Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton, Senior Pastor
Metropolitan AME Church
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Scripture Lesson, Colossians 1: 9-12 (Working in His Orchard). 9-12Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. The Message Bible Translation
I hope I don’t offend anyone, but the truth is, the Dallas Cowboys have one of the worst records of all time. When they lost a few weeks ago, the commentators predicted that the coach would be fired. The next day, he was gone. An interim coach was hired, and at their next game, the Cowboys trampled their opponent. When the commentators asked the interim coach what he had said to the team, he said: “I told them to be great in practice every day, and then they would be great in the game on Sunday.”
In the scripture, there was a great deal of heresy among the Colossians. It was a small church in an insignificant town. Paul writes the church a letter to expose the false notions over doctrine within the church. He writes, asking that the Church in Colossae be filled with divine knowledge, praying that they will live and walk consistent with Christ. In verse 9 Paul writes: “Rest assured, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you a thorough understanding of the word. Live well for the Master, making him proud of you; eliminate all these distractions and destructions that are preventing you from focusing on him.” Similarly, the Dallas Cowboys coach said the same thing to the team: “You’ve lost your focus and direction, but if you come to practice every day, if you refocus, if you take your eyes off your destructions and distractions, you will do great in the game on Sunday!”
What does it take to be great – not just on Sunday – but every day? You might be down and out in this present moment. You might not have a clue as to God’s plan for you. But every day you open your eyes, you can choose to LIVE GREAT THAT DAY. Don’t worry about tomorrow, or next year, but live great today. The suggestion of the text is the ability of Christians to overcome what stands in the way of living great every day; we can’t do it by our own human skills, talents and abilities. There are brothers and sisters here this morning who are witnesses that, were it not for God at work in our lives, we would have been a total mess. But his glorious power at work in us enables us to live great lives every day, despite obstacles and setbacks.
1. Live great lives by working hard – not for yourself – but for the glory of God – every day. As we learn more about how great God is, we are inspired to work hard for Him. We learn that we are not on “our own”; we are working to please God. When we understand this, it inspires us to WORK HARDER. Reflecting on yesterday inspires us for tomorrow. Verse 10: “We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard.” When you do it for the Lord, the Lord will open doors for you!
2. When God is the source of the strength of your life, you’ll have the strength to endure. When you understand that you are working for God, it instills endurance and the will to stick it out. Verses 11 and 12 say: “We pray that you will have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth, but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”
Some years ago, my son was a Cub Scout; he entered a race and as he ran, I followed behind in the car. Many other Scouts quit before the race was over, but my son stuck it out and crossed the finish line. When I spoke with him after the race, he said: “Daddy, I didn’t quit because I knew that quitting was not an option for you, so it was not an option for me.” The source of his strength was a PROUD FATHER seeing him getting to the finish line, no matter how long it took. With God as the source of the strength in your life, run your race every day, as hard as you can!
3. When you run into a stumbling block, don’t stick out your lip; grin and bear it and try another way until God shows you the right way. When life does you dirty, get up in the morning, put on your best, and walk out with a smile, thankful for the moment. Brothers and Sisters, when you can’t find anything to smile about, don’t grit your teeth and stick out your lip in frustration. Your worst enemy is when all you can do is think about how bad it’s going to be when you get on your job; how much money you need to pay your bills. I don’t care how down you feel, get up, fix yourself up, comb your hair, put a smile on your face and walk out that door. You may have lost your job, you may not be able to do what you used to do, but “it is well.” Tell the Lord: “I’m gonna live for you and hang in there every day, until my change comes.”
Tags: Rev. Ronald E. Braxton
Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton, Senior Pastor
Metropolitan AME Church
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Scripture Lesson, John 5:1-16 (The NIV Bible Translation): The Healing at the Pool 1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” 11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” 12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio while on a family vacation. Throughout his life, he tried valiantly to find a cure to this crippling disease. He leaned of a myth about a pool in Warm Springs, GA where the Creek Indians came for healing. Roosevelt reportedly made 49 trips to the healing pools in Warm Springs; but they never healed him.
