Nicholas Hood III Ministries

Make a Difference in the World!

Do Not Believe Every Spirit, but Test the Spirit!

DSC_2607Do Not Believe Every Spirit!


It is so easy to be fooled. A person can say one thing, but mean another. A smile across the lips can indicate pleasure and love, but sometimes it can cover devious thoughts and desires. Children can be a pretty good read of the spirit in other people. I saw this the other day in Guatemala with a group of children who were introduced to our mission group. The children are students at the Jabel Tinamit Spanish School in the city of Panajachel. I let three or four of the children take pictures with my camera. The camera, a Nikon D7200 when outfitted with a lens is relatively heavy, so I asked them to put the strap around their neck when taking photos. The kids loved it, and it relieved me from the responsibility to run around the school taking pictures. That small little act of sharing my camera instantly opened a door of trust between the children and me.

One of the pictures taken by the children was with several little boys squeezing next to Denise. In their own little way, the boys were testing and approving the spirit of Denise.

John, the author of the epistles with his name in the Bible, starts chapter four of the first letter with his name, by warning his readers not to believe every spirit, but to test them.

1 John 4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. [1]

I am still in Guatemala as part of a mission observation trip that is sponsored by my church, the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan and led by Craig and Connie Orr. We are a group of 12 persons from the Detroit, Michigan area. In our own way, we are testing and trusting the Spirt that has brought us to this place. Pray for us.

1 John 4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world[2]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How do you test the spirit in others?
  2. When have you misunderstood the spirit in others?
  3. What was it in your test of the spirit in another person fooled you?
  4. How do you test to see if a person’s spirit is from God?


Prayer: Lord, grant me a spirit of discernment! Guide my thoughts as I seek to understand the true motivation in others. Teach me to be able to tell the difference between those who are genuine and those who are untruthful. Lord, help me to see beyond what my eyes can see, to hear deeper than the ears can hear, and to understand greater than the words from the mouth. Teach me today to test every spirit, to see if it is of God or something else. Though Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at

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




[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Jn 4:1–6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

The Hope of Youth

DSC_2522 The Hope of Youth – The eyes of a child often portray a hope that adults find impossible to resurrect. Today, I saw hope in the faces of children, hundreds of miles from my home in Detroit, Michigan. The youth I met, as part of a mission observation trip to Guatemala, are from a remote, mountainous region. Many of the youth live in two room homes with mud-based walls and metal roofs. They walk or find a ride in the back of trucks with day-laborers for in some cases, up to an hour and a half- and that does not count for some of the children another three or four hundred feet from the road to their home in the dark. These children are the students of the Jabel l Tinamit Spanish School. These youths are accepted to the school on a competitive basis. The owners of the school are a husband and wife team, Candelaria and Gregariou Garcia, who began poor and found hope through education. In their own way, for the last twenty years they have provided Spanish language classes online to individuals from America, Europe and other countries. Many of the youth who benefit from the school are of Myan descent. The children we met today are poor, but full of hope. They travel on Saturdays from the mountains to the school with a burning hope for a better future. Today, after a set of welcoming exercises, that I am going to try out on some of our small group setting with my congregation back in Detroit, our delegation of twelve persons were folded into a Mayan cooking class where we learned how to make tortillas, chicken with a sauce made of nuts, peppers, tomato and more, mole sauce over fried plantains, and vegetables. I let several of the children take my camera to take photos of our cooking class. Over the years, when traveling in foreign countries, I take the camera off my neck, find a willing child, give them a crash course on how to hold the camera, compose a picture and push the shutter release button. The children today were just like children I have met around the world. The photos for this blog post were taken by one of several children at the school. As I considered the eyes of these children, I was struck with their sense of hope. They come from an incredibly poor background, but they were enthusiastic, energetic and full of hope. I asked what happens if they stay too late to hop a ride back to their villages. I was told that sometimes several of the children will sleep on the couches in the library of the school. Craig Orr, and his wife, Connie, who are members of the church I pastor, the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit, have been telling me about this mission of hope and love. They are leading our Guatemala Mission Observation Team. You can learn more about this mission at Pray for us and pray for the children of Guatemala who are so poor, but full of so much hope. Psalm 139: 13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. [1] Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about the hope of youth?
  2. As you have aged, has your hope increased or decreased? Why?
  3. How does your faith inform your hope?
  4. What are the elements that create hope?

