by Robert Earl Houston
Dear Satan (aka Lucifer, Fallen Angel, Prince of this World),
You tried again and you failed.
This morning I was involved in a motor vehicle accident which should taken me out of this life. I was in a rented Chevrolet Impala and was rear ended by a 2004 Nissan Xterra. The vehicle (that I believe you used) came at me, I believe, in another one of your lame attempts to end my life, more importantly, my ministry . . . and one again you lost.
I am part of an army of pastors, preachers, bishops, apostles, ministers, believers, and servants that the Lord has used to preach or teach or lead or assist or attend that has been on your hit list ever since the debacle in the Garden of Eden. Like many of those who you have attacked, you are admittedly crafty and subtile, however my life is not in your hands – it’s in the Hands of the Lord.
You have come at me through objects, tools, people, tests, trials, trouble, pain, illness, cancer, family, friends, associates, those who’ve I ministered to and assisted with words or finance, ecclesiastical leaders, innuendo, and sometimes by even the closest people to me (including others who are listed in the army above) . . .
. . . but I’m still here.
I guess you thought I would have folded up the tent by now.
I guess you thought I would have quit and threw up my hands.
I guess you thought I would have renounced my ministry by now.
I guess you thought I would have said there is no God by now.
I guess you thought I would sugar-coat my sermons and just serve for the money by now.
I guess you thought I would have fallen prey to ideas that would have harmed myself.
I guess you thought I would have runaway from the ministry and never served God again.
But you were wrong. What you don’t realize Satan is this: My calling is more important than my classification. My calling has taken me from Bro. Houston to Minister Houston to Reverend Houston to Pastor Houston to General Secretary Houston to Board Member Houston to Senior Project Manager Houston to Congress Dean Houston to Board Chairman Houston to Vice Moderator Houston to Assistant Pastor Houston to Evangelist Houston to Lecturer Houston to a plethora of other titles and service areas. I didn’t get the titles because of who I am. I received the titles because of who I belong to.
God has blessed me – when people tried to hurt, hinder or hate on me – God has not only blessed me, He has surrounded me with those who encouraged me when I was down, ministered to me when I was empty, and sheltered me from the storms of life.
As I call this a night on a Saturday evening, I just wanted to remind you Satan that I have a praying wife, a praying congregation, a praying family, praying denominational ties, and, oh by the way, most importantly, I have a Savior who sits on the right side of the Father, who makes intercession for me.
By the way, I also need to tell you that I intend to preach authentically, preach unashamedly, preach boldly, preach, preach and preach some more – until The Lord says “well done.”
Sure of Eternal Life,
+Pastor Robert Earl Houston
p.s. If you have any problems with this Satan, please contact God.
by Robert Earl Houston
The news has been filled this week of the unfortunate story of a young African-American pastor in Macon, Georgia, who committed suicide on this past Sunday in front of his home, in between worship services. It has been not only heartbreaking but it’s become an instrument of speculation, catharsis and intraspection.
I am amazed how some in the Christian media have taken a 15 second sound bite from a three year old sermon that he preached and tried to contemporize it to his act. The misleading headlines suggest also that it was his final sermon when, if you watch the entire sermon, he was attempting to convey the message that even ministers and pastors question God, and have their moments of loneliness and fear.
The purpose of this blog is not to go through the whys and wherefores. Frankly, that’s not only none of anyone’s business and it’s not necessary to publicly second-guess the young man or discuss knowledge, limited knowledge, any knowledge or no knowledge in deference to his wife and children, and church family, whose hearts are hurting. I’d rather want to share my own viewpoint that this is a time to grieve, even if you didn’t know him for yourself.
We should grieve because a successful ministry is now re-categorized to the annals of history. Whenever anyone does what he did in his years at his congregation and was in the midst of planning future ministries – it’s appropriate to grieve what could have been and yet pray that the congregation continues forward in the spirit of the vision that was given to them by their pastor.
We should grieve because it could have been any of us. Death has no litmus test nor does it have parameters. This year, I’ve buried several pastoral colleagues who were 50 years and younger – which will leave a void in those who could have been voices of encouragement for the next generation of preachers to follow. I look at myself at 53 and begin introspection and say to God, “it could have been me” – no matter the circumstances. I am alive today not because of earned goodness or excelling personality. I’m alive because of the grace of God.
