Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord


Message for the Day

1.jpg21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Exodus 33:21-23
The message from my Pastor today: clear the junk away and put yourself in the position to be closer to God
Credit: Pastor David Willis

Times of Sadness

Today my mind goes back to a difficult time in my life. It is a day I will never forget. Some days just do not go away and there is good reason the for lingering of those days. This particular day I went to see my mother in a hospital in Baltimore. My sister, just a few days prior, moved my mother into her home. You see, my mother suffered with Alzheimer’s and was not in control of herself. My youngest brother, my sister and I were my mother’s primary caretakers. And, for good reason my sister thought it best to move my mother into her home where there were no steps inside. My only question to my sister was “Will she ever come back home?”

Somehow I knew that she would not return to my childhood home. I studied that two-story brick house in Baltimore for a moment reminiscing on the many things that took place in that house. I knew that things would not be the same. I knew that my mother did not have many days left and I had no idea how to handle the eventuality of her death. After all, she was my mother and she had been a strong woman. She was a feisty woman so, to see her weak in many ways was far from the norm. Yes, I saw my mother even while it was hard to see Mama. Sometimes sadness is masked by duty and responsibility. That would not matter though; as my sister drove off with my mother sadness would slowly seep out.

And there was the final hospital visit. I knew my mother was having some issues. That did not matter. I wanted to sit with her. I wanted to hear her talk. I wanted to make her laugh. The problem was that she did not talk – not to me nor my sister nor the personal attendant. She grunted a little and then choked. The nurses assumed the choking because of what she had recently drank and sat my mother more upright in the bed. I stayed with her a while longer and had to leave as I was scheduled to tutor a young lady in Baltimore County. I was going to come back; that is where my heart was. My sister would stay in touch with me as to my mother’s condition. The blood clot in her lung would see to her soon demise.

The two hour session was more than half over. My phone rang and my sister was on the other side. She advised me that there was no need to go to the hospital. It was all I could do to contain myself as I sat in front of that young lady. There was nothing more I could do for my mother and this student was in need of my services. I continued with the lesson. I needed to finish this course for the young student. I could not sit there and express my sadness. My work and duties had to prevail so that the hurt was covered by responsibility. Still, just below the surface the hurt was boiling.

There was no one else that I would allow to preach her funeral. No one else could be a personal as her son. Perhaps this was a bit selfish of me? It truly matters not because as I presented her eulogy the message was “A Sure Foundation.” The reflection only brought about more tears yet there was certain joy because my mother was certainly Mama. The hurt sometimes presents today. That is alright though, it has only been a few years and sadness is not a thing that can be easily erased. Yes, I miss my Mama which is why there are sometimes moments of sadness.

Yes, there were times of sadness prior to that. In 1976 my maternal grandfather succumbed to the results of a stroke. Other family members preceded my mother in death to include all grandparents, a niece and my father. Yet there remains another time of sadness that arose not long after my mother crossed into eternity. My great-nephew was born with dire sicknesses. I did not know him very well yet I lived with him, his parents and his brother for a short period of time. He crossing into eternity soon followed my mother. Sadness set in on top of sadness. I was asked to preach his funeral. So, I did.

Yes, I remember that five year old. He never quite got “Uncle” down so it sounded like he was calling me “Oink Oink.” Yes, even in sadness there are things that can make you smile. In hurt there are moments of healing. I was asked to preach this young child’s funeral and I preached as though it was Sunday morning. The goal was to present healing in pain. There is absolutely little we can do when we are sad except to wade through the sadness. So, in wading I preached “Time is Winding Up.” The message was not for the audience alone but also for me. It would be nice to hear my nephew once again say, “Oink Oink.”

Today I have been made sad again. You see, Hawaii was a wonderful experience for me on a number of levels. It is true that the military took me there. Nonetheless, I am convinced I was there by reason of Divine intervention. This is because I was invited to the City of Refuge soon after I arrived on the island. I quickly joined the church and became involved in the ministry in a number of ways. In doing so I had opportunity to work with the Anderson family. Pastor Anderson was an excellent pastour with four children. The oldest was David. David was a few years younger than me yet we bonded.

I choose not to forget the time there was a church picnic. David thought that he could beat me wrestling. He was a tall, lanky teenager and I a trained Marine; not so tall and far from lanky. Well, let’s just say David never pinned me. These are the types of things that come to mind when I think of a young man that became a husband and father. I had not seen him for several years before I visited him in the hospital a very short time ago. We were able to talk and reminisce. We laughed a little and eventually prayed. It was a blessing to be in David’s presence. I am not so sure they make them better than that.

David has now crossed into eternity. As these words are being penned I am cloaked in a sort of heaviness. Sadness has once again found itself around me. Yet, I am not the only one walking under the cloud of despair. I am certain Pastour Anderson, Sister Victoria and David’s siblings are having a hard time keeping tears from their eyes. Sadness is no easy thing. It pulls at your very fiber. Even so, I am convinced that in this time of sadness God is able to show himself mighty and powerful. I am certain that through this hurt and pain there will be healing. This is a time of sadness and it is my prayer that comfort and peace envelope all that mourn for David.

Stand up for God

1 The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble;
the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;
2 Send thee help from the sanctuary,
and strengthen thee out of Zion;
3 Remember all thy offerings,
and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.
4 Grant thee according to thine own heart,
and fulfil all thy counsel.
5 We will rejoice in thy salvation,
and in the name of our God we will set up our banners:
the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.
6 Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed;
he will hear him from his holy heaven
with the saving strength of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:
but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (KJV)Psalm 20:1-7


For As He Thinks Within Himself, So He Is

2009-10-prayerFor as he thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7 NASB

How do you think within yourself? To me this is a very powerful verse. It seems so simple, it’s been used for a very long time and in many different ways. ” You are what you eat” is one that comes to mind. “You reap what you sow,” another.

But for some reason it struck me another way today. For the past couple of years, I have almost turned off thinking. I am sure many of you who have been faithful readers of this blog are well aware of the change. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was in prayer constantly. I truly did exist with prayer constantly.

I am not saying that is wrong. It just is what I was doing. And that is what God wants us to do, to always go to Him in prayer. But when I read this verse today, it hit me that I have not been thinking! I was praying, yes, but I was getting to the point where I was almost mindlessly praying.

That is not what God wants either. In fact Jesus warned against that. Matthew 6:7 “But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathern do. KJV

How often do we fall into the subtle traps? Allowing ourselves to become so comfortable that God has to wake us up again. We are not supposed to be comfortable. We are supposed to keep on asking, keep on knocking at the door. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” If you quit thinking, quit striving, what you become is thoughtless, empty, dead. Not only do we become without thought, we become without love. If you are empty, you have nothing.

Thank you Lord that even when I fail You are there to catch me. In Jesus Christ You have given us everything, I thank you LORD Jesus!

The Nullification of the 1st amendment have been watching and listening to people every since the 5 justice’s on the Supreme Court handed down their decision on gay marriage. I may be naive, but I don’t understand their reasoning. It seems to me they are saying that the 14th amendment has precedence over the 1st amendment. In other words they seem to be saying that the 14th amendment overturns the 1st amendment making it null and void. But that makes no sense to me since nothing in the Constitution gives them the right to delegate the right to decide the validity of the 1st amendment. If their ruling is saying that the 14th amendment overturns the 1st, then on it’s very face their ruling is unconstitutional and therefore void. Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage signI was reading a post on WND earlier and it seems Dr. James Dobson has a lot of questions himself.

“Obergefell, Dobson said, “is actually about everything that America has been and will be.”

WND reported the case of Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis, who has refused to issue licenses to same-sex couples because of her deeply held religious beliefs.

Homosexuals went to court demanding that she be forced to violate her faith even though they are able to get their licenses at any of dozens of other locations around the state.

Her case is moving up to the U.S. Supreme Court now.

Who put the American family in the bull’s-eye? Read “Takedown, From Communists to Progressives How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage”

The Davis case poses the question of whether or not the government can force someone to violate his or her constitutional religious rights to accommodate the newly recognized right to “same-sex marriage.”

Davis’ critics have vowed to make her pay because she’s not upholding a right that didn’t exist when she took her oath of office. Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear, a Democrat, has told clerks to issue the licenses or resign. But that order would appear to create a religious test for public officials, meaning those with disfavored beliefs would be banned from office, which is unconstitutional.”


In Ohio, faithful Jews and Christians can no longer serve as judges

Originally posted on WINTERY KNIGHT:

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

For the past few decades, we have been able to see what happens when the Christian church decides that piety and feelings are more important than truth and evidence. Gradually, pastors decided to eliminate any discussion of apologetics as well as any integration between the Christian worldview and other areas of knowledge, e.g. – economics, politics, science. What was the consequence of this emotionalization of Christianity? The consequence is that we basically handed the commanding heights of the culture to the secular left – including furnishing them with new soldiers from our own pious families.

Consider this article in The Stream about a recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court.

