Nicholas Hood III Ministries

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For the Battle is the Lord’s

“For the Battle is the Lords!” –

My son, Noah and me


This Sunday I am preaching about an aspect of the battle between David and Goliath. In their prelude to battle, Goliath and David engage in some major league “Trash talk.” Goliath shouts at David that he will kill him and leave his body for the birds of the air. David tells Goliath that he will kill him and many in the army of the Philistines and above all things, “The battle is the Lord’s.” Because the battle is the Lord’s, neither sword or spear can save.

1 Samuel 17; 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.” [1]

If it already has not happened in your life, you will find a day when you have prepared yourself, prayed to the Lord, but at some point, when you have done the best that you can, the only thing remaining is to leave the rest to God. This is difficult, because we are raised thinking that only we can save ourselves, but at the end of the day, when there is nothing more we can do, all we can do is to turn things over to the Lord.

For example, when you work for a mean, difficult boss, who seems as though it is their life mission to mess with you and upset your day, when you arrive at work early and stay at work late, when you do your best to accomplish your tasks, and nothing seems good enough for your supervisor, the only thing remaining is to turn it over to the Lord!

The same is true in love. When you have done all that you can do, the only thing remaining is to turn it over to the Lord! If you are prepared to turn things over to the Lord, remember that David had trained all of his young life for war. David is prepared to fight Goliath. David runs to fight Goliath. Yet, David acknowledges that his victory is really God’s victory, because the battle is not his, but the Lord’s.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. When have you relied more upon yourself than upon the Lord?
  2. Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt that the Lord fought on your behalf? When?
  3. What is the most difficult aspect of realizing that “the battle is the Lords,” and not yours?


Prayer: Lord, prepare my hands, head and heart for the struggle that looms before me. Grant me your courage. Grant me your power. Grant me your love for life and a purpose that is greater than myself. When I have done the best that I can do and there is nothing more within my power, I turn it all over to you, Lord. Remind me that in spite of my strength and spirit, the battle is not mine, but yours, O Lord. Fight for me. Deliver for me. Heal me and strengthen me. In Jesus name. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Denise Page Hood

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Sa 17:47). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Run Towards Your Goliath!

“Run Toward Your Goliath!”

Irish Bayou, Louisiana


In the bestselling book, “Outliers: the Story of Success,” Malcom Gladwell, the author, has an interesting perspective on the way David fights Goliath. In a perceptive way, Gladwell observes several things about the way David is successful in his battle with the giant. The most interesting of his observations, for me is that Gladwell points out that David “Runs towards Goliath.” Once David had committed to fighting Goliath, he does not hesitate, but he “runs towards goliath.” You and I could learn from David that when faced with a great task, we too should “Run” towards our objective with confidence, passion, and faith that our God will deliver.

These are some of my thoughts about David and Goliath: first, David refuses to fight Goliath according to the terms and norms that Goliath tries to dictate. Goliath lines up in traditional armor with the protection of an armor bearer. Even though King Saul offers David his armor, David declines because he is not used to the armor and it is too heavy for him to move around with any flexibility. Next, David looks at Goliath not as some super-human, but as a larger than life adversary. In this context, David equates Goliath to the bears and lions that would attempt to snatch his father’s sheep. David tells Saul that if he could protect the sheep from the lions and bears, surely, he could defeat Goliath. Take a look at the passage below.

1 Samuel  17: 33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you!” [1]ni

Then, we get to Malcom Gladwell’s point. David “Runs” towards Goliath. Why does David run towards Goliath?

  1. David may be young, but he knows what he is doing! He is an expert with a sling shot.
  2. By running towards Goliath, David probably caused the giant to become bewildered because he was not afraid of him.
  3. The sling shot becomes a sort of equalizer for David. He may not be an expert with a sword, but as James Brown would say, “You’ve got to use what you got to get what you want! David uses what he knows and what is in his hand to fight the giant.

1 Samuel 17: 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine; he grasped his sword, drew it out of its sheath, and killed him; then he cut off his head with it. [2]

I am preaching on the subject of “Running toward Goliath” Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at noon at the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan. If you are available, I hope you can attend. If you can’t make it in person, check it out on my Facebook Page at 12 noon EST.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Can you think of something like David running towards Goliath?
  2. What is the significance of David running towards Goliath, rather than moving towards Goliath in a cagy, protective manner?


Prayer: Lord, grant that I might be aware of my strengths and weaknesses. Bless me with the courage to develop my skill sets, build upon my skill sets and use my skillsets to the glory of your name. Fill me with passion and energy to approach my challenges and obstacles with faith in you, faith in myself, hope for success and love of life and a dream of the best life not just in the world to come, but in this life right now. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Sa 17:33–37). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Sa 17:51). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“Betty, Get rid of that Bedroom Hair”

“Betty, you need to get rid of that “Bedroom Hair.” This is what Glenna Burgess told me that some of the good church ladies at their church in New Orleans said to my mother. Glenna Burgess was one of my mother’s closest friends in New Orleans. In 1949, my mother and father were married and settled in New Orleans where my father pastored a church.

I had dinner with Glenna this past Friday evening. She told me stories about my mother and father I had never heard. She began by telling me that she and my mother were pregnant and delivered babies within days of each other. I lived. Her baby died. She told me that my dad was constantly butting heads with the Trustee and Deacon Board of the church. I had never heard of any conflict with between my dad and his official boards at the church. Glenna told me that once my dad tried out a pair of glasses and she asked him when did he start wearing them? He told her that he really did not need glasses, but thought that his trustee board might take him more seriously if he looked older. But the story that really floored me was about conflict my mother had with some of the older women of the church.

My mother married my dad when she was 19 and he was 27. Glenna told me that some of the good church ladies pulled my mom aside and said, “Betty, you need to get rid of that “Bedroom” hair. I have never heard that expression, but it sounds like an insult. Evidently my mother shared this experience with Glenna. Glenna reminded me that my mother was enrolled at Dillard University and wore her hair like the other young female students.  Glenna did not tell me how things were resolved, but she did say that it hurt my mother’s feelings.

As Glenna told me the story about how my mother was insulted, I quietly thought to myself about some of the insults hurled or muttered at me throughout my entire life. Most of the time I just keep moving with my head held high, because I don’t want the insulter to know that they have gotten to me. Sometimes I have devolved into throwing the insult back at the person who tried to hurt my feelings. I am not proud of this. Once in New Orleans when I was a student for the ministry, a mother told me I was light enough to marry her daughter, but my nappy hair would never do. My reply was, “what makes you think I want to marry your daughter?” While in divinity school, of all places, one of my classmates called me a name: “Nicky Nice.” He also called me “Paul.” When I asked him why he called me names, he replied, “Because you are nice to the white folk, just like Paul was nice to the gentiles.” At that point, when he called me “Nicky Nice”, I replied, “That’s funny you should say that, because that’s what your girlfriend called me last night.” In my community, when males start going back and forth like that, often it ends in a fist fight. He and I did not come to blows, but it was my way of letting him know that I was prepared to “Throw down”, even if he thought I was “Nicky Nice.”

Actually, I did get a little physical with that guy who liked to call me out of my name. We were all in our early 20’s and sometimes would play basketball. I enjoyed snatching rebounds from my insulting classmate and purposely would throw my elbows into him, saying loud enough for the other guys to hear me, “What’s my name? “What’s my name?” I think it was the basketball that caused him to start calling me by real name. Smile.

In the book of James, the writer encourages his readers to refrain from insulting each other. As believers, you and I should strive to rise above the temptation to degrade and demean others. If we disagree with another person, we should stick to the disagreement without resorting to insults and lies, and the throwing of elbows.

James 4: 11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor? [1]


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What have you learned from Jesus Christ about how to handle insults?
  2. What does this passage from the Book of James tell you about the temptation to “Speak evil against one another?”


Prayer: Lord, help me to rise above the temptation to insult others. Grant that I might always look for something positive, even in the worst of situations. If I cannot say something positive, teach me to hold my peace. When I feel that I cannot sit on the sidelines in silence, show me how to fight for those things I believe are true, honorable and just without sinking into an abyss of lies and half-truths. Lord, help me to rise above the temptation to insult and degrade others and grant me your peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by a waitress at “Mandina’s”

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jas 4:11–12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Power Within You!

DSC_8834“The Power Within You!”


As a child, I was fascinated with the ministry of Oral Roberts. He led “Crusades” of healing around the nation and much of the world. When people ridiculed his evangelistic style of ministry that often included his laying of hands on sick people who were miraculously healed, throwing down canes and walking back down the aisle with pep in their step, hands raised in praise, lips shouting in glory, Rev. Roberts would end the broadcast by pointing his finger at the camera, squinting his eyes, and saying, “Remember, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”

I met a man in a restaurant today who slipped me a note that simply said, “Pray for me.” I was moved by his request. If I could talk with him more I would say the same thing that Oral Roberts would say when ending the broadcast, “Remember, greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world!”

These words are written in 1 John, the fourth chapter. I believe John said this because he did not want the early Christian community to lose heart. Yes, the church was experiencing unprecedented persecution, yes, there were internal power struggles, yes, it looked like the early church might not survive, yet it was to these people that John gave hope by reminding them that there is a power within each of us that transcends the power of the world.

Are you going through a health challenge? Are you struggling with divorce? Is your lack of money frustrating you and driving you to tears? Does going to work every day drive you nuts because the environment is toxic? Are you worried that you will not be comfortable in retirement? Remember the words of John and the confidence he had in the power of God that is already within each of us:


1 John 4: 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[1]


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about the power that God has placed within you?
  2. In what ways has Jesus blessed us to build upon the power that God has already given to us?


Prayer: Lord, teach me how to unleash the power you have provided me. In times of despair, be my inspiration. In my weakness, make me strong. When my frame of mind is narrow and shallow, grant me clarity of vision, a narrowing of focus, and a tidal wave of love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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

Your Work Will be Rewarded!

Reem, tasting her own cooking in 2014


In 2014, I met Reem, a young woman of middle-eastern descent, who is a child-hood friend of my daughter in law, Sharla. I believe she is Palestinian. Reem and her husband set up a little outdoor cooking station in the backyard and she began to prepare some of her signature flat breads. My son, Nathan and I had a ball trying the different flat breads and wraps. Reem explained that her dream was to have her own restaurant. I took several photos of the various stages of the preparation of the food and gave them to her on a flash drive.


Three years later, Reem has her own restaurant in Oakland, California at the Fruitvale train station! She is up and running with a line of customers out the door! We stopped by her restaurant in early June, and I am impressed. Reem told me that she worked hard to put her financing together, with several investors and small business loans.

There is a lesson from Reem’s success. First, it is important to have a vision where you want to go and what you want to do. Second, you must be good at what you do – Reem is a great cook. Third, a lesson we can learn from Reem is her tenacity in building a team of investors and seeking outside financing. Fourth, she is working hard in making her business a success.

To me, Reem represents a model for prosperity in our current economy. From my perspective, “With God, all things are possible”, (Matthew 19:26) but we still must apply ourselves. For our good work, there will be a reward! The blessing that awaits us is not only after death, but right now in this natural life.

2 Chronicles 15: But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What verses in the Bible help you to achieve your goals?
  2. Why are these verses important to you?


Prayer: Lord, grant me a spirit of determination. Grant me the courage to dream, the strength to soar, the passion to believe, and love to press on. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photos by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Ch 15:7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I Will Sing to the Lord!

I Will Sing to the Lord!

Every Wednesday at my church at noon we have a brief time of singing, preaching and prayer. I like this worship service because it lacks the drama of Sunday morning.   There are no announcements, no major-league liturgy, no elongated introductions, just singing, preaching and prayer.

We are developing I nice little choral group to lead the singing on Wednesdays. Rachell Raimy is the lead vocalist, but she is often joined by Atty. Rita White and Sheila Slaughter. Others like Cora Collins, Evelyn Hudson Wright, Henrietta Carson, Lydia Clark and Miracle Ezeh also sing with us. Sometimes I conscript others in the audience to sing with us like Laura Mosely. I too, sing with our little group and I love it! Denard McClary is the Musical Director for Wednesday Noon Worship and week by week, our praise of God continues to grow in stature, grace and glory.

Singing is a wonderful release and way to connect with God. When they were in jail, Paul and Silas sang in the middle of the night. David sang as a shepherd and later as king of Israel. Like David, Paul and Silas and the other disciples, you and I should take every opportunity to praise the Lord with our singing.

If you are ever available on a Wednesday at Noon, I hope you will stop by and worship with us and join in our singing at the Plymouth United Church of Christ 600 E. Warren Ave. Detroit, Michigan 49201.


Psalm 104: 33         I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

34  May my meditation be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the Lord. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. When do you find yourself “Singing to the Lord?”
  2. What do you sing about when “Singing to the Lord?

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your love and kindness. I sing to you in joy. I sing to you when I am sad. I sing songs of praise for all you have done, what you are presently doing and what you will do in the future. Lord, you are larger than my greatest imagination. You have blessed me with life, strength, and love. When I was sick, you healed me. When I was lost, you found me. When I was bitter and bent on revenge, you showed me how to forgive. When some were mean to me, you showed me how to overcome in love. All I can do is praise you, magnify you, and lift your Holy name. through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 104:33–34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Word of God is Sharp

The Word of God is …Sharper than any two -edged sword!

For the last three weeks, I have conducted an interesting, lively and timely bible discussion in my backyard entitled, “Burgers and Bible.” The theme for this series was “Abundant Life.” Specifically, each week looked at various aspects of the promise of abundant life that only Jesus Christ can provide.

For the final Bible discussion, we looked at the words of Jesus in Luke 6, where he taught “Judge not and you will not be judged.” Three judges and two lawyers were in attendance. Judge Vera Massey Jones, Judge Meztner, and my wife, Judge Denise Page Hood represented the judiciary. Atty. Rita White is a former prosecutor and now a defense lawyer. Atty. Tony Poole is a former Assistant United States Attorney and now a lawyer for an insurance company. I asked each of these persons who render and wrestle with judgement every day to share their thoughts on incorporating the words of Jesus when at the same time they are required to render some form of judgement. The discussion was fascinating for the lawyers and non-lawyers.

