Tag Archives: Worship

The Chronicles of Glory

I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!

I am once again using this space to celebrate and promote my favorite singer and BFFF, Maranda C. Willis. Tomorrow, June 29, 2012, The Chronicles of Glory tour, commences in Florence, SC.

Chronicles of Glory

The mission. The mandate. The ministry.

The Etymology

1. (n.) chronicle: a chronological record of events; a history. 2. (v.) chronicle: to record in or as if in a chronicle.

The Scripture

2 Chronicles 5: 13-14, “It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.”

The Explanation.

In the same manner that the word itself is two-fold; such is the same for this tour. More than a tour it will be a testament of God’s power. It will reach beyond music to release a mandate; beyond a sound to establish a sanctuary; beyond a concert to provoke consecration. One thing makes all of this possible: His Glory. It has been mandated by God that this cloud of glory be released from the heavenlies into the earth realm. As it is released it will be recorded. As it is recorded it will be requested by people that are hungry for His presence. And beyond it being requested by people it will be received by God. As we experience His glory chronicles of glory will be created. Making HISTORY is not the focus; however, making HIS STORY known to the unbeliever and alive even the more in the believer is our focus. If the sound doesn’t provoke salvation it’s not His sound. If the music doesn’t proclaim the Message He doesn’t approve. We anticipate worship that will act as warfare. We anticipate power that will ignite our purpose. We believe bodies to be healed by His glory. We believe lives to be restored by His glory. We expect miracles to manifest in His glory. We agree with God for the impossible because of His glory. It’s a season of manifestation because of the rain of His glory. We humbly and reverently anticipate God through the manifestation of His Glory.

Again, the first stop on the tour is in Florence, SC…

the next stop will be July 13th in Monroe, NC.

Check out the flyers and if you are in the vicinity, make plans to be apart of this move of God!

One more thing, if you would like your Church or city to experience this awesome Woman of God, they are still accepting dates!!! For booking information, please contact Travis Brown at 704-712-5321.

This will be an experience like never before, don’t miss out!!!!

 

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‘Tis So Sweet

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take Him at His Word; just to rest upon His promise, and to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

I have decided to once again share one of my favorite hymns; this one seems especially fitting considering the place I find myself in presently. It has been posited that many of the greatest songs of encouragement were born out of pain and personal tragedy; Tis So Sweet is one such song.

It was written by Louisa Stead in 1882, after a very tragic event. While not much is known about Mrs. Stead, historians have been able to discover that Louisa married her husband in 1875 and to their union was born a daughter, Lily. One day the family decided to enjoy a day at the beach on Long Island, New York. While enjoying their family time they heard cries of help and spotted a  boy who was drowning. Mr. Stead jumped into the water to attempt to rescue this boy. Unfortunately, both the boy and Mr. Stead drowned. The words of this hymn were written over the course of Louisa’s struggle with God after this tragedy.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!

I can easily admit that I have not always found it easy to trust anyone, including God! I haven’t always been able to see God’s active hand in my life, which caused me to doubt that all things were working together for my good! Being able to trust God when you are  not able to trace God, is often easier said than done! I’ve seemingly done everything that I was “supposed” to have done, said all of the right things; yet, things still seem to be falling apart all around me. I recall the words of the hymn writer, “Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus, just from sin and self to cease; just from Jesus simply taking life and rest, and joy and peace.” I don’t have to search for peace, joy, happiness, or love in anyone else; I simply must trust the God who gives peace that surpasses all understanding.

Despite my situations and circumstances, and in spite of the mistakes that I’ve made, I will continue to trust God. Even when others have meant to do me harm, or wanted to see me fail; God has always meant it for my good! So I now can freely sing: I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend; and I know that Thou art with me, will be with me to the end.

Make It Plain

It is Well!

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.

I am a lover of music in every form, and from every genre. My deepest love though is gospel music and most specifically the hymns I grew up hearing in church and at home. During my childhood, and most of my life, my mother was the musician at the church where we were members. (This predated the term Minister of Music!) Often, my mom would have moments where she would go to the piano and just begin to play whatever songs were in her heart and her spirit. This was a time for my mother to celebrate and reflect on the relationship that she had with God, expressed through the music and talent that God had given to her.

