Seven Scriptures to Remind Us that Jesus is the Real Reason for the Season…2018…

Hello World,

I don’t know about you but December always seems to fly by…Between making Christmas lists, shopping with the masses, sending out Christmas greetings via e-mail or snail mail, going to Christmas parties and other events, preparing for the New Year and regular life stuff, it seems there is never enough time to do it all and so I almost look forward to January when life is back to its regular pace…

And if you noticed, I haven’t mentioned Jesus at all…That is because with all I have to or want to do, I can forget that the birth of Jesus, God’s precious gift to mankind, is the real reason for the season…And so to prepare my heart for this season and hopefully help you prepare your heart for this season too, I have decided to list seven scriptures that take the focus off of the worldly expressions of the Christmas season and help us to focus on Jesus…

1. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 I just love that Immanuel means “God with us.”  Jesus was born so that God could be with us…Remember that the next time you feel alone because you are not…God is with us!

2. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Look how much we are loved by God! He sacrificed His one and only Son! What have we sacrificed for God lately? Something to remember and act on at this time of the year…

3. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 Every time I see Christmas lights, I’m going to remember that God is the father of heavenly lights and that every good and perfect gift is from Him…I’m feeling better about the Christmas season already…

4. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 Although we will never be free of sin this side of Heaven, we can still accept God’s gift of eternal life with Jesus Christ who helps us not to sin…

5. “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” 1 Peter 3:15 At some point during this Christmas season, we have to know that everyone around us does not know the real reason for the season…I hope I’m ready when the opportunity arises for me to tell somebody about my Lord and Savior…

6. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 Do  you want the desires of your heart? Of course 🙂 Then we have to delight ourselves in the Lord and His purposes…Now, this does not mean that we send up a list of what we want and then He delivers gifts like He is some Santa Claus in the sky…No, this verse means that mysteriously when we align ourselves with the Lord, His desires for us become our desires…and then we get the desires of our heart because they are His desires for us too…

7. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14…This time of the year especially I have to make every effort to give glory to God and live at peace with others…I wish those in government would remember that…

What helps you remember the real reason for the season? This isn’t a traditional Christmas song but this song helps me to remember why Jesus left His home in Heaven on high to come to earth way below…

Merry Christmas!!!

Any thoughts?

TV One Offers Original Holiday Movies ‘Merry Wishmas’ & ‘Coins For Christmas’ Starring David & Tamela Mann, Kim Fields & More…

Hello World,

TV One brings the holiday spirit with premieres of two new original movies MERRY WISHMAS, debuting Sunday, December 2 at 7 p.m. and  COINS FOR CHRISTMAS, premiering  Sunday, December 16  at  7 p.m./6C!

MERRY WISHMAS , starring  Tamela Mann (The Manns), David Mann (The Manns), Kim Fields (Living Single), Towanda Braxton (Braxton Family Values), Chrystale Wilson (The Players Club) and  Elizabeth Omilami (Madea’s Family Reunion), revolves around successful businesswoman Kenni (Tamela Mann) who hasn’t returned home to the quaint town of Columbia, South Carolina in years. She’s hoping for a peaceful visit when she finally returns home, but unresolved family issues threaten to make the Christmas holiday not so bright. She’s reacquainted with Jessie (David Mann), an old high school friend with a fledgling wellness facility – the Beverly Living Center. She’s instantly thrown into the lives of the center’s residents and meets a host of colorful characters. When Jessie is faced with losing the Beverly Living Center, Kenni steps in to try and help save it. Family conflicts and relationship woes, however, threaten Kenni’s efforts. It looks like only a miracle can save the center and mend broken relationships in time for Christmas.

MERRY WISHMAS  is directed by veteran actress Terri J. Vaughn and features a cameo appearance by rap artist  Yung Joc , best known for popular singles “It’s Goin’ Down” and “I Know You See It.”

“Having the opportunity to direct my friends David and Tamala Mann was a huge blessing. The rewarding part was their willingness to challenge themselves to go deeper and I’m excited for viewers to see them in the more dramatic moments,” said Vaughn. “The other blessing on this project was being able to direct my mentor and friend, Kim Fields. It was a very rewarding, full circle moment for us. I can’t wait for the world to see!”

Y’all, I was actually on set for one day of filming MERRY WISHMAS and was able to interview some of the members of the cast and writers behind the movie! See that post here:  David & Tamela Mann, Kim Fields, Towanda Braxton & More Star in TV One’s Christmas movie ‘Merry Wish-mas!’

Below is a trailer for MERRY WISHMAS:

COINS FOR CHRISTMAS  stars  Stephen Bishop  (Being Mary Jane) (Remember he was on one episode of OWN’s Greenleaf this season as well?),  Essence Atkins (Marlon),  TC Carson  (Living Single),  Kelly Price  (Saints and Sinners) and  Karlie Redd (Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta). The film chronicles single mom Madison (Atkins) who’s saved all year to make sure her teenage kids have the best Christmas ever. That is until she gets fired from the bookstore she manages and comes home to find that the IRS has frozen her bank account due to delinquent taxes her ex-husband failed to pay. Desperate to pay bills and buy gifts for her children, Madison jumps into the ever-popular “gig economy.” That’s when she meets and eventually gets hired by arrogant, sidelined former professional football player Alec Darby (Bishop), who is also secretly on the verge of going broke. This odd couple butts heads time and time again but can the Christmas spirit help these two get past their bickering, learn from each and ultimately forge a lasting friendship?

Below is a trailer for COINS FOR CHRISTMAS:

MERRY WISHMAS and COINS FOR CHRISTMAS will be featured programming during TV One’s Holiday Movie Marathon on December 24-25. TV One will also air Christmas movies every Sunday until December 23.

Written by Cas Sigers-Beedles, MERRY WISHMAS is executive produced for TV One by Roger Bobb, Angi Bones (Bobbcat Films), Terri J. Vaughn and Cas Sigers-Beedles (Nina Holiday Entertainment). David and Tamela Mann also serve as Executive Producers. George Pierre serves as Casting Director. For TV One, Tia A. Smith is Executive Producer in Charge of Production, Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting, and Robyn Greene-Arrington is Head of Original Programming and Production.

COINS FOR CHRISTMAS is written by Rhonda F. Baraka and directed by Jamal Hill, with casting by Leah Daniels-Butler and George Pierre. The film was produced by Swirl Films, with Eric Tomosunas serving as Executive Producer. James Seppelfrick, Ron Robinson, Keith Neal and Darien Baldwin serve as producers. For TV One, Karen Peterkin is the Executive Producer in Charge of Production, Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting, and Robyn Greene-Arrington is Head of Original Programming and Production.

For more information about TV One’s upcoming programming, including original movies, visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv. TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on TwitterInstagram  and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hash tags #MERRYWISHMAS#COINSFORCHRISTMAS,and #REPRESENT.

Any thoughts?

Should Divorced Men Such as Dr. Jamal Bryant, Newly Named New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor, Be Allowed in the Pulpit?

Hello World,

Now that Season 3 of OWN’s “Greenleaf” is over until next season, I’m back to finding my religious drama and intrigue in real life! LOL.

Last week, Atlanta was abuzz with the news that Dr. Jamal Bryant, founding pastor of Empowerment Temple, an A.M.E.  megachurch of about 10,000 members in Baltimore, Maryland was leaving his church to be the new pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which also has about 10,000 members, in Lithonia, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. He will preach is first sermon at New Birth on Sunday, Dec. 9.

The announcement has people talking for many reasons. One of those reasons is that Bryant’s tenure comes after the death of the controversial church founder Bishop Eddie L. Long, who passed away in January 2017 after battling cancer. Prior to his death, he wrote about his life in his memoir “The Untold Story – The Story of Adversity, Pain, and Resilience.”  In a previous blog post about this memoir, I wrote, “Is Bishop Long going to address what really happened with those young men who accused him of sexual misconduct as their claims were settled out of court and why he settled? That’s all people want to know at this point!” What is ironic about that post, which I wrote in 2016, is that the post was about Bishop Long AND Pastor Jamal Bryant. Here is a link to the post “Bishop Eddie Long Releases New Book ‘The Untold Story’ While Pastor Jamal Bryant Sidesteps Paternity Claim Today… What Are The Biblical Requirements for a Pastor?” I had no idea that two years later that these two men who be forever linked by last week’s announcement.

And that blog post brings me to another reason why people are talking about Bryant being named pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Even without all of the Bishop Long controversy, Pastor Bryant has enough controversy that he can claim on his own – from a fairly recent out-of-wedlock paternity allegation to the admission of infidelity in his previous marriage to Gizelle Bryant, one of the stars of “The Real Housewives of Potomac.” He was dating R&B singer Tweet but I guess they have broken up because I haven’t heard anything about them still being together. He referred to her as his “Last Lady” in the clip.

Below are a few comments I saw on New Birth’s Facebook page following the announcement last week:

“New Birth still has members?”

“WoW I’m shocked they gave it to Jamal with all the scandals he been through…but no man is perfect and I wish him the best.”

“Facts: No pastor wants the debt associated with NB! It will take a name to fill the seats & ‘encourage’ people to give! We are all flawed & human! However, for the church’s sake, i pray there’s real accountability worked into his contract! Literally, he just left court on stalking charges! There’s a pattern of poor judgment! I’m just gonna pray!”

 “Plenty of women to choose from.”

“Wow, I can’t believe these are Christians on the church website with this garbage. Talking about men of God like we are talking about Love and Hip Hop! Messy!!! Truly I wish that Pastor Bryant would not even go down there in this mess. Because he is loved and wanted at Empowerment Temple and ALL over the country. Half of the people on here don’t support the church financially or spirituality. The way our world is today we better, get our lives together. We don’t know when the Lord’s going to call us home. Please stop being so quick to point out what we think is somebody else faults and get our own selves in order. NB congregation on your new appointed Pastor. Pastor Jamal, love you! I will be praying for you and supporting you the same as I did at ET. I believe in you and the God we serve.”

“Episode of Greenleaf Coming!!!!”

“So he switching denominations!?”

See ALL of the 538 comments and counting HERE.

All of this chatter has got me thinking about being a pastor as a single divorced man. If real life is stranger than fiction (like what went down on OWN’s “Greenleaf” following the divorce of Bishop & Lady Mae), what should be expected from the pastorate of single divorced man? And should single divorced men be allowed to be pastors at all? Years ago, Atlanta-based but known worldwide pastor Dr. Charles Stanley, who is one of my favorite pastors, caused a lot of controversy when he decided to remain pastor of his church, First Baptist Church of Atlanta, following his divorce. His stance was particularly controversial when he previously said he would step down if he ever divorced.

Do you think divorced single men should be pastors? Below are three views on this topic:

  • While many in the Southern Baptist Convention called on him to step down over his divorce, Stanley refused to give up his role as senior pastor. ‘God said you keep doing what I called you to until I tell you to do something else,’ he told CNN. “I got that straight from the Lord. … I was simply obeying God.’ He added: ‘If somebody doesn’t love you and doesn’t want to live with you, you can’t — nowhere in the Scripture does it say that you’re to preach the gospel until someone does this or that.'” excerpted from “Charles Stanley Names Successor but Will Remain Sr. Pastor, Says Retirement Is Unbiblical” by Leonardo Blair
  • “In the end, it remains the choice of the congregation whom they call to be a pastor. If a man was divorced prior to becoming a Christian, then 2 Corinthians 5:17 comes into play: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” A divorced man’s pre-Christian life is certainly part of the “old things” that pass away. Life in Christ warrants for all believers a “new lease” on life. Congregations may also, legitimately, conclude that a divorce for a Christian man was so long ago in the past that it should not hinder his witness or his work in the pastorate. There are no hard and fast rules; only principles, to guide a man in the ministry or a congregation seeking a pastor. ” excerpted from “The Divorced Pastor: Is He the Husband of One Wife?” by Michael F. Ross
  • “I really think we need to look at it on a case by case basis, especially if the man was divorced for one of the two biblical exceptions: the wife’s infidelity (Matthew 5:32) or an unbelieving wife divorcing him (1 Corinthians 7:15). Although I respect an autonomous church’s right to set whatever policies it deems appropriate (as long as those policies don’t violate Scripture), I, personally, don’t think it’s right to deny a man the office due to his wife’s sin that he had no control over and may have done everything in his power to prevent.” excerpted from “The Mailbag: Can a Divorced Man Be a Pastor?” by Michelle Lesley

If you are unfamiliar with Dr. Bryant altogether, here is a brief bio from the AJC. Boston-born Bryant, a third generation pastor, is a graduate of Morehouse College, Duke University and Graduate Theological Foundation. As he failed the 11th grade and received a GED, he started at Morehouse College, which is in Atlanta, on probation. He is the father of 5 daughters. Also, his sister Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis is a relationship counselor for Pastor Chad Johnson and his fiancée Michelle Williams, formerly of Destiny’s Child, on their OWN reality show “Chad Loves Michelle.” (I am really enjoying this show by the way.)

I listened to Dr. Jamal Bryant being interviewed on a local radio station V-103 last week, and he is very personable and upfront about the fact that he has not been a perfect shepherd. And I especially loved how he closed out the interview with this prayer “Lord, Your Will. Nothing More, Nothing Less & Nothing Else.” The first time I heard that prayer was from Bishop Greenleaf, my favorite fictional pastor! LOL. I don’t mean to be cavalier here because we’re talking about real lives and the saving of souls, but art is inspired by real life…

Anywho, any thoughts Saints?