Garden Time March 2019

In celebration of Women’s History Month we have been examining women in the Bible who continue to teach and empower not only women, but also humankind in general, since the beginning of recorded history. We celebrate Women’s History Month at Church-in-the-Garden because we as a church are the beneficiaries of women who made in the image and likeness of God, were chosen to lead, support, nourish, preach, prophesy, and deliver God’s glory to the earth.

Garden Time February 2019

As we are halfway through February celebrating Black History Month and American Heart Month, I wanted to share the joy of our fellowship and the Spirit of God that has been permeating our worship. Truly God is doing something in our midst. I want to encourage everyone who receives this note to be attentive to the celebration of Black History Month and the rich and impactful story of perseverance and struggle that it represents for all of us.

Garden Time January 2019

I write this short note to thank you all for all your tireless work and witness in 2018. We had an incredible year of worship and services. Our membership added witnesses, God was praised, and the movement of the Holy Spirit was palpable every week. To be sure, there were times of heartache, loss, turmoil, and tumult last year. We shed tears, cried out with righteous indignation, and found ourselves in new situations of challenge and hope. However, through it all,  with joy in our hearts, we clung to our mission and belief in Jesus Christ and how our faith informs our actions in our daily lives.

Garden Time December 2018

I greet you with the joy of Jesus Christ as we enter into the season of reflection of what the Incarnate Word means for us. I hope that this month is full of appreciation and thankfulness of what God has given us by entering humanity’s story. Indeed, this is the time of year when we can get sidetracked on the consumption of the season while forgetting the name of Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ has come, and Jesus Christ will come again. So, I implore you all to cling to Christ and the revelation of the One who would come to make us the children of God and to be a ransom for our sins. 

Garden Time November 2018

I want to share with all of you a special day coming up soon for the Church-in-the-Garden. On Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 10am we will be having a “FALL BACK TO CHURCH” service. We want all former members, those who have visited before, those who have never been, and everyone in between, to come and take part in a special worship service on that Sunday and stay after for some terrific food and fellowship! 

Garden Time October 2018

I want to share with all of you a special day coming up soon for the Church-in-the-Garden. On Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 10am we will be having a “FALL BACK TO CHURCH” service. We want all former members, those who have visited before, those who have never been, and everyone in between, to come and take part in a special worship service on that Sunday and stay after for some terrific food and fellowship! 

Garden Time July 2018

June has showed us how much the church is needed in this day and age. In the words of the bard of gospel music, Thomas A. Dorsey, “If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need him now!” Indeed, trying times seem to abound in this country. It seems that every day, week, or month, there is something going on that has astounded our sense of self and community, and highlights the divisiveness in this country. 

Garden Time June 2018

What a month of May we enjoyed! We celebrated our mothers, sisters, aunts, and women who form a unit of womanhood that cares for, nurtures, and many times goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the success and progress of others (look what Moses’ biological mother and sister did to ensure Moses’ survival and success)! May also witnessed us celebrating Pentecost and concluding our examination of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the power of the Holy Spirit was felt in our midst as we praised God for two new members who gave their lives to Christ and were baptized both with water and with the Spirit! 

Garden Time May 2018

There are times in one’s life when you realize that wherever you are at a particular time and place is the exact place you are supposed to be. Earlier this month, I had such an experience at the celebration of the life, legacy, and impact of the Reverend Dr. James H. Cone at the Riverside Church. To be sure, Dr. Cone was a theological giant! Union Theological Seminary and the field of theology will never be the same. His work and witness, scholarship and theology, will forever live on and continue to be used, critiqued, and furthered in the way that foundational paradigms remain benchmarks for future generation

Garden Time April 2018

I write to you in the empowering spirit of our risen Savior Jesus Christ. In this month of Resurrection remembrance and celebration which leads us into Pentecost, I trust that all are in reflection and rejoicing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ’s sin conquering atonement. What Christ did for humanity should embolden all who believe in Jesus Christ into a greater sense of community and love for all humankind. 

Garden Time March 2018

As I continue to try to make sense of the world we live in and the pervasive societal ills that we yet still do not acknowledge nor look to cure, I am reminded of that hopeful admonition: Be Glad for Jesus! The old preacher would forcefully shout out that declarative affirmation when the spirit was moving in service. The power of that statement would reverberate within the congregation, particularly with the elders of the church who knew that in spite of all the things that they had endured, Jesus was still in the blessing business. 

Garden Time January 2018

The Advent season featured a series of sermons that focused on what the coming of Christ to this world means. We examined our preparedness for the Advent season. The series pondered the question: Even in the midst of a culture and society that promotes Christmas and its consumerism with the fervor of religious zealots; do we love Christmas more than we love Christ? Additionally, we created a new greeting to reassure us of our priority in the season: Keep Christ!

Garden Time December 2017

Let me first thank my colleague and friend Rabbi Steve Goodman and his members from the Garden City Jewish Center for blessing us with a wonderful sermon and tremendous fellowship. Rabbi Goodman preached a profound message for our church and country on the blessing of a pluralistic America. The need for communities and communities of faith to come together and fellowship is a necessary one that will build strong bonds and unity for social change. I look forward to continuing the fellowship with many of our Garden City congregations and beyond in the New Year. Thank you again Rabbi Goodman!  

Garden Time November 2017

Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,

As I was putting the finishing touches on this month’s Garden Time on Sunday afternoon, the breaking news alerts from Sutherland Springs, Texas bombarded my phone. That familiar feeling of angst and sorrow began to well-up inside of me. Not again, I thought. My God, not again!  Since that time I have been thinking and praying on what to write. What can I say? What can be said? What should I write? The clear answer for me at this time is to remain silent. While there is much for me to say and there is much for me to write, I need to have a talk with God. My silence is not a lack of activity. It is an affirmation of my anger and righteous indignation. It is an acknowledgement of my sincere need to sit with this in silence. It is recognition that I need to take some time to listen and talk to God about these recurring incidents in this country. I must seek inspiration from the Holy Spirit to use my platform as a microphone to trumpet words of truth, love, justice, comfort, and compassion. Please know that in due time I will have something to write. I pray, by God’s grace, that it will be a spirit-filled word that is relevant and convicting. In the meantime, while I sit and talk with the Lord, please find the original Garden Time that I penned for this month.

Garden Time October 2017

Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,

First, let me thank all of you who took the time to comment on last month’s Garden Time. I count it a high honor and humbling experience that anyone would look on my words and feel compelled to respond one way or another. Thank you for your feedback.

As most of us are still trying to deal with the events of last month and their ramifications as a country, new disheartening and devastating events have unfolded. Like many of you, I find myself again outraged, angered, frustrated, and spiritually angered by this prolonged lack of urgency on the part of our government in aiding our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. It is unthinkable to me that our leaders in the federal government have dragged their feet to this extent.

Garden Time September 2017

Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,

Permit me to write a longer than normal Garden Time this month. Like many of you, I witnessed the tragic events that took place in August: The domestic terrorist attack against demonstrators protesting a white supremacy rally, which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and injured a host of others; and the loss of life and the awesome destruction of property left by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. These events have troubled me deeply and have left me working through various emotional stages. 

Garden Time August 2017

Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,

The Love Ethic Preaching Series based on 1 John texts highlighted a wonderful month of impactful worship in July. What a wide range of topics that the Love Ethic informed. We started the series with 1 John 3:17 “Healthcare: The Hypocrisy of Christians”, 1 John 2:15 “What Not to Love”, 1 John 3:18 “Love is an Action”, 1 John 3:23 “Loving When we are Unlovable”, and concluded with 1 John 4:18 “Love Unafraid”. The common thread of this series was to reinforce the belief that love should permeate all that we say and do. The Book of 1 John teaches and illuminates the deeper understanding of love, not simply as a slogan or an ideal, but the work and activity that defines our triune God and our relationship with God and one another. Indeed, love is the power that speaks truth to the masses and those who are in positions of authority. Love is the action that condemns wrong and works to restore right relationships. Love is the navigational tool for our discernment when we are struggling with whom and what we should love. Love is the force that cancels, opposes, and eliminates our fears. I am wholeheartedly convinced that the sea-change needed in this country in our efforts of social justice, freedom, and the betterment of society is a revolutionary movement of perfected love as exampled by Jesus Christ. The challenge of this series is to daily implement this perfected love in our daily lives. I hope that we will do just that.