Friday, November 26, 2010

Hard Times, Hardships, and Hand-Me-Downs

We don't often say "thank you" for our hard times, hardships, and hand-me-downs. They were hard and they were insulting. They hurt and we don't ever want to see them again. We are in a hard time right now. It's called a recession. Jobs are few, our money is funny and our change is strange. Have you thanked God for it? I am reminded of the words of Jesus, "Father, if it be possible, remove this bitter cup from me." Jesus' "hard time" hurt even Him and He wished it aborted. But if He had not died on the Cross and rose again, where would we be?

Hardships come in all shapes and sizes.  The one that recently caught my eye had to do with food hardship in particular.  In this land of food abundance and a restaurant on every corner, it shocked me that so many people are going hungry.  The 2010 Food Hardship Report states that food hunger is a national problem.  "Food hardship" is the lack of money to buy food that families need."  The report states "rates are high in virtually every state, Metropolitan Statistical Area, and congressional district."  "Both in 2008 and 2009, Mississippi was the state where people were most likely to say that there were times when they did not have enough money to buy food. In 2009 the other states with the highest rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Of the top 15 states, the large majority were in the South," the report states. 

There are a lot of people suffering hardships right now, yet we should thank God.  Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5 just before he was about to be beheaded, "...keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."  He went on to say with hopeful optimism, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is stored up for me a crown of righteousness..."

Hand-me-downs are insulting because they are old, and used. They were someone else's discarded things. Wearing hand-me-downs is an ugly reminder that you're not a "have" but a "have not." And who wants to be a "have not?" I don't, but oftentimes I am. A hand-me-down suit or hand-me-down dress, however, can make the difference in whether someone hears the gospel or goes on a job interview. No matter how often we say, "Come as you are," some people just will not go to church if they don't have the proper clothes. Some people will not join a ministry if they don't physically fit in with others in that ministry.

Our hard times, hardships, and hand-me-downs aren't what we want. They are not cash, cars, and the keys to Fort Knox, but they are often what we need. That's why we pray and try to serve the "least of these," especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's hard enough having to live in a shelter, but to not have food and basic necessities, and know that some of those odors come from you adds insult to injury. 

Hard times, hardships, and hand-me-downs grow us and they cover us when we can't cover ourselves. They make us strong and I thank God for them, too.

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves.  Jesus saves!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dr. Lance Watson Upgrades Spirits at Urban Upgrade Conference

By: Min. Angela Lee Price
In this season of thanksgiving, I am thankful for a two-day revival this week that has my spirit soaring. My spirit has been definitely upgraded, and uplifted by the anointed preaching of Dr. Lance Watson, St. Paul Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Watson was the guest speaker November 15th and 16th for the 4th annual Simmons College of Kentucky Urban Upgrade Church Growth Conference hosted by St. Stephen Church in Louisville Kentucky.

On Monday night, Dr. Watson's message was "I'm Taking My Ques From God." He came from the book of Genesis and the story of Noah building the arc. He talked about how we often bless God in memory by recalling what He has done, but we don't often bless Him in our creative imagination in thinking of  what He can do through us in the future. Noah didn't know what rain was, and he had never seen an arc before, yet Noah took his ques from God. Watson preached about the ridicule Noah endured especially in the years between the completion of the arc and rain. We need to takes our ques, not from man, not from the recession, not from our present situation and circumstance, but from God! We need to remember that what we see is temporary, but what we don't see is eternal. I'm taking my ques from God!

Last night, Dr. Watson's sermon was "I'm A Real Piece of Work!" from Ephesians 2: 4-10. This sermon offered strong encouragement to people struggling from low self esteem and the walking doormat syndrome. This sermon was an encouragment to anyone who has ever been discriminated against, maginalized, and criticized. Dr. Watson talked about Picasso's work being valuable not because of the type of paint used, nor the canvass painted on, but because of who the maker, Picasso was. Watson said we are valuable because of who our Maker is and the gift that He has given believers. Watson went into Picasso-like detail in painting an elegant masterpiece of our extraordinary "workmanship" as creations of All Mighty God. You need to know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made! You are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. You're a real piece of work!

So, I am thanking God for the conference, the preacher and the preached Word!  I'm an upgraded spirit!

Follow Jesus Saves Ministries:

Friday, November 05, 2010

At Annual Holy Convocation, COGIC Plans to Do Some Door-to-Door Evangelism - BCNN1

By: Min. Angela Lee Price

Well, lookie here! I have found a few street walkers and it is marvelous in my eyes! The Church of God In Christ demonination will be taking it to the streets in full force to do the dog-on thang! They are going door-to-door to evangalize the streets of St. Louis during their annual convention November 8-16.

This fantastic turn of events is happening just when I was beginning to believe that old fashion "cold calling" was dead. The latest research suggests that most people join church through the influence of family members. We should do all possible to reach those for Christ who are closest to us. After all, friends don't let friends miss heaven. The thing that gets me though is so many organizations out on the streets in full force for their cause, raising lots of money in fact, and the church is no where to been seen. Many of those do-gooding people don't know Jesus from a whole in the ground, but by their shear numbers, creativity, and outward show of unity, they make a mockery of the Christian faith. This article on the COGICs is a "good look!"

