2 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
contents on the cover: Pastors Linwood & Karen Bethea Set The Captives Free Outreach Center 7111 Windsor Blvd Baltimore, MD 21244 410-265-6800 THE PASTOR www.stcfoc.com
Q&A Interview with Pastor Karen Bethea
Destined To Worship
Pastors Linwood & Karen Betheaea
NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION CONCERT
Set The Captives Free Outreach Center
COPPIN STATE UNIVERSITY
features 13 MAYOR’S JOURNAL 15 WORD ON FINANCES
Dr. Kenneth O. Robinson
Financial Peace & Blessings
17 GOVERNOR’S PAGE 4 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
19 NURSE’S CORNER Image is Everything 20 GOSPEL INDUSTRY NEWS
23 TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH
Carla J. Debnam, MS, LCPC
Do It Now
25 NUTRITION & YOU
Herline A. Knights
Healthful Holiday Eating Tips
27 BODY BASICS
Charles ‘Chizelit’ Harris
IRON MAN 70.3
33 TEEN CONNECT
Jamison “Jaye” Boykin
31 A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE
35 WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT
29 FASHION FOCUS/ HIS TO HIM
Pastors Greg & Tonya Dennis
In Every Issue Contributors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Scripture Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Carter’s Comment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Dr. Kenneth O. Robinson Dr. Harold A. Carter, Jr. Cassandra Vaughn-Fox Herline A. Knights Charles ‘Chizel It’ Harris Pastors Gregory and Tonya Dennis Carla J. Debnam Jamison ‘Jaye’ Boykin Donna Williams-Ross Governor Martin O’Malley Ericka Johnson Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Mark L. Dennis
Tyrone Akins/ Tyght Shots Photography
Claire Lesesne www.JandCDesigns.com
PS Printing Solutions
Grace & Glory Magazine is published monthly by JE Media, LLC, a Baltimore based, independent publisher. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Reproduction without expressed permission is prohibited.
Chairman — Dr. A.C. D. Vaughn Sr. Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church, MD Vice-Chairman — Dr. Frank M. Reid III Sr. Pastor, Bethel A.M.E. Church, MD Dr. Jerome A. Barber Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Temple, Hampton , VA Dr. Michael A. Battle Sr. President, ITC Seminary, Atlanta, GA Dr. Timothy Boddie Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA Bishop John R. Bryant Presiding Prelate of the 5th Episcopal District Dr. Harold A. Carter, Sr. Pastor, New Shiloh Baptist Church, MD Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook Sr. Pastor, Believers Christian Fellowship, NY Dr. WIlliam H. Curtis Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, PA Bishop Ralph L. Dennis Sr. Pastor, Kingdom Worship Center, MD Wanda Q. Draper/Media Executive Michele J.K. Epps/Health Sciences Cassandra Vaughn-Fox/Media Executive Dr. Donte’ L. Hickman, Sr. Pastor, Southern Baptist Church, MD Pastor Timothy V. Manigault The Way Family Church, CA Dr. Dennis V. Proctor Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church, Baltimore, MD Dr. Kenneth O. Robinson Pastor, Restoring Life International Church, MD Bishop Walter Scott Thomas, Sr. Pastor, New Psalmist Baptist Church, MD Dr. Timothy Tooten, Sr. Pastor, Harvest Christian Ministries, MD
Grace & Glory Magazine is the ideal publication for all your advertising needs! -Churches, Minsitries, Christian Schools, Choirs: Inform the community of your services, programs, etc. -Salons, Boutiques, Specialty shops: Advertise your sales. -Businesses, Realtors, Financial Advisors: Educate consumers of your services.
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6 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
from the editor
Don’t Stop Believing! In spite of all that did or did not happen last year, believe. In spite of what God did or did not do in your life last year, believe. In spite of the economy, the recession, layoffs and unemployment rates, believe. In spite of disappointments, and all of the ups and downs, still believe. Believe ‘what’ you may be asking? Believe that we serve an ‘in spite of’ God. In spite of everything, believe that God is on your side. In spite of what it may look like or how it may feel, believe God is still in control. In spite of any shortcomings and sometimes missing the mark, believe God loves you unconditionally. In spite of fear, shaken faith, and lack of trust, believe still that God is who He says He is. In Luke Chapter I, Mary the mother of Jesus was told by Gabriel that she would conceive a son the Lord Jesus. Mary took him at his word and believed. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call
his name JESUS. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. In spite of the odds and what Mary knew in the natural, Mary believed. Because she believed we have a living Savior. A living Savior whose birth we celebrate every Editor-in-Chief year at Christmas As believers we know Jesus is the reason for the season. You may have mixed emotions about the year coming to a close, this year may have been challenging. But I encourage you, “Don’t Stop Believing.” Instead of focusing on the year gone by, purpose in your mind to celebrate the season with your whole heart. Instead of focusing on the past, purpose in your mind to make this your best Christmas ever! The best Christmas ever is a time of good cheer, holiday festivities and celebrating with family and friends. The best Christmas ever is not getting the perfect gift, it’s getting the true meaning of the season; the birth of Jesus!
Have Yourself a . . .
