Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Shepastor: “Confident Thanksgiving and Praise”


Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100, KJV


It is Thanksgiving week in America. However, many may be struggling to be thankful in this season. Many are struggling with the loss of loved ones, employment and “Covid fatigue.” Frontline workers are exhausted, struggling as they work in over crowded hospital wards, intubated patients, grieving families and limited PPE. Our Nation is deeply divided over a plethora of issues. It’s a tough time! How do we “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise?”

Let’s consider the following…

We serve a God that loves and cares about us.  The psalmist said, “We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful unto Him and bless His name.  For the Lord is good, his mercy is ever lasting and His truth endureth to all generations.

We can thank God even before we see the answer, because we have the confidence that He is the answer.  We have the confidence that God can and will take care of His own.  We can thank and praise God with confidence because when we trust God, we know that no matter what comes, God is going to carry us through.  Yes, we face disappointments.  Yes, we face trials and tribulations. Yes, we have struggles and pain.  But God carries us through them all. 

The child of God will face trials and struggles, but the child of God knows that God is right there by his or her side, leading, guiding, comforting, encouraging, loving, supporting, providing, making a way.  He promised never to leave us or forsake us.  He promised to give us springs in the desert.  He promised to make the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth in our lives.  He promised that no weapon formed against us would prosper.  He promised that when the enemy comes in like a flood, His Spirit would raise up a standard against him.

God said, 

I am the Lord that healeth thee.  Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.  Isaiah 43:1-2 (ASV)

In other words, child of God, there’s nothing that you will face in this life that God cannot see you through.  You may feel as though you can’t make it, you can’t take it, but stand upon God’s Word and declare, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”  Sometimes God changes our situation and circumstances and sometimes God changes us.  Sometimes God moves mountains and sometimes God moves us.  Sometimes God heals our bodies, and sometimes He simply heals our minds and spirits.

God’s Word in Philippians 4 encourages us not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, we should let our requests be made known unto God. The promise is that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will keep our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.

Today, I encourage you to choose thanksgiving and praise. Even in the midst of your struggle and trial, choose confidently to bless and praise the Lord. Meditate upon all that you do have. Honor the Lord for all that He has already carried you through. Thank Him for your life. Praise Him for salvation. Trust Him for your future. Be confident, not in yourself, but in His faithfulness. God will carry you through!

This Thanksgiving and always,

May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you,

May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,

Pastor Chris

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Shepastor: Master Class Highlights, "When God Sends Women..."

 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28: 8-10, NIV


Shepastor: “When God Sends Women…”

Jesus’ ministry was inclusive. He did not adhere to the societal norms that marginalized and disenfranchised people based upon their race, gender, religion or ethnicity. Jesus loves us. This particular passage of scripture shows how Jesus was not concerned about the fact that those who came to the tomb first were women. He did not dismiss them and say, “Go get men. These women can’t carry my message!” 
NO! Jesus entrusted the women with the first word from the tomb! “Tell them that I am ALIVE!!!”

What an honor and blessing it was to the meet each week, November 2nd, 9th and 16th, 2020, with BEAUTIFUL Sisters who came together to listen, share and participate in the 3 week Master Class, “When God Sends Women,” (Based upon my book, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors, Judson Press, 2013) on the weekly Zoom Women’s Ministry program, “Let’s Talk.” Women shared openly and transparently as we explored together the concept and realities of the “Stained Glass Ceiling.”

We discussed barriers spoken and unspoken, words of wisdom, caution and encouragement and the importance of ”allies and power brokers.” I owe a special debt of gratitude to Rev. Jewel M. London and Dr. Carol Lynn Patterson who invited me to teach the class and provided their platforms weekly for the sessions. They also embraced, advanced and continue to advocate for the “Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling Endowment” for African American Women Senior Pastors of small, struggling congregations. I also shout out Pastor Patty Harris for sharing her radio platform for the replays of the classes. You can still hear session 3 on “Free Your Mind,” (See flyer above). To God be the glory for the GREAT things He has done!!!

While the class was free, participants were encouraged to make a donation to the Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling Endowment (select the pull down menu and click on ISOE Beyond the Stained Glass Endowment). This fund was born out of a desire to help African American women pastors to survive and thrive. So often women in general and African American women in particular find themselves only receiving calls to “Lazarus” churches (learn more about that in the class!). This endowment will offer 2 grants per year to two selected pastors based upon the grant criteria.

During Session 3, we invited “allies and power brokers,” to join us. We were blessed by the presence and words of Rev. Miriam Mendez, Executive Minister of American Baptist Churches of New Jersey; Rev. Jeffrey Johnson, Senior Pastor of Eastern Star Church of Indianapolis; and. Bro. Vincent Dent, Chief Development Officer of the American Baptist Home Missions Societies.

Each guest shared their own personal experiences as or with women in ministry, the authenticity of our calls, the importance and necessity of our leadership and the necessary response of the Church. I also thank my own spiritual father, my seminary pastor, the Rev. Dr. Cleopatrick Lacy, for speaking to us about his history of learning and serving alongside women in ministry, as well as the doors the Lord has blessed him to open for women pastors, including me!

While the class has ended, the mission continues! We praise God for those who not only verbally recognize, but support and advocate for the women God chooses to send! May we continue to press on, by faith!

 (To support the Stained-Glass Ceiling Endowed Fund give online at ABHMS and click the GIVE NOW button and access the drop down menu and select ISOE Stained Glass Endowment or mail your check with “Stained Glass Endowment” in the memo section to: American Baptist Home Mission Societies, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406. If you have any questions about giving, please contact ABHMS’ chief development officer, Vincent Dent at or 610.768.2420.)

In faith, hope and perseverance,

Pastor Chris