by Robert Earl Houston
You can utter a simply harmless phrase and if it is interpreted correctly or incorrectly it can have far reaching ramifications. Whether it’s a parent talking to a child or co-worker to co-worker or relative to relative or even two people who have never met each other, a word unfitly spoken is not productive and can have long-term damages in its wake.
It’s akin to trying to grow a small potted plant in a store which, according to the label, has the capacity to grow taller and strong, and then watering it with a poisonous substance. What occurs is not growth – it’s nothing more than death. Whether it comes immediately or next week, the end result is the same – death. Whether it comes this year or five years from now, the end result is the same – death.
Our words can have profound impacts upon the minds of the unlearned and immature, who may not be able to process certain types of speech or have no counterbalance in place to weigh out that which is harmful or a filter to removal painful bacteria before it reaches the cortex of the brain.
I’ve seen it happen when a custodial parent will make a remark about a non-custodial parent for the sheer pleasure of inflicting and sharing unresolved pain of the breakup of a relationship – not to the party that they have issue with, but upon a small child. It’s poison.
I’ve seen it happen with churches when gossip flies around the corridors of the congregation and rather than to filter it out using prayer, it’s allowed to take root and chokes off the vibrancy of that church. It’s poison.
I’ve seen it happen in society when members of one political party say hateful, disrespectful things about the opposition, and then one crazy individual acts upon that hatred and takes drastic measures including the opposition of doing harm to another person. It’s poison.
There is an admonition to “speak well” is found in James 4:11: “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”
Don’t poison the tender plants around you, please!
Rev. David L. Boyle Sr. was known for his positive ministry, descriptive sermons, love of education and encouraging spirit, which manifested in daily conversations when he bestowed on everyone the divine title of “Saint.”
“He called me Saint Win,” recalled Rev. Eric Winston, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church on South Parkway in Memphis. “He would call everybody saint. Even though we weren’t saintly in our actions, he would say to us, ‘That’s where you’re going to be.’ It’s as if he were speaking our future in the midst of our mess.”
Rev. Boyle, a Memphis native and well-known pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Whiteville, Tenn., died on Nov. 5. He was 60.
Winston described his longtime friend as a “Prince of Preachers,” who held several advanced degrees and loved to read. He’d often leave the bookstore with five copies of the same book to pass out to friends so they could discuss it.
In January, Winston and Rev. Boyle traveled to Nigeria to teach seminary students there for two weeks. The two pastors returned with lighter luggage after giving the students in need most of their clothing and shoes.
Rev. Boyle loved playing golf, which he referred to as having “prayer meeting.” “He’d say, ‘Prayer meeting starts at Wedgewood at 10:30.’ We knew what that meant,” Winston recalled. “It was time to play golf.”
Rev. Keith Norman, pastor of First Baptist Church-Broad in Memphis, said Rev. Boyle was a humanitarian and a “teaching pastor,” who felt strongly about voting rights and social justice and encouraged his congregation to better themselves through education. “He was forever optimistic about what people could accomplish,” Norman said.
Norman said Rev. Boyle was an artist when he taught and could draw pictures with his words. But, Norman said, it was his actions while battling cancer at the end of his journey that made the biggest impression.
“All that he had taught and preached, he modeled it at the end,” Norman said.
Rev. Boyle leaves behind his wife, Linda Diane Boyle; daughter, Aronica Boyle Holmes and son, David Boyle Jr. A service was held Saturday at First Baptist-Broad.
The Rev. Amos Polk Williams died Friday, but his legacy in Jackson will be remembered for years to come, said Janice Frailey, secretary at Second Missionary Baptist Church where Williams served as the pastor for 58 years.
“He was the city’s pastor. He was everybody’s pastor in Jackson. People knew him all over the city, all over the state, all over the nation,” Fairley said. “He always brought love and a smile.”
Williams, who was admitted to the hospital last week for pneumonia, was 90. Williams, also known as “A.P.,” retired as the church’s pastor in June.