Prayer: Lord, even as I l grow in years, help me not only to maintain hope, but to increase in hope. Liberate my soul, that I may develop a growing sense of hope. Build my faith, so I might believe in your grace and divine providence. As the future draws looms ahead fill me with ambition, courage and hope: hope for a better day, hope for a brighter future, hope for tomorrow and the best life possible. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen. Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III Photo by the children of Jabbal Tinament Spanish School Additional Prayers Photo and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at More about the ministry and mission of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at And [1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 139:13–14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Touring schools in Guatemala

Today, our mission observation team toured two schools in the mountains of Guatemala near Lake Atitlan. The schools are supported by Friends of Forma, which is headed by a member of my church Craig Orr. Written by Rev Dr Nick Hood3 Written by Rev Dr Nick Hood3 Photo by Rev. Dr. Nick Hood3 More about the ministry and mission of Reverend dr. Nicholas Hood to 3rd at

Why Guatemala ?

Why Guatemala

Denise and I are in Guatemala for a few days as part of a mission observation trip that is sponsored by our church. Before we headed out this morning to visit a school in the mountains above the city of Panajachel, I led a brief devotional from one of the eye witness accounts of the ministry of Jesus. The Biblical story was about Jesus and the Rich Man. I chose this story to lead off our morning devotions because it is about a self-righteous fellow who asks Jesus what more does he need to do to go to heaven. Before breakfast, I called my brother Steve to see if I had cell phone service. During our brief conversation, Steve raised the question, “Why do you have to go so far to minister to the poor? Isn’t there enough poverty between your home and the church for you to focus your charitable deeds in Detroit?” I reminded Steve that our church is a mission driven, mission led church and that 99% of the charitable deeds done in the name of our church are right in the middle of one of the poorest neighborhoods in Detroit. Those honorable deeds of church mission include: housing the homeless, providing a free week-long camp for inner city youth, free computers for children, free Christmas presents for children, affordable housing (230 apartments), a free school for 502 children, and much more. So, I raised the question this morning during the Guatemala mission devotional, “Why Guatemala?” I asked Dr. Brenda McGadney to read the passage Mark 10: The Rich Man (Mt 19:16–30; Lk 18:18–30) 17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” [1] I shared with our travel partners that my test for supporting mission efforts in Guatemala was simple, it is consistent with other foreign missions that are supported by our church. Each of our missions is headed by a church member who has an interest in doing virtuous deeds in a foreign country. Because the missions are led by church member, the church has a personal connection. In this way, the missions come alive in a very personal manner. Over the years, several church members have participated in these missions. Our mission to Liberian former refugees of war is headed by Dr. Jewlee Weah, who is from Liberia. The mission we support in Ethiopia is led by Dr. Ingida Asfaw, who is from Ethiopia. The Ethiopian mission is a health mission which includes a hospital for women and children. You can learn more about it by going to The Liberian mission is at The second test for the foreign missions we support is does it make sense? What we are doing in Guatemala makes sense. The city we are staying in is called, Panajachel, is comfortable and nice. Today, we visited a school up in the mountains called, Pacaman. At the school, the children and several mothers were waiting for us. They put on a wonderful, colorful presentation. At the conclusion of the program, we distributed over 150 pounds of clothing to the expectant children and the mothers. Poverty is the same worldwide. Everybody was excited. The children were excited, the mothers were excited, and yes, we were excited and happy to know that we were doing something that was so appreciated. The school we visited has been adopted by Candelaria and Gregorio Garcia, who are the owners of the Jabel Tinamit Spanish Language School. Craig Orr, of the church where I pastor, the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan, USA, studies Spanish online with the Garcia’s. Craig and the Garcia’s share a desire to assist the impoverished children at the Pacaman School. The Garcia’s have a non-profit organization called, Forging my Tomorrow. Tomorrow, we are scheduled to sail across a lake that is surrounded by volcanic mountains. In the afternoon, our plan is to attend a graduation for Spanish and English immersion students. Thank you for reading and I hope you will check out what I send out tomorrow from Guatemala. Blessings and Peace… Nick Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III Photo’s by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III Additional Prayers Photos and Mediations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at [1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mk 10:17–31). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Mission Outreach to Guatemala