Merry Christmas! www.gracenglorymagazine.org 7
Q A the pastor speaks
Dr. Karen Bethea Set The Captives Free Outreach Center BALTIMORE, MD 8 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
G&G: Dr. Karen Bethea, it is always a special treat for me to talk with you and we have a lot to talk about. Let’s catch up on what’s happening over at the Set The Captives Free Outreach Center. I understand there is a twofold celebration in store to close out the year. Tell us about the concert, which is scheduled for the day before New Year’s Eve correct? And New Year’s Eve will be in three parts, can you explain? Dr. Bethea: At STCF we love to worship and this year we are having a Pre New Year’s Celebration called, “Destined to Worship” with William McDowell. His music is the epitome of worship. I love the songs, “Give Myself Away, As We Worship, and Closer/ Wrap Me In Your Arms.” They are anointed and you feel the presence of God throughout the entire project. We want to invite Baltimore and the surrounding areas to come out for a time of high worship and the celebration of another year that the Lord has kept us! Tickets can be purchased at www.stcfoc.com. The next day is New Year’s Eve and we have something for everyone. On December 31st at noon there will be a brunch and the speaker will be Dr. Harold Carter Sr. of the New Shiloh Baptist Church. He is like a dad to my husband and I. My husband grew up at New Shiloh and has many fond memories from there. I also attended there for two years with him. Dr. Carter has blessed us so much and we really respect and appreciate the gift of God upon his life. At six o’clock there will be a one hour service with guest preachers Dr. Lisa Weah, Pastor Jason Nelson, and from Philadelphia, Pastor Christian Winters. It is going to be an hour of power with performing arts’ ministries between each speaker. Then finally at ten o’clock we will have our countdown celebration service which ends at twelve fifteen. It is going to be a powerful time of celebration and direction for the New Year all day long! G&G: Pastor Bethea, New Year’s Eve, out with the old in with the new. The end of the year comes with mixed emotions. Declarations were made and themes were put on banners. What would you say to those who may feel another year has come and gone and they still have not received the promises and declarations that were made at the onset of this year? Dr. Bethea: I would say that God does not move within our time frame but within His. When we make prophetic declarations we still have to remember that He is sovereign and may not do what we have declared within 52 weeks. Each year we make a prophetic declaration, but I am clear that what we have decreed may not occur within the time period that we feel it should. I would also encourage each person to do a self evaluation to see if they are in a position to receive what they have declared.
Sometimes we are the hold up and not God. God is always on time. Sometimes we ask for things that we are not ready to handle. Like a good father, God will not give us what we want if we are not ready for it. G&G: So Pastor Bethea, how do you now encourage the brethren to continue on and embrace the upcoming New Year in spite of what did or did not happen in 2010? Dr. Bethea: We have to believe the Word. We have to remember that all things work together for our good and in their season. The man in Psalms Chapter One brought forth his fruit in his season. Sometimes we want other people’s fruit and not our own. I also think patience is the key. Four scriptures come to mind here: • Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10:35-36 • But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:4 • Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 • In your patience possess ye your souls. Luke 21:19 I will admit that this is easier said than done but it really comes down to trust. Do we really trust God? G&G: Pastor Bethea, something tells me that 2011 at Set The Captives Free will be full of exciting events. One in particular comes to mind the trip to Israel. You must tell us about this awesome opportunity. Dr. Bethea: My friend Marilyn Hickey who was with us again in November, had her personal travel agent put together a tour for me and the Women Who Soar Team. I had been talking about going to Israel for years. The Women Who Soar and I decided that we would make it our first missionary journey. We are so excited. Not only will we be baptizing there but now we have a couple that is going to have their wedding on the trip! We have 98 people going and they are from all of our churches. We have eight spots open due to cancellations so it is not too late if someone wants to go. G&G: Let’s shift a little bit, let’s talk about the ‘Women Who Soar’. This is a ministry birthed from the Karen S. Bethea Ministries. I have noticed that women’s ministries are very prevalent now. What was the vision behind ‘Women Who Soar’ and what sets it apart from other women’s support groups? Dr. Bethea: The Women Who Soar (www. thewomenwhosoar.com) is a traveling ministry designed to meet the unique needs of women. It is distinct because all of the members live in different states and one of them out of the country. It is a group of female clergy who were led of the Holy
the pastor speaks (current success) but not their story (their past). Look at Tyler Perry for example. He is successful now but no one knew until recently, the pain he endured as a child. When God cleans us up we look good but there is a story or a past that has been overcome. People need to hear that story as well. We found that by sharing our stories, others have received hope, encouragement, and deliverance. In each location this Pastors Linwood and Karen, Natalie Grace Bethea, Bryson Bethea and Jordan Love. year we had a panel discussion where the Ghost to come together in the early part of 2009 to women could ask us any question they wanted. Those form a conference for women that would travel from times were the highlight of the meetings. The relief place to place strengthening, encouraging, uplifting, that comes with breaking the silence is priceless. and empowering women. We have an emphasis on What makes us unique is that fact that we tackle the making sure that these conferences are edifying and tough subjects and provide a safe place for people to affordable. Our focus is to empower women to walk disconnect from their painful pasts and walk into a closely with the Lord and be all that He has created new and wholesome life. them to be, to empower women to obtain healthy G&G: There is so much to talk about and I want self esteem, to empower women to make healthy life to try and touch on a little of everything. There is choices, to encourage women to become financially an alliance with the West Baltimore Clergy United healthy and independent, to encourage women to and the Set The Captives Free Outreach Center. I become physically fit, and to be examples of how believe this is a community outreach alliance, what to overcome various life obstacles. Our expansion is the mission for this organization? plans next year will include the Little Women Who Dr. Bethea: The West Baltimore Clergy United Inc. Soar. We want to empower young women to get was formed in June 2008. I am the president and financially fit early in life and to empower them Bishop Dwayne Debnam (Morning Star Baptist to make healthy life choices. We just had our final Church Catonsville), is the vice president. Members conference here in Baltimore in November and include: Overseer Bertha Greene Overseer Bertha now are preparing for our trips next year to Israel, Greene (Sacred Zion Full Gospel Baptist Church), London, and other cities around the globe. We are Bishop Reginald Kennedy (Gospel Tabernacle excited about the impact that is being made. It is so Baptist Church), Bishop Monroe Saunders Jr. fulfilling. Women in God can get along! (Transformation Church of Jesus Christ), Rev. G&G: Pastor Bethea, in addition to the women’s Stephen Smith (Mt. Moriah Baptist Church), Bishop ministry there is your latest book “Testimonies Rayner Wharton Sr. (Mt.Olive Holy Evangelistic From Overcomers- Women Who Soar.” What was Church), Pastor Franklin Lance, D. Min.(Mt. the motivation behind the compilation of women’s Lebanon Baptist Church), Rev. Dr. Lisa M. Weah testimonies as the back drop for this book? How (New Bethlehem Baptist Church), Rev. Dr. Guy would reading this book enrich women’s lives? Robinson (Jones Tabernacle Baptist Church), and Dr. Bethea: We have been getting feedback from all Rev. Allison Lightner (New Light AME Zion Church). over the country from men and women that the book The purpose of this organization is: helped them because we were all transparent. Often • to bring together the individual resources of our we see successful people and we see their glory churches in order to increase the quality of life for
the citizens of Baltimore in specifically identified areas. • to under gird and assist the Mayor with some of the growing problems in our city. • to network and strengthen one another’s churches. • to be an example of unity among clergy. Membership is open to pastors on the west side who also agree that the day of ministry in isolation is over. We pray that eventually, every area of our state will have clergy groups such as these that will come together and work in harmony with one another to make an impact for the Kingdom of God. G&G: Pastor Bethea, lastly we can’t let you get away without asking you what is your forecast for the upcoming year? What are you hearing in your spirit for the Body of Christ? Dr. Bethea: We must be fierce defenders of the faith! “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 1:3 So much has happened to attack the credibility of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether men or women fail, fall, or stand God is still who He says that He is and we must defend that. We have to walk worthy. (Ephesians 4:1.) This does not mean that we will be perfect. What it does mean is that we need to try with all of our hearts as leaders and believers to set good examples for the lost. The church is consistently under attack, but let’s not give the world a reason to knock us. Let’s be innocent when they accuse us. Let’s also take the needed time to get things straight when we mess up. I have never seen so many people unwilling to sit down and get themselves together when they have missed it and it is having very negative effects on the body in general. It almost seems like there is no longer a standard in the body but I do see the standard being restored in the near future. My prayer for the entire body is simply this, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Happy New Year everybody! www.gracenglorymagazine.org 9 www.gracenglorymagazine.org 9
10 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
Luke 2:7-14 (KJV) 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room in the inn. 8 And
there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping
watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And
suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
We pray you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas! Our prayer for the New Year is that above all things you will prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.
THE GRACE & GLORY FAMILY 12 December December2010 2010||Grace&Glory Grace&Glory 12
14 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
Financial Peace and Blessings
t is so good to know that in a time of economic uncertainty and job insecurity, we can still have peace. Many people are overwhelmed by the financial pressure they are currently facing, not knowing if they will keep their house, job, marriage, or family. The national news is filled with hardship stories of families losing their homes and businesses going under. All of these negative reports have created an environment and culture of apprehension and fear. However, as believers in Christ, none of these things should catch us by surprise. Jesus Christ foretold us of these turbulent times, He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you may have peace; but in the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus gives his followers what the government cannot give; peace. Peace will be the Christian’s greatest asset in the days to come. Most especially in this holiday season, that often heightens the financial pressures on families, businesses, and churches. The word “peace” is called “shalom” in the Hebrew. Shalom has several words to describe its meaning; let’s list them: completeness, wholeness, health, prosperity, fullness, harmony, and rest. This meaning implies the absence of agitation, conflict, or discord. The word occurs about 250 times in the Old Testament. The New Testament Greek word for peace is “eirene”(I-ray-nay) which means a state of quietness, calmness, and the absence of strife. This peace includes harmonious relationships above all; with God and man. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and He promised to give peace to those who call upon Him for personal salvation and deliverance. This salvation does not just imply deliverance from sin but from any oppressive agitation that the human experience brings. This is important to know because this peace includes our finances. Jesus can bring financial peace also. Financial peace was a term I heard of several years ago when I purchased a book called, “Financial Peace” authored by financial expert, David Ramsey. The essence of the book talked about the importance of having your finances in order. It also spoke of the importance of putting money in its proper place in your life. Good financial stewardship can bring peace to a marriage, relationship, as well as to a family. It is so critical to note here that poor financial management can disrupt a Christian’s peace. So often believers feel that the presence of an indwelling Christ automatically means peace, unfortunately many have found out that even with Jesus, you need to have your finances in order to have the peace and wholeness that Jesus talked about. You see it is important to note here that the peace in the Bible includes prosperity. God knows that it is very difficult to have peace when all your bills are overdue and creditors are harassing you with phone calls and threatening to take your house and car. God’s peace comes when we know all of our needs are met, physically, financially, emotionally, and of course above all, spiritually. Perhaps like many other people today, you are feeling the financial
pressure and threats that are permeating our society. However I want to say to you, don’t panic. Let me give you some advice that will work despite your financial condition and will ultimately bring what I call financial peace in your life, family, business, or church. 1. Don’t Panic – Panic is a natural response to financial pressure. However to give into this emotion will only make things worse. Panic will stifle the creative juices you will need to strategize a plan to escape your situation. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus says, “Be not anxious about your physical needs…” In other words, He is saying whatever you do, DON’T PANIC. 2. Seek Knowledge Regarding Your Finances - This sounds so simple, but so few people invest the time to get the knowledge they need to change their financial condition. Peace comes from knowing. Do some research, go to a seminar, attend one of our Financial Crusades, and see how much you will learn about your situation. What you get most out of research, seminars, workshops, etc. is the benefit of others sharing their similar experiences and much needed solutions. 3. Stay Away From Negative People – Negative people fuel anxiety, worry, and fear. They are internally frustrated and miserable. Therefore, they seek to make everyone around them feel the same. Find the financial champions in your area and listen to them. They will give you the solutions you need. 4. Collect Positive Thoughts – Isaiah 26:3 “For Thou will keep him in PERFECT PEACE whose mind is stayed on thee.” You must collect good, positive thoughts because they are out there floating around. That’s why Jesus said, “Take no thought for your life….” Matthew 6:25 because you have the power and responsibility to collect the thoughts that will foster peace in your life. 5. Pray About Every Financial Decision – God is the peace factor. He is the source of peace. It is prudent (wise) to prayerfully invite His spirit to lead and guide you in financial matters today. The economics of our day are more complicated than in the past, however our God is all wise and His wisdom brings peace. That’s what Christ meant when He said, “In the world (or world system) you will have tribulation (pressure), but in Me you will have peace.” Jesus Christ will not abandon us in these tough economic times, but He will give us the financial peace we need to overcome the world. Follow these steps and allow His peace to rule your heart.