At Annual Holy Convocation, COGIC Plans to Do Some Door-to-Door Evangelism - BCNN1

It is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves.  Jesus saves!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Post-Election, “Is The Black Church Dead?” Redux | Religion Dispatches

By: Anthea Butler
It seems that President Obama’s appeal to the black caucus back in September to get out the vote fell short. Facing a Senate with no African-Americans, perhaps it is time to revive Eddie Glaude’s ‘black church is dead’ argument and look at it in light of black voter turnout.
Exit polling indicates so far that 10% of African-Americans showed up at the polls across the country. Where was the black church in this election? Despite get out the vote efforts, the “machine” perhaps was unable to conquer potential voters’ disaffection over foreclosures and unemployment. The traditional effectiveness of the church for the Democratic Party in 2012 is going to be tested by the Tea Party’s mobilization, voter apathy, and a growing number of conservative African-American candidates.

A record number of black Republicans ran in this midterm election (some had already lost their primaries), and two are heading to Congress. Tim Scott will be the first African-American Republican to represent South Carolina in Congress since Reconstruction. (He beat out Strom Thurmond’s son in the primaries.) Iraq war veteran Allen West will be headed to Congress from Florida, despite having been fined for improperly firing his weapon to force information from a detainee while serving in Iraq, and for his connections to a criminal motorcycle club. West’s acceptance speech was peppered with Scripture, telling the crowd “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world.” These candidates, part of a conservative wave of minority candidates this election cycle, can be seen as part of the push, as Sarah Posner has discussed, to gain traction among African-Americans with by focusing on abortion as "black genocide," and gay marriage.

Post-Election, “Is The Black Church Dead?” Redux Religion Dispatches

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Black Gospel Blog: Totally Dedicated - QuarTemporary

The Black Gospel Blog: Totally Dedicated - QuarTemporary: "Totally Dedicated QuarTemporary Available on iTunes (2010) The name of Totally Dedicated’s new album, Qua..."

Totally Dedicated
Available on iTunes (2010)

The name of Totally Dedicated’s new album, QuarTemporary, is evocative of the music within.

The members of this Louisville, Kentucky-based group are Charles "Noo" Simmons, Ben "Black" Bush, Raymond "Three" Noah, Steve "Stuff" Frazier, Demarcus Everett and Ricky Wiggington.

Like Commissioned and the Soul Seekers, Totally Dedicated fuses old-school quartet soul – the sweat-soaked sound of the B3 and acrobatic guitar licks – with tuneful songs artfully arranged to resonate with a contemporary gospel audience.

Their high tenor harmonies are sweet, soulful, smooth and classy. At the same time, they can be powerfully polyrhythmic, as on "Me and Jesus" and the techno-infused “Victorious.” At the other extreme, “Holding On” is a slow, moody, piano-accompanied ballad of encouragement on which the quartet renders complex harmonies in a Take 6 style.

Totally Dedicated can also deliver drive-tempo songs, literally true on “Ridin’.” Here, the lead sings “I’ve got Jesus ridin’ with me” while the group chants a hypnotic vamp in the background. “In Spite of Myself” is another driver, with the guitarist firing off hot licks like a modern day Howard Carroll.

Lyrically, the guys “from the ‘Ville” know that things aren’t always hunky dory. On “Pride of Life,” they take on “preachers and singers talking about everything but the Word.” The group admits they themselves aren’t perfect on “Still Got Work.”

Christian rapper God’s Man intones rhythmic rhymes on “In Jesus’ Name” and “Me and Jesus.”

All of the selections on QuarTemporary are top-notch in terms of melody, lyricism and production. Totally Dedicated is a group deserving of major label attention.

Five of Five Stars

gPod Picks: “Pride of Life,” “Ridin’,” “In Spite of Myself.”

Reviewed by Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.

Is Your Church Lying About Evangelism? - BCNN1

"You shall not bear false witness...." The 9th Commandment
I've always been interested in church mission statements. They can range from typical ("to know him and make him known") to transformational ("We strive to proclaim the Good News of Christ through worship, ministry, and their outreach missions.") As I think about it I don't know if I've ever seen a church's mission statement that doesn't make evangelism a central priority in one way or another.

But, when it comes to evangelism, a mission statment can turn from big black letters on a church marquee to a little, white lie that the church is telling the community. Strike's a big lie. If a church claims to be making evangelism a central priority and the people in that church are not actively sharing their faith then the mission statement of that church is not just a joke, it's a lie.

Is Your Church Lying About Evangelism? - BCNN1

The Black Gospel Blog: Here are the 26th Annual Stellar Award Nominees

The Black Gospel Blog: Here are the 26th Annual Stellar Award Nominees: "From a press release: Nashville, TN - Signaling the countdown to Gospel music's biggest night of the year, the Stellar Gospel Music Awards ..."

The Vote: Reply "Count Me In" and Win Great Gospel Music with Jesus Saves Ministries

After you go vote today, reply "Count me in!" on this page or on the Jesus Saves Social Network. Your name will be added in a drawing to receive a gospel music CD including:

1.  Youthful Praise featuring JJ Hairston, "Restiog On His Promise"

2.  Mary Rieves, "Hide Me"

3.  The Brown Sisters, "Live In Chicago"

4. 21:03, "Total Attention"

5.  Tim Rogers &The Fellas, "Change"

6.  Duane McLaughlin, "Ready to Live" (new single)

7.  Shekinah Glory Ministry, "Refreshed By Fire" (new single) 
We're not sitting on the premises, but resting on the promise with Jesus Saves Ministries!


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