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Straight Outta Grace

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Pastor E.A. Deckard

by Pastor E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

“What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.” Rick Warren

“My trust in God flows out of the experience of his loving me, day in and day out, whether the day is stormy or fair, whether I’m sick or in good health, whether I’m in a state of grace or disgrace. He comes to me where I live and loves me as I am.” Brennan Manning

Forward Thinkers, this series entitled “Straight Outta Grace” is not about being out of grace as in running out of or even being in lack of grace. This series is about being birthed, delivered, and produced out of the spiritual womb of God’s grace.

Who better to lead off this series on grace other than the Apostle Paul! A man restored, a man renewed, and a man rebuilt through God’s amazing grace.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 New International Version (NIV)

6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Forward Thinkers, by the time Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth he has accomplished many great feats for the Lord. Paul has totally turned his life around going from lynching Christians to leading a generation to Christ.

Forward Thinkers, Paul has defeated a major storm, overcame being thrown in prison unfairly, and he even stood victorious after being bitten by a deadly snake.

Paul is clear here in his letter to the church at Corinth that everything he had achieved was not because of his inner strength, giftedness, or wisdom; but Paul declares he was winning because God’s grace was keeping him covered while God’s favor was turning things around in his favor.

Forward Thinkers, put a major footnote right here and you can text, tweet, Facebook, or IG this, “Haters add flavor to your favor.”

God had a purpose and a plan for Paul’s life so God designed a personal plan for Paul to keep him from becoming conceited. Forward Thinkers, God loves us so much, He will do whatever it takes to keep us in His will of protection and provision.

Forward Thinkers, this may interfere with your religious mindset but, sometimes God will send the trouble in your life to get the most out of your life. Let’s be honest, if trouble would not have shown up you may have never grown up.

God sent the big fish for Jonah to get him back on track and God sent the devil after Job to show him how strong he was. Hard reality for people of faith is that you never know how strong you are until you have to be strong.

Forward Thinkers, Paul said three times, “I prayed Lord remove this thorn from my flesh and the Lord did not respond. Paul knew how to pray and get results but three times he prayed and nothing happened.

Forward Thinkers, what was God doing to Paul? What was God trying to teach Paul? What can we learn from Paul’s experience?

Yes by this time in his life Paul had achieved a lot in the name of Jesus but the Lord desired to take Paul higher to a whole new level, dimension, season, and anointing. Forward Thinkers, every diamond had to go through a great deal of pressure before it reached its full potential.

1) HUMBLE YOU

Humble yourself and pray then I will move on your behalf. Forward Thinkers when God sends or allows situations to humble you it’s not to destroy you, defeat you, or even embarrass you but it’s to keep you in His will so He can bless you real good.

2) MOVE YOU

Sometimes in life we settle in a place beneath our destiny. Most of the time when we refer to settling we think of a situation that’s less than but there are often times where we settle because we have experienced a glimpse of God’s glory and we get caught up on that moment or that memory and stop moving.

Forward Thinkers a popular restaurant on the East Coast wanted to serve a brand of fish that only lived in Texas and Louisiana so they paid a huge cost to have the fish shipped live but the first couple of shipments arrived all dead. Forward Thinkers the shipping company came up with the idea of putting a predator fish in the shipping tank and this kept the fish moving and the next shipment arrived with all the fish alive. Forward Thinkers God desires much more of you but you have to keep it moving to go higher.

3) REMIND YOU

Sometimes Jesus will use a storm or negative situation to remind you of who He is. Forward Thinkers remember the disciples were panicking and Jesus stood up asked them where is your faith then He calmed down the storm. Forward Thinkers our testimonies are our reminders of God’s grace and God’s power. Forward Thinkers remember when we are at our worst God shows up and reminds us how strong His grace and mercy is.

Forward Thinkers, in conclusion think about this, if Judas would not have betrayed Jesus there would never have been a cross story, without the cross there never would have never been a grave experience, without the grave experience there never would have been a resurrection and if there was no resurrection you and I could have never received salvation. In the end, all things work out in our favor because we are operating under God’s covenant of grace.

Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church now located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at pr.ghic@gmail.com, follow him on Facebook, Instagram @ Pastor E A Deckard, Periscope or the church website www.ghic.net

Business

Women in Worship host Marketplace Panel

MILWAUKEE TIMES WEEKLY — Women in Worship was a two-day gathering for women to pray, worship and hear the word of God. As part of the event a Marketplace panel featuring some to the community’s most notable female business leaders who talked about how their faith has helped and guided them to both spiritual and business success.

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Melissa Goins and Megan Westra at the Woman in Worship Collage (Photo by: Yvonne Kemp)

On Saturday, May 25, 2019, Melva Henderson Ministries presented the “Woman in Worship Collage,” at the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd. Women in Worship was a two-day gathering for women to pray, worship and hear the word of God. As part of the event a Marketplace panel featuring some to the community’s most notable female business leaders who talked about how their faith has helped and guided them to both spiritual and business success.

The panel featured Maures Development Group, LLC founder and president Melissa Goins; author Megan Westra; Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office Director of Public Affairs and Community Engagement Faithe Colas; Social Development Commission Marketing and Social Media Specialist Chantell Sain; TMJ4 News Anchor Shannon Sims, who served as event MC; and Melva Henderson Ministries founder and president Pastor Melva Henderson, who hosted the event.

This article originally appeared in Milwaukee Times Weekly

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Education

Midwest Bible College Graduation 2019

MILWAUKEE TIMES WEEKLY — Midwest Bible College (MBC) celebrated another wonderful school year at its 16th graduation on Friday, June 7, 2019. Forty-five students received their Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Biblical Studies. Three of these students completed their studies online. Six additional students will receive their degrees at a special ceremony in Uganda, Africa at the end of June. With the addition of this year’s graduates, a total of 578 students have earned a degree or certificate from Midwest Bible College since 2003.

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Midwest Bible College 2019 Grads (Courtesy of Photos Limited)

By The Milwaukee Times Weekly

Midwest Bible College (MBC) celebrated another wonderful school year at its 16th graduation on Friday, June 7, 2019. Forty-five students received their Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Biblical Studies. Three of these students completed their studies online. Six additional students will receive their degrees at a special ceremony in Uganda, Africa at the end of June. With the addition of this year’s graduates, a total of 578 students have earned a degree or certificate from Midwest Bible College since 2003.

The curriculum taught at MBC is Bible based and developed by the college. Students find it to be a unique, challenging and an intense study of the Bible. Despite the hard work, graduates highly value their time as students. They describe their year at MBC as “encouraging”, “amazing”, “transformative” and “insightful”. Through their studies at MBC, each student not only gains a deeper understanding of the Bible, but is also equipped with the ability to apply it to their daily lives.

Midwest Bible College seeks to build the Kingdom of God by supporting local pastors and their ministries. Forty-two churches from across southeastern Wisconsin were represented in this year’s student body and many pastors joined in celebrating with their graduates. Professor Nicole Bowen, M.A., addressed the pastors in attendance and stated that “Midwest Bible College is here to help you achieve the vision and the goal that God has set before you in your ministry. Our vision is to train students to go back to their churches and to be more effective and to help and to assist you and support you and to be an armor bearer for the Kingdom of God.”

Dr. Dorothy Huston, founder and CEO of Technology Management Training Group, from Huntsville, AL, was the keynote speaker. Dr. Huston reminded the students that success is a “do-it-yourself ” project and challenged them to find a way to use what they have learned to change the world. She encouraged them not to be stopped by any roadblock they may face but to follow the path God has given them. Dr. Huston reminded her audience to do their best even when no one is looking and to depend on God. “Trusting in Him is a win-win partnership,” she stated.

Every born again believer is called by God to make a difference and to be a minister and representative of Jesus. MBC prepares students to engage in ministry whether full time as pastors and leaders in their communities, or part time as lay leaders in their church or individual representations of Jesus in their workplaces. MBC offers a flexible schedule of classes. Students have the choice to enroll in either weekly, morning or night classes. Those unable to attend weekly classes may enroll in online classes and work at their own pace.

Midwest Bible College invites you to take the next step in your understanding of the Bible. For more information, contact Midwest Bible College at 414-546- 1248 or visit www.midwestbiblecollege.org. Midwest Bible College is fully accredited through the Association of Independent Christian Colleges and Seminaries and offers Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Biblical Studies. Come and learn how you can make a difference in Milwaukee and the rest of the world.

This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Times Weekly.

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2018 NNPA DTU Journalism Fellowship

Church Ministers Through Little Library

THE AFRO — St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church/ Iglesia Episcopal San Mateo in Hyattsville, MD. is using books as a means of bringing education, entertainment and hope to the community.

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St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church/ Iglesia Episcopal San Mateo in Hyattsville, MD. officially dedicated the first Little Library solely for children on June 30. (Photo by: Micha Green)

By Micha Green

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church/ Iglesia Episcopal San Mateo in Hyattsville, MD. is using books as a means of bringing education, entertainment and hope to the community.

Two days after St. Matthew’s church member Bernard Jarvis, 25, was gunned down in nearby Brentwood in Northeast, D.C., the parish unveiled a Little Library for children in the neighborhood between services on June 30.  While the planning of the Little Library had been in the works for months, Rector Rev. Vidal Rivas and Associate Priest Sister Elena Thompson remembered Jarvis during the Little Library dedication.

As the community mourned the loss of Jarvis, the birth of the Little Library brought a clear sense of joy to those who attended its unveiling.

“I think this is a little hope, to say as we remember the member that passed away, we can still continue to support those little kids that are growing up and contributing to this Little Library in his memory as well,” Hyattsville City Council member Edoard Haba (Ward 4) told the AFRO.

Haba shared that he felt the creation of the Little Library was important to children’s education and thus kids’ overall growth.

“Education is important in youth and kids’ development,” he said.

The City Council member is so inspired by the Little Library concept that he is working to have more built throughout Hyattsville.

“As part of my vision for the community, I also plan to install a couple more of these Little Libraries throughout the community.  We have three that are slated to be installed by the end of this month,” he said.

While Hyattsville already has a Little Library, according to Sister Thompson explained that the St. Matthew’s location is the only one solely dedicated to young people.

“The Little Library is a movement that is all across the country now, and they’re about a dozen Little Libraries already in Hyattsville, but this is the first one specifically dedicated to books for children,” she told the AFRO.

Thompson shared the logical and historic reasons why having a Little Library made sense for the neighborhood surrounding St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church/ Iglesia Episcopal San Mateo.

“We got the idea to put the Little Library here in two ways. One of which is that we have many children, when school gets out, walking right past our building. And the second is that this parish has a history of providing library services to the community, that goes back to the years in which the Hyattsville library was racially segregated,” she said.

According to Thompson, parish families worked to create an inclusive library.

“There was a family here named Hotchkiss who wanted to be sure that reading and books were available to all children. And so they and others established a parish library.  The family of Owen Thomas gave a large grant, when this building was built in 1953, to make sure that there’d be a dedicated library space to which everyone could come,” she told the AFRO.

However, overtime, the demand for an inclusive library affiliated with the church became less as the public library eventually integrated.

“So we still have some of those old books, and we got into a discussion about what we should do with our old books from our old library and the children who are here in our church, in our day school and in the public school who come walking past us,” Thompson said. “And we brought up the idea of a Little Library and the Junior Warden immediately said, ‘I would like to build that.’  His name is Jose Ramirez. Jose went to his workshop, and over the next three months, built this library from scratch, and last Monday installed it.”

The need for a Little Library was further emphasized once installed, as community members began using it  before the formal dedication.

“The community already responded- brought books, taken books and we are looking forward to a big outreach as well as an internal ministry for the Parish,” Thompson explained.

Using the ministry of education, the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) group at  St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church/ Iglesia Episcopal San Mateo will be sharing the Little Library idea.

“Our ECW is going on a visit to another parish that has another school, and we hope to be able to tell them our story, and help them to begin a Little Library ministry of their own.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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Family

Mothers and Daughters ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Clairton

NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER — The jubilant faces captured the “Make A Joyful Noise” theme at the Mother-Daughter Musical Extravaganza, held June 9 at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Park Avenue, Clairton.

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The Mother-Daughter Musical Extravaganza at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Clairton, June 9. (Photos by Courier photographer Jacquelyn McDonald)

by Courier Newsroom

The jubilant faces captured the “Make A Joyful Noise” theme at the Mother-Daughter Musical Extravaganza, held June 9 at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Park Avenue, Clairton.

The concept was in the mind of the community’s Patriarch and Host Pastor, Rev. William Callaway and came to fruition with the support of the Clairton church community. The event, which featured six sets of mothers and daughters, kept the crowd on its feet, clapping and cheering, giving perfect pitch to a triumphant time of worship in song.

Dr. Bernadette Jeffrey, associate Evangelist of neighboring Gethsemane COGIC, was Mistress of Ceremony.

– Jacquelyn McDonald

Like us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hl

Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier

This article originally appeared in the New Pittsburgh Courier

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Chicago Crusader

Chicago’s Historic Liberty Baptist Church Inaugurates New Pastor

CHICAGO CRUSADER — During 2019, an ecumenical bedrock institution celebrates its 101st year of spiritual service to Chicago’s historic south side Bronzeville community.

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Reverend Andrew D. Hunt, Jr.

By A.L. Smith

During 2019, an ecumenical bedrock institution celebrates its 101st year of spiritual service to Chicago’s historic south side Bronzeville community. Within the next couple of weeks, people of faith from across the Chicago will gather to witness the ‘Transition & Transformation’ of this renowned church, as Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago’s 7th and newest Spiritual Leader and Pastor Reverend Andrew D. Hunt, Jr., CPA, M.Div., is officially inaugurated at the ‘Transforming Our Legacy for New Generation Leadership’ Church and Community Installation Weekend on July 12-14, 2019.

Rev. Andrew D. Hunt, Jr., CPA, M.Div., in addition to being a noted professional certified public accountant, Pastor Hunt served for many years as the former leader of Chicago’s Transformation Church. Rev. Hunt is a south side Chicago born and bred cum laude graduate of the legendary Atlanta Morehouse College, the historically Black college alma-mater of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Accompanying his duties at Liberty, Pastor Hunt is currently an Auditor with the United States Department of Justice and is responsible for auditing bankruptcy filings for the United States Trustee Program. A proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Rev. Hunt is a loving husband, father and grandfather who shares his life with his adored and accomplished family: wife Chyna, B.S., MBA, a Director at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and their two daughters Drew, a high school Junior at Morgan Park Academy, and Shannon a Spelman College graduate and PhD candidate at New York’s Pace University, whose husband Mykel is also pursuing his PhD degree at the City College of New York, while co-parenting their son Lucas.

Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago (LBC), is located at 4849 S. King Drive. Respected across Chicago and the nation as the ‘Church with the Common Touch’, this institution is a founding member of the Progressive National Baptist Convention

(PNBC), a nationwide conglomeration of nearly one-thousand mainline African-American Baptist institutions with over 2.5 million members in the U.S. and across the globe, emphasizing civil rights and social justice. The PNBC movement supported Rev. Dr. King’s struggle for freedom for African Americans. It was the PNBC that provided a denominational home for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago served as Dr. King’s organizational headquarters during the 1960’s Chicago Freedom Movement’, thanks to his fellow Morehouse College classmate and former LBC Pastor, Rev. A.P. Jackson, along with many of the Baptist leaders in the local Civil Rights Movement.

Reflecting upon this strong legacy, Rev. Hunt says, “For over a century, Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago has worked in the service of God, providing faithful inspiration and direction to several generations of committed believers. Today, I am deeply and humbly honored to have been chosen by the leadership and congregation as the 7th Pastor of this venerable church as we together, united in Prayer and Purpose, embark upon a new era of transforming, elevating and spiritually connecting the awesome potential of our current and future generations.”

The Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago Trustees, Deacons Ministerial Staff, and Club Presidents cordially invites the public including friends, family and members of the faith community to attend this exciting and festive weekend of events, which kicks-off with a celebratory, welcoming Installation Banquet at the Chateau Bu-Sché, 11535 South Cicero, in Alsip Illinois on Friday, July 14, 2019 starting at 6:00 p.m.

