Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Are You Walking in the Power of the Resurrected Lord?"

This past Sunday, Christians all over the world celebrated the empty tomb. We proclaimed with exuberance, “HE IS RISEN IN DEED!” While I have no doubt that we as clergywomen believe, preach, teach and testify that Christ is risen in deed, I wonder how many of us truly walk in the power of the Resurrection.

During Holy week, I heard Dr. Tony Evans say, “Most of us are being crucified between two thieves – the past and the future!” For some, the hurts, the wounds, the scars of the past continue to shackle their feet such that they find it difficult to trust or to venture out beyond a proverbial self inflicted box – perpetually robbed of freedom, peace and fulfillment. For some female clergy, oppression, closed doors, seemingly concrete ceilings and discrimination in the past and maybe even the present has limited their ability to hope for the future – perpetually robbed of the joy associated with holy anticipation and responsible preparation.

For some, they are so fearful about what lay ahead, what options will they have if they quit their job and go to seminary, how will people receive their gifts, how will accepting the call impact their ability to find a mate, how long do they have to remain in an undesirable pastorate, we can each put in our own issues – you get the picture!

While all of the above are very, very real concerns for many female clergy, last Sunday challenges us to remember some important truths…

- When Jesus got up from the grave, He got up with ALL POWER IN HIS HANDS! Through Him, we are more than conquerors. No matter what comes against us, God makes EVERYTHING work together for our good – the bitter and the sweet (Romans 8:28-39)

- We must stop trying to wrestle against spiritual oppression with human weaponry. We have mighty weapons that are able to pull down strongholds in the spirit. We must learn to bring our thoughts in line with God’s Word through faith and obedience to Christ
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

- We must dress up in the whole armor of God daily (Ephesians 6:10-18)

- We must remember that no weapon formed against us will prosper when we walk in obedience to the Lord (Isaiah 54:17)

- Concerning “closed doors,” we must remember that our gifts will make room for us (Proverbs 18:16) No human can block what God has prepared for you!

- Jesus said don’t worry about tomorrow – we have enough troubles today! (Matthew 6:24-34)

- You can’t press forward if you are constantly looking back to the past (Philippians 3:12-14)

- Remember Paul’s admonition to govern your thoughts, follow godly examples and walk in the ways of righteousness and the God of peace will be with you, giving you peace that goes beyond understanding (Philippians 4: 4-19)

- Finally, remember God’s road map for true success (Joshua 1:8-9; Psalm 1)

Sisters, elect today to walk in the power of the Resurrected Lord. He has given us what we need to prevail – walk in victory!

Would you like to share a word of testimony to help sisters to walk in the power of the resurrected Lord? Are you struggling to understand or to claim that power over your life circumstances? Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shepastor Highlights Article, "Faithful to the End: The Women at the Cross by Kathi Macias"

This is “Holy Week,” a time that Christians set aside to remember Jesus’ final days upon the face of this earth – a week that moved swiftly from “Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD,” to “Crucify Him!” As we approach “Good Friday,” many churches are preparing to have “Seven Last Words (or phrases)” services, expounding in dramatic form upon Jesus’ utterances as He hung on Calvary. We remember, this week, more than any other season during the year that Jesus is the precious lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. More and more, women are claiming their rightful place in the commemoration of this sacred event. Clergywomen are delivering powerful, creative and thought provoking messages taken from Jesus' last words.

Today’s Shepastor highlights the women who centuries ago stood at the foot of the cross, weeping and deeply mourning Jesus’ brutal death. In the article, Faithful to the End: The Women at the Cross, Crosswalk Contributor, Kathi Macias paints a picture of how the women may have processed their pain while remaining faithful to the end.

Read further and be blessed!

Shepastor Highlights: Faithful to the End: The Women at the Cross by Kathi Macias, Contributor

Through the centuries and across the continents and cultures, women have walked in the shadow of Eve's curse, pronounced upon her by God Himself: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16).

Even today, in many cultures women are subjugated to lowly positions simply because they were born female. And for those of us who are mothers, we can certainly relate to the sorrow and pain that can sometimes accompany childbirth and child-rearing. But the Crucifixion brings us all—male and female, black and white, old and young, rich and poor—to equal ground when we kneel at the foot of the Cross.

When our Lord hung on that Cross, paying the price for sin and spanning the great divide between heaven and earth, women who loved Him stood nearby, watching and no doubt weeping. Though they realized He was different from anyone else who had ever lived and had so hoped He was the promised Messiah, it seems even His mother may have questioned the outcome of the horrible event they witnessed.

Salome, wife of well-to-do fisherman Zebedee and mother of the "Sons of Thunder," James and John, was one of those women who stood watch during that cruel execution. How she must have rehearsed her many memories of Jesus and the interaction they had over the years!

It is believed that Salome, whose name means "peaceful," and her family were friends of Jesus even before He began His public ministry at the age of thirty. Very possibly Jesus visited them in their home, where Salome cooked for Him. And when He did launch out into public ministry, Salome gave up a life of relative comfort to follow Him, serving Him both in actions and financial support. She believed in Him to the point that she interceded with Him on behalf of her sons, asking for a special place for them in His future Kingdom. With Jesus hanging, beaten and bloody on the Cross, what would happen to her sons now?

And then there was Mary Magdalene, the woman who loved much because she was forgiven much. Many have mistakenly identified her as a prostitute before she came to Jesus, but there is no historical evidence to prove that claim. In fact, there is ample evidence that a confusion of the many "Mary's" of the New Testament led to the common misconception.

Mary Magdalene is clearly identified in the Scriptures as the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. How grateful she must have been, and how quickly and completely she fell into line to follow her Deliverer! Mary Magdalene is not only seen at the foot of the Cross, maintaining her devotion to her Lord to the end, but following to the sepulcher to confirm where He was buried. Then, on that great Resurrection morning, Mary Magdalene was the first to arrive at the open tomb and to proclaim to the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead. Her joy was coming—but her grief was still overwhelming as she stood vigil on Golgotha.

And then there was Mary of Nazareth, wife (and most likely widow by then) of Joseph the carpenter. Whose broken heart could begin to compare to that of the woman who had carried the very Son of God in her womb and brought Him forth into the world in a lowly stable in Bethlehem? This grieving mother had raised her firstborn Son to adulthood, knowing that He was unique and yet anticipating the fulfillment of the prophecy that a sword would pierce her soul (Luke 2:35)—and now the time had come. How could she bear to stand on that blood-soaked ground and watch the agony of her beloved Child, knowing there was nothing she could do or say to help Him?

Did Mary know that after the Crucifixion would come the Resurrection? Quite possibly, to some degree, she did. But even if she knew it specifically, down to every minute detail, would it make her current pain any less? How does any mother stand by and watch her child suffer, regardless of the hoped-for outcome?

And yet they were there, all three of them. Were others present as well? Certainly, though only a handful are mentioned by name in the scriptural accounts. The "disciple whom He [Jesus] loved," believed by many to be John, the younger son of Zebedee and Salome, was there and was commissioned by Jesus Himself to care for His mother, Mary, after His death. The rest of the disciples, according to the Scriptures, had fled for fear of being arrested as Christ's followers. But the women didn't run away. Was it because they were braver or more committed than the men who had followed Jesus? Possibly, though it may have been that the women weren't as likely to be arrested. Regardless, they were there, and they remained faithful…not just until Christ's death, but even afterward.

On Sunday morning, they showed up at the sepulcher, ready to anoint His body, but instead found that the huge stone that had sealed the tomb was rolled away. Jesus was no longer in the grave, but had risen…just as He said! The women who had mourned His death would now have the privilege and joy of announcing His Resurrection.

