Monthly Archives: November, 2012

The Stupidity of Glenn Beck

PissObama1-640x426by Robert Earl Houston © 2012

. . .  or how to set race and religious relations back 400 years.

Glenn Beck, mouthpiece for the Tea Party and multi-millionaire, who lives protected in an 8,000 square foot, 7 bedroom/bath, mansion in Dallas, Texas, has crossed lines before. He has over and over again played the race card and unbelievably has said point blank that “President Obama is a racist.” He is stupid at best and vile scum at worst.

However, he has stepped greatly over the line again.

Glenn Beck, who is an avowed Mormon (I guess they don’t teach love thy neighbor in that church he attends or pray for those who are in authority over you or live peaceably with all men or any other pro-humanity scriptures) has offered to the word a jar of urine containing a bobble-head of President Barack Obama. What’s further insulting is that he claims that this is a “response” to the artwork of Michael D’Antuono’s picture of Barack Obama as a type of Christ – which I’m no fan of, personally – as if the President posed for that picture personally.

Here’s my take.

If Glenn Beck had an issue about it – go after Mr. D’Antuono. Put him in a jar. He’s the artist. That’s akin to not liking the Mona Lisa portrait and rather than to damn the artist, you slap the fool out of Ms. Lisa. Mr. Beck has not only insulted the sitting President of the United States, he has also defamed African-Americans and once again he proves that Mormons don’t give a damn about African-Americans, which we knew, and why 99% could not even consider voting for Mr. Romney (another Mormon) in the first place.

Mormons have an entrenched history in considering African-Americans as “second class” and until recently, they held a public view (I doubt seriously that it’s been white-washed from all of their adherents) that we don’t even possess souls. We are souless creatures to them – kinda of like cats or dogs or furniture.

This is why most theologians don’t consider Mormonism as a branch or associated with Christianity. Their religious views that Joseph Smith is their savior instead of Jesus, their polygamy matches their polytheism (and many of them have several wives) and their racism (and yes, this is racist what he did) means that Mormonism is producing leaders like Glenn Beck as the poster child for their hateful religion.

Go after the President after his policies. That’s American. But to sink this low. That’s Mormon at the very least and racist at most.

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Sunday Night Re-Cap, November 25, 2012

by Robert Earl Houston

What a weekend this has been. This has been one of the best Thanksgivings I can remember and it all started with the people that I love dearly – the First Baptist Church family for our annual Thanksgiving Day service. The service went very well and I’m thinking that next year I’m going to try moving it to the day before Thanksgiving. With all of the cooking activities that take place on Thursday morning and the new Thanksgiving day holiday of shopping, I may need to make adjustments. Anyway, the service was good and the Lord led me to preach, “That’s One Crowd I Don’t Want To Be a Part Of” which examined the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus and the sole one that came back to offer thanks and worship. Very appropriate for the day.

For Thanksgiving we feasted on Fried Turkey, Corn pudding, scalloped potatoes, green beans, cornbread dressing, sweet potato pie and the works. I ate in moderation. And I must admit, Jessica earned her chef’s hat this year! Way to go baby, way to go! Then the rest of the day was football until I passed out.

On Friday night, Jessica and I drove to Louisville for a scheduled program by the Messengers of Christ at Hill Street Baptist Church which, unbeknownst to us, had been cancelled at the last minute. So we took the night to have dinner at Cheddar’s Restaurant over the bridge in Indiana and then returned to our hotel room at the Galt House, which was filled with families that were in the area for the annual Light Festival. A good night indeed. I’ve learned as a pastor that things happen, programs cancel and we don’t always know the whys and wherefores, but God is still good.

We returned home on Saturday morning in time for the Men of Praise rehearsal. Many of the guys are out due to the holiday but those who were there, we pressed on, and actually we had one of the best rehearsals I can remember and there was a period of “male bonding” that is unique to the black experience that took place afterwards. We just sat there and talked – from sports, to shopping, to relationships, to you name it. It was a great time and rather than to hurry them out, we just let this happen. Sometimes, the best pastor is not the one who preaches but the one who can listen.

