Today is the first day of MSC Reset2021, our annual 21 days of fasting and prayer! This is the first year that we actually started the fast on a Sunday — giving us 3 full weeks of fasting and prayer. So, we are excited that in starting something new, that we should expect something new! Today, I went for a short walk in the park to get some fresh air. While I was there, I heard a young child call for his father. “Daddy,” he cried — not with a sense of urgency or trouble but with a sense of confidence and assurance. What I heard in his voice was that he knew that when he called on his father that he would get his attention and he would take care of whatever he needed. During these 21 days of fasting and prayer, we’re calling on the father, in the name of his son Jesus Christ! We are calling with confidence in assurance that he will reset our 2021! We are confident and assured that he will reset our mind, our body, our spirit and our circumstances! We call on the father, in the name of the son Jesus Christ, to reset our nation in the midst of a deadly pandemic and it’s horrific consequences. We call on him to reset the very seat of our government — our democracy which is under unprecedented attack! We call on the father these 21 days with confidence and assurance that he will hear us and answer our cries! #RESET2021MSC Reset 2021 Fast Resources
Congratulations on your decision to undertake this spiritual journey at the beginning of 2021! It is a great sacrifice, but you will not be disappointed, for if you seek God, you will find him. Fasting and consecration at the beginning of the year sets the tone for the entire year! The word for this year’s fast is “RESET”. We have ushered in the New Year and we do so with gratefulness for all that God is in our lives and all the good things that we expect in 2021. Calendar years are a way in which we measure the events of our lives, enabling us to excel. The 21-Day Fast 2021 begins Sunday, January 10th and ends Sunday, January 31st. During this 21-day Fast and Consecration, in expectation of abundant living, we’ll seek to be totally surrendered and submitted to the will of God for our lives for this year and beyond. The journey “RESET” is not a destination; rather it is just that, a journey. When Daniel began his fast, it was to seek understanding and get some answers to questions. Don’t miss those special times in the presence of the Lord when you will receive direction and see things more clearly, by focusing on the process of fasting. God’s got good things in store for you!!! Be sure to download the RESET2021 Fasting Guide. By clicking on the link below, you can get your answers to these important topics: 7 Steps to A Successful Fast: 1. Choosing Your Fast 2. Prepare a Time and Place for Daily Prayer 3. Prepare for the Physical Challenges of Fasting 4. Make a Prayer List 5. Journal your Fasting Journey 6. Plan to Consecrate during the fast 7. Be sure to drink plenty of water Lastly, YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this fasting journey. There are hundreds of thousands of Christians worldwide who participate in prolonged fasts at the beginning of the year and, I am with you all the way. You can expect daily fasting devotionals, which will include scriptures, inspirations, fasting journal entries and more. You can find it all at: In addition, meet us daily at 6:00 AM and 6:30 PM for prayer and daily instructions! The conference dial-in is 267-430-4000. Then enter the code: 588-228-157# The Lord richly bless each of you for your hunger and thirst for spiritual things and great breakthroughs in 2021! Pastor Beverly Reset 2021 Fast Resources
by Pastor Kathleen Smallwood 2021 RESET FASTING & PRAYER 21 DAY FAST IN THE 21ST YEAR OF THE 21ST YEAR OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WHY? ISAIAH 58:1-14 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Our Sovereign God makes clear what kind of fast He has chosen in challenging times in Isaiah 58, it is the kind of fast that is 1. Loosing the bands of wickedness. 2. Undoing the heavy burdens. 3. Letting the oppressed go free. 4. Breaking every yoke. This is why we fast because the Lord says so! Why do we fast? Fasting is one of several spiritual disciplines (meditation, prayer, study, worship, service, etc.) that engages believers for the purpose of spiritual development. In other words, as seen in scripture, we are challenged to grow in Christ. As we develop physically, aging from an infant into a full-grown adult, we also develop spiritually, grow and are strengthen in our Christian walk. We have no greater example of the importance of fasting than in the life of Christ Himself (Matthew 4:2). Jesus fasted before He began His public ministry (Luke 4:1-2). How can we do less when we are called to be the light of the world and salt of the earth? Surely, we too need the benefits of fasting to carry out our God-given purpose. Expect a greater anointing for your life, ministry, healing in your body, movement in things that have been tied up or held back; and clarity in decisions you have to make. These are but a few examples of fasting outcomes in scripture. Why do we fast? As a Disciple of Christ we seek to follow in his footsteps as we follow his call upon our lives. He said we would do greater things. The seeds of greatness are hidden in the discipline of our faith life as we fast and prayer! Remember, EXPECT GREAT THINGS!!! Reset 2021 Fast Resources
From the Pastor's Desk Worship Gatherings In-person gatherings are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. We meet virtually every Sunday at 11 to view the weekly sermons on our YouTube channel: Morning Star Connect. Key Dates Happy New Year! All are welcome to partner with us during the RESET 2021 - 21 Day Fast; January 10-31, 2021. Join us on our prayer calls Monday-Friday 6:00 to7:00 a.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (Dial: 267-930-4000 | Code: 588.228.157#) Why do we fast Fasting is one of several spiritual disciplines (meditation, prayer, study, worship, service, etc.) that engages believers for the purpose of spiritual development. In other words, as seen in scripture, we are challenged to grow in Christ. As we develop physically, aging from an infant into a full-grown adult, we also develop spiritually; growing and strengthening our Christian walk. We have no greater example of the importance of fasting than in the life of Christ Himself (Matthew 4:2). Remember, EXPECT GREAT THINGS!!! #RESET2021MSC Reset 2021 Fasting Journal Please make a small donation (optional) then download below. Upcoming Events (Calendar) Connect with us Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Website | (212) 283-1300
December 13, 2020 Grace and peace Morning Star Members and Friends: The Morning Star Church leadership has been monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 spikes and deaths in our country generally, and our church location, specifically. The Lord has blessed us with a beautiful facility in which we have enjoyed wonderful spirit-filled worship services and sweet Christian fellowship. Governor Cuomo in his daily briefings has stated “the Corona virus is still active in New York. We have to be smart. Wear a mask, maintain a six-foot distance in public, and limit indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people”. Houses of worship may hold gatherings of up to 10-15 people. We, at Morning Star, have adhered to all CDC recommendations and guidelines for indoor gatherings. Nevertheless, we believe that it is both our fiduciary and biblical responsibility to provide for the safety and well-being of our parishioners and visitors. On December 9th, over 3,000 people died from COVID and over 100,000 people were in the hospital nationwide. On our prayer list, we have a number of individuals and/or their family members who have tested positive for COVID. I believe that each of us knows someone, directly or indirectly, who has experienced the death of a loved one, family member, friend, neighbor or colleague as a result of this pandemic. Therefore, we believe MSC must exercise wisdom and thus, halt in-person gatherings. Our last in-person service will be Sunday, December 13, 2020. We will resume our virtual church worship on Sunday, December 20, 2020. Morning Star Church is committed to evolving in the use of technology and other ways in which we will meet the needs of and stay connected to our members. The building may be closed, but the church of Christ is still open! We are the church and body of Christ. We may be shut in, but we are not shut out from the presence of our Holy God! We will continue to be in partnership and alignment with God, through His word and the Holy Spirit, so that we can carry out the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He came that we might have abundant life. Beloved, let us continue to walk in faith, so that we each experience a more abundant life in Christ. May the Lord keep you and your families. Blessings to you, Pastor Beverly
ANNUAL PLANNING: How To Get the Best Out of 2021 (Week 1 Notes)
To view, click: Objectives Introduction • Conceptual Framework: Capacity Building • Theoretical Framework: Personal Leadership (7Habits of Highly Effective People) • Discipline 1: Be Proactive • What is Annual Planning? Annual planning is planning what your year looks like. First, with major events and dates that are important to you, it includes specific goals and objectives as part of a strategic plan for your life based on your vision and mission statements. It could also include a detailed plan outlining which activities will be accomplished by when and by whom. • Why do Annual Planning? Annual planning helps you to put in writing what you want from the year. It is specific about what life you want for yourself and for your family! In other words, it provides a sense of direction by putting a demand and focus on your most important resources -- your time, your money and your energy! • How do I do Annual Planning? There are several frameworks for annual planning. For the purposes of these lessons, we will use both support in scripture and in some practical schools of thought on personal leadership. Conceptual Framework Capacity Building • II Kings 4:1-7 (ESV): Elisha and the Widow's Oil 4 1Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2 And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” Capacity Defined § the amount that something can produce. § the maximum amount that something can contain. § Similar: § Size § Dimensions § Measurements § Magnitude § Proportions § Room § Space § Extent § Range § Scope Lessons Learned • You have to want something • mission, vision, goals, desires, plans • You have to make your known • Relationship Matters • Don’t Discount Your Anointing (talents, gifts, ideas, intellect, etc). • Don’t Discount the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life • Prepare/Make Room for Your Blessings Lessons Learned • Shut the door • Your Success Intimidates • Haters are for Winners (and essential to your destiny) • Work the Plan/Work the Strategy • Set smaller goals and objectives to reach larger goals and vision Lessons Learned • Set Aside • The Power of Savings in Financial Wellness • Pay Your Bills/Live Debt-free • Sustainability • LIVE! Theoretical Framework • 7Habits of Highly Effective People: Private Disciplines • Habit 1:Be Proactive • PROACTIVITY in the Scriptures • DON’T BLAME OTHERS FOR YOUR LIFE • SEEK WISDOM • LIVE WHAT YOU KNOW • SOW IN THE KINGDOM • LET JESUS BE THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE • MAXIMIZE YOUR GIFT AND TALENTS • HAVE A PLAN/STRATEGY • STAY CONNECTED TO THE HOLY SPIRIT • DON’T NUTURE THE SPIRIT OF POVERTY/LACK, DEFEAT, VICTIMIZATION, ETC. Recommended Resources • 7Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey • Wisdom Literature (i.e. The book of Proverbs) • Prayer for Wisdom and Guidance • 2021 Calendar • Vision Book or Board • Unlined Book or Poster Board • Magazines, Online images, scissors, Rubber Cement clue, pens, markers, etc. • OR, search online for Online Vision Board templates
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. EPHESISANS 6 : 10-13 My beloved brothers and sisters. We are just a few days away from the final day of Voting. November 3rd is the last day to go to the polls and cast your ballot for your candidate of choice at both the Federal, State, and local level. Remember Your Vote is Your Voice and Your Choice. As believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it is imperative that we fully participate in the electoral process of selecting our leaders at all levels of government. And if ever there was a season for us to do all we can to withstand the evil of the day - it is now. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that prayer changes things and indeed changes us in the thing. And we have been through many things this year of our Lord 2020. There is the ongoing Pandemic- and how it is being handled or not being handled depending on your point of view. Our schools have been closed and if opened they closed again. This raises the continuous challenge of the education or the miseducation of our children whether in person or virtual. There is the school to prison pipeline. There are health care disparities amongst poor, brown, black and indigenous people. There have been so many men and women who have been killed due to no fault of their own. There are the macro-aggressions against people of color- jogging in the park, sleeping in their own bed, playing video games with their nephew, minding their business only to end up dead. The list goes on and on. The scripture challenges us in Ephesians 6:10-13. First, to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. We are imbued with the power of God to be empowered to take a stand and raises our voices. Part of our power is the power of the vote, the power of the ballot. We should not abdicate our position of power by being silent. As Pastor Rev. Dr. Beverly D. Frazier says : Vote- Silence is Consent. Let us not be silent in the face of all the atrocities going on in our neighborhoods and across our nation. We are to put on the whole armor of God. The armor includes- the belt of truth! There is the truth of the wickedness that is seeking to run rampant today and trample our Civil Rights, our Voting Rights, and our Constitutional Rights. Vote to protect our rights. The armor includes the breastplate of righteous. As believers we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Our righteous is as filthy rags. But the righteousness of Christ- shines bright within us. We must let our light shine. Isaiah 9:6 tells us “For unto us a child is born to us a son is given and the government shall be on his shoulders.” As ambassadors for Christ it is our Christian duty to exercise the right to vote as an act of righteous of Christ to indeed shine upon the government. Voting is an act of Righteous Resistance. We must resist the plans and actions of the enemy of our soul. Part of our armor is that our feet must be fitted from the gospel of peace. We must take feet and walk into the polling site and vote. Our Vote is our voice to speak peace into this nation and this land. Part of our armor is to take up the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. We take up our shield of faith and march to polls to vote to extinguish the evil seeking to be in control of our nation, our land, our schools, our health, and our very lives. Our armor includes the helmet of salvation. Our salvation is in Jesus Christ. And with Christ as the head of our life, we are called to be faithful ,thinking people. Think about your vote. Think about the impact of your vote. And vote. Our armor includes the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Word up- we are created in the image of God and after His likeness. “ male and female he created them. God Blessed them and said to them be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over all the earth” With Christ as our Savior, we are called to take the necessary action steps to have a representative government that governs for all the people not some of the people. We are called to have the dominion of grace, to have the heart of God toward all children, to feed those who are hungry, in other words to live out loud the Beatitudes of Christ. My brothers and my sisters my challenge to you is to indeed Vote as a Righteous Act of Resistance. For you see we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. These are the times we are living in. These are the times that are calling you and calling me to Vote. The scriptures says to Resist the Devil and he will flee. It is time for our Righteous Act of Resistance in voting so that the devil that has been on the necks of our people shall flee. Now my friends, Plan Your Vote! Here is a check list for your convenience: o Know where your polling site is located. Know who is on your ballot for city, state, and federal elections. o If you need a ride to the polling site, make arrangements now. o If you know you need to have a snack or lite meal- pack your meal on Monday. o Bring water so you are properly hydrated. o If you know you can’t stand for a long time, bring a folding chair. o Make sure you have a Mask. o If you like music, make your playlist on your phone for your listening pleasure. o If you like to read, bring a book. o Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. o While you are standing in line- be friendly. o While you are standing in line- Pray And after you done all you can-and you have voted. Go home in peace and Stand. Stand firm on the word of the Lord! Grace, Peace, Love, & Light; Rev. Dr. Kathy Smallwood, Esq.
As we get closer to the 2020 general election, the work of some religious groups has intensified! Their support of their candidate is palpable. I have been scratching my head for a while now trying to figure out why the blinded unwavering support for a man whose words and actions are truly antithetical to the life and work of Jesus Christ and by extension the Christian faith. I believe that their fervor is attributed to several things – one of which is POWER, pure and simple. In other words, the granting of power to receive power in return. The problem, however, is that this kind transaction often proves to be a slippery slope, especially when the stakes are so high! And, in 2020, they could not be higher. Neither Social conservatism, nor economic socialism are profane concepts. They are also not fundamentally incongruent. So why, then, is it imperative to support a candidate who lacks a moral compass when there were some others would have delivered in kind. Yet, watching Christian television these past few days, it is plain to see these religious groups are in full campaign mode. Although, I believe that God is in control and working out in time his plan set in eternity, we should exercise our right and not sit out this election! We should not surrender our voting power to misinformation, disinformation, international interference, political echo chambers, the utter distress of our nation, or religious leaders who tell us to ignore everything we’ve heard, seen and experienced in the past 3 ½ years. The more votes, the weaker the arguments are for illegitimacy! Vote because silence is consent!
Grace and Peace, Greetings Morning Star. Oh, my goodness it seems like it has been forever. It is so good to connect with you; I so miss my church family. Of course, you have been in my prayers as I am sure I have been in yours. I just wanted to write a note to share with everyone concerning my testimony. First of all, I just want to let you know that after an unexpected illness, my doctors recommended an emergency surgery. The surgery went very well, and the doctors expect a full recovery without any long-term complications. To that we say, we are grateful. One of my favorite scripture in the bible, is the story where Jesus healed ten lepers and only one came back to say thank you. Some of you might remember in the past I preached a sermon, “I am the one”. Essentially, it reminds us to be grateful not only for the great things God has done but from the harm and danger He has kept us from. God is truly faithful; I am so appreciative of his grace. Secondly, I want to share with you how the healing process has been going. As a result of your fervent prayers God has been blessing me as I recuperate. Although, there has been a little back and forth because of the nature of the surgery. The doctors are suggesting that the recovery will take 4 to 6 weeks, and I will follow their lead as it is important to be fully strengthened for the next chapter of the Morning Star church. Thank you in advance for your patience, continued prayers, and support. Thirdly, I thank God for the service and the faithfulness of Pastor Neil Ferguson and the entire church leadership team. We are so blessed to have them as they serve with excellence and commitment. As I always say, God has a system of service and reward and He will reward all of you for your labor of love. Finally, we are moving forward with the next stages to prepare our future home. As many of you know, we have finished moving and discarding unnecessary items. By the way, all of you who were able to come out did an excellent job. For those of you who have not had an opportunity to help with the cleaning project, there will be many occasions for you in the future. We are so excited about moving forward! Let’s continue to pray for each other as we navigate the next few months. I care for you all deeply, and my prayer is, The Lord be with each of you, to bless you and to cover you and your family. Amen and Blessings!
Today George Floyd was laid to rest after making his mark in history beyond what he could have ever imagined. In 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the world went from teetering from the brink of the deleterious and profound impacts caused by the uncertainty of COVID-19 to now weeks of the civil unrest. The death of George Floyd at the hands of the police sparked a national and global response of pain, sorrow, fear and outrage – outrage that resulted in mostly peaceful protests, but also fires, looting, vandalism, shootings and injuries of both police and civilians. On the heels of almost 2 million reported COVID-19 cases and over 100 thousand recorded deaths, months of social isolation, quarantine and a litany of police and quasi-police killing of black men and women, it was a perfect storm of circumstances. These events along with political posturing and bridled emotions resulted in an almost ubiquitous eruption of a volcano of grief, frustration, insecurity, inequity and injustice – a collective – enough is enough! With a sigh of relief of the news of the charges against those who took George Floyd’s life, there is also some skepticism about the conviction and sentencing of these officers. The past does not give us much hope, not to mention the tone-def response and lack of mature and wise leadership at national level. George Floyd died on May 25th, Memorial Day – the day we honor and commemorate those military men and women who have given their lives in service of the country. That is -- fighting for the liberties and values of our democracy. How poignant that George Floyd would also die or that day – as he died giving rise to the gross disparity of who we say we are as a nation and how far we are from that ideal. He too, along with so many others before him, died in service for the liberties and values our democracy. As a black woman, scholar and pastor, I see these events through many different lenses. As a woman, a black woman, I see these events through the lens of being raised by parents who lived in the era of Jim Crow in the deep south. This lens is tinted with the reality lived by my parents and their parents. I see, in so many ways, what I have always seen – the ugly hand of imperialist racism giving permission to kill our husbands, fathers, sons, nephews, and uncles with impunity. But I also see the work of brave black woman and men who lead the way and paid the price so that I can go to a hotel and not have to walk through the kitchen because the front door is prohibited because of the color of my skin. I also see the work of Dr. Martin Luther King that affords me the freedom to eat at a lunch counter that was once designated and defended as “whites only.” As a scholar whose work intersects race, religion and criminal justice, my view is steeped in my research and the body of literature which covers the topics. I have researched and written an award-winning article about race and impact of mass incarceration on African Americans, specifically, their reentry back into communities they call home. As an editor, of the Encyclopedia of African Americans and Criminal Justice, I am all too familiar and disheartened with what is the dark past and present of our Criminal Justice System. Our justice system in America has been used in the most inhumane ways to assure superiority and subjugation. This is not only true in our Criminal Justice System but it is true of all of our institutions and systems – including education, economics, politics, social welfare, housing and so much more. As a pastor and spiritual leader, my view of these past few weeks are seen through the lens of faith! My mom used to say, “God ain’t sleeping and He ain’t dead.” She was declaring the God is a God of Justice. Although it is clear that systemic and institutional racism is alive and well because it is nurtured and sustained at the highest levels of our society, it is also clear that God hears the cries of the oppressed! Throughout history we have and do now see the inhumanity of humanity. We are all his children and one group whether by race, ethnicity, skin color or culture – does not possess the right to oppress the other.