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Jacob Blesses the Children of Joseph- Genesis 48

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: Genesis 48- Jacob Blesses the Children of Joseph https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/Genesis-48–Jacob-Blesses-the-Children-of-Joseph-e2k5om

Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons

(Heb 11:21)

Genesis 48 After this Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” he summoned his strength and sat up in bed. And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and he blessed me, and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers; I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for a perpetual holding.’ Therefore your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are now mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are. As for the offspring born to you after them, they shall be yours. They shall be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance. For when I came from Paddan, Rachel, alas, died in the land of Canaan on the way, while there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).

When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?” Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.” 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, and he could not see well. So Joseph brought them near him; and he kissed them and embraced them. 11 Israel said to Joseph, “I did not expect to see your face; and here God has let me see your children also.” 12 Then Joseph removed them from his father’s knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them near him. 14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 He blessed Joseph, and said,

“The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked,

the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,

16   the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys;

and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac;

and let them grow into a multitude on the earth.”

17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused, and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day, saying,

“By you Israel will invoke blessings, saying,

‘God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.’ ”

So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your ancestors. 22 I now give to you one portion more than to your brothers, the portion that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.” [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What do the words of Jacob that he spoke to Joseph inform you about the perspective of Jacob in his old age?
  2. Even though Joseph encourages his father to give the blessing to Manasseh as the first born, Jacob initially seems to give an equal blessing to both sons (verse16). Do you think had Joseph said nothing about the placement of his father’s hands, the intention of Jacob was to give a more equal blessing?
  3. What are your thoughts regarding the greater blessing given to Ephraim?
  4. How is the blessing of Jacob to his grandsons similar to a last will and testament?
  5. In the context of giving thanks, what are your thoughts about the words of Jacob to Joseph when he tells him I never thought I would see you again? (Verse 11) “I did not expect to see your face, now I have seen your children as well”

 

Prayer:  Lord, make me to know my end.  Take away the denial.  Take away my foolishness.  Prepare me in life for the end of my life.  Grant me the wisdom to  prepare an inheritance for my children and my children’s children.  By the sunshine of your almighty favor, bless me with your prosperity, far greater than I could ever imagine.  Endow me with the foresight to share the wealth and blessings with my family, friends, my church and the institutions that mean most to me.  Lord, grant me wisdom.  Lord, increase my faith.  Lord, increase my love.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

 

Thank you,

 

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 48:1–22). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Joseph, Jacob and Pharaoh – Genesis 47

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: Genesis 47 – Joseph, Jacob and Pharaoh https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/Genesis-47—Joseph–Jacob-and-Pharaoh-e2julf

Genesis 47 So Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan; they are now in the land of Goshen.” From among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our ancestors were.” They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to reside as aliens in the land; for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks because the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, we ask you, let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land; let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know that there are capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”

Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob, and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the years of your life?” Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my earthly sojourn are one hundred thirty; few and hard have been the years of my life. They do not compare with the years of the life of my ancestors during their long sojourn.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11 Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and granted them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed. 12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents.

The Famine in Egypt

13 Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 When the money from the land of Egypt and from the land of Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, “Give us food! Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” 16 And Joseph answered, “Give me your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph; and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. That year he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock. 18 When that year was ended, they came to him the following year, and said to him, “We can not hide from my lord that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. 19 Shall we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We with our land will become slaves to Pharaoh; just give us seed, so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.”

20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. All the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe upon them; and the land became Pharaoh’s. 21 As for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh, and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land. 23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you; sow the land. 24 And at the harvests you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” 25 They said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be slaves to Pharaoh.” 26 So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth. The land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh’s.

The Last Days of Jacob

27 Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen; and they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied exceedingly. 28 Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred forty-seven years.

29 When the time of Israel’s death drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor with you, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal loyally and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt. 30 When I lie down with my ancestors, carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” He answered, “I will do as you have said.” 31 And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself on the head of his bed. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why do you think Jacob was insistent on not being buried in Egypt?
  2. Do you have strong thoughts about where you will be buried?
  3. What are your thoughts about how Joseph provided for the people of Egypt and Canaan buy purchasing their livestock, land and their bodies for food?
  4. Are there examples of national agriculture policy that seem like the policies of Joseph?
  5. Where else in the Old Testament do we see an example of a promise sealed by putting the hand of a person under the thigh of another person?

 

Prayer:  Lord, grant me wisdom.  Lord, make me a person who keeps their word.  Grant me a compassionate spirit, as I consider the poor and those with few options.  Bless me with your favor.  Bless me with sensitivity to the poor.  Bless me with a vision that might benefit the poor, the weak, and the destitute.  Bless me to bless others in your name,  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

 

Thank you,

 

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 47). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Jacob Brings his Family to Egypt- Genesis 46

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: Genesis 46 – Jacob Brings his Whole Family to Egypt https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/Genesis-46—Jacob-Brings-his-Whole-Family-to-Egypt-e2jq6h

Jacob Brings His Whole Family to Egypt

(Ex 6:14–25)

 Genesis 46 When Israel set out on his journey with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph’s own hand shall close your eyes.”

Then Jacob set out from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their livestock and the goods that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and they came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

Now these are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his offspring, who came to Egypt. Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and the children of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The children of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The children of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The children of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the children of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 The children of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron. 14 The children of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel 15 (these are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughter Dinah; in all his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three). 16 The children of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17 The children of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. The children of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel 18 (these are the children of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah; and these she bore to Jacob—sixteen persons). 19 The children of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 To Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. 21 The children of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard 22 (these are the children of Rachel, who were born to Jacob—fourteen persons in all). 23 The children of Dan: Hashum. 24 The children of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem 25 (these are the children of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel, and these she bore to Jacob—seven persons in all). 26 All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own offspring, not including the wives of his sons, were sixty-six persons in all. 27 The children of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.

Jacob Settles in Goshen

28 Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph to lead the way before him into Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, 29 Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. He presented himself to him, fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “I can die now, having seen for myself that you are still alive.” 31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 The men

are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you, and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our ancestors’—in order that you may settle in the land of Goshen, because all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.” [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your overall observations from reading chapter 46?
  2. What did you learn by reading the genealogy of Jacob and the children of his wives in chapter 46?
  3. Why do you think Joseph drilled his brothers on how to answer Pharaoh?
  4. What do you make of Joseph telling his brothers that shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians in verse 34?
  5. What did you observe in the reunification of Joseph to Jacob?
  6. Why do you think that Jacob chose Judah to lead the families into Egypt, and not Ruben, the first born?

 

Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for every day of life.  I thank you for every joy.  I thank you for every sorrow.  I thank you for the peace at night and every sweet dream.  I even thank you for the challenges, difficult moments, and situations that make no sense.  Lord, you are my strength.  You are my direction.  For every mountain, and every valley, for the dry land and lush grass, for every ocean, lake and river, I give you thanks.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

 

Thank you,

 

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 46:1–34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Joseph Reveals Himself to his Brothers- Genesis 45

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: Genesis 45 – Joseph Reveals Himself to his Brothers https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/Genesis-45—Joseph-Reveals-Himself-to-his-Brothers-e2jnka

 

Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers

Genesis 45 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10 You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ 12 And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. 13 You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

16 When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your animals and go back to the land of Canaan. 18 Take your father and your households and come to me, so that I may give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you may enjoy the fat of the land.’ 19 You are further charged to say, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Give no thought to your possessions, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’ ”

21 The sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them wagons according to the instruction of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. 22 To each one of them he gave a set of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of garments. 23 To his father he sent the following: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Do not quarrel along the way.”

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 And they told him, “Joseph is still alive! He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.” He was stunned; he could not believe them. 27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph that he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die.”[1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about how Joseph revealed himself to his brothers?
  2. What do you think about the way the brothers accepted Josephs announcement that he was still alive and second in authority in Egypt?
  3. What are your thoughts about how Jacob received the news that Joseph was still alive?
  4. What do you think about the way Joseph is transformed from a wandering nomad shepherd- boy to the second in command in Egypt?
  5. Are you surprised at the redemptive forgiveness Joseph offers to his brothers?
  6. What are your thoughts about the theological perspective Joseph shares with his brothers when he says, “you intended to do me harm, but God meant it for good.

 

Prayer:  Lord, grant me a spirit of forgiveness.  Teach me to acknowledge hurt, pain and disappointment, but also show me the way to look and live beyond bitterness, anger and dismay at the behavior of others.  Help me to see goodness and grace in every event, every person, and every situation.  Lord, remind me that you are a good God and your purpose for each person is good.  Teach me to forgive, but also, teach me to hold others accountable for their actions.  Lord, help me to live long enough to see the fullness of your blessings in my life.  Help me to live life with meaning, purpose and love.  Make me an instrument of your will.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

 

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

 

Thank you,

 

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 45:1–28). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Annual Report of the Pastor and Senior Minister – 2018



2018 Annual Report of the Senior Minister





Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday – “Making it Home” Special Program”







One of the most impactful programs at our church in years took place in January of 2018 with a young adult led and organized afternoon program on the lower level of the church for Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday entitled, “Making it Home.”  In the fall of 2017, I gathered young adult members of the church to see if there was interest in putting on a program that focused on police brutality and what to do when stopped by the police.  The people I invited to the first session were young adults under 40 years of age.  After the initial meeting, I stepped back and let them take over.  To my surprise, the first thing the young adults told me was they thought high school youth should also be included, because at their age they are vulnerable to police stops.  This process began with an organizational meeting in my office in November of 2017 and was finalized at 1 pm on Martin Luther King Sunday in 2018 with over 200 persons in attendance on the lower level of the church!  The program was entitled, “Making it Home” and featured several lawyers and judges who are members of our church, including:  Atty. Christina Harris Watts, Atty. Rita White, Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford, Atty. Carl Jordan, Atty. Jeffery Collins





Martin Luther King guest speakers during the Sunday Morning Worship Service featured, my son, Atty. Noah P. Hood at the 8:30 AM worship service and James Morris at the 11 AM worship service.  I found both speakers to be dynamic, thoughtful and eloquent in their delivery.  They provided a perfect lead-in to the afternoon program, “Making it Home.”  One of my long-range hopes is that the organizational effort that was required to put on such a spectacular and meaningful program will carry over into organizing our young adult and youth members.





Sunday School





Our church has a spectacular Sunday School!  One of the brightest stars in our church orbit is our wonderful Sunday School.  Under the direction of Victoria Barnes and Joyce Penn, the Sunday School provides dedicated stewardship of our children at the same time of the Sunday morning worship services.  Maxine Rushing and Rev. Hill created several skits that featured the children during Sunday worship services.  Kyle Rushing leads the youth choir which rehearses and performs during Sunday School and also during the Sunday worship services.





Sunday School Conference – “Saving our Youth One Sunday School Lesson at a time”





In September of 2018, I was pleased to see the Sunday School follow up on a suggestion and challenge I gave the leadership and teachers to organize a Conference that would invite Sunday School Staff from other churches to share best practices.  The Sunday School Conference attracted teachers from five other churches:  Bethel AME; Little Rock Baptist Church; Hartford Memorial Baptist Church; Mayflower United Church of Christ, and Friendship Baptist Church.  I attended the Sunday School Conference which lasted five hours on a Saturday morning.  The Conference was led by our Sunday School Staff, which included: Kamilla Henderson, Maxine Rushing; Steve Hood , James Hall, Ruby Price, and Rev. Hill.





100th Anniversary Committee





Vickie and Terrence Winn are doing a great job as co-chairs of the 100th Church Anniversary, which will take place in 2019.  Already, the committee is meeting and has great plans for the anniversary.





Local Missions





Feeding and Housing the Homeless





A special word of thanks to Ellen Hill Zeringe for her leadership of the Housing the Homeless Program, where for one week in February, all the church groups volunteered to feed the homeless.  Ellen masterfully coordinated to entire program so that each night featured a diversity of activities designed to make the homeless feel welcome at our church.





Saturday Youth Mentoring Program





Tony Poole and Rev. Hill coordinated a Saturday mentoring program for the church which provided tremendous encouragement for the youth and adult participants.





Computer Mission





The computer mission of the church donated new laptop computers to several youth live near the church.





The Annual Christmas Program for youth





The annual Christmas Program for youth provided toys and gifts for over 200 children who live near the church.  I would like to thank Evelyn Hudson Wright for her leadership and stewardship of this impactful program.  I would also like to thank the hundreds of members of our church who took the time to share their resources with the children of our community.  This program is greatly appreciated by the families that live close to the church, so much so, that many parents began contacting the church during the summer to make sure that their children would be included on the list of recipients.  The concept of this program is simple – the children and their parents are asked to submit a request for what they would like to receive for Christmas.  Church members pull names with the request from a Christmas Tree in the Narthex of the Church, and then return with the gifts to church for distribution.





Guatemalan Mission





In January of 2018, I participated in a church mission observation trip to, led by trustee, Craig Orr to Panajachel, Guatemala.  This small mission trip included the following members of our church:  Connie Orr, Marian Stephens, Henrietta Carson, Lana and Bob Koenig, Deirdre Weir, Dr. Brenda McGadney, Denise Hood and myself.  We visited a Spanish/ English School, and two schools that are populated by Mayan children.  We brought clothing and other supplies for the youth.  It was a powerful trip and I commend Craig Orr for his interest, guidance and leadership.





Summer Boys and Girls Camp –





I would like to thank Atty. Lois Collins and her husband, Atty. Jeffery Collins for their leadership of the Boys and Girls Camp in Oscoda, Michigan.  50 youth participated in the camp.  Lois Collins has an impressive sense of organization that keeps the youth busy all day long until they go to sleep.  I came up to the camp for one night and led devotions the following morning.  Rev. Hill also led devotions one morning.  The camp represents one of the finest examples of mission, and for which, I am extremely proud and grateful to Lois and Jeff Collins for their leadership.





Spiritual Growth





Confirmation of Faith Class –





In 2018, I continued an annual tradition by hosting and leading a Confirmation of Faith Class for ten weeks on Sundays from 1:30 – 3 PM at my home.  Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill assisted me as well as Evelyn Hudson Wright.  My wife, Denise, prepared meals each week for the children.  The following students participated in this year’s class:  Sage Johnson; Chloe Wright; Oronde Patterson; Grace Shofar; and Rapha Shofar.





Bible Discussions





In 2018, The church was blessed spiritually with several weekly and one monthly Bible Studies: The Unified Adult Bible Study (Sunday Morning at 10:15; Tuesdays at 6 PM; Wednesday s at 11 AM); Saturday 9AM class; Also there is a once a month Women’s Bible Study on Thursday evenings.  I personally sat with the Unified Adult Bible Study leaders several times during 2018 to discuss potential books in the Bible for consideration.  Often, these meetings were held at my home and sometimes at local restaurants.  I am convinced that the combination of each of these Bible Studies provides the church with enhanced spiritual development and fellowship among the membership.





Male Only Bible Discussion Series





In the spring of 2018, I led a Bible Discussion Series at the church entitled, “Strong Men of the Bible.”  This series was well attended by several men and boys and focused on the following characters from the Bible:  Samson, Gideon, David, and Jonah





Love and Intimacy Series





During the month of July, I led a series of Bible Discussions in my back yard over “Burgers and Hot Dogs” on the subject of “Love and Intimacy in the Bible.”  This series attracted males and females as we explored what the Bible has to say about love and intimacy.





River Baptism





In August, I officiated over the baptism of several persons in the Detroit River.  Over 20 years ago, a member of the church named Ted Coleman requested that I baptize him by immersion.  Because our church does not have a baptismal pool, I suggested that we perform the sacrament in the Detroit River.  The River Baptism takes place at 7 AM at the Beach at Belle Isle.  The following persons were baptized this year in the Detroit River:  Courtnie Thomas; Aaron Roberson; Chuquita Simpson; Danaya Bryson; Doug Shaw and Charles Caine.





African American Passover Celebration





Maundy Thursday was celebrated with the African American Passover Celebration on the lower level of the church.  In 2017, the African American Passover Celebration was broadcast on the WORD Television Network and can be viewed on YouTube.  I would like to thank the Board for Christian Education for its support of this annual spiritual worship service.  I would like to also thank the 120 members of the church who served as readers during the African American Passover Celebration, and those who participated with their attendance.   I am proud that I wrote the African American Passover Celebration and had it published in 2016.





Worship Leaders





2018 was a year where we identified and trained enough lay persons to lead worship for each of the Sunday morning worship services.  I personally invited several high school students to augment the ranks of the adult worship leaders.  The following persons are the 2018 worship leaders: Nicholas McGuire, Lakedra Evans, Gabriella Sullen (left for post graduate work),Redick Grant, Raven Murray, George Cohen, Cassandra Rimpson, Deborah Gatson, Victoria Winfield, Rachel Winfield (left for college), Lisa Reeves, Jason McGuire, Jeanine Brunson, Ayeobami Bell Torrence, Steve Johnson, Evelyn Hudson Wright, Josiah Johnson, Joshua Johnson.  Steve Johnson has agreed to serve as a worship leader coordinator.





Spirit Filled, Spirit Led Worship





Our three worship services, Sunday Morning at 8:30 and 11 AM, and the Wednesday Noon Worship Service, continue to evolve in a wonderful manner.  Under the direction of our minister of music, Lamar Willis, the Renaissance and Gospel Choirs provide vocal leadership each month.  Chenthia Wooten leads the “Blended Voices” and Diane Reeder directs, “Water.”  Lamar Willis also directs the Male Chorus.  The combination of these independent vocal ensembles provides the church with a rich diversity of musical spirituality which gives the membership something to look forward to each Sunday.





The Usher Board as the “Doorkeepers in the House of the Lord.”





I would like to thank the Usher Board for its dedicated assistance for every worship service.  With very little fanfare, the Usher Board often opens the church on Sunday mornings and is on duty until the final offering at the conclusion of the second service.  I tip my hat to Usher Board Chairman, Terrence German and each of the dedicated members of the Usher Board: Gail Burton, Betty Douglas, Dolores Chisolm, Courtney Nowlin, Deborah Nowlin, Winnie and Willie Goston, Renee Dover, Stephanie Cox Banks, Deborah Smith, Cynthia Banks, and others.





Law Day Sunday Featured Father- Son, Atty. Cornelius and Atty. Byron Pitts





On the first Sunday in May, 2018, the church was blessed with a father-son duo, Atty. Cornelius and Atty. Byron Pitts.  Also, I asked several lawyers who are members of the church to introduce the guest speakers as well as talk about the significance of Law Day.  At the 8:30 AM worship service, Atty. Alex Parrish spoke about Law Day.  He was introduced by Atty. Darwyn Fair.  At the 11 Am worship service, Atty. Mack Faison spoke about Law Day.  He was introduced by Judge Freddie Burton.  Atty. Byron Pitts was introduced by Atty. Oddie Uddyback.  At 11 am, Atty. Cornelius Pitts was introduced by Atty. Carl Jordon. I continue to be impressed with the depth of professional leadership in our congregation.  Law Day was a great example of the excellence of leadership we have within our membership.





Fellowship Among the Membership –





Golf Outing and All-Church Picnic were wonderful activites that promoted fellowship, fun, and church spirit.  I would like to commend the Golf-Outing Committee, chaired by Julius Reeves, Russell Estill, Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill, and Atty. Tony Poole for doing a great job in increasing the number of golfers and financial support for the Sunday School.





Scholarship Sunday





2018 was exceptional in that 35 undergraduate church members received $2000 each for a total of $85, 000.  I would like to thank and commend the Scholarship Committee for its dedicated support of our students by serving breakfast each 1st Sunday and overseeing the scholarship application process and the distribution of the award checks to the undergraduate students.  Blake West, who was the top grade point average student for the last four years, served as the Scholarship Sunday guest speaker.  I asked Blake to speak because he is close in age to the current cohort of undergraduate students at the church.  I thought he was exceptional in his remarks and the students seemed to be hanging on every word from his speech.  The scholarship awards represent the combined funds from 50 endowed scholarships and a monthly scholarship offering that is received from the membership.  The value of the principal of the scholarship endowment is now in excess of $700,000.  I would like to thank each of the families of church members who have established endowments for scholarships for our youth.  I also would like to thank Thomas Seabron, of Morgan Stanley, who is a church member, for his expert stewardship of our combined endowment funds.





Newly Organized Graduate Student Scholarship Committee





Under the leadership of Dr. Michael Carruthers, a Graduate Scholarship Award Committee was organized in 2018 which included:  Dr. Shaun Black; Dr. Ella Davis and Dr. Kristen Barnes Holliday.  Eight graduate scholars received awards in the amount of $1000 each.





Lower Level Floor





In 2017, the congregation raised $52,000 to replace the lower level floor.  Again, I would like to personally commend and thank Atty. Jerome Watson for his Sunday morning stewardship messages. 





In 2018, the existing floor was removed, and the bare concrete lower floor was exposed.  A new tile floor was ordered.  When the existing floor was removed, we did not know what we would find.  What we did find was that there was no mold underneath the floor.  We also learned that the moisture under the existing floor was coming from an outside sprinkler system leak in several locations.  After conversations with the Property and Mainteance Committee, the Trustee Board and Construction Engineer, Erlich Crain, we decided that the exposed concrete floor has a natural beauty and decided to ask the church congregation for approval to keep the exposed concrete floor.





Since moneys were raised for a new tile floor and not for the exposed concrete floor, I thought it only right to bring the issue to the entire congregation for its support.  This issue will be raised for a vote at the November 2018 Annual Meeting of the Church.





Unrestricted New Endowments for the Church





2018 was historic in that several new unrestricted endowments were established to allow the church greater flexibility in the future. Earlier in this report I mentioned that the corpus of the Endowed Scholarship Fund is slightly more than $700,000.  I am very proud of what we have achieved as a church with our scholarship fund.  The endowment for scholarships is funded and now is the time to begin to move to insure the financial solvency for the church for the next generation and beyond.  In 2018, the following unrestricted endowments were established in the names of these individuals:  Anderson and Elaine Williams; Dorothy Raiford; Ruby and Jesse Burton; Victoria Seabrooks; the mother of Dr, Andrea Coleman Brantley, and Clarence White.  In 2017, an unrestricted endowment was established in the name of Julia Cloteel Page.  Endowments for the church begin with an initial contribution of at least $5000.  As we close out this year and move toward the 100th anniversary year, 2019, there will be a greater focus on building unrestricted endowments for the church and the elimination of remaining debt on church mortgages.





100 for the 100th Anniversary Debt Elimination Campaign





I would like to thank Karla and Bill Middlebrooks for their leadership of a campaign to eliminate the debt from the two outstanding mortgages the church holds.  These mortgages represent the 1.1million renovation loan for the church that has a $5000 per month loan repayment, and $2800 per month loan repayment for a $300,000 loan to assist the Cyprian Center.  The goal of the 100 for the 100th Anniversary Debt Elimination Campaign is to make the church totally free from mortgage debt by the end of 2019, which is the 100th anniversary of the church. This campaign is in the “Quiet phase,” but will be made public to the entire congregation in 2019.  Already, in June of 2018, 30 members of the church made a commitment to support this effort.





Church Officers and Rotating Leadership





Part of the dynamic that makes Plymouth United Church of Christ the dynamic church that it is, is the system of rotating officers.  Our constitution requires that officers are voted into office by the congregation at large.  Every three years, officers rotate out of office, which allows for newer and younger leadership to have a chance to serve the church.  The officers in 2018 are a great set of officers and are doing a great job in leading the church.  Each of the church boards has places set aside for one person under thirty and one person under 20, with full voting rights.





A Word of Thanks to our church staff and volunteers –





I would like to thank the volunteers and dedicated staff that help our church operations to move in an efficient manner:  Henrietta Carson, executive administrative assistant and bookkeeper; Regina Yopp, church secretary; Latasha Washington, assistant church secretary and event planner.  Dononvan Grant, church custodian.  There are a series of volunteers who help the church every day.  These individuals answer the phone and open the doors for members and visitors:  Walter Willis, Glenda Steel, Stephanie Donaldson, Shirley Northcross; Jerome Smith; Kim Cox; Teresa Barmore, Janet Whitiker and Adine Moore, and Claire Neal.  Walter Willis, one of the volunteers, opens the church doors 6-7 days each week.  Claire Neal volunteers each Tuesday to input the contribution records from the preceding Sunday offering.  The volunteers perform a special role at the church by relieving the full -time staff of having to answer the telephone and buzz visitors into the church.  Karla Middlebrooks, who is a retired vice president of finance for the Chrysler Corporation, volunteered in 2018 to assist Henrietta Carson in revamping and streamlining the financial reports for review by the Trustee Board and the Congregation.  The format for the financial reports included in this Annual Report was designed by Karla Middlebrooks.





I also would like to thank Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill, associate minister for her assistance with the Sunday School, Nursing Home Ministry and Visitation Ministry.  Rev. Hill also leads the Black College Tour, two Bible Studies, and is involved on several other levels, including preaching in my absence. My thanks is also extended to Rev. Yvonne Bostic for leading a ministry focused on Mental and Emotional Health and to the Rev. Dr. Jimmy Womack for assisting with preaching in my absence.  Latasha Washington continues to amaze me with her energy and support for virtually every project in the church.  In addition to her multitude of responsibilities, with the help of Stacy Whitfield Robinson, she is coordinating a Caribbean Cruise that will take place in 2019 as one of the official 100th Church Anniversary activities.  Already, over 30 persons have registered for the Caribbean Cruise.  Two years ago, during a pre-funeral visit after the death of her husband, I learned from Stacy that she had organized several cruises for her husband and family.  I asked her if she could organize a cruise for the church that would be affordable and would take place during the anniversary year of 2019.  She agreed and asked Latasha to assist her.  As I imagined, they are “Off and Running” and it looks like it will be a great success with over 30 persons who have registered to participate in the cruise – several of which include intergenerational families.





Israel Trip – “Following in the Footsteps of Jesus”








In October of 2018, I provided spiritual leadership for a trip to Israel called, “Following in the Footsteps of Jesus.” 35 persons took part in this tour of Israel.  I would like to thank Deierdre Weir and Henrietta Carson for the excellent role they performed in assisting with the leadership of this tour.  Deierdre Weir served as tour coordinator with the Travel Agency.  She also served as shepherd to our 35 travelers and attended to special requests and concerns regarding travel arrangements.  Henrietta Carson assisted with the financial accounting for the trip.  My role was in two capacities, one as providing spiritual leadership which included creating a Bible Index for every site we visited, as well as reading the scriptures at each site, offering commentary at most sites and prayer.  My other role, along with my wife, Denise, was to basically serve as a “Cheerleader” to keep the spirit and good feelings at a high level.  This was a spectacular tour which included visits to two Palestinian controlled cities, Bethlehem and Jericho.  Our tour leader in Israel was a young Arab, who is also Christian.  She assured us that we would be safe and she lived up to her word.  The added value of this trip is that the church will receive $6000 in residual income from the tour agency.



For me, one of the highlights of the Israel trip was my officiating over the baptism of 24 the participants in the Jordan River.





From my perspective, Plymouth United Church of Christ is a great church with a great program, impactful ministries and doing a wonderful job in promoting the good news of Jesus Christ.  For the past several years, the church has experienced a continual, gradual evolution which in my opinion is encouraging and positive.  Our worship attendance is becoming and has become much more diverse from a social and economic perspective.  This evolution is pleasing to me, because from my youth, my predecessor in the pulpit, my father, the Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III often would lament, “When will the community feel welcome to worship at Plymouth?”  I am pleased to say that that day is becoming a reality and it feels good.





Personal Ministry Focus –





In 2018, I continued to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for the McCormick Theological Seminary, a member of the Board of Directors for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Board of Directors for the Plymouth Educational Center.





In 2018, I continued to write a daily Spiritual Blog which is located at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/ Additionally, I also began to write and record a daily podcast audio reading of the Bible which began by reading the entire Book of Psalms on a daily basis, and is now currently in the Book of Genesis.  After reading chapters from the Bible, I offer questions for reflection and a prayer.  These podcasts can be accessed by going to the following sites: Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.  Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3. Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3,  Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG





In addition to the blog and podcasts, I often try to encourage the congregation by sending uplifting Bible verses via text messages, often daily, to over 550 members of the church.





For the past several years, the church website generates over $10,000 in donations.  I believe that these contributions represent donations in large measure from members and friends of the church who view the church services online – often from around the country and other parts of the world.  As we proceed to the future, I can envision the online presence of the church to expand.





I thank God and the members of the church for the opportunity to continue to serve as pastor and senior minister of the Plymouth United Church of Christ.  Blessings, 





Pastor Nick ked0 Grid Tab

Understanding a Women’s Body – From Adolescence to Menopause- Featuring Dr. Andrea Coleman Brantley

When : Sunday December 9, 2018

Where: Plymouth United church of Christ 600 E. Warren Ave Detroit Michigan 48201

Time: 1pm

Light lunch will be served

Free of charge!

RSVP – ryopp007@yahoo.com

Joseph’a Brothers go to Egypt- Genesis 42,43,and 44

2009 Plymouth United Church of Christ Tour of Egypt

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: Genesis 42,43,44 – Joseph’s Brothers go to Egypt https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/Genesis-42-43-44—Josephs-Brothers-go-to-Egypt-e2jj5i

Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt

Genesis 42 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at one another? I have heard,” he said, “that there is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he feared that harm might come to him. Thus the sons of Israel were among the other people who came to buy grain, for the famine had reached the land of Canaan.

Now Joseph was governor over the land; it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” Although Joseph had recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Joseph also remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about them. He said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land!” 10 They said to him, “No, my lord; your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all sons of one man; we are honest men; your servants have never been spies.” 12 But he said to them, “No, you have come to see the nakedness of the land!” 13 They said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of a certain man in the land of Canaan; the youngest, however, is now with our father, and one is no more.” 14 But Joseph said to them, “It is just as I have said to you; you are spies! 15 Here is how you shall be tested: as Pharaoh lives, you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here! 16 Let one of you go and bring your brother, while the rest of you remain in prison, in order that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you; or else, as Pharaoh lives, surely you are spies.” 17 And he put them all together in prison for three days.

18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 if you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here where you are imprisoned. The rest of you shall go and carry grain for the famine of your households, 20 and bring your youngest brother to me. Thus your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they agreed to do so. 21 They said to one another, “Alas, we are paying the penalty for what we did to our brother; we saw his anguish when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this anguish has come upon us.” 22 Then Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” 23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. 24 He turned away from them and wept; then he returned and spoke to them. And he picked out Simeon and had him bound before their eyes. 25 Joseph then gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return every man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. This was done for them.

Joseph’s Brothers Return to Canaan

26 They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed. 27 When one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money at the top of the sack. 28 He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in my sack!” At this they lost heart and turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”

29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us, and charged us with spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men, we are not spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33 Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way. 34 Bring your youngest brother to me, and I shall know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will release your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.’ ”

35 As they were emptying their sacks, there in each one’s sack was his bag of money. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed. 36 And their father Jacob said to them, “I am the one you have bereaved of children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has happened to me!” 37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.” 38 But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should come to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”

 

The Brothers Come Again, Bringing Benjamin

Genesis 43 Now the famine was severe in the land. And when they had eaten up the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little more food.” But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food; but if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’ ” Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?” Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me, and let us be on our way, so that we may live and not die—you and we and also our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; you can hold me accountable for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10 If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”

11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry them down as a present to the man—a little balm and a little honey, gum, resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the top of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take your brother also, and be on your way again to the man; 14 may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, so that he may send back your other brother and Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” 15 So the men took the present, and they took double the money with them, as well as Benjamin. Then they went on their way down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18 Now the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, replaced in our sacks the first time, that we have been brought in, so that he may have an opportunity to fall upon us, to make slaves of us and take our donkeys.” 19 So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the entrance to the house. 20 They said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food; 21 and when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each one’s money in the top of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it back with us. 22 Moreover we have brought down with us additional money to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 He replied, “Rest assured, do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your sacks for you; I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24 When the steward had brought the men into Joseph’s house, and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25 they made the present ready for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they had heard that they would dine there.

26 When Joseph came home, they brought him the present that they had carried into the house, and bowed to the ground before him. 27 He inquired about their welfare, and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and did obeisance. 29 Then he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” 30 With that, Joseph hurried out, because he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep. So he went into a private room and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out; and controlling himself he said, “Serve the meal.” 32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 When they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, the men looked at one another in amazement. 34 Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.

 

Joseph Detains Benjamin

Genesis 44 Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the top of his sack. Put my cup, the silver cup, in the top of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to his steward, “Go, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you returned evil for good? Why have you stolen my silver cup? Is it not from this that my lord drinks? Does he not indeed use it for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’ ”

When he overtook them, he repeated these words to them. They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! Look, the money that we found at the top of our sacks, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan; why then would we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? Should it be found with any one of your servants, let him die; moreover the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.” 10 He said, “Even so; in accordance with your words, let it be: he with whom it is found shall become my slave, but the rest of you shall go free.” 11 Then each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each opened his sack. 12 He searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 At this they tore their clothes. Then each one loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.

14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house while he was still there; and they fell to the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that one such as I can practice divination?” 16 And Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; here we are then, my lord’s slaves, both we and also the one in whose possession the cup has been found.” 17 But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the one in whose possession the cup was found shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”

Judah Pleads for Benjamin’s Release

18 Then Judah stepped up to him and said, “O my lord, let your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’ 20 And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead; he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’ 21 Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23 Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.’ 24 When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. 25 And when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ 26 we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother goes with us, will we go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27 Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28 one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.’ 30 Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31 when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die; and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. 32 For your servant became surety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame in the sight of my father all my life.’ 33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord in place of the boy; and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the suffering that would come upon my father.”    [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why do you think Joseph had the money his brothers paid for grain replaced in their respective sacks?
  2. Why do you think Joseph detained Simeon, as opposed to one of his other brothers?
  3. Why do you think Jacob responded to the request of Judah to bring Benjamin to Joseph, but did not respond to Ruben’s request?
  4. Do you think this may have been because Jacob already knew that Ruben was sleeping with his wife, Bilhah?

