As a body of believers who have just celebrated Holy Week, which includes the crucifixion and the resurrection, we should appreciate that God rescued us from damnation for our sin which was caused through our fore parents (Eve and Adam). God, through Christ paid the ultimate penalty for our sin. I invite you to pause for a moment and consider the top three sins that you have committed. What would you or could you do to remove the penalty for those sins? Unlike most, I acknowledge that I am thankful for what God has done for me through Christ. Appreciate at the same time, that at Calvary Jesus paid the debt for all of your sins, past, present and future. Be thankful.
The Christian faith offers believers opportunities to reflect upon significant events in the Christian calendar. Holy Week is a series of some of the greatest events of the faith. As believers, we are invited to see ourselves in the form of the two sinners who were being hanged on either side of Christ. We must consider for ourselves which of the two we reflect in our attitude and behavior.
Each of the men was found guilty of wrong doing. The one on Jesus left cried out to him as a mocker. The one on his right rebuked him, acknowledging their wrong doing and the fact that Christ was sinless. At the same time he asked Christ to remember him. Jesus responded to him with a word of assurance saying; “today you will be with me in paradise.”
As we consider ourselves and the life we have lived and are living; which of the two men are we most like? Are we like the accuser who mocks Christ with ridicule? Or are we like the repentant one who apologetically asks to be remembered by Christ despite our short-comings?
Why we should be thankful to God?
Rev. Dr. Leonard Santucci
And Now a Word from our Pastor...
Our Need for Prayer
Recent events in our island community, such as the tragic slaying of Erin Lee Richardson, in the shadows of our church at roughly six hundred yards away serve as a reminder of our need for prayer as individuals, as families, a church family and a community. When we consider that we have always regarded our communities as being safe, only to discover that during the dark of night, someone would come upon an individual who in the privacy of their own property minding their own business and brutally take his life and devastate a family and community, I know we need to pray. The Apostle Paul said; 1 Thess. 5:17 “pray without ceasing.”
As a father, this tragedy has caused me to reflect upon the times that I gathered my family together every morning in our entrance foyer and changed the entrance rug into our family prayer mat. The five of us would gather in a circle and hold each others hands as we asked God’s blessings, covering and protection upon us as we prepared to enter into the activity of another day. As a child, my mother often reminded us, as her children, that we know how we are leaving home, but we do not know about returning home. My mother’s admonition became the foundation of my immediate family’s morning prayer circle.
Prayer does not constitute an assurance or guarantee from God that no evil will befall you. Despite the absence of a guarantee, I believe that you are better served praying than not praying. When we pray, we are asking God to do for us those things that we cannot do for ourselves. As a parent, with two adult sons (Kyle and Tyler) and a niece as a surrogate daughter (Shana), I still believe in covering them in my prayers. We are familiar with the exhortations that the family that prays together stays together. The prayer is not the guarantee, it is one step of many steps that we need to engage in during the process of caring for our family, church family and community.
As we grapple with the evil that has visited us in the form of this murder, I invite everyone to pray for the parents and family of this young man who has been tragically taken away from us. I believe that one of the hardest things a parent could ever do is bury their child. My prayers are with the family and extended family as they move forward in faith.
April 28th, 2014
April 21st, 2014
Unity or oneness within the body of Christ or community is something we can spend weeks, months and years addressing. It is considered a common goal for which we should all engage our energies in accomplishing, but it can be elusive at the same time. Unity has been a theme and a concept that has been debated since the beginning of time. It is something that has been raised within schools, churches, clubs and social organizations.
Unity is a call for a coming together that transcends religious, racial, social, political and economic considerations. The challenge to unity is that the very things that define us sometimes hinder us from accomplishing the very goal we strive for. Historically, matters of faith, race and social class has separated us and served as the basis for wars and ongoing conflicts.
As we look across the world, we see ongoing evidence of challenges to unity as it relates to Jews and Gentiles, Americans and Native Americans, Whites and Colored’s in South Africa and the list continues to become even more divisive as you travel from country to country. As small as Bermuda is, we too are challenged by the concept of unity in our community. How do we go about coming together?
Can unity ever become a reality? If we consider what God is doing in our church family, hopefully you would be inclined to agree that all things remain possible. The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the church at Philippi provides a host of insights with reference to how unity may be accomplished. The theme of this Epistle is joy. It is with that concept in mind that we should seek to fulfill this ultimate objective. I will highlight these principles as follows;
It is a work that starts with God (1:6).
It is a work that requires like-mindedness (2:2).
It is a work that will be challenged by the adversary [dogs] (3:2).
It is a work that requires that we be prepared to let go of the problems of the past as we press forward in faith (3:13-14).
It is a work that requires that we fix our minds on positive and constructive things that will bind us together (4:8).
It is a work that we can only accomplish through Christ (4:13).
It is a work that God will supply our needs for (4:19).
The key to our collective unity is no longer about us, but it is about doing what the Lord will have us to do. It involves both the what (unity) and the how (joy). When we see ourselves working for God with Jesus joy, everything we do takes on a different vibration. Hence, unity in the community has now become my joy. Feel free to share it.
Unity in the Community
Mothers are referred to in so many ways; mom, mommy, mother. These are but a few of the references that are given to one of the most important persons in the world. On May 11, 2014 we celebrated another Annual Mother’s Day. During our global celebration we participated in what I consider one of the most commercialized activities that corporations enjoy for profit making purposes. Despite the commercial aspects of the celebration, I believe that every day should be celebrated as a mother’s day.
Mothers quite often are the unrecognized movers and shakers of this world. They are the ones who cuddle, guide and direct us as children in our formative development. They instill qualities and principles within us that impact our character development. They are the ones who we seek affirmation and approval from beginning at their knee. Mothers are the ones we turn to in good times and bad times. The gleam in their eye, the smile on their face serves as an indicator of how we are doing. We measure our performance by their body language. Their presence at nursery, school, college or sporting events is sufficient to empower us to press on despite the odds.
The writer of Proverbs asked a profound question when he said; “who can find a virtuous woman?” In the eyes of her children, there should be no one considered to be more virtuous than your own mother. Throughout my ministry, I have always highlighted how blessed I am to have both a birth mother and a mother. My birth mother (Caroline Elizabeth Smith) died when I was six days old.
My father was contacted by her sisters and informed of the circumstances. In response to her death, he came with his wife (Eva Rose Santucci, who was three months pregnant at the time with what was to be her fifth child). She picked me up and hugged me. She carried me home that day and has been my mother ever since. She is the only mother I have ever known. I am who and what I am because of my mother.
As a pastor and preacher, I tell people that I learned grace and mercy from my mother. She also taught me about what it means to love others by her own example. As my family celebrated Mother’s day this year, it gave us another opportunity to reflect on the character of the virtuous woman we call mom, mommy and mother. Today she is the matriarch of an extended family which reaches out over five generations. Should God grant her life, on October 1, 2014 she will be 82 years old… and we will still rise up and call her Blessed!!!
I invite you to thank God for your mother whether she is still with us or having passed on to the other side of the Jordan. No matter who we are and how long we live we will only have one special mother. Just as we are a gift to her, truly she is God’s gift to us as well. Despite all of my credentials and my academic and professional training, when my back is against the wall, I do not call any of my professors. I call my mother. As she always reminds me, she does not have the benefit of education, but she is still the smartest person I know. Celebrate your mother every day. If she is still here, thank God for her. If she has passed on, thank God for her memory and the seeds she has planted.
May 12th, 2014
May 5th, 2014
"They Call her Blessed!!!"
In current inspirational and motivational communication this is a powerful word. The challenge for many is in determining if it is a question or a statement. It is intended to cause one to pause and examine his/her self. Purpose is designed to invite the individual to determine if they are where they should be in their life’s journey. To answer the question one may be required to look at their past and present circumstances as they consider their future.
Solomon, who is considered to be one of the wisest of men to ever live, in the book of Ecclesiastes says; “to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). According to the mystery of God, everything has been established with a purpose. Hence, the ecological and global nature of the interdependence of the earth. There is an invisible connectedness for everything. Our human challenge is that we are not always able to see it or understand it.
As we continue our congregational study of Nehemiah, we are being reminded of the importance of our individual and collective understanding of our purpose. Nehemiah’s purpose was to provide leadership for Jerusalem in the rebuilding of the wall. The rebuilding of the wall was a major step in the strengthening of the community. As he led in this process, he also had to deal with the attacks of his enemy.
As our country has endured a leadership challenge and change in the Premier’s Office, we have to consider what this means for all of us. Some people argue that “leaders are born, not cultivated.” Others argue that despite the fact that many are called few are chosen. Within the church we have seen both sides of the divide on this issue as it relates to the challenge of leadership.
As in the community, so too in the church; there are those who consider themselves to be king makers as well as king breakers. Some have made it their calling to facilitate the elevation of others as opposed to being elevated themselves. Facilitating the creation of leaders and leadership has developed into a science in the areas of business management and industrial relations.
The leadership development practices we are seeing in the world are being incorporated into the development of churches and their ministry. Inclusive in this process are issues of short and long term leadership development. The forward planning enables the key stakeholders to look down the road in an organizations planning for at least twenty to twenty-five years.