Making it Home – the arrest and release of Gary Anderson

Deacon Gary Anderson (Left), Atty. Noah P. Hood (right) assisting with the Baptism Service in the Detroit River, August 2017

DSC_9816 jblack and white

Making it Home- the Arrest and Release of Gary Anderson –



Yesterday, Gary Anderson, the highly respected executive director of Plowshares Theater, and a professor at Wayne County Community College, who is also a deacon at the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan, was arrested in Taylor, Michigan outside the campus of the college where he works. It was not my intention to write about what happened, but when it was all over, on my way home from the police station, Gary texted me and told me it would be ok for me to share what happened.


At 2:02 yesterday, as I was preparing to sit down and visit with another church member, I received a call from Gary’s wife, Dr. Adell Anderson. She was upset and told me her husband had been arrested at the college. I told her I would meet her at the station and to call my wife, who is a federal judge. It is amazing to think about the power of the telephone! Between Denise and me, we lined up a lot of resources for Gary. Denise called several lawyers and finally got Atty. Rita White, also a church member, who along with her husband, Dr. Oronde White, had spent much of their Saturday at the State Prison in Jackson, Michigan. I called Dr. Curtis Ivery, who is the president of the college. When I could not reach Dr. Ivery immediately, my brother Steve called Dr. Ivery’s assistant. Steve then called a local businessman who has ties to the mayor of Taylor. I called Rev. Georgia Hill, my associate minister, who is also a lawyer. She contacted another church member, Denise Mallat, who also placed a call to Dr. Ivery. We had quite a thread of cell phone calls!

When I arrived at the Taylor Police Station, I was told that only a lawyer or minister could go back into the cell block to speak with Gary. The police officer at the desk asked me to show him my card. I told him I did not carry my card yesterday. He said, you “Can’t go in the back without a card.” I pulled out my cell phone and showed him my church’s website with my name and photo. Eventually, he let me go back to talk with Gary.

Gary told me it all started during a presentation on “Active Shooter Situations” for faculty at the college. He said he raised his hand and asked questions about the choice of examples during the presentation. Gary also shared that he got loud and shouted two expletives. Immediately afterwards, he left the auditorium for the restroom. It was there that a campus police officer confronted him. They exchanged words and Gary left the building for his car. While in his automobile, the campus police surrounded him and he was arrested by the Taylor, Michigan police.

The whole incident seems really overblown, for something that began as an expletive laced question during a workshop for professors.

Adell, my wife, mother in law, Atty. Rita White and her husband, Dr. Oronde and I stayed at the police station for hours. Later, Atty. Mark Brown, who is an associate of our associate minister, Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill, and Atty. Rita White, arrived and talked with a local judge and prosecutor to arrange for the release of Gary on bond. Finally, round fifteen minutes after 10pm, Gary was released to the loving arms of his wife, family and friends.

When I was with him in the cell block area, Gary and I shared a laugh that of all weekends, this weekend, when the young adults at our church would spearhead a program called, “Making it home” – “What to do and Say when Stopped by the Police,” that he should be arrested in this downriver suburb of Detroit. The police where polite, but not particularly in a hurry for his release. I had the sense that Gary was an important person because of all the people who had shown up to secure his release from jail.

As I said earlier, I did not plan on sharing this story, but Gary told me it would be alright. I teased him and told him if I were preaching today, I would tell it all! Smile.

We have a problem in America when it comes to black men and the police. It is not just black men, but, black men who are physically large and often darker. Gary is not super-dark, but he is large with a bigger than life voice. Gary is fortunate he was not shot, tassered, or beaten. On of the lessons from our Saturday incident in Taylor is the importance of surrounding our people when they are hassled by the police. I shudder to try to imagine what might have happened to Gary if he were not surrounded by family, friends, a minister, a judge, and two lawyers!


Amos 5: 24   But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Have you ever been abused by the police?
  2. When have you felt that you were targeted because of your race?
  3. What do you think America can do to improve relations between the police and people of color?


