Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Thought for the Day - August 28, 2012

After the devotional readings for today (August 28, 2012) from Psalm 116:1-2 ("I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live," ESV), and 1 Peter 3:11-12 ("Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil," ESV), I picked up my daily reading from Howard Thurman's book "The Inward Journey" and found these inspirational words. It all comes together: 

"'Let not thy will be set to sin.' These searching words are from the Book of Tobit...The judgment which says that a deed is wrong is always a reflection of the content of the individual's sense of value. (A person) may say 'I know my feeling of guilt for what i have done does not make sense, except to me.' Our reaction is the way we are trained, conditioned, taught. But this does not alter the fact of our responsibility for our acts and reactions. It is important to make the full context of one's life pattern to the end that one's deeds will flow more and more from the center of one's intent. Perhaps this is a goal that is never reached, but to work at it is to become increasingly mature and responsible."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A word/thought for the day

This morning I woke with anxieties and questions on my mind. As I prayed about them, this passage came to mind (as I substituted my name in the verse), "Kenny, Kenny, you are worried and distracted by many things" (Luke 10:41).
Then I read this from Howard Thurman (which I believe to be my answer to my prayer concern):
"He leads us on by paths we did not know. There is an abiding desire to know the future, to see around the corner of the days and years. Even when we say we do not concern ourselves about what will happen next month or next year, the shy insistence still remains - we want to know. This normal feeling is a part of all the anxiety which we face on the threshold of any new adventure. If we could be sure that all will be well - if we could have some guarantee that our present hopes would not betray us and leave us deserted in the lonely place - then we would find the peace that belongs to the contented. But life is not like that...He leads us on by paths we did not know."
Yes, I am indeed "worried and distracted by many things." But there is one thing about which I need not be concerned. "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5).
"He leads us on by paths we did not know." Amen.
Pastor Kenneth Q. JamesPsalm 119:33-34
"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 10

Monday, April 23, 2012

Good morning everyone,
I read this in my devotional today (from a piece by Joyce Meyer) and it really blessed and inspired me, so I thought I'd share it.
First Response
"O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalms 63:1
Sometimes I marvel at how long we can struggle in a situation before we think to talk to God about it and listen for His voice. We complain about our problems; we grumble; we murmur; we tell our friends; and we talk about how we wish God would do something about it. We struggle with situations in our minds and in our emotions, while we often fail to take advantage of the simplest solution there is: prayer. But worse than that, we then make perhaps the most ridiculous statement known to man: "Well, I guess all I can do is pray." I am sure you have heard that before and maybe you have even said it. We all have. We are all guilty of treating prayer as a last-ditch effort and saying things like, "Well, nothing else is working, so maybe we should pray." Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that we really do not believe in the power of prayer as we should. We carry burdens we do not need to bear - and life is much harder than it has to be - because we do not realize how powerful prayer is. If we did, we would talk to God and listen to what He says about everything, not as a last resort, but as a first response.
God's word for you today: Let prayer be your first response, not your last resort.
Pastor Kenneth Q. JamesPsalm 119:33-34
"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 10

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Thought for the Day

The sermon on Sunday (March 4, 2012) spoke about Peter stepping out of the boat, walking on the water, sinking when he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the storm, but in the end reaching out to Jesus to be saved.
These words from Max Lucado reaffirmed for me the need to trust God completely and without reservation, even in and during a storm.
"As long as Jesus is one of many options, he is no option.
"As long as you can carry your burdens alone, you don't need a burden bearer. As long as your situation brings you no grief, you will receive no comfort. And as long as you can take him or leave him, you might as well leave him, because he won't be taken half-heartedly.
"But when you mourn, when you get to the point of sorrow for your sins, when you admit that you have no other option but to cast all your cares on him, and when there is truly no other name that you can call, then cast all your cares on him, for he is waiting in the midst of the storm."
Pastor Kenneth Q. James
Psalm 119:33-34
"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 10

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Thought for the Day

This devotional reading today from Charles H. Spurgeon reminded me of something I remember the late Bishop Clinton R. Coleman saying: "We can handle failure all right. But sometimes the worst thing that can happen to us is success."
"I know how to abound."— Philippians 4:12
There are many who know "how to be abased" who have not learned "how to abound." When they are set upon the top of a pinnacle their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall. The Christian far oftener disgraces his profession in prosperity than in adversity. It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the fining-pot of prosperity. Oh, what leanness of soul and neglect of spiritual things have been brought on through the very mercies and bounties of God! Yet this is not a matter of necessity, for the apostle tells us that he knew how to abound. When he had much he knew how to use it. Abundant grace enabled him to bear abundant prosperity. When he had a full sail he was loaded with much ballast, and so floated safely. It needs more than human skill to carry the brimming cup of mortal joy with a steady hand, yet Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, "In all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry." It is a divine lesson to know how to be full, for the Israelites were full once, but while the flesh was yet in their mouth, the wrath of God came upon them. Many have asked for mercies that they might satisfy their own hearts' lust. Fullness of bread has often made fullness of blood, and that has brought on wantonness of spirit. When we have much of God's providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God's grace, and little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full and we forget God: satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven. Rest assured it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry—so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God. Take care that you ask in your prayers that God would teach you "how to be full."
"Let not the gifts Thy love bestows
Estrange our hearts from Thee."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Don Cornelius

"We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself." 2 Corinthians 1:8
As all of us are probably aware by now, today Don Cornelius died, apparently of a self-inflicted gun shot wound. A suicide.
If you are my age, there is probably little chance that this news has not affected you in a significant way. We grew up with Don Cornelius, watching "Soul Train" every Saturday morning. It was the way my mother insured our Saturday chores would get done; the TV did not go on before the house was cleaned. So we got up early to make sure we did everything we had to do so that at 11:00 we could watch the "Soul Train dancers," figure out the puzzle on the "Soul Train Scrabble board" and enjoy the artists that came to perform. I wonder now if the Youth Choir rehearsal was not scheduled at 1 to give us all time to get there so we wouldn't miss "Soul Train"? Just thinking...
Well, as I pondered this sad news, I had to deal with it the way I deal with many things in life; I write my thoughts down. Some of you will take time to read this, some of you won't. All the same, I thought I'd share what I was thinking in case maybe there was someone who felt the same way I did.
Suicide is a difficult thing to deal with. The questions and answers that led to such a point of despair the person who commits suicide takes with them to the grave, and as a result, they will never be addressed sufficiently for those left behind. We ask, was there anything I could have done? Was there something I could/should have said? Did I miss a sign that something was wrong with my friend or loved one? How did I not know?
And then, in the dreadful silence that follows such an event, the fact is that we may never know.
I have spoken to quite a few people for whom 2011 was a horrible year. Yeah, it was for me, too. Maybe the worst year on record from my perspective. Hurt. Betrayal. Disappointment. Failure. Sadness. Loneliness. Sin. Pain. Trust issues. Stress. Some of the wounds, to be honest, were self-inflicted. I'm just being honest; but that doesn't make the pain any less.
The way we have been taught to deal with our problems and pain is to manage it and hold it inside. We don't want to be judged, criticized, scorned, belittled, or condemned for what we've done, or worse, for who we are. Our greatest fear is that no one will understand, and that worse, no one will care. So we decide that we don't want to burden anyone with our "stuff."
Perhaps this is how the Apostle Paul felt. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote these words: "We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself." I just can't help but wonder - what could possibly have happened to Paul that he expressed the feeling that he was so "utterly, unbearably crushed that (he) despaired of life itself"? Could it have been that bad?
The answer - sometimes - sadly, is YES. It can get that bad. Today's news reminded me of that fact. Again.
I was fortunate and I'm grateful that I have a few friends that kept me from going under when it got especially tough for me in 2011. Maybe they still don't know exactly how tough (I still didn't want to tell it all, even to those trusted friends), but I was glad I had them to turn to. By the way, in the midst of all the hurt I was feeling, I had to continue to pastor a church. How in the world do you hold up everybody else's world when yours feels as if it is falling apart? I found out that public success does not mask nor can it erase our private pain. Everybody is telling you to "be strong" - and you want to be. But then it gets to the point where Paul talks about in his letter to the Corinthians, and which presumably Don Cornelius reached, you don't know what to do about the pain - except that you just want it to stop.
Obviously, you can't share your pain with everyone; not everyone can handle it. So thanks, but don't all write me asking what you can do, because for many who read this, the answer frankly is - nothing. If you don't have the kind of relationship that warrants putting that kind of trust in another individual, I'd advise not just opening your life up to every passerby. But I do wonder that maybe what we need to do is not ASSUME that our friends/family members or those closest to us are fine. Yeah, they look fine; sure, they seem ok. And of course, they act like they have all their ducks in a row. But maybe, just in case things are not as they seem, we should ask. Care. Show concern. Tell them, show them, prove to them that they will not be judged or discarded because of what they're dealing with. The truth is we don't know what another person is feeling or going through. Because of what we don't know about another person's crisis, it is likely that someone you know started out this day feeling terribly alone. Don't let them end this day or their life - perhaps like Don Cornelius - feeling that way.
Thanks for listening.
Pastor Kenneth Q. James
Psalm 119:33-34
"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 10

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Prayer request

Please keep our member, Sis. Zora Shaw and her family in prayer. She just called to inform me that her brother passed away in South Carolina. They will be traveling tomorrow or sometime this week there for the funeral.
Pastor Kenneth Q. James
Psalm 119:33-34
"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 10

Scripture thought for the day

"The Lord makes me very happy; all that I am rejoices in my God. He has covered me with clothes of salvation and wrapped me with a coat of goodness." Isaiah 61:10, New Century Version

Friday, January 13, 2012

Martin Luther King

Since this Sunday we celebrate the birthday of our hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought we should all consider this.
Pastor Kenneth Q. James
Psalm 119:33-34
"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 10

Fwd: The Montgomerys at The White House, Friday, January 13, 2012.

