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Nicholas Hood III Ministries

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Thanksgiving Day Family and Personal Conversation on Thanks

Thanksgiving Day Family and Personal Conversation on Thanks –

 
The following is a conversation starter for Thanksgiving Day. It can be used before, during or after the Thanksgiving meal. I encourage you to invite your table guests to read the following scripture from Psalm 9. Next, ask your guests to reflect upon the questions I have included. Feel free and welcome to add additional questions for discussion. I have included a prayer to concluded the table conversation. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family this Thanksgiving.

Psalm 9

God’s Power and Justice

To the leader: according to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.

1    I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;

I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

2    I will be glad and exult in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. [1]

 

Conversation Starter for Thanksgiving Day

  1. Thanksgiving Day is a day that many give pause to reflect upon those things that they are thankful for. What are some of those things you thankful for?
  2. In Psalm 9, David says that, “I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” What are the “Wonderful deeds” you feel the Lord has or is doing in your life?
  3. What are you prepared to do differently in your life because of your gratitude to God?

Prayer: Lord, I give you thanks for so many things. I thank you for the life you have given me. I give you thanks for family. I thank you for friends. I thank you for my health. I thank you for the shelter I call home. I thank you for the challenges of life. I thank you for every opportunity. Bless the food on this table. Bless the hands that have prepared it and those who will share it. Make me mindful of the poor and help me to find ways to feed the hungry, satisfy the thirst of the thirsty, and to work to make peace and prosperity throughout the world.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III can be found at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Do Something Worthwhile!

Do Something Worthwhile!

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Today, at 9 AM, fifteen men who used to play football for the Detroit Lions Football Team, will gather at my church to distribute over 300 Thanksgiving Turkey dinners to persons who live near the church. Preparation is at 9am. Distribution will begin at 10 AM. Allen Hughes, who is a member of my church, and a former athlete with the Detroit Lions, is spearheading this effort. They will be joined by employees of the Olympia Nursing Home Organization and members of my church, the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit. Thanksgiving is a tradition in America where people pause to give thanks for their lives. I encourage you to come out and do something worthwhile!

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Ecclesiastes 3: 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14 I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.[1]

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Questions for Reflection:

  1. What have you recently done that you would describe as “Worthwhile”?
  2. Why?
  3. How does Jesus Christ inform you about living a life that is “Worthwhile”?

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Prayer: Lord, I want to live a life that is worthwhile! Teach me to focus on those things that matter. Remove from my life all thoughts and behavior that is separate from you. Create in me a clean heart. Renew within me a right spirit. Cleanse me. Refresh me. Redirect me. Bless me now with a life that is meaningful and worthwhile, not just in my sight, but in your sight. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ec 3:12–14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Come and Stand Here (free sermon outline)

Come and Stand Here!

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There is a story in Luke 6, where Jesus is in a temple and he sees a paralyzed man. Jesus says to the man, “Come and stand here.” The man got up and stood by Jesus. Some who witnessed the event became upset with Jesus because they felt he was preparing to heal a person on the sabbath. Jesus confronts their thoughts and because he knows what they are thinking. Jesus simply says to the man, “stretch out your hand.” The man does what Jesus commands and his hand is immediately healed.

Luke 6: Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

If I were going to preach on this passage of scripture, these are the points upon which I would base my sermon:

  1. Jesus reaches out to the man in saying, “Come and stand here.”
  2. The man comes to Jesus
  3. Jesus tells the sick man to “Stretch out your hand.”

Quick lessons from the three points:

  1. Just as Jesus was aware of the sick man, and called the man, Jesus is aware of what you and I are going through.
  2. The healing of the sick man begins when he rises and comes to Jesus. In like manner, you and I cannot receive the full blessing of Jesus until we come to Jesus.
  3. The healing is completed when the man stretches out his hand in faith. Likewise, you and I do not receive the full blessing of Jesus until we put forth personal energy in the faith that God will make what seems impossible, possible.

The more I listen to myself talk though these points, I think I just might preach this sermon on Sunday! Thanks for reading.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are the lessons in Jesus asking the man in Luke 6:8-11, to “Come and stand here”
  2. What would you do if the Lord asked you to come and stand near him?

Prayer: Lord, grant me the faith to be healed. Lord, grant me the courage to come to you. Lord, teach me to do good every day, and every week. Lord, teach me to save life and not to harm life. Lord, grant me the courage to stretch out my hand, to trust you, abide in you, and love you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, missions and books written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

 

People and Things May Change, but God is forever!

People and Things May Change, God is Forever!


 

After walking a brisk mile along Lake Sinclair, I drove to the grocery store and took a call on the phone while still in the car. It was a church member returning my call. My business was relatively simple. However, when it was her turn to talk, she told me about people going through divorce and others losing their jobs. She told me about people who wanted to attend church if they did not have to run into their former spouse. It was as if each juicy bit of information was like a major punch to the gut! The more I listened to her, the more I felt like Rodney King: “Why can’t we all get along?”

After listening to her for a while, I told her that she helped me to think about my sermon for this week – the balance between a desire for things to remain the same, and the changes each of us must undergo.