One such hymn I remembered her singing was the one that I quoted, “It is Well!” While I sung the song in my childhood, it was not until I had reached adulthood that I truly begin to understand and really appreciate this hymn. While at the Interdenominational Theological Center, I rediscovered my love for not only hymns, but the stories behind the penning of these songs.

“It is Well,” was written by Horatio Gates Spafford in 1873. Spafford was a lawyer in Chicago who experienced three traumatic events in his life within a three-year period. In 1870, his only son was killed by scarlet fever at the age of four. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed all of his real estate holdings which ruined him financially. In 1873, the Spaffords decided to journey to England for a holiday and to meet with the great evangelist, Dwight L. Moody. Circumstances arose, and Mr. Spafford was delayed but decided to send his wife, and their four daughters ahead of him. On November 2, 1873, the ship that Mrs. Spafford and her daughters was traveling on collided with another ship. Two hundred and twenty-six people lost their lives, including all four of the Spafford’s daughters. After receiving word from his wife about the tragedy, Horatio set sail to go and meet his wife. On the journey, they passed  the spot where the collision had taken place. After seeing the spot, Horatio returned to his room and penned the words to this hymn.

I cannot imagine Horatio Spafford’s pain at the tragedies in his life, yet I can agree that life has dealt me some tough blows. I have encountered tragic events in life that were both undeserved and unexpected. I haven’t always understood the deaths of those whom I have loved. Neither have I understood the betrayals of people whom I have considered closer than friends. I am not always able to recognize God’s active hand in my life; truthfully, I have often questioned if God was even moving on my behalf. When I consider the trouble that I have faced; the situations that seemingly haven’t turned out for my good, it makes me question. Yet through it all I have discovered that God has never left me alone; God has been right there with me!

In spite of all life’s turmoil and no matter what may come my way, I have found strength in the words of this hymn. Through it all, It is Well! In it all, It is Well! In spite of hurt and pain, It is Well! With tears in my eyes, It is Well! When people enter my life, It is Well! When people leave my life, It is Well! Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, IT IS WEll, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!

Make It Plain!

Isolated but Indwelled

I’ve decided to share one of my sermons! I preached this sermon on April 23, 2009 at the Interdenominational Theological Center! I was asked to be one of the speakers for our Senior Chapel Service.  This sermon was preached to the ITC community, thus there are certain names and events that are relevant to that community. I am aware that because I’m sharing the sermon it is open to criticism, and I’m alright with that. Also, if you wish to share this sermon with others or your congregation, please give me some credit! Make It Plain!

Our text is found in the book of Jeremiah the 20th chapter and our focus is verses 7-9; again Jeremiah 20:7-9. From the New International Version of the Bible you will find these words recorded: “O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” The Word of God for the people of God, thanks be to God. I will use for a subject, “Isolated, but Indwelled”

Isolation is the act or state of being cut off from other people; while in isolation people often begin to deal with loneliness and are sometimes confronted with their own personal issues or idiosyncrasies. In The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen describes this isolation, this loneliness, as the most painful human wound. Nouwen further suggests that as a minister of this gospel we will experience both personal loneliness and professional loneliness. We have to wrestle with the fact that no matter how much we are loved, people will not always understand our burden and passion for ministry. “Why do they always call you to come to the hospital?” “They can’t pray for themselves?” But I’m the pastor, preacher, Christian educator, worship leader, pastoral care provider it’s my responsibility to be present with people, but what about me I’m your wife, husband, mother, father, sister, brother, mother, father, best friend, what about me I’m your child. Isolation in ministry is the feeling of being stripped away from many of the things that you hold on to in your life, or rather the feeling of those things being stripped from you…family, friends, hopes, dreams, ideals, material possessions, and a certain lifestyle. In that time you go through a period of intense loneliness and isolation which leads to you really wrestling with God; it leads to a period of questioning and crying out; this is where we find Jeremiah.

Jeremiah has been arrested for saying what God has commanded him to say. To add further insult to injury, he is beaten and placed in the stocks not because he is a criminal, but because he has been preaching a Gospel that is not popular. What makes this matter worse is Jeremiah is not imprisoned and beaten by those outside of the church; instead the one who has called for his imprisonment is a fellow priest and prophet. One who should have stood with Jeremiah instead is the one ready to condemn. It is interesting that as ministers of God we find opposition not just from outside the church, but right inside our own church walls. Those who we thought should stand by us are the ones betraying us for thirty pieces of silver, or the promise to become the one in charge. After spending the night in prison, Jeremiah finishes his sermon but when he comes to a place of isolation off by himself, he says” God you deceived me. Can you see him, bleeding, body stiff and possibly bent out of shape, tired, angry, frustrated; I can imagine that his mind would go back to the initial call when God says to Jeremiah… “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, I sanctified you and ordained you a prophet to the nations.” I can imagine Jeremiah say to God, I told you I couldn’t do this because I was too young, but God you told me that you had put the word in my mouth. You told me, God not to be afraid that you would be with me and rescue me. Where were you God when they were beating me, where were you God when they were arresting me? I was only doing what you told me to do and look where that has gotten me.

Jeremiah says God you deceived me and I was deceived; I am not sure about you but during my matriculation here at the ITC, I have found myself like Jeremiah saying, God you deceived me. I was content to stay in Texas; get a nice job, sing on the praise team at the church, preach for bible study once in awhile, wait for the right man to find this good thing, and be happy with Jesus alone; but God you told me to come to this institution. God, you didn’t tell me that I would be leaving my nice middle class neighborhood in Beaumont, TX to live in the hood here in Hotlanta, GA. God, I didn’t know that I would have to endure having my car broken into and experiencing two car accidents within a year and a half span. God I didn’t know that I was going to have to come to this place for them to tell me that I couldn’t refer to you God as just Father, but that I had to come to know God as both Father and Mother. I didn’t know that this revelation would cause me to reevaluate my understanding of who God really was. I didn’t know that I would have to get rid of my embedded theology, and really begin to wrestle with the reality that if you God are good, why do bad things happen to good people? God you deceived me, and I was deceived. I thought ministry was all about preaching gigs and mega churches. I thought ministry was relegated to visiting people in the hospital, nursing homes, and prisons. I thought ministry was giving money to missionaries to travel to Africa and Haiti. God I was deceived because I’ve discovered ministry is more than all of that! Ministry started with me confronting my own feelings of low self-esteem, self-image, and self-concept.  Ministry meant having to confront my own elitist ideas and feelings, my own narcissistic view that liberation was all about me being free as a black woman in ministry. Ministry means fighting for liberation for all people: white, black, Hispanic, Latino, Chinese, Japanese, African, European, heterosexual, SGL, bisexual, transgendered, male, female, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist. God I didn’t know that I would be talked about by preachers; I didn’t know that I would be criticized for trying to take liberation outside of the classroom and to actually try to manifest it on this campus; liberation for Morehouse School of Religion, Gammon, Turner, Phillips School of Theology, Johnson C. Smith, C.H. Mason, Richardson, and the Lutherans. I recognized that if God is truly on the side of the oppressed then that includes even those people who I may not agree with theologically.

Every time I open my mouth God I’m calling for social justice, speaking against injustice realizing that as Dr. King said an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I have to deal with people who deem it necessary for me to know that I’m not called to preach because I am a woman; question my sexuality because of the way that I choose to wear my hair; People are saying girl I don’t know what they teaching you at that seminary, but all you need is Jesus. Every time I open my mouth I have to deal with the pandemic of HIV/AIDS, the injustices found in our Justice system, inadequate health care while all these other preachers are walking around putting Jesus back on the cross. So, why should I keep on preaching: I feel abandoned by you, GOD; I feel deceived by you, GOD; I feel derision by you, GOD; I am the reproach of people for choosing to face issues, while the words that are coming from our pulpits Sunday after Sunday are ineffective in changing the situation of our communities. So I’m done God, I’m not Going to make mention of you anymore. But your word has become to me like a fire – the word, not just contained in this book with its contradictions and inaccuracies, but your word. The word not just given to Isaiah, Mark, and Paul; the word given to Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Frederick Douglas, and Martin Luther King Jr.; the word given to Dr. Carolyn McCrary, Dr. Riggins Earl, & Dr. Love Henry Whelchel; the word given to Jamil Vanjuan Willis, Marcus George Halley, and yes even to Davica Williams-McKeithen, Regericka Brewer, and even to me – that word has become like a fire shut up in my bones; I’ve been indwelled with something. Even when I want to keep my mouth shut for fear of being persecuted, I feel it burning and I get tired of holding it in so I don’t. No longer will I allow my voice to be silenced because of other people’s insecurities about women in ministry. I’ve been indwelled! No longer will I just preach the gospel in a way that continues to oppress people, but I will preach the true gospel of liberation. I’ve been indwelled! I will not be the one to use the gospel to become rich or to become famous. I’ve been indwelled

