Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shepastor: "Pre-Registration Begins May 1, 2012 for the Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry Conference!"

Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland Presents “Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry, 2012” A Conference for Female Clergy “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 NIV Pre Conference: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 Covenant Baptist Church Conference: Friday, August 25th - Saturday, August 26th, 2012 HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS Hilton Hotel, Cleveland East/Beachwood 3663 Park East Drive, Beachwood, OH 44122 Phone Number: (216) 464-5950 Fax: (216) 464-6539 WTIM Reservation Code: ABM Conference Schedule Pre-Conference, Thursday August 23rd, 2012 - $15.00 Covenant Baptist Church, 28930 Ridge Road; Wickliffe, Ohio 44092 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Reception, Fellowship and Networking 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. KeyBank Financial Education and Economic Empowerment Workshop . Lending Through A Banker's Eyes - Presented by: Lamar Cole and WECO representative Description: As clergywomen seek to develop and launch new ministries, they need information that will best position them to receive financial assistance. This workshop will provide an overview of preparing financial statements for the bank while applying for small business loans. 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Pre-Conference Dinner 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. WTIM in Worship Opening Worship and Praise Greetings: Rev. Fela Barrueto, American Baptist Home Mission Societies, Prisoner Re-entry and Aftercare Ministry National Coordinator Mr. Devon Hickman, Outreach Coordinator, The Cleveland Clinic Guest Preacher: The Reverend Tonya Fields, Pastor, New Freedom Ministries, Cleveland, Ohio. (picture not shown) “Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry” Conference August 25-26th, 2012 Hilton Hotel, Cleveland East/Beachwood 3663 Park East Drive, Beachwood, OH 44122 Friday, August 24th, 2012 (Hotel check-in available at 3:00 p.m.) 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Hospitality Hour 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. KeyBank Financial Education and Economic Empowerment Workshop Legal Seminar for Non profit organizations - Presented by: Attorney Mark Young, Benesch Friedlander Coplan and Arnoff LLP Description: This valuable workshop describes the do's and don'ts for non profit organizations, such as churches. 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Conference Dinner 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Opening Worship: Praise and Worship Leader, Sister Joyce Lake, Singer/Soloist, Administrative Assistant, American Baptist Women In Ministry; Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Guest Preacher: The Reverend Dr. Diana Swoope, Senior Pastor, Arlington Church of God; Akron, Ohio Saturday, August 26th, 2012 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast (discounted tickets for Hotel Breakfast Buffet in registration packet) 8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Opening Devotion/Praise and Worship: Sister Joyce Lake, Praise and Worship Leader 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Plenary Session: The Reverend Marie Onwubuariri, Director of Admissions, Amercian Baptist Seminary of the West“Woman to Woman: Breaking the Cycles of Dysfunction in Our Relationships” 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Panel Discussion: “Continuing the Discussion: Women in Ministry Identifying and Breaking Dysfunctional Relationship Patterns ”
Panel Moderator: The Reverend Christine A. Smith, Facilitator, WTIM; Senior, Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church, Wickliffe, Ohio Panelists · The Reverend Carol Shannon, Founder and CEO of Women of Excellence With Purpose Ministries, Associate Minister, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church; Wilmington, Delaware · The Reverend Dr. Thomas Gilmore, Pastor, Fidelity Baptist Church; Cleveland, Ohio · The Reverend Barbara J. Essex, Author, Bad Girls of the Bible · The Reverend Peter Faass, Rector, Christ Episcopal Church; Shaker Heights, Ohio
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Conference Lunch Conference Workshop Schedule: 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Workshop Session I 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. Workshop Session II 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Closing Worship: Praise and Worship: New Creation Baptist Church Music Ministry Praise Dance Ministry: The Reverend Itherine Spencer and the “Virtuous Liturgical Dancers” of Affinity Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio
Guest Preacher: The Reverend Marilyn Parker-Jeffries, Pastor – New Creation Baptist Church; Lorain, Ohio Conference Speakers and Workshops
#1 “We don't know how she does it!" - Doing God's Work and Marriage”
Presenter: The Reverend Dr. Stephanie Allen, Associate Pastor for Adult Education, Small Groups, Fellowship Group, Covenant Groups and Outreach, First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland Description: A workshop for married female clergy In a world where it seems like women can have it all and do it all female clergy have a rather large task of doing God's work while fighting the temptation to live up to the world's standards. What does God expect of us as married, female clergy? What does His word tell us about taking care of ourselves, friendships, relationships and what do we do when "having it all" is way too much on our plate? This workshop will navigate, discuss and highlight some of those issues and guide us through discovering healthy alternatives to the world’s standards of working women.
#2 “Dating, Sexuality, Romantic Love…and the Single Clergywoman?”
Presenter: The Reverend Leah C.K. Lewis, J.D., Associate Minister, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church and Assistant to the Pastor for Community Engagement. Leader, Singles’ Fellowship of Olivet, a ministry actively engaged in the life of the church with book discussions, community outreach and social activities. Description: A workshop for single female clergy A frank instruction accompanied by an earnest and edifying conversation on the topic
#3 H.A.L.T.: Take Care of Yourself!
Presenter: Dr. Julie Exline, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology/licensed clinical psychologist, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio Description: This session will focus on the importance of self-care for women in ministry. To focus our conversation, we will make use of this time-honored guidance: “Don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired,” or HALT. The session will draw from Scripture and the field of psychology to help participants reflect on the vital role of self-care in ministry and personal life. KeyBank Financial Education and Economic Empowerment For Women in Ministry Workshops… Saturday, August 25, 2012 - 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. #4 Retirement and Succession Planning - Presented by: Zahira Lehri, KeyBank Investment Services Description: This workshop will provide a broad overview for setting succession planning and retirement goals to maintain the financial strength of the church. Saturday, August 25, 2012 - 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. #5 Enhance Resources for your Vision - Presented by: Sharion Brooks - KeyBank Merchant Services and Dale Lenzer, KeyBank Business Banking Description: This workshop will describe different banking options that provide convenience while accepting offerings and gifts to the church. Pre-Register and get $25.00 off of your registration price! For details, visit Hope to see you in August! Post a comment or send me an email at Until Next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shepastor: “Speaking Those Things That Be Not As Though They Were”

