Upward Swing

It’s been quite some time since my last post.  I have accepted an offer to teach my second course at my church on the subject of holiness.  I’m currently reading the book in order to prepare myself.  I’ve also been teaching bible study in order to hone my teaching skills.  We’re in the book of Genesis and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  I love the interaction and different perspectives each person brings.  It keeps me on my toes as far as my personal study goes.  I also finished a course on “how to study the bible.”  I wanted direction on how to go deeper in God’s word.  Something the Lord has impressed upon my heart for quite some time.  I found it very helpful overall and immediately began using some of the techniques that were given.  I have found observing the instructor to be quite helpful.  Her interaction with the students and excitement for the subject was contagious.  She focused on helping us move outside our comfort zones by listening to various christian teachings on different christian radio stations in order to develop the ability to identify solid biblical teaching.  There were a couple of stations that I didn’t know existed.

Overall my time in ministry training has been very positive this year and for that I’m grateful.  At the end of the month I will be returning to school in order to continue work on my bachelors degree.  I look forward to it.  The Lord has blessed me to find a different school with a 50% discount for ministers if your major is based on religion.  Sold!  I must admit that I love being busy.  Especially when it comes to the things of God.  Along with everything I previously mentioned I also am part of a mentoring class that’s also known as “the leadership engine.”  I love it!  The books are enlightening, conversation engaging and the people are real.  Good, bad or indifferent.  Old wounds have surfaced, healing has begun and challenges issued.  Several of us are on the path to continue our education for the glory of God.  I have found with in this class a safe haven.  I am among my peers and for once in my life I feel free to share what’s on my heart.  Small steps but sharing none the less and for me that’s huge.

I had forgotten the love I have for ministry and was really concerned that I’d love it somewhere along the way.  But God is faithful.

“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:24 KJV

 

2014 Spring Display at Bellagio

Photo Credit: http://www.vegas24seven.com

Every season the Bellagio Hotel creates a wonderful display of flowers and other arrangements. This year I think they’ve outdone themselves. From raindrops to butterflies each picture is a wonderful display of what Spring is out all about. Take a look for yourselves.

via 2014 Spring Display at Bellagio.

When is it time for a change?

As spring approaches tomorrow one can’t help but shed the dead weight of the past few months.  We attempt to lighten the load with lighter clothing, haircuts and even lighter foods.  Heavy based meals that carried us through the fall and winter months no longer have a place in our sun filled days.   I seek to take this deeper.  Moving beyond the superficial to the depths of our souls.

Recently I began reading a book entitled “spiritual leadership” by J. Oswald Sanders.  It’s a required reading for a leadership class I’m taking at my church.  What began as a mere compliance to an assigned reading quickly resulted in so much more.  I couldn’t put the book down and soon found myself making notes about myself on a post-it placed in the front of the book.  Areas that need immediate attention in prayer if I am to become the leader and servant God has called me to be.  I will not bore you with the details but there are areas that have been a struggle for most of my life.  At some point I must lay aside the weight (Hebrews 12:1), Press forward (Phil. 3:14) and move on.

I learned quite some time ago that as a young minister-in-training I must be fit for the ministry of which I have been called.  This is so much more than physical and encompasses every area of our lives: spiritual, physical, educational, emotional, financial, relational and even rest (balance).  I pray that God helps me to be a doer of his word and not a hearer only (James 1:22).  It has been a long time since a book has moved me like this one has.  Thankfully I will need to read it again and be more attentive in the process.  But in doing so I desire to see progress in my own life.  A willingness and an effort to do whatever is necessary to move forward in ministry, stepping away from my comfort zone in an ability to be used by God.

Have you ever read this book?  Are you challenged to do so?  Drop me a line and let me know.

Updated – Who am I page

With so many new followers on my blog (thank you!) I felt tha it was time to update my “who am I” page. And while I was at it I figured I would do some redecorating as well. Enjoy!

http://iambecomingme.wordpress.com/whoami/

It’s already getting better

Last week was the trial in my brothers death.  In less time than I expected a jury was selected, the trial was held and within two hours a jury returned with a verdict of “guilty.”  Guilty of 2nd degree murder and carrying a concealed weapon.  I praise God.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…”  Ephesians 3:20

Along with the verdict came an unexpected wave of emotions including grief.  It was a reminder of what was lost.  Seeing my sister-in-law and niece reminded me of the family he left behind and the new lives they must all begin.  But I’m happy to say that there is closure.  I saw my mother smile even though her eyes were filled with tears.  And the family went to the cemetery to pay their respects and celebrate a victory won.

I’ve also noted God’s mercy for me in all of this.  On the same day as the verdict came in the location of my job moved to a different facility.  Until then I had worked in the very same building as my brothers murderer.  And yes it has taken an emotional toll.  But with a new week comes a new building and location.  Far enough away and ready to move on. I praise God.

This song has ministered to me and brings a much-needed hope.  Be blessed.

 

Black History Moment: History of Dr. Watts

Dr Isaac WATTS was an English minister who published several books: « Hymns and Spiritual Songs », in 1707, “The Psalms of David” in 1717. The various Protestant denominations adopted his hymns, which were included in several hymnals, at that time.

Missionaries reported on the “ecstatic delight” slaves took in singing the psalms and hymns of Dr Watts.