Women. Living in the shadow of Eve's curse…or redeemed by the promise and fulfillment of Christ's Resurrection? From the Garden of Eden to the hill of Golgotha to the open tomb—and to our very hearts—comes the Easter message that the ground is level at the foot of the Cross, that forgiveness is ours for the taking, that Resurrection Life is available to all who will choose to walk in it, and that our place around the throne of God has been sealed by the Blood of Jesus for all eternity.

Hallelujah! He has risen indeed!

Kathi Macias ( is the author of thirty books, including Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today (New Hope Publishers, 2009) and its Spanish edition, Madres de la Biblia Hablan a las Madres de Hoy (Casa Creacion, March 2010).

Has your church or ministry done something special to highlight the women at the Cross? Do you have some special thoughts or insights that you would like to share concerning their role in the life and work of Jesus? Post a comment or send me an email at

Have a blessed Holy week and a glorious Resurrection morning!

Until Next Wednesday,
In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Refresh, Renew, Revive, Rebuild: Spring, Summer and Fall Conference Opportunities for Women in Ministry, 2011"

From time to time, we all need a refreshing, renewing, rebuilding and reviving experience. Today’s Shepastor highlights several events that are taking place around the country for women in ministry – Spring, Summer and Fall events are available. Read further to see all of the wonderful opportunities the Lord has given!


4 The Kingdom Ministries, Inc.

2011 Women’s Empowerment Experience
May 20-21

Friday opening service at St. James; other events at the Cleveland Marriott Airport Hotel
Information may be found on line at on our facebook page at

Registration is at the low price of $75.00 and includes all worship services, empowerment sessions, Empowerment Luncheon, grand reception on Friday, breakfast on Saturday, conference bag, materials and a special gift. Our opening preacher is Rev. Dr. Gina Stewart, Senior Pastor of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee.

Pastor Mila P. Cooper, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 4 the Kingdom Ministries Inc., is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves as the Pastor of Mt. Moriah A.M.E. Church in Maple Heights, Ohio.


American Baptist Women’s Ministries of PA and DE Present:
2011 Women’s Conference June 10-12, 2011
Shippenburg University, Shippenburg, PA

Keynote Speaker: Lois Olmstead
Lois is an acclaimed humorist, breast cancer survivor, and author of 4 books. Lois’s trust in God gives inspiration to a number of topics that deal with sharing and building your faith, relationships, and turning bad times into blessing.

Saturday Evening Entertainment: Judy Smitley
Presenting “the Shunammite Women” - The story of an unnamed woman who used the simple gifts of generosity and hospitality to open the floodgates of blessing on herself and her family. She didn’t allow the disappointments of her life to keep her from serving God.

Devotion Leader: Rev. Wynetta Dukes

American Baptist Women of PA/DE Personal Development Regional Coordinator
Registration fee: $135.00.
Includes 5 meals, 2 nights lodging, exciting and spirit-filled weekend with old and new friends!!!!

Conference Projects:
Box Tops for Education (recipient to be determined)
Philadelphia Race Track Ministry

Cindy Martin
Coordinator of Conference
AB Women's Ministries of Pa & De
9345 Palmer Rd., North East, PA 16428

Visit: for more information

"Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry"
A Conference for Female Clergy
Friday, August 26- Saturday, August 27, 2011
Hilton Hotel, Beachwood, Ohio

Sponsored by Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland
In Partnership with American Baptist Home Missions Societies

Would you like to meet and network with other female clergy?

Do you need a refreshing, renewing and empowering experience
as you continue to serve in the ministry?

Are you praying for a greater understanding
of God's Call upon your life?

Then the “Empowering and Encouraging Women In Ministry”
Conference is for you!

Come and be refreshed, encouraged, enlightened and equipped to continue the work the Lord has blessed you to do.