To book Dr. Kenneth Robinson for a financial seminar in your area or at your ministry, please call 410.415.6400
Dr. Kenneth O. Robinson, II
Pastor & Certified Estate Planner
www.gracenglorymagazine.org 15 15 www.gracenglorymagazine.org
16 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
STATE OF MARYLAND OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
MARTIN O’MALLEY GOVERNOR STATE HOUSE 100 STATE CIRCLE ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND 21401-1925 (410) 974--3901 (TOLL FREE) 1-800-811-8336
TTY USERS CALL VIA MD RELAY
A MESSAGE FROM GOVERNOR MARTIN O’MALLEY Dear Friends, As long as Lt. Governor Brown and I have the privilege of serving the people of our State, we will fight to give emergency responders and law enforcement the tools they need to get the job done and the equipment they need to get it done safely. To help fulfill our promise to the people of Maryland and continue improving public safety even in tough economic times, the Board of Public Works awarded a contract to Agusta Aerospace Corporation for six new AW 139 helicopters. These new helicopters contain the latest in avionics and equipment, including terrain awareness warning systems, night vision compatibility, cockpit voice and video recorders, radar altimeters, and advanced instrument flight rating capabilities, all recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration. The new helicopters also provide more space in the patient and cargo areas, enabling medics to have better access to patients and to carry rescue equipment on board at all times. We are also looking forward to the installation of our new communications network that will permit police, fire, and EMS personnel to communicate with each other during an emergency. Streamlining communications will save money, while providing a robust network that will be the backbone of interoperability between first responders at the local, state and federal level. To move Maryland forward, we must continue the improvement that is underway in public safety and disaster preparedness. We are investing in the latest technologies and equipment so our first responders have what they need to maintain Maryland’s world class emergency response system. Sincerely,
18 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
“Compared to the previous generations of CT scanners, 64-slice machines provide much more information, noted Dr. Allan Skrenta, Chief of Imaging at Maryland General. “Thinner slices are recorded more quickly, leading to images with even more detail.” These machines are so fast they can record motionfree images of a beating heart and the blood vessels that feed it. Among other things, images from these advanced CT scanners allow cardiologists to gauge the buildup of dangerous plaque in the arteries without the need for an invasive coronary angiogram.
Image is everything! The marvel of the NEW 64-slice CT scanner at Maryland General Hospital.
ooks aren’t everything. Except when it comes to diagnostic computed tomography (CT) scan imaging. It can be hard to find and fix a problem if you can’t see it clearly.
Fortunately, when it comes to possible problems inside the body, doctors at Maryland General Hospital use some of the most advanced tools to focus on exactly what they need to see. One of the cutting-edge diagnostic tools our doctors use is the 64-slice CT scanner. CT scans are noninvasive, painless and fast. According to the Radiological Society of North America, the scanners use special x-ray equipment to take multiple pictures—or slices—of internal structures, such as organs, bones and blood vessels. A computer program then combines all of these slices into detailed, cross-sectional views.
A 64-slice CT scan can also quickly and accurately show whether or not someone who is experiencing chest pain is having a heart attack. Research shows that patients whose scans reveal that the arteries in their hearts are clear can safely go home from the hospital hours earlier than those who must wait for repeated electrocardiograms and blood tests to rule out a heart attack. According toDr. Skrenta, CT scans are also used to: • Study all types of tissues in the chest and abdomen • Find cancers, such as those in the lungs, liver and pancreas • Detect spinal problems and other skeletal injuries, since even the smallest bones and nearby tissues can be seen • Locate vascular diseases that can lead to stroke or kidney failure “Your doctor might order a CT exam for any number of reasons,” said Dr. Skrenta. “For example, it might be used to help guide a biopsy, to plan a surgical procedure or to measure bone density. A CT scan can also quickly spot injuries to internal organs after an accident or more precisely target radiation treatments.” If you or a loved one need a CT scan, Maryland General Hospital offers a smart choice for the most advanced diagnostic imaging. Call 410-225-8082 for more information.
Sounds of the
gospel industry news
By Ericka J.
The holiday season is noted for sharing and gift giving, in addition to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. In this holiday season there are quite a few artists that will be receiving gifts as a result of their commitment and dedication to their gift that God has given them.
Stanley Brown has recently signed on as the new Senior Director of A & R, for Verity Gospel Music Group. Stanley is no stranger to the music industry both on the secular and Gospel side. On the Gospel side, he’s worked with the music industry’s finest, Hezekiah Walker, Karen Clark, Vickie Winans, T.D. Jakes, and Marvin Sapp just to name
Bishop Alfred Owens and Co-Paster Susie Owens
a few. On the secular side he worked as Vice President of A&R for Island Black Records and Senior Director of A&R for Motown Records. Producing and writing many hits for Baltimore’s Own Dru Hill, The Temptations, The Isley Brothers, Will Downing, Stephanie Mills and Run DMC. He is the mastermind behind the theme song for the sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris”, BET’s ‘Sunday’s Best’, Verizon’s ‘How Sweet the Sound’ and “Exalted”. He is currently the Music Director for Sunday’s Best and Greater Allen Cathedral in NY, under the leadership of Bishop Floyd Flake. I have been a lover of his skills and talents for many years one of the highlights of the Musical Tribute for Bishop Kenneth Moales was seeing him “KILL THE ORGAN” for the tribute done by Bishop Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Reunion Choir. Verity will be making more noise with Stanley Brown now in the ranks.
Bishop Alfred Owens and his wife Co-Pastor Susie Owens, are launching their own record label Calvary Records. The first artist to debut on the label will be their church choir, Greater Mount Calvary Live: As Told by the Music Ministry, produced by the Maestro Steven Ford and will be in stores January 4, 2011 Richard Smallwood’s recording session streamed live from the Verity Gospel Music Group website. The site allowed its viewers to chat, as well as pre-order the CD “Promise” set to be released and in stores March of 2011. A tribute to the late great Walter Hawkins is a feature on this project.