Now I can say…“The spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. The Lord has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom from the captives and the opening of the prison to those that are bound.”

Now I can say…“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Now I can say…“You wilt keep them in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because they trust in thee.”

Now I can say…“For God’s anger endures but a moment; but God’s favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Now I can say…“But my God shall supply all your need according to God’s riches in glory by Christ Jesus.]

Now I can say…“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not get weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Now I can say…“My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Now I can say… “Shackled by a heavy burden, beneath a load of guilt and shame; then the hand of Jesus touched me, and now I’m no longer the same. He touched me, Oh, He touched me, and oh the joy that floods my soul. Something happened and now I know, He touched me and made me whole. Since I met the Blessed Savior, Since He cleansed and made me whole, I will never cease to Praise Him! I’ll shout it while eternity rolls. He touched me, Oh, He touched me, And oh the joy that floods my soul. Something happened and now I know, He touched me and made me whole. I’ve been indwelled!

Writing

Sometimes I’m not able to vocalize all of my thoughts and feelings to people. It can be frustrating to have things to say, and not be able to put them into words. Yet, I have discovered a way to share myself with my loved ones, and even the world. With my pen/keyboard, I am able to express anger, frustration, sadness, gratefulness, love, and even respect. When I write I release all the stuff that overwhelms, I can let go of all the emotions that bombard me. When I write I reconnect with the parts of myself that I don’t allow people to see. I can reveal the secrets that I am afraid to reveal to even my closest friends or family. With my pen/keyboard, I can finally reveal my innermost desires for you! When I write I feel closer to the God I love. I enter into a place of worship and communion where I am able to speak to God, and in return God speaks to me! For me, it is an act of worship and service to God who has given me life, and who loves me with an unconditional love.

I write of pain and pleasure! I write of sorrow and joy! I write of rain and sunshine! I write of tears and fears! I write of hate and love! I write of despair and hope!  I write for freedom! I write!

I write to Make It Plain!

Maranda Curtis Live

A lot of changes are taking place in my life now which has consumed all the time that I would like to spend blogging. Those changes will be discussed at some point, as I strive to always keep the word plain! I carved out some time to promote an awesome and anointed woman. She has been amazingly gifted and now has the opportunity to share her gift with the world. Oh, she is also my BFFF! Although, I won’t be able attend the recording, I will be there in heart and mind. If you are anywhere near the Charlotte area, you should take the opportunity to experience what is guaranteed to be an awesome worship experience.

BFFF – I borrow the words of Paul to the church in Corinth: Eye has not seen, nor ear has heard; no mind has conceived what God has prepared for YOU! Congratulations!

Everybody Needs a Friend

This week I want to showcase another of my favorite preachers, Dr. Claudette Anderson Copeland.  After having served as Pastor and Co-Founder of the New Creation Christian Fellowship of San Antonio, Texas for 23 years, she now serves as Co-Pastor, giving her ministry attention to the evangelistic field. She received her undergraduate education at the University of Connecticut , where she concentrated her studies in the field of Psychology. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree, she went on to earn her Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta , Georgia . She earned the Doctorate of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton , Ohio. Check her out at http://www.claudetteacopeland.org/ Enjoy and stay tuned!