For more information, visit the WTIM website at and click on "Upcoming Events"

FALL 2011

Women in Ministry Conference,
“Bringing Out the Best in You”
October 13-15; Detroit, MI
New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church
The Reverend Dr. Wilma R. Johnson, Host Pastor

For more information visit:

Women of Excellence With Purpose Presents:
"Our Time Together Women's Weekend"
With Founder and CEO, Minister Carol Shannon
October 28-30, 2011

For More information, email Minister Shannon at:

Until next Wednesday,
In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Get Out of Your Own Way!" Article Highlights From Rev. Saundra L. Washington

Proverbs 23:7, KJV declares, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If we are not careful, our thought patterns can cause us to drown. Painful images from our past, regret, even past victories can hold us captive if we spend too much time focused on what’s behind rather than what God has in store for us, ahead. We as clergywomen are not exempt from uhealthy thought patterns.

Today’s Shepastor highlights an insightful article written by the Reverend Saundra L. Washington, D.D., an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. Rev. Washington tells us frankly to “Get out of our own way,” take responsbility for our thought patterns and determine to think with a renewed mind.

Read further and be blessed!

Shepastor Highlights: The Reverend Saundra L. Washington, D.D.’s article,
“Get Out of Your Way!”

We hear a lot these days about accepting responsibility for our actions and it is about time we did. Time is out for casting blame and pointing righteous fingers at others to cover up for our own shortcomings and acting out behaviors. We have got to "nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud" if for no other reason than our own mental health.

So, let's begin by acknowledging that our thoughts trigger our emotions or feelings; our emotions stir up our desires; and then our desires produce our actions. So if we could catch our negative thoughts when they first occur, we could halt the whole chain reaction before it even begins and be successful in preventing things from getting out of hand.

Now, since negative thoughts are the culprit, to get out of the way of yourself, you need to take a good, long, hard look at your negative, growth stunting, crippling, self-defeating thoughts.

Getting out of the way of yourself is not simply changing your thoughts, but actually deleting all old, negative thoughts and replacing them with new positive ones. As the Apostle Paul asserted, you must "renew your mind." You must be willing to sacrifice your own self-centered thinking. Hal Lindsey points out that "to renew" means to exchange one thing for another. In other words, when we delete and replace, we're exchanging our thoughts. If we're not willing to yield, set aside and relinquish our habitual way of thinking, then our thinking process will remain negative, our lives un-transformed, and our behavior undisciplined and enslaved to whimsical thoughts.

There are many reasons why "mind renewal" is critical. It is within our power to discern everything that happens to us from a spiritual vantage point and not get bogged down and buried by our own negative thoughts and feelings or by what we can "see" going on around us. If we can see with spiritual eyes, then we'll be able to "soar" above our circumstances, our problems, and our trials and not get buried under them.

From a realistic and practical perspective, it takes constant discipline to not give in to the negative thoughts and emotions that are trying to crush and drown us. Often, it seems like it would just be easier to give in and let our own feelings rule. But, you know what happens if we do that? Negativity is spawned and we become negatively toxic. And, like any toxin, if not immediately treated can have devastating long term effects.

Mind renewal is what it takes to get out of your own way. Don't forget this important truth: How we choose to think affects how we feel; how we feel have significant influences on our desires; and our desires finally produce our actions.

No matter how you may want to look at it, getting out of your own way is an "inside" job. It is of paramount importance that you develop a stance that is willing to set aside your own "justified" feelings, your own petty rights, your own frustrations, offenses, and anything that is not spiritually or emotionally edifying. This is something that is done on the "inside." This internal denying of ourselves is often much harder to do than denying ourselves of external things, because it affects who we really are. It is our personhood, our soul and spirit, our essence. Getting out of our own way is a painful undertaking. However, the old adage is as true today as it ever was and that it; no pain, no gain.

How does one get out of their own way? The Apostle Paul provides the answer. He said, "Do this by the renewing of your mind." That's where the battle is.

Final word: Get out of your way!

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: A Grief Healing Workbook, will be available soon.

How do you manage your thought life? What words of encouragement or insight do you have to share with sisters who may be struggling with a painful past or experiences of unjust actions against them that plague her thought life? We want to hear from you! Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris