Anchor Up!

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Imagine: you are on a boat, floating from one direction to another, alone in the middle of the ocean. You look out and see others floating in the distance. Some are far; others are close. Maybe it’s your mother, sister, or friend. It could possibly be a colleague, partner, or former lover. You yell to them when your boat starts sinking. First it tips to the left. Then it tips to the right. The lower you sink, the louder you yell for help. You wave your hands and send flairs. Only a few people hear you, but no one will be able to reach you fast enough. Your resources are limited; your hope is waning. Your vessel is sinking lower and lower. What do you do when you’re stranded?

The spectrum of most human experiences ranges from the miraculous to the mundane. Occasionally, we all endure a situation that is torrential. It threatens to throw our journey off course. It is in those times of turmoil, and possibly when we’re the most complacent, that we feel especially vulnerable to losing our faith. Rest assured that the best way to stay the tide is to ANCHOR UP. God has blessings stored for us in heaven. In his letter to the burgeoning church of Ephesus, Paul writes, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). He confirms that believers in Christ are chosen to receive God’s grace, mercy and blessings.

Throughout the bible, many of God’s servants look high unto the Lord to find the solution to the world’s problems. When Moses was leading the disgruntled Israelites to the promised land, God called him to the mountain in Sinai. There God delivered the Ten Commandments, the laws for his people to live by. For generations, the lowly have looked high to derive their strength and power. David, a prominent warrior and king, wrote: “I sought the lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant their faces are never covered in shame” (Psalm 34:4-5). David felt triumphant, as he had escaped both King Saul and the perceived fear of Achish, king of Gath, by pretending to be crazy. Even King Nebuchadnezzar, a great king of Babylon, was forced to adopt the God of Judah. One night he had a terrible nightmare. He called on many priests to interpret his terrible vision. And only Daniel, his captive, could interpret a meaning according to the Most High. After enduring his fate to be driven away from his people and forced to graze the earth like cattle, the bible records: “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.” He prayed, “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:34). Jesus, himself, went up onto the mountain of Capernum to give his first sermon. There he explained the traits of true followers of God, explaining the beattitudes and telling many parables to expound on his message. He begins, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). We must be humble so that the Lord may fill us with his heavenly spirit and provide us with the strength to endure all trials and tribulations that rock our boat.

Sinking into fluid terrain is a symptom of conforming to the world. Most people spend very little time thinking about another, so earthly connections to human beings may only help you for a specific reason in a specific season. By relying on other people, you will inevitably experience times of loneliness or vulnerability. Find your solace and peace in the Lord. ANCHOR UP! The tumultuous ebb and flow of this lifetime only serves to build a bridge between you and the One source of truth and everlasting existence. When Jesus knew his time on this earth was coming to an end, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” (John 17:1). Like Jesus we must live according to God’s plan so that we may be lifted up. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” You will come to see that obedience to God’s will guarantees bountiful blessings beyond earthly measure. Always remember “The high is for the lowly!” (Lowly by Cece Winans).

Best  regards and many blessings to you and yours,

All Nations Baptist Church

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New Year, New You: Don’t Miss Your Cue!

As Christians we’re all guilty of doing what we think is right and we fall short. One of the most prominent spiritual leaders in American history, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, once said “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” God’s power is so divine that he has stayed the same since the beginning of time; and yet, he continues to create every living being to grow and mature in his image. The good news is that He never changes, but you can. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He provides the sturdy foundation upon which our spirits anchor.

Once we decide to live based on God’s truth, He has a plan predestined for each of us. On this New Year’s watch night, as we look backwards to remember from where the nation is coming on its journey forward we can refer to the great words of famous abolitionist and statesman, Frederick Douglass: “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others rather than to be false and incur my own abhorrence.” Truth was established in the beginning, but fraudulence has endured throughout the ages. The devil was there with Adam and Eve in the Garden, and he continues to perpetrate lies that cloud our judgment and keep us far from the blessings he has planned for us. For example, everyone in a choir is expected to sing at the right time. It’s your duty as a member, to know when it’s your turn and what note to sing. When choir members are in-sync, they can properly take the song from words with a beat to a for ministry. The second you let the devil step in and distract your thoughts from giving God praise in all that you do, you miss your cue and let God down. In life, people operate the same. One has to be aware of their cue, the moment when God gives you an opportunity to put your faith in him for the greater good.

