I was raised on gospel music. My mother, Naomi Houston, made sure that we were exposed to gospel music literally seven days a week. On Sunday morning, we had a steady diet of Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland, the Caravans, Rance Allen, GMWA, and other gospel groups. As a result every member in my family was gospel-musically inclined. My father, the late Minister Phene Houston, played the bass guitar. My mother was a Choir Director, lead soloist, and dabbled in some piano. My sister, Phyllis, is a church pianist/NFL mom. My sister, Nora, is a soloist and bass player.
However, my tastes in music are no longer limited to just gospel music, but, gospel music are my roots! I love jazz, pop, R&B, opera – just about everything except for rap (just don’t like it – or at least most of it). I’ve lived long enough to understand than gospel music has genres – traditional, quartet, praise and worship, contemporary, instrumental, rap (yep, rap), and other forms of expression.
One of my favorite forms is praise and worship. Tonight, while watching a DVR of “The Stellar Awards” I watched (and wept) as Israel Houghton was leading a chorus of “Moving Forward” – one of the most powerful worship songs I’ve ever heard. The lyrics caused me to reflect on what was a very personal sermon from me on Sunday. I dealt with DELIVERANCE. I broke several “preacher rules” on Sunday – most of all, we didn’t have a traditional Invitation to Christian Discipleship. Instead, we had an altar call and asked people to come forward – not for church membership, but for deliverance.
It was a cathartic moment because for me, deliverance had just come about in a profound way lately. I’m no longer bound. No longer tied up. No longer tangled up. I’ve been set free. Yes – even Pastors can be strong in their delivery of the way and still have some spiritual issues they wrestle with. As I preached Sunday – if there is something that you’re dealing with and you provide the solution – it’s victory, but when the Lord steps in and provides the solution – it’s deliverance. I have experienced not victory, but deliverance.
Those words of Israel hit me like a flood tonight. Especially as he walked off stage and audience was lifting the rafters, spontaneously, and kept recording this chorus:
You make all things new
Yes, You make all things news and I will follow You forward, oh
You make all things new
You make all things new and I will follow You forward
I’ve come to declare that if God has either allowed you to discover victory or deliverance – go forward. Don’t look back at your past! Don’t grab or create any “souvenirs.” Whether it was from a sinful circumstance that you created or were dragged into; Whether it was from a relationship that was toxic or you were the toxicity in the relationship; Whether it was from a past habit or sin that you thought you could never break; GO FORWARD!
You don’t owe an explanation or elaboration. Matter of fact, I can tell you this from the last few weeks – that which God has set you free from will be that which God will allow you to help others realize that same freedom.
Brother or Sister Pastor – GO FORWARD!
Brother or Sister Church Leader – GO FORWARD!
Brother or Sister Layperson – GO FORWARD!
God will allow you to experience a peace that you’ve never experienced, by His grace!