It says:

The court’s Board of Professional Conduct was responding to a request submitted by several lawyers and judges, including C. Allen McConnell, a municipal court Judge whose predicament we addressedin “The ‘Soft’ Beginning of…

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The Church and its Move to Secularism


Historically the Church has purposefully pulled away from ideas and practices that seemed even remotely ungodly. Christians behaved themselves in such a manner is to easily differentiate between them and non-Christians. The Christian language was not replete with expletives neither were church services geared toward a specific group rather than wholesome worship of God. Even more, the manner of dress was evident in that both males and females dressed in modesty while biblical principles were taught in the homes and reinforced in the church.

Today it appears that the Church is moving from traditional Christianity to a selfish modernism.  Sound biblical teaching has given way to feel good speak which serves only to create a double standard among the adherents of a Gospel which seems to be acceptable only to those growing up in pre-postmodern era in which sound doctrine was the norm rather than the alternative. It is for the reason that an examination of some church practices will be presented in this report. Research in the matter of church secularization shows the church at large pulling from traditional teaching and practices to a more liberal view and application of past traditions.


     The fact that God has always required a high standard for His followers goes without dispute. Even before the time of Moses God required that His people worship Him and Him alone. Multiple scriptural references show that God’s people are to live in the world without being attached to the world system (Romans 12:2). This idea of not being attached to the world by conforming to its standards of living pulls in the idea of holiness. This separation is not new rather has been a struggle of the church from the time of its birth. The problems of a secular church was at least hinted on with the words “We see the church is yearly becoming more tolerant and more democratized” in the late nineteenth century.[1] This observation suggests that the church has been becoming more secular with the passage of time to the extent that the Church of England noticed changes in its clergy.[2]

The move of the Church to secularism was also well noted by Michal R. Weed in his article “The Secular Church” wherein he reaches back two centuries to show the steady move of secularism in the church both in Europe and the United States.[3] Weed specifically notes that “In America, churches have survived, however, by adapting to secularization and by commending themselves in terms that are attractive to “secular man.”[4] It would appear that the ‘secular man’ is more inclined to self-satisfaction rather than adherence to sound biblical teaching as has been the history of the Church.

Weed further notes that the secular church is more like a “Christ Club” wherein members are not gathered to worship God rather the practice of the secular church is to become more entertaining with hosts of social activities and various forms of recreation that have little to do with spiritual growth and biblical learning.[5] The suggestion is that spiritual growth and the adherence to biblical principles has become less than paramount as appeasement to self-centeredness and perhaps hedonism have taken stage in the secular church.

There are divergent views on the secularized church. For instance, traditional churches relied on classic hymns or traditional Gospel music as forms of worship. This style of worship has been replaced by Hip Hop and is not necessarily seen as appeasing the secular man. Instead, it has been propped as speaking for “the marginalized, the poor, and the downtrodden … and sought to increase social consciousness along with racial and ethnic pride.”[6] It is further argued by Daniel Hodge, author of “No Church in the Wild: Hip Hop Theology and Mission” that Hip Hop “Engages profound religious themes and has a capacity to provide meaning and hope to people … ignored by many Christian churches.”[7] This begins the argument that deindustrialization was the impetus for Blacks becoming disenfranchised thereby causing a shift in cultural expressions giving rise to Hip Hop.[8] Hodge predicates his view of Blacks making themselves relevant with the use of Hip Hop and other forms of secular music in the church by stating that “It emerged as a source of alternative identity formation and social status for young people within the theological vacuum of the ‘hood are within a system that had abandoned them.”[9]

Hodges view presupposes at least to issues. The first is that the changing economic condition of the United States primarily negatively impacted Blacks. It also supposes that the church at large had no use for the young people. While there may be some truth to Hodges view, Alan Ehrenhalt argues that demographic changes in inner cities have not nor are currently in place solely because of racial issues. He argues that “Race is not always the critical issue, or even especially relevant in this demographic shift.”[10] Ehrenhalt further argues that “… the deindustrialization of the central city, for all tragic human dislocations it caused, has eliminated many of the things that made affluent people want to move away from it.”[11]

Ehrenhalt shows that the impact of deindustrialization impacted humans no matter their cultural heritage. The affluent were also gravely disadvantaged yet Ehrenhalt makes no specific effort to show whether the affluent were of any particular people group. Instead a larger picture is painted of different groups moving either in the city or into suburbia because of their financial ability to live in either location. Ehrenhalt also makes clear that starkly different from the 1970s “… middle-class people of all colors began to feel safe on the streets of urban America in the 1990s…”[12] One might be hard pressed to say that Blacks alone were negatively impacted by deindustrialization rather it might be suggested that the plight of Blacks was highlighted more than that of their White counterparts.