Religiosity, acts of devotion to God, should be sincere. Not just playing your part in the body, but being a part of the body in mind and spirit. Angela Davis, activist and scholar, once stated, “It is important not only to have the awareness and to feel impelled to become involved, it’s important that there be a forum out there to which one can relate, an organization-a movement.” The Holy Spirit has endured through the ages to bring His people like out of turmoil, temptation, and defeat. God never intended for us to stay the same and he never meant for us to become self-righteous in our understanding of his expectations. Proverbs 3:5 states, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Together we can uplift his teachings and way of life to heal our families and communities. Men and women, young and old, can work together and make the presence of the Holy Spirit stronger across the world.  Just like one light doesn’t dim the other, one voice can’t mute another. When we choose to be complacent –to stop growing in the word, seeking perfection according to his will and rebuking negative cycles of the world –we threaten the vitality that He promised.

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No matter what anyone says or does, He sees the best in you. Famous social critic and author. James Baldwin is quoted as saying, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Despite the cold shoulders, or dry hugs, side eyes and mean mugs; be the change God wants to see. Let him change you.

 

 

Picture credit: National Museum of African American History and Culture

 

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Happy New Year!

All Nations Baptist Church

Excerpts from sermon on 11/13/16, “Don’t Worry”

Robin shivering in the snow, perched on a small branchOur nation has been in upheaval because of an election that [was] riddled with contention. It proved to be unusual. It [was] an election that left many people heart broken, hurting, pained, dejected, concerned and, most of all, full of worry. There was something in the circumstances that caused their senses to be enraged and even excessively fearful. There is rage in the land.  There is suspense in the land. There is insecurity in the land. There is unpredictability in our land. What can you say when you are in the midst of upheaval and you too feel the pain of worry?

In Matthew 6:25 it was Jesus who said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Worry by its very nature is intended to be bothersome, to get our juices flowing in a negative non-productive way. But worry never offers us a solution. It just keeps us in a cycle of fear, insecurity and uncertainty. Why would God make us with a capacity to worry? How can the bible and going to church on Sundays remedy this sense of anxiety and angst? What must I do when someone doesn’t have the same sensitivity and concern for humanity as I do? The government cannot rescue you or help you. There is no need of going to stand in long lines, dealing with bureaucracy, trying to get some assistance. The assistance we need now is greater than anything this world can give. Jesus was used to people worrying because everywhere he went they wanted something from him. Some folks worry if they’ll have children. Some folks worry whether they’ll be able to pay rent or have a place to live. Jesus came to help people just like [us] who had a host of worries.

The danger of having so much worry is that it is a distraction from being who you are called to be. God never made us to worry. He made us to depend on him for every worry. And if you have him, why worry? [The past] election introduced to us again that worry is a plague on our land, whether people admit it or not. The whole world is worried. Whatever the issue is, crisis always introduces worry. [Jesus] says in verse 26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” In other words, there are things all around you that God is taking care of. If you only watch how God is curing and taking care of other people just like you, maybe you can stop your worry.

Our thoughts were never designed to be worldly. The thoughts that you and I have are not the original thoughts that God had for us. Our thoughts were never to be for mamman, but all our thoughts were supposed to be on the kingdom. The world is designed to make you worry and concerned about what you don’t have compared to what someone else [does have]. You focus on you, and you miss glory. When you want to get out of a dilemma, escape what your mind is thinking about and turn your thoughts to him who can cure whatever the problem is. We put the intangible invisible kingdom out of our thoughts because it does not respond to our needs as immediately as material, natural resources do. We always dismiss God for things that we hear, see, taste with our senses; but, these are nothing more than your emotions getting the best of you. According to your character, God has been better to you than you deserve. If your thinking is so shallow that you can’t see God through the shadows, you are going to miss out and have worry in your life.

When God made Adam and Eve, they had an ideal living environment: ideal circumstances, no problems, no disappointments everything was perfected. God says of every tree in the garden you may freely eat. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of God and mammon, do not eat. The devil understood the pristine nature of Adam and Eve’s thought processes. They didn’t know anybody but God. The devil knew that if he could only get in Eve’s mind, he’d have her. He enticed her with food. Why do you dismiss him and invite everyone else in your thought life? Whenever you are excessive about the immense concerns in this world, it suggests that you have eaten from that tree. It suggests that you have taken a bite from the tree of knowledge. It wasn’t good knowledge it was knowledge from evil. Anytime you partake of that tree, you will worry. [Don’t miss the forest for the trees.] Look beyond and look to Him who makes mountains and hillsides, ways out of no ways, food on your table, wakes you up every day. When you look to Him–when you decide to give up the material for the superlative–then you get closer to putting off your worration. There is a wave of change that is coming, and you need to be anchored in the ship of Zion.