On Saturday, July 13, 2019, the men of Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago will fellowship together with Pastor Hunt at Burr Oak Bowl, 3030 Burr Oak Avenue, and on Sunday, July 14, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago, 4849 South King Drive, the Official Installation Morning Worship Service for Rev. Andrew D. Hunt, Jr., CPA, M.Div., will take place. The keynote speaker will be LBC Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Darrell L. Jackson, B.A., M.Div., and during the 3:30 p.m. afternoon Installation Celebration, words of inspiration will be given by Dr. Spencer Isaac.

Founded in 1918 by several spiritually united and advocacy-oriented members in the home of Bertie Boone, Liberty has steadily grown and played a pivotal role in the shaping of Chicago’s history. Many prominent speakers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Hon. Mayor Harold Washington, and the Hon. Barack Obama a then little-known, young man aspiring to become the Illinois Senator from Hyde Park, who evolved into the nation’s first Black President and South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu, among others have spoken powerful words of inspiration from the Liberty pulpit.

Liberty also hosted one of the city’s largest rallies during the election campaign for Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African-American Mayor, and today remains active in the fight for social justice on multiple fronts.

The Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago family invites everyone to join them during this exciting Pastoral Installation Worship Service Weekend. For more information call (773) 268-6757.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader

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#NNPA BlackPress

Did You Insult or Exalt God Today?

NNPA NEWSWIRE — For every quote I could give you right now, there are many of you who could quote at least three more appropriate ones for this message. James 5:15-16 “And prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you might be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

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James A. Washington is a father, husband, Christian, writer, entrepreneur and the owner/publisher of the Dallas Weekly.

Spiritually Speaking…

By James A. Washington, Publisher of the Dallas Weekly News

Have you succumbed to the notion yet that prayer will get you through it? The ‘it’ I’m referring to is EVERYTHING.

If the truth be told and you’re like me, at times you’re not very enthusiastic about your faith. That fire that initially burned in me when I finally met Christ leaves me more cold than hot and I cannot and do not remain constant or consistent in my journey towards eternal salvation.

Have you ever been there? It is then that my prayer life is more often weak not strong. I’ve finally figured out at times like these that if I only do one thing, I have to continue to pray. However casual or cavalier I might think it is, if I do nothing else, I’ve learned that I’ve got to pray my way through it.

If you’ve ever been lost on a nameless highway and know that you’re lost, you probably understand what I’m talking about. No exit, no gas stations, no people or other cars around. No one to ask for directions. You just keep driving and you just keep looking, hoping against hope. It’s just you and the needle on the fuel gauge.

Given your and my circumstances, prayer is probably very appropriate when one is spiritually lost; especially when you are forced to acknowledge that you are. My word to you is to just keep praying.

At this stage of my spiritual development, I can’t think of an alternative. I just so happened to look up prayer in my bible’s Concordance and found out that I’m correct in my assumption that prayer(s), pray(ed), praying, all hold a special place in spiritual history and in the eyes of God.

For every quote I could give you right now, there are many of you who could quote at least three more appropriate ones for this message. James 5:15-16 “And prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you might be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

I will not sit here and profess to you to be a righteous man. What I will do is profess to you and anyone who will listen that I am a sinner seeking God’s forgiveness.

I am also on record as praying for you, my fellow man, that you too, will understand God’s faithfulness. Mark 11:24-25 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

I’m not making this stuff up. This is what the text says. Hopefully, what I’m trying to convey to you is once I was lost. I’m sure I’ll get lost again and when it happens, prayer will continue to lead me home.

It is an irrefutable spiritual fact.

Try it. Speak to God from your heart. Let Him know that you know He knows you are lost. He will then step up and act out on your behalf proclaiming for all to see that you are never really lost and certainly never really alone. He has known where you were from the beginning of time.

May God bless and keep you always.

James A. Washington is a father, husband, Christian, writer, entrepreneur and the owner/publisher of the Dallas Weekly.

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