching is above par.

A quote I found interesting:

“Your sermon manuscript will become stronger if you preach it as you write it. Talk it out as you are writing it down. This will help you communicate clearly and effectively.  Some words that are easy to write are not easy to pronounce. That long sentence that looks so beautiful on your computer screen may be a nightmare to say or hear. And sometimes you cannot tell that an idea does not make sense until you hear the words come from out of your mouth. But talking your way through the sermon as you write it will aid clarity. Preaching it as you write it also aids memorization.”

It’s classic and practical preaching advice. It’s what the old preachers used to call a “nugget.”  Unfortunately we live in a time when we have mega churches but pastors who either refuse or protest in sharing what they’ve learned along the way, especially about the craft of preaching. H.B. Charles, Jr.’s book breaks that paradigm in a refreshing way.

One thing you will learn from this book – the entire Bible is preachable. H.B. encourages you not to get in a rut and offers practical advice for vocal care. Much needed today.

Will this book help you? Yes, if you want it to. I’ll add this caveat – don’t let your ministry have more gators on your shelf than books in your library. Leaders read. Period. An investment is this book is well worth it. Many of us across the country are either implementing or planning to teach this book   to our young associates. Pastors – consider doing so. However, all ministers need to get your hands on this book – if you are serious about the craft of preaching.Those who want to drown in shallow preaching waters need not apply.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.

Is Gospel Music headed to the same fate as Gospel Preaching ?

by Robert Earl Houston

DISCLAIMER: I need to begin this post by saying that I am speaking from a position as a not only a Pastor, but a musician/choir director/minister of music since I was 17 years old. I was raised in a gospel music environment provided by New Hope and Morning Star Missionary Baptist Churches in Portland, Oregon and sat at the feet of gifted people – Bill Jackson, Marci Jackson, Glenda Jackson, Naomi Houston (mom), Carolyn Allmon, Saul Kelley, Sr., Lorene Wilder, Dorothy Davis, Gilber Gill, Darlene Warren, Norman Wooding, Calvin Lowery, Michael Stone, and many others from our church and community. Further, I have maintained my gospel music training at every church I have served at – going from apprentice musician to a senior musician.

As I sit here, I believe that Gospel Music is in trouble. I’m not talking about the plethora of workshops and organizations – I mean the art and craft of gospel music. It’s becoming like some preaching – watered down, fad-like and off center.

Recently, someone sent me a video (and it’s one among many) of where a minister took the secular song, “Blurred Lines” and replaced the words with the Christian standard “Jesus is on the mainline.” Several in the audience were “whooping it up” and it was hard to distinguish, in my eye, between worship and twerking by some of the participants.

Gospel music is deadly serious to me. We have a generation of musicians and songwriters (mostly male) and in some cases, some of these same musicians and songwriters attend nor support anybody’s church. Groups are forming every day that have no problem leaving the sanctuary of their home church to “perform” somewhere else, especially if it’s a paid performance.

The trademark of Gospel Music has always been relational to three things:

a.  The powerful story of Jesus Christ.
b.  The powerful witness of God the Father.
c.  The powerful abilities of the Holy Spirit.

However, much of gospel music is written by one-hit wonders, who mix songs in the basement using drum tracks, and creating words that neither glorify God or invite others to praise our God or, fore mostly, are biblically correct.

I don’t mean any harm . . .

I don’t need a little more Jesus – I have the complete package at my conversion.
I’m not looking to go back to Eden – that state will never be realized again.

Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy” is “turning up” in praise and worship settings across the country – but if you can’t tell me simply that Jesus is the one who makes me happy within the confines of lyrics, then, to me, it’s not appropriate for a worship setting. Worship is not about us, it’s all about Him.

Although it gets a lot of verbal abuse, for those of us who have attended the New Music Seminar and Mass Choir conferences at Gospel Music Workshop of America, we appreciate the “standard” that has been used to select music that is to be presented. A song may appear and after hearing it, it’s never heard again – because those delegates want to take home music that edifies, encourages, and reaches the soul.

I’ve had the pleasure to work with and be in the number of choristers with people like Virgie Carrington Dewitty, Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, V. Michael McKay, Donnie McClurkin, Margaret Douroux, Dr. Patrick Bradley, Dello Thedford, Walter Scrutchings, Damian D. Price, Oscar Williams, Malcolm Williams, William Barks-Dale, Terry Davis, Rodney Teal, ESQ, Rodena Preston-Williams, Steven Roberts, Helen Stephens, Shirley M.K. Berkeley, Eddie A. Robinson, Dr. Erral Wayne Evans, Bishop Richard “Mr. Clean” White, Teresa Aton, Kevin B. James, Carrie Lasley, Oscar Dismuke, Varanise Booker, Lan Wilson, Gregory Troy, Christopher Watkins, Anita Stevens-Watkins, Wendell Craig Woods, Professor Craig Hayes, Ronald J. Materre, and a plethora of others who write, re-arrange or present good, solid church music. Unfortunately, most of the stuff you hear on Christian radio will never be heard in a church because it’s fury no sound, beats without a rhythm, and a song without lyrics.

I love most forms of Christian music. I love the hymns of the church – and my church is right now going through 70 hymns in 70 Sundays because I don’t want my congregation to lose that link to our heritage. I love traditional gospel music, quartet music (my father and my father in the ministry were both quartet singers), anthems, shake-note singing, powerful traditional songs, and some (not all) contemporary music. My eyes will still swell up if a musician gets on the organ and with just one or two fingers start to line out “The Old Rugged Cross.” And yet, I can “Shabach” with you and I can “take you to church” with one of James Cleveland’s catalogue songs.

I pray that just like we say “Keep Christ in Christmas” that we won’t have to modify that mantra one day and say “Keep Christ in Gospel Music.”  However, I’m afraid that time is fast approaching.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

by Robert Earl Houston

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 9.34.22 PMI have a few things on my heart before I go to bed tonight. I’ll share them quickly:

First, I want to give a huge shout-out to Bishop Neil C. Ellis and the Global United Fellowship. First, thank you for live streaming not just the evening sessions, but all of the sessions. Tonight was absolutely incredible as they raised budget, will leave North Carolina not only in the black, but with valuable partnerships, and purchase of three television stations – all of that in one session. Then the young man from Atlanta who was kidnapped and kept singing Bishop Hezekiah Walker’s song, “Every Praise is to Our God” was presented by Bishop Walker and a spontaneous gift of love, started by Yolanda Adams and Bishop Kenneth Ulmer (who personally gave $5,000) was . . . I guess heart-wrenching is not the right word . . . all I know is that me and the wife were marveled at what we saw and crying our eyes out. NEVER in years of Conventions and Conferences have I ever witnessed what I saw tonight.

Secondly, this was Associational week for most of Northern Kentucky. One moderator, Dr. William Nelson, presided over his first session as leader of Central Baptist District Association and another moderator, Dr. Bishop Carter, III, completed his tenure as moderator of the Consolidated Baptist District Association. Our church is in the Central District and we are former members of Consolidated District. I had the privilege of preaching the 1:00 p.m. sermon on the final day of Central District.

Third, I saw something that literally disappointment and ticked me off to the height of ticketivity. A new television series is on the way, made by the makers of the comic/television series, “Boondocks.” The new show is entitled “Black Jesus” with the premise that “Jesus” lives in Compton. I tried to watch the preview trailer and it literally turned my stomach. It won’t be playing in the Houston household and I hope that the Christian community will rise up and shut this mess down.

Certainly, I’m praying for those who lost their lives on the Malyasian jetliner and praying for peace for the Middle East and our nation – especially our inner cities.

That’s enough for now. Good night y’all.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED

THE WIRE

by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.

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