Be joyful, be merry and don’t worry!

Best regards and many blessings to you and yours,

The All Nations Baptist Church Family

 

Just for Women

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Every year in October, the women of All Nations Baptist Church come together to celebrate femininity in the Holy Spirit and ruminate on their purpose as daughters of God. As women, we must uphold the blood stained banner of Christ, despite the many trifling distractions that seek to disrupt our relationship with God. How can a Christian woman maintain an intimate relationship with God in this modern world?

Commit
Christian women should seek to build a committed relationship with God through prayer each and every day. Commitment is characterized by dependability, consistency, and accountability. But, commitments can be hard to honor when juggling work, children, partners, and faith.

Know that your faith should never come last on your list of priorities. In Colossians 3:23-24, Paul writes to the members of the church of Colosse, who fell prey to false teachings, stating ” Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord not for men, since you know that you can receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” All things are possible through God and all things should be done to honor His glory. No one on this earth can love you better than the Lord. God sent His Son to die for you. He loves you. He wants to save and strengthen you. How are you repaying His unconditional love? Is your commitment as enduring as His mercy?

Pray, sisters. Seek God first. Before you turn on the coffee pot or lay out your outfit for the day, ask the Lord to enter your home, your vessel, your spirit; so that you may be not only more like him, but one with him.

Sacrifice
Perfect submission is perfect delight. Sacrificial love for God guarantees that you will receive His blessings. Joyfully surrender yourself, your lifestyle and your purpose to God’s divine will. Build His kingdom. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Be a living sacrifice and choose to serve him. Choose life over death. Choose growth over destruction.

In Acts 13-16, Paul writes “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer of Purple cloth…who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home.”

Lydia was a merchant, a woman of means and upward mobility. She and her family were in a position to buy everything they needed and more. But, “what does it profit a man [or woman] to gain the world and lose his soul? ” (Mark 8:36).  Lydia was convicted and she committed to God, not only for herself but for her family as well. Lydia made the righteous decision to build her house, not by adding a new wing or renovating the kitchen but by allowing God to dwell within and occupy her heart, mind and spirit.

Rejoice
Find solace in God’s grace and mercy. Find joy in trusting him.”There remains, then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enter’s God’s rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, then, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:8). Give him all your hopes, dreams, fears, and cares. Satan is a liar. Your renewal is real; and therefore, so is God. Show Him everlasting love–pure in spirit and truth, committed and sacrificial–and be assured that His wonder working power will bless you with providential rewards forever and ever.

Be a blessing in all that you do.

Start today. Kneel down and pray.

Your sisters and keepers,
All Nations Women’s Day Ministry

Birth of a Christian

blog imageMany people believe the misconception that they can maintain spiritual balance while separating themselves from God’s people. And then there are those who have been taught that they can fast and pray, vehemently, for their petitions to be accepted by God. But, how many people follow through on what God reveals as his plan for them?

In the moment you learn that Metro transit has delays or you just got word that the requirements for your job are changing, are you able to identify God’s work? Unless you have allowed God’s word to penetrate the depths of your soul and clean out the mucky residue of sin, your answer is probably no.

Like newborn babies most of us can only see what’s in front of our face. Infantile in our approach to the world, we rarely comprehend abstractions placed in our path throughout the gauntlet of life. But, how can you receive insider information –be aware of the journey charted for you– if you aren’t hooked to the main line, anchored to God’s buoy?

Reading your bible is the best way to intimately understand God and His expectations. I Peter 2:1-2 states, “Therefore rid thyself of malice, deceit. hypocrisy envy and slander of any kind.” Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” Aside from the human body’s congenital need to get bigger, there is no maturation without acquiring knowledge. Similar to early childhood we should attune our senses to that which is most fulfilling and sustainable so that we may grow into His image.

In Hebrews 5:13-14 early Christians write, “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Disciples of Christ must read their Bible constantly with the diligence and conviction of warriors training for battle, eager to be molded into new creatures, better, more advanced versions.

Saints, God desires for us to have a relationship with him, forever and ever. Our thirst for truthful knowledge can only be quenched by His word, a renewable source overflowing with infinite opportunities to become acquainted with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Finding Freedom: Through Thick & Thin

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Great God, oh mighty! Lord, have mercy! July is supposed to be a month where America celebrates its independence and a value system that is anchored in freedom. However over the past 31 days, we have experienced a resurgence of white supremacy groups as they fight to persevere the racist legacy of the confederate flag, increasing skepticism towards law enforcement agencies as wide-spread misconduct looms amid the investigation of Sandra Bland’s untimely death , and mass shootings, such as that which occurred in the theater in Lafayette, are becoming common-place, tabloid fodder. Not to mention people endure turmoil that doesn’t make news headlines everyday. Unfortunately, it would seem, that America is imprisoned by its own history, stuck in a cyclical culture of corruption, a thick fog that enables hypocrisy and prevents the actualization of the pioneering intention for American to be a City upon a Hill. Jesus, be a fence!

The Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5-7

The Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5-7

The concept of America being a beacon of light to the rest of the world was borrowed from Jesus Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount”  told over days to Jews, Gentiles, Christians and political leaders on a hillside near Capernaum. During his sermon, Jesus compares believers to the salt of the Earth and the light of the world: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden,” he said (Matthew 5:14). While this country was built upon the slavery and exploitation of marginalized ethnic groups, America’s  democratic government made it seem exceptional to the rest of the world.

However today, America’s concept of freedom may have transformed into wide-spread individualization and materialism. In Ecclesiastes 1:9 King Solomon extols of the meaninglessness of a life focused on prosperity without God. He professes, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” During biblical times, just as today, greed, pride and prejudice permeated society. To his disciples in the new testament, Jesus asks, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) Jesus teaches that succumbing to worldly pleasures makes one vulnerable to society’s maleficence and denies he or she the opportunity to be a light to the world in the glorious kingdom of God.

There were many people that tried to deny Jesus Christ’s divinity and proclaimed his teachings heresy. Saul, whose names became Paul after his conversion, was one of these men. Saul “breathed murderous threats” against Jesus, consequently offending God. One day Jesus spoke to him and gave him instructions to journey to Damascus. After this encounter Saul’s sight was gone but, he followed through with God’s plan. Late Jesus sent his disciple, Ananias, to restore his sight and fill him with the Holy Spirit. Miraculously his sight was restored. He became a believer and an instrument to spread the gospel. He proved to be a faithful servant of the Lord spreading light throughout the land.

Saul’s story illustrates that the murky gloom of ritualistic traditions and mob mentality – often endorsed by various societal institutions- can distort the light of the Holy Spirit. How can one break free of society’s bondage and emerge from the darkness? Where can one find strength to hang on through the thick and thin? Throughout history the light of God has always existed whether man sought to be in the Lord’s presence or not. When explaining the significance of the birth of Christ, John the Baptist notes “The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:6) Because of man’s denial, God was compelled to send his only begotten son. Probably one of the most important scriptures to understanding the Christian faith is when Jesus reveals, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 4:16).

So how can one find freedom? Be faithful, be renewed, be a light.

God bless,

All Nations Baptist Church

June is Black Music Month!

June is known for cook-outs, weddings, and… Black Music Month! Be honest, did you know that? Many people don’t know that June is dedicated to honoring African Americans’ contributions to this country’s musical history and culture. You also may not be aware of the long struggle that took place in order to get formal recognition of musical heritage through the U.S. Government. Three music industry executives, Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams, began lobbying for a formal celebration of black music in 1979. In response, President Jimmy Carter hosted a White House reception to commemorate the efforts of black artists throughout America’s history. While there were annual celebrations hosted throughout the country—even at the White House—for decades, there would not be official recognition of the monthly theme until US-Representative Chaka Fattah sponsored House Resolution 509 in year 2000. In 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed:

“The music of our Nation has always spoken to the condition of our people and reflected the diversity of our Union. African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters have made enormous contributions to our culture by capturing the hardships and aspirations of a community and reminding us of our shared values. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we honor the rich musical traditions of African-American musicians and their gifts to our country and our world.”

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From a biblical standpoint, some may wonder why a secular holiday is so important to Christianity. In America, “black music” is rooted in gospel and spiritual tradition. President Obama further asserts:

“From the cadenced hums of spirituals to the melodies of rhythm and blues, African-American music has been used to communicate, to challenge, to praise, and to uplift in times of both despair and triumph. The rhythmic chords embedded in spirituals have long expressed a deep faith in the power of prayer, and brought hope to slaves toiling in fields. The soulfulness of jazz and storytelling in the blues inspired a cultural renaissance, while the potent words of gospel gave strength to a generation that rose above the din of hatred to move our country toward justice and equality for all.”

Gospel music has stirred the soul of listeners, spurring much-needed reflection and unification, through this country’s history. Intended for communicating a a divine message to seemingly abject slaves, gospel music provided freedom to those who had none. It convinced the hopeless that there would be better days. And, Today, it continues to provide solace —which may not be so easily found in other Christian genres—for all people.

For Christians, specifically, God expects us to sing his praises. Throughout the bible, there are hundreds of scriptures even full chapters dedicated to the importance of singing the exaltation of God. Psalm 100:1-2 states, 1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Spiritual principle compels Christians to spread the good news of God’s grace and mercy, joyfully. In I Corinthian 14, Paul is explaining the importance of true worship to the congregation in Corinth, a church which was plagued by sin and inequity. His letter states, 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. Singing to the Lord is just as important as praying to him and requires equal conviction.

Similar to our world today, the city-state of Corinth was a bustling metropolis filled with people of all different backgrounds and belief systems. Paul makes it clear to Christians that it order to spread God’s word and combat negative influences they must confront secular society with unwavering faith, joyfully proclaiming the true word of God, untainted by colloquial interpretations. Celebrating black music is an opportunity for  Christian believers to exalt the highest praises to our Lord and remind the world how the gospel genre remains one of this nation’s most influential styles of music.

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96: 1-3).

The Importance of Black History Month from a Biblical Perspective

Understanding the importance of Black History Month from a biblical perspective suggests an inquiry into the worth, value, and significance of an ethnic group in God’s broader and ultimate plan for humankind. What is the greatest value God assigns to people of different racial hue, creed and color  to communicate His divine will? Many of the references made in the Bible about Black people involve us in the midst of cultural struggle or some disadvantaged, oppressed position. The Cushitic culture consisted of mostly dark skin people known for their historical presence in bondage or in servitude. On the other hand, there are some instances in biblical history where people of color held highly esteemed positions. However, when weighed in the balance, there are a disproportionate number of examples of blacks in servitude compared to those in regal positions.

As a Post-modern prophet, deeper theological questions come to mind when pondering the legacy of darker skinned people from biblical times to this present hour. How long must Black people be depicted as inferior? How Long? After all, God who is the Holy Spirit has a record of using  people of varying skin hues and colors to work His divine plan since the beginning of time. What does scripture indicate about a people who are seemingly excluded from God’s plan of Grace based on their ethnicity, and skin color? What does it say about God if He permits people of color to be viewed throughout history as a suffering, oppressed and burdened people? Is Jesus not the savior of the entire human race? In the bible, can we find dignity of a people, who have been written out of history or historically marginalized? How can history be properly depicted when the majority of Bible commentators and European artists rarely sit down behind their  canvass and paint, with lively and vibrant colors, a powerful and potent picture of Blacks in the Bible.

The exclusion of Blacks from being a positive presence in the Bible has led some in the disenfranchised black community to be skeptical of the Bible’s relevance as well as garner a healthy suspicion about the role of the Black church. Black History Month is not merely a time to remind people of the inestimable contributions of blacks in America. Biblically speaking, it is significant to note that the experiences of Black people demonstrate more solemn and sacred purposes. It is important to note the fact that Zipporah, Moses Midianite wife,  was Black and so was her father Jethro. Lucius, Barnabas and Simeon of Antioch were men of Black lineage. Acts 13:1 says, “Now there were in the church at Antioch certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. Niger refers to “Black” African nations which resided around the region of Niger in biblical times. Nimrod, the son of Cush and the first on earth to become a mighty warrior, was a Black man. According to Gen. 10:8-12, Nimrod was also credited with constructing and establishing a city government in the Mesopotamia region. Phinehas the grandson of Aaron is said to  have been a “Nubian” high priest. Also, the Queen of Sheba, an Ethiopian, held high rank under Solomon’s reign. The biblical record is replete with the presence of Black people.