Sunday morning we had cancelled early morning service and I guess the word didn’t get completely out. For those who don’t know, I live RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the church, and my doorbell rang several times with parishioners who didn’t get the word about cancellation. They took it in good stride – that’s the one thing about have 99% of your congregation within city limits.

We concluded the Book of Hebrews in Sunday School and Deacon Zenas English taught our combined class. We had a great discussion and I appreciate his insights on the text. Kudos!!!

At 11:00 a.m., the people gathered slowly and by the time of the sermon, we had a very decent crowd. The Men of Praise SANG their hearts out. That number was affected by the holidays, but as I mentioned earlier, they were pitch perfect! They sang “Faithful is our God” and a new song I taught on Saturday by my friend, Dr. Patrick Bradley, “I Know There Is Something About God’s Grace” that the congregation picked up and welcomed immediately. God be praised for the men!

I preached on “SCANDAL” based on John 8’s description of the scandal of the woman caught in adultery. Several things caught my eye: First, Jesus was teaching and then interrupted by this scandal by his nemesis, the Scribes and the Pharisees; Secondly, when they accused her, Jesus went silent and wrote in the dirt. I suggested that it could have been words of praise because the accusations ceased;  Thirdly, Jesus dismissed them by saying “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and the only one qualified to do so was Jesus himself. Instead of condemnation, He pardoned – just as He does in our lives.

God be praised for one young adult brother joining the church under restoration.  It was a good day.

POLITICS:

Now that the election is over – what is with the looney part of the GOP with their asinine insistances since the election???  It reminds me of the character Marvin Martian who is always trying to blow up something and they are literally out of their minds.  Look at their stupidity:

a.  “Obama Stole the Election” – uh huh.  Ever heard of a court case called Gore v. Bush ????

b.  “Obama Wasn’t Eligible” – the birther wing led by Alan Keyes, Orly Taitz, WND and fools of that ilk have turned “Birtherism” into a cash cow. They disparage the President, look for conspiracies and “-gates” and are doing more harm to the country than good – oh and by the way Orly and WND and Sheriff Joe are ALWAYS begging for money but never produce a spreadsheet to see where their contributions go. Hmm . . .

c.  “Let’s Secede” – OK, let me see – 25,000 people in Texas sign an electronic petition. There are over 25,000,000 people who live there that mean 1/100 of 1 percent have signed this foolish petition. Idiots . . . They can secede, just pay your portion of the Federal Debt, give us back all of our highways, bridges, airports, colleges, Federal Aid, and we’ll be glad to oblige.

Man, I must really need some coffee.

FOOTBALL:

There were a lot of great games over the holidays. I’m saddened that Oregon won’t be playing for the national championship but they’ve got to stop playing Portland State and The College of Pharmacy and schedule some serious games in the future. Methinks it would be wise for the Ducks to schedule 2 non-conference games a year – one against the SEC and the other against Big 12 or another major conference or Notre Dame.

On the Cowboys front. This season is over. Stick a fork in it. We could have traded Romo for the pick to get RG3. He humiliated the Cowboys. Great Stadium. Great Venue. Horrible team.

Congratulations to Pastor Victor L. Wilson

When I moved to California in 1991, one of my good friends became Rev. Victor L. Wilson. We were both young pastors in the California Missionary Baptist State Convention, which was then under the leadership of Dr. S.M. Lockridge and then Dr. W.T. Snead, Sr. He left California to assume a pulpit in Albuquerque, New Mexico and now God has assigned him to a congregation in Clinton, North Carolina. We had the privilege of preaching together in Albuquerque during their City Wide Revival earlier this week. Congratulations to Pastor Wilson, his wife, and the Lisbon Street Missionary Baptist Church:

Lisbon Street MBC calls new sheperd

Billy Todd/Sampson IndependentThe Rev. Victor Wilson will be officially installed as pastor of Lisbon Street Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, Dec. 2. Wilson expressed his excitement to being in Clinton and the opportunity to serve the church and the community.

