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.
In our fulfillment of the mission of the church to bring glory to God, build-up the body of believers and bring souls to salvation, the safety and wellbeing our parishioners and visitors are of upmost concern. Therefore, the Morning Star Church will not resume in-person church gatherings at this time. Rather, we will continue virtual and remote gatherings until further notice. There are several reasons for this decision which could directly impact the health and wellbeing our members and visitors. First, our church is located in the area of New York State which was hard hit by the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. At one point, New York State accounted for nearly one-half of national COVID-19 cases and deaths. A monumental death toll for the entire region. I don’t believe that there is a single member of our church who does not know either directly or indirectly have experienced a death of a loved one, family member, friend, neighbor, colleague or someone who have touched their lives in some way to this pandemic. This is especially true of communities of color, as the death toll, both regionally and nationally disproportionately impacted black and brown people. Simply put, black churches have suffered greatly in terms of deaths as result of this virus. While I do believe that the case and death numbers are higher than have been reported, those reported are nothing short of startling in and of themselves. Second, there is also a religiopolitical contexts in the which President Trump has declared all churches open and threaten to challenge governors who do not comply. While governors in many states already had plans to allow churches begin to gather, there are a few things that impact his decision – one of which is the church lobby itself. This group, which is a strong part of the president’s political base, is convinced that there is a political, even constitutional reason, that gives churches the right to gather despite governor executive orders. And, I might add, despite the spikes in cases and deaths in various parts of the country. To this, I must say that I and the Morning Star Church leadership could not be more eager to gather in person again – to pray, sing, hear the word of God, share in testimonies and breaking of bread and in Christian fellowship. Most importantly, we are eager to continue in-the work of the kingdom of God – fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ in the earth. However, we are resolved, at least temporarily, that we must plan to worship and fulfill the mission of the church in new ways. To that end, MSC is committed to evolving in the use of technology and other ways in which we meet the needs of and stay connected as a fellowship, while growing and expanding – ever partnering with God, through the Holy Spirit to continue the work of Jesus Christ in the world! Lastly, we will continue to respect the Executive Order of the state of New York, which allows houses of worship to gather with 10 persons or less using all the CDC Guidelines specified. These guidelines give the best practices to assure the safety of gathers. We are working vigorously to make sure we are in full compliance before reopening for larger gatherings so that are ready when the time comes. Until then, the Lord continue to cover and bless you and your families! All the Lord mercies, Pastor Beverly
February 21, 2011 at 6:53 PM I like listening to the bible on tape or cd. It never ceases to amaze me how the same stories affect me differently every time I hear them. I understand, notice, and am aware in many different ways with each story, parable, lesson or captured interaction. The other day, I heard the parable of the sower. In it, Jesus tells the story of a farmer who plants seeds for a harvest and gives four scenarios of what happened to the seeds. A fascinating parable, it is one of only a few where Jesus actually tells the meaning of the allegorical-like story. Matt 13:20-22 (NIV) 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. In short, in three of the four settings, we either allow: (1) let the enemy take it; (2) allow trouble or persecution destroy it; or (3) the worries of life, deceitfulness of wealth and other desires choke it – each scenario rendering us fruitless. It is only in the forth, one out of four, that we see productivity – thirty, sixty and hundred times that which was originally planted. I was struck for the first time that perhaps these are not separate individuals. That is, the different types of soil presented are actually the same person at different times in his or her life. What if, we were all, at one time or another unproductive with our seeds? What if we let problems and heartaches or our search for more material things get in the way? What if from time to time we let opportunities slip to bring forth fruit from the word of God that we hear in songs, sermons, reading or studying? Nurturing good soil requires purposeful practice of spiritual disciplines – the basics: prayer, fasting, mediation and reading/studying the word. Being fruitful in life is no accident.