December 2010 | Grace&Glory 20 Decemb
gospel industry news
On Suday, December 26th, 6pm at Church of the Redeemed, York Road, Jonathan Nelson presents “Too Gifted Holiday Concert”. It will feature 25-30 artists from the MD, DC, VA, PA, and NJ areas coming together for a “give back” concert. Some of the artists featured on that night, Sunday’s Best Y’Anna Crawley, Stephen Hurd, Darien Dennis, T Wyse, Jessica Green, Jason Nelson, Zak Williams, Brittney Wright, Anthony Jonathan Nelson Brown, Kevin Terry, Charles Butler, Jarmel Evans, Steve McCoy, RaSheem Shambry, and many, many, more. I’m elated and excited to be part of such an event with such a positive and kingdom based purpose! It’s going to be a great night! Make plans now to be there to share in this night of unity, worship, and fellowship. It’s a FREE CONCERT and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
In this holiday season we must keep the families and friends in prayer of those whom we’ve lost this year:
Malinda Sapp Bishop Kenneth Moales, Sr. Albertina Walker Deacon Ronald Huff Jerry Caesar Tedric Childs Happy Holidays again to you all! It’s been a great 2010 and I’m looking forward to keeping you updated with the happenings in 2011! God is up to something and I’M EXCITED!! Follow me on twitter- www,twitter.com/MissErickaJ Face book www.facebook.com/ErickaJohnson Remember You survived it so, Live because of it, live in spite of it, live with it, no matter what your “it” is JUST LIVE!!!
2011 Stellar Award Nominees
Soul Train Awards
Congrats to Baltimore’s Own Mid-day Diva, Doressa Harvey, Announcer of the Year and Heaven 600, Station of the Year. This is a BIG YEAR for Fred Hammond, J Moss, Marvin Sapp, Shirley Caesar, and James Fortune and FIYA all with multiple category nominations. Choirs and Groups with multiple nominations, James Hall & Voices of Citadel and Youthful Praise featuring JJ Hairston. The awards will take place on January 15th in Nashville, TN and will air in March 2011.
Last Month, Nov 28, the Soul Train Awards aired on BET and Centric Airworks. Congrats to the Winners and Nominees, Youthful Praise featuring JJ Hairston, Hezekiah Walker & Love Fellowship Choir, Tye Tribbett, Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, and Lisa PageBrooks.
22 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
to your good health
Do It Now
This has been a tough year for many persons I know or have encountered through ministry. Prolonged unemployment, foreclosures, unexpected loss of loved ones, health concerns, and relationship problems are just a few of the troubles people have experienced. With life suddenly taking some unexpected twists and turns, we have to begin heeding the words of Scripture even more. Throughout Ecclesiastes, King Solomon sought to raise the awareness of the activity of people and the results of participating in them and whether they were fruitful or meaningless. In the end he declared that ultimately our worship of God is the most important item on our agenda. Early on he declared that there was a time for everything and I say to you that time is now. Many times persons put off their dreams and desires waiting for the right time, for their money to be right, for their children to move out of the house or until they retire and the list goes on and on. We should begin to seize
the opportunities God gives us and not wait until everything is perfect before pursuing our purpose, our destiny or our calling. We have many examples throughout Scripture warning us against waiting until the last minute, think about the ten virgins, some were ready and others missed out on their blessing because they were not prepared. They thought they had time to get ready but found out that they needed to be ready. Waiting, lack of preparation and disobedience lead to their demise and can lead to ours as well. We should do it now because tomorrow is not promised. Living in the present is certainly advice Jesus gave his disciples when He was with them and has left for us to follow today. In Matthew 6, we are advised not to worry about tomorrow but to take care of today’s needs. The Lord’s Prayer reinforces this with the line “give us this day our daily bread”. Whatever you can do today, do it and stop procrastinating. Avoiding the unpleasant assignments of life does not make them go away we just have to endure delayed consequences when we delay our progress. We should begin to do those things we have delayed because living in the present is more fruitful than living in the past. In James 4:13-15 we are reminded of the brevity of life. “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Being stuck in the past or always waiting on tomorrow can get you in a cycle that leads to nowhere. Begin to take hold of your life and consider what goals can be accomplished today. Whatever your ‘it’ is, give yourself the gift of accomplishment. No matter how great or small the desire begin working towards it today. If you think about calling an old friend, do it now. Do not put off registering for school or applying for the new job, do it now. The time to begin your exercise program is not after the holidays, do it now. Planning to take your prayer life to the next level then do it now. The desires of your heart are before you. Stop wasting time and do it now.