It is a time of celebration and praise for Lisbon Street Missionary Baptist Church. On Sunday, Dec. 2, starting at 4 p.m., the Rev. Victor L. Wilson will be installed as the church’s new pastor. Wilson will have some large shoes to fill as he will standing behind the pulpit that was occupied by the Rev. Dr. H. L. Cogdell for 54 years prior to his retirement.

Wilson began his career in ministry in 1986 when he began preaching. The young pastor started serving churches as a pastor in 1989 and has served for over 25 years in various locations across the United States. His pastoral experience includes serving as pastor to churches in California, New Mexico, New York and North Carolina. He is an active member of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., having served as a prison ministry commissioner and teacher.

“I cannot say how excited and glad I am to be here at Lisbon Street Missionary Baptist Church as their pastor. I feel it a privilege to come serve here in this church and this community. Dr. Cogdell has left a great legacy here and I hope to build upon the foundation that Jesus and Dr. Cogdell have established in this church,” expressed Wilson.

Wilson has been married to Judge Carol Jones for five years. They share three children and one granddaughter. Wilson stated that he met the new first lady of Lisbon Street Missionary Baptist Church at the church when he was conducting a revival several years ago.

Lisbon Street’s new pastor was born to a military family in Wilmington, Del. He graduated high school in California. Wilson holds a degree in mortuary science and is currently working on a Masters of Divinity degree at Shaw Divinity School.

In 2009 and 2010 Wilson served as pastor in a church in New York. For the past two years he has been speaking at various churches in revival and as a candidate for ministry. He expressed that he was grateful to have ended up at Lisbon Street.

“I am excited to be here. This is spiritually appealing church and community related and oriented congregation. We currently have around 150 active members in the congregation and I have already learned many of them and have already grown to love them all,” asserted Wilson.

The new pastor shared that his ministry goal was first and foremost, one committed to God.

“My ministry goal is first and foremost committed to serving God with integrity to this church and this family. I am a hand-on-hand kind of pastor. I love people and I want to be here to serve them. I may not be a great preacher but I do feel I can and will be a great pastor,” stressed Wilson. “As a shepherd, I love the smell of sheep!” added the pastor.

Wilson lists his strengths for ministry as humbleness, realness, what you see is who you get, listening and hearing and availability to his congregation.

“My ultimate responsibility is to God and to serve the people of this congregation,” stated Wilson.

His goal for Lisbon Street is to see the church grow from within.

“I want Lisbon Street to grow from the inside out. I see a great vision of strength for this congregation that will come from deep within each person here. As each person examines themselves and begins to grow spiritually, we will then, as a church, start to grow without into the community and continue to expand God’s kingdom. When we develop as Christians we will be equipped so we can reach out and bring in others to join us,” remarked Wilson.

The pastor stated that Lisbon Street was already seen as a pillar of the community.

“We want to continue to grow that relationship we have with the community and the city of Clinton. This church already has many programs in place and there is no need to change them. What I want for us is to grow as individuals and prepare and equip ourselves to be better ministers to others. That is our mission from God and that is what we are called to do as his followers,” stressed Wilson.

The Rev. Leslie Morrisey of The Greater Six Runs Missionary Baptist Church will be the guest speaker for the installation service on Sunday, Dec. 2. Wilson invites any and all to come join the congregation for the celebration and noted, “Love to the family…love to the pastor.”

Read more: The Sampson Independent – Lisbon Street MBC calls new sheperd

Ten Things Pastors Will Face in the Future by Robert Earl Houston

by Robert Earl Houston

Every generation changes. That is the constant theme from generation to generation. Our foreparents brought their worship traditions to these shores. Church music changed forever by the influence of Thomas A. Dorsey. Preaching styles changed forever with the advent of preachers like C.L. Franklin, Jasper Williams, Donald Parson, and others. As I gaze from my middle-age perch, I want to confront ten things that Pastors will be facing in the future:

#1 – Multi-culturism – The days of the “exclusively black” church are going by the wayside. In many of our congregations, they are become mirror images of society at large. With a sharp increase of interracial marriages and relationships, especially in the spike of black females with non-black males, the black church is turning into the brown church. I think we’ll still have our distinctive flavor, but some rhetoric is on the way out.

#2 – Un-Conventional Conventionalism – The days of the power of black baptist conventions is starting to wane now. Their influence from 35 years ago has dramatically shifted. 35 years ago if you crossed a President or Moderator, you were banished to the land of “never heard from again.” But now Conventions are dramatically smaller, in most cases struggling, and power is no longer in one man’s hand that can hurt or cripple you in your home area. Instead, the local pastor can fight back by refusing to play the games and withhold finances.

# 3 – Media Matters – The pastor of the future will have to be a tech-savvy pastor. If he thinks an iPad is a paper product, and iPhone means it belongs to you, and power point is a loud point in your sermon – you’ll be left in the dust. Our constituents are tech savvy. They come to church to praise the Lord, check their Twitter fee, look at e-mail and read Scripture on their tablet – ALL AT THE SAME TIME. A tech-savvy pastor will utilize technology to his or her advantage in order to draw members closer.

# 4 – Lack of Interest in Sunday School – Please don’t kill the messenger. But most pastors know that Sunday School is a dying art-form within the black baptist experience. The lack of trained, qualified teachers combined with a lethargic pew and, in most cases, a disinterested pulpit is the perfect storm. Sunday School will have to modify and try new things. Classes may have to combine and in some cases, the Pastor may have to chip in more and more into the mix. Otherwise, Sunday School is on track to catch up with her country cousin, Baptist Training Union and YPWW.

#5 – Unintentional Competition – Many pastors in the future will be forced to be different. Because this is, as one minister stated, a “Free Agency” Christianity. If you’re a clone of the pastor across town and someone is looking for a church home – imitation is not flattery, it’s deadly. I believe God will use this to discontinue the practice of imitation and begin a new wave of preachers giving the word in their own comfort zone.

# 6 – New Voices – Somewhere out there is not the next T.D. Jakes or Paul Morton or Julius Scruggs or William Shaw or Donald Parson. There are new voices that will be raised up because churches today that are smaller in membership are easier to grow than established mega churches which have “arrived” in their own minds. Remember the top 10 churches in membership were all small churches when they were started. And all of the “prime time” pastors all began as struggling novices.

# 7 – The end of Pomp and Circumstance. The end of the “celebrity pastor” is nigh. Bodyguards, armor bearers, adjutants, and all of that ilk are on the way out. If you need two go through five channels to get to your pastor, the church persons of the future will just find a pastor they can connect with. I’ve never been a great one on all of the protection and remember when I preached at a particular mega-church, that they had something there that burned an impression in my spirit. They had a Nurse following me just in case someone shook my hand so I could wash that “spirit” off of me immediately. Tick, tock  . . . that clock is winding down.

# 8 – The end of Super Titles. 35 years ago everybody wanted to be called “Reverend.”  Then everybody wanted to be called “Doctor.”  Then everybody wanted to be called “Bishop.”  Now other titles are starting to pop-up. This will end in the future. People don’t associate themselves with titles, they associate with personalities. When your soul is hurting a “Doctor” is not more important than a “Bishop.”  Dr. Isadore Edwards, preaching at the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. reminded the convention that “John called Peter Peter” and “Peter called Luke Luke.”

# 9 – The rise of an educated pulpit. 35 years ago Pulpit Committees didn’t require as much schooling as some do today. If you could “hoop” you were in. If you couldn’t hoop, you better have had an education. That’s changing because those who churches select want a pastor who is educated, pushes education and believes in education. Of course, this is not universal, and there is a hindrance because many of our once proud schools are either closing or having financial trouble. Bishop College’s demise put a dent in pulpits all over the country.

and lastly

#10 – A return to a Father-Child paradigm in ministry. 35 years ago a Father in the Ministry was essential for pastors. Then came sons and daughters who moved away from that when their church size was larger than their parent’s church. However, that is now changing since the demise of conventions and you’re finding more pastors looking for pastoral mentors. I have a group of young pastors across the country that I connect with and although I’m not their pastor, I’m a father-figure to them. We’re going back to the Father-Child paradigm because Presidents and Moderators are being deemed non-essential.

