Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shepastor: “Highlights From ‘Calling in the Key of She’…”

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind[a] in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,[b] and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created humankind[c] in his image, in the image of God he created them;[d] male and female he created them. Genesis 1: 26-27, NRSV

Friday, July 21st - 22nd, 2017, the Board of Equity for Women in the Church and Memphis Theological Seminary partnered to present, "Calling in the Key of She." The conference was designed to provide training and tools to participants to help nurture and build "female friendly" environments in churches, communities and across the world. Presentations were given that explored theological and historical factors that have impacted the way women are viewed and treated. The visionary for this powerful conference, Rev. Andrea Clark Chambers gave an opening presentation on the power of language and imagery as vehicles of oppression or empowerment. Pastor Chris served as one of the presenters, discussing the topic, "Women and the Bible." Dr. Gina Stewart, Senior Pastor of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, electrified the participants as she gave her personal testimony and journey towards becoming licensed, ordained and ultimately installed as pastor of a prominent, African American Baptist Church.

Although we have come a long way, there are still many more rivers to cross. Equity for Women in the Church is working diligently to make an impact through innovative initiatives like “Calling in the Key of She,” “The Retiring Pastors Initiative,” and “The Lydia Project.” To read more about these important and ground breaking endeavors to open more doors for women preachers and pastors, visit the Equity website.

To read more about the event and to see pictures, visit

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Shepastor: "Calling in the Key of She..."

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:26-27, NIV

For centuries, patriarchal structures inculcated and advanced an inferior and subordinate view of women and their perceived appropriate roles. Despite these formidable factors, the Bible itself raises serious contradictions to the belief that women are not called to serve in equal and authoritative roles. Frequently, persons who draw on selected passages to argue against women leaders ignore the broader implications of the texts. It is therefore beneficial to consider other compelling Scriptures that speak positively about women and present them as leaders.

This week, July 21-22, 2017 Equity for Women in the Church and Memphis Theological Seminary will partner to address these issues. This FREE event is open to all.

If you are in the area, check it out. I'll share highlights from our time together next week.

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Shepastor: "Are You Parched or Well Watered?"

5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17: 5-8, KJV

This past week as my family took a trip to visit family in California, I was struck by what looked like a natural contradiction. As we drove further north, away from the Bay area, the weather changed drastically. The temperature rose from 70 degrees to 108 degrees! The grass was completely parched along the highway. To reduce the risk of wild fires, crews were out spraying the dry grass with water. What was most intriguing to me, however, were the green, flowering bushes and tress standing tall amidst the brittle dry grass. My first thought was, "How can this be?" How could there be such beautiful green bushes and trees growing from the ground where there was hay like parched grass? The answer is depth of roots.

Trees and bushes establish deep roots...roots that drink in water from rain and other forms of watering. In times of extreme heat or drought, trees rely upon their root reserves. Grass, on the other hand has shallow roots. Grass is easily pulled up and burned by bad weather conditions. It cannot withstand extreme conditions. As I observed these differences along the road, it occurred to me that these examples are like the life of a believer. The depth of our roots...our prayer life, our depth of relationship with the Lord and others, our knowledge and understanding of God's Word and our faith will determine the depths of our roots. When extreme "heat," struggle, trials, opposition, pain, pressure, etc., comes, if we have not "stored up" spiritual nutrients of the living water, we will become parched...brittle, dry, easily burned and dying.

The text above teaches us that we should not make flesh "our arm." While we must learn to develop trust of other humans, our deepest trust must be reserved for the Lord. Even those with the best intentions will at times disappoint. If our eyes are only upon humans, we will become parched. If we have not stored up the water of the Word, suited up in the "whole armor," and immersed ourselves in consistent communication with our Lord through prayer, the "heatwaves" of life will burn us up.

We all experience periods of drought and dryness. But our ability to press through those seasons will depend upon our roots. Will you be like the green bushes and trees or the parched grass? You have a say in the matter.

Post a comment or send me an email at

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Shepastor: “When Healing Takes Precedence Over Power and Position…”

A Man with a Withered Hand
6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored.11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. Luke 6: 6-11, ESV

In the text above, the religious leaders came face to face with their greatest fear…that Jesus would “take their place” as leader. While they pretended to be concerned about “keeping the law,” their real concern was for their own perceived positions of power. The fact that someone else was suffering, was broken, was unable to care for themselves, was in poverty, was marginalized was of no concern. They just wanted what they wanted. Jesus’ compassion, however, revealed the true essence of their dark souls. Their “hoopla” about keeping the law rang hollow because of their lack of concern for another human being. Hunger for power leads to dangerous places… Hunger for and the fear of losing power can strip you of a conscience.

Jesus’ bold act of healing the man with the deformed hand teaches us some important lessons:

When healing takes precedence over position and power, deliverance as well as hostility happens… Everyone is not joyous when deliverance and healing happens. Unfortunately the world frequently “profits” from the misery of others…

Deliverance exposes dysfunction… When Jesus healed the man, the true motives of the religious leaders were exposed. Dysfunctional systems/structures collapse when others are bold enough to speak the truth and move to make changes…

Healing frequently changes a power dynamic… Healing and deliverance are accompanied by empowerment. Both healing and deliverance can bring about an awareness of one’s true self, gifts, talents, opportunities and strength. A need to rely upon another’s “motive laced” offerings will dissipate…

Be prepared to face hostility as God uses you to heal “withered hands…”
Power and position in the hands of people with ill intent will not easily be released. A “convulsion” of sorts will always happen. Whether in a place of employment, in the government, in the community, in the home, yea even in the church, spirits of selfishness, greed, jealousy and insecurity desire to keep others down to lift themselves up.

Breaking those chains come with a cost. Jesus paid for our deliverance with his life. While we may not be nailed to a literal cross, we may be falsely accused, lose positions or employment, “friends,” experience being ostracized, criticized, and viewed as a threat. The scriptures teach us that the cost of real discipleship is high.
The blessing, however, is that we will gain the praises of heaven.

11“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12, NASB

May we pray for hearts, eyes, and spirits to heal withered hands…

Post a comment or send me an email at
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris