Retrospect: My Top 10 Posts of 2020!!!

 

Hello World,

If you’re reading this, y’all we made it…well, a few hours from now, we will have!!! This morning as I was writing in my journal, I realized that God has blessed me in ways that I hadn’t even acknowledged before today. (Please forgive me Lord!) Despite the trials of this particular year, which includes family members getting sick and or hospitalized with COVID-19, I can list and have listed the ways that God has continued to prove He’s my good shepherd and your good shepherd as well! After the Altar Call, my humble corner of the world wide web, is one of God’s blessings ever since it first launched in 2008! I’m so grateful that each year, more and more of you come here for content at the cross section of faith, relationships and pop culture! Below are the top 1o posts that brought you here in 2020!

1. ‘The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel’ Executive Producers & Cast Attend Television Critics Association Panel (PHOTOS)

Excerpt: According to Deadline.com, there was some tea spilled at the TCA panel, “… one question was gotten out of the way early:  Was estranged sister Denise Clark-Bradford consulted in the making of the movie? ‘Yes, she was absolutely given the opportunity to participate in her story,’ said Executive Producer Holly Carter, who was joined on the panel by Executive Producer Queen Latifah (Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott are also EP’s) and cast members Christina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Sheléa Frazier, Raven Goodwin and Angela Birchett.” Read the rest of the article HERE.

2. Former Follower of Pinky Promise Founder Heather Lindsey Implies She’s a ‘False Prophet’ & Says She Owes Her Money!

Excerpt: And since D. Danyelle ended her blog post with mentioning money, let’s start with that in 2020. A whole four years later after what D. Danyelle wrote, Jaleceya Tate via YouTube claimed she is owed a refund for buying Heather Lindsey’s products in addition to criticizing her in much of the same way that D. Danyelle did. Jaleceya said she became a follower of Heather Lindsey in approximately 2013 because of her “cute kids, cute husband and cute testimony.” She subsequently attended a Pinky Promise conference, bought two of Heather Lindsey’s books and even attended Heather Lindsey’s cooking class.  She revealed that perusing Heather Lindsey’s perfect Instagram page over time caused her to feel her life, in comparison, was inferior. As a result, she began to not go her page as much.

3. Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Raphael Warnock & Wife To Divorce as He Runs for U.S. Senate…

Excerpt: Earlier today, I checked the analytics for my website and noticed that many of the posts I have written about the Warnocks have received traction in the last couple of days. I wrote about their their romantic engagement in “Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church Pastor Proposes to Girlfriend During Watch Night Service! (VIDEO)” in January 2016,  their beautiful marriage ceremony just over a month later on Valentine’s Day in “Why Wait? Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church Pastor Marries on Valentine’s Day After NYE Proposal (VIDEO)!” and even the birth of their first child in “Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church Pastor & Wife Become Parents!” later that year. I think they are a beautiful couple, and I have visited Ebenezer several times over the years. But when I Googled them today, this AJC article appeared…”Warnock, Wife Involved in Dispute” by Stephen Deere and Greg Bluestein. Rev. Warnock told the AJC that he and his wife have been separated since November and plan to divorce.

4. Greenleaf Recap Season 5 Episode 8, Series Finale: Behold…

Excerpt: Saints, unfortunately what we feared is true, Bishop has gone on to his final reward and is with the Lamb of God in that pasture in the sky. After last week’s episode, when it appeared that Bishop had a stroke, I felt like I had lost a beloved family member rather than a character on a mere television show. And even the next morning, I felt melancholy. But that is what great television or any great work of art will do: illuminate real life so much that you have no choice except to contemplate what has been presented and incorporate the message in your real life. The reality is that we all have an expiration date and hopefully we will leave this sphere as Bishop did, having poured out everything in service to God and what He has called us to do for our fellow man…

5. OWN ‘Greenleaf’ Creator Craig Wright & Executive Producer Kriss Turner Towner Share How ‘Greenleaf’ Started, Secrets from Season 5 & the Spinoff & MORE (MY INTERVIEW)

Excerpt: I must say that I’m very much disturbed by recent events in my city of metro Atlanta, but that is why quality entertainment is more important than ever. Although I’m tempted to tune into 24-hour news stations 24 hours a day, I must detach myself periodically and de-stress somehow. Along with exercise, watching my favorite television shows is one of my easiest ways to de-stress, and as most of the readers of my blog know, OWN’s Greenleaf is at the top of my list. That’s why I feel so incredibly blessed that I was able to recently interview Craig Wright, the creator of Greenleaf AND Kriss Turner Towner, executive producer of Greenleaf AND the writer behind Something New, one of my favorite films of all time (more on that later). Yes, after four seasons of recaps (that took me about three hours to write apiece), I finally have some of the answers to some of the questions that I have asked myself and you as we got to know the Greenleafs over these last four years…

6. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Jamal Bryant Takes Daughter Grace to Daddy-Daughter Dance, Some Critique Her Dress…

Excerpt: The first time I officially danced with my father was during my wedding in 2013. It was one of the most special moments in my life because the first man I had ever loved gave me away to the man I will forever love. I don’t recall any of the schools I attended when I was growing up having a Daddy-Daughter Dance, but I hear about them all of the time now. Apparently, the school where Grace Bryant attends had a Daddy-Daughter Dance on Saturday as Bravo reported that New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Jamal Bryant took his daughter Grace to one. Grace is also the daughter of Gizelle Bryant, who is on the cast of  The Real Housewives of Potomac.  Both of the Bryants, who are back together after being divorced for several years, posted about this special occasion on their Instagram pages. But Grace’s dress, which is somewhat short and tight and shiny, has received some critical feedback…

7. Seven Reasons Why Dr. Charles Stanley Stepping Down as Pastor Makes Me Sad…

Excerpt: He taught me how to “Obey God and Leave the Consequences to Him.” Of all of the sentences I’ve heard Dr. Stanley say since I’ve been following his ministry, this sentence is what I’ve heard him say the most. It’s a simple sentence but the power of this singular sentence can impact every area of your life if you let it. I remember when I decided to live up to my Christian convictions when I was in my 20s although I had been baptized as a teenager. One of the decisions I made was to stop clubbing and be in church on New Year’s Eve. Babay, although my best friends at the time grew up in church like I did, they did not understand my decision and I found myself alone a lot. And even when I was around them, I felt rejected. There were many times I sobbed because I felt so alone and rejected. I wondered why if I knew God and was getting to know Him better, my life seemed to have gotten worse, particularly my social life. But I kept obeying Him, and I realized that I had to only depend on God and not my friendships. And in time, God brought certain friendships back into my life, but by then I had learned that God moves friends in and out of your life and to not hold on to any of them too tightly. Only hold on to God…I obeyed and left the consequences to Him and eventually I learned the lesson…

8. Kierra Sheard Shares Wedding Photos on Her Instagram Page!

Excerpt: Clearly God is still in the blessing business even in 2020! Hallelujah! On the heels of her self-titled album KIERRA being a #1 on Billboard Top Gospel Album and the success of the Lifetime TV original movie The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, Lifetime’s highest-rated movie since 2016, Kierra Sheard has married Jordan Kelly! Apparently, it was a small wedding, but a bigger celebration is planned post pandemic!

9. Bishop T.D. Jakes Says We Should Pray for President Trump as He Battles Coronavirus, But Should We?

Excerpt: Even if you’re not a fan of President Trump, we all have to admit The Apprentice reality star turned politician knows how to get headlines and change the topic of the national conversation when he sees fit. A week ago Sunday, The New York Times reported that the president only paid $750 in taxes during 2016, the year he was elected president. Of course, that revelation caused a flurry of conversation. Although some may have thought the president won the presidential debate on Tuesday, others criticized his approach to debating and his directive to the white supremacist group Proud Boys. But by Friday, he managed to trump both of those conversations by announcing in the wee hours via Twitter that he and the First Lady have been diagnosed with the scourge of 2020 – COVID-19. And just like that, there has been very little talk of his taxes, debate performance and Proud Boys directive since.

10. Kierra Sheard Reveals Grandparents’ COVID-19 Diagnosis, What it Was Like Playing Her Mother in ‘The Clark Sisters’ Movie on Good Morning America

Excerpt: This morning on Good Morning America, gospel music star Kierra Sheard, who was interviewed by Michael Strahan, revealed that her grandparents are recovering from COVID-19, how she had to audition to play her mother Karen Clark Sheard in the the movie The Clark Sisters and more.

Sooo, whoomp, there it is..2020 is a wrap, folk! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Any thoughts?

 

Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Received 4.4 Million in Federal COVID Loan and Folk Mad…

Hello World,

Whew. I really don’t know what to say, but plenty of folk on Twitter said a lot. First the official news and then the Twitter reactions…

“Want to Know How Much Money Joel Osteen’s Megachurch Received?” by Shelby Stewart of Houston Chronicle

Lakewood Church received a $4.4 million Paycheck Protection Plan loan during the coronavirus pandemic, according to federal data. The loan was disbursed in July of this year.

U.S. Small Business Administration data, which was released at the beginning of December, showed that Lakewood Church’s PPP loan was created by Bank of America. The megachurch’s hefty loan was the third-largest PPP loan approved for a Houston-area entity during all of July and August, according to Chris Matthews at Houston Business Journal.

The church, like many other businesses, was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lakewood’s in-person services were halted due to the pandemic, but were able to resume in October, at 25 percent capacity. According to a statement from Lakewood spokesperson David Iloff, the church’s PPP loan was used to provide support for the church’s employees. Read the rest HERE.

 

Any thoughts?

Three Gifts Guaranteed to Give You Christmas Cheer…Even During the Coronavirus Crisis!!!

Hello World,

Hello World,

I’ve said this before, but I will say it again: Christmas is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year!” So if your eyes aren’t twinkling like they are Christmas lights, if jingle bells aren’t attached to your ankles or if you are not burping up eggnog, you obviously don’t possess that sometimes elusive Christmas cheer…

I know that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but can I be honest? Sometimes even knowing that isn’t enough to dredge up that Christmas cheer that everyone is supposed to be cloaked in like an expensive heavy coat that you only wear on special occasions…especially during the coronavirus crisis when you also have to wear a mask “everywhere you go.” (To the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”)

Still despite the manufactured Christmas cheer that retailers will lead you to believe can only be bought, I have discovered there are three gifts, not 12, not enough for your whole family or all your network, simply three that will stoke the furnace of genuine Christmas cheer within you…

I don’t know if it is the example of the three Wise Men or because God is the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit or at the suggestion of my favorite author Catherine Marshall, but in my 20s, I decided that in addition to the gifts I would give to my friends and family, I would also give three gifts to Jesus…

Now, how does one go about giving gifts to Jesus? Although I feel His presence with me, I have never seen nor touched Him physically…So how was I supposed to do that? I was led to these three verses below as I came up with a way to give three gifts to Jesus…

 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:30

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:3-4

So what do these three verses mean?

1. I was give without expectation of receiving anything back.

2. I was to give to people and or organizations that served “the least of these.”

3. I was to give in secret and not tell a soul.

I have never revealed what I have done before, but since I am writing a post about this, let me share some of the gifts I have given over the years as a testimony to how God has blessed me with authentic Christmas cheer as a result….

There was once a homeless man that I saw every day as I walked from one location to another in downtown Atlanta…All of the store owners on the street were kind to him, and I could see why…He was kind and mannerly and even funny sometimes…I don’t why he was homeless, but he seemed content to live on the street…I thought that since he seemed like he wanted to be on the street, I could at least help keep him warm…I tried to figure out what what size pants the man wore and bought him a pair of jeans (he always had on jeans) and a blanket…When I handed him the wrapped up gift, he seemed not to know what I was handing to him until I explained it was a Christmas gift…Then he smiled…That simple smile made me glow on the inside…

Another year, I decided to volunteer one Saturday at My Sister’s House at the Atlanta Mission…I helped hand out supplies to the women and children who were staying at the shelter…At that particular time in my life, I pretty much hated my job and the fact that I was too poor to move out of my parents’ house…But spending just one Saturday at the shelter showed how much I had to be grateful for…My mom has always told me if you want to feel better, forget about yourself…

And finally another one of my secret three gifts was the doll I gave to a Christmas toy drive one year…although I am not a girly girl, I have always LOVED dolls…I wanted a new doll every  Christmas for years and years…in fact, I used to worry that as a fifth grader, someone at school would find out I still played with dolls and I would be teased…So one year I decided to give the prettiest, most girly, luxurious hair-having doll I could find and afford to a toy drive…I don’t know what girl was the recipient of that doll, but if I have learned anything about God, I know that “every good and perfect gift” comes from Him…I’m sure that the girl who received that doll was the very girl that wished for and deserved that gift…

Although the Christmas countdown has begun,  there is more than enough time to give (and get) Christmas cheer…

Any thoughts?