Vernon Temple is in the midst of doing the same thing as we study the Book of Nehemiah. Herein, we find outlines of both leadership and follow ship models of ministry development. The difference in Nehemiah from modern theoretical trends is that God is the driving force and not business trends of development.
God has called and commissioned individuals to a sacred life of Christian service and evangelism in the ministry of leadership. His plan is to transform communities and the lives of people. In Nehemiah, God called upon His servant to lead in rebuilding the Wall. The rebuilding of the Wall required the involvement of a host of people to work as team members. It saw a division of labor and the employment of people according to their skill sets.
As Nehemiah led, he did so in the face of communal opposition. Opposition is the adversary to leaders and leadership. The work was consistently challenged, but in the face of it all, Nehemiah consistently renewed his efforts to stay focused and to remain on task. The Devil does to the church as Sanballat and his supporters did to Nehemiah. He constantly challenges our every effort to move forward.
As people who are called to lead in this day and time in which we are living for God, it is important that we recognize that ours is a holy calling. To that end, it should be fulfilled with purpose and integrity. Everything that we do should be done as unto the Lord in accordance with the Word. The Word of God thus is the authority upon which the Christian church and its witness are established. Hence, leadership in the church should operate according to a higher standard to what may be found in the world according to common business or industrial standards. To this end, I am delighted to invite the membership of our church to step up just a little bit higher and provide the form of sacred leadership required of us in this day and time in which we are living.
Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem were recognized as the enemy in the midst as the wall was being rebuilt. They repeatedly attempted to discourage, distract and deter the efforts to accomplish the purpose. Despite all of their efforts, individually and collectively, Nehemiah remained focused on his purpose. As a result of this calling, he had to carefully survey his responsibility to determine all that needed to be addressed. After the survey, he was able to assign teams of workers to the various tasks at hand. His understanding of his purpose and resulting leadership enabled them to accomplish the objective in a short period of time despite the best efforts of his enemy.
Nehemiah’s writings now constitute a blue print for the work that we are engaged in at Vernon Temple. It all starts with each member understanding their purpose, conducting their survey and becoming engaged in the work. Each person’s individual contribution impacts the collective effort and our ability to rebuild. Rebuilding is something that we should see as an on-going effort, because no matter how good we may become in doing what we do, we will always need to make adjustments along the way.
Knowing your purpose simply means that you know your job and why God has assigned to you the tasks that He has. Thus, your assignment is not something given from man by man, but it is from God and for His glory. Therefore, I invite you to discover your purpose today like never before. Why? Because the world and the church are waiting for your contribution.
May 19th, 2014
May 26th, 2014
Christian witnessing is a topic seldom talked about or considered in conversations today, but it is important none the less in everyday life. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5:16 said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven.” The word “light” here is representative of the individuals witness or testimony. The more a person lives for Christ, the brighter the light of God should shine through them in their everyday experiences.
The light of the person’s witness is representative of the degree of spiritual transformation that has occurred in their life. The more a person’s family is able to see positive change in their life, the more they are likely to accept and believe in the God who is at work in and through you. Transformation, or change, is not something that comes easily. Transformation comes about through a process called trials and tribulations.
Trials and tribulations are a part of the growth cycle that new converts experience in their endeavor to live for Christ. Being saved or born again is the first step of a series of steps that people are expected to go through in their determination to follow Christ and make heaven their home. The Devil will serve as your chief accuser before God. He will daily try to deter a person from following through as a new believer. The devil has a mandate, which is recorded in John 10:10, which is to “steal, kill and destroy.” Despite the Devil’s mandate, Jesus tells us in that same passage; “I am come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.”
The abundance of life that we desire will again point humanity to the importance of understanding – “the power of your witness.” No matter what the Devil will try to throw at a believer, prayer and the study of the Word of God will make the difference to the outcome. Overcoming the trials and tribulations requires the same thing; prayer and a study of God’s Word.
Being saved or a Christian will not make an individual perfect. Perfection is a spiritual ideal that cannot be attained during this lifetime, but we strive for it none the less. It is something we strive for, knowing that if we live right we will obtain this reward in paradise. The Apostle Paul challenges us, in Philippians 3:14, to press toward the mark in our pursuit of this ideal we call perfection. As you press/pursue your mark, just know that you are being watched by the world; so be conscious of the power of your witness.
Your witness reflects to others all that the Lord has done in your life. Be the best example that you can of God’s grace and mercy. Make certain that as people look at you, that they are able to see that God is on your side and that he is working out his will in your life. You are an exhibit to the world demonstrating what God is still able to do for people who will submit their lives to his word, his will and his way. Do not try to do everything over night. Enjoy the process; it is a progressive process. Bare witness as best you can of God’s grace and mercy so that the world can see Christ at work in the world.
June 1st, 2014
The Power of Your Witness
One of the greatest conflicts in being a Christian is to understand what it means to have salvation versus sanctification. Salvation is the first step on a spiritual journey that one embraces in a process that can ultimately lead to their sanctification. Salvation is a belief in the power of God to save an individual from the penalty of sin, which is eternal separation from God. Salvation reflects a calling by God from darkness to His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
When a person makes a confession of faith (1 John 1:9); this does not lead the individual to a state of spiritual perfection. The confession of faith is the beginning of a relationship between the believer and God. As the person grows in their faith (2 Peter 3:18), they become more aware of the things of God. Spiritual growth and maturity requires that a believer study the word of God (2 Tim. 2:15). Luke (in Acts 20:32), commends people to God and the word of His grace which is able to build them up.
Salvation is a step that takes many people years to make because we do not live seeing our soul in need of a Savior. Sanctification is more of a process than a step because it requires both time and attention. Sanctification is not a quick fix. It is a process of development that is an outgrowth of trials and tribulations over an extended period of time. Sanctification is a cleansing or washing process. It is here that the individual rids their self of all of those characteristics that does not line up with the scriptures and God’s will for their life. It is here that we purge ourselves of our faults and shortcomings.
The Apostle Paul in Philippians uses the analogy of pressing toward the mark reflective of what a runner does in a race (Phil. 3:13-14). Each of us is invited to see our self accordingly. We are seeking to put our best foot forward as we strive to improve our performance. In the midst of this race we will encounter different opinions from other believers, but we must be mindful that our race in our race and not that of someone else. It is therefore important for fellow believers to encourage people in their spiritual growth and not discourage them.
One of the biggest mistakes church folk make is in thinking that everyone is on their level spiritually. New converts should be looked at as a beginner. Seasoned saints should be regarded as persons in an advanced program of development. If you look at it in the context of formal education, a freshman in university is not likely to have the same accumulated knowledge and experience as a doctoral degree candidate. There are years of study and research between the two.
Despite the differences in levels of spiritual understanding, the new believer should also be embraced and encouraged by the fellowship as is the seasoned saint. The shortcomings that may be observed in the individual’s appearance or behavior should be positively addressed in an affirming manner so that they move in the right direction as a response. Simply put; share with them in the same way that you would want someone to share with you. Lift them up both in positive thought and prayer and let them know that you are doing the same. It is hard to be harsh with someone you are trying to love for God and encourage in God.
The Journey from Salvation to Santification
June 9th, 2014
The story of Nehemiah is an interesting record in the history of the old testament church and the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah, the cup bearer, was burdened about the plight of his people and the condition of the community of his ancestors. As God was ministering to him, he accepted the challenge to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the outer wall of the community and commence a comprehensive process of restoring the city.
The King, whom he served witnessed his despair granted him a leave of absence with letters of approval to facilitate his activities. He immediately conducted a survey of the community and organized the people to engage in the renovation process. As he set about restoring the community and rebuilding the wall, he discovered that Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem were committed to distracting him and hindering his progress.
These three men serve as a reminder to all of us that when ever we set about doing what God would have us to do for the advancement of his Kingdom and the elevation of humanity, there will always be some who will try to distract us and hinder our progress. At this point in the story, Nehemiah had just about completed the major portion of the work. He was about to set the doors in place since the walls were now complete. Before he could do so, they repeatedly sort his attention. They asked for an audience with him as many as five times.
Nehemiah, in responding to there repeated requests, declared; “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I come down to you?” Through this declaration, we understand the importance of remaining focused and staying on our job. That what Nehemiah did. He stayed focus and stayed on his job.
We should remember that the Devil has a job description which involves distracting and destroying our efforts to do the Lord’s work and will. Let us therefore renew our efforts to do as Nehemiah did. Stay focused and stay on your job. Continue to do what the Lord has assigned to your hands. In so doing, you will bring the Lord praise, honor and glory.
Stay Focused and Stay on the Job
In John’s Gospel, he outlines a story of Peter’s challenges as a fisherman. Peter, as an experienced fisherman had spent a night at sea fishing as he had done on numerous occasions. Fishing was his livelihood and he knew the seas. On this particular night, after consistent attempts, he caught nothing. After returning to the sea shore and cleaning his nets, he had an encounter with Jesus; who used his boat to address the people who had been following him. After ministering to the people, Jesus instructs Peter to launch out into the deep and let down his nets.
Peter, in receiving the invitation to go fishing in the morning was hesitant. He had spent the night in the same boat, fishing in the same waters and caught nothing. He therefore wandered, if these waters produced nothing a few hours ago what would be different now?
Jesus, being aware of his hesitation saw this as a teachable moment. Jesus knew that Peter’s change of strategy required a change of focus as well as a change of attitude. With the change in focus and attitude Peter could receive a change in outcome.
Change for change sake is not sufficient in and of itself. When Peter changed his focus in fishing, he had gone from the left side of the boat, where he had fished all night to the right side of the boat in keeping with Jesus instruction. This demonstrated that it is possible for one to be in the right boat, in the right waters, but operating from the wrong side with the wrong focus and the wrong attitude.
When Peter adjusted his attitude, he went from a negative perspective to a positive perspective. In two swift moves, he went from operating on the wrong side of the boat with a negative outcome to operating from the right side of the boat with a positive outcome. With the change in focus and attitude Peter also had a change in outcome. The nets that were empty after a whole night of fishing were now full and running over in response to his obedience to the word of the Lord.
When Peter did as the Lord instructed, immediately his nets became full and he required the assistance of other men and other boats. Jesus demonstrated to Peter how He is able to open as it were the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing so much so that we would not be able to contain it all.
Herein, we are able to find food for thought in keeping with the principles of God’s word. Our success in the future depends upon our preparedness to change our strategy. As a family, and church family, we need to be prepared to make all of the necessary changes in our own situations. We can no longer continue to do the same things and expect a different outcome. We must change our strategy. It does not make sense to work all night or overtime to accomplish nothing. With positive change according to God’s word and His will, we can have a positive outcome.
June 23, 2014
Change your Strategy
One of the greatest debates in the holy bible surrounds the presence of women in the scriptures. When did they appear? What is their authority? How should they be involved in the work of the ministry of the church and on what level? These and other questions has lead to the creation of “women’s /womanish theology” as a means of examining the contribution of women in scripture as well as in the church and society at large.
A careful review of the scriptures constitutes a revelation in thought for most Christian believers; as it relates to the creation of women and the creation of Eve. In the actual creation story, recorded in Genesis 1:26 – 27, there is clear evidence of God creating men and women at the same time with equality to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
Whereas we find evidence that God created women in the first chapter of Genesis with men. Eve was created as a woman/wife for Adam in Genesis chapter two. In describing the creation of man, God outlined the process in Gen. 2:7. Seeing the loneliness of Adam (Gen. 2:18), God created for him Eve as reflected Gen. 2:21-23.
Throughout scripture, in the church, as the church has evolved we have debated the roll of women and placed them in subjection to men or a less dominant position when it clearly appears that God’s plan was for them to both have a roll of dominion. If we were to examine the presence of men and women in the church today, we would have to ask ourselves if we could effectively run or operate our churches without women playing the part that they do.
The scriptures are filled with hundreds of unnamed women who have made a difference in the spread of the gospel and the development of churches. Despite the fact that women are often being challenged for positions of leadership; if it were not for their presence and contributions, where would we be?
Personally, I salute women for the part they continue to play in the life of the Christian church and in local congregations. The wisest person I know is a woman; my mother. My mother is not a product of formal education. She did not even finish elementary school, but she did raise a family of six children and now presides as the matriarch of an extended family comprising four generations. This woman, despite my academic training to the doctoral degree level is one of the first persons I will turn to when my back is against the wall. Her words carry more weight with me than anyone else’s. Her words of assurance and encouragement mean the world to me. Therefore, I take my hat off to and salute every woman.
June 30, 2014
Dr. Maya Angelou penned a poem under this caption that has become legendary. Through her writings and this poem she has changed the way society views the contribution of women. At the same time, she has helped us to appreciate the many phenomenal women that surround us on a daily basis. This past Sunday we recognized one such woman in our church for her outstanding commitment to continue to serve the Lord.
As a nonagenarian, at age 92, she could argue better than most as to why she should sit down and take a rest. Her age alone would have been a sufficient argument. Taking a rest is the one thing she will not do. At her age she is still busy serving God, the church and the community in a host of capacities. Dee Dee as she is affectionately referred to by several generations of her family was busy preparing for an annual charity event, which she has hosted for 49 years as a birthday celebration for the benefit of the community. The night before the event she was enjoying the company of family. Her beloved son was not feeling well and she had offered to delay the event. Planning to participate himself he urged her not to delay it. Later that night he was overtaken by his illness and ushered into eternity.
The morning of the event, although gripped with grief and sadness, Dee Dee surrounded by her sister, daughter, three grand-daughters and great grandchildren carried on with the charity events on both the Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday morning, when she could have been seated in worship, she was on her post as an usher leading others to their seats to enjoy the majesty of the worship and fellowship.
What is it that makes Dee Dee such a phenomenal woman? Her abiding faith in God and her knowledge that His grace is sufficient for every condition of life sets her apart from most. Instead of becoming the focus of attention, she was busy giving it to others. The grace with which she serves God and others is a study within itself. Everyone is not able to carry on under the weight of similar circumstances.
God’s grace is most evident in our lives when the chips are stacked against us. When we appear to be engaged in an uphill battle carry a load that exceeds our capacity to bear; but we are still able to smile in the midst of the storm. This grace and charm is what we are seeing Dee Dee doing at a time such as this. I salute her and all women like her for the grace they demonstrate daily.
Throughout scriptures you see evidence of phenomenal women. These women are not limited to the scriptures. They are all around you. They are in your churches, homes and throughout your community. Celebrate them as gifts from God. That’s why we pause today to salute our Dee Dee. Truly, she is our gift from God. Our prayer is that God will bless her and renew her as the Matriarch of her family and as one of the senior mothers of our church.
July 6, 2014
On Wednesday July 9th, 2014 a hush went across the Connectional Church of African Methodism as Mrs. Vivienne Anderson informed the Global Church of the death of her beloved husband and partner in life and ministry for some 62 years, Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson.
Bishop Anderson, as one of the Reverend Fathers in God, according to the Tradition of African Methodism, stood as a Prince of the Ministry of our Church, as one of the Royal Defenders of our Faith and Tradition who had been called and commissioned by God through ordination, election and consecration to superintend the work, which is a holy calling, of building the Church of God, under the umbrella of African Methodism known as Richard Allen’s church.
Mrs. Anderson’s call to notify the Global Church of Bishop Anderson’s elevation through death, as he accepted a blood stained invitation dispatched from the Realms of Glory from his Heavenly Father, carried by an Angel, for him to come up and sit just a little bit higher has caused us to invoke a tradition reserved only for those who have been commissioned by God through the process of ecclesiastical election and consecration to the highest office of the AME Church, in the tradition of Richard Allen, as one of the Bishops of the Church. In recognition of his bright light being diminished on this side of the Jordan, our pulpit garments have been turned to black and purple as a symbol of the death of a Bishop of the Church. We have officially entered a period of mourning around the world, and now surround Mrs. Anderson and her family with our prayers, love and support.
Bishop Anderson, as a bishop of the AME Church, walked in succession to our founder, Richard Allen, and was charged by God and the Church to hold as sacred his orders, his ordination, and calling from God and the church. Bishop Anderson did this well throughout his ministry as a pastor in the Fifth Episcopal District of our church where he led five churches, 1952 – 1972, and through his service as a Bishop as he presided over five Episcopal Districts from 1972 - 2004.
Bishop Anderson’s life will be celebrated during this coming week in St. Louis, Missouri as the Connectional Church led by the Bishops Council and all areas of our denomination will gather to support the Anderson family. His will be a royal farewell, which is reserved only for the royalty of our church whom we regard our Bishops to be. In addition to his office as an AME Bishop, he also served the Global Protestant and Christian Community as President of the World Council of Churches; in this capacity the celebration of his contribution will be recognized on another level as well.
Therefore, the Vernon Temple AME Church Family joins with our Global Church and the Protestant Christian Community in the celebration of his Christian witness as a Bishop of our Church, a Prince of our Tradition and Defender of our Holy Faith. We pray for the comfort of our beloved Mrs. Vivienne Anderson, their sons and the extended family. We pray also that his soul may rest in peace. Amen.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church
As a Community in Mourning
Regarding the Death of
Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson
92nd Elected and Consecrated Prelate of the Church
July 13th, 2014
The Cross or crucifix is a living testimony of God’s love and Christ sacrifice at Calvary to bridge the gap between the law of the Old Testament and New Testament dispensation of grace. Whenever and wherever people see a cross, they are reminded of an individuals saving or believing faith in the finished work of Christ at Calvary as a payment for the sins of the world.
The Cross is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. The only difference is between those crosses that carry the image of the Christ and those without the image. Irrespective of the presence or absence of His image on the cross, the message is still clear; Christ went all the way to Calvary to satisfy the penalty of the sin of mankind and to restore us in our right relationship and fellowship with our creator and heavenly father.
The Cross in its very design depicts the vertical and horizontal relationships which reflect the joint and universal communion of mankind. The vertical dimension of the cross speaks to the relationship and fellowship that exists between God and mankind. It symbolizes mankind’s up-reach to God. The horizontal dimension of the cross symbolizes and reflects mankind’s outreach to each other.
The Cross is also considered the bridge which stands in the midst of the chasm created at the time of the original sin in Genesis chapter three. The original sin is when the relationship between God and mankind was destroyed. Prior to this sin we existed in a sinless state of being. Since this sin, we have strived to sin less.
The Cross, therefore is that symbol and sign that connects the Old Testament and the New Testament. It reflects the redemptive work of Christ on our behalf and shows that the debt has been paid in full through the shedding of Jesus blood. It also reminds us that we are the beneficiaries of God’s grace and mercy.
The sin of Eve and Adam could only be removed through the blood of Christ at Calvary via the Cross. To this end, God the creator, through Christ stepped into the created world to redeem mankind, His creation from their sin and its penalty. God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. God got us out of what we got ourselves into.
The Cross therefore is an appropriate symbol that connects the dots between Genesis 3 (the original sin), Isaiah 53 (the prophetic payment for sin) and John 3 (God’s sacrificial demonstration of love). The cross is as much a symbol of love, grace and mercy as it is one of sacrifice. Whichever cross you may choose to wear, do it with the understanding that it is all about God’s love for you. Therefore, do not allow the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ to be in vain.
Juyly 21st, 2014
The Cross as a Sign of Calvary
Cup Match is a Bermudian tradition that has its roots in the Emancipation of Slaves on August 1, 1834. This date also marks the genesis of what has become our Annual Cup Match celebration as it is now known. On August 1, 1834 the slaves took a day off and engaged in sporting activities. This tradition has continued to this very day. This celebration for the community and church is a mixture of the secular and the sacred. It is a secular event in that it is an outgrowth of the peoples social state of being, but at the same time, it is a sacred celebration because the same people who had experienced freedom from slavery had been praying about it and asking God to do for them as He had done for the children of Israel when they were in bondage in Egypt (Ex. 2:23-25).
Today we honor this tradition as a people, as a means of reminding ourselves and others of where we have come from. It is important therefore that we not think, or allow others to think that things have always been as they are now. For people of colour, we have endured the struggle and suffered a host of indignities along the way. In the midst of our struggle, we have consistently experienced the hand of God upon our lives.
In modern day Bermuda, we are far removed from the slave plantations, but we are still grappling with systemic forms of racism. Racism is still very much a factor in our lives and in our community; therefore it is imperative that we not forget God or His grace that has made a way for us. It is also important that we educate our descendents, many of whom have no understanding of the struggles we have endured. As a people we have risen from the shackles of the past to embrace our present realities.
I am constantly reminded, as I look into the loving eyes of my mother, and feel her warm embrace that she and the generations before her have toiled by day and night for me to enjoy the benefit of education and social/political elevation. Therefore, the things that so many are inclined to take for granted have come as the fruit of the labours of our fore parents.
As I celebrate Cup Match this year, my focus is no longer the issue of the competition between Somerset and St. Georges, but it is a reminder of just how far we as people of colour have come by God’s grace and mercy. In light of this fact, I rededicate myself in service to God and to the community (Rom. 12:1-2).
Why We Celebrate?
As Bermuda has just come through the celebration of Cup Match, we have been
blessed as an island community to pause and reflect on the history of this event which has its genesis in 1834 with the emancipation of slavery in this country. From the very beginning of their freedom declaration, former slaves gathered and engaged in sporting events and activities. Their annual celebrations were embraced by the Lodges of Somerset and St. Georges with an annual cricket match. In 1902 the famous silver cup was acquired for the benefit of the winning cricket side. The Cup has come to be both a symbol of liberation and victory. It is considered a prized possession for the players as well as the island supporters of the teams.
The Cup of Cup Match serves as a reminder of another very important cup in scripture, which I will describe as the Cup of Calvary. In the gospel of Matthew (26:39), as Jesus was approaching Calvary He said in conversation with His Father; “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” The cup that Jesus was referring to is regarded as a cup of spiritual liberation and redemption that required the shedding of His own precious blood for the penalty of the sin of mankind as found in Genesis chapter three.
The Cup of Calvary, although far greater than the Cup of Cup Match is also a reminder of the liberation of mankind. The symbolism between the two should not be loss on anybody. Had there been no Calvary, there would be no Cup Match. The liberation movement, which is reflected in the symbol of the Cup, is reflected throughout the scriptures. We as a people have always gotten ourselves into situations that have required the intervention of God to get us out of.
God through His plan of creation made man as the shinning glory of His perfection. Through our foolishness and willful disobedience we acted contrary to His ideal plan and fell into sin. The sin of Garden of Eden separated us in our relationship and fellowship. We were driven out of the Garden and required to work and labor like never before. Humanity has been impacted by that fall from that very day until now.
The Cup of Calvary was God’s means of restoration for the fall of humanity. As Jesus confronted the awesomeness of this reality, in His journey toward Calvary, He cried out to God asking if it could be another way. Jesus than bowled His head in humble submission to the will of Almighty God. Thus I thank God for the Cup of Calvary. The Cup, which has become one of redemption. The Cup, which has also become one of restoration. It was through this Cup that we have been made whole in our relationship and fellowship with God.
The Cup of Cup Match and the Cup of Calvary
August 5th, 2014
Determination within the body of Christ is more than just an issue of mindset. It is also a foundational principle of spiritual development. As a person grows in Christ, they become more determined to serve God to the best of their ability. Determination for them is a bi-product of growth and experience.
Determination is supported by scriptural passages as well as inspirational songs. The Apostle Paul in Philippians (4:13) says; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” This verse encourages the believer despite the circumstances of life to press on come what may. Throughout this very epistle, Paul reinforces that point repeatedly. He highlights in chapter one (Phil. 1:6) the importance of a personal relationship with God. As a result of one’s relationship they must understand that it is God who is at work in their life.
Determination, for the believer, according to the Apostle Paul (Phil. 2:5) is re-enforced by seeking to operate according to the mind of Christ. It is as we submit our will to that of God (John 3:30) that we are able to allow Him to receive the praise, honor and glory from our living. Determination as an attitudinal force alone is not enough. It must be an attitude that has been surrendered to the will of God.
Man, of his own accord, does not live so as to please and glorify God. When we are left to our own will to do what we want to do, we do not always do what God would have us to do. Isaiah recognized this when he declared (53:6); “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The freedom for man to do what he wants to do, separate and apart from a committed Christian relationship, will constitute an act of sin.
Our determination as a believer should cause us to want to serve God in such a way that we demonstrate the light of Christ that Jesus talked about in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:16). In this message, Jesus was making the argument that we should allow our good deeds to be seen in us. This is commonly referred to as putting our best foot forward. This does not mean that we are perfect, but we are determined to just keep on trying.
For myself; I use the chorus “I have decided to follow Jesus” as a reflection of my determination to serve God until I reach the end of my journey. That one line is repeated three times before it continues; “no turning back, no turning back.” As I look back over my spiritual pilgrimage of some thirty-four years, my determination as encapsulated by this chorus remains the same. My life has not been without its faults and shortcomings, but I am still travelling on a road that glorifies God. I invite you to examine your own sense of determination. Make a decision for Christ, with the understanding that there will be “no turning back.”.
August 11th, 2014
The Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Church at Ephesus (Ephesians 4:1-3) outlines a tremendous challenge for the body of believers in this community. The Epistle itself is designed to address the relational dynamic between Christ and the Christian church. As a body of believers, God through Christ under the inspired penmanship of the Apostle Paul is addressing how the church should grow through their personal example.
Christian spiritual growth, and numerical growth within the body, is based upon their devotion to biblical principles. Herein, God has called them to “walk worthy.” Walking is addressing their ability to incorporate into their life/lifestyle Christian principles of spiritual conduct and communication that edifies the body of Christ. Thus, a believer can no longer walk and conduct themselves in just any old fashion. They must now be mindful of how they impact the congregation or body of believers as a whole by their walk and by their talk.
Coupled with their walk, is the issue of the believers’ calling to a vocation (4:11). When God called us as believers from darkness to His most marvelous light, He also called us to function according to an established vocation/ministry within the body of Christ. Many churches today operate according to a confused concept of ministry because the membership has not taken the time to become disciples (students of the word of God, according to 2 timothy 2:15) and understand their vocational calling.
Christian discipleship within the body of Christ should be considered to be as important as preparation for a secular profession or vocation. It is an issue of a life’s work within the kingdom of God. Discipleship should be considered a fundamental principle of Christian character development. Congregational confusion is the outgrowth of poor development in this area. As long as adult believers remain spiritual babes in Christ, chaos will reign in the church. As adult believers become Christian disciples (students of the Word of God), the church is able to mature and develop to a new level.
To spur Christian spiritual growth by encouraging believers to “work it” by their walk, the apostle Paul recommends two basic reasons; 1) To operate with a spirit of humility (4:2) and 2) to Endeavour to keep unity within the body of believers (4:3). These principles can only be applied based upon Christian believers being disciples and understanding their vocational calling as a part of their ministry. God operates according to an orderly system. To shine best for His honor and glory, one must understand His order at the same time. Therefore, I encourage you in your relationship with Christ, as a member of the church and of His body, “work it” by your walk. Walk for His honor and walk for His glory. In so doing, you will give the Lord the praise and the church will be better as a result of your example.
“Work it” by Walking
July 28th, 2014
August 18th, 2014
Do You Need a Hiding Place
David the Psalmist wrote from his experiences for the benefit of the Christian community. The Psalms are a record of his prayers and songs of praise. Despite his imperfections, he was described as a man after God’s own heart. In this Psalm, he speaks from a perspective assurance. As to what he was going through at the time, it is unknown to us, but he highlighted some important points for our consideration.
