Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Shepastor: "Nevertheless..."

1Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. 5For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. 6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9: 1-7, KJV
This passage of scripture reminds us that despite vexation, dark paths, affliction and sorrow, "nevertheless," light, joy and peace will come. "Nevertheless" is said when an individual makes a mental decision to do something, think something or believe something that defies apparent realities or logic.
Peter declared, "nevertheless" when Jesus told him to let down his net and get ready for a major catch of fish, even though he'd been fishing all night long and came up empty (Luke 5:5). Jesus, the "wonderful counselor, mighty God, and Prince of Peace" calls us to declare, "nevertheless" in the midst of our trials, valleys, wilderness experiences and struggles.
During this Christmas Season, remember that Jesus, our "Emmanuel" is with us, empowering us to embrace His promises and decalre, "nevertheless, at thy Word Lord I will..." you complete the sentence.
Post a comment or send me an email at
Until next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shepastor: "Moving Beyond Our Brokenness"

In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. 2For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. 3When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11: 1-3, NIV
Our Nation stands alongside New Town, Connecticut and mourns the loss of 20 innocent 6 and 7 year olds as well as the brave teachers and administrators who gave their lives trying to protect them. Our hearts are broken, our words fail us and our tears could fill an ocean. How many more times must we stand in this place of agony before we use our collective voices to say, “NO MORE!”?
This past week I sat with a mother who agonized over the lack of services available to assist her with her pre-teen child who has been diagnosed with a behavioral disability. The child has become increasingly verbally abusive, combative and frequently runs away. However, the mother has only been able to receive minimal support from local mental health facilities and hospitals, being told that her case is not “severe enough.”
As I sought to assist her by making calls to agencies I knew, the response was similar, “unless the child is threatening to kill them-self or to harm someone else, we cannot take them in…” Frustration mounts, pain deepens and the search for affordable assistance continues.
In the Greater Cleveland area, another young, single mother aged out of the foster care system. A victim of abuse herself, she struggled to care for her three young children. Records reflect that she went to several agencies and even sought to have her children adopted – little help appears to have been given. She reported her 3 year-old son kidnapped. A panicked community and police force scour the city looking for the child only to discover that his small beaten and broken body was thrown out with the trash behind the mother’s apartment. The mother is now being held for the murder of her own son.
Limited and/or difficult to access mental health care services. Increasing numbers of military style fire arms available to civilians. Loud voices championing 2nd amendment “rites.” After all of the prayer vigils and meetings may the people of God press beyond broken hearts and collectively cry out for systems and legislation that makes sense.
Post a comment or send me an email at
Until next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shepastor: "Since we have this ministry..."

1Therefore , since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves ; II Corinthians 4: 1-7 New American Standard Version
Recently I had a conversation with both male and female pastors regarding clergypersons leaving the ministry. One of the ministers talked about preachers leaving due to practical matters – low wages, high anxiety, difficult parishioners, etc. Another shared that he left the pastorate after 6 years because he realized that he did not want to deal with difficult people the rest of his life. Women in the conversation were lamenting the fact that they had not gotten ordained until their 50’s and would probably have few opportunities to pastor even if they believed that was their calling. All agreed that no one enters the ministry (at least in their right mind) and stays simply because they want to do so. Most agreed that we would have given up by now if it were not for the “call,” that mysterious thing given by God that compels us to hold on, keep pressing forward and continue on when everything in us and around us is yelling – GIVE UP! Anyone who is called and accepts the call understands this dilemma. Paul put it like this…
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves ; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed ; perplexed, but not despairing ; 9persecuted, but not forsaken ; struck down, but not destroyed ; 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. II Corinthians 4: 7-10; NASV
This is our lot as preachers of the Gospel. Outside of the call, there is no peace, no contentment, no fulfillment. Yet we wrestle with the dictates and the circumstances we find ourselves in due to “the call.” So, “since we have this ministry,” let us remember to do some thing so that we won’t faint and lose heart…
- Through prayer and discernment, find at least 1 or 2 friends that can relate to you and your circumstances, with whom you can share your struggles in confidence and have a good laugh on a regular basis
- Take care of yourself. Don’t allow others to run you into the ground, accepting/taking on responsibilities that stretch you to the max with few rewards
- Get some rest when you are tired. The world will not stop spinning on its axis if you sit down or take a day off!
- Don’t accept less that what God intends for you to have. Be sure that your circumstances are due to God’s seasons for your life and not you being a door mat!
- Keep your eyes and ears open to the voice of God and seek to fulfill God’s calling upon your life. Your gift will make room for you!
Post a comment or send me an email at
Until Next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Shepastor Honors the Memory of a Trailblazer for Women in Ministry: The Reverend Dr. Margaret J. Mitchell

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:10 (English Standard Version)
Today, Shepastor honors the memory of The late Reverend Dr. Margaret J. Mitchell. "Rev. Margaret," as she was affectionately known, was the first female preacher to be licensed in the historic Olivet Institutional Baptist Church (under the pastorate of the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., current pastor, The Reverend Dr. Jawanza Colvin) - one of the largest African American Baptist churches in the Greater Cleveland area. She blazed a trail for many women in ministry to follow. Through her leadership, encouragement and efforts, many women accepted their call to preach and were subsequently licensed and ordained. Below is a tribute to Dr. Mitchell from WTIM (Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland).
A tribute to The Reverend Dr. Margaret J. Mitchell...
Thank you Dr. Mitchell for teaching us the importance and critical nature of prayer and fasting in the life of the believer...
Thank you Dr. Mitchell for personally spending time with us when we were grieved and didn't know how to manage our losses and pain...
Thank you Dr. Mitchell for giving us an opportunity to share freely and without judgement when we were struggling...
Thank you Dr. Mitchell for teaching us how to persevere with patience as women in ministry...
Thank you Dr. Mitchell for teaching couples how to build and nurture healthy relationships...
Thank you Dr. Mitchell for your life, your love, your testimony and your legacy - We honor you, applaud you and miss you! Rest in peace...
You can read more about the life legacy of Dr. Mitchell by visiting the website of the Cleveland Baptist Association at
Post a comment or send me an email at
Until Next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris