Saturday, January 11, 2014

Remembering Rev. Dr. Albert Southall

I will forever have memories of the Rev. Dr. Albert Southall who gave me my first invitation out of the state of Tennessee to preach..... at Evangelist Baptist Church in Port Hueneme, California. It was my first plane ride, hotel, big honorarium, $1000 on Sunday morning 27 years ago. He was ahead of time with the most progressive church in the county. He had a choir that followed him across the state almost weekly. They song on base, for the Kiwanis clubs, in front of all races, and with the Spirit of God. Rev. Dr. Albert Southall believed it me so much and put the efforts and support behind me that would cause me to believe in myself. 
Twenty-seven years later, Five degrees later, Five churches later, hundreds of invitations later, tens of states later, board member of the National Baptist Convention USA INC, later,  President of the Paradise Baptist State Convention of Arizona later, faculty of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education later, speaker for countless number of citywide revivals, conferences, state conventions, and local churches, I still remember and appreciate Rev. Dr. Albert Southall who gave me my break into mainline ministry..... Rest in Peace.....
Pastors my age...... To Whom are we reaching out? In who are we investing time, energy and resouces? Reach out to at least one young minister....If you can.... This is a different breed out here from us......We loved, respected, admired and appreciated the older pastors. Twenty-five years and up puts you in the "Older Pastor" catergory in my blog.  Pastors, if you can.... get one... put him/her under your wings...and help launch them into successful ministry as the Lord has blessed us; that will give them the chance to fulfill their calling and be fulfilled in the process. And Rev. Dr. Albert Southall was my first introduction to the American Baptist Churches. He always wanted me to be a part of the American Baptist Churches. Rev. Dr. Albert Southall, I am now a part of the American Baptist Churches. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

It's December 25th, Christmas Day 2013 is here. Father God we thank you for baby Jesus. During the course of life, we learn to appreciate and love and honor and worship Jesus Christ more and more. The true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We give gifts as a symbol of the wise men bestowing gifts to Christ on his day of birth. We come together to worship his birth much like the ones who gathered at the stable. The actual date that Jesus was born is irrelevant, what matters is that we have a specific date to celebrate his birth. We share our happiness, love, and caring with others like they did when He was born. The Christmas tree lights represent the stars in the sky and, of course, the angel on the top is the angel who proclaimed Christ's birth and the star symbolizes the star the wise men followed. 
 Yes, Lord! Yes Lord, from the bottom of my heart, to the dept of my soul, Yes Lord, Completely Yes, My soul says Yes! And Lord I love you, I love! You have been the rock upon which I have had to stand upon this year like never before in my life! And you have been there for me when I felt like no one else was there! Cassietta George said it best when she said, "You were there all the time.!" Yes you were
         I say to all of my returning Blog readers, Merry Christmas. And thank God for Jesus. Do you remember when the old folks used to say, Thank God for Jesus? Wow, How well I do and now I too, "Thank God for Jesus." Also, I Thank God for family. Love your family, at the end of the day, that's all you have. I Thank God for my Church. I have a wonderful congregation. One wonderful group of people. Of course I have some people who are challenging! But so did Jesus when He was here on earth. 
      Christmas brings people together. It is a time to give thanks, gifts, smiles, rejoice in song, love, care about each other, we help the poor and many donate toys for children who would not otherwise have any Christmas at all, and we forget about the rat-race of work, bills, and other worries. 
It is a time for peace, reflection, and celebration with our families and friends. 
And if for some reason you have no friends or family, then celebrate Jesus' birth and your life.
And if you don't believe in Jesus, celebrate your life because it is worth something to someone. 
Merry Christmas to each and everyone one of you! May it be the best you have ever had!    

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas Eve

     And when they were come into the house, they [the wise men] saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshiped Him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2)
Each of the participants involved with Christ’s birth—Mary and Joseph, the inn keeper, the angels, shepherds, and wise men—has much to teach us.
Although there is no scriptural basis for stating dogmatically that there were three wise men, the fact that three distinct gifts are mentioned has given rise to this traditional idea. 
Master artists throughout the centuries have depicted three wise men on camels as one of their favorite nativity themes.
The number of wise men is not important, but the fact that they persisted in following the light that was given them until they found the object of their search, that they responded in worship, and that they returned home to share their experience with others—all has much to tell us. 
The gifts presented to the Christ-child were both significant and appropriate: gold, symbolic  of His kingly reign; frankincense, symbolic of His priestly ministry; myrrh, symbolic of our redemption through His death. 
It is important that our gifts of love and devotion be offered to Christ after we have first found Him and then have bowed in true adoration before Him.
    May God fill your home with His peace and joy this Christmas. 

Monday, December 23, 2013


And He will be their peace. (Micah 5:5)
God is still in command and in His own time will cause the right to triumph and will bring peace and good will once more. The beautiful chiming bells of Christmas reassure us of this important truth.
I heard the bells on Christmas day their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how, as the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom had rolled along th’ unbroken song of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Yet pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day—a voice, a chime, a chant sublime of peace on earth, good will to men!

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. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them.......

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. (Isaiah 49:13)
This sprightly carol reminds us, Christmas should be the most joyous season of the year for all true Christians. Our lives should be filled with gratitude to God for the immeasurable love shown to us in the gift of His Son. Out of joyous hearts we should be exuberant in “heart and soul and voice!” The birth of Christ won for us “endless bliss” by opening the way to heaven and conquering our fear of death through His assurance of eternal life.

      The festive spirit of Christmas should not fade away as the holiday passes. The joy and peace that Christ brings to our lives should enable us to be continually rejoicing Christians, regardless of the circumstances. The blessings that came to us on Christmas morn have illuminated our lives forever! 
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably  to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. 6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Saturday Before Christmas

I'll tell you about it Shortly!
But for right now... It's a long day! Headed out to Breakfast with Charlie Wells and the Voices of Clouds, then to the Mount Olivet Baptist Church Christmas Brunch, then to the Gospel Crusaders' Christmas Party at a restaurant in town. It's a lot of love being generated, lots of gifts being exchanged, and lots of food being eaten. Hmmmm, "What's Love Got to Do With It?" EVERYTHING!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Inez Andrews "Passing" Anniversary

Rickey Jr and I having what would be our LAST SUPPER with the Iconic Inez Andrews in Rochester, NY
Bloggers I'm back after a long absence. Today is an emotional, happy and sad day for me. It is the anniversary of the passing of my dear godmother Inez Andrews. I loved Inez Andrews to life and she loved my family and me the same. Very seldom, I think that it happens in a lifetime that you have a person of whom you can tell everything and trust them unconditionally. Inez Andrews was one of those people in my life! It was nothing to call her late at night or very early in the morning. She would wake up, set you out for calling her, and then be all ears for you with the most Godliest wisdom ever. 

Lagretta, Gail, Richard, Mark, Wendell, Sue, and Casey.... I know you miss your mother. She was the Rock in the family! Just remember all the wonderful counsel that she gave to you as she was mothering you; Sometimes even from the road as she traveled abroad sharing her ministry with the world. She was never too busy to be there for you!  I pray that we will all gather on South Horne Street in Chicago one of these days and listen to her music, eat, laugh and have a precious and invaluable time remembering MOM just as she was. I still hear her as she called and said, "Harvey, wake up, I got something for you and I want you to preach it." I said, "What is it Moma?" She said, "Lord I don't want to, but I will."  Then she went on to put meat on that subject. "Lord I don't want to turn the other cheek, but I will, Lord I don't want to love my enemies, but I will, Lord I don't want to pray for the folks who spitefully use me, but I will."  

The only way I could get her to eat in the hospital during her last days, was prepare the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and broccoli and prepare to give it to her on the fork.... She said, "I don't want it"  I said, Moma, Remember what you told me.... "Lord I don't want to" and she finished it by saying, "but I will." And she ate all of her food.  When I got the call from Lagretta telling me that Moma Inez had passed, and that I would have to come to Chicago as soon as possible, I found myself saying, "Lord I don't want to but I will."
Rest in peace, Moma Inez (High Priestess) Andrews." 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Notes from the American Baptist Biennial Session - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Some of you know that I attended the American Baptist Biennial Session in San Juan, Puerto Rico a few days ago... There are just too many notes to list them at one time. I will list them ALL periodically, but as for now..Here are some notes taken from one of the sessions. You must understand that these are notes, and some of them were simply bullet-type points. I hope you can make sense out of it!

The Facilitator Referenced Reverend Leardrew Johnson...
He Referenced Mount Olivet Baptist Church/Rochester
He talked about Transformation – "I wonder what they have done differently?"
They were singing the “Glory Patri”
They called it their “tradition” they were married to it….
He hummed the song out……. Asked questions about it…..No answer!
It was like a marriage….Gloria Patri – MOBC just kind of went together….
Upon Research - He Discovered that the tradition was handed down from the Jewish Synagogue. It's more of a Catholic practice than a practice of ours….. We don’t know…We get it…. Call it “tradition” and die on its behalf….and don’t know what we died for or of…

Many references to the tradition of the Glory Patri and its relevance and its understanding…

Who understands it….? Why?
These are the questions that this generation is asking…
And if you say, “Because we’ve always done it like that…” they leave…
They go where relevance and understanding is….
There is a generation gap….
There is a war/struggle between the two….
There must be a coming together of the two….
There must be a relinquishing of power in the worship experience….
You can feel the worship wars on Sundays…..
Young people won’t fight for it…they go where it is offered……
Notice…we have Young folks in some churches and Old folks in others…..
Which one is a growing church….?
Which one is a dying church?
What do you do about it?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June - Transforming Experience

June has been an awesome month in the life of our church. On the first Sunday; soon to be Reverend Doctor Irie Session, a Doctor of Ministries Candidate of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School was our speaker... She spoke from Nehemiah 4; "It All in Your Mind." And did she have a wonderful message? Oh my gosh she did. The second Sunday in June was what has come to be known in the life of our church as Baccalaureat Sunday; traditionally known as 12th Grade Sunday or Youth Day or Seniors Day.. At the hand of our Most Capable Youth Pastor, Winterborne LaPucelle Jones, an historical service was launched in the life of our church. Baccalaureat Sunday. Youth Pastor Jones delivered a stirring message that yet resignates with each of us who was present for the service. The third Sunday was Father's Day and members of my staff suggested that one of my many Fathers in the Ministry should speak for us; thus, Fathers Day. Reverend William Bunton of Buffalo, New York has been a Father in my life the entire twenty-five years of my preaching and pastoral ministry. He and Mom Wanda Bunton came from Buffalo and were our weekend guest. It was so wonderful having them with us. He preached a stirring message to Fathers and encouraged us to be faithful to God, our Families and our church. The fourth Sunday was another historical event in our church. It was a real YOUTH DAY. It was one done with creativity, imagination, transformation, energy, dance, drama and excitement. Youth Pastor Winterborne LaPucelle Jones at the direction of the Holy Spirit and Senior Pastor produced an amazing service. He also rendered an amazing message. I am thankful yet to God, for a wonderful church, a great growing stafff and for the transforming, creative and spirited experience thats unfolding each week in our church.