The scripture is about a man who suffered with a crippling disease for 38 years. Like the pool in Warm Springs, the pool of Bethesda was reputed to have mythological healing powers. People kept coming year after year, drawn by a myth that anyone getting in the pool after an angel had troubled the waters would be healed. I will speak today from the subject: “Live a Grateful Life”. The scripture provides three lessons on living a grateful life.
1. In life, it really pays to do all we can to make life better for someone else. You never know when it might be your turn to experience a challenge. No matter what you are going through, you can provide assistance to someone who is going through foreclosure; you can provide a simple meal for someone in need. God has put us in relationship with one another to give someone else the best of what we have been blessed with. Never think you have gotten so “big” that you can’t be an agent of God and help someone else. It pays to enhance the life of another. In the text, Jesus goes to celebrate at the Jewish feast; he brings new hope, new goals, new possibilities, new life into our human condition.
2. God still majors in miracles. Every time we get to our “red sea”, God parts the waters. For Daniel, he closed the lion’s jaws; for David, he guided the 5 smooth stones to topple the giant; for Mary, he brought the conception of the divine child. God STILL majors in miracles today – in medicine, science, politics, law – when life finds itself with no answers, God still majors in miracles. I believe there are some living, breathing miracles in here this morning. There are some people in here today who can testify that their life is a miracle – a testimony to God – because he stepped in and changed your course. As a boy, I was stricken with spinal meningitis; the doctors told my mother I’d be dead in three days. So every morning I wake up – it’s a miracle. In the scripture, the crippled man is miraculously healed; he doesn’t even know who healed him. Then Jesus revealed that it was him who had healed the man, telling him: “Pick up your bed, go back, and sin no more!” The man went back and told the Jewish leads that it was Jesus who had healed him. God still majors in miracles!
3. When you get your Blessing, live a grateful life. Jesus didn’t cure the man expecting to be acknowledged; Jesus just wanted the man to go back and live a grateful life before God. When you get your blessing, walk for God. When you get your blessing, live worthy for God. When the man found out that it was Jesus who had healed him, he was so overcome with gratitude that he raced back to tell the authorities that it was Jesus who had healed him. You never know where your blessing comes from; miraculous possibilities are just around the corner, so be grateful and live a grateful life. When you have an opportunity to give and to serve, when God opens a door for you by answering your prayer, go back and life a grateful life!
Tags: Rev. Ronald E. Braxton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2010
Dr. Lester Green
WASHINGTON—A gala cast of soloists and a special Award to invited guest legendary soprano Leontyne Price will be featured when Handel’s Messiah is presented at Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, 1518 M Street, N.W. on Sunday, December 5 at 5 p.m.
Ms. Price, who rose to international fame during a period of racial change in the 1950s and 60s, and was the first African-American to become a leading prima donna at the Metropolitan Opera, will be presented with Metropolitan AME Church’s “Living Legacy Award.”
Featured soloists include Michele Gutrick, Keith Craig, Sylvia Twice, and Jarrod Lee, will serve as moderator of the beloved oratoria by George Frideric Handel.
Rev. Ronald E. Braxton, senior pastor at Metropolitan, said the entire Washington community is invited to this annual event. “Over the past decades, Metropolitan has helped to usher in this highlight of the Christmas season and we look forward to persons from across the Greater Washington area sharing this spectacular joy with us.”
The production will feature Metropolitan’s Cathedral Choir, along with local high school and college talent, singing this quintessential musical crown of the holiday
Dr. Lester S. Green, Jr., who has performed with the Washington National Opera and is Minister of Music at Metropolitan A.M.E., will conduct the performance.
The performance is free and free parking is available.
Download the flyer!
Tags: Handel's Messiah 2010
The Capital Campaign Committee continues to gather critical information and research to identify potential leadership donors. The plan, outlined in 2009, is to approach fundraising as follows:
1. Identify potential donors – ONGOING
2. Research donor potential – ONGOING
3. Schedule introductory phone calls – IN PROGRESS
4. Schedule the “ask” meeting – IN PROGRESS
5. Follow-up on next steps – IN PROGRESS
6. Secure Donations!!!!
Last year, the Committee was the winning recipient of a grant to fund work being done by a fundraising consultant. As a result, the consultant created a brochure folder that will be used to solicit potential corporate and philanthropic donors.
QUIZ QUESTION: What is the picture in this article? [the answer is in this article]
What’s going on with the grants?
Julianne King is leading this effort to research grant opportunities for the Committee. As part of her plan to identify grants, Julianne has tapped the expertise of Lucy Grantham, Director of Foundation and Corporate Philanthropy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP).
WE NEED YOUR HELP?
• Do you have expertise and experience with researching grants through the Federal government’s website: www.grants.gov?
• Do you work for a corporation that has a foundation or know of anyone who works at a corporate foundation such as Oracle, Marriott, or other corporations in the Washington, DC area?
TAX BENEFITS!!!!!!! Do you know of a corporation or law firm with deep pockets? Encourage them to make an “end-of-the year donation” to the Capital Campaign. This support benefits both Metropolitan and provides the corporation or law firm with a reduction in taxes for 2010! To learn more, contact Dina Curtis at email@example.com.
Thanks to the Capital Campaign Committee members who continue to be faithful as we build momentum to bring in critical donations for our historic church such as Faye Fields, Ernie Green, Linda Jefferson, Julianne King, Malaika Jeter, Thedford Collins, Rodney Slater, Gwen Kimbrough, Rollie Kimbrough, Dr. Wilma Harvey, Flavia Walton, Cynthia Morris, Gladys Vaughn, Mother Pearl Cook, and the church office staff!!!
In His Service….
The Capital Campaign Committee
Dr. Elsie Scott, Co-Chair
Dina Curtis, Co-Chair
Answer: The NEW Capital Campaign brochure cover!
Tags: Capital Campaign
Conceived and founded more than three decades ago by Mary Kay Beard, a shotgun-wielding bank robber, safecracker, ex-offender who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. Beard accepted Christ while in prison and after her parole recognized that the Christmas season was enormously painful for inmates who were unable to spend time with and provide gifts for their children.
Working through churches, Project Angel Tree accomplishes its mission of ensuring that the nation’s 1.7 million children of incarcerated parents have presents for Christmas. Former First Lady Dr. Pam DeVeaux introduced to Angel Tree to Metropolitan and asked our Sarah Allen Missionary Society’s Love and Peace (LAP) Unit to shepherd this annual event.
Last year, the Metropolitan AME Church Family’s generosity enabled LAP to gift a total of 198 children and expand the scope of our Christmas giving to include other needy, deserving youngsters and their families. Specifically, in 2009 we were blessed to serve 50 families and provided 2 gifts apiece to the following children:
• 66 Project Angel Tree
• 16 Reclamation
• 50 Community Based Recipients
The need for angels to lovingly purchase and wrap gifts for an inmate’s child is even more acute this year as 10, 399 District of Columbia residents are currently incarcerated (Source: DC Department of Correction and US Department of Justice-Bureau of Prisons). Angels bearing the name and gift request of a youngster will be available for distribution at the Metropolitan’s Thanksgiving Day worship. Be an angel and bless a child at Christmas.
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again.” 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NIV)
Each first Sunday, we as Christians come together to celebrate and renew our faith during the sacrament of Holy Communion. At MAMEC we have established the tradition of joining together on the final First Sunday of the year in Family Communion Service. This year we will join together on December 5 during 10am worship service as a testament to our faith and to demonstrate our unity as a family. Metropolitan will stand at the alter before God, seeking forgiveness for our sins as we commit to better serve our church, our family and our community in the coming year.
As we gather at the altar, we will witness the power of families. Families, not just those in the traditional sense but those created from our MAMEC relationships, developed as we support each other in good times and in bad. MAMEC remains strong because we align ourselves through struggle as well as success. Now is the perfect time to mend relationships that may have been broken, as we restore, reinforce and strengthen ties to the church and to each other.
As we approach the close of another year, we, MAMEC members, family and friends must take time to reflect on our power as a church united…..a family.
, special worship services
Two Servings Planned
Once again, the Mighty Men are participating in a joint effort to provide Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless at the McPherson Square Park. Brother Randy Staples and his family began the initiative and It has since blossomed to include other churches. Brother Staples is providing 20 frozen turkeys and asking the Mighty Men to prepare, have sliced and warm to be delivered and served Thanksgiving morning at 8:30 A.M. The serving will be on the 15th Street Side of McPherson Square Park between I & K Streets NW
Brother Staples will have the turkeys initially delivered to the home of Mighty Men President Geoffrey Tate since we do not have storage and kitchen access at Metropolitan during Restoration. President Tate will need Mighty Men volunteers to prepare the turkeys at their homes. He will coordinate with MM volunteer cooks on pickup from his home or, if necessary, to have them delivered. Brother Tate is asking the volunteer cooks to please have their turkeys already warm upon delivery to the park. Brother Staples will ensure they will stay warm and arrange setup and serving. Mighty Men are also welcome to help serve.
Since the homeless community is often forgotten after Thanksgiving Day, the Mighty Men will be delivering prepared brown bag lunches to the same park Saturday morning, November 27. Brother Richard Corley has volunteered his home to prepare the brown bags. Stay tuned for more details regarding Thanksgiving morning and Saturday morning.
Metropolitan will hold its annual Thanksgiving Service at 10 am on Nov 25th. Let us gather in glorious praise!
Tags: Mighty Men of Metropolitan
Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton, Senior Pastor
Metropolitan AME Church
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Scripture Lesson, Haggai 1:1-12-2:1-9 (The Message Bible Translation):
Haggai 1:1-12: Caught Up with Taking Care of Your Own Houses
1 On the first day of the sixth month of the second year in the reign of King Darius of Persia, God’s Message was delivered by the prophet Haggai to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak:
2 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: “The people procrastinate. They say this isn’t the right time to rebuild my Temple, the Temple of God.”
3 -4 Shortly after that, God said more and Haggai spoke it: “How is it that it’s the ‘right time’ for you to live in your fine new homes while the Home, God’s Temple, is in ruins?”
5 -6 And then a little later, God-of-the-Angel-Armies spoke out again:
“Take a good, hard look at your life.
Think it over. You have spent a lot of money,
but you haven’t much to show for it. You keep filling your plates,
but you never get filled up. You keep drinking and drinking and drinking,
but you’re always thirsty. You put on layer after layer of clothes,
but you can’t get warm. And the people who work for you,
what are they getting out of it? Not much—
a leaky, rusted-out bucket, that’s what.
7 That’s why God-of-the-Angel-Armies said:
“Take a good, hard look at your life.
Think it over.”
8 -9 Then God said:
“Here’s what I want you to do:
Climb into the hills and cut some timber. Bring it down and rebuild the Temple.
Do it just for me. Honor me. You’ve had great ambitions for yourselves,
but nothing has come of it. The little you have brought to my Temple
I’ve blown away—there was nothing to it.
9 -11 “And why?” (This is a Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, remember.) “Because while you’ve run around, caught up with taking care of your own houses, my Home is in ruins. That’s why. Because of your stinginess. And so I’ve given you a dry summer and a skimpy crop. I’ve matched your tight-fisted stinginess by decreeing a season of drought, drying up fields and hills, withering gardens and orchards, stunting vegetables and fruit. Nothing—not man or woman, not animal or crop—is going to thrive.”
12 Then the governor, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak, and all the people with them listened, really listened, to the voice of their God. When God sent the prophet Haggai to them, they paid attention to him. In listening to Haggai, they honored God.
Haggai 2: 1-9: This Temple Will End Up Better Than It Started Out
1 -3 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the Word of God came through the prophet Haggai: “Tell Governor Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and High Priest Joshua son of Jehozadak and all the people:
‘Is there anyone here who saw the Temple the way it used to be, all glorious? And what do you see now? Not much, right?
4 -5″‘So get to work, Zerubbabel!’—God is speaking.
“‘Get to work, Joshua son of Jehozadak—high priest!’
“‘Get to work, all you people!’—God is speaking.
“‘Yes, get to work! For I am with you.’ The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is speaking! ‘Put into action the word I covenanted with you when you left Egypt. I’m living and breathing among you right now. Don’t be timid. Don’t hold back.’
6 -7″This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies said: ‘Before you know it, I will shake up sky and earth, ocean and fields. And I’ll shake down all the godless nations. They’ll bring bushels of wealth and I will fill this Temple with splendor.’ God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.
8′I own the silver,
I own the gold.’
Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
9″‘This Temple is going to end up far better than it started out, a glorious beginning but an even more glorious finish: a place in which I will hand out wholeness and holiness.’ Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.”
The Message Bible Translation
I’d like to lift up these words from the Chapter 2, verse 9 of the scripture lesson today: “This Temple is going to end up far better than it started out, a glorious beginning but an even more glorious finish: a place in which I will hand out wholeness and holiness.”
I will speak today from the subject: “A Place of Wholenss, and Holiness”.
The prophet Haggai found himself in the lowest period of his life. The people were returning from captivity and they found the great temple of God destroyed. There were some who fled to foreign countries; a few stayed. A large portion of the Jewish Hebrew population was forced to work in Babylonian labor camps. You may recall the words from Psalm 137 that describe their painful life:
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?
Psalm 137: 1-4
Life can rob you of your song. In the scripture texts, the people are returning to their homeland. They are poor; they are struggling people; they have no vision. The economy has not been kind to them. They are on the back end of a severe drought. Life has been bitter for them. For some, they have no hope, no vision of a better day. They are just trying to get through each day, one day at a time. The scripture provides three messages for us today.
1. At your worst hour, rest on a hope in the constancy of a generous God who loves and cares for you. There is no question that God cared about the Hebrew people. In His own words he says: “I am with you”; In 1905, Civilla and Wilton Martin met a couple named the Doolittle’s. The Doolittle’s were bedridden and crippled, but they lived happy and Christian lives. Have you ever gone to comfort a sick person and that person ended up comforting YOU? The Doolittle’s inspired Civilla Martin to write the song:
…Whenever clouds arise
When song gives place to sighing
When hope within me dies
I draw the closer to Him
For care He sets me free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me!
In a time of skepticism and disbelief, trust and honor that, whatever the suffering of your present moment, God loves his creation.
2. There is no legitimate place in the kingdom for discouragement and depression when you are living and walking with God. In the kingdom of God, depression must be resisted. God’s people are being challenged to be strong. The scripture says: “Zerubbabel – people get to work! I am with you! Don’t be timid; don’t hold back. God will restore the church to a greater glory than the past glory. Silver and gold belong to me. Get up and get to work!”
Get to work! Do something productive when times are hard, when you’ve lost your job, when you are in danger of losing your home. Don’t wallow in self-pity. Get up and meditate! Reach out and be a blessing. Serve God! He needs your service. Get to work and be a blessing to somebody. Get to work and allow God to provide. The righteous will not be forsaken.
3. God wants the church to rebuild the temple, but in WHOLEness, and HOLIness.
Haggai, Chapter 1, verses 8-9 says:
8-9Then God said: “Here’s what I want you to do:
Climb into the hills and cut some timber.
Bring it down and rebuild the Temple.
Do it just for me. Honor me.
One might ask: Why would God want the people to spend so much of their limited resources rebuilding the temple? Some would say: focus on your personal property.
Verse 9 says: “the Temple is going to end up far greater than it started”. But God provides a caveat: it must be a place of WHOLEness, and a place of HOLY-ness.
Brothers and Sisters, as we rebuild this church edifice, understand that we are not restoring this church just for the sake of history. We are not just preserving an historic shrine. This restoration is for the sake of those who are out there suffering. So many are suffering – politically, socially, economically. Our one aim must be to lift the name of Jesus in the family and in the community! If ever there was a time when God needed a church! If ever there were a time when people needed not to be afraid to call on the name of Jesus. If ever there were a time when God needed the church, this is that day. People are broken, and BROKE, they need to hear a word of the Lord; in crisis, they need to be reassured.
The Lord put it on my heart to minister in this community in a new way. Today we initiate a Task Force of people who will work hard to design a program of ministries to reach out to people in the surrounding community. We will initiate a ministry for young men, young women, math and science tutorials, early childhood opportunities, reaching out to the Washington Post, NEA, and the other businesses in our neighborhood.
We must be that place. We must break the cycle of our men going to prison. We must be a place where people work together and serve together. We must be a place of wholeness, and holiness. We must do it to honor Him.
Tags: Rev. Ronald E. Braxton
Rev. Ronald E. Braxton
Tags: Rev. Ronald E. Braxton