Tuesday, July 24, 2007


It has been over a week since I last posted anything here. I hope everyone has been enjoying the video clips as much as I have (and, if you follow the links on YouTube, you can find many more clips of gospel music as it used to be in the Black Church). Don’t let the lack of activity on this blog fool you. Although it has been slow on the blogging front, life has been very eventful the past couple of weeks.

On Sunday the 15th, it was my privilege to preach again at New Life Fellowship Church in Vernon Hills. All this year I’ve been preaching through Galatians. This latest message was my fifth from Paul’s letter. The list of messages, so far (I’m planning on preaching once again from Galatians in a week-and-a-half—please, pray for me as I try to prepare), is as follows:

Galatians 1:1-10 (“Keep the Faith”); Galatians 3:1-6 (“The Heart of the Matter”); Galatians 3:15-22 (“The Law and the Promise”); Galatians 4:21-31 (“Two Sons, Two Mothers, and Two Destinies”); and Galatians 5:13-24 (“You Ought to Show Some Sign!”). I smile as I type these titles because, most of the time when I'm preaching, I forget to announce my title. I guess the title is just an afterthought in my mind; the text is what matters. Unfortunately, I don’t have the equipment to record in a format that is transferable to the web, so I don’t have any recordings to post.

My extended family experienced a tragedy early last week when my eldest first cousin, Adam, died as a result of a massive stroke. He was only 38 years old. I’m told he had high blood pressure. In the family picture that is in my profile (taken in 1971), Adam is the brown-haired toddler in my grandfather’s arms, in the center of the back row. Because of our proximity in age, and the relationship we used to have when, as children, Adam and his brother Gabriel used to spend summers here in Illinois with our grandparents (they both grew up in Massachusetts), I’ve felt very sad. But, what can you say? The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. We humbly submit to God’s sovereign will. Less than a month earlier, one of my mother’s first cousins in South Carolina, on my maternal grandmother’s side of the family, died of a massive heart attack. She was a senior citizen. Death is a somber reminder that life is not guaranteed. Some of us may live to see our children grow up, and see grandchildren and great grandchildren. Others of us may not even live to see 40. Do we need any other proof that we need to be ready to meet God? We know neither the day nor the hour when we shall be thrust into eternity. O reader, when death comes, I pray you may be found in Christ.

With the tragic and untimely death of my first cousin, last Friday was all the more special because, you see, last Friday was my 44th birthday. I thank God for letting me live another year. I thank Him for each day! Adam had just turned 38 in May. He never saw 40, and, here, the Lord let me see 44. I must thank Him. When I look back over my life and see where God has brought me from and what God has brought me through, I can’t help but thank Him for His abundant grace and mercy to a poor sinner like me.

Then, this past Saturday, my wife, Catherine, and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. In this day of rampant divorce, I bless God for 17 years, and I thank Him for giving me a “good thing” (see Proverbs 18:22), when He gave me Catherine. I don’t need to be jealous of any man, because I know I have a wonderful wife, and I’ve been blessed far beyond what I deserve.

I’ve also been trying to work my way through a long list of things to do before the school year starts. As you may remember, at the end of June I was offered and accepted a new teaching position. Getting the job was one thing, now I have to do the work! Pray for me. Classes start on August 16th.

So, I hope you can see that although my blogging has been light, life has not eased up at all. In fact, the pace has stepped up quite a bit. The good thing about it is I have been praying more and with more fervency. I deeply feel my humanness—my weakness, ignorance and inability. I sense deeply my need of moral and spiritual strength, godly wisdom, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Bless God! All I need is mine in Jesus Christ! He, alone, is my righteousness, wisdom and strength (see 1 Corinthians 1:20-31). My heart echoes the words of Charles Wesley (1707-1788):

Father, I stretch my hands to Thee;
No other help I know;
If Thou withdraw Thyself from me,
Ah! Whither shall I go?

What did Thine only Son endure,
Before I drew my breath!
What pain, what labor, to secure
My soul from endless death!

O Jesus, could I this believe,
I now should feel Thy power!
Now my poor soul Thou wouldst retrieve,
Nor let me wait one hour.

Author of faith, to Thee I lift
My weary, longing eyes;
O let me now receive that gift!
My soul, without it, dies.

Surely Thou canst not let me die;
O speak, and I shall live;
And here I will unwearied lie,
Till Thou Thy Spirit give.

The worst of sinners would rejoice,
Could they but see Thy face;
O let me hear Thy quickening voice,
And taste Thy pardoning grace!


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