Prayer: Lord, I pray for the day when your justice will be received like waters from a mighty stream! Grant me the courage to speak truth to power and to stand up for justice for all. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photos by Deacon Mike Daniels

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at

More about the ministry, mission, prayers and publications from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at

Also at


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Am 5:24). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Kingdom of Heaven and the Sowing of the Mustard Seed

043Kingdom of Heaven and the Sowing of the Mustard Seed –


The late Rev. Obie Matthews used to say, “Some folk are so heavenly bound, they are no earthly good!” I am thinking today about his big, boisterous laugh at the well-intentioned Christians who simply get the faith wrong. Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that is sowed in his field. Let’s break this parable down.

Jesus starts by saying, “The kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom of heaven is at least two dimensional. The first level is here on earth. I believe Jesus came to earth not just to prepare us for life beyond death, but also to show us how to live. What good is a heavenly death if we have not learned how to live? It bothers me to find some Christians who will look the other way and put up with racism, sexism, and fascism, all in the name of things will be better when we get to heaven.

This week, we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, who championed the civil rights for all people. Dr. King believed in heaven, prayed for heaven, and died in the faith of going to heaven, but he also believed that all persons should be treated equal with the same rights to receive a public education, access to public accommodations like lunch counters, and the right to vote. To Dr. King, the kingdom of heaven, was not just a prize to be obtained upon death, but right here on earth!

Matthew 13: 31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” [1]

Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to the sowing of a mustard seed. It was not only the faith of the mustard seed, but the sowing of the seed. The seed must be selected, planted, watered and watched, and eventually, with the help of the sunshine, the seed grows into a productive plant and if left alone long enough, a big tree. This is a great analogy for how we must work toward the building of God’s kingdom on earth. You and I and other people of good will and faith must work to convince the world of the power of love, equality and justice. As we work to establish a world order in the spirit of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God will become a reality, not just in death, but also in life.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How would you describe the kingdom of heaven?
  2. Why do you think Jesus compared the sowing of a mustard seed to the kingdom of heaven?
  3. Is it the seed or the sowing of the seed that should be compared to the kingdom of heaven?


Prayer: Lord, grant me the faith, energy and commitment to sow faith in your word for the building of your kingdom. Lord, make me proud to be a witness for you! Make me proud to tell the world what you have done for me! Make me unashamed to admit that when I was down, you lifted me up! When I was lost, you came for me and found me! When I could not see my way, you gave me direction. Help me to pray right, live right, love right and do right in your sight. In Jesus name. 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

More about the ministry, missions, prayers and publications from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 13:31–32). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Gift of Time!


Ecclesiastes 3: 6     a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; [1]

The other day, a person told me they had received one of the best gifts of all, the “Gift of Time.”  At first, I was a little stunned because in the previous breath, they told me that they had just been released from their employment.  While I felt sorry for the individual, they made me feel better when they said they had received such a remarkable gift of time – time to think, time to refresh, time to renew, time to reinvigorate their spirit.

          In the 3rd chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes, there is a verse that says, “A time to seek and a time to lose…”(vs.6).  As I think of that verse, I am reminded by the Wisdom Writer that not every day will be a pleasant day, not every experience will be joyful, not every moment will be sweet.  So, we live our lives in the faith that God is faithful, and will walk with us through every occasion of life.  When the bottom falls out of your life, I hope you will remember the words of my member and thank God for the “Gift of Time!”


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What advice would you give to a person who has lost their employment?
  2. How do you maintain hope and presence of mind in times of loss?


Prayer:  Lord, grant me a positive spirit.  Help me to see opportunity, even in the middle of loss and tragedy.  Lord, I pray for the gift of time.  Show me how to retreat, refresh and renew my spirit.  Teach me to project and see beyond the present storm.  Grant me your peace.  Grant me your joy.  Grant me your love.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Video by Stephen F. Hood

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at




[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ec 3:6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“Making it Home”

“Making it Home”


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Worship Service


Plymouth United Church of Christ

600 E. Warren Ave.

Detroit, Michigan 48201




8:30 AM Worship Service – Atty. Noah P. Hood, speaking

11 AM Worship Service – James Morris, speaking

1 PM – “Making it Home” – a discussion led by young adults on knowing your rights when stopped by the police, featuring several lawyers, judges.  Light refreshments will be served.


Nicholas Hood,III Ministries


Blog at

Up ↑