Grace and peace, I am Beverly Frazier, Senior Pastor of the Morning Star Church! I pray and trust that you and your families are well! I want to take a couple of minutes and share with you the importance of giving. In this time of the Covid-19 crisis, I struggled with talking about giving because so many have lost their jobs and source of income! Many are suffering and don’t have anything to give! But even in these times of uncertainty and crisis, giving remains one of the most important forms of our worship. The worship of giving is a principle that is also a law of the universe – give and it shall given. We know now well of the law of sowing and reaping as it plays out in our lives daily! It is prevalent in so much of what we do. Without a seed, there is no harvest! So while I struggled, I didn’t struggle for long because I know that if we continue to honor God with our tithes and offering that God will bless the rest! Giving opens a portal for God to return our gifts multiplied. It is a trigger to open heavens and windows of blessings even in a wilderness. As we find in the tenants of scripture, so in our giving – God is first! And must be placed first in our lives. So whether it’s the law of first fruits or simply put, honoring God with all increase. The worship of giving is essential! For those of you suffering loss, know that the bible tells us that God will supply our needs according to his riches in glory – not according to what we see in our unemployment checks, bank accounts or retirement funds but according to his resources! Know that God has more ways to bless us that we could ever know! I want to encourage you to give because in our giving, we not only acknowledge our dependence on a faithful God, we also demonstrate our faith that He will provide. We have 4 easy ways to give: (1) Givelify – Morning Star Church in NY, NY (2) You can also give via both Zelle AND (3) PayPal payee: & (4) And of course, at your church website @ welcometomorningstar.org/donate All the instructions are provided here and on our church website! Please feel free to stop the message here to get the details! I pray for all of you who give, that the Lord bless you in abundance and provide all of your needs! Blessings to you and thank you for giving!
Mother Mary Smith fought a good fight! 2 Tim 4:7-8 (NIV) 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. I think what I like most about this passage is that there two sport or athletic metaphors making the same point. Fighting a fight and finishing a race – both conjure up imaginary of bringing the best of who you are to what you do for Christ. In other words, play hard or go home. The faithfulness of Mother Smith through out the years she served, over 40 years at the Morning Star Church was nothing shy of phenomenal. In prayer, she fought the powers and spiritual wickedness that sought to destroy the work of the Lord that she and her husband was assigned. She didn’t stop in her service. She kept going even after her husband went on to his eternal reward. She did not leave Morning Star. She did not stop working in the church and the council. She continued to run her race until it was over. She was not a quitter! And, in the passage, the Apostle Paul says, I have kept the faith! And, Mother Mary Smith kept the faith! Throughout her time as matriarch of the church, she kept the faith! Through the loss of her husband, she kept the faith! Through the loss of her mother, she kept the faith! Through three years of sickness, she kept the faith! She fought a good fight, she finished her race and she remained in faith! 8 Now there is in store for her the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to her on that day!
My personal tribute to Mother Mary Smith is in the context of the great women of her era, raised in the south with those undeniable southern sensibilities. Her grace and genuine charm were her calling card. She greeted you with such sincere love that you could not help but see the beauty of the Father in her eyes, in smile, in her words. I see her as part of a tradition of women who were built strong by their mothers and the village that raised them. She was a no-nonsense woman yet had the compassion of a servant of Christ. She was protected the flock with her words of instruction and reproof when needed but with kindness and care. She worked tirelessly to build up and not tear down everything and every person God assigned her. I found Mother Mary Smith her to be like the Mary’s at Jesus’ tomb, eagerly waiting to minister to the master. Like Mary, the sister of Lazarus, she loved the Lord and joyfully served him! Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, she was highly favored of God! Like other Mary’s at the cross of Jesus, she would never forget the transformative power of an encounter with the Christ. When I came to Morning Star Church, a senior pastor for the first time, I was empowered by her fervent prayers, equipped by her wise counsel, and encouraged by her testimonies of God’s faithfulness. She supported me, loved me, prayed for me and cared for me. She will forever be part of the fabric of the Morning Star Church and will forever be part of the tapestry of my life! I was beyond honored to know her and to be called her shepherd.
Sunday Worship Call: March 29, 2020 at 11 a.m. Dr. Joanna A. Sutherland "Dr. Jo" Psalms 42: 1-5 KJV 1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
The Lord Abundantly Bless You this year! As we come to the end of these 21 days of fasting and prayer, early in the new year, I offer this prayer for you: I declare and believe over each one of you, the blessings of the Lord that make rich and add no sorrow. That your prayers and petitions be granted as God has marvelously planned your destinies. I declare favor like you have never seen! That God will open doors to new opportunities. That his healing will be realized in every instance of sickness and disease. And, that you have more than enough for every need according God’s riches! I declare that you are restored in joy, and peace, and have victory over every conflict. I declare that God will bring every high place down and that every crooked place in your life will be made straight. I declare that turnaround is released in every area of your life that needs new direction-be it physical, spiritual, financial or relationships. I declare and believe with you that all of your unfulfilled promises be realized this year! That you are many steps closer to your new destiny and even higher heights. That the joys of this year will overwhelm the sorrows. That your best days are yet to come and God is glorified more than ever before in all that you do and say. In Jesus’ name. Amen. #RESET2020MSC
Get Ready, Get Ready, Get Ready! One more day! Hallelujah! For those of you who have not seen the full manifestation of what you have been praying about these 21 days, don’t dismay. Let me encourage you to have faith in God! God may not do what we want, when we want it but this week, He does all things well. We trust that though His ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts, that He is faithful! And, so we expect the fulfillment of prayers and petitions. This passage was on my heart this morning: I Kings 44:43-45... He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back” seven times. It came about the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.’ “ 45 In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel... In this passage, we see that Elijah was relentless in checking to see if there was any sign of rain. He expected to see God move. So, be steadfast in your expectation that God will answer your prayer. He sent his servant seven times to look for a sign. Seven is God’s number of completion. God knows the timing; just keep a spirit of expectancy because there is a day of completion for your wait. When the servant finally returned with a favorable response, it was such a minor development that you wonder why Elijah was so encouraged. The cloud was the size of your hand - way up in the sky but Elijah knew that God was up to something big! He told the servant, though he only saw a very, very small cloud, to get ready for the downpour. And, in a “little while,” the cloud grew black and there was a heavy rain. In the words of Bishop T.D. Jakes, Get Ready, Get Ready, Get Ready! TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I trust God that the small sign that He is working is enough for me to believe the answer is on the way. I will prepare for the turnaround in my life that is coming. God will not only send the rain in my drought, he will send a downpour. Get Ready, Get Ready, Get Ready! DON’T FORGET: 1. Remember to prepare to Break the Fast and Maintain a Life of Fasting and Prayer. 2. Take time to thoughtfully plan breaking the fast. 3. Plan to make changes in your life, in every way, for a year of refreshing. #RESET2020MSC
As we come to these last few days of the fast, I just want to encourage you that you have done a good thing and should expect to receive the benefits of fasting and prayer for the months and days to come. In addition to our physical and material blessings, fasting and prayer also has profound spiritual blessings as well. Fasting and prayer is a total surrender to the will of God for our lives. It is a declaration that rings true deep within our souls. It is the understanding that there is more and better in life, although it might not be what we planned or in the way we imagined. It is dependence on an all-wise God who has purposed us from our mother’s womb. Fasting and prayer leads us to a place of peace and wholeness - nothing missing, nothing broken. This is not true because suddenly we have all we’ve ever wanted but because we are in a never-ending process of submission to God’s direction for our lives. And, though it’s not always easy, there is no more peaceful place to be than in the will of God. I found this quote and thought it would bless you as you are ending your time of fasting and prayer at the beginning of the year. “Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food. Through it, we learn by experience that God’s word to us is a life substance, that is not food (“bread”) alone that gives life, but also the words that proceed from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). We learn that we too have meat to eat that the world does not know about (John 4:32, 34). Fasting unto our Lord is therefore feasting - feasting on Him and on doing His will. “ ~Dallas Willard TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I will open my heart and mind to what God will do in my life this year! I am renewed in my spirit and will live life to its fullest. The Lord is living in me! I possess all I need in order to fulfill my destiny. Thank you Lord for a new day!!! DON’T FORGET: 1. Read posts over the past week for help transitioning from the fast. 2. Make plans for a new and better life by maintaining a closer walk with God through spiritual disciplines and a healthier diet! Remember take small attainable steps in your plans. 3. Take a deep breath - you’re almost there! #RESET2020MSC