“His lasting legacy, I believe, is that he loved everybody. He showed love to everyone, and that’s what he wanted to teach our church family,” said Williams’ daughter Annissa Sumner.
This weekend, the church is holding two ceremonies to honor the life of Williams and his service to the church.
The first begins with visitation at noon Friday and a 6 p.m. Victory Celebration Service featuring the Rev. Craig Tatum and the Rev. Dr. Clifton Rhodes Jr. Saturday’s service will begin at 11 a.m. and feature the Rev. Dr. Henry Fuller and the Rev. Dr. Lee A. Earl as the eulogist.
Fairley said Williams will be remembered throughout the community for his everlasting kindness and caring spirit.
After his retirement, Williams enjoyed watching Christian television shows and spending time with his family, Sumner said, adding that he was a big fan of the World Series.
Williams was married for nearly 48 years, Sumner said. His wife, Annie Pearl Williams, preceded him in death in 2000.
He is survived by his five children, Sumner, Amos Williams Jr., Kathy White, E. Darrell Edwards and Aaron Williams.
“He is going to be truly missed. I don’t think Jackson is really going to be the same without him,” Sumner said.
PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) –
It’s a sad day for the members of 4th Street Baptist Church and also for the parishioners of Good Hope Baptist Church in Phenix City.
Their pastor of more than 50 years has gone home as they would say in the Baptist church.
Many tell me Pastor Flakes wasn’t just a pastor–he was also considered a community activist who stood for righteousness both in and out of the pulpit.
Some called him J.H. Flakes, and others knew him as Johnny Flakes. Karl Douglass, a member of 4th Street Baptist Church, says Dr. Flakes wasn’t just his pastor, at one-time he called him neighbor.
”We grew up in the boxwood community with his son Meryle,” Douglass says. “He was not just about being in the church and what’s going on in the four walls, but what’s going on in the community.”
Douglass says Dr. Flakes was engaged in the community.. A pivotal player in starting the Urban League of Columbus civil rights organization and also helped lead “One Columbus,” bridging the racial divide, Douglass says Flakes knew how to deal with opposition .
“I remember when people fire bombed our church and he was very active, not just for our church but other churches as well,” Douglass said.
But, when it was time to change hats on Sunday, Pastor Flakes didn’t just preach sermons; he would often sing.
Arrangements for the body have been made. Dr. J. H. Flakes, Jr. will lie in state at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church starting at noon on Thursday, then a brief memorial service on Friday at 8 a.m.
The homegoing service for Dr. Flakes will take place at 4th Street Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Friday.
by Robert Earl Houston
Ever since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the words “We need to take our country back” has been the deafening mantra of the political right-wing of this nation. As a pastor of an African-American congregation in the upper regions of the Bible Belt, I want to offer a perspective of those words and why I and many in this nation despise the use of this phrase.
First off, the right wing and sadly, right wing evangelicals are not owners of this country. You may own houses, lands, businesses and at one time, people – but you have no exclusive claim on this nation. We are all shareholders. We are all part owners of this great land of the USA. When I was pastoring in California, one of the women of our church gave a speech during church anniversary and she likened the church to the porch of her childhood home. She said that her family could identify when each plank was laid down and they were plankowners. We are all plankowners, disrespective of our political views.
Secondly, it insinuates that illegal means were used to elect our president. You can disagree with policy. You have that right. But this is a country of laws. The president was duly elected TWICE. He did not, as some like to say, usurp anyone to be elected. He did not illegally gain votes. He did not force anyone to vote for him. He was, just as EVERY PRESIDENT BEFORE HIM, duly elected into office. I’m surprised at evangelicals especially – because for people who allegedly know the Word of God, and know that we have an obligation to pray for those in leadership, how can you contrast that with a hatred that seems to go beyond political ideology and appears to be misguided at best and hints of racism at worst.