Carla J. Debnam, MS, LCPC Executive Director Renaissance Christian Counseling Center
24 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
Healthful Holiday Eating Tips
nutrition & you With the upcoming holidays and traditionally high calorie holiday cooking, this article serves to provide some healthier alternatives for these treacherous times for dieters. For parties: Don’t arrive hungry; have a low-fat Herline A. Knights, snack before you leave. Begin by socializing, spending RD, LD
more time with your friends and less time eating. Start off with water and continue to drink it between other beverages; this will always give you a full feeling. Look over all available appetizer options and choose fresh vegetables and fruits, wheat crackers, plain breads, boiled shrimp, cocktail sauces, and non-alcoholic beverages (or suggest a mock champagne mix of lemon lime soda and cranberry juice). Try to avoid mayonnaise and cream-based sauces, dips, and soups. Offer to bring your own low-calorie hors d’oeuvres. Try to stick to small portion sizes and don’t go back for seconds. Stretch out less food over more time, chewing each bite thoroughly and savoring each mouthful. This leaves you more satisfied. When you start to feel satisfied, stop eating and dispose of the remaining food; now may be a great time to excuse yourself to brush your teeth, signaling the end of the meal. Plan ahead for these high-calorie events by decreasing calorie intake or increasing exercise for several days prior to a party. Even if you have not had time to calorie bank, following the same ritual after a high calorie event will help you to balance your calorie intake over several days (remember, it takes an excess of 3500 calories to increase your body fat weight by one pound, so one day of overeating can easily balance out for weight maintenance). For holiday meals at home: Start off the day with a light breakfast; consider replacing the usual breakfast sausage with a homemade breakfast sausage made from ground turkey and dry bread crumbs mixed with pepper, paprika, sage, and diced onion; go easy on frozen biscuits and crescents with butter and eggs early in the day; save up those calories for the big dinner! Instead, try oatmeal, grits, toast, fresh fruit, etc., for a lighter start. For snacks before the big meal, have raw vegetables, fruit, and low-fat whole wheat crackers with yogurt dips or part-skim milk cheeses; try to avoid nuts, chips, and sweets. Low-fat options for holiday meal components are homemade cornbread stuffing made from bread crumbs, crumbled corn bread, low-sodium bullion, onion, pepper, and poultry seasoning; mix all of these ingredients in a large mixing bowl and baked in a non-stick pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Traditional stuffing cooked inside the turkey will absorb much of the meat drippings. Other low-fat options are to use low-sodium chicken bouillon instead of meat drippings for gravy mixes, acorn squash casserole as an alternate to sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries to lessen high sugar levels found in canned varieties, and meringue pies with graham cracker crust as an alternative to high-fat pecan pies. Choose light meat versus dark meat turkey cuts for less cholesterol and total fat; also, don’t forget to remove the skin! www.gracenglorymagazine.org 25
26 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
IRONMAN 70.3 - AUGUST 2010
THE POSSIBLE JOURNEY! The IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta Competition is an intensive triathlon giving athletes the opportunity to race in two states. The competition consists of a 1.2 mile point-to-point swim in the Savannah River followed by a 56-mile bike course through the countryside of South Carolina before returning to the Georgia side of the Savannah River and then to Augusta, GA. In the final sector of the triathlon, the competitors run a twoloop course of 13.1 miles through the downtown community of Augusta, GA finishing near the Augusta Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The athletes are vying for 50 age group slots to hopefully advance to the Foster Grant IRONMAN World Championship 70.3 held in Clearwater, Florida where the grand prize of $25,000.00 awaits. One of my primary reasons for training to compete in the IRONMAN Competition was because of the many life changing stories which people have experienced during this journey. I was moved about ten years ago while watching Wide World of Sports. I witnessed one triathlete who finished the entire event without his legs. At that moment, I realized I have no excuse, I can do this! At that time a seed was planted that took a decade to manifest. I have always enjoyed weight training and its many benefits but, I needed a new and exciting challenge. Being a professional athlete must be a very rewarding accomplishment, but many will agree that the IRONMAN triathlon is one of the most grueling
sporting events on the planet. You must Charles Harris III be able to mentally and physically endure AFAA Certified all three disciplines within eight hours; swimming, biking and running. Fitness Trainer I have committed my life to helping others overcome their health and lack of motivation challenges, especially those in the body of Christ. I have personally overcome high blood pressure and becoming a triathlete has helped me win this battle in a fun yet, rewarding way. For me, the hardest part of the IRONMAN was finding the time and energy to train. Being an active church member, family man and entrepreneur made training very difficult. I had to let everyone around me know what I was attempting to take on before I made the commitment. Many people said I was crazy for attempting the IRONMAN without doing a smaller triathlon first, but that motivated me even more. It was amazing how people who had never participated in a triathlon were so eager to tell me how difficult the race would be, especially the swimming portion, which was my greatest fear. At that point, I decided to surround myself with individuals that competed in triathlons and some of them thought I was biting off more than I could chew. Once again, that gave me more motivation. I was about to embark upon a serious mission. I had to become the client. After all these years of training people, I had to embrace that sense of determination, discipline, and mentality for myself. I had a goal in mind and I wasn’t going to let anything or anyone interfere with me achieving that goal. Wow! Isn’t that amazing how things seem to happen in life? As soon as you make up your mind to do something positive, the enemy tries everything in his power to try to stop you. But, greater is HE that is within us than he that is in the world. I knew I was an over comer. As I started my swimming lessons, I recalled I used to fight the water. Growing up I learned the harder and faster you swam, the better you would travel through the water. All good swimmers know that it’s just the opposite. To become a good swimmer, you must improve your technique. Water is so symbolic to the word of God. The Spirit revealed to me the more I relaxed in the water and let go, the more God could help me. I had to force myself to forget all the bad habits I developed and learn a new way of swimming. That was tough because bad habits are always lurking at the door. There were some things I needed to let go and God moved in a mighty way. So I swam at least five times a week and rode my bike and ran every weekend. Training for Augusta took approximately seven months. My final time was six hours and 15 minutes. My next competition is the IRONMAN 70.3 in Miami and the ultimate goal is the full IRONMAN in Kona, Hawaii. I encourage anyone who has the desire to do a triathlon to do one. Perhaps you are tired of doing the same routine and need a new challenge. Either way it will be a rewarding experience once you cross that finish line. Training for a triathlon is also a great way to improve your health. As result, I had to change my eating habits by consuming wellbalanced meals. Also, I changed my sleeping habits by forcing myself to getting at least eight hours of sleep each night. Over my seven months of training I lost more than 25 pounds and lots of inches the proper way and have not gained it back. I thought I was in shape before, but I watched God transform my mind, body, and soul. I also became more determined, disciplined, and consistent, spiritually, mentally, and physically. If you are ready to take on the challenge, we have started a training program which begins in January 2011 at Chizel It Fitness in Owings Mills. Checkout www.Chizelit.com for more details or call 410-356-9099. Knowledge is power and experience has become my best teacher.
www.gracenglorymagazine.org 27 27 www.gracenglorymagazine.org
28 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
his to him Hey! How you doing? We’re heading into our winter season and from the way November weather is going, we’re probably in for a doozie for the winter. However it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year, yes that’s right Christmas Season, but most important let’s not forget the reason for the season. So as we fast approach the holiday we want to look our best and be as fashionably correct as possible. With all the different gatherings and functions that you will attend, whether it’s a corporate party, office gathering, or family gathering, here’s the deal; if it’s a corporate party and it calls for after five attire, here are a few tips. Corporate attire: Usually after five requires the works, a tuxedo, bow-tie and a wing tip shirt. However you can also do a basic black suit with a French cuff shirt, a pair of cufflinks that catches the light and a simple black tie . . . and Bam! There you go! Let’s not forget the shoes, very, very, important, there’s nothing worse than seeing someone dressed to kill and you get to the bottom and oops a pair of easy riders or loafers. Don’t go for comfort, go for style for just this one evening. At least start out with a nice shoe and bring the others as backup, trust me I understand. There is such a thing as two, four and six hour shoes; that means how long you can go before they start to pinch and bind. (Note: Previously I gave a tip on how to rectify that, just fill a ziplock sandwich bag with water, place it inside the shoe and place the shoe in the freezer, and as the water freezes and expands it will stretch the leather, notice I said leather, and not pleather.) Usually an after five function takes place somewhere very sophisticated. That’s why it’s important that you come correct! Office attire: This one is easy because, it depends on where the gathering is held. This type of gathering may take place at a co-worker’s house, neighborhood bar, restaurant or right at the office. In any one of these cases go with the flow, it’s usually announced in advance so be prepared for the occasion and dress according to the environment. If it’s a club, jeans or slacks, a sweater or fashionable shirt and blazer should do the trick. If it’s a co-worker’s home, he or she will tell you the dress attire or come as you are, at this point the choice is yours.
Family attire: This is family, relax, you’ll probably see a little of everything, except for the ones who know they got it all together and enjoy making a fashion statement. That uncle, aunt, brother, sister, or cousin who is already known for laying it down no matter what the occasion may be. The
holiday season comes once a year, it wouldn’t hurt for you to step your game up this year, unless you’re one of the family members who usually don’t care. And on that note, I hope I didn’t create too much pressure, if you’re not sure you can pull it off, it’s early in the month and you have time, so start now. It’s cold out now so you can do layers, do a look with a light weight fitted leather jacket, suede shoes, a turtleneck, a zip-up sweater hoody, a crew neck sweater with a scarf, a fashionable hat and a sweater vest. These are a few single items, add any one of these to your ensemble and not only will you be warm you will also make a fashion statement. Still having difficulty, shop the stores and the mall windows, take notice of the displays for this season. One last tip. This is the season for dry air which sometimes causes static cling and our dress pants cling to our socks. To reduce static cling, take a small safety pin and place it at the seam of your slacks where it’s not visible and women this also works for static cling in skirts and dresses when you’re wearing panty hose and ta da static is gone. Once again let’s remember the reason for the season and I pray that everyone will have a Blessed and safe holiday! New beginnings in 2011!
Jamison “Jae” Boykin
30 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
‘Tis the Season. . .
You know how the rest of that goes. We are rapidly approaching the Holiday season again. My question to you is what will be the Greatest Gift of all for you. In these economically challenging times we find ourselves running in circles trying to get money so that we can provide a Merry Christmas to our love ones. Is your greatest gift materialistic or is it filled with LOVE and HOPE? In the hustle and bustle of everything have we forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? You see when we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts; we are celebrating the First Coming of Christ. This gift from God was such a GREAT gift that we Celebrate it 2000 years later. Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, (14) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” I think that sometimes we forget that Christmas is a day for us to Celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. God sent His son to save our souls and to bring Joy to a pitiful world. This year I challenge you that instead of worrying about the materialistic aspect of the season plan a purposeful and meaningful day. Give with the Heart of Christ but Love with the Life of the Lord. Cassandra Until Next Time… Accept nothing less in your life than people who stand for incredible integrity. Vaughn-Fox Out Foxed Media,
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32 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
It is so easy for us to complain and criticize about something where we are not making a difference. However, if we get in the trenches and make some things happen, we will see “what is in it” for us. The key is instead of being a spectator be a participator and get involved. To be involved means to be committed or engaged. For example, our lack of commitment and engagement in church is why it’s “so boring.” However, if we become involved in an area of ministry, we may find a wonderful connection that can make a whole world of difference. The same can happen within our communities, schools, occupations and just everyday life. Yes, it requires you to do something. Throughout the remainder of this year take the initiative to make school band more hype, the cheerleading squad the best, or the math
class more challenging. In church, let your youth leaders know you want to fellowship with other young people from other churches, you want to have a sports tournament or a concert. At home, let your parents in on what a night of family fun would look like- you plan dinner and pick the game to play.
Pastors Gregory & Tonya Dennis
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34 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
word of encouragement
Mary Did You Know?
