- Created on 19 May 2013
Pentecost commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ, on the ancient Jewish festival called the “feast of weeks” or Pentecost (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10). Whitsunday is so called from the white garments which were worn by those who were baptized during the vigil; Pentecost (“Pfingsten” in German), is the Greek for “the fiftieth” (day after Easter).
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven
staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”
May the spirit empower, enlighten, enfold and engage you.
- Created on 13 May 2013
They used to be your favorite soul singers. Now they’re yet another group of reality show stars, reuniting for a tour of fabulous vocalists and for Season 2 of “R&B Divas” a show that chronicles the personal and professional struggles of singers Angie Stone, Faith Evans, Monifah Carter, Syleena Johnson, Keke Wyatt, Brownstone’s Nicci Gilbert and Xcsape’s LaTocha Scott. This season, the ladies are trying to keep it together enough to make the tour happen but are challenged by family issues and their own diva-like behavior.
Wyatt’s husband, Michael Ford, becomes an unofficial diva with his own web series, “The World According to Michael.” Despite the issue the other ladies had with Wyatt’s husband being around 24-7 (this is Wyatt’s second husband, some may remember her infamous Christmas Day stabbing of the first), Ford will be back on “R&B Divas” as well.
“That’s my bay-bay!” Wyatt told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “They [the divas] were just hating.”
Wyatt says that yes, she and her husband are together 24-7, and that’s fine by both of them.
“When he’s getting on my nerves, I might go get my nails done,” Wyatt said. Wyatt has said that she chose her husband because she knew he wouldn’t be abusive like her first one was. She told Essence.com she did her research before she married the second time and said “The people who raised him just wouldn’t allow him to be anything but respectful towards women. [Laughs] I can tell you now, if he did anything crazy I could call his family and they’d come set him straight.”
Despite the scrutiny a reality show brings to a relationship and the fact that many of them don’t survive it, Wyatt says her relationship is grounded in faith, which keeps it strong.
“When you put God at the head of your life, you can’t go wrong. My scripture told me this morning to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not into your own understanding. So therefore, honey, we are good because we are leaning on Him, and when you’re leaning on him, can’t nobody do nothing. My husband is the head, I’m the tail, and we good.”
As for drama on the show this season, Wyatt says to no one’s surprise, to expect plenty. The ladies are preparing to go on tour together, but naturally, there are obstacles in their way, both external and external.
“Angie Stone’s on there,” Wyatt said in a voice that sounds like the two will bump heads, though Wyatt wouldn’t elaborate. “I’m not at liberty to run this trap, although I want to,” she said. “I’ll tell you this, it’s going to be more me, and a whole lot of me and that’s all I care about,” she said.
And the fact that Wyatt calls her “old,” a description Stone probably won’t care for, means it’s likely to be on and poppin’ for the Divas. So far, the drama we’ve seen in the preview is between Nicci Gilbert and Syleena Johnson, though the often difficult Nicci was once said to be on her way out of the show.
- Created on 10 May 2013
Kristie and Kirstie Bronner, C'2013, have always done everything together — from dressing alike in elementary school to double dating in high school. On May 19, the music majors from Atlanta will graduate from Spelman College as co-valedictorians with perfect 4.0 GPAs.
"I definitely do not feel like I came to school perfect," said Kirstie. "I always felt like a 4.0 student was a genius, and I didn't think that I was a genius. I still don't think I'm a genius. I'm a person who prays hard and works hard. That's it."
Extremely disciplined from high school, the Bronners found themselves spending the majority of their time studying during the early part of their Spelman career. They soon realized all of their studying was causing them to burn out.
"We were sick all the time because our immune system was so weak due to the stress," said Kristie. "Then, we realized we had to enjoy the journey. You can't be so focused on the destination that you don't live day-to-day. We were living looking forward to all the breaks. Every morning we were like, 'Christmas break is a coming. Christmas break is a coming.' And then after Christmas it was, 'Oh, Lord. OK, summer break is a coming. Summer break is a coming.' It may sound like exaggeration, but that's what we did."
To create balance in their life, Kristie and Kirstie began scheduling time to hang out with friends and go to the movies on the weekend. This change helped them to stop looking forward to breaks and begin enjoying their college experience. "Every semester became more enjoyable, more manageable, more balanced and we became healthier," explained Kristie.
While at Spelman, Kristie and Kirstie were active members of the Spelman College Glee Club. Kristie served as Glee Club chaplain and Soprano 2 section leader while Kirstie served as student conductor and Alto 1 and Alto 2 section leader. They also studied abroad in Italy and volunteered for community service projects sponsored by the college.
While Kristie and Kirstie have found inspiration in a number of the courses, they credit Juanchella G. Francis, Ph.D., psychology lecturer, with having a significant impact on the women they are becoming. "She has been an extremely impactful teacher and goes so far beyond academics," Kirstie said. "She's a perfect balance of a teacher who cares about their students and wants them to succeed and one who operates in excellence and professionalism."
"Kirstie and Kristie were two of my top performing students and an absolute joy to teach," said Dr. Francis. "As God-fearing young ladies, they are full of joy and spiritually and emotionally mature. I am extremely proud of them and know that they will bless this world!"
Upon graduation, Kristie and Kirstie plan to work full-time in ministry. They will work as youth event coordinators at Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, which is pastored by their father, the Rev. Dale C. Bronner. In this position, they will plan conferences and programming, serve as youth counselors and work with the youth choirs and praise and worship teams. Additionally, the twins plan to author a book, record the contemporary Christian music they've been writing, and continue speaking to youth and women at events and conferences.
"I definitely believe we will always be in ministry because it's our passion. We have been doing ministry in some form our whole lives," said Kirstie.
Kristie and Kirstie aren't the first women in their family to conquer Spelman's rigorous curriculum. Their mother, the Rev. Nina Cobb Bronner, graduated from Spelman in 1985, their aunt, Sheila Bronner is a member of the Class of 1986, and their grandmother, Dorothy Gibson Cobb, finished in 1956.
Their father graduated from Morehouse College in 1984, where he finished as the top student in the field of religion.
- Created on 13 May 2013
In this timeless book, "What's on God's Sin List for Today," author Tom Hobson digs deep into scripture in order to answer the question that many Christians ask: Which of the Biblical commands are still relevant?
"Christians get confused about exactly what to do with the commands in the Bible," says Hobson. "Do we need to give up pork and shellfish? Is it a sin to eat road-kill or to eat blood sausage? Is it a sin to wear mixed fabric? Is cross-dressing a crime? What about tattoos? What do we do with that command not to boil a baby goat in its mother's milk?"
And if none of these commands are for Christians today, then which Bible commands are?
The author examines the laws in the Old Testament and the New Testament sin lists, and how they speak to issues such as sex, alcohol and drugs, obscene language and gambling as they existed in the first-century world in order to suggest what's on God's
sin list today.
" This is a biblical study of sin in the Old and New Testament in their respective historical contexts with an evaluation of their ancient meanings as well as their current relevance today. It is not intended for legalists, or antinomians, but for those who want to deepen their understanding of the conflict between Judeo-Christian ethical norms and pagan practices," Hobson notes.
Tom Hobson has been a pastor in the Presbyterian Church since 1983. He is currently chairman of the Biblical Studies Department at Morthland College in West Frankfort, Ill.
- Created on 10 May 2013
'The Sister Gospels,' the first published novel of Vera Jennings, was 10 years in the making. It is a faith-based story depicting the intertwining lives of four close-knit African-American sisters as each embarks on her own tumultuous path to growth and self-discovery.
A tragic loss, a doomed relationship, substance abuse and adjusting to life after divorce are the trials that test the sisters' strength of character as they draw closer to God and one another.
The genre for The Sister Gospels can be summed up as urban, Christian fiction romance, which engages female readers in particular. However, the book also features secular themes and prominent male characters that create universal appeal and offers a compelling slice-of-life human drama. Though most of the main characters are African American, with several having a personal relationship with Christ, it is a story everyone can relate to.
The Sister Gospels is already enjoying rave reviews on Amazon.com.
"Engrossing. This book kept me interested from start to finish, and I truly enjoyed how each story was connected but also stood on its own," was Sharon Valentine's comment.
"Powerfully good. I really did enjoy this book. It touched a spot in my heart. I had to bring out the Kleenex," wrote Kendra Cheatham.
The author's objective was to foster introspection, she says. "It was written with the intention to inspire and stir the soul of the reader. I hope readers will find strong and engaging characters and that the exploits of the four sisters will entertain them."
Vera Jennings was born and raised in Chicago, the third of six children. She has previously had two short stories published and has written another faith-based novel titled The Way of a Heart, which is slated for future publication. Jennings now calls southeastern Wisconsin home, where she lives with her husband, Fred.
For more information on this creative writer, visit her website at: www.firstratefiction.com.