There is a big part of my emotional psyche that wants things to remain the same. At the same time, I am faced daily with the reality that things do and must change. One reason why divorce hurts so much is that there is something within us that desperately wants relationships to last. The aging process is tough because we want to think that we will last forever, but things change. In filling out my driver’s license last week; one question was what is the color of your hair? My first reaction was brown. But after a thoughtful moment, I had to admit that my hair is no longer brown, but gray! Another question was how much do you weigh? My first thought was, 220 pounds, but after a moment, I put down the new weight of 180 pounds – all because I stopped eating McDonald’s breakfast sausage biscuits! The one thing that was the same was the color of my eyes – brown!

I mention this trivia, because over the course of a life time, things will change, but one thing remains the same – God!

In Isaiah 40, the prophet talks about how people come and go like the flower of the field, but in the end, only God is the same! I share this little thought with you today, that you hold on to your faith, build upon your faith, live through your faith understanding that nothing but God is constant! I have built my life upon this faith, and I trust that when I return to the dust, that Jesus Christ will receive me with open arms and say, “Well done!”

Isaiah 40: 8   The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How do you handle the changes you experience in people and places?
  2. How is your faith impacted by change?

 

Prayer: Lord, grant me the strength to accept change. Help me to appreciate people, places and things as they are, understanding that in time, all things experience change. Lord, you are the rock that gives me peace. Lord, your peace passes all understanding. In a world where people come and go, just knowing that your love is greater than the tallest building, deeper than the ocean, stronger than the wind, more beautiful than the flowers of the field, gives me hope for today and tomorrow, and confidence that everything will be alright. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Photos, Prayers and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, missions and publications of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Is 40:8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Youth Ministry 2017

Youth Ministry 2017!


I began my ministry as a youth minister. Five years before I was ordained, two years before entering divinity school, I led youth ministry meetings on Sunday evenings in the basement of my church. What I learned during those Sunday night meetings became the base line for what I have done for 41 years as an ordained minister.

What I learned is that children are impressionable, thoughtful, and just as important as adults.

Many of the leaders of the church I pastor today were in my first youth group. Even though I no longer serve directly as a youth ministry leader, I try to be an encourager of young people, and actually personally lead a ten-week Confirmation of Faith Class at my home, because I want the children to know me, trust me, and have confidence that they are valued just like all other church members.

One example of the way that I am still lifting young people is the inclusion of young people in the constitution of my church that allows for one person under 30 and one person under 20 to be elected to the church boards. At our recent church meeting that was conducted this past Sunday, several of the young persons that attended the Confirmation of Faith Classes at my home, were elected as deacons, trustees, to the Board of Christian Education and Nominating Committee. In this small but humble way, my church is planting the seeds of fidelity to the church, its mission and ministry, in the youngest of our members.

2 Timothy 3: 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What do you think are some of the most effective ways to minister to youth?
  2. In your youth, who were the people and activities that drew you closer to Jesus Christ?

 

Prayer: Lord, show me how to be an effective motivator of young people. Grant me the right words and the proper spirit, that young persons might be drawn to a deeper faith in thee. Lord, you are my light and my salvation. Help me to share this light with the young, that their faith might be strong, their hope ever abounding, and their love without limit. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photos by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry mission and books by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Ti 3:14–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Help Me Help You to be a Better “Fisher of Men and Women” in Jesus Christ!

Help Me Help You to be a Fisher for Men and Women in Jesus Christ!

Right: Tyra Leslie, Lisa Biles, left: continuing deacon, Angela Leslie

I want to thank all of you who take the time to read this spiritual blog. It humbles me every day when I look at the numbers of persons who are reading this blog, and I see the flags from the nations that each of you represent.Each of us is in this Christian journey together. We may come from different countries, but the thing that binds us together is our faith in Jesus Christ.

My request to you is simple: Help me to help you be a “Fisher of men” (and women) for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Likewise, I want you to help me become a better “Fisher of men.” I want to know more about your ministry. I want you to tell me about the ministry that you are engaged in. Is your church a “House church” or a big, stone cathedral? Are you an ordained minister, or are you simply a faithful believer in Jesus Christ, trying to share the good news of what the Lord is doing in your life, with all you might meet?

If you invite me, I will try to come to you! Share with me and I will share with you. Pray for me, and I will pray for you! We are in this Christian journey together, which transcends race, color, nationality and creed.

I am just beginning to experiment with making short videos to accompany the blogs that I write. I hope you will take a moment to check out my thoughts on the following portion of the fifth chapter of Luke:

Luke 5: For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him. [1]

In this scripture, Jesus has concluded preaching and teaching to the masses. He has not yet called the first disciples. After preaching and teaching from a boat owned by Simon Peter, Jesus tells Peter and the others to “Put out into the deep” for a great catch of fish. The men caught so many fish that their nets were about to break. Jesus told them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men…”

In like manner, you and I are called to witness to men and women about the matchless power of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There is no more effective witness than you and I, because our personal stories have an authenticity, truth and power that common people can identify with.

I encourage you today to tell your story. Tell the whole story. Tell them about what you were like before the Lord caught you in his net of love. Tell them of your transformation and how your life has changed. Share the good news of what the Lord is doing in your life, and as you go, tell the world about Jesus, his grace, his mercy and his love. As you tell the world about Jesus, you will transform into a “Fisher of men and women”!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are the most effective ways to introduce non-believers to Jesus Christ?
  2. Do you remember when you first learned about Jesus Christ?
  3. What caused you to believe in Jesus Christ?

 

Prayer: Lord, make me a better “Fisher for men and women.” Grant me the right words, a genuine attitude and spirit, that I might encourage others to give their lives to you. Lord, I thank you for your salvation. I thank you for your grace, but most of all, I thank you for your love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Decir Gunn

Video by Donovan Grant

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the Ministry, Mission and Books by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 5:9–11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Put Out Into the Deep!

In Deep Water!

In Deep Water –

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Sanctuary Beach, California

My message today is about trusting God, even when we are challenged to follow the Lord into deep water! From my youth, I have enjoyed the water. I like swimming and playing in the water. I like sitting by water and watching the waves go by. The sound of water, forming waves from the wind and current, gives me a sense of inner peace and calm. I like letting the water in an ocean or big lake, hit me and drag me out towards the deep. In that moment, I know that I am helpless and totally dependent upon the grace of God. As a little boy, my parents took me and my younger brother, Emory to Jones Beach in New York. A wave hit me, knocked me down, and the current dragged me over the rough sand out toward the sea. I survived the current, but even now, I think about the awesome power of the waves and my helplessness to fight back. When I consider the depths of the waters, I am filled with the knowledge that I am only a small part of the creation of God. It humbles me and puts my life into perspective.

At the beginning of his earthly ministry, Jesus preaches and teaches to a crowd near Capernaum. Jesus steps into a fishing boat, owned by Simon Peter. The boat provides Jesus with some personal space which he uses to speak to the masses. They are only a short distance from the shore. After the crowd leaves, Jesus tells Simon Peter to “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

Peter loves Jesus, but it seems as if his response to Jesus goes something like this: “Jesus I love you and accept you as Lord and Savior, but with all due respect, what do you know about fishing? I have been fishing all my life. I am aquatinted with every inch of this lake. My brother and friends and I have been fishing all night long and we have not caught many fish.

Jesus insists that he put out into the deep water and he will find a great catch of fish. Eventually, Peter gives in and the rest is history. They put out into the deep of the lake and there are so many fish the nets begin to break. What are some of the lessons we can learn from this story?

First, Jesus knows more than we do. Peter thought he knew it all, but Jesus showed him something about the fish in the Sea of Galilee he did not know.

Second, even though he doubted Jesus, Peter trusts Jesus enough to put out into the deep.

Third, sometimes like Peter, we are reluctant to go into deep water. Deep water is dangerous water, but like Peter, if we want to be successful, we need to get beyond our fears and arrogance and humble ourselves to follow the direction of Jesus.

Jesus uses the example of the great catch of fish to let Peter know that if he follows him, he will make him a “Fisher of people.”

To me, this text is saying, trust the Lord and he will show you blessings far greater than anything you ever could have imagined!

Luke 5: When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are some of the greatest tests of faith you have experienced?
  2. Have the tests to your faith strengthened or weakened your faith?

 

Prayer: Lord, teach me to trust you. Lord, increase my faith that I might follow you. Lord, grant me strength and courage to believe in you, hope in you and love unconditionally without fear. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers, Photo and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 5:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Prayer of Encouragment

Prayer of Encouragement –

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River Congo – 2010

 

Recently, a young adult member of my congregation text me to say that they wanted to share an idea with me. When we finally connected by phone, it was clear to me that this young person had been thinking about the church and ways that the church might better serve our young adult population. From the very first words in our conversation, I prayed a little prayer that the Lord would grant me the ability to be an encourager, and not a discourager. It is so easy to discourage others. Once temptation is to respond with something like this: “We tried your idea already, and it did not work…”Or, “We can’t do what you want because we have never tried anything like this before.”

The more I listened to the young adult, the more I tried to put my mind and thought process into what they were saying. I kept praying a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord that this young person was even willing to share ideas with me. The prayer I prayed kept coming back to something like this: “Lord, help me to get this right, because this might be my only opportunity to connect with this young person.”

We ended the phone call with an understanding that we would pursue the ideas discussed, and that I would facilitate, not dictate, the outcome. As I hung up from the phone call, I continued to pray, and am still praying that I might encourage others and not be one to discourage.

1 Thessalonians 5: 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are some of the challenges in encouraging others?
  2. When has another person encouraged you in a way that made a great benefit to your life?

 

Prayer: Lord, help me to be an encourager of others. As I seek to encourage others, grant me the right words, the right actions and the right attitude. Lord, free my spirit, that I might accept encouragement from those who care about me. Lord, grant me your hope. Lord, grant me your spirit. Lord, grant me your love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additiaonal Photos Prayers and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Th 5:11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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