We should grieve because another one of us have gone home. I mean another pastor. I reckon that about 100% of our churches will experience a change in leadership in the lifespan of their churches and unfortunately no sudden change of leadership is an easy transition. I spent time last night just praying for the leadership of that church as they not only bury their leader but being the grieving process and ultimately the arrival of their new leader. The bottom line is that a faithful preacher and teacher is no longer among our ranks.
Charles Wesley wrote a hymn, “And Are We Yet Alive?,” that talks about weeks like this. I was introduced to the hymn by Dr. E. Edward Jones, president emeritus of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. International through one of his Presidential writings. I’d like to share it here as well:
1. And are we yet alive, and see each other's face? Glory and thanks to Jesus give for his almighty grace! 2. Preserved by power divine to full salvation here, again in Jesus' praise we join, and in his sight appear. 3. What troubles have we seen, what mighty conflicts past, fightings without, and fears within, since we assembled last! 4. Yet out of all the Lord hath brought us by his love; and still he doth his help afford, and hides our life above. 5. Then let us make our boast of his redeeming power, which saves us to the uttermost, till we can sin no more. 6. Let us take up the cross till we the crown obtain, and gladly reckon all things loss so we may Jesus gain.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.
Pastor Teddy Parker, Jr., senior pastor of the Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church of Macon, Georgia, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, November 10, 2013. He was 42. The following profile is from the Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church website.
Pastor Teddy Parker. Jr. was born June 10, 1971 in Macon, Georgia to the Rev. & Mrs. Teddy Parker, Sr. of Warner Robins, Georgia. He is married to the lovely Larrinecia Sims Parker. They are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Kamry Tednae and Kerrington Tyier Parker. Pastor Parker is the sibling of one brother and two sisters.
He is a graduate of Ben Eielson High School of Fairbanks Alaska. Pastor Parker is a distinguished scholar of Theology International Seminary in Plymouth, Florida and has received diplomas in Practical and Advanced Level l Theology.
Pastor Parker exercised his prophetic ministry at the age of 22 when he was licensed and ordained at Fellowship Bible Baptist Church. While being a faithful steward at Fellowship Bible Baptist Church he taught Sunday School and Bible Study and served as Youth Minister.
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called,but few chosen… Matt. 20:16
Pastor Parker, a man of profound spiritual vision, gifted with intellectual qualities, was called to serve as Pastor of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in July 1997. Under his God-given leadership Bibb Mount Zion along with the Middle Georgia community has benefited from his accomplishments such as Camp Zion and the construction of She Family Life Center. Under his leadership 20 new ministries were implemented, major renovation to the sanctuary as well as growth to the membership.
In his continued effort to Win souls to Christ, Pastor Parker serves as CEO of Next Level Community Development Center Inc., which caters to the entire man. This ministry wilt offer a summer program for children 5-18 years of age, A Youth Redevelopment Center for young men ages 13-19, Senior Citizens Center, Computer Literacy Class, and an after school program. Pastor Teddy Parker, Jr. has readily accepted God’s will for his life and now is a vessel willing to “preach the word”. Be ready in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort with alt Song suffering and teaching. Be watchful in all things; endure afflictions so the work of an evangelist fulfill the ministry.
2 Timothy 4:2,5
HOMEGOING SERVICES ARE PENDING.
It is with great sadness that we report that Bishop Sarah Frances Davis, Vice President of the World Methodist Council, passed away after a brief illness.
Bishop Davis was the 126th elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E. Church). Bishop Davis served as the presiding prelate of the16th Episcopal District, comprised of churches and schools in South America (Guyana and Suriname); Windward Islands (Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados and Grenada); the Caribbean Islands (Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Virgin Islands); and Europe (London, the Netherlands and France). On June 24, 2013, in Kingston Jamaica, Bishop Davis was named President of the Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC), during a special Investiture Worship Celebration.
Bishop Davis was affectionately known as the “Prayer Bishop” because of her consistent emphasis on the importance of prayer in the life of the Church. She was chairperson of the prayer committee for the 48th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference of the A. M. E. Church. As a result of her leadership, the first Connectional Day of Prayer in African Methodism was held April 13, 2008, and is now an annual observance in African Methodism.
Her first Episcopal assignment was to the 18th Episcopal District, comprised of the Southern African countries of Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, and Mozambique. A staunch advocate of empowerment through education, Bishop Davis gave exemplary leadership to over 39 A.M.E. Church-sponsored schools in Southern Africa.
She introduced the first ever summer science and math institute program in Lesotho to globalize and develop the knowledge of students and teachers and granted a record number of academic scholarships to young people, adults and clergy while in the 18th District. During her term, two clerics earned degrees in theology from universities in South Africa and Mozambique and four earned diplomas in Theology in Botswana. For the first time, English classes were provided for Portuguese-speaking lay and clergy persons in A.M.E. Churches in Beira, Mozambique which resulted in many receiving English as Second Language (ESL) certificates.
Also, during her tenure in the 18th District, Bishop Davis was a champion for orphaned and vulnerable children. Under her leadership the Selulasandla Vashti Village, an 18th District sponsored orphanage, grew in housing capacity from 4 to 21 orphans. In April 2008, Bishop Sarah dedicated the first A.M.E. Church-sponsored orphanage built in the mountains of Mokhotlong in the country of Lesotho: The T’sepong Cecelia Williams Bryant Home.
In October of 2012, Bishop Davis represented the World Methodist Council as a guest of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI at the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, Italy. The meeting, held under the theme The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, addressed the call of the Church to its original missionary goal and sought to rekindle the original fire in Christians worldwide.
Bishop Davis was a trailblazer in her ministry; prior to her Episcopal election, she served for seven years as the first female pastor of the 115-year old Bethel A.M.E. Church in San Antonio, Texas. With this appointment, Bishop Sarah became the first woman in Texas to be appointed to a major A.M.E. Church.
Bishop Davis served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Houston Graduate School of Theology, served as Chair of the Global Development Council (GDC) of the A.M.E. Church (2009-2011) and was a member of the Jamaica Council of Churches.
Bishop Davis trained to perform in all areas of her life’s calling having earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology, a Master of Divinity from the Houston Graduate School of Theology, a Master of Science from New York Pace University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Texas.
“In October [World Methodist Council Youth and Young Adult Coordinator] John Thomas III and I had a chance to visit Bishop Davis on behalf of the World Methodist Council. We found her to be in great spirits and excited that her hopes for the Council meeting in London were realized,” remarked General Secretary Ivan Abrahams.
Bishop Davis is survived by her husband, Claytie Davis, Jr., her sons and Corey B. Davis, and Dr. Claytie Davis, III his wife Yolanda and a grandchild, Alexandra Morgan Davis.
“During this time of grief when we are very forcefully reminded that death is woven into the very fabric of our human existence, I ask that you pray that the Davis family will know God’s love and comfort in a very special way,” added General Secretary Abrahams.
The Lord is near to those who mourn; he lifts up those who whose spirit is crushed – Ps 34:18
The World Methodist Council would like to convey heartfelt condolences to the Davis family.
FRIENDS OF DR. TONY LLOYD LEWIS
June 14, 2013
On Wednesday, June 12, 2013, our dear friend and brother in the Lord, the Reverend Dr. Tony Lloyd Lewis went home to be with the Lord.
Many of us are familiar with Dr. Lewis’ life and ministry. He was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, educated and gave His life to Lord and surrendered himself to ministry. He was educated at historic Bishop College in Dallas, and completed his D.Min. studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. While in Dallas, he was Minister of Christian Education under the leadership of the late Senior Pastor, Dr. E.K. Bailey.
He went on to serve as Senior Pastor of three congregations: The Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon; The Macedonia Baptist Church in Pomona, California and finally, The Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, California. He wrote sermons for the Sermon Sharing Service, which were literally preached around the world. He retired from Zion Hill, due to health concerns, and relocated to his native Louisiana and united with the First Presbyterian Church, where he joyfully served as one of the Adult Bible Teachers, when his health allowed.
This letter is to ask you for your support. His family is in need of your financial assistance to complete his burial services, as he did not have life insurance. At present, those costs are approximately $12,000.00. Many of us who are pastors have had to come to the aid of a brother pastor – and this family needs our support – immediately.
There are three ways to help:
1) You can send an immediate PayPal gift to the family by going to www.paypal.com and selecting “send money online.” All payments should go directly to Dr. Lewis’ daughter, Kimberly Lewis Stidum, by using her email address, KimberlyStidum@yahoo.com.
2) You can request from your local bank a bank transfer to an account which has been created at Chase National Bank. The account number is 223367328 and please note “Dr. T.L. Lewis Fund” in the notation. This will go directly to Kimberly and the Family for expenses.
3) You can mail a gift directly to: Kimberly Lewis Stidum, PO Box 103, Katy, Texas 77449. Again, make all checks payable to Kimberly Lewis Stidum.
Pastors, please respond with the best gift possible! Men and Women of God, whose lives were touched by Dr. Lewis, please respond with the best gift possible! He who has sown into our lives with spiritual food – it’s now time to return back a portion of those blessings with our gifts to this family in need.
On behalf of the Family, we wish to make the following announcement concerning the Homegoing Services. All services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 1801 2nd Avenue, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70601, (337) 433-4667, Rev. Chandler (Chan) Willis, Senior Pastor.
Friday, June 21, 2013 – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (CST)
Visitation Period and Viewing of Remains
During this service, a period of remembrance will be held, allowing all Pastors and Friends to have expressions and remembrances.
Saturday, June 22, 2013 – 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (CST)
Visitation Period and Viewing of Remains
Saturday, June 22, 2013 – 11:00 a.m. (CST)
Homegoing Services – Rev. Chandler (Chan) Willis, Officiating
We pray that you will keep this family in your prayers and ask the Lord’s comfort upon them as they walk through this season of sorrow. May the Lord bless you for your response.
Pastor Robert Earl Houston
Pastor Michael Moore
by Robert Earl Houston
What a week it’s been.
This time last week, I was in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico (ABQ) for their 3rd Annual City-Wide Simultaneous Revival. I’ve been blessed to be a part of this unique fellowship of preachers and churches for the past two consecutive years as the evangelist for my son in the faith’s church, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Rev. Dennis Hubbard, Pastor. Pastor Hubbard was one of my loyal associate ministers at New Hope Friendship Baptist Church and has gone on to be on the widely known pastors in New Mexico. I licensed him 17 years ago.
It’s a unique fellowship sponsored by primarily four churches (other churches support or help in a great way) – Bethlehem Baptist Church, Rev. Hubbard, Pastor; Shiloh Baptist Church, Rev. W.H. Benford, II, Pastor; Antioch Baptist Church, Rev. David Walker, Pastor; and Macedonia Baptist Church, Rev. N.D. Smith, Pastor; The evangelists for the week (respectively) were myself; Pastor Johnny Smith of Arkansas; Pastor Denny D. Davis of Texas; and Pastor Victor L. Wilson of North Carolina.
The Noon Day Service was a joint service held at Shiloh and the line up was Pastor Johnny Smith (Wednesday); Pastor Victor L. Wilson (Thursday); and Pastor Denny D. Davis (Friday). The Revival concluded on Friday with a late-night (10 p.m.) service and I had the honor this year of closing the Revival.
It was a rich, rich fellowship and I’m pleased to have been a part of it for the past two years and looking forward to returning in 2014.
What impressed me most was how these pastors not only work together with each other but how they enjoy the social fellowship. Going out to lunch and dinner was a joy – to hear them share their joys, their sorrows, their struggles and of course, some good natured kidding. It reminded me of fellowships of years gone by in Portland, Oregon and I salute them for their fellowship.
Then it was back home briefly and then on to Lexington, Kentucky (LEX) to share as the Women’s Day at the invitation of Dr. Thomas H. Peoples, Jr. and the Historic Pleasant Green Baptist Church.
Historic Pleasant Green is the fourth oldest African-American church in the nation, having been founded in 1790 under the leadership of their pastor, a slave called Brother Captain. Originally called “African Baptist Church” this church has been the birthplace spiritually of civic leaders, educators, politicians and birthed national leaders, including a Progressive National Baptist Convention President, Congress President, and State presidents and Local moderators. With a congregation of 1,700 plus strong, anchoring a neighborhood which includes the University of Kentucky, Rupp Arena and the Convention Center – HPG has continued to serve generations.
With his wife, Dr. Delma Peoples firmly giving direction as the Minister of Music, the service was literally praying, shouting, rejoicing, and worshipping for three straight hours! I was impressed by the worship – and yes, shed some tears at the poignant places of worship. Such a fervant worship! Such a heartfelt worship! It ranks in the top ten of worship experiences I have known.
You can view the sermon, “Loosed, But Tethered” online and it will be on the local Lexington Cable television station this week.
Dr. Peoples gave me an autographed copy of his book, “History of a Saga” which covers the historical narrative of HPG and I gave he and his wife copies of my book, “See You in the Morning.”
Then it was back to Frankfort (FTT).
On Monday, it was time to return to my pulpit for the Homegoing Celebration of Sis. H. Maxine Parrish, who went home to be with the Lord while I was in Albuquerque.
Sis. H. Maxine Parrish or “Miss Maxine” as many knew her, was a gospel singer who hailed from the loins of First Baptist Church. She loved gospel music, had a large DVD and CD collection, sang with a local community choir, great supporter of FBC’s Vacation Bible School and Sunday School, a community mentor, and the list goes on.
She lived safe and secure in the arms of the Lord. So safe that she didn’t believe in locking her doors and windows in her home – she believed that the Lord would (and He did!) take care of her.
She had a memorable homegoing service! There were tears, laughter, fond remembrances, and great singing by the soloists. The Lord was kind to the preaching moment and God be praised, two young men, who were pallbearers, came forward to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and for baptism!
It was a great, great week!
First Baptist Church is saddened by the homegoing of our member, Sis. Julia Elizabeth Monie Griffin. Her homegoing services will be held on Friday, November 2, 2012. Visitation is from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Homegoing Service begins at 12:00 Noon. Pastor Robert Earl Houston will be officiating.
Julia Elizabeth Monie Griffin, was born to the union of Will Berry and Emma Monie. She entered this life on February 28, 1933 and went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on October 30, 2012 surrounded by her loving family.
Julia professed her faith in Christ at an early age and joined First Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Rev. R.E.S. Utterbach. She sang in the Women’s Choir and Young Adult Choir. She was instrumental in the remodeling of the restrooms in the Fellowship Hall and remained a member until her death.
She was educated at Rosenwald School and graduated from Mayo-Underwood High School. Julia was gifted with a beautiful voice and sang throughout her younger years in her high school Glee Club and at First Baptist Church. Julia was also a member of the gospel group “The Harmonettes,” which performed in churches throughout Kentucky during the 1950’s. In later year, her favorite past time was talking on the phone into the late hours with her cousin, Mabel Conda.
Julia retired from Kentucky state government after 20 plus years. She also worked at the Stewart Home for over 12 years. She was a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 9235, which she faithfully supported. She was a member of the Franklin Co. Senior Citizens.
She leaves to cherish her memory four devoted children who were the delight of her life, James (Barbara) Monie, Albert (Roxanne) Davis, Robert Griffin and Varita Griffin; brother James (Patricia) Monie; Sister, Emma Tillman; Seven grandchildren; Seven great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Julia was preceded in death by her parents, son Dennis Griffin and her brother William Monie
A new pastor wrote me a letter who heard a letter I had sent to a family at a funeral lately and asked me “how do I (as a pastor) respond in writing to a funeral?” It’s a legitimate question and please allow me to respond based upon my training:
IF IT IS A MEMBER OF YOUR CONGREGATION
Normally, a resolution would be in order. It should contact facts about the deceased, when they united with the congregation and other pertinent information. It should be signed by the Pastor and the Church Clerk. A copy should be given to the family at the service and a copy should be retained in the church records.
IF IT IS A FAMILY MEMBER OF A MEMBER OF A CONGREGATION
It is NEVER APPROPRIATE to send a resolution from the church. Resolutions are canon in church records and if it is a family member of a member, a letter from the Pastor, brief in nature is appropriate. That letter should be concise, encouraging and can be faxed or emailed to the funeral home with a note to “have read at the funeral of Sis. XYZ” – but it is to the pastor’s discretion whether to have it read at the service.
You never, ever make a resolution to another Pastor’s member. Even if its a former member. It is inappropriate.
IF IT IS A CLOSE FRIEND OF THE PASTOR
Again, IT IS NOT APPROPRIATE to send a resolution from the church. The pastor should write a personal letter, understanding that it may be read in the service, and it should be concise, to the point, uplifting and to the point (get the idea). General rule of thumb is that it should not exceeded one page (including letterhead).
General advice – spell check, make sure spree grammar, and be wise in your writing.
Permanently Healed – <— click to hear the audio