Born in Moline, Illinois on June 1, 1842, his parents were Methodists. Twenty years later, this young man was class valedictorian and graduate of Illinois Wesleyan with a B.A. degree. Garrett Biblical Institute handed this scholar a B.D. degree in 1868. After one appointment in Pekin, he left Illinois for pastoral ministry in “The Big Easy.” Soon, trouble ensued in New Orleans. This white pastor became an advocate for African Americans. As pastor, DS, publisher and delegate to General Conference, he initiated open seating at his worship services, started schools, established a hospital, worked with the Freedman’s Aid Society and published the Southwestern Christian Advocate “to promote Methodist work among African Americans.”
A reality of life is that very few people have become adults and gone through college without having developed some ways naturally to deal with stress. Most often we have developed some behaviors that helped us deal with problems of life that helped us. As we grow we have a tendency to move away from what helped us in the past because our live situations change and our life patterns change. Then when stress builds we may be at a loss on what to do to deal with it.
What does this mean for a congregation on the journey for 150 years? “You have not because you ask not.” One songwriter declares that the people of God regularly, “forfeit their peace, bear needless pain”; because they refuse to, “take everything to God in prayer.” Whatever your needs church, you have to, “keep praying and not lose heart”, like the widow before the unjust judge.
When I see the blood, I think Christ our Passover. He is the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. When I see the blood, I know forgiveness of my sins. When I see the blood, I know Christ is a rock in a weary land, a bridge over troubled waters. When I see the blood, I know Christ is a God of our weary years and a God of our silent tears, a God who will let the oppressed go free.”
Usually, there are three major seasons in the life of a District Superintendent: Charge Conference Appointment and Summer time for pastoral consultations.
As I think about the prayers that our friends and members of the United Methodist Churches in Liberia pray for us, it is our time to continue to lift them and their country before the throne of God. I personally know of two women who often fast for our conference teams traveling to Liberia for a full 21 days and many often fast and pray for IGRC on Wednesdays or Fridays of each week. It is time for Illinois Great Rivers Conference to faithfully pray for this situation.
Today, more than 5,000 Kingdom dreamers have graduated from Africa University. They are making disciples and transforming the world. These graduates are doctors and nurses, engineers and teachers, social workers and government leaders. Through them, Kingdom dreams are becoming reality.
God applauds Abraham for his courage and faithfulness. Abraham names the place “The Lord will provide.” A man after God’s own heart, discovers again and again, that everything's gonna be alright. Today, Jews, Christians and Muslims honor Abraham as their spiritual and biological ancestor. Today, Jews, Christians and Muslims speak of the bosom of Abraham as a place of rest, repose and happiness. Today, Abraham’s courage, faith and trust in the Lord proved four little words, “The Lord will provide.”
How could we not have been drawn closer to Presbyterians experientially? You invited us to dinner. You asked us to stay a while. Legislatively speaking, you asked us to participate in washing dishes and cleaning besmirched (dirty) linen. You dared to be transparent - dared to be vulnerable -dared to show your courage and faith - dared to show your hope in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God.
Sisters and brothers in Christ: Let us go up at once and occupy the Promised time – we are well able to conquer it. You need not fear the giants – they have lost the protection they had. The Lord is with us. You have nothing to fear from them. Life doesn’t frighten us. In Jesus name and power. Amen.