As we sat there in my backyard with the setting of the sun, the smell of fire on charcoal, hamburgers, hotdogs, watermelon and pound cake, I thought to myself about how much I enjoy reading and reflecting upon the Word of God. One of our newer, younger members, James Morris snapped a photo of me walking us through the Bible lesson and discussion on “Judgement” as one of those things that can prevent us from obtaining “Abundant Life” in Jesus Christ. With the setting sun peeking through the trees, I thought to myself, “I really love the Word of God!”

Hebrews 4: 12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. [1]


Questions for Reflection:

  1. How is the word of God sharper than a two-edged sword?
  2. What does this passage of scripture say to you about the Word of God?


Prayer: Lord, your Word has filled my heart with tidings of peace, goodwill and joy! I read your word and it lifts me up. I digest your Word and it makes me humble with praise. As it attempt to live and follow your word, I am pierced to my core! In you I find peace. In you I find hope. In you I have found the pathway to eternal life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by James Morris

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Heb 4:12–13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Today is One of My Most Proud Days as a Pastor!

Today is One of My Proudest Days as a Pastor-


As a pastor, I have experienced several proud days – every baptism; every marriage I perform; every distraught and distressed person I have calmed down; every person I have helped to find a job; every husband and wife I have counseled; every church budget I have balanced and sometimes exceeded; the missions programs we do locally in Detroit, Michigan, but also the missions to former refugees of war in Libera; assisting and supporting a health mission in Ethiopia; the sermons, prayers, special programs, leading Bible Studies, youth programs, Sunday School and more.

On my 25th pastoral anniversary, we laid commemorative bricks with the names of contributors to a special capital campaign. I am proud of the 1.1-million-dollar renovation of the church; replacing the church roof, lower level floor, resurfacing parking lots, building the first church based charter school in the State of Michigan with over 500 students and more. But, today was right up at the top of my list!


Today, the Scholarship Fund of the Plymouth United Church of Christ presented 32 college students – members with $2000 each. We have come a long way. Most of the members of the Scholarship Fund Committee started with me 32 years ago, in 1985 when I was first called as pastor and senior minister of the church. My first major committee that I organized was the Scholarship Fund. After a whole year of cooking breakfasts, the committee was only able to present each student with a $50 award. The committee was almost worn out and I was concerned it would “die on the vine.” I proposed a separate offering each month that would be dedicated solely for scholarship awards. Like magic the value of the fund began to increase. In 1988, one of our older members, Rosetta Scott, was diagnosed with cancer. She and I talked about creating a legacy through an endowed scholarship. Mrs. Scott left $100,000 to the church, which we split in two ways: $50,000 to the Current Expense and Mission Fund and $50,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund in her name. The church paid for her funeral and her name lives on as the first endowed scholarship. Today, we have 25 endowed scholarships. The Scholarship Fund continues and we presented the students $2000 each for a total of $64,000. $2000 will not pay the cost of a college education, but it is a major step in the right direction. I am proud of how far we have come – from $50 to $2000 per student, with a total value of around $700,000!


Psalm 119: 9         How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10       With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments. [1]

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for this day. I thank you for every bench mark, every safe landing space to remind me that you are God and we are your creation. I thank you for your leadership and support. I thank you for the youth of the church who remind me that life goes on and every generation has an opportunity to push the world forward into uncharted waters, blue skies, and vistas beyond our present imagination. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photos by Atty. Roger West

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 119:9–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Tour Israel – October 2018

Following in the Footsteps of Jesus – Join me on a spiritual tour of a lifetime to Israel!



I have traveled to Israel twice. My first trip to the Holy Land was in 2002. The second trip to Israel was in 2006. For me, these trips were spiritual high-points because I had an opportunity to walk where Jesus walked, see what Jesus saw, visit the Jordan River where he was baptized, walk into the tomb where he was laid and much more. One of the major eye-opening experiences for me was to realize that the Galilee Sea is only 77 miles from Jerusalem. I would like to invite you to join me on a tour of Israel in October 2018 which will include the following: Tour Tel Aviv; Tour Jerusalem: The Church of the Holy Sepulcher; Calvary, the Western Wall; Mt. Carmel; The Sea of Galilee; Nazareth, Cana, the mountain where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount; The Dead Sea; Masada; and baptisms in the Jordan River (optional). The dates for the trip to Israel are October22-31, 2018 / approximately $4500 per person, double occupancy.


For more information contact Deierdre Weir at 313-613-3112 or

Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Pastor and Senior Minister, Plymouth United Church of Christ

600 E. Warren Ave.

Detroit, Michigan 48201



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