Homegoing of a Saint: Rev. Ricky Spain, Baltimore, MD

Rev. Ricky Spain, pastor and activist

Pastor of the Waters African Methodist Episcopal Church, he had earlier been a pastor and activist in Arundel

  • Rev. Ricky Spain
Rev. Ricky Spain (Baltimore Sun )
November 23, 2012|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

The Rev. Ricky Spain, pastor of East Baltimore’s Waters African Methodist Episcopal Church who had also been a community activist in his years as an Annapolis-area pastor, died of cancer Nov. 16 at the Tate Chesapeake Hospice House in Linthicum. The Severn resident was 63.

Born in Virginia Beach, Va., he was the son of Luther and Florence Spain. A 1967 graduate of First Colonial High School, he won state honors for wrestling. After studying at Norfolk State University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at North Carolina Wesleyan College.

He also earned a master’s degree in divinity at Wesleyan Theological Seminary and had additional degrees in guidance counseling and adult education from Carolina A&T State University and a doctorate of humane letters from Paul Quinn College in Dallas. He also served in the Marine Corps.

Before becoming pastor of the Waters AME Church in 2005, he was an associate minister at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C. He also had assignments in Asheville, N.C., Reidsville, N.C., where he was elected to the City Council in 1977, and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Nearly 20 years ago, Mr. Spain became pastor of the Mount Olive AME Church on Hicks Avenue in Parole. He became active in local affairs and managed a campaign to get Carlesa R. Finney named to the Anne Arundel County school board. She later headed the board for three years.

“He had a forceful voice and was a commanding presence,” said Ms. Finney, who is now the executive director of the school system’s office of equity assurance and human relations. “People knew he was trying to engage us in the political process. He made sure the black community would have a role in events in the county. He was a mover and a shaker, and liked to see people rally around cases.”

She recalled Mr. Spain’s encouragement: “Carlesa, we’ll stand behind you if you run for the school board.”

In 1993, County Executive Robert R. Neall named him to the Anne Arundel County Welfare Reform Initiative Task Force. Mr. Spain was also a member of the United Black Clergy, a Children at Risk schools program, the Committee for a Drug-Free Annapolis, the county School Guidance Advisory Council and the Anne Arundel Red Cross board of directors.

Mr. Spain also held the post of editor in chief of the African Methodist Episcopal Christian Recorder.

“He was gentle, kindhearted, but forceful and honest,” said his wife, the former Annie Graves. “He knew how to earn your respect. He was also charismatic and a trusted person. His word was his bond.”

She said that her husband was also an addictions counselor for the Baltimore City Health Department and worked in that field in downtown Baltimore at the state prison complex.

“He lived the life he preached,” she said. “He did what he could to keep folks off the streets.”

She said he sponsored Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and also had a weekly meal for the homeless at his Aisquith Street church in Oldtown.

“He was a humble servant, not a celebrity,” said a close friend, the Rev. Errol Gilliard Sr., pastor of the Greater Harvest Baptist Church on West Saratoga Street. “He had a love for his work and a love for preaching, but he was not the guy who had to have the spotlight.”

Mr. Gilliard said that Mr. Spain believed in the ecumenical ties between denominations and was able to break down traditional barriers.

He also remembered him as an adviser. “I cannot recall a time when I had a personal crisis that Ricky Spain was not there,” he said.

The Rev. Cordell E. Hunter Jr., presiding elder of the Eastern District of the Baltimore Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, recalled his “compassion for people and love for people” and said he was an “effective shepherd.”

Mr. Hunter, who lives in Aberdeen, said he “perpetuated the principals of African Methodism who had a sense of humor that galvanized others.”

“He was a man of courage and compassion,” said the Rev. Larry Stanwyck Hinton, a presiding elder who lives in Clayton. N.C. “He was there to help people who needed it. He believed there was always hope and the possibilities to make a difference.”

