Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is error, the truth; Where there is doubt, the faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled, as to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
A call to seek God in the middle of our distress and remind us of the Hope we have within in us and that Hope God has for us and our community.
Our Ministry Vision:
CBC exists to help people discover loving, vital relationships with God, themselves and others through: Worshiping God; Sharing the Gospel; Discipling believers; and Caring for others in the power of the Holy Spirit
Right now I know that many of you are hurting and confused. We who have served together these past number of years have seen trials and triumphs, tragedies and amazing stories of grace.
Let’s not bury our heads in the sand, we know this next year may be difficult for our Church, our staff and our friends. It most certainly will be traumatic as the first few months take hold and our 2017 budget comes into effect. As a member for just about eight years I realize my family and I are fairly short timers in the life of our Church and some may take all I say with a grain of salt.
The truth of the matter is our Church budget has now been on a decline for the past 3 years It has dropped nearly $400,000 since before we came if you go back to 2007. While that is a life time ago in the modern age it is just a drop in the 73 year lifetime of this congregation. This budgetary drop is a direct reflection of a truth that many of us though warned and prodded about have been hesitant to heed or confront. This decline is a crisis to our existence and to this congregations ministry to the community.
Whether by death, moves, loss or disassociation our congregation has been dwindling. While many faithful families and long time members remain the pews sit a little less than half full Sunday after Sunday. Even in the midst of one of the most important votes and opportunity for worship this year our pews remained mostly empty even this last Sunday.
And what a Sunday of Worship it was – if that was to be one of the last services of our congregation meeting together at Central Baptist Church what a glorious reminder of why we are here.
“Oh Lord my God When I in awesome wonder Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made I see the stars I hear the rolling thunder Thy power throughout The universe displayed”
Just one of the numerous hymns and songs of faith beautifully performed to God’s glory this last Sunday.
As we ponder the outcome of the “Better Together” leadership team and proposed Cornerstone Baptist Church and the dissolution of our congregation let us focus on what is most important.
Let me begin by saying my first reaction after worship was complete and I had began to assess the implications and reaction of our congregation my first words to my friend nearby was “Okay then.” While this tells little to those who may not know me or probably little to anyone. If you’ve read this far indulge me to give a little more meat to the phrase.“
Okay Then” less than 2/3rds of my friends didn’t see things the way I saw them, we though serving the same Everlasting God of the Universe disagreed about our congregation and body of believers at Central Baptist Church. (I’m not so much saddened by this as perplexed but I am not dismayed nor am I despondent)
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
“Okay Then” Should I have politicked rounded up and herded people to see things my way? Could it have been different? This is called Reasoning with the outcome. I though you may take your own path have already travelled this one and I had already felt convinced that the brothers and sisters of Christ at CBC were fully capable and able to feel pray and hear God’s Spirit in their own way. My politicking though wise in the eyes of the World did not seem to me to be what I should do. Answer questions as asked be available and speak the truth in love to my friends absolutely.
He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13 He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. 14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. Job 5:12-14
“Okay Then” What should we do now? What should I do now?
CBC exists to help people discover loving, vital relationships with God, themselves and others through: Worshiping God; Sharing the Gospel; Discipling believers; and Caring for others in the power of the Holy Spirit
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Let’s commit to 3 things.
Pray for one another.
Fast for our people and our community
Ask God for forgiveness and His renewed vision for our congregation
And let’s not forget the Everlasting God of all creation who granted ALL AUTHORITY on HEAVEN and on EARTH has commanded us to go and make disciples. Our Father and His Son are in charge let’s start acting like it as men and women of faith take a chance invite a friend tell your story of faith.
So I had a couple of rooms in our home we bought in 2007 that had carpet. The rest was laminate and tile. While the two rooms didn’t look horrible when the house was shown I had no idea the dilapidated and stained condition they were actually in.
Underneath the yellow bedroom bed was a huge an ugly pee stain probably from the previous owners dog. In the other room there weren’t any visible stains but the whole room had a slight musty odor that got worse when it rained. . . .yuck!
Twenty years ago I heard a story firsthand from my future wife that had always made me wonder “What on earth happened there?” Those stories included some of personality conflicts, some of cultural differences and some of deep seated hatred that my future wife described as oppressing and dangerous. This feeling of oppression isn’t something that is easily shaken. And while I believe there is victory and the ability to overcome such spiritual forces, this opened my eyes and hers to Spiritual realities. This mission experience colored her picture of the Piney Woods for many a year and I often remember hearing the stories of that Summer retold several times over.
During these twenty years since I have mostly written off this part of East Texas as just culturally backward and not representative of the rest of the State nor even the rest of the region. But I always wondered. . . “What happened near Palestine to cause that feeling of oppression, heaviness and outright Spiritual Darkness?”
Just this last week I think I’ve come upon the answer, and I admit I wasn’t as fervent about praying and seeking this out until more recently and I can remember praying, walking, researching the past of our small Church in the hill country fervently praying that God would demolish the strongholds that were holding back that congregation. For that I’m truly sorry.
Seven years ago my bride and I relocated to East Texas, not Palestine but 100 miles north to Marshall, home of our beloved Alma Mata and where God has called me to work and serve. But this story isn’t about us it is about what I believe I’ve realized through divine insight or more appropriately a divine two by four.
For five score and four years ago that’s 1910, a spiritual stronghold grabbed root and took over a small community and destroyed the lives of untold numbers of people in that community. The Abilene Register reported it this way on July 31st 1910.
“Race Riot at Slocum Results in Death of 23 Negros, and 4 Whites. . . Fierce Fight Started in Quarrel over Small Debt. . . Negros are armed in a Bunch. .. Whites gathered Arms and went Coon Hunting – The State Militia Ordered to the Scene at Once”
Of those headlines only one statement was completely true. The State Militia was ordered to the scene. The rest are exaggerations or outright fabrications. It is especially saddening that the Abilene paper would call killing African American’s “Coon Hunting” However the 3rd Regiment of Company D commanded by Captain Godfrey Fowler of the State Militia was called out to Slocum and Anderson County to restore order along with local Sheriff and the Texas Rangers. Today what we call the National Guard had a Regiment stationed in Marshall, Texas and this Regiment was the nearest unit to the unincorporated area of Anderson County called Slocum. It was said that this allowed those who choose to leave to be able to do so in safety to other parts of Texas and many African American’s did so. It was reported that Slocum had a majority African American population in 1910. Today less than 7% of that part of Anderson County is African American
The truth of the matter was the small debt and the grievance over an African American having been given authority over an Anderson County road project near Slocum angered a local named Jim Spurger to the point of murderous frenzy. This along with the debt and an perceived uprising of African Americans after a lynching was reported in Cherokee County nearby apparently led this fear filled rampage. Make no mistake Fear led this frenzy this all out assault on life and property. The lie that preceded this mob mentality was that the “Negros of the area were armed and ready to cause trouble.” There is one author of fear, distrust and confusion and that is the Enemy of our souls Satan.
From the book of Deuteronomy the Lord gave direction to the people of Israel of how to handle those who take innocent lives and those who unintentionally kill someone else.
If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he promised on oath to your ancestors, and gives you the whole land he promised them, 9 because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the Lord your God and to walk always in obedience to him—then you are to set aside three more cities. 10 Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed.
11 But if out of hate someone lies in wait, assaults and kills a neighbor, and then flees to one of these cities, 12 the killer shall be sent for by the town elders, be brought back from the city, and be handed over to the avenger of blood to die. 13 Show no pity. You must purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you.
14 Do not move your neighbor’s boundary stone set up by your predecessors in the inheritance you receive in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
Now today we don’t take a mob at least not usually and grab a person and take them to the person wronged for vengeance and justice but they didn’t back then either as there was to be a Judgement made and two persons were to attest to the crime before judgement was to be carried out in the case of Slocum there were arraigned 13 men for murder 7 were ultimately indicted and held over for trials. However the local Judge most likely rightly believed these men would not get a fair trial in Palestine or Anderson County. He sent them to Harris County and there they remained for more than a year. However as the Harris County prosecutor did not value the lives of the African American’s whose lives were ended the trials never took place and the cases were dropped. Eventually the Judge in Anderson County gave up after more than a year of waiting and ordered the release of the charged men.
Several good men called out this tragedy for what it was. The local County Sherrif, the Judge over the Grand Jury and a few others at the time, even today good men and women have called for a light to be shined on this tragedy.
I would position Spiritually that this is a prime and forceful example of “shedding of innocent blood’ the land and Region of Anderson County were stained, the innocent cry out for justice. Today at 100 years hence none may live that can give prison terms or executions of those heinous crimes but as believers we should consult a higher authority to try and make this right.
If you are a believer in East Texas I urge you to fervently pray for racial reconciliation and justice regarding this tragedy in Slocum. Let us pray for the community, the county and the Region and especially the victims families and the families who were forever affected by their forced relocation. Pray that believers will come together and ask forgiveness and offer whatever reconciliation and recompense is possible to those who were affected. For I believe that this Injustice has served to stain not only that community but our Region and even Texas itself and if we as believers will arise as the National Guard unit of old and ride out to bring justice as the Lord has said “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face then we hear from Heaven and He will forgive our sins and heal our land.”
Recently as my wife discussed the number one thing that was holding back several participants in her Marshall area Jobs for Life class and the number one answer was Fear.
Fear took root that day it had led to many tragedies over the years but it was given a place and until we call it out and deal with it it will continue to rot and decay the fabric of our communities.
Remember ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’ 1 Tim 1:7 But you can’t claim the promise until we confess our sin and humbly ask the Lord and those we have wronged to forgive us.
Los Angeles Herald, Volume 37, Number 304, 1 August 1910 (Texas Mob Hunts down and Kills 25 Negros – Sheriff finds there was no real cause for slaying Black men)
TEXAS MOB HUNTS DOWN AND KILLS 25 NEGROES
Sheriff Finds There Was No Real Cause for Slaying the Black Men
PALESTINE, Texas, July 31.—At least fifteen, and it may be twentyfive, all of them negroes and unarmed, were hunted down and killed by a mob of from 200 to 300 men in the Slocum
and Denison Springs neighborhood last night and yesterday, according to the opinion of Sheriff Black today. . The sheriff returned early this morning after twenty-four hours In the district. He told of a fierce man hunt in the woods, of riddled bodies found on lonely roads and of the terror almost indescribable among the inhabitants in tho southeastern part of Anderson county. “I found the greatest excitement prevailing throughout the section of the county,” said the sheriff. “Men were going about killing negroes as fast as they could find them, and so far as I have been able to ascertain, without any real cause. These negroes have done no wrong that I could discover. There was just a hot-headed gang hunting them down and killing them. “I believe the trouble was due to a controversy over a promissory note.”
Los Angeles Herald, Volume 37, Number 306, 3 August 1910
TEXAS GRAND JURY TO INVESTIGATE RACERIOTS
PALESTINE, Texas, Aug. 2.— In his charge to the special grand Jury Impaneled yesterday, Judge B. B. Gardner ordered a thorough Investigation of the raceriots ln Anderson county. Four additional arrests have been made in connection with tho clash between whites and blacks Friday night and Saturday, when eighteen negroes were killed.
Eight white men are now in Jail here, all of whom are charged with murder in the first degree.
Troop C, Texas state guards, under command of Captain Younger has arrived here and Is encamped in the court house yard.
Los Angeles Herald, Volume 37, Number 303, 31 July 1910
RIOTING WHITES KILL 18 NEGROES IN RACIAL CLASH
Texas Governor Rushes Troops to Palestine to Avert Further Slaughter of Blacks
COMBATANTS ARE DISPERSED
Disturbances Culmination of Enmity Brewing Between Races for Several Weeks
Associated Press PALASTINE, Tex., July 30.—At least eighteen Negroes were killed In a racial clash in the extreme eastern Section of Andersoncounty last night and today, the culmination at an insanity between the races brewing- for Several weeks. Less conservative reports place the total fatalities at between thirty and forty. It was also reported that several white men were either killed or bounded, but all rumors as to casualties among- the whites have met authoritative denials. “Troops reached Palestine early tonight and established quarters at tho county prison, where it is planned they will remain until tomorrow unless further rioting necessitated a night march to the scene of the disturbance about 25 miles distant. It Is reported, however, that at nightfall the belligerents began to disperse and further bloodshed will in all probability be averted. The first advice of the disturbance reached Palestine this morning. Officers were sent to the scene, local ammunition stores ordered to suspend sales and the saloons to close. It was quickly apparent, however, that the situation was beyond the control of the local officers and troops were asked for. A company of militia under command of Captain Godfrey Fowler, former United States army officer and more recently engaged in Nicaragua In the cause of the Insurgents, dispatched from Marshall,Texas, arrived tonight. POSSE SHOOTS NEGRO The rioting began late yesterday near the village of Slocum, Several reasons are assigned as the cause of the racial feelings—first. the refusal of a negro to pay an obligation for which a white farmer stood sponsor. This was some days ago. Later, a white man received notice that he should perform road work under the supervision of a negro, the white man refusing. Later came reports of a secret meeting against the Negroes and an alleged confession of a negro that the murder of the man in question, James Spurger and his family, was planned. The situation reached a climax, however, yesterday when a negro was discovered advancing on Spurger from the rear, armed with a shotgun. He was trailed for some, distance and shot by a posse when he refused to surrender. With the shooting of the. negro those of both races armed themselves and rioting began. The Marshall. Texas, company of tho State national guard reached Palestine at 8 o’clock tonight and immediately proceeded to the scene of the disorder in Andersoncounty. District Judge Gardner ordered all saloons in this city to he closer! today because of the race riot at Slocum, which Is a,small town near here. ORDERS OUT MILITIA MARSHALL, Tex., July 80.—Adjutant General Newton has ordered the militia company at this place to proceed to Palestine and Slocum by first train. _
Today February 16th, 2012 our President Dr. “Dub” Oliver of East Texas Baptist University joined other religious and University leaders in testifying in Washington D.C. about the new mandate released by the Office of Health and Human Services Director Katherine Sibelius.
Health Resources and Services Administration Supported Women’s Preventive Services: Required Health Plan Coverage Guidelines
Non-grandfathered plans and issuers are required to provide coverage without cost sharing consistent with these guidelines in the first plan year (in the individual market, policy year) that begins on or after August 1, 2012.
All Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.As prescribed.
May be used if you do not use birth control or if your regular birth control fails
It should not be used as a regular form of birth control
What is it?
* These are pills with hormones similar to other oral contraceptives.
* They stop the ovaries from releasing an egg or stops sperm from joining with the egg.
How do I use it?
* You can use these after you have unprotected sex (did not use birth control).
* You can also use these if your birth control did not work (i.e. the condom broke).
* You must swallow the pills within 72 hours of having unprotected sex.
* For the best chance for it to work, you should start taking the pills as soon as possible after
How do I get it?
* You can buy it over the counter if you are 18 years or older.
* If you are younger than 18, you need a prescription.
Now despite the characterization that this was a Contraception meeting with no female opinions to rebut the Religious Leaders, the truth is that there were 2 females that testified today
And they were requested and approved by the committee according to the rules that state witnesses must have been submitted 72 hours in advance. The fact that there were no rebuttal witnesses who were women was entirely the Minority’s failure to properly find any women to testify on the matter of Religious Liberty and the Contraception Mandate which was the purpose of the hearing. I listened to several arguments during the hearings and even read news reports of the Attack on Women, the Outrage of a Contraception Hearing disregarding and excluding women. This is a completely false and untrue accusation and needlessly distracts from the Core 1st Amendment Freedom that is encroached by this Regulation. Despite this abject failure by the Minority, they played political games by walking out of the committee and making false press releases, about their own failure, the Chairman still listed the testimony of their chosen witness at the House Oversight Website. They declined to hear from Barry Lynn the approved counter witness who has credentials as a Leader of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The department of Health and Human Services has decided that life A. Does not begin at Conception and any Non Profit Religious organization that does not discriminate and exclude non believers must provide and pay for “Ella” and the “Morning After” pill, these two FDA approved contraception methods directly contradict the clear teachings of many religious organizations and individual believers. The Administration has picked a winner and the loser is the unborn child, and the millions of Religious Schools, Hospitals, Universities, Colleges, and other Organizations that hold that life does begin at Conception. All that was necessary is for them to serve non-believers which of course many of the Universities and Hospitals provide.
This is a clear and evident violation of the “Free Exercise of Religion” from the Constitution and despite the outcry there is no compelling reason nor directive to provide free contraceptive services in either law or the Constitution.
In addition, the Administration has made an “Accommodation” that the rule will be paid for by the Health Insurers instead of by the Organizations, while this makes great headlines, it effectively doesn’t make any difference to the actual Religious Conscience objections outlined, nor was the actual regulation changed in any manner. In the case of our University as many others we are a “Self-Funded” Health Care Plan and the University actually would now directly have to pay for Contraceptive Services that directly violate our truly and scientifically accurate belief that life begins at conception. Reference from Princeton University
I attended last night’s local Political Forum in the Old Renovated Harrison County Courthouse! This was my first Political Forum to attend here in Harrison County and I enjoyed hearing from candidates from 3 contested races.
District Clerk Sherry Griffis
County Court at Law
(BTW if you wondered I listed the Incumbent first and all are Democrats the Challengers are Republicans)
My impression of the venue, the setting and the hosts. My sincere appreciation to the League of Women Voters, while I was apprehensive from seeing the information online regarding their strong support of the Universal Health Care law and the Climate Change legislation that was pending in Congress and in general about the League, I can say with a certainty that the our Marshall/Harrison County League conducted themselves in a fine fashion in hosting a fair, balanced and productive Forum for the Candidates and the public to hear the candidates first hand and meet them in person.
The venue in the Renovated Harrison County Courthouse was wonderful and had room for about 150 guests I would estimate possibly a little more counting the second floor, I didn’t gaze up there but believe the main floor was more than 90% full during the opening of the Forum, in fact several late comers started by standing at the back, although later everyone found an available seat! I have to say the Dome and Interior have been well done, not that I’m surprised the renovations completed by Sloan construction that I have seen, including ETBU’s Marshall Hall, ETBU’s Scarborough Hall and now the County Courthouse doesn’t lead me to doubt that they do fine renovation work.
Now to the Candidates and the Forum:
The procedure was set with an Opening from each candidate as determined by numbers drawn from a hat, the lowest number went first. The First Speakers were Candidate Rick Hurlburt, Candidate Coke Solomon and District Clerk Kathy Griffis. After the opening remarks were completed, the Candidates received pre-selected questions that had already been sent to the Candidates from the League of Women Voters. After this the Candidates received several questions from note cards in the Audience.
To the Races:
County Court at Law
Incumbent Judge Jim Ammerman was polished and judicial in his speech and opening remarks, although some of the remarks from Candidate Hurlburt did cause defensiveness in the Judge.
From my observations I saw Judge Ammerman clearly present his desire to continue serving Harrison County for the good he has done in the Juvenile Courts. He mentioned several achievements including re-starting a Juvenile Boot Camp, Teen Mentoring, Partnerships with the local Police and Schools to encourage Juvenile offenders to not repeat their past mistakes and get help. In addition to this he portrayed his strong support of involving all Custodians and Parents of Juvenile defenders to attend and complete mandatory Parenting classes and improvement steps as set by his Court. He pointed out that Juvenile Crime has dropped 56 percent since he took office. The points that he mentioned about his opponent seemed to center on Candidate’s Rick Hurlburt’s career as a Criminal Defense Attorney, especially in defending criminals accused of drug offenses. I didn’t find this remark particularly helpful or pertinent to his case to Re-Elect him. I particularly believe that the Defense Attorney has the obligation and requirement of providing the best possible defense in all cases no matter how heinous, the facts I believe will come out and if Attorney Hurlburt did not argue the accused criminal’s past suffered abuses then he would have been negligent in his duties. In addition to this the most defensive Judge Ammerman seemed was about the “Case Backlog” that Candidate Hurlburt mentioned of 1200 or so cases. Judge Ammerman did a fair job in assessing the cases and explaining the fact that 87 defendants had not been apprehended and therefore the cases were inactive and impossible to move. There were an additional 800 cases that were “inactive” however, Judge Ammerman didn’t explain how he came to that conclusion on those files outside of the “State has changed reporting requirements” From the reduction in Juvenile crime and the implementation or re-activation of several Youth oriented programs it would seem Judge Ammerman has not only been an Advocate for Justice but for an improved Juvenile system overall.
Candidate Rick Hurlburt
Candidate Hurlburt came across with 3 central points to his message. The first overall theme was that he had the experience and desire to serve Harrison County. He had been a Court Judge in Longview until recently when the City Charter was reviewed and it was discovered that He as a Resident of Harrison County was in-eligible to serve as Judge in that Court.
In addition to his experience on the bench Attorney Hurlburt has many years as a practicing Criminal Defense Attorney, a Prosecutor and 4 years experience in Law Enforcement as a Kilgore Police officer. Candidate Hurlburt made his main premise the Part time manner in which the County Court at Law Judge currently services Harrison County is inadequate and has lead to backlogs. Candidate Hurlburt indicated that the ability to have a continuing law practice by a sitting judge is an only exception for Harrison County that Judge Ammerman uses to continue his personnel practice here in Marshall. To accentuate this point he then brought up the backlog of cases before Judge Ammerman’s court and mentioned the Clerk had reported to him about 1200 cases currently in back log. As I mentioned above you can see Judge Ammerman’s responses to that charge. The third leg of Candidate’s premise for his Candidacy for County Court at Law was the Zero Tolerance Issue at MISD. Attorney Hurlburt believes a True Zero tolerance policy is a travesty for the young people in Marshall and places the blame upon the victim in an altercation. Judge Ammerman says that MISD doesn’t have a Zero Tolerance policy. I plan on asking Marshall High School’s Principal Sunday as long as he’s there at my Sunday School class. I’m sure I’ll be informed correctly then and I’ll let you know what I find out.
The final premises for Rick Hurlburt’s candidacy focused on the detention of Juvenile offenders without a ruling, I didn’t follow all of the legal areas that Attorney Hurlburt was making but it seemed to be summed up that Judge Ammerman had not been fully ruling according to Texas Statues in regards to Juvenile detention which allowed them to be detained for up to 2 weeks until a determination regarding the case could be made and a ruling as to a finding of fault. Candidate Hurlburt also mentioned that there several hundred cases that Judge Ammerman had issued “Abatement” orders upon which disposes of them when they are inactive without a finding or completion from the Court.
Well for the first Forum candidates I though Candidate Hurlburt came off a little ahead of Judge Ammerman, but I really think he would have carried the forum by continuing to focus on the 56% reduction in Juvenile crime and the strong Community and Young Offender mentoring and re-education support he has given Harrison County over the past 12 or so years. In all it was a great exchange and I plan on finishing the other races in the next couple of days.
Thanks for reading! Oh for more information you may goto