David opens the Psalm by acknowledging what “the Pentecostal Mothers of the church” describe as the “is-ness” of God. The is-ness refers to the present active tense of the presence and power of God in our lives. Herein, we are reminded that wherever we are and whatever we are going through God is present with us.
David in this verse acknowledges three very important points of consideration beyond the presence and power of God; 1. God is our refuge, 2. God is our strength and 3. God is a very present help in trouble.
As someone who every now and again needed to hide for his personal safety, David recognized that he had a hiding place in God as a form of refuge. From time to time, in our spiritual pilgrimage as we go through things we find ourselves in the same position of needing a hiding place to withdraw from the challenges that the world can throw at us. David often took refuge in the lord.
In times of refuge, as he was strengthened in the Lord, he was renewed, revived and refreshed. This process is spiritual as well as physical and emotional. Ministry and Christian service is an exhausting process which has the potential of draining one in so many ways. Taking refuge in God and allowing the Lord to minister to you as an individual is a means to empowerment.
Beyond having God as a refuge and a source of strength, David also acknowledged that “He is a very present help in trouble.” Life is full of troubles, but in the midst thereof it is important for the believer to know and understand that they are not alone. God is present with us in the midst of whatever our trouble is. Some have family troubles, financial, emotional and the list goes on. I am glad to know that in the midst of all of my troubles that I do not stand alone. The Lord is standing right there by my side.
David also pointed out as a closing affirmation, in verse eleven, the point that he raised in verse seven that “the Lord of host is with us.” As His servants, we enjoy the same benefit of the presence and power of God in our life. Therefore I invite you to enjoy your hiding place (refuge) in the Lord.
August 24th, 2014
As a servant of God, it is not uncommon to question the presence of God in our life. One of Moses greatest challenges was providing leadership to the children of God, after his encounter with the burning bush (Ex. 3:1-6). God had called upon Moses to serve as the agent by whom he would deliver the children of Israel from hundreds of years of slavery. God assured him of his presence as he was charged with the responsibility of going to the Pharaoh to seek the deliverance of the Israelites.
As we seek to serve God, we are faced with the need of the same assurance that Moses required. We too need to know that just as God was with Moses, so too is he with us. In directing Moses God declared; “I will be with you” (Ex. 312). Just as God had assured Moses, we can walk with that same confidence and assurance that God is with us also.
As we walk with the Lord, he is there to fight our battles for us. The Christian journey is one that requires faith and trust in an unseen God. Despite the fact that God is unseen, we cannot dispute his presence and his power in our lives. Christian faith reminds us that we are not the captains of our own ship or the one who determines the ultimate outcome.
The abiding presence and power of God in our lives impacts all that goes on around us. We just have to trust that everything will work out for our good. As Moses responded to the call of God upon his life, he was tested. Today, we remind people that our trials and tribulations constitute the foundation of our testimony. In the absence of trials and tribulations, we would not have a testimony.
Our testimony enables us to tell and encourage others to keep on working for the Lord. Moses is covered that despite the challenges he faced with the Egyptians or the Israelites, God was with him. Sometimes it feels like God is absent, but he is always present and always on time. I invite you to read for yourself the story of the deliverance of the children of Israel. In the midst of all of the plagues and freedom march, they discovered, as did Moses, that God was there all the time.
As the children of Israel marched through the Red Sea as a part of there deliverance, they were made to realize that God was there all the time. The same applies to those who call on the name of the Lord to day as a savior in their life. He will demonstrate that his presence is there for us all the time.
August 31, 2014
New life is one of the central themes of the Christian conversion experience. In his epistle to the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul as he addresses the general theme of “Christ and the Church” speaks in chapter two about the issue of new life. He informs the body of believers that they have been “quickened” by God. To be quickened is to be made alive spiritually which is what it means to be made a member of the family of God.
Herein, the Apostle Paul addresses two very important thematic points: a) the body of believers has been quickened (made alive [present tense]) and b) that they were previously dead in trespasses and sins (dead spiritually/eternally separated from God [past tense]). This constitutes a turning point in mans relationship with God.
As a foundational message to the conversion process, the Apostle Paul tells the church in chapter one that they have been:
“Chosen” by God (v.4). As a chosen people there should be no confusion over their relational dynamic. God through Christ completed his work on behalf of the church at Calvary, when Christ suffered, bled and died as the fulfillment of the penalty of the human sin condition.
“Predestinated” through adoption as children of God. We were previously Gentiles and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel (Eph. 2:11-12). As adopted children, we are now deemed spiritually to be Jews and members of the commonwealth who are entitled to all the benefits of the Kingdom.
As corporate consumers in the world today, we are familiar with the jingle that says “membership has its privileges.” As believers with new life in Christ, our membership has its privileges within the Kingdom of God. Such a membership can be activated right here on earth as God intends to bless us exceedingly and abundantly (John 10:10B).
My “new life” in Christ commenced on Friday, January 11, 1980. I was a high school student at Sandy’s Secondary School. Mr. Glenn Bascome, who taught English and Religious Knowledge, had invited me to join a bible study during the lunch hour. The first three lessons looked at “Who is Jesus Christ, The Work of Jesus Christ and Eternal Life in Jesus Christ.” After completing the third study the booklet invited people to make a decision to accept Christ as Savior and Lord of their life. I made such a decision for Christ that day and have never regretted it.
Thirty-four years after embracing my “new life” in Christ I am actively engaged in a ministry of Christian service trying to show others the way to Jesus and a life filled with peace and happiness. If you have not made a decision for Christ as Savior and Lord of your life, I invite you to pray the sinners prayer and simply ask God to forgive you of all of your sins and short comings and be the Lord and Savior of your life.
September 7th, 2014
June 16, 2014
The challenges of life will from time to time remind us of our imperfections and the fact that we are all just a work in progress. Despite the issue of our soul salvation, none of us have reached a spiritual point of perfection as we pilgrimage through this world. Within the Body of Christ, there are many who are of the opinion that salvation and perfection go hand in hand. There is a relationship between the two, but they are not one and the same.
Salvation is mans acceptance of what God has done for him through Christ Jesus at Calvary. Salvation is mans acceptance of God’s redeeming work and Christ sacrifice as repayment for our sin. Man’s acceptance of Christ removes from our spiritual account the ultimate penalty for our sin, but it does not remove us from the power or presence of sin. Hence, we are seeking perfection but have not obtained it.
Salvation sets us on a course of personal development which will lead us to aspire to perfection. The Apostle Paul in his writings addresses it in Roman’s (12:1-2) as a part of a process of spiritual transformation. We have to allow God to do a work in us that leads us to forsake the sin and shortcomings of our past as we strive to be more like Christ. Herein, we must: 1. Present ourselves to Christ as living sacrifices, 2. be not conformed to this world and 3. Experience transformation/change in our lives by the renewing of our minds. The Apostle Paul extends this concept in his letter to the church at Philippi (3:13-14) when he states that they must press toward the mark by: 1. forgetting things behind them, 2. reaching forth to the goal before them and 3. pressing/straining with all their might.
The Apostle Paul throughout his writings and ministry though personal example reminded us repeatedly of our imperfections and the fact that until the point of death we remain a work in progress. With reference to him, I believe that he said it best in Romans 7:24 when he cried out; “O wretched man that I am!” The Apostle was highlighting the inward struggle between his desire to do good and the presence of evil seeking to draw him into wrong doing.
As one of the greatest New Testament writers and Christian witnesses, if the Apostle Paul struggled in his pursuit of perfection we should not be surprised by our own inability. Despite the challenges before us, we must press on with a renewed sense of determination. When we fall short we just have to pick ourselves up again, dust ourselves off and determine to just keep on trying. We are not perfect, but we are a work in progress. I credit Sister White with a perfect reminder to me of our human imperfection and our renewed sense to persevere in the face of adversity. This mirrors what Donnie McClurkin says in his song: “we fall down but we get back up again.”
We Are All Just A Work In Progress
September 15, 2014
As human beings or mature adults, we have been conditioned to insure everything we have of value. We insure our health, we insure our cars and bike, our expensive jewelry and the list goes on. Insurance is a guarantee of some form of compensation in the event of risk, loss or injury.
Insurance is apart of a global; commercial market that encourages everyone to make a monetary investment in potential injury, loss or damage to themselves or their property. It is consider something we should always have with the hope that we will never have to use it. Most have discovered that it is something that they always need immediately after they give it up.
For a person who may be hospitalized, insurance is something they need to have going into hospital as a means of addressing medical expenses, but should the hospital bed become their death bed, they will need assurance more than insurance.
Assurance is a relational dynamic that believers have with God through Jesus Christ. Assurance is acceptance of the finished work of Christ at Calvary in the form of His crucifixion, burial and resurrection. This is where the individual accepts that God extended His love toward him through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
The challenge we have to accept is that:
Assurance is obtained through prayer and not via a purchase down town: Through prayer we confess our sin to God (1 John 1:9). Through prayer we do as David did; we ask God to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us (Psalm 51:10), and through prayer we acknowledge that it is with our heart we believe God unto the point of righteousness (Romans 10:10).
Assurance is a Gift from God: God in bridging the gap between man and Himself indicated that He loved us so much (John 3:16), that He sent Jesus all the way to Calvary to pay the debt for our sin (Gen.3). As a result of the gulf that existed between mankind and God as a consequence of the original sin it became necessary for God to reach out to us because of our inability to reach out to God.
Assurance is a Policy that has no End: Insurance is temporal. It is good for us while we are yet alive, but assurance is a policy that is temporal and eternal. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth indicates that when our mortal shall have put on immortality death shall be swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:51-54).
All of us need to be prepared for when our earthly journey shall come to an end. The late Mother Fanny Crosby, who wrote thousands of hymns said it best in one of the great hymns of the church; “Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine.” All of us need assurance with our insurance.
Do You Have Assurance with Your Insurance?
2 Tim. 1:12
September 22, 2014
Vernon Temple was blessed Sunday past to hear Sis. Angela Jones preached a profound word regarding “withholding nothing.” She related the challenge that confronted Abraham as it related to his obedience to God. Most of us as believers would confess to a life of obedience to God’s word and His will. As Abraham discovered, it is one thing to say it, but another thing to do it.
In this text, God had directed Abraham to take his son Isaac into the land of Moriah in preparation for a sacrifice. In faithfulness, he responded accordingly and gathered up some of his servants and with his son set off for Moriah. He travelled for several days carrying with him all of the essentials for a sacrifice with the acceptation of the sacrifice.
This journey became for Abraham and Isaac the journey of a life time. Isaac was the promised son (Genesis 18). His birth defied human explanation. He was conceived in his mother’s old age. Sarah herself had laughed at the thought of bearing a son at that stage of her life, but it was all in accordance with the plan of God.
After three days of travelling toward the place of sacrifice, Abraham saw it in the distance (Gen. 22:4). After separating from his servants, Abraham took with him the provisions for the sacrifice and his son and prepared accordingly. Isaac, being familiar with a sacrificial ceremony asked his father (Gen. 22:7); “where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham responded that God will provide himself a lamb. Little did Isaac know in that moment that the plan was for him to be the sacrifice.
Isaac, trusting his father, allowed himself to be bound and prepared for the sacrifice. In the midst of seeing the faithfulness of Abraham, God stayed his hand and presented a ram caught in a thicket as a substitute.
Each of us are challenged daily to make decisions to follow God. Most of us do not know what God may require of us, but we must ask ourselves; would we be prepared to sacrifice the life of our child as a part of God’s plan? It is my prayer that we may never be put to that test, but understand we are tested daily. What would you withhold from the Lord?
It is my hope that as we confront our challenges in our determination to serve God that we would be like the Apostle Paul, who in response to the example of Abraham determined that nothing would separate him from the love of God (Romans 8:28-39). Let this be your determination also that you may declare in your service that you are …”Withholding Nothing!!!”
Genesis 22: 1-18
As a great scholar, with a personal library comprised of thousands of volumes, lay on a sick bed that was to become his death bed, he asked his assistant to bring him the Book. The assistant, being mindful of the array of books he held within his library responded out of confusion and asked what book he was referring to? The scholar replied that a time such as this there could only be one Book; that Book is the Bible. The scholar recognized that the bible was the only book that could give him the words of comfort and assurance that he needed as he was facing a certain death.
The Apostle Paul as he challenged Timothy about continuing in the ministry did something similar. Timothy as a young man, in the face of his discouragement had his mentor provide him with words of encouragement as well as direction. Paul reminded him that God had not given him a spirit of fear, but one of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:6-7).
Paul went on to outline for Timothy some of the things he must consider as he reflects on the word of God;
1. The need to be strong (2 Tim. 2:1): in keep with what Paul said to the church at Ephesus we need to be mindful of the fact that we have to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might as we put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18).
2. The need to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3): this ministry is not for the faint of heart, but those who are prepared to be tried and tested. This thought is also reflected as a part of the Apostle’s testimony in verse 10. It is through endurance that God is glorified and others come to know Christ as Saviour and Lord.
3. The need to remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to the gospel (2 Tim. 2:8): In remembering, Paul was encouraging Timothy to connect the dots and reflect on the fact that his salvation is secured through Christ and His finished work at Calvary. Timothy did not have the benefit of the New Testament Bible or the complete bible as we do today. Therefore his decisions could not be made in isolation.
It is against this backdrop that the Apostle Paul challenged Timothy in his moments of despair to study the word of God and to “Open the Book.” What many believers seek through preaching is to be derived from teaching. Apart of that process necessitates that we open the book for ourselves and “study to show ourselves approved unto God as workmen that need not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.
Upon reviewing the works of great scholars and Old Testament personalities, I concur with the scholar who asked his assistant to bring him the Book. There are times in your life that only the word of God will make a difference in your outcome. Therefore, study for yourself that you may be approved by God.
Have You Opened the BIble/Book?
2 Timothy 2:15
October 6, 2014
September 28th, 2014
As we pause and reflect on the terrestrial storm Fay and hurricane Gonzalo, all of us can thank God that we made it. As we look back upon the events that have transpired, we each have different stories that we are able to tell, but thankfully we can all say we made it. Now we are engaged in our recovery even as some are still without electrical power from the storm which came before the hurricane. God was with us through the storm, through the hurricane and through the trials and the tribulations of this life.
When we examine these events over against the word of God we are blessed by the reminder pertaining to the “promise of God” that he would never leave us or forsake us. This biblical declaration is a promise that the child of God can hold onto until they enter into their eternity. Wherever we are, we are assured that God is right there by our side. We cannot escape the presence or the power of God upon our lives.
As I reflect upon the storm, how it cancelled our planned women’s day celebrations in a moment, I can still see how God was with us and how He did not forsake us. Weeks and months of planning for our annual celebrations were turned on a dime within minutes of the 7:00am service. The preacher had left home and was on his way. The church had been prepared and all systems were go as of the day before, but in a matter of moments early in the day with the pouring rain and the blowing winds we lost electrical power and every thing was shut down. Despite the missed opportunity, God was true to His promise. He did not leave us or forsake us.
As the week progressed and we moved along with our regular activity, we were made aware that after storm Fay, hurricane Gonzalo was on its way within five days. As we look back on the two events now, we appreciate that despite the pain of Fay, she was a blessing in disguise. Fay had blown down enough trees and electrical poles that she ended up clearing the way for Gonzalo. In the absence of Fay, Gonzalo would have wreaked more havoc on the island. In retrospect, we are still able to see that God had honored His promise in that He never left us or forsaken us.
As we are able to see the hand of God upon us through the storm and the hurricane, we are also able to see it upon us through all of our trials and tribulations. We have faced some serious challenges, but as we continue to trust God, we are able to behold the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. Sister Brenda White made a most profound statement that still resonates with me; “even the seas and the winds obey Him. I am just looking out of my window at the turbulent sea and the palm trees dancing. I can’t help but offer up a praise “How great Thou art.” My God is awesome. He can move mountains. He hides me from the storms.”
My prayer is that all of us will be able to say as Sister White did; that through His promise God hides us from the storm. Behold His promise for yourself. Why? He will never leave you or forsake you.
Behold the Promise of God
October 26th, 2014
A question has been asked; what’s in a name? As a young man growing up I was constantly reminded by my mother of the importance of a good name. This issue is one that is more familiar with older persons, especially of my mother’s generation, those born during or before World War II. In many instances, people of color may have only had a good name to their credit.
The Apostle Peter in this scripture is responding to the high priest and leaders of the church regarding the salvation of roughly five thousand men (Acts 4:4) as an outgrowth of the miracle of healing experienced by the nameless lame man who was daily laid at the gate Beautiful (Acts 3:1-8).
The church leaders asked Peter; “By what power, or by what name have ye done this (Acts 4:7)?” Peter in responding to the leadership of the church was able to outline three important points that are embedded in the text of the twelfth verse;
1. There is none other name.
2. Jesus name is the only name given among men.
3. Jesus name is the name whereby we must be saved.
As Peter and john approached the Temple they were asked alms of the lame man (Acts 3:1). Peter responding invited the man to look upon him (v.4). Instead of offering silver or gold he reached out his hand of faith and performed the miracle of healing (v. 6-7). The man accepting his extended hand was lifted to his feet and began leaping and jumping as he praised God for what he experienced (v.8).
Everyone who had passed this lame man was filled with wonder and amazement (v.10). The healing of the lame man and the response of the witnesses constituted the foundation for the Christian witness and proclamation that resulted in the salvation response of the five thousand man and untold number of women and children (Acts 4:4). The church leadership demonstrated that they were more comfortable with the lame man when he was sick and afflicted. At the same time they were more comfortable with the five thousand when they walked in darkness. As church leaders they should have been rejoicing in the healing and in the salvation deliverance, but they did everything to the contrary.
Peter, in responding to the question; In whose power or whose name? He clearly articulated that it was “in His name.” His response outlined the three points listed above; “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
November 3rd, 2014
In His Name (IHN)!!!
November 2, 2014
In the Gospel of John (3:16) is considered to be the summary of the whole bible. It is viewed as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the essence of the New Testament. This verse summarizes the love of God through the creation of the world, inclusive of the fall and redemption of mankind.
This text lets us know that God in His infinite wisdom has looked beyond the fall of mankind and seen their need and has addressed the same through the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, in this one verse alone we are made to understand that Christ is the personification of the love of God extended towards mankind. Man could not help himself or restore himself from his self inflicted sin and shortcoming.
In the face of the separation created by man between himself and God, in His divine providence God through Christ has created for us the bridge to span the gap of spiritual separation. This text tells that story. God, acting in love has redeemed and restored man from sin and eternal damnation.
The gift of God, through Christ, has been created by God. Man was able to severe the relationship and fellowship that existed between himself and God from the beginning of time. Despite our ability to destroy the union, man was not able to restore the union. God, coming in the form of Christ, as the second part of the Trinity, was able to restore both the relationship and the fellowship.
The gift of God came to man via Mary’s womb. God, as the creator acted outside of the realm of human understanding and birth a Son through divine intervention. Mary received the news of this miraculous birth by the Angel Gabriel. Confessing that she did not know a man in the natural sense, she embraced the plan of God as a willing participant who had found favor with God.
The gift of God, Christ the Savior of the World, was given for the benefit of all humanity. The only requirement for us is our collective and individual preparedness to repent of our sin and receive Him as the Lord and Savior of our life. This gift has been freely given. There is no payment schedules, no credit checks or interest charged. Christ is a free gift that has been designed to fit every heart and address every sin and need of mankind.
I invite you during this Advent Season to receive the greatest gift, the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. God bless you.
December 15th, 2015
The Greatest Gift
Context: John 3:11-21 Supporting Text: Luke 1:26-38
As we celebrated the passing of one year and preparing to enter into 2015, I addressed the congregation at Vernon Temple AME Church by indicating to them; “My wish for you.” After reflecting upon the grace of God that all of us had experienced, I highlighted the fact that the Apostle Paul in his epistles to the Church at Corinth was addressing problems in the church. To that end, I reminded them that all churches have problems. The more people we have in the church the more problems we have in the church as well.
As the Apostle was concluding his second epistle to this congregation, he indicated that this is the third time that he was coming to them (v.1). Further, he says that he is writing to those who have sinned (v. 2). Elsewhere, we are informed by this same writer that all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Paul also invites members of the church to examine themselves regarding the faith and to test themselves as well (v. 5)
As he is drawing towards the end, he exhorts them in verse eleven;
a. Be complete (engage in personal spiritual development).
b. Be of good comfort.
c. Be of one mind, and
d. Live in peace.
Toward the end of his letter, Paul appears to be giving a benediction, which at the same time constitutes a powerful word of exhortation; he suggests that as members of the church they should enjoy;
1. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ: His grace is something that he extends toward us even when we are undeserving of the same. God, through grace looks beyond all of our faults and short comings and sees our need.
2. The love of God: His love is what causes him to reach out to us and to address our every need. The fellowship that we enjoy because of the relationship created by the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary, is how we come to be in fellowship with God to begin with. Through Eve and Adams actions in the Garden of Eden we were separated by sin from God in relationship and fellowship. God, in response restored the relationship and fellowship through Christ at Calvary. This story and the bible is summarized as an act of love in John 3:16.
3. The Communion of the Holy Spirit: Christ, after Calvary, prior to ascending back to heaven, promised us that he would send us the comforter. Through the redemptive presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, by His presence we enjoy through this communion the presence, power and the peace of God in our lives.
In conclusion, I have advised the congregation that there are three things we should not leave home without the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
My Wish for You!
Text: 2 Corinthians 13:14
Context: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
January 4th, 2015
All of us have been blessed by Almighty God to enter into the beauty of a new year. With the coming of a new year, we also have an opportunity for a new beginning. As we approach the conclusion of a year, most of us consider the notion of New Year’s resolutions. Herein, we resolve within ourselves that we will attempt to do some things differently in comparison to our successes and failures of the year past.
The attitude of a new year’s resolution mirrors what the Apostle Paul alludes to in Roman 12 from a doctrinal perspective. In order for us to experience the degree of change we are seeking, we have to have a change within our self. The Apostle was not speaking from the ideological perspective that people do as we approach a new year. He was speaking in terms of what is required of us as it relates to an honest commitment for us to truly serve God.
If, we as Christians do what businessman do in terms of taking stock of our lives as the do of their goods, we should be able to draw some conclusions about ourselves. I believe that all of us are aware of our strengths and weaknesses. All of us know what we like to do and what we need to do better. A personal review of this personal information should be able to help us to set goals for our personal development in the preparation for this New Year.
The Apostle Paul admonishes us to do three things;
1. Present our body to God as a living sacrifice: give God our best while we are alive. People talk about dying for Christ. He desires that we be more prepared to live for Him than die for Him.
2. Present our body to God in a Holy manner: the call to holiness is one of the greatest calls that we may ever answer. Everyone struggles with this invitation. To answer it as God would have us; we must be prepared to die to self. Holiness requires that we reject our natural affections and inclinations in our determination to give of our best to the Lord.
3. Presenting our self to God from a transformed perspective: our transformation is our rejection of the world’s standards and acceptance of the will of God for our lives. Transformation will require that we understand the conflict between the sacred and the secular. Herein is the difference between what the world has to say and what the Word of God has to say.
As believers in the body of Christ, who have been blessed to see the beginning of another year; I invite you to embrace your new beginning in accordance with the Word of God. Allow the transformative power of God to work in your life. Consider the principles that the Apostle lifts up for us in Romans. Like me, be an over comer. Despite all of my mistakes and shortcomings in 2014, I am looking forward to this New Year and new beginning in Christ Jesus.
A New Year and a New Beginning
January 28, 2015
The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah presents one of the most important futuristic messages with reference to the coming Christ and his sacrifice at Calvary for the sins of the whole world in this text. He introduces the scenario by asking the question; “who has believed our report?”
The report being presented is like none other in biblical history. Isaiah is speaking to one of the most important events in both biblical and human history centuries before it will transpire. This event, the crucifixion, at the same time is an event that will impact the past, present and future. In this context, Christ is presented in a negative form as a tender plant growing up before God. Herein he is being prepared for what is to come with reference to his pending sacrifice for the sins of the world.
As the Prophet Isaiah addresses the roll Christ will play in the form of this human sacrifice for the sin of man as committed in Genesis chapter three by Adam and Eve; he outlines six characteristics for our consideration which are applicable as a part of his sacrifice:
1. “He bore our griefs:” the price that he paid was not for any sin that he had committed, but it was as a result of our human condition.
2. “He carried our sorrows:” he had no sorrows of his own, but he carried all of our issues to the cross for us. Each of our shortcomings were addressed on our behalf through his sacrifice at Calvary.
3. “He was wounded for our transgressions:” every mistake, every slip and every error of our character and being Christ endured our afflictions in our stead.
4. “He was bruised for our iniquities:” what should have befallen us, he carried on our behalf. The beaten that we were deserving of, he took upon himself.
5. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him:” our peace was the subject of his pain and suffering. Our outcome was dependent upon his input. His chastisement was for our peace when we were the ones who had brought the suffering upon ourselves.
6. “By his stripes we are healed:” our healing is the outgrowth of his suffering. He who knew no sin, suffered instead for the sinner to pay the price of sin. The healing that he provided through his broken body and shed blood has become an offering that is available for all and for eternity.
As we reflect on this Old Testament message that has had its fulfillment in the New Testament, we now know that Jesus came and did it just for you and for me. We can all say; that he did not have to do it but he did. Christ sacrifice as it was foretold, has had a profound impact on the world and they that dwell therein. Our access to God, as believers in the Body of Christ has to come through the Cross and Christ Sacrifice at Calvary. Therefore, I too am glad that Jesus did it – Just for you and me.
February 2, 2015
Jesus did it – Just for You!!
Text Isaiah 53: 4-5
Vernon Temple, under the leadership of our men’s ministry, through our annual Men’s Day Celebration is blessed to be engaged in a focus of taking our church to the next level through unity. In most cases, unity is a thematic topic of much discussion but little action. It’s something we talk about doing but take no steps toward actually accomplishing our objective. That is not the case at Vernon Temple, this year. As a result of a change in pastoral leadership in June 2013, we have endured the transition and are now positioning our selves to climb to higher heights.
The call to unity has been issued by the men of the church. It is a call that emanates from the men in keeping with the divine order of God. To this end, we are looking at our role as men, husbands, fathers/family men and community activist. Through a study of the word of God we know that there is strength and power in unity. As we look at all that is going on in our homes, churches and community we know that now is the time for us to step forward and fulfill the call of God upon us as men.
The Psalmist in this passage highlights an important point within the first verse for our consideration; “how good and how pleasant it is for men to dwell together in unity.” There is nothing wrong with men coming together. Our togetherness’ is good for us and those around us. Togetherness is one thing that the devil always tries to destroy within community. We find further evidence of this in job chapter one. When the sons of God presented themselves before Him, Satan came in to destroy the unity.
The Psalmist also declares in verse 2 that unity “is like the precious ointment upon the head.” The oil/ointment should be applied from the top to the bottom. The oil symbolizes the presence and power of God at work in the life of a believer. It serves to cleanse us, renew us, revive us and refresh us. Wherever God is, the devil is obligated to withdraw and give way.
As a body of believers who are seeking to move to the next level in unity and in God, we are seeking the application of this special anointing that we might be better empowered to serve God in this portion of His vineyard. As each day passes, we are one day closer to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. With the passing of time, we have less opportunity to bear witness and win souls. As we come together, work together and establish a new sense of unity and oneness, our collective hope is that we will be more effective in our service to God and witness in His name.
Therefore, I invite you to join us, despite our human imperfections’ as we strive together to establish unity and be more effective as servants and witnesses for Almighty God at Vernon Temple. Our church is a church where everybody is welcome. Come just as you are. If you reach out to God and allow His love, mercy and grace to embrace you; you will find that nothing is to hard for the Lord as you walk in relationship and fellowship with Him.
February 9, 2015
Taking the Church to the Next Level through Unity
Every believer who has received Christ as savior and Lord of their life has come out of spiritual darkness into the marvelous light of the Lord Jesus Christ. The believers salvation experience should be followed with a positive discipleship experience were the believer learns what it means to be a child of God and how they should live to the glory of God.
Salvation, or the confession of sin which establishes the spiritual relationship between the believer and God under the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, through the appropriation of the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary, is a first step in a relational dynamic. With that step comes the expectation that through Christian discipleship the believer will grow to the point of accepting their calling to witness for God.
Most people are familiar with the ministry of the Jehovah’s Witness, each of them as they have established their faith relationship are made to recognize that they have also been called for discipleship by the kingdom Hall to understand their obligation to witness for Jehovah. Witnessing of one’s faith experience is one of the essential elements of an individuals calling.
The Christian Church is equally challenged to do as members of others faiths do in terms of answering this important call to witness. I believe that all of us should want to tell somebody of what the Lord has done for us in saving us from our sin, redirecting our lives in a more positive way and assuring us a home in heaven.
When we consider all of the invitations we will receive in our life time, there is none greater than those extended by God and on behalf of the Kingdom of God. Witnessing or telling of His redeeming power is a simple gesture in return for all that the Lord does for us. Just trying to explain to someone what God does through extending to us His grace and mercy is a delight in and of its self.
As someone who has been “called to witness” feel free to share your faith. Feel free to tell others what the Lord has done for you. Feel free to tell your story and experience of God’s grace and mercy. As you tell your story understand that it will spread outward as reflected in Acts so that others will become aware of your witness. At the same time God will be with you in the process of this ministry, which is conducted to His honor and glory.
Personally, I have enjoyed this process of ministry and witnessing for 35 years. As I share my faith I am humbled by the responses that I receive, but I share as a part of my obligation to glorify God for all that he has done for me. As some would declare, and I still cannot tell it all, because the lord has been that good..
February 16, 2015
Called to Witness
Acts 1:8 & Matt. 28:18-20
This bible story is often referred to as “the Healing of the Impotent Man” or “the Healing at the Pool of Bethesda.” This story gives an account of how people lay at the pool day after day and some for many years waiting what was known as the troubling of the waters to facilitate the healing of the individual who was the first to step into the pool after the Angel had so troubled the waters. The Impotent man as he had come to be known had laid at the side of the pool for a total of 38n years seeking his healing and deliverance.
After waiting 38 years he was still unsuccessful because his condition did not permit him the mobility to be the first person to enter the water. As Jesus encountered him and engaged him in conversation asking him; “wilt thou be made whole?” Not knowing that it was Jesus, to whom he was speaking, he outlined his circumstances and his challenge of having no one to put him into the pool.
Jesus, having reviewed the man’s situation simply directed him to stand up and take up his bed and walk. The man never having had this ability before, acted in faith and found that he had been healed and delivered of all of his afflictions. The story does not tell us anything about his actual age or family situation, but it does let us know that he had been in an afflicted condition into his adulthood. He had never walked. He had always been carried by others, now he was being invited to function on his own.
As the story is carefully considered, the man showed no understanding that the one with whom he was speaking was actually the Christ. After acting in response to the invitation, he was clear that it was the Christ who had healed him and delivered him of all of his afflictions.
As we go through life and seek to address the impotence before us, we need to call on Jesus for ourselves. Most people when confronted with a problem beyond their ability call on everybody that they know who they think can help them address their situation. I recommend that you “call Jesus!!!”
As this impotent man responded to his invitation he was positively impacted physically, spiritually and environmentally. The results gave him physical healing and the ability to walk, spiritual healing through increasing his faith for the future and environmental healing because it challenged the religious customs of that day because he was healed on the Sabbath and picked up his bed and carried it in violation of Jewish law. The leaders of the church were more concerned about his actions of carrying his bed than they were about the fact that he was walking for the first time.
As we embrace the grace of God that is upon our lives we have to be prepared for those who are legalistic, who will be more concerned about the things that really do not matter as God showers us with His blessings. I therefore invite you, in the face of your challenges to simply call Jesus and let Him do the rest.
March 9th, 2015
Bermuda has once again been thrust into the spotlight as it relates to bedroom politics. The question is where do we stand on the issue of same sex marriage (or civil unions)? On Monday night, at The Berkeley Institute, we were presented with research conducted by the Government around this issue. The Hon. Patricia Gordon Pamplin gave a carefully scripted presentation that opened the discussion around what has become yet again a national and contentious issue relative to the bedrooms and life styles of some.
Both sides of this national debate were well represented in the room. Presentations from the floor were led by clergy. The pastor of Wesley Methodist Church in his presentation shared that one of the highlights of his pastoral ministry was to recently conduct a blessing of a same sex marriage. One mother shared that she is challenged by the fact that one of her four children cannot be comfortable in Bermuda because of her sexual orientation and the fact that her partner would not be welcomed or their union recognized. One young female, who is a Christian unionist, argued that she has done everything expected and required of her, but now that she has stopped hiding and come out of the closet, all she is asking of her country and Government is the right to be married to her female partner in her own country in front of her own people.
The majority of the Christians opposing the notion of same sex marriage recognized it as an institution ordained and blessed by God for a man and a woman. Christians arguing in favor of legislative changes to embrace same sex marriage highlighted their human rights as a basis of supporting their position. It is their view that they should be afforded equal rights in marriage despite the issue of it being between persons of the same sex.
Both sides of the divide resorted to arguing and presenting verses of scripture. Some highlighted the Proverb (14:34); “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” As much as the scriptures will continue to be a frame of reference in this ongoing debate, the issue for the country is first political over against its biblical/moral foundations.
The ongoing challenge will become the divide between our biblical adherence and moral fortitude. What needs to be noted in this area is that the word of God and mind of God will not change. Our appreciation of morality is constantly subject to change, hence the test. Will Bermuda join with the rest of the progressive nations and countries of the world and embrace same sex marriage or will it maintain the current stance and oppose it for another decade?
Within the African Methodist Episcopal Church, same sex marriages are not accepted or embraced by our Doctrine and Discipline as approved by the Connectional Church through our General Conference. Any of our clergy conducting a same sex marriage or blessing will immediately forfeit their credentials as a minister of the gospel within our denomination.
The Challenge before the Country
September 30th, 2015
The community has been beset yet again with an on-going discussion around this issue. For some this is a biblical issue, a human rights issue and even a moral issue. In every case, the view of the Christian church is added to the discussion from both sides. As a consequence of the on-going debate, I have raised with some of my colleagues and friends the question; should it be a discussion before the House of Assembly or the House of God?
The real issue in Bermuda around this topic is an issue of legislation. Legislation is determined through the House of Assembly and not the House of God. However, the church (the House of God) does impact the ability for some to be elected to serve in the House of Assembly. Therefore, politicians are challenged as it relates to their ability to be re-elected beyond this discussion and this potential piece of legislation. Therefore, Members of the House of Assembly are being forced to determine their true level of objectivity around the discussion at hand.
Within the Christian church in our community, the argument has been around the issue of marriage versus civil union. Some overseas jurisdictions have passed legislation granting the right of civil unions for persons of the same sex. Other jurisdictions have passed the same legislation only to have it challenged in a court of law on the grounds of equal rights for consideration as marriage. Christians have resisted this concept to no end. For Christians, marriage is an institution ordained by God to be shared and enjoyed by a man and a woman only and not for persons of the same sex.
Within the Christian church, we are now being forced to determine is there any middle ground to this debate. The proponents of same sex marriage are correct when they focus on the inherent hypocrisy of the church to condone some sins and not this sin. Despite the recognition of this as a sinful lifestyle, it is one that evokes an unprecedented outcry and form of rebuke.
Despite the fact that the AME Church does not permit same sex marriages to be conducted by its clergy, I recognize that this lifestyle issue exists within our church as well as within our clergy. Therefore, it is my position that all of God’s children are welcome within my congregation irrespective of their lifestyle. Personally, I do not practice bedroom politics. That is an issue that I leave to the individual (s).
The Apostle Paul speaks clearly in Romans (3:23; 6:23) regarding sin. Further, John (1:9) invites all of us to confess our sin. It is for our sin that God sent His Son (John 3:16). The individuals who participate in this sin category are subject to the same invitation from God as the rest of us. Therefore, the who so ever will may come? And at Vernon Temple, as far as this pastor is concerned, they will be welcomed.
The Same Sex Marriage Discussion
Which House does it belong in?
The House of Assembly or the House of God?
October 13th, 2015