Mr. Spain was a member of the Prince Hall Masons and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Services will be held at noon Saturday at Bethel AME Church, 1500 Druid Hill Ave.

In addition to his wife of 33 years, survivors include three sons, Titus Spain of Reston, Va., Shae Spain of Salisbury and Ricky Spain II of Severn; a daughter, Amber Spain of Hanover; three brothers, Luther Carter Spain of Virginia Beach, Va., Ray Spain of Warrenton, N.C., and Kirby Spain of Tampa, Fla.; a sister, Fay Wilson of Hampton, Va.; and three grandchildren.

From the Baltimore Sun Newspaper

Audio: “How to Survive the Holidays” by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

Homegoing of a Saint: Rev. David Hill, Sr., Amarillo, Texas

Reverend David Hill, Sr., known to many as “the little bare foot boy from Walker County,” a loving father, grandfather, pastor, and friend became precious in the sight of the Lord on November 17, 2012, at 5:20 a.m. He passed away peacefully from this life. An awesome man of God swapped lives and changed worlds.

Pastor David Hill, Sr., was born in Walker County, Texas, on May 28, 1922, to Horace and Martha McBride Hill. He attended the Adam Grove School System of New Waverly and matriculated to Conroe High School and Conroe College in Conroe, Texas. He attended the Historical Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, receiving a BA degree in education and a master’s degree in religion. He believed that a “fixed head” and a “fixed heart” was the best combination.

Reverend David was a World War II veteran, serving in the South Pacific and was a recipient of the Purple Heart. He loved going out to the cemetery on Memorial Day to place flags on the graves of veterans.

He married Emma Bryant Hill on July 3, 1949; to this union were born one daughter and seven sons. He moved to Amarillo with his wife and five little ones on the First Saturday in October 1957 to pastor the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, serving 50 years, officially retiring August 2007.

He was an elder statesman. Not only serving his community, but all of Amarillo, the state and the nation. If there was board to serve on, he served on it.

The family invites you to attend a public viewing on Tuesday, November 20, 2012, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the New Hope Baptist Church, 1305 Northwest Ninth Street.

Wake service, Friday, November 23, at the Johnson Funeral Home, 612 Avenue East, Conroe, Texas 77301 — 936-756-2311.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 24, at noon in the Jasper Missionary Baptist Church, FM 2693 and Hawthorne Rd., New Waverly, Texas, with the Reverend J.H. Ford, pastor of The Greater St. Luke Baptist Church, officiating. Interment will be at Jasper Memorial Gardens, New Waverly.

Memorial services will be on December 1, 2012, at the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Amarillo at noon.

Reverend Hill was preceded in death by his parents; eleven siblings; a son, Charles Earl; and one grandson.

To cherish his memory: his wife, Emma, of the home; one daughter, Gwendolyn D. Hill-Frost and husband Glen; six sons, David Hill Jr. of San Antonio, Texas, Donnell Hill of Amarillo, Texas, Travis Wayne Hill of Amarillo, Kerry Douglas Hill and wife Teresa of Houston, Texas, Keith Adam Hill of Albuquerque, N.M., and Patrick Andrew Hill and wife Tyonda of Haltom City, Texas; ten grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; four daughters-in-law; one brother-in-law, Adam Bryant II of Houston; six sisters-in-law, Leola Baker, Emily Bryant, Lois Carter, William Mae Williams, Ida Hill and Pearlie Hill, all of Houston; and a host of family and friends.

Services are under the direction of Warford-Walker Mortuary, Inc., 509 N. Hughes St.

Amarillo Globe-News, Nov. 20, 2012

Sunday Night Re-Cap, November 18, 2012

by Robert Earl Houston

This was an extraordinary day. The temperature is dropping. We are slowing making the transition from fall into winter. The trees are shedding their green leaves and Thanksgiving is just a few days away.

We had a great crowd today during our 8 a.m. service as we gathered for not just worship but to hear our newest associate minister, Sister Angela Washington, preach her first public sermon. 34 years ago we would call that a “trial sermon” – however times have changed. Worship began with the hymn written by Kenneth Morris, “Christ Is All.” I’ve loved this hymn since I heard it when I was child. Later in the service Minister Washington blessed us tremendously with the sermon, “An Epiphany of Faith.” She closed with a memorable illustration about a frog who got out of a pit in a land of frogs, even though the odds and fellow frogs were against it. I was truly proud of her. She labored well over the sermon and I heard some “Houstonisms” in her presentation, which made my chest stick out like a proud father in the ministry.

After teaching Sunday School (and what a great lesson it was on Hebrews 12) it was time for our 11 a.m. service. The crowd was down due to a shift in those who attended 8 a.m. but by preaching time, we had a nice crowd in attendance. The Gospel Choir really sang and they never fail to give God their best. I am grateful for their music ministry. I recently purchased an iPad Mini so I preached from it for the very first time. It actually went very well although the print was smaller compared to my iPad 3.  When I preached in Cleveland earlier this year, Rev. Derek Witcher of the Israelite Missionary Baptist Church taught me how to save it as a PDF, with 24 point, and then open the document in iBooks, so that the pages would go back and forth like a book.

Today’s sermon was “How to Survive the Holidays” gleaned from Ephesians 4:26-27. I shared with the congregation that this time of the year is like a powderkeg in many of our homes because of the stressors of the holidays. Due to all of this stress, we find ourselves doing and saying some ugly things during the holidays, however, Paul gives us some needed prescriptions to this malady:

I.  Be Ye Angry and Sin Not
II. Let Not the Sun Go Down Upon Your Wrath
III. Neither Give Place to the Devil

God was exceptionally kind to us in this sermon and for the first time in about three months, a young man united with the church for baptism. I couldn’t help to remember the prophecy given by Dr. Kilen Gray when he preached for us a few days ago that God was getting ready to take us to another level and I feel that today was the down payment. To God be the Glory.

A few of us gathered this afternoon for corporate prayer at 5 p.m. and that was a beautiful end to a great, great day.

AND NOW IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS . . .

The Oregon Ducks were the number one team in the nation – for about 45 minutes. It was a terrible loss at home in Eugene, Oregon and the shock of the game on the students’ faces told the story. They need a clutch kicker. He missed two opportunities to either have won or win the game for the Ducks.

I’m not into the new NBA season as of yet. I understand that the New York Knicks have been tearing up the league – but it’s all early. We’ll see after the first of the year where the league is at. Now, I’m concentrating on football.

And the NFL . . .

Buffalo 19, Miami 14 – gone are the good old days of Miami teams that could actually play in the NFL.
Atlanta 23, Arizona 19 – Good rebound for the Falcons. They’re cruising to the playoffs.
Tampa Bay 27, Carolina 21 – Not a bad overtime game. Carolina’s having a horrible season.
Dallas 23, Cleveland 20 – Could it be that Dallas may be heading to the post-season? The Browns defense was killing themselves.
Green Bay 24, Detroit 20 - Green Bay is now officially on auto-pilot. The playoffs await.
Houston 43, Jacksonville 37 – The Texans can start printing their playoff tickets. They’re in.
Cincinnati 28, Kansas City 6 – The Bengals made it look easy and KC didn’t just help, they facilitated.
NY Jets 27, St. Louis 13 – The problems are still there. They need to trade Tebow to Jacksonville.
Washington 31, Philadelphia 6 – RG3 was off the hook and it’s time to end the Reid/Vick experiment. Fire Reid and retire Vick – according to reports, his injuries are more serious than previously thought. For his own good, retire him.
New Orleans 38, Oakland 17 – Who Dat? It’s the Saints clawing their way into playoff contention.
Denver 30, San Diego 23 – One of the best rivalries in the AFC but Manning is playing like a youngster again.
New England 59, Indianapolis 24 – Embarrassing game of the day. Andrew, you had no luck and no chance.
Sunday Game: Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Monday Game: Chicago at San Francisco

Pain

by Robert Earl Houston

I’ve been participating in a 30 days of Thanksgiving idea that someone came up with on Facebook.  In that project, each day you stop and thank God for something in your life. I had to do some catch up initially and today, I wrote about pain.  I thought I would share this and do some amplification:

Day 16 – I’m thankful for pain. I have been through some emotional pains through the years – from a child to an adult. There have been some dramatic woundings of the heart – some from people, some from society, some from church folk, and yes, some even self-inflicted. I have felt pain that I thought I would never recover from. I have felt pain that has caused me to cut some people completely out of my life. I have felt pain that made me wonder if God is real. I have felt pain that reduced me to tears, cut me to the marrow, and drove me downward. However, that’s in the earlier chapters but not in the final chapters. For in the latter chapters, I’ve learned to be thankful for those experiences that also compelled me closer to the Christ, made me fall to my knees in prayer, taught me to trust Jesus exclusively and know the difference and definition of true friends. I’ve learned how to walk in pain, talk in pain, preach in pain, and laugh in pain. So pain is not a bad thing because if you can feel pain, then you’ll be able to feel God also at work – so that you can make pain not a hinderance but a teacher; not a stopper but an encourager; and not a period, but a comma. Thank you Lord for pain.

There is something to be said about pain. Especially for a pastor. I don’t believe you can really pastor God’s people without knowing first-hand what pain is. The empathy that you really need to pastor the people is found in pain.

I never will forget the homegoing service of Dr. O.B. Williams, pastor of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. His widow, Dr. Willa Williams, was crying and emotional at the service. Then Dr. Melvin Wade walked out of the pulpit, walked down the aisle to her pew, and held her hand. He didn’t say a word, literally didn’t blink, and just by holding her hand, she calmed down. It was the touch of somebody who knows about pain.

As a pastor, my members of all my congregations I’ve ever pastored, know that if there is a sickness or death, I try my best to be present. There have been some exceptions because of circumstances out of my control – but for the most part I try to be there. I remember that a successor to me at one of the churches I’ve pastored called me one night and the church was in a tumult and he said “during the meeting Doc they said ‘Pastor Houston’ would beat the ambulance to the hospital if he knew we were sick.'” They used it as a stick against their current pastor, but they were right.

I try to be there because I’ve sat where they sit. In illness, in trouble, in bad times – pain is a killer. Divorce is a pain. Trials are a pain. Transition is a pain. But again, you cannot minister to where you’re not at, and oddly God sometimes will allow you to minister to others while you’re going through the exact same plight of pain. I’ve ministered to people whose stories became mirrors of my own plights. I’ve had to sit there and hear stories that remind me of the old Roberta Flack standard, “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” Little did they know that what they were experiencing was either a past or a present pain that I had or are dealing with.

Pain has caused me to move a little slower, think things out a little better – but I also find that pain matures you. It ushers you from the nursery to the chapel. It takes you from the balcony to the main floor. It creates lines in your face, gray in your hair and colors your eyes with wisdom.

Pain.

Homegoing of a Saint: Pastor Harvey Riley, Melbourne, Florida

From Floridatoday.com

Pastor Harvey Riley, a longtime minister and community service stalwart who took the gospel from the neighborhoods of south Melbourne to the Jordan River in Israel, has died following a long illness, church officials confirmed today. He was 77.

Riley was pastor of the 600-family Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Palm Bay for 30 years and a minister for five decades who gave his first sermon in Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Cocoa where his father was a deacon. He also worked with businessmen, politicians, civil rights leaders and other pastors from across the nation.

“It’s a great loss, “ said Assistant Pastor Norman Gleason of Mount Moriah. “I talked to him a few days ago and he told me to carry on. His legacy will always be with the church.”

Riley served as chairman of the board for the Florida General Baptist Convention and was awarded a Lifetime achievement award at the Space Coast Onyx Awards in 2010. Last month he watched via Skype on his iPad as the church celebrated his 30th anniversary as pastor.

In recent years Riley supported efforts to develop a mentorship conference for black youth, gathering clothing and other goods for earthquake victims in Haiti and helping to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to Nigeria. Riley is survived by his wife Johnnie Mae Davis.

 

THE WIRE

by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

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

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