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Romans 4:17 KJV

In, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Harlem Renaissance writer, Zora Neale Hurston declared,

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing, until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. They then act and do things accordingly.

Although the late Ms. Hurston suggested that for women, “the dream is truth – they act and do things accordingly,” I have observed that many, like men, stand on the banks of the proverbial waters and experience dreams being “mocked to death by Time.”

When our dreams die, God has another option that can rescue us from resignation. We can exchange our grief and disappointment for God’s vision for our lives. The same God that took nothing, made something and called it “good,” can take the “nothingness,” the emptiness, the pain, the sorrow, the grief, the disappointment, the dreams dead and or deferred and replace them with His vision for you.

God can take the “be nots” of our journey (even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were) and restore life. The chasm of grief and disappointment can be so broad and deep that believing God for a quickening feels impossible.

Push past perceived impossibilities and pursue God’s vision for you. God is able to “speak those things that be not as though they were” over your life. Resist the temptation to resign from faith, hope, dreams and aspirations. Walk into your new reality. Accept those things you cannot change, reclaim the courage to change the things that you can and ask God for the wisdom to know the difference. Swim with the tide of God’s flow for you. Soon, God’s dreams and vision for you will become the desire and fulfillment of your heart.

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shepastor: “Processing Anger at God: Reflections upon the documentary, ‘God I’m Angry,’ featuring Dr. Julie Exline, Associate Professor of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University”

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” A faithless heretic did not utter these words. Jesus, quoting the Psalmist David (Psalm 22:1) spoke them as He hung on the cross at Calvary (Mark 15:34). While there is a difference between feelings of abandonment and anger, often for humans, one can lead to the other.

Many have been taught that it is inappropriate and even sinful to question God. For some, it is close to blasphemy to express anger towards God. Therefore, individuals suffering tragedies, extreme pain, agony and disappointment are frequently made to feel guilty if they raise questions or express feelings of hostility towards God who has all power in His hands. Honestly speaking, it can take years for individuals to move from anger and disillusionment to an attitude of faith that embraces Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Daunted by internal inquiries such as, “Lord, why did you allow this to happen to me?” “What purpose did this tragedy serve?” “Why Lord, did you not use your power to prevent this from happening,” some have even left their faith, finding no solace from “the faithful.” Shallow theology cannot bare the harsh realities of suffering. The people of faith must acknowledge and assist the suffering as they struggle to process anger at God.