Arguably, the same is true of music.  While Hip Hop and Rap are presented as a means “to overcome despair with hope” the musical genre might be more aligned with social rebellion.[13] This is also true with other forms of music introduced to the secular church such as Rock. While Rock is not provided the cover of racism or any other racial impetus with Hip Hop rather, Rock is seen more as a form of popular music “used to express religious, social and political messages.”[14] This distinction between the two genres of music is significant because they are contemporaries in popular culture. It is also shown that “The sociology of music is more about society than about music. It is based on the assumption that social reality is embodied in an individual’s activities…”[15] This is why the introduction of secular music such as Rock and Hip Hop is troubling. Neither form of music is expressly used to worship God. Instead of worshipping God, the music is used to set forth agendas that may have nothing to do with godliness.  Hip Hop, for instance, in part sets forth a racial divide in that Hodge presents the idea that “Hip Hop contextualizes a Jesus to whom urban youth can relate – not a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, White embodiment of perfection…[16] The problem of Hip Hop in the church goes further than diabolical racial divides it also promotes erotica in ways such as was never intended to be in the Christian Church. Michael Ralph notes:

Hip-hop’s most promising intervention grows from its preoccupation with desire and fantasy. This tends to be a chauvinistic male fantasy, but hip-hop actually narrates a range of social practices. Some rappers develop coded queer personas, even if they refuse to identify that way. And rap music that reveals an abiding interest in erotic power remains indebted to feminism while, ironically, expressing callous disregard for the female, queer, nonconforming populations offended by its licentious messages.[17]

The introduction of secular music provides considerable insight into why and how local church bodies became secularized. This is exceptionally true when music with sexual overtones are presented as a way to reach people have become preeminent rather than using music to worship God. A greater problem is that the male rappers are often considered to be exploitive of women yet women have also chosen first hand in the world of Hip-Hop.[18] Women have not only voluntarily engaged in Hip-Hop but also freely subscribe to the idea of “praise dancing” in many local assemblies.

In 2004, there was at least one discussion surrounding the idea of programmed dancing and its place in the church. While the trend has taken on considerable influence there are some that liken the introduction of secular dancing in the church to the introduction of Hip-Hop and Rock into the church. Among those who bemoan praise dancing is Rev. Ron Brown of the First Missionary Baptist Church who declares that “When you put women in leotards in the church, it’s going to open the doors to problems because it attracts unbelievers in a fast and powerful way – and worldly women who want to show off their bodies.”[19]

Despite the different dance styles involved in praise dancing such as hip hop and ballet, there are dissenters to Rev. Brown’s point of view. Among those is Pamela Rutherford who believes “Church leaders should accept that reaching modern churchgoers requires modern techniques.”[20] The idea of reaching modern churchgoers might be considered code for reaching the youth as much of the secular church seeks to reach the youth by integrating secular ideas in the church. This is the case with Hip-Hop. It is seen as less than “a utopian ‘evangelizing tool,’   it can help youth to find God on their own terms without the religious mantras present.”[21] Perhaps this is the reason Rev. Brown sarcastically retorts during a discussion, “If I had three or four good-looking women with great bodies, I’d be guaranteed an audience.”[22] It seems evident that Rev. Brown has not only recognized the secularization but also the sexualizing of the church as it has welcomed practices which go against the norm of the traditional Church.

The introduction of secular practices is not seen as inappropriate by some clergy members but also some in academia. For instance, Professor of Religious Studies at Lewis and Clark suggests that her peers “stop studying hip-hop through the lens of Christianity, and view rappers more as products of their own environment.” [23] This idea seems to go in line with the thought that “The so-called transcendence of the secular church is a false transcendence which merely uses the Creator in a thinly veiled adoration and infatuation with the creature.” [24]

Music, however, is not the only issue in the Church that pulls toward secularism. A rising practice is the teaching of a prosperity Gospel. This form of teaching presents the idea that “health, wealth and material success as the essential promises of the Christian faith.[25] It would appear that the major difference in prosperity teaching and secular music in the church is that the former may be designed to reach the older members of local bodies while evidence shows that the latter is specifically geared to younger generations. Even so, prosperity teaching seems to demean the poor as it seeks to “exalt success as to pour scorn on the poor and stubborn infidels who have evidently refused to seek God’s aid.”[26]

The general idea of prosperity is certainly a principle which is found in Scripture however, that prosperity may not be as presented by the teachings of pastors such as T.D. Jakes. In fact the converse may be true in that it has been said that prosperity teachers such as Jakes tend to “flaunt tremendous wealth before their congregants as validation of their faith.”[27] By extension, those who have not enjoyed wealth such as Jakes lack faith and perhaps will never enjoy the wealth enjoyed by Jakes and those like him. With that it can be said that prosperity teaching, as it relates to church secularism, seeks to appease God through tithing rather than the Christian living a lifestyle of holiness.[28]


No matter one’s personal view of church secularization, it is inarguable that music plays a significant role in the church as teachings of prosperity have become a form of religion on its own. It becomes more evident that as music has changed, so have larger attitudes in the church at large. For instance, Hip-Hop although it started in the 70s was not intended as a form of music giving worship to God. Instead, this style of music was used to give voice to a group that perceived itself as having no voice. Its uses of vulgarity and sexuality serve only to show lack of regard for biblical standards. Despite this some local bodies continue, to embrace alternative styles of music as a method to reach the youth.

