My thoughts on the Preacher and the Jet

by Robert Earl Houston

We are asking members, partners and supporters of this ministry to assist in the undertaking of an initiative called Project G650. The mission of Project G650 is to acquire a Gulfstream G650 airplane so that Pastors Creflo and Taffi and World Changers Church International can continue to blanket the globe with the Gospel of grace. We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality–and allow us to retire the aircraft that served us well for many years. (The Huffington Post)

I have been watching the discussion, jokes, and expert opinions about Dr. Creflo Dollar’s (Pastor of the World Changers Church International in the Atlanta area) request for money to buy a top of the line jet. I think that the problem that many have with it is not necessarily the need for a plane – it’s a plane of that order and that type. What was probably a great idea in a planning and creative session (which mega ministries have) backfired because somebody either didn’t say or was overruled in the wisdom of putting this down on video and letter to ask for a first class jet that only the super-rich possess.

The downside of this has become all of the chatter, criticism and last night during The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, one of the ministers of the television reality show, “The Preachers of Detroit” greatly rebuked Dollar and the panel basically made it sound like the poor was being pressured into giving – when the truth is that poor folk aren’t the only ones who give to his (or any other mega ministry) because he clearly said it was sent to his congregation AND his worldwide donors list, which meant these were the people who had already been giving.

This debacle has made the words “those preachers” become inclusive of most of us who don’t drive or own luxury cars, live in fancy homes or have congregations that pay us six or seven figure salaries. Most of us struggle, to be honest. Those of us who went to school haven’t gotten the appropriate amount of pay for school nor experience. Most of us deal with established boards who come to the table not with the spirit of the pastor’s vision, but their own brand of division. Not to mention a spirit of suicide that erupted in the Body of Christ last year which saw several pastors (none of those who pastored megachurches) end their lives tragically.

I’m saddened by all of this, without a doubt. It’s been a long time since Jim and Tammy Bakker and other financial excesses have been public fodder. So, please forgive me if I don’t join in the chorus of those who are joyfully exploiting this situation with suspect glee – it’s saddening and disappointing on many, many levels. Since the public outcry, the campaign has been cancelled.

A friend of mine, Bishop Victor Couzens of Cincinnati, Ohio recently went on a missions trip. Packed his bags and shared the gospel with those who are struggling in life. Upon his preparation to return to the States, he heard the voice of the Lord, and all of the clothing and possessions he brought with him to Kenya – and to leave it all to those in the village and he literally returned home with nothing but the clothes on his back. The people of that area gave him a Maasai name: “Lemaylan” – which means “the one who is blessed to be blessed.”

I choose to serve so that I too will be called “Lemayla.”

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED

Vacant Position: General Secretary of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., Washington, DC

The Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. has opened a search for a full-time General Secretary.
Interested parties are invited to apply by submitting a cover letter, resume and a completed application.
The search will be open from March 16, 2015 until April 30, 2015.  Applications may be submitted electronically or by mail.

The Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. has opened a search for a full-time General Secretary.

Interested parties are invited to apply by submitting a cover letter, resume and a completed application.

The search will be open from March 16, 2015 until April 30, 2015. Applications may be submitted electronically or by mail.

Please email your cover letter and completed application to pnbcsearch@gmail.com.

Or mail to:

PNBC Search
C/O Girton-Mitchell Associates P.O. Box 4992
Silver Spring, MD 20914

Applications will be screened by the search committee and finalists will be invited to an interview by the search committee.

The search committee plans to hold interviews during the month of June. The application packet is available online at http://www.PNBC.org

Instructions for completing the application

In order to complete the 2015 PNBC Application Packet:

A) Print it and fill it out by hand, or

B) Complete it electronically by using a version of Adobe Acrobat or a compatible program that allows the PDF to be fillable. Most versions of Adobe Reader (or equivalent software) are not sufficient to complete the PDF form, but only to read the form. Additionally, most iPad’s and mobile devices are not customized for PDF Filler software (such as Adobe Acrobat), so if you plan to complete the form electronically, it may be more feasible to do so on a laptop or desktop computer.

Homegoing of a Saint – Bishop James Neaul Haynes, Dallas, Texas

Source: The Church of God in Christ (www.cogic.org)

In Memorium

March 11, 2015

Dear Saints:

This correspondence comes to you at the request of the Adjutant General, Bishop Matthew Williams.

It is with great regret that I inform you of the passing of Bishop James Neaul Haynes, Former First Assistant Presiding Bishop and Emeritus Member of the General Board – Church Of God In Christ, Inc. At the time of his passing, Bishop Haynes served as the distinguished Prelate of the Texas Northeast First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction. The services for Bishop James Neaul Haynes will be as follows:

The Local and Jurisdictional Home going Celebration 
Monday, March 16, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

Saintsville Church Of God In Christ
2200 South Marsalis Avenue, Dallas – Texas 75216

The National Home going Celebration
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 12 o’clock noon

Inspiring Body of Christ Church
7701 South Westmoreland Avenue – Dallas, Texas 75237
Reverend Rickie G. RushPastor

Services are entrusted to:
Evergreen Memorial Funeral Home

6449 University Hills Boulevard – Dallas, Texas 75241
214.376.1500 (Office) / 214.376.1523 (Fax)

Hotel Accommodations:
The Renaissance Dallas Hotel

2222 North Stemmons Freeway – Dallas, Texas 75207
214.631.2222 (Office)

bishop-jnhaynes

All expressions of kindness to the Haynes Family can be sent to:

Mother Vivian King Haynes
c/o Saintsville Church Of God In Christ
2200 South Marsalis Avenue – Dallas, Texas 75216

The Adjutant General is requesting that all Hotel Accommodations and Ground Transportation needs for the General Board be emailed to me at rudolph@cogic.org on or before Saturday, March 14, 2015.  The Adjutant General is requesting that all Bishops who will be attending the national celebration, please wear your “Class A” vestments.  All National Adjutant brothers, who will be serving, please wear your “Class A” vestments. National Adjutant sisters who will be serving, please wear your white habits.

Let us be in prayer for the Haynes family and the Texas Northeast First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction during this most difficult time. If I can assist you further concerning this matter, please call my office at 501.712.0048.

In His Service,

Bishop Robert G. Rudolph, Jr.
Assistant General Secretary / Records and Archives
Scribe of the Adjutancy
Church Of God In Christ, Inc.

Bio from Wikipedia:

Bishop James Neaul Haynes (1932–present), the sixth child of the late Bishop F. L. Haynes and Mrs. Ola Mae Haynes, was born in Denton, Texas. He matriculated at the Denton Independent School District, graduating from Fred Moore High School with valedictorian honors. He then attended the University of Denver in Colorado, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. After graduating, he attended the Dallas Theological Seminary and he received a Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1986.

Career

Haynes began to preach the gospel in 1949, and was licensed as an elder  in 1952 at the Open Door Church of God in Christ. He went on to become the pastor of that church. In 1962, he moved to St. Emmanuel COGIC. He also served as pastor at: Jackson Memorial COGIC, Wheatley COGIC, Haynes Chapel COGIC (which was named after his father, Bishop F. L. Haynes), and lastly Saintsville Sanctuary COGIC in Dallas, Texas. In 1967, he became a superintendent in the COGIC and was elevated to the office of Bishop of the Texas Northeast Jurisdiction in 1978.

After becoming a bishop, he was appointed to the National Trustee Board of the denomination. In 1984, Bishop Haynes was appointed to the General Board of the denomination. In 1997, he became the Assistant Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ serving under Presiding Bishops Chandler D. Owens , Gilbert E. Patterson , and most recently Charles E. Blake . In 2008, Bishop Haynes was not reappointed to the office of Second Assistant Presiding Bishop; however, he remained a General Board member. He officially retired from the General Board in November of 2012, and was declared an emeritus member of the General Board by Bishop Charles E. Blake on November 12, 2012.

Personal life

Bishop Haynes is currently married to Vivian King Haynes. From this marriage they had two children: Pia and Vrai Haynes. They also have two sons-in-law: Reginald Williams and William C. Morris. Bishop Haynes now has four grandchildren.

The Preaching of Personal Destruction

by Robert Earl Houston
March 8, 2015

There is a trend that is brewing in the Body of Christ and specifically in our pulpits that is troublesome. It is this new attempt to be “bold” and “brave” when it’s really no more than a sorry substitute for preaching. It’s the idea of using the pulpit to condemn, “put on blast” or destroy another pastor and his or her teaching.

Many of us who have seen Preachers of Detroit have become disturbed at seeing ministers openly look into a camera and say what other preachers are not doing or not saying and it’s not just reserved for those who have cameras following them. I was aghast to see what has become a popular preacher in the evangelical community film “responses” to several nationally known preachers, denominations and labeling all of them either heretical or to pronounce them, just because of their worship methods, of “going to hell.” This must stop.

I’ve discovered that you don’t even need a pulpit of significant size to make these bombastic charges. All you need is a keyboard, a computer, and an internet line, and you too can become one who can become an ad hoc member of the Sanhedrin Council. Sadly, many of those who demonize ministers, especially those with large or mega congregations, are wallowing in a sea of failure themselves. Their “message” is not popular, their preaching is not potent and it’s disguised with the phrase “people won’t come here me because I preach the truth.” That’s funny. Jesus seems to endorse “truth” as setting people free, and it looks like that kind of freedom would become popular.

In the past I have seen ministers, almost on a kamikaze mission to discredit, dissuade and define other ministers gleefully and cheerfully attack another minister, sadly, WITH other ministers. That kind of behavior would frighten me personally because if you will talk about another minister to me, you’ll talk about me to another minister. Further, some of these ministers are not looking to exercise Matthew 18 and go speak to someone in private to clear up misunderstandings. Instead, they have the Ahab complex – they just want to have bragging rights that they stuck a spear in the side of the “great fish.”

Sometimes the biggest critics are also some who get it wrong themselves. One critic of the modern church, who has publicly gone after preachers and denominations, himself has shrouded the fact that he has espoused doctrines such as “Christ’s sonship as a role he assumed in his incarnation” or “Lordship Salvation” or “Hyper-Calvinism.” Not to mention to suggest that the Charismatic movement be damned and that gifts ceased after the conclusion of the ministry of the Apostles.

I just think that there is more that unites us than that which does divide us. I’m determined to seek, support and find the best in ministries and preachers. I don’t have time to be mentally and spiritually poisoned by the Church Police. The struggle is not against my brothers and sisters in the Lord – it’s against Satan and his imps. But I will not sit by idly and continue to watch those who should know better take pot shots and uplift themselves as the paradigm of biblical understanding when even Paul said “we see things through a glass darkly.”

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME

Homegoing of a Saint – Dr. Curtis Raines, Sr., Macon, GA

From http://www.macon.com/2015/02/21/3598890_prominent-macon-pastor-dies.html?rh=1, February 21, 2015

Dr. Curtis Raines Sr., a Macon pastor who led a large state organization for black churches, died Saturday. He was 67.

Raines was pastor of New Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Macon and was president of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia. According to the group’s website, the convention is the largest black organization of any kind in Georgia.

Henry Ficklin, a former Macon city councilman, knew Raines for 40 years.

“I think anyone who knew him will remember him for his wonderful deeds,” Ficklin said.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said Raines was pronounced dead at Medical Center, Navicent Health, of an undisclosed illness. Jones knew Raines well, and remembered going to New Pilgrim many years ago when it was much smaller.

“He was a good person,” Jones said. “He was a person who thought community and he was a leader. That church came a long way.”

Ficklin said New Pilgrim has more than 700 members today. According to the church’s website, Raines served as pastor since shortly after it was founded in 1981 with 33 members. He was named president of the state convention in 2012, Ficklin said. Raines also pastored Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Monroe County.