ow in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women! But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean. And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God. And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end. And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband? Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. [Luke 1:26-35 -- Amplified Bible] Imagine Mary’s feelings as she watches the fulfillment of the birth of her first born Son -- Jesus. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary with the news that she was chosen of God to be the mother of Jesus, Mary was troubled at the angel’s appearance. The angel Gabriel came bringing her news of God’s favor and privileged of allowing her to be the womb through which Jesus would come into the physical world. Mary didn’t understand how that could happen! After all she was still a virgin -- engaged to Joseph. How is she going to explain to Joseph what the angel told her? How was she going to explain to her relatives and even her friends? That in itself could have been termed a dilemma. In the natural, it could seem that God interrupted Mary’s plans of living a normal life. Knowing full well that outside of Adam, a child had to be conceived through sexual intercourse. Who would believe such a story? However Mary trusted God and believed what the angel Gabriel told her. Now here it is – time for her to bring forth her son – the Savior of the world. Little did Mary know that her name would forever be remembered as the mother of Jesus? Little did she know that her name would be in the Bible forever changing the course of history? You may look at your life today and wonder how you got to the situation or circumstance that is confronting you -- or even how you are going to get out of it. Here you are – you turned your life over to God – you became “born again” and it seems like suddenly you are being confronting with many challenges. You were going about your business
and up came an interruption. The house is about to be foreclosed and you don’t know where you will be living. Your child may be right now at the Precinct awaiting bail and you don’t know how your child ended up there and where you are going to get the money to bail him/her out . It may be the doctor coming to you with the announcement that you have a terminal illness and have a short time to live. It may be that job that is downsizing and you were the last one hired and therefore just might be the first one fired. The tests and trials presented to you right now may seem contrary to where you expected to be at this time of your life. Mary was going about her business and God showed up and took Mary into unchartered waters. As stated above – Mary had some explaining to do and so do you. However God saw where you were going to be before the foundation of the world and has already called you a winner -- someone who is more than a conqueror. Regardless of where you find yourself in life today, know that even though it seems like God interrupted your plans, know for a fact that He already knows the plans that He has for your life and it is a good plan. Whether it is your health, relationships, finances, etc. – you had one plan and here comes God with His plan for your life. God wants you to have a Mary experience – where you will be remembered for the great things that you have allowed Him to do through you. I encourage you today to trust God in that very area of your life that seems interrupted. Father: As the world celebrates Christmas, help me to see beyond what I see with my natural eyes and instead see with my spiritual eyes that -- eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things that you have prepared for me. Help me to hold on to your plans for my life even when situations look contrary, amen. Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you. Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand? Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod? When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God? Mary did you know…. The blind will see. The deaf will hear. The dead will live again. The lame will leap. The dumb will speak the praises of The Lamb. Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations? Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb? The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am. On behalf of the Word of Encouragement [In Trust Ministries] we wish you a wonderful, wonderful holiday and may God’s blessings begin to overtake you. www.gracenglorymagazine.org 35 35 www.gracenglorymagazine.org
36 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
During The Silent Years (A Prelude to Christmas)
It would be four centuries from the close of what we know as the Old Testament until the birth of the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ. The likelihood was that people in Israel were tempted to think that God had forsaken them—His people—and that their prayers and sufferings were meaningless to Him. Yet, the prophet Malachi had, in many ways, already prepared them for the coming of Messiah; and, thus a spiritual revival, a new day, and an event that would become advent. Today, we call it Christmas. In order to understand and appreciate the context that the last of the Old Testament prophets; namely, Malachi, lived in, it is necessary to read Nehemiah 13. At the end of the Babylonian captivity, Israel (the Jews) was permitted by King Cyrus to return home to Jerusalem in order to rebuild what had been devastated. Their leaders, Ezra and Nehemiah, were given letters of commendation to show rulers along the way so that the people would not be attacked or molested. Furthermore, the letter required such leaders to supply materials Dr. Harold A. needed for rebuilding. Carter, Jr., Pastor During the rebuilding, Nehemiah returned to Babylon to report what he’d found. When he finally went back New Shiloh Baptist to Jerusalem, after a long absence, he was dismayed by the backslidden state of the people. Ezra was probably Church, dead, heathens were living in the temple, and no one seemed to care. The Book of Nehemiah describes the Baltimore, MD actions taken to rectify the situation, but the work was increasingly difficult. It was at that time when God called /commissioned Malachi to support, strengthen, and encourage God’s servant. The Book of Malachi, then, is actually a record of what Malachi saw as his ministry became a shining light in the midst of the postcaptivity apathy of Israel. The people and the priests had become indifferent to the work of the Lord. They offered imperfect sacrifices and polluted bread. They gave to God what they did not value. Little, if any, service was motivated by love, for every person connected with the temple demanded payment for everything done, to the point that Malachi asked on the behalf of God, “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for naught? I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand (1:10).” The early gratitude known when the power of God broke the chains of bondage and brought Israel out of their captivity was gone. The people were concerned with getting and not giving. They had a form of godliness, but no love for the Lord. It is easy to recognize the same symptoms among church people even in our so-called post-modern age. My pastor and father, Dr. Harold A. Carter, preached a sermon recently entitled, “Perilous Times.” Essentially, his proposition was what’s destroying us isn’t so much the violence, the wars, the bad economy, etc., but our having fallen away from sound doctrine—such is the real peril. (note: 2 Tim. 3:1-7). We are finding ourselves guilty of abandoning living by God’s Word. However, Malachi was not a prophet without a hope: “Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple…. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” (3:1-3) God’s Messenger would come to His temple! No ordinary man could claim to be the owner of a temple of God. A refiner of silver exposed dross (impurities) in metal. When God’s Messiah came to His temple, He would reveal and expose everything hypocritical in those who professed to be righteous. And, even more, Malachi’s message was that in spite of all they had done—Good News!—God could still be merciful. He could and would open the windows of heaven and pour out his blessings (3:10). The only prerequisite for revival, for a new day… for Christmas was that they should obey the word of God and bring their tithes into God’s storehouse. During the subsequent four hundred years, when there was no recorded prophetic voice, could it be that there were those who took the words of Malachi seriously? Could it be that Israel got itself together enough that God, who never comes short of His Word, opened the windows of heaven and poured out a blessing? A blessing of love for the whole world’s redemption? A blessing that we celebrate this month; the birth of His Son? It was another prophet by the name of Isaiah who recognized the divine-human duality of this blessing when he said: “For unto us a child is born (His humanity), unto us a son is given (His deity)….” (Isa. 9:6a) We do not know how many of the listeners responded to Malachi’s appeal, but it’s quite obvious that enough did to become a part of a chosen fellowship that helped to usher in the New Testament. Yes, during those silent years, often called the intertestamental years, let it be known that although there was a lack of a prophetic voice, there were those who dared to make a difference. And although we sing of the birth of Jesus as having occurred amidst a “Silent Night,” symbolic of the end of that period of “silence,” let us be mindful that silence can be noisy. It has to be, otherwise we wouldn’t recognize it as silence, for it does have a “sound.” “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of rememberance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and thought upon his name” (3:16). All of this was happening during the so-called silent years. What a lesson urgently needed for today, that we heed the voice of God’s prophets, be obedient to His Word, and watch God’s blessings come down. Merry Chrismas.
38 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
40 December 2010 | Grace&Glory
Published on Dec 1, 2010
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