God’s call for holiness is embedded in the idea of the Church. The Church, while in the world, is not an entity of the world. This is why pure worship of God is paramount and should not be “quasi-entertaining” rather; it should be a practice of solemnity in the presence of God.[29] Additionally, while Christians do well to prosper, perhaps a renewed look at prosperity might be beneficial. It is for this reason Weed argues, that repentance “will be a necessary part of recovering our way. We will confess that we have put ourselves in the place of God.”[30] Hence by putting ourselves in the place of God we have created a secularized Church.

[1] “The Church and the World”, The Speaker: The Liberal Review (Oct. 13, 1894)

[2] Ibid.

[3] Michael Weed, “The Secular Church: American Church Adapts to Self-Centered Culture,” The Examiner volume 1 (November 1986): accessed  March 2, 2015

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Daniel Hodge, “No Church in the Wild: Hip Hop Theology and Mission,” Missiology: An International Review (2013)

[7] Hodge. 99

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Alan Ehrenhalt, “Trading Places,” New Republic 239 (2008): 18-22

[11] (Ehrenhalt, 18)

[12] Ibid.

[13] (Hodge, 100)

[14] Jay R. Howard, “Contemporary Christian Music: Where Rock Meets Religion.” Journal of Popular Culture (1992)

[15] (Howard, 124)

[16] (Hodge, 101)

[17] Michael Ralph, “Hip-Hop,” Social Text (2009)

[18] Ibid.

[19] Kortney Stringer, “Spirited Debate: Dancing in Church Splits Congregation; Black Protestants Question Whether a Crowd Pleaser Serves Religious Purpose,” Wall Street Journal (October 14, 2004)

[20] Ibid.

[21] (Hodge, 103)

[22] (Stringer)

[23] Vincent Funaro, “Religion in Hip-Hop: Reconciling Rap and Religion,” The Christian Post (October 26, 2012)

[24] (Weed)

[25] Philip Jenkins, “Notes from the Global Church: The Case for Prosperity,” The Christian Century (November 30,2010)

[26] Ibid.

[27] Shayne Lee, “Prosperity Theology: T.D. Jakes and the Gospel of the Almighty Dollar,” Cross Currents (2007)

[28] (Jenkins)

[29] (Weed)

[30] Ibid.


Ehrenhalt, Alan. “Trading Places.” New Republic 239 (2008): 18-22.

Funaro, Vincent. “Religion in Hip-Hop: Reconciling Rap and Religion.” The Christian Post, October 26, 2012.

Hodge, Daniel White. “No Church in the Wild: Hip Hop Theology and Mission.” Missiology: An International Review, 2013: 97-109.

Howard, R. “Contemporary Christian Music: Where Rock Meets Religion.” Journal of Popular Culture 26, no. 1 (1992): 123-130.

Jenkins, Philip. “Notes from the Global Church: The Case for Prosperity.” Christian Century, November 30, 2010: 45.

Lee, Shayne. “Prosperity Theology: T.D. Jakes and the Gospel of the Almighty Dollar.” Cross Currents, 2007: 227-236.

Ralph, Michael. “Hip-Hop.” Social Text (Duke University Press) 27, no. 3 (2009): 141-146.

Stringer, Kortney. “Spirited Debate: Dancing in Church Splits Congregation; Black Protestants Question Whether a Crowd Pleaser Serves Religious Purpose.” Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2004: A1.

The Speaker: The Liberal Review. “The Church and the World.” October 13, 1894: 399-400.

Weed, Michael R. “The Secular Church: American Church Adapts to Self-Centered Culture.” The Examiner 1, no. 6 (1986).

Living Water

Originally posted on preachercarter:

John 7 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:37-38

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'”

Water is the most important sustenance that we need, we can do without food for a good time, but we will quickly die without water. To a person in the desert, the gift of water is the most precious gift you can give. Christ offers us an even more precious gift, He offers Himself, living water, eternal life. How wonderful to be able to partake of this gift!

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Acts part 4


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