Ficklin said Raines died of “complications.” He said Raines had survived a kidney transplant, prostate cancer, heart bypass and back surgery.

“God had delivered him from a lot of things,” Ficklin said.

Bentley & Sons Funeral Home has charge of the arrangements, which have not been set.

Homegoing of a Saint: Dr. George Moore, Atlanta, Georgia

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 13, 2015

ATLANTA – George Moore was a jovial, humble pastor who spoke with purpose.

“He believed in what I was doing and encouraged me to be the best at what I was doing,” said his son George Moore Jr.

A Decatur native, Moore began working at age 9 as a delivery boy for a local drug store. He graduated from Atlanta’s Washington High School and went on to work for several restaurants including Lucas’ Grille in Atlanta. He co-owned the clothing boutique Vine City Village and became a driver for one of the first black-owned cab companies, The Atlanta Car for Hire. He eventually became part owner.

George Moore, 79: Pastor saw church membership reach 10,000 photo

Moore went to church with his grandfather and joined Cosmopolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1951.

“He became so attached and interested in the life of the church,” said his son. “One day the Lord called him to preach while he was a member of Cosmopolitan AME Church.”

Moore attended Turner Theological Seminary at Morris Brown College. He was ordained a deacon in 1958 and ordained an itinerant elder in the AME Church in 1960.

He was appointed the pastor of Woosley Mission AME Church in November of 1958 and Davis Chapel AME Church in November of 1961. In July 1962, he was appointed to Amanda Flipper AME Church, where he served for eight years.

In 1970, Moore was appointed to Saint Philip AME Church in the Reynoldstown community, and he moved the membership of 200 to its current location in 1977. The membership has since grown to more than 10,000, and the church has more than 50 ministries. He served as senior pastor for more than 42 years.

George Moore died Sunday. He was 79. A funeral will be held 10:45 a.m. Saturday at Saint Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road SE, Atlanta. Gregory B. Levett & Sons is in charge of arrangements.

“He knew how to encourage and lift you up,” said Kevin Moore, his grandson. “He would always tell me, ‘I am encouraged just because you showed up. I love you just for being you.’ It means a lot for someone to believe in your gifts more than you do. He was always behind me saying ‘you can do it, you got it.’ ”

Moore received honorary doctoral degrees from Wilberforce University in Ohio, Morris Brown College and Turner Theological Seminary.

His grandson said Moore liked to help younger pastors. In 2002, Moore and his family established the George Moore Foundation, which provides mentoring for men and women in ministry and their spouses.

In addition to his son and grandson, Moore is survived by his wife Nettie Mae Lewis-Moore, daughter L’Tanya Moore-Copeland, daughter L’Tarra Moore, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Homegoing of a Saint: Dr. Joseph Roberts, Atlanta, Georgia

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

ATLANTA, GA – Handpicked by the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., Joseph Roberts led Ebenezer Baptist Church as its pastor for 30 years. Roberts died Sunday. He was 79.

Born in Chicago, Roberts attended that city’s public schools throughout his childhood and graduated from Knoxville College in 1956. He received a Masters of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City in the 1960s. He then attended Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned a Masters of Theology.

In the early 1970s, Roberts became senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Under Roberts’ leadership, more than 2,000 members were added to the congregation. He launched a community outreach program that included the Teenage Mothers Ministry, tutoring and counseling programs, a food co-op, and a daycare center for older adults.

Roberts envisioned a new sanctuary for the growing membership. In 1999, the building of the Horizon Sanctuary was completed. The 32,000-square-foot sanctuary seats 2,446 people.

He was a recipient of awards from Union Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2006, Roberts published a collection of sermons titled “Sideswiped by Eternity: Sermons from Ebenezer Baptist Church.”

20 Pounds (Less) Later . . . Pastor, You can too!

by Robert Earl Houston

LEFT: February 6, 2015; RIGHT: February 14, 2015

LEFT: February 6, 2015; RIGHT: February 14, 2015

Houston_GABKY

At the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Wednesday, February 10, 2015.

On Friday I reached a milestone. I completed the first full week of my medically supervised diet. I’m now (unofficially) approximately 20 pounds lighter. Praise God! I’ve received a lot of emails, texts and tweets asking me to post how I was able to do so.

First, I have to say it’s all by the grace of the Lord. Any diet is difficult and for me, impossible without the Lord on my side. This is not my first diet, but this is the most successful one I’ve been on. I’m at my lowest weight in about two years.

My endocrinologist recommended that I check out Health Management Resources. They work in conjunction with the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky (and they have locations throughout the country). My doctor told me that their average results were 50 to 75 pounds and I frankly didn’t believe it. I went to their orientation and heard their program. Of course, asked a few questions, and decided this is for me.

Here’s the program:  All outside foods – from the store, on the shelf, restaurants, church dinners, home cooked meals, no fresh fruit or vegetables, no beef, no chicken, no fried fish, no soul food – done. Finis. Over. No more fast food on the fly. No more interrupting my phone calls with: “Hold on . . . Yeah, let me have some hot wings, some wedges, and a large diet drink.”

I’m on the 3+2 plan – three milkshakes (they provide the base for it, which you can make with water or a diet soda and you can add sugar-free jello. And then there are two meal entrees, pre-packaged and pre-prepared which only take one minute to microwave (and don’t require prior refrigeration). These are minimums. Plus you take two vitamin tablets a day and yes, drink a lot of water or soda (64 ounces per day). You are required to do some exercise (I choose walking, which I do about 30 minutes each day). They want you to be full – and if your 3+2 daily minimum turns into 5+2 or 3+5 – it’s okay.

The food runs about $100 a week. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider take-out and sit-down meals, it balances out. Also, when you consider the cost of insulin, pills, etc.  I’ve been able to reduce my insulin from the max of 80 units of Lantus at night and already I’m at just 15 units. I have gone down on my with-meal insulin from 30 units to 5 units. No more Invokana.  I’m off of two other medications.

I went to the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky Pastors’ Conference last week in Louisville and actually I saved money because I wasn’t dining out and when I was hanging out with ministers in the restaurant after hours – they had food and I was content with being there, drinking water and a diet drink. No pretzels. No chips. No chicken fingers. No fries.

My health is important to me. I spent the week speaking privately to some preachers and sharing my story with them. As I’m approaching my 55th birthday this year I owe it to my wife, my family, my congregation, and most importantly, the Lord to do my best to live in good health (longevity is up to the Lord). My goal is simple: to lose about 100 pounds (yes, a whole other person) and then maintain the weight from that point on.

Here’s what was cool. To be at the General Association and wearing a suit that I packed (by accident) and hadn’t been able to wear in two years and being able to wear it with joy.

Interestingly, I’ll be celebrating my Sixth Pastoral Anniversary here at First Baptist Church. The committee has been planning and I’ll be in the closing stages of Phase One (which is a 15 week program). While those who choose to join us to dine will be on the selected meal, I’ll be there with my meal, my shake and some water.

We’ve all been to national baptist conventions and seen walking train-wrecks. Ministers who have allowed pastoral stress to send them headfirst into food. Ministers who preach and eat. Ministers who go to late night service and eat at 1 or 2 a.m. after worship and their health is jeopardized by lack of exercise, eating right, and sleep.

Pray for me on this journey. Pastors – I beg you! Please consider this.  Members – I beg you! Please consider and support your pastor in living in good health.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.

# # #

The Last Supper (for a while)

Photo on 2-4-15 at 1.40 PM

Robert Earl Houston February 4, 2015

by Robert Earl Houston

Steak.
Baked Potato.
Appetizer.
Arnold Palmer.

And tonight, my wife Jessica and I observed the last supper. As of tomorrow evening, I will be undergoing a medically supervised diet. I will be sharing my journey here on The Wire to help encourage someone who has been struggling, as I have, with weight and weight-related complications.