With clarity, honesty and humility, Dr. Julie Exline, Associate Professor of Psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio explores the difficult issue of anger at God. In the CBC Radio Documentary, God I'm Angry, Dr. Exline, a Christian Psychologist, along with several other individuals from the Jewish and Muslim faith communities takes a look at faithful indignation, and the connection between fury and belief. The documentary is prepared and presented by Frank Faulk.

This week, Shepastor invites you to listen and prayerfully consider the importance of helping individuals to process and not repress issues of anger and their relationship with God. If you are wrestling with questions about your own circumstances and God's role in the mix, listen with an open heart, go before God's presence and honestly state your case. God will meet you there.

Click on the link below:

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shepastor: “Hindrances to Healing: An Era of Few Nathans”

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful., Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)

1Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said,
“There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.
2“The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.
3“But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb
Which he bought and nourished;
And it grew up together with him and his children.
It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom,
And was like a daughter to him.
4“Now a traveler came to the rich man,
And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd,
To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him;
Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6“He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”
7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
II Samuel 12: 1-7 (NASB)

Even men and women after God’s own heart can become blind to their own destructive and sinful behaviors. According to the scriptures, David was one such man. The same David that slew Goliath, spared Saul’s life on two occasions and praised God with all of his heart also became an adulterer, schemer, user and murderer. David, however, had something (or someone) going for him that many leaders don’t have today. David had a Nathan.

Verse 7 of II Samuel 12 declares,

7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul

We only hear of the prophet Nathan in relationship to this passage of scripture. God used Nathan to call David to accountability when his power and authority apparently blinded him. David could easily see the injustice, cruelty and oppression committed against the individual in Nathan’s story. He was astonished, however, when Nathan boldly declared, “You are the man!”

In order for Nathan to confront David, several things had to be clear in his mind:

(1) Nathan had to fear God above man. The fact that God was sending Nathan to confront a king did not deter him from obeying God’s dictate. Nathan had to settle it within himself that no consequence rendered by the king would compare to the repercussions if he disobeyed the Lord.

(2) Nathan did not use David’s glorious record to justify present behaviors. Nathan did not ignore, deny or cover David’s ugly and destructive actions. He did not view speaking truth to power as antithetical to love, appreciation and support.

(3) Nathan trusted that truth would ultimately strengthen and heal David. Without Nathan’s obedient confrontation, David may never have acknowledged his grievous transgressions and been cleansed of his sins.

We could learn a lot from Nathan’s example. So often, the fear of loss of position, a place in the “inner circle,” and “favor of a king or queen” trumps speaking the truth. Sometimes, a lack of confrontation or even acknowledgement that wrongs are being committed has nothing to do with position. It can be a blatant disregard and insensitivity. Sadly, those in positions of power avoid being called to accountability by misusing, abusing and oppressing those who appear to have no voice.

Since individuals with a voice (and some level of perceived influence) are least likely to be effected by a duplicitous leader, they deny, ignore or even protect a leader gone awry. If a bruised, broken, and oppressed individual dares to speak up and share their grievances or injustices committed against them, the response is swift and strong. Frequently they are castigated, maligned and ostracized for having the audacity to speak against such an “upright and wonderful” leader!

As a result, men and women who once were valiant, humble, beautiful, and faithful witnesses of the most high God become drunk with the wine of the world and obsessed with the power and position, given to them by the Lord. They have no one who says to them, “You are the Man/Woman!” While human eyes may look the other way or look the same way and proclaim a false reality, God, “who sits high and looks low” sees all. The Lord is still on the side of the oppressed, whether they be in the church, the community, the Nation or the world. In His due season, all will be revealed.

The Lord, however is still calling for Nathans – men and women who will fear God above the reproach of people, men and women who realize that sin is no respecter of persons, men and women who understand that all of us have the unfortunate capacity to do evil, no matter how stellar our record. God is calling for more Nathans – individuals who will speak truth to power, understanding that speaking truth is not antithetical to love, loyalty, appreciation or thankfulness, but speaking truth, is love.

Through Nathan’s faithfulness, David was called to accountability and convicted to write one of the most powerful psalms of the Bible, Psalm 51. David was pricked to the heart, cried out to God for forgiveness and provided a tremendous portrait of what true repentance looks like.
If we want to promote health and healing in our churches, in our communities, in our Nation and in our world, let us pray for and if appropriate be a Nathan.

During this Holy Week, may we reflect upon both Nathan and David and listen for God’s message to us through each one.

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