Good afternoon, everyone,
I am so proud to forward this e-mail. The subject of this e-mail, Mr. Dabney Montgomery, is a documented, original Tuskegee Airman. There is a new movie coming soon, opening January 20, financed by George Lucas (of "Star  Wars" fame) WITH HIS OWN MONEY, in which the lives of Mr. Montgomery and other brave men like him are being brought to the screen.
The reason I am so proud of this film - and Mr. Montgomery - is that I am privileged to have been one of Dabney Montgomery's students in the Junior Class in the Sunday school of Mother AME Zion Church, where he has taught Sunday school (and continues to do so) for some 72 years or more.
I am asking that each of us spread the word, make sure that all of our families, friends, co-workers and neighbors go see this film. Not to knock some of the other films we have been known to support in our community, but if we can support some of the drivel that comes across as entertainment disguised as buffoonery we can certainly support this worthy project.
Thank you. And take a look at the trailer I've attached.

Hi everyone,

By the time you read this message, Dabney and I will be on our way to The White House.  President and Mrs. Obama invited 10 Original Tuskegee Airmen to join them for the screening of the new George Lucas film, 'RED TAILS,' which is a story about the Tuskegee Airmen and their struggles during WWII; a reception is to follow, on Friday, January 13.

The movie will be in all theaters on January 20 and we are requesting that you go see it and encourage your family and friends to do the same.  Mr. Lucas independently financed this project out of his pocket (approx. $58 million) because he couldn't get any backers.  The doubters said, "There is no profit in black film and they didn't want to lose their money."  We are hoping that people will support it and make liars out of them.

In the meantime, for all of you who are in the Tri-state area, our chapter, The Claude B. Govan Tri-State Chapter is sponsoring a fundraiser (Scholarship fund) to show the movie on Monday, January 16, at the Empire Theater on 42nd Street, at 6 p.m.  (See info below on how to purchase tickets.)

JANUARY 16th, 2012

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Activate your social media network to spread the word. Share your thoughts about the heroic Airmen and the film Red Tails on Facebook. Follow @RedTailsMovie on Twitter and enlist your followers to help or email your network to let them know about the film
January 20, 2012 - Take an opening weekend pledge. Bring family, friends, community group or congregation to see Red Tails. This is Military History, American History and our History.
Send a message to Hollywood. Box office Receipts needed the weekend of January 20, 2012.
Help make a significant difference, as an individual, affinity group or company by sponsoring students for an educational program including advance tickets to see Red Tails opening weekend.
For Theaters visit –
Ms. Merriweather-Melendez – 646.729.1197
Airmen J.T. Freeman – 347.400.6640
J. Addison –
P. Terrelongue –
PayPal –

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaching series

Good afternoon, all,
Good news to share: this week's teaching series, "Living a Life That Matters" will be available to be viewed via live stream. Click on each evening if you are, for some reason, not able to make the services and join us.
Also, CD's will be available for $10 each (individually) and $25 for the three nights; DVD's will be available for $15 each, or $40 for the three nights. And if you desire BOTH the CD's and the DVD, they will be available for $50.
I want also to extend my thanks to Quentin Brooks and O'Neil Burroughs for lending their talents, time and gifts to this important venture for the Kingdom.
Join us this week for what promises to be an important series of teaching and Biblical instruction.
Pastor Kenneth Q. James
Psalm 119:33-34
"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 10

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teaching Series this week

Good morning,
I just wanted to send a reminder to one and all about our teaching series this week. I hope you are as much in anticipation as I am about how God will speak to us this week!  Please spread the word to your family and friends.
Topics - Tuesday: Integrity; Wednesday: Choices; Thursday: Courage.
Guest artists include - Tuesday: Elder Melvin Cross, Jr., and Evidence; Wednesday: Miracle Valley Deliverance Praise Team and Elim Christian Fellowship Church Choir; Thursday: Toussaint Lipton.
Pastor Kenneth Q. James
Psalm 119:33-34
"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 10

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Youth at the Mid-Winter Christian Education Meeting

In case anyone wonders if it's worth it to send our youth to these is the answer.

Episcopal Candidates forum in LA

Good morning, all,
I wanted to share with you a link to the Episcopal Candidates forum last week in Los Angeles.