Thirdly, it suggests that others don’t belong here. Listen, there are groups I have problems with theologically, ideologically – but this land is big enough for all of us to co-exist. According to their mantra, they don’t believe that people of color should be here, that people with different lifestyles should be here (or even alive), that people who are elderly and sick should still be allowed to be here, that people who cannot find a job should pay taxes on money they don’t posses – while forgetting that the colonists usurped the authority of the native American Indians by taking over their lands, wiping out their culture – all in the name of a ridiculous theory of “manifest destiny” while bringing over slaves of black, brown and asian hues to create commerce and infrastructure. I believe all of us belong here.
So, when another political party wins, the nation is not “there’s” it’s still belongs to all of us. Otherwise, that kind of thinking will result in people doing stupid things. This government is not President Obama’s government – it belongs to all of us. Mitt Romney had it wrong – corporations are not people; government is people – for it and by it. Our democracy is built upon the fact that we can co-exist. After 200 plus years, it seems to me that we should be able to stand on that principle.
by Robert Earl Houston
Every week I have a standing appointment with my barber. This week was different because I’m trying a new old look – I’m wearing a beard for a few weeks.
As I was sitting there, I normally watch what’s on TV, engage him in conversation about sports (he’s an Eagles fan, I’m a Cowboys fan, he’s a Michigan State man, I’m an Oregon Ducks man, etc., etc.), I took note of the atmosphere. And I appreciate the atmosphere of that barber shop. You don’t have to worry about walking in “clean” and walking out smelling like cigarettes, cigars or weed. Plus, you don’t hear all of the cursing, gossip, etc. that seems to permeate some barber shops.
As he cut my hair, I looked down and maybe it’s been like that for a while and I hadn’t noticed, there were more gray hairs on the black sheath than black hairs! I’m no spring chicken (52) but it kinda freaked me out for a minute. I wanted to run out and buy some “help” for this condition. By Sunday morning, it will all be a brief memory and I will have JET BLACK hair for the weekend! I can color my mustache, my new beard, my eyebrows (if necessary) and fight back!
Then I thought about it, gray hair was preaching to me! Here’s what my gray hair theologically said to me:
First, my gray hair is a reminder of longevity. In the past few weeks I have seen friends and acquaintances and church members who have died in my age group, in the 45 to 54 category that appears on most web sites. But gray hair said, “child of God, you’re still here. You have longevity.” I never thought about 52 as longevity but when you consider those who die in early years, the teenagers, the youthful young adults, the thirty somethings, the forties, and I’ve crossed over a threshold that many talk about but some don’t arrive to, it is a reminder of longevity. I realize I have more years behind me than before me and most African-American men never make it to 65, but for now, I’m still here.
Second, my gray hair is a reminder of survival. Gray hair reminded me, “Houston, we’ve been through a lot together. I was on your head through the good days and the bad days.” Amen! I have been a survivor. A product of a broken-home because of divorce. A survivor of divorce. A survivor of bad situations. A survivor of health challenges. A survivor of bad relationships. A survivor of dumb decisions. A survivor of lies and gossip. A survivor of painful woundings of the heart. A survivor of self-inflicted circumstances. A survivor of personal tragedies. A survivor of economic realities. A survivor of the geo-political process. Yes, Lord! I am a survivor. My gray hair was there in my weakest moments and my greatest triumphs. I have survived.
Third, my gray hair is a reminder of loss. Gray hair showed me something. Gray hair said that sometimes not only do you lose hair, but you sometimes you have to cut back what you already have in order to look better. In other words, gray hair, walking back and forth across the pulpit of my lap, reminded me that sometimes you have to cut off, cut back, cut away some friends, acquaintances, circumstances, involvements, and relationships in order to personally look better. There are some things I’ve had to cut away. I’m glad I stopped smoking cigarettes at a young age. I’m glad that I’ve made some decisions to leave some jobs. I’m glad that I’ve stopped associating with some people. I’m glad that I’ve learned how to ignore some dangerous people. I’m glad that I’ve decided to disassociate myself from some groups. I’m glad that I’ve decided to move away from some individuals. Just like the blades of the clippers rounded my head, sometimes you’ve got to pull out your spiritual clippers and say to some parts of your life, “you are no longer necessary for me to grow.” I have experienced wonderful loss.