If perhaps for no other reason, black history is necessary for those who do and do not read the bible carefully to paint a different picture than mainstream society and give a varied perspective, providing positive characterizations of black people’s existence. During this year’s Black History Month we should feel great pride in knowing that our God is no respecter of one person. In Acts 10:34-35, Brother Peter had to come to the conclusion that God shows no partiality. Whoever seeks God with reverence and commits to his will is important to God and His eternal plan. Many Jews in Peter’s time supposed that God favored them over all other ethnic groups, some had the false impression that their ancestry was a sign of superiority. But when our God, who is the Holy Spirit, considers the people made by His hands, the walls and barriers come down so that all of God’s people, Black, White, Brown, Yellow, Red, etc. fully understand the one important aspect of God’s character which is He does not favor and has never favored one race over another. He loves all people in all times.

Be blessed,
Reverend Dr. James Coleman,
Pastor, All Nations Baptist Church

#OurLivesMatter because #AllLivesMatter

The third Monday in the month of January has been a national holiday, marked to commemorate the legacy of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr since 1983. Many people take the day off and others use it as a “day on,” to fortify the moral fiber of our nation by engaging in service projects and helping community members. As the year continues, we all should work towards keeping  Dr. King’s dream alive and integrating it into our own aspirations for America’s future.

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The social events of the past few months concerning the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York give pause to the conscience of righteous people. The deaths of African American males without the opportunity of the trial to hear all sides of the story leading up to the deaths is problematic. The church community according to scripture, in dealing with grave matters of this type, must “fast and pray.” Pray for strength to remain non-violent and fast from the materialism, over-consumption, commercialization, and systemic corporate powers, even police powers, which neutralize our will and ability to seek justice.

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Paul explained to the Romans that law is a powerless force when compared to the savior, Jesus Christ.

“Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?…  4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh,[a] the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7: 1-6).

Because of Christ’s divine gift of rebirth, Christians are ultimately bound to our relationship to God, above all. Only through manifesting the Holy Spirit can we fully demonstrate love, pleasing in the eyes of God, and help America become a true beacon of light for the world.

God is a God of justice and requires each us to speak truth to corrupt powers and demand their accountability. The reason that Dr. King’s dream resonates over 50 years later is because it’s implications are much more significant than the passing of a law or election of a black president. Standing on a platform of godly love, his words transformed the imagination of the entire nation. People realized that the stain of the status quo didn’t have to taint the nation’s future. On a grassroots level, Dr. King is the consummate advocate, demonstrating effective strategies and techniques for mobilizing the masses and achieving change. Despite his legacy of activism, today, African Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty, homelessness, unemployment and inequitable educational opportunities. The movement coined #BlackLivesMatter has renewed a sense of communal identity and united people of all races, cultures and ages, to ensure that all men are treated equal in this country. People of God and goodwill have a responsibility to confront ungodly corruption, peacefully. Ministry work should have an impact beyond immediate church congregations. Seek to find a cause where you can use God’s love and sew seeds of justice.

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“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

God bless,

All Nations Baptist Church

DC Rallies Against Police Brutality

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Over two weeks after Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer, Darren Wilson, Ferguson, Missouri has finally settled from a melee, which erupted throughout the city. Peaceful protests have spread from this community– which was virtually off of the map until the recent tragedy– across the world. “Hands up, don’t shoot” is the mantra, #dontshoot is the soundbite.

While Michael Brown’s death is at the forefront of our minds, many people are recognizing a larger social paradigm under which the rate of police brutality has, seemingly, increased and the value of human life has declined. While a comprehensive collection of statistics on the abuse of power by law enforcement agents is most likely a good sociological endeavor, the facts remain that there is a growing mistrust of law enforcement among US citizens, social media being the best resource for a collection of data on this matter. The question becomes how can Americans regain their trust in the people that are charged with protecting their most basic human rights and physical safety? The answer: we must demand change.

In the nation’s capitol local organizations have rallied against unlawful police enforcement tactics and brutality. This past Friday, All Nation’s own Pastor, Reverend Dr. James Coleman was a guest speaker on the radio show, Think On These Things, hosted by Lyndia Grant, giving a poignant commentary on how social justice can be restored in Ferguson as well as nationally.

In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul stated, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Everyone should feel empowered to share their perspective and participate in peaceful efforts to ensure that justice is won for any citizen who has ever been abused, harassed, or victimized by the police. It may not be immediate and swift, but it can not happen without the love, faith and commitment of caring individuals. For more information on opportunities to get involved, click below.

Black Youth Project 100

CODEPINK: Women for Peace

Rally for Justice Against Police Brutality

Blessings from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

All Nations Baptist Church

The church where Christ and community connect.