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Nicholas Hood III Ministries

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Accuser and the Accused

– The Rape of Tamar 2 Samuel 13

Note:  this video is of my church service today where I preached about the rape of Tamar. The sermon is entitled the accused and the Accuser and what I’m talking about is not just the rape of Tamar but the reaction of Absalom her brother as well as the refusal of David to punish amnon for raping his sister, Tamar

I believe the Bible story of the rape of Tamar is it especially relevant in today’s world particularly with all of the accusations of sexual impropriety and in many cases the non-response of those who were aware of what was going on

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The Rape of Tamar

The Rape of Tamar –


One of the most shameful events in the life of King David, was his refusal to hold his son, Amnon responsible for the rape of his sister Tamar. Amnon and Tamar were children of David, but by different mothers. In the 21st verse, Samuel tells us that David was angry when he learned Amnon had raped Tamar, but would not punish him because “he loved him, for he was his first born.” I find it incredible that Samuel records that David loved Amnon, but says nothing about his love for Tamar!

Does this mean that David did not love his daughter like he loved his son? By not addressing the rape of his daughter, David becomes a tacit enabler of the shameful actions of his son, Amnon.

2 Samuel 13: 21 When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn.[1]

One of the things that is made clear in the recent rash of men who are being accused of rape, sexual harassment and abuse, is that in each case, the accused men are wealthy and powerful. In many of the cases, the accuser is a female professional subordinate to the man. Several of the women have stated that they were reluctant to bring charges because they were fearful that they might lose their job or professional opportunities.

This Sunday, I plan to preach about the rape of Tamar: the abuse that her brother Amnon thinks he can get away with because he is next in line to follow his father, David as King. Tamar is not only raped, but treated like a scorned and shunned woman. Amnon could have married her, but instead, kicks Tamar to the proverbial curb, and she retreats to the protection of her brother, Absalom. If you are available and in the Detroit area this Sunday, I would like to invite you to join me for worship at the Plymouth United Church of Christ, 600 E. Warren Ave. Detroit, Michigan 48201 at 8:30 or 11 AM.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does the Bible tell you about sexual abuse?
  2. How could King David have responded in a better way to the rape of his daughter, Tamar?

Prayer: Lord, in word and in action, teach me to honor and respect women. Teach me to affirm the independence and character of women. Make me an advocate for the equality of women. Lord, grant me the strength to rise above the temptation to enable men who abuse and disrespect women. Bless me today to work, live and hope for the best in all that I say and do. 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 publications from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Sa 13:21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Rev. Roger Miller – personal reflections

img064Remembering Rev. Roger Miller –

 

I met Rev. Miller when I was 13 or 14 years old. My father extended a call to Rev. Miller to serve as his associate minister. Rev. Miller was unusual from the start. His wife, Gloria was black. Roger was white. I believe they met when he was a student at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Gloria was from the St. Louis area. Gloria was attractive, tall, brown-skinned and easy going. Roger was tall with blond hair and a generous smile. They were only married for less than a year. Cancer took her life just as we were getting to know her. The fourth of July before she died, I remember it today like it was yesterday, the two of them came over to visit my family. Gloria, Roger, my mother and father sat on the front lawn on Fullerton Street sipping iced-tea and lemonade. Emory, my younger brother, and I could not sit still long enough to enjoy the tea and lemonade, so with the urging of a friend and neighbor, Aquito (Spelling?) Varner, we bombarded Patrick Sullivan’s house with sparklers, one of which hit Mrs. Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan marched down the street shouting at my father, “Rev. Hood, what are you going to do? What are you going to do?” Right in front of Gloria and Roger Miller, my dad yelled at Emory and me to go upstairs. That was the last spanking I ever received. When it was over, me on one twin bed and Em on the other, as we pulled up our pants and my dad put back on his belt, Emory said, “You know Nick, I think we could have taken Dad today!” We all knew that was the last whipping! Roger and Gloria just laughed, trying to keep straight faces.

Roger was my dad’s right-hand man. Roger was called to serve as the associate minister of the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit. In 1960 the church learned it was to be taken by imminent domain for the construction of a medical center. Roger was hired a few years later. At one point, Roger and Tony Stanley were both associate ministers under the leadership of my dad, Nicholas Hood Sr. The three got along famously and seemed to have a lot of fun working together. In only two years, Tony was called to pastor the Peoples United Church of Christ in Washington, DC. Roger stayed with my dad until 1976, the year I was ordained to the Christian Ministry and returned to work at Plymouth UCC in Detroit.

 

In 1976, Roger was hired by Millard Fuller and Habitat for Humanity to build houses in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Roger was well suited for this calling because he learned about construction and development of housing in Detroit as my father’s associate.

In 1963, Plymouth United Church of Christ sponsored the creation of a non-profit housing corporation which developed the Medical Center Courts Housing Development. Roger Miller was the first executive director of the Housing Corporation. Construction began in July of 1967, the same month and year of the Detroit Riot. A year later, the first of 230 tenants moved into the housing development. Roger Miller was unique in that he too, moved into the housing development in court six, and remained there until he moved from Detroit to the Congo.

Overcome with grief from the death of his beautiful, young wife, Roger poured himself into his ministry at the church. He not only assisted with pulpit duties on Sunday mornings, but Roger also was quite pastoral in visiting the sick.

However, where a whole generation of us remember Roger was through his work with the young people. On Sunday evenings, Roger assisted Randy Evans, the dynamic undergraduate student youth minister, in leading our high school youth minister. We would start on the lower level of the church at 514 Garfield Street, talking about the issues of the day, with Roger and Randy connecting the current events with the Bible. Next, we would go upstairs to the sanctuary, sing and pray, then return to the lower level to spin records and learn the latest dances! It was a dynamic youth ministry that none of us would ever forget.

Roger Miller is one of people who encouraged me to consider becoming a minister. In my junior year of undergraduate college, it was Roger Miller who encouraged me to request In-Care-Status as a person who was considering going into the ministry. In my fourth year of college, Roger bought me a plane ticket to St. Louis to visit his alma-mater, Eden Theological Seminary. Roger was slick in that he arranged for me to stay at the home of one of the nieces of his deceased wife, Vicky Mabry. Vicky was a senior in high school, tall, beautiful with a St. Louis drawl. She and I went with some of her friends to see Al Green in performance. I had a ball. On the plane ride home, I was convinced I was going to enroll at Eden Seminary. After asking myself why I liked Eden so much, I had to admit that what I really liked about that weekend was Vicky Mabry. I prayed to the Lord and said, “Lord, take me away from that place!” My fallback school was Yale Divinity, and that is where I enrolled, but Roger Miller almost convinced me to go to Eden.

Back to the Housing Ministry. My dad was deep into uncharted waters as he developed the first new residential construction in Detroit after the 1967 Riot. Roger was a major contributor to the housing ministry of our church because he was white and often was allowed access to some people and places my father was less welcome. Even though my dad was an elected member to the Detroit City Council, and at that time, the only black person on the City Council, He and Roger worked well as a team and the church built and renovated several properties.

In 1975, my father received a grant from the Kresge Foundation to build the Cyprian Center, one of the first partial day activity centers for the mentally handicapped in Detroit, Michigan. Again, Roger was right by the side of my dad!

After returning from the Congo, Roger worked as an associate conference minister in Denver, for the Rocky Mountain Conference of the UCC. After leaving the Rocky Mountain Conference, Roger was called as an associate conference minister in Ohio.

Roger fell in love with his beloved, Susan, and they were happily married. Together they gave life to a daughter, Emily. I talked off and on with Roger over the past year. He was intent on sharing his files from the housing ministry with me and the church. He also delivered to the church one of the stained-glass windows from 514 Garfield Street, our former church location. Roger was able to make it to the funeral for my father. Although he was in poor health, he wanted to be there for the funeral and made a few remarks.

Roger died earlier this week. Leslie Taylor, who is the first person ordained at Plymouth UCC under my pastorate, contacted me to tell me that Roger had died.

The following are the arrangements for Roger:

Funeral for family and friends on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 10:30 AM at the North Congregational United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio

Address: 2040 Henderson, Columbus, Ohio

A memorial service is also being planned for early 2018

Pray Strong!

Pray Strong!

 
Yesterday, I wrote about, “Pray Big. The point of, “Pray Big” is to be expansive, inclusive, and as much as possible, all inclusive in our prayers. Another dimension in prayer is not just to have a magnanimous vision in prayer, but to “Pray Strong.” To me, “Pray Strong” means that we should pray with conviction, faith and hope. To “Pray Strong” is to pray as though you believe that all things are possible with God. Even in the 11th hour and hope is difficult to grasp, strong prayers are those prayers that believe that if there is life, there is hope. I refuse to engage individuals and families in making funeral arrangements while their loved one is in the hospital hooked up to life support machines. I tell them in a subtle way, “When the death moment comes, there will be plenty of time to work out the details of a funeral.

Many a human being has been salvaged because of a mother or father’s prayer. I personally am aware of several persons who were caught up in drugs, alcohol, crime and worse, but because of a lot of prayer, hard prayer, strong prayer, they were able to turn their lives around.

In the Book of James, the author proclaims that:

James 5: 16 “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective”

I encourage you to never give up on yourself, and never give up on others. Pray without ceasing. Hold on in hope, and believe that there is nothing Jesus cannot do and with God, all things are possible!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How would you describe a, “Strong Prayer?”
  2. Can a prayer be forceful, but weak at the same time?

 

Prayer: Lord, I put my trust in you. You listen when I call. You answer when I petition. You accept my confession of sin. You receive my thanksgiving. You bless me and others in more ways than I can imagine. For this and so much more, I give you thanks. 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 https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

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

 

 

Pray Big!

Pray Big!

James 4: 2 “You do not have because you do not ask…”

No, this is not our grandchild!  This is a photo of Atty. Hillary Sledge and her daughter with my wife, Denise.  Hillary is a former law clerk for Denise. 

Several years ago, the late, Rev. Odell Jones said aloud in a meeting of preachers who had gathered to discuss local Detroit politics, “You have not because you ask not!” Rev. Jones blew me away, quoting this scripture. It was the right scripture for the right moment. I do not remember the issue. I do not remember the election. What I do remember is thinking about the power of those words from the book of James. So often, we limit ourselves by the scope of our imagination. We under-achieve because we under-dream. My encouragement to you is that you pray big, dream big, and hope big.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What is the biggest prayer you have ever prayed?
  2. Have you ever felt like you should have prayed harder and longer?
  3. Have you ever been reluctant to ask God for everything that you desired? Why?

 

Prayer: Free me Lord, to pray big! Make me unafraid to ask for what I want, to seek for what I desire, and to knock on the door of what seems impossible. Bless my imagination. Bless my desire for the best life possible. Bless me to dream beyond this present reality. Bless my faith so that I might soar like a bird, swim like a fish, and love without end. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Lateef, husband of Atty. Hilary Sledge

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.wordpress.org

 

Giving Gifts

During my September, 2017, trip to China I brought gifts for my staff at the church. With very few exceptions, through the years, when I travel, I bring small gifts back for the people who work with me. It is my way of letting them know that I appreciate them for the work that they do. At one point during the China trip, which I organized for 31 people through my church, we stopped in a Buddhist temple and were introduced to an artist who teaches high school students. The artist invited our group to his studio. In the studio, he talked to us about various aspects of Chinese art forms. He also offered to provide any person with a hand-made, personalized drawing of their names. His price for the personal names drawn on colored paper seemed reasonable, so I gave him the names of my support staff at the church. Each drawing was made with Chinese characters. I asked the man to make a video to explain that the characters meant for each of the staff persons. In the photo above, each of the staff persons is holding the drawing with their name. If you scroll down in this piece, you will see a video I took of the artist with him explaining each piece of art.

Regina Yopp, church secretary is on the left. Latasha Washington, assistant secretary, and event planner is seated. Donovan Grant, custodian is standing on the right. I encourage you to focus on the artwork with their name drawn upon it. The video of the artist, describing what he was thinking as he designed their piece was taken after he had drawn their names and wrapped the art. For those who know my staff, you may be wondering what did I give to Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill and Henrietta Carson. Several days earlier, during a visit to another artist’s studio, I purchased a beautiful landscape in black upon a pretty yellow background for Rev. Hill. Henrietta Carson, my assistant, traveled with our group, so I did not think I had to bring her a gift.

To me, the giving of gifts can be a small thing, but they can go a long way, simply by letting another person know that you were thinking about them. Jesus taught that the more we give to others, the more we will receive. Jesus Christ teaches us not only about salvation from death, but also, the basics in how to live good lives and how to relate to others in this world.

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Questions for Reflection:

1.    What does your faith teach you about giving and receiving gifts?

Prayer: Lord, grant me a receptive and generous spirit. Teach me how to give and receive gifts. As I consider giving gifts, make me thoughtful and kind. When someone has chosen to bless me with a gift, create within me a clean heart, that I might accept what is given with gratitude and thanksgiving. Teach me to give, Lord. Teach me the best ways to receive, and through it all, help me to be more like you. Through 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 https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

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

By Your Favor Our Horn is Exalted

By Your Favor Our Horn is Exalted!

Last Sunday, I spoke with Chenthia Wooten and Sheila Oden about opening up the music from their choir, “Blended Voices,” to begin worship with an extended period of praise music immediately after the call to worship and processional hymn. Chenethia is the director. Sheila is the accompanist. The spirit was high and it seemed like the choir was on over-load with energy to burn. I liked each of the songs that they sang, but the one that really got to me had a line, “I’ve got nothing but the Holy Ghost moving down in my soul…” Jackie Green, a new member of “Blended Voices”, just kept singing about the Holy Ghost, moving in her soul.

As I listened to Jackie and the choir sing that song over and over and over again, I kept thinking about the favor our God bestows upon those who praise him, exult him and magnify his holy name. Listening to the choir, my thoughts were drawn to Psalm 89, which is a powerful psalm of praise. In particular is the 17th verse, which reads:

Psalm 89:17 “for you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted”

In my opinion, the entire psalm represents praise of God, because of the favor that God has spread upon the people of God. I encourage you to step back for a moment to reflect upon how and when God has blessed you with unmerited and merited favor.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How do you describe the favor of God?
  2. What must we do to receive the favor of God?

 

Prayer: Lord, I seek your favor. Lord, I need your favor. Lord, I want your favor. Bless me now with your Holy Spirit, and never leave me. Bless me with your strength, your mercy and grace and most of all, your love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

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Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo and video 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 and mission of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

You Deserve Better!

You Deserve Better!


 

“You deserve better!” I have heard this expression when disappointing things happen to good people. Not only have I heard people say this, but I have felt this and sometimes said it myself. For example, when a faithful woman or man learns that their spouse or lover has cheated on them, squandered their money, or simply treated them with an ungrateful attitude for seemingly no reason at all. The Bible teaches us that God is all knowing, all powerful and all good.

When life throws a curve ball your way, when you do your best to be your best and to follow the teachings of Jesus, when you try to live a faithful life and things go badly, my encouragement to you is that you hold on to your faith, love others as Jesus has taught us to love, and understand that God has a blessing waiting for you!

David, in the Bible writes about desires of the heart and a prayer that God will fulfill all our plans.

Psalm 20: 4  May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans. [1]

As I read Psalm 20, I come away with the sense that David is living with the sense that sometimes blessings are deferred, but that God is aware of the lives we live, and that David is hopeful that dreams and desires will come true.

 

1    The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!

The name of the God of Jacob protect you!

2    May he send you help from the sanctuary,

and give you support from Zion.

3    May he remember all your offerings,

and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices.          Selah

4    May he grant you your heart’s desire,

and fulfill all your plans.

5    May we shout for joy over your victory,

and in the name of our God set up our banners.

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

6    Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;

he will answer him from his holy heaven

with mighty victories by his right hand.

7    Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,

but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.

8    They will collapse and fall,

but we shall rise and stand upright.

9    Give victory to the king, O Lord;

answer us when we call.[2] (Psalm 20)

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. When have you felt like you deserved more from God?
  2. What have you learned in life that has strengthened your faith in God?

Prayer: Lord, I believe in you. Lord, I put my trust in you. Sometimes, I cannot see the way. I confess that there have been times when I have not understood your will. There have been times when I have wondered why things have not turned out better. Yet, for every turn in the road, for every hurt, pain and insult, I see the almighty imprint of your divine hand. I see your hand in every blessing I have received. Through it all, you have taught me that your grace is sufficient, and your love is without end. 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 Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

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

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 20:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 20:1–9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Meditation from Baker Beach

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