As gray hair closed, for those who are not familiar with that term “closed” it is used by black preachers to tell the audience they are winding up the sermon, but it also is a caveat and silent plea for more time – gray hair did a run, which is extended allegory, to my soul:
“You see me falling all over the place!
But don’t you worry about me!
What you see is only a part of me.
I’m still rooted and grounded in your head!
Just like you Brother Houston and all in this place!
Sometimes we rise, sometimes we fall!
But thank you Lord, we’re still rooted in Jesus!
My roots are not what you see!
My roots are not the gray falling down!
My roots are not my black cousins on the other side of your head!
Oh my roots, are not visible.
I’ve come to tell you, Houston, your roots – are not visible.
Somewhere, where others can’t see . . .
Your roots are in Jesus . . .
Jesus – our Savior!
Jesus – our Lord!
Jesus – who died on a Cross!
Jesus – who rose with all power in his hand!
Uh, Uh, Uh . . . Jesus! “
Just received word from the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. offices in Washington, DC that Dr. Roy C. Jeffcoat, pastor of the St. Luke Baptist Church of Winnsboro, South Carolina and Program Chairman of the Convention, went home to be with the Lord last night, November 6, 2012.
Rev. Dr. Roy E. Jeffcoat Homegoing Information
Pastor, St. Luke Baptist Church, Winnsboro, SC and PNBC Program Chair
Thursday, November 15, 2012 – 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
at Bostick Tompkins Funeral Home, 2930 Colonial Drive, Columbia, SC
(802) 254-2000 – Office (802) 254-8119 – Fax
Friday, November 16, 2012 – 10:00 a.m. EST
at the St. Luke Baptist Church, 183 St. Luke Church Road, Winnsboro, SC 29180
All Pastors are asked to wear their robes and be present no later than 9:15 a.m.
Only pastors in robes will be in the processional.
In lieu of follows, the family asks for monetary gifts,
please make all checks payable to Melva Jeffcoat.
Pastor Dwayne A. Jeffcoat – (803) 422-6469
Pastor D.S. President – (803) 381-3519
Church email: email@example.com
Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr.
President, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
will be Officiating
Tonight, for the second consecutive presidential cycle, Barack Hussein Obama has been elected President of these United States. After a hard fought election against former Governor Willard “Mitt” Romney and withstanding an obstructionist Congress led by Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell who infamously said, “”The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Unfortunately Mitch McConnell may know the lyrics to “My Old Kentucky Home” but he knows nothing about the results of political grandstanding and how this nation views her youthful President.
People like Michelle Bachmann who “worked” to defeat “Obamacare” or the Affordable Health Care Act along with her obstructionist cronies misunderstood that this nation doesn’t want to see it’s poorest citizenry wallow in filth, disgust and pain. This nation is more compassionate, unfortunately, moreso than the “representatives” that we send to Washington, DC. They misjudged that the country was with the President on Health Care Reform, the country was with the President in reaching out to nations instead of labeling them as adversarial, the country was with the President in guaranteeing that men and women will now receive equal pay for equal work.
We’ve endured a right-wing nut job (Santorum), a clueless philosopher (Gingrich), an effortless liar (Bachmann), a flip-flopper (Romney), a lonesome dove (Perry), a retiree in waiting (Paul), a slick Pizza Man (Cain) and a Moderate in the wrong party (Huntsman).
Tonight, with the GOP thinking that the nation was going to ignore this election and had worked feverishly to espouse voter suppression, people stood in lines for hours. From African-Americans in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio; to Hispanics in Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, California, and Florida; to the Middle Class across the nation of all colors. The GOP is now relegated to a picture of grumpy old (white) men with a “get off my lawn” visage and vocabulary. They tried to wrap themselves in the Bible while at the same time embracing a candidate who’s religion was labeled cultic less than six months ago by even his most staunchest supporters including Dr. Richard Land, Dr. Robert Jeffress and Evangelist Billy Graham.
Throughout this campaign 47% percent of the nation was discounted by the GOP Presidential nominee.
Throughout this campaign 30% percent of the nation were described as carpet baggers by the GOP Vice-Presidential nominee.
Throughout this campaign Hispanics were told by the GOP that they would be forcibly deported and then weren’t welcome here – unless they were picking produce.
Those of moderate voice are not welcome in the GOP and for me, I’m looking forward to watching the circular firing squad commence on talk radio, FOX News, and any media outlet. I look forward to seeing them try to do what the electorate refused to do, try to come up with some nonsensical reason to try to impeach the president, which will lead to a national revolt against the GOP and will make them as powerful as the Whig Party at the next election.
Finally, they had the nerve through so-called “prominent preachers” who aren’t worthy of calling their names, to tell African-Americans and the sons and daughters of the diaspora not to vote. In the words of politicians years ago, “Have you no shame, sir, have you no shame?” Calling churches and pastors on Sundays and encouraging them to tell their congregations not to vote is the work of demented preachers and pastors.
Congratulations Mr. President.
by Pastor Robert Earl Houston
FRANKFORT, KY – It’s another Sunday Night and all I can say is “Lord, thank you.”
Our 8 a.m. services went very well and had good attendance. We’ve had this second service now for a year and it’s been a blessing, a convenience, and a great preaching service. I have no regrets in having an early service and we’re the only African-American congregation in the area that offers an early service. It’s not a perfect service, but the service is definitely here to stay.
In both of our services we have the same emphasis – Family. First Sundays are the Sundays that we recognize birthdays, special accomplishments, etc. Also, we had a voting emphasis today and we announced the work of our local NAACP who is providing transportation to the polls. We obviously cannot endorse a Presidential Candidate, but we can provide transportation for those members who need to get to the polls on Tuesday.
Minister Sheniqua Roberts provided a musical selection during our early service and we were blessed by the presence of the Kentucky State University Gospel Ensemble at 11:00 a.m. After the service, we had a YOUNG ADULT BLOWOUT which was a full meal – pork chops, greens, mac-n-cheese, etc. with a presentation from our Sunday School and I had the opportunity to talk and eat with the young people as well. I told them that we want them to be an active part of the church. Young people are not the church of tomorrow, they are a part of the church of today!!!
The sermon (in both services) was not what I planned to preach. This morning, the Lord changed it and it was a doctrinal sermon, “What If Jesus Died of Old Age?” (1 Corinthians 1:23) (available at the Sermon Sharing Service – http://www.sermonsharingservice.com). It was a challenging message and it actually goes against what I teach about preaching – I argued against the text in a manner that made the text answer the argument.
Sermon snippet:I hope I haven’t raised your theological eyebrows too high, but I need to say, we have differences – we have denominations that won’t speak to each other; we have preachers that won’t fellowship with each other; we argue about whether women should or shouldn’t preach; we fight over moderators, state presidents, and national presidents; we argue whether over full gospel and trivialize the conversation to full gospel vs. half gospel vs. one-quarter gospel. We are all in agreement – HE DID DIE.
No matter if you wear a clergy collar or designer suit collar; If you’re called Pastor or Minister or Doctor or Bishop or Overseer or Apostle or International Bishop or Suffaragin Bishop or Saint or Father or CEO across the pulpit, we are all in agreement – HE DID DIE.
He died on a rugged cross. His atoning death at Calvary – but willingly, deliberately, and prophetically – dying on a cross, has changed the world, changed that region, changed cities, changed groups, but most important, changed me – for it’s by the Blood of Jesus, I now have a right to the tree of life.
Our text argues for this point. The Apostle Paul says that our preaching is not based on hyperbole. He opens up his definitive letter to the Corinthians by establishing theological principles – and Paul says, we preach, we herald, we announce, we proclaim, we publish – the crucifixion of Christ.
But…what if Jesus had died of causes other than crucifixion? What if . . .
What if Jesus had died of a heart attack?
What if Jesus had died of malignant neoplasms or cancer?
What if Jesus had died of Cerebrovascular disease or stroke?
What if Jesus had died of Chronic lower respiratory disease or emphysema?
What if Jesus had died of Unintentional injuries or a camel accident on 3rd and Main Streets?
What if Jesus had died of Diabetes mellitus or sugar?
What if Jesus had died of Influenza and pneumonia or the flu?
What if Jesus had died of Alzheimer’s Disease or senility?
What if Jesus had died of Nephritis and Nephrosis or kidney disease?
What if Jesus had died of Septicemia or systematic infection?
What if Jesus had died of Intentional self-harm or suicide?
What if Jesus had died of Chronic Cirrhosis or liver disease?
What if Jesus had died of Essential Hypertension or High Blood Pressure?
What if Jesus had died of Homicide or murder in the street?
God was kind to this preacher and to the congregation to whom the sermon was preached. We served the Lord’s Supper in both services and for the first time we had a pre-communion hymn which allowed some reflection time and some time for me to be prepared as well to serve. It went very well. I have a great reverence for the Lord’s Supper and I’m grateful for the Sons and Daughters of the ministry for their assistance along with our faithful deacons. This time of the year, our Deacons and Ministers are dressed in black suits, black shirts, and white ties/scarfs. Very good looking indeed.
This evening at 5 p.m. was our monthly Ministers Meeting and I personally look forward to this time of impartation and ministry, and yes, even some smiles and humor. I use articles that were originally published by Leadership Journal as a basis for our class and tonight, we discussed “The Patented Preacher” an article written by Dr. Warren Wiersbe (one of my favorite writers and preachers). The lesson was really about being yourself in ministry, discovering who you are. You could boil his lesson down to five points: (1) Avoid comparisons; (2) We are not in competition with any who preach the gospel; (3) We lose much by pampering ourselves; (4) If God has called you, then He has given you what you need to do the job; and, finally, (5) Give yourself time to discover and develop your gift.
I have a lot of love for these young preachers and I’m always praying that God will take them beyond what I’ve been able to experience in ministry and make a meaningful difference in ministry.
And now, the N-F-L, the National Football League.
But before I do, how about those OREGON DUCKS who historically defeated the U.S.C. Trojans. Oregon in their winter white, ran through the Trojan defense and by the end of the night, defeated them 62-51. Then the OREGON STATE BEAVERS knocked down the Arizona State team, 36-26. Both teams deserve to be in the top 10 in the nation, and the Ducks should be ranked # 1 or # 2. Sadly, Joker Philipps was dismissed today by the University of Kentucky – it’s been a dismal season for them and this move was not unexpected. And the Portland Trailblazers (2-1) look impressive. Damian Lillard is the real deal.
Denver 31, Cincinnati 23 – Uh oh, Peyton Manning is starting to flow in Denver. Could make the AFC West very interesting.
Baltimore 25, Cleveland 15 – The world is right again. The Browns are back to their losing ways.
Green Bay 31, Arizona 17 – Green Bay is a well oiled machine and that running game is off the chain (go Alex Green!).
Chicago 51, Tennessee 20 – Please don’t allow children to watch this game. This was worse than “Halloween 2.”
Indianapolis 23, Miami 20 – Andrew Luck is proving himself week after week. No NFL title this year, but you’re on the list for the future.
Carolina 21, Washington 13 – Two QBs with Heismans should hang out in the off season because both of your teams aren’t going to the dance.
Detroit 31, Jacksonville 14 – Did anybody even bother to watch this game? Jacksonville may trade for Tebow.
Houston 21, Buffalo 9 – The game was close in the first half, second half was a blow-out.
Tampa Bay 42, Oakland 32 – See the Carolina-Washington game. These are second level teams at best.
Seattle 30, Minnesota 20 – The Seahawks can’t lose at home. The problem is only half of their games are at home.
Pittsburgh 24, NY Giants 20 – This game was all Steelers – uhm, in the 4th Quarter.
San Diego 31, Kansas City 13 – See the Carolina-Washington game. These are second level teams at best.
Dallas at Atlanta. Cowboys by 3.