In his book “The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States” (1842), the White minister Charles Colock Jones recommended highly some hymns of Dr Watts (“When I Can read My Title Clear”, etc.). He wrote: “One great advantage in teaching them (slaves) good psalms and hymns, is that they are thereby induced to lay aside the extravagant and nonsensical chants, and catches and hallelujah songs of their own composing”.

However, in the early 1800s, Black ministers took seriously the admonition of Dr Isaac Watts: “Ministers are to cultivate gifts of preaching and prayer through study and diligence; they ought also to cultivate the capacity of composing spiritual songs and exercise it along with the other parts of the worship, preaching and prayer”. So, homiletic spirituals were created by preachers and taught to the congregation by them or by deacons.

During the post-Civil War period and later, some congregation conducted services without hymnbooks.  A deacon (or precentor) set the pitch and reminded the words in half-singing half-chanting stentorian tones. The people called their songs “long-meter hymns (because the tempo was very low) or “Dr Watts”, even if they have not been written by this gentleman.

The particular feature of this kind of singing was its surging, melismatic melody, punctuated after each praise by the leader’s intoning of the next line of the hymn. The male voices doubled the female voices an octave below and with the thirds and the fifths occurring when individuals left the melody to sing in a more comfortable range. The quality of the singing was distinctive for its hard, full-throated and/or nasal tones with frequent exploitation of falsetto, growling, and moaning.

The beats of  Dr Watt’s songs were slow, while there are other types of spirituals. These beats are usually classed in three groups:
- the “call and response chant”,
- the slow, sustained, long-phrase melody,
- and the syncopated, segmented melody,
- “Call and response”

For a “call and response chant”, the preacher (leader) sings one verse and the congregation (chorus) answers him with another verse.
Source: http://www.negrospirituals.com/

 

Reflections

It’s been a week of emotions.  Both good and bad.  I have found myself grieving unaware, angry, bitter, resentful and finally seeing things from a proper biblical perspective.

When we are wronged by others for whatever the reason forgiveness must take place.  Often it releases us from feelings that hinder us rather than the other person.  We are often held captive by our own unforgiveness.  On more than one occasion I’ve had to do this during the week.  Each time feeling a release in my spirit.

I’ve been in self destruct mode.  Hurting myself by sabotaging my weight loss efforts.  Now I’m focusing on getting on track, removing the sugar from my diet once again and eating healthy.  This is how I show love to myself, how I forgive myself and show others that I am a woman of value.  To God be all the glory!

Spiritual Heart Disease

Recently I read an article on leadership journal entitled “invisible matters.”  In it the author compares the silent but deadly disease of the heart with that of being in leadership.  Both have ongoing symptoms that if gone unheeded can cause significant damage.  Physically a heart attack can happen.  Spiritually we become bitter, resentful and even disinterested in the call upon our lives.  This also is a dangerous place to be.  But how do you know if you’ve reached such a place in your own life calling?  Have you become complacent?  Have you resulted in avoiding people because its easier than dealing with them?  Has your time with God waxed cold?  It may be time to evaluate your spiritual condition.

In the article the author notes several things he did to restore himself back to a healthy place.  Beginning with exercise.  This is an often overlooked area in the body of Christ.  Getting enough sleep (my own personal dilemma) finding a mentor and journaling (my personal favorite)  were all included along with spending more time with his wife.

Has your heart become hardened to the things of God?  It may be time to step back, examine your life and take action.  Be blessed!

The Pain associated with excellence

First, allow me to apologize for not posting more frequently.  My mother was in the hospital on New Year’s Eve and the week after.  But God is faithful.  She’s now home, feeling better and learning how to deal with her grief hopefully a little bit better than before.

Sunday my Pastor began a sermon series entitled “the pain associated with excellence.”  One of the foundation scriptures is Romans 12:11 which says “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”  To say that this brief introduction to the series itself messed me up would be an understatement.  Beginning with an example of excellence coming from Christ himself via a movie clip from “the Passion of the Christ.”  Perspective is what immediately came to mind.  With all that I’ve endured since being called to ministry nothing can compare to the cross.  I thought to myself “I have not suffered unto death” and prayed for God to help me forgive those I need to forgive.

So what exactly is “the pain associated with excellence?”  It is realizing that your “sacrifice for Christ and the gospel is costly.”  Ask yourself the question: “Does God accept your offering?”  Think Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-7) for a moment.  One offered God his best and the other merely gave without much thought to whom it would be given.  Do you desire to give God the best part of your life?  Is your Christian life a reflection of this?  Is your blog an example of an Excellent offering unto God?  This is an area of improvement for me.  Stay tuned for more to come!

Joy Eternal – Poem

Joy Eternal

You bring a smile to my face

Each and every one

Your brightness lights my day

Through hard times you stand tall

Enduring and disproving them all

You are my joy

My hope for tomorrow

The offspring I never had

Have I told you how much I love you?

If not don’t be sad

Your aunt loves you more than you’ll ever know

So keep pressing forward

For in the struggle you will grow

Life is filled with hopes and dreams

But God’s will it shall prevail

Know that I am praying

That you too will come behind the veil

©Yevette C. Gooden

Merry Christmas to ALL of my nieces & nephews

2013