I’ve seen preachers . . . no . . . GREAT preachers, OUTSTANDING preachers, PROLIFIC preachers, only to see their lives cut short by obesity. When I started in ministry in 1978, preaching my first sermon, I wore a size 28 suit. Today, I wear a size 48. It’s time for a change.

I’ve been a diabetic since I was 23 (I’m 54 now). I’ve had high blood pressure issues, physical issues, etc. especially in the last 3 years. I don’t have anyone to blame but myself – and that church pastor dining lifestyle that has claimed and shortened the life of many a pastor.

Late night eating.
Fast food eating.
Church dinners heavy in cooking oil.
Soda pop, soda pop, soda pop.
Sweet potato pies and cakes.
Luncheon meetings.
Dinner meetings.
Breakfast meetings.
Banquets.

So, as of tomorrow, I am becoming proactive about my health – with the support of my wife, family, church family, and extended family and friends. With a combination of medical supervision and exercise (in stages). One of my best friends, Pastor Christopher Waters, pastor of the Thankful Baptist Church in Augusta, GA, has been on a journey of good health in the last year. He has lost 60 pounds and has a goal of losing another 40 pounds this year. He’s challenged many of his friends (me included) to begin a regimen of healthy living.

I’ve tried the diets, cut back on sweets, stopped the soda. So now I take the next step, a physician-supervised regimen based in Lexington, KY provided by Health Management Resources. It means I will be exclusively dining on their shakes, foods, health bars, and vitamins, for the next 15 weeks.

If all goes well, I will lose somewhere between 60-100 pounds.

I shared my plan with the wonderful people of First Baptist Church. After church they were so encouraging. One member in particular said: “Pastor, I am so proud of you. We want you around for many years.”  That’s the goal.

The good news is that as this process starts, after meeting with the physician today, I’m already off of three medications and a serious reduction in my insulin medications (by at least half). Tomorrow I have my first extensive session and education – a four hour intensive.

So by the time I hit 55 on May 16, 2015, I will experiencing great health!  Your prayers and support are appreciated!  I encourage other pastors and preachers to join me in a journey toward good health – and church members, I encourage you to encourage your pastor on a journey as well.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.

# # #

HISTORIC – Two of California Baptist State Conventions Reunification (1st UPDATE 1/29/2015)

by Robert Earl Houston

Dr. E. Wayne Gaddis CMBSC President

Two California Baptist State Conventions, which split as a result of the turmoil in the National Baptist Convention of America and the creation of National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, have agreed to an historic reunification effective in October.

The reunification brings together the California Missionary Baptist State Convention (CMBSC) and the California United Baptist State Convention (CUBSC). Both conventions were as one until the untimely split in 1991 which resulted in the creation of CUBSC. Now, the conventions have agreed to re-unify as one California Missionary Baptist State Convention.

The reunification was initiated by the CUBSC president, Dr. J. Roy Morrison and along with his General Secretary, Dr. Hubbard, they presented their proposal to Dr. E. Wayne Gaddis and the California Missionary Baptist State Convention. Dr. Gaddis stated, “I think it is a God-sent move. I would rather see us come together rather than to be in splinters. Our convention is excited. The other convention is excited. John 17:21 where Jesus says “Let them be as one, as we are one” is an answer to our prayers.”

The CMBSC and CUBSC voted today, January 28, 2015 to begin the process of reunification, which will take affect in October 2015, contingent upon CUBSC meeting certain conditions. The reunited convention will become dually-aligned with both the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America and the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., International.

Dr. Gaddis will serve as President and an election will be held in October which will complete the reunification process by filling several positions in the cabinet. This will bring the roll of the Convention to over 250 congregations which will make the CMBSC the largest African-American Baptist State Convention west of Texas. The CMBSC website can be found at www.cmbsc.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION was added courtesy of Dr. J. Roy Morrison.

# # #

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED

THE WIRE

by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

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