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me to make good choices.  You have taught me what to do.  Lord, you have shown me what is good and right.  My prayer today is that you will nudge me and give me a nod as I go through the process of making decisions.  When I have done wrong, grant me a sense of remorse and acknowledgement of my sin.  Set me on a level path and teach me to apologize for my mistakes.  Wash me and cleanse me, that I might experience a renewal of spirit, renewal of purpose and a renewal of perspective in life.  Help me this day, Lord Jesus to make good choices.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

 

Thank you,

 

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 42:1–44:34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Joseph Interprets Pharaohs Dream

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: Genesis 41- Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dream https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/Genesis-41–Joseph-Interprets-Pharaohs-Dream-e2j5ss

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dream

Genesis 41 After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, and there came up out of the Nile seven sleek and fat cows, and they grazed in the reed grass. Then seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. The ugly and thin cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. And Pharaoh awoke. Then he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. Then seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them. The thin ears swallowed up the seven plump and full ears. Pharaoh awoke, and it was a dream. In the morning his spirit was troubled; so he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my faults today. 10 Once Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 We dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own meaning. 12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each according to his dream. 13 As he interpreted to us, so it turned out; I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”

14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was hurriedly brought out of the dungeon. When he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not I; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” 17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile; 18 and seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. 19 Then seven other cows came up after them, poor, very ugly, and thin. Never had I seen such ugly ones in all the land of Egypt. 20 The thin and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat cows, 21 but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had done so, for they were still as ugly as before. Then I awoke. 22 I fell asleep a second time and I saw in my dream seven ears of grain, full and good, growing on one stalk, 23 and seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouting after them; 24 and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. But when I told it to the magicians, there was no one who could explain it to me.”

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. 27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, as are the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind. They are seven years of famine. 28 It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. 30 After them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; the famine will consume the land. 31 The plenty will no longer be known in the land because of the famine that will follow, for it will be very grievous. 32 And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh select a man who is discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land, and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plenteous years. 35 Let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and lay up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to befall the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

Joseph’s Rise to Power

37 The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?” 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Removing his signet ring from his hand, Pharaoh put it on Joseph’s hand; he arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in the chariot of his second-in-command; and they cried out in front of him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Thus Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went through all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven plenteous years the earth produced abundantly. 48 He gathered up all the food of the seven years when there was plenty in the land of Egypt, and stored up food in the cities; he stored up in every city the food from the fields around it. 49 So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance—like the sand of the sea—that he stopped measuring it; it was beyond measure.

50 Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52 The second he named Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortunes.”

53 The seven years of plenty that prevailed in the land of Egypt came to an end; 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do.” 56 And since the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover, all the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine became severe throughout the world. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about Joseph finally being remembered by the cupbearer to Pharaoh?
  2. What is your thought regarding the willingness of Pharaoh to act upon the interpretation of dreams by Joseph?
  3. What do you make of Joseph’s rise to power?
  4. What does Joseph’s rise of power tell you about the almighty power of God?

 

Prayer:  Lord, I seek your transformative power.  Lord, grant me visions of what is to come.  Lord, prepare me for what I cannot see.  Help me to look beyond what is to what will be.  Prepare me, Lord.  Prepare me for good days and the days of trouble.  Grant me discipline.  Grant me patience.  Grant me a spirit of preparation.  Grant me to willingness to live a simple life, a spirit- filled and spirit led life.  Teach me to move beyond my yesterdays and to look forward in faith for my tomorrows.  Bless me with the favor of your loving kindness and tender mercy.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

 

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

 

Thank you,

 

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 41:1–57). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Ruben Option

The Ruben Option

I am preaching today at noon, Wednesday, November 14, 2018, on the subject, “The Ruben Option.” Ruben was the first son born to Jacob. He was the first of the 12 tribes of Israel. When his brothers in their hatred and jealousy of their younger brother, Joseph, decided to kill him, only Ruben was recorded as speaking out and discouraging his brothers not to kill him. As things turned out, Joseph was beaten, thrown in a pit and sold into Egyptian slavery, but he was not murdered. Ruben secretly was trying to find a way to spare the life of Joseph, and was distraught when he learned that his brother was sold into slavery. I call this sermon the Ruben Option, because in life each of us has a choice. Each of us has an opportunity to stand up for peace and justice. Sometimes we rise to the occasion. Sometimes we just sit silent. The “Ruben’s” of the world are the people who stand up, speak up, and do the right thing, but they do not go far enough.

In life we are given a life time of choices. Sometimes, we simply choose wrong. Other times, we choose well, but do not go far enough. In the case of Ruben, we learn that there was another time when he made a poor choice, he slept with one of the wives of his father, Bilhah. (Genesis 35:22) Sometimes, in life, like Ruben, we just make bad choices. Ruben is complex in that in the case of his brother, Joseph, he does the right thing, but does not go far enough.

Genesis 37: ” So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. 18 They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father[1]

If you are available at noon today, I invite you to come worship with us at the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan, 600 E. Warren Ave. Detroit, Michigan, 48201, and check out the “Ruben Option.” If you can’t make it, and I realize several persons who read this blog are located around the world, you can see the video on Facebook Live or it will be posted on this site later today. Blessings, Nick

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1163832547112565&id=243880622686514

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 37:17–22). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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