Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Greenleaf: OWN’s Megachurch Drama Series Initial Review

Greenleaf is a new American drama appearing on the OWN network.  During its premiere with over 3.04 million viewers watching, Greenleaf made history ranking No. 1 for the most viewership during a series debut on the network. The notable acting performances of Merle Dandridge, Lynn Whitfield, and Keith David have received high praises.   Craig Wright created the series.  Oprah Winfrey, Clement Virgo, and Lionsgate Television are the executive producers.  Clement Virgo also serves as one of the directors and Oprah Winfrey portrays a reoccurring cast member, Mavis McGready.

What is it about Greenleaf that attracts so many viewers?  It is a perfect combination of marketing, the cast of renowned actors, an awesome soundtrack, and a plot that is both suspenseful and dramatic.  Greenleaf opens the door allowing viewers to peer into the lives of the affluential and powerful African-American dynasty of the Greenleaf family and its extensive megachurch predominantly serving African-American members in Memphis, Tennessee.

As we step through the doors to get a better view, we can see the cracks in the façade of the highly favored servants of God, namely the Greenleaf family.  The corruption, debauchery, and the entanglements into webs of deception are oozing through the cracks.  Blood and DNA are not the ties that bind this family. Nor is it their religious beliefs or doctrines.  It is their individual and collective secrets that they try to conceal.

The Greenleaf family built their dynasty upon a foundation of selfishness using the form of godliness as walls with their pride as a rooftop.  The Greenleaf dynasty is nothing more than a den of iniquity. The Greenleaf theme song entitled, “Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down,” performed by Pastor Shirley Caesar acts as a precursor to the imminent destruction of the Greenleaf dynasty.

In Genesis 18:16-33, Abraham makes his petition known to God by interceding on behave of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham kept pressing God while questioning God’s justice and mercy for the righteous amongst the wicked. The writers have provocatively put the viewing audience in Abraham’s shoes making us ponder whether there is one righteous amongst the Greenleaf family. Will any of the members of the Greenleaf family turn from their wicked ways, repent, and ask for God’s forgiveness? Stay tuned as the story unfolds on OWN.

Product Review: Samson

The newly release pamphlet entitled, “Life of Samson” published by Rose Publishing is a “must-have.” As the title suggest, this pamphlet provides an account of Samson’s life. It provides a vivid image of how God operates in the darkest of times, shows God’s love for His people, and illustrates God’s mercy and redeeming power.

Throughout the Book of Judges, there is a cyclical pattern of behavior that Israel demonstrates. From their disobedience to oppression followed by their cries for mercy, God provides a liberator that delivers Israel bring the nation to peaceful state. The peaceful states is short-lived and the cycle begins again. The pattern is broken in Chapter 13 because Israel has resolved to their state of oppression and are hopeless. God intervenes and shows compassion by consecrating Samson from the womb to be Israel’s liberator from the Philistines.

This account of Samson’s life allows us to see how God is able to use us despite our shortcomings. In this story, God’s grace, forgiveness, and empathy are evident. God used Samson’s weaknesses and selfish acts to His benefit. This story provides a perfect example of how God can use “perfectly imperfect” people to fulfill a divine purpose. God not only uses our talents, gifts, and strengths. God utilizes our weaknesses, and our limitations.

I believe that you will be inspired and enlighten. This is an incredible resource for personal, Sunday School, or Bible Study.

Product Review: Following Jesus

Rose Publishing has issued a pamphlet entitled, “Following Jesus.” This pamphlet is a welcome basket to the New Believer. It covers the fundamentals of Christian Conduct after accepting the Gift of Salvation. The pamphlet contains 11 pages of actual content briefly covering topics regarding Spiritual Gifts/Disciplines, Christian Living, and the Reliability of the Christian Faith.

This pamphlet reminds the New Believe to strive for “progress and not perfection” because becoming a true disciple does not occur immediately. Forgiveness, repentance, and the assurance of Salvation with scriptural references are briefly addressed to help reassure New Believers can be forgiven when they sin after repenting from a sincere heart. The four “P”s (Praise, Provide, Pardon, and Protect) structure as it relates to The Lord’s Prayer to aid New Believers to stay connected to God.

Additionally, suggestive scriptural readings are prescribed with a recommended criteria to follow while reading these scriptures to obtain the most out of a biblical study. The importance of fellowship, tithing, and evangelism are emphasized. It also addresses the concerns that most New Believer have regarding the authority/reliability of the Bible, evidence of the Resurrection, and answering the question if Jesus is the only way for salvation.

I believe this pamphlet would work well in New Membership Classes or as a tool to utilize when evangelizing. I believe the pamphlet could explore certain topics deeper for clarity. Overall, I would recommend this to teachers or spiritual leaders who interact with those who seek to learn more about following Jesus.

Product Review: Pursuing Jesus

The “Pursuing Jesus” pamphlet is very similar to the “Following Jesus” pamphlet. “Pursing Jesus” is a revised, more contemporary version of “Following Jesus” geared towards appealing to the youth. The layout, format, and overall design is edgier and more colorful. The length is the same. While still scripturally based, there are less scriptures while maintaining scriptural references and has more of a questions and answers layout.

While I do appreciate that this has been designed with teens in mind, the graphic design and fonts used would not give you the impression of Christian pamphlet at first glance, but something that you would see to advertisement a secular Halloween flyer. The font used for headers appear as scratches in blood red color. The cover display a female face that is pale with wide horizontal stripe of red across the eyes and a wide vertical stripe that comes down the middle.

The same questions used in “Following Jesus” are used and sometimes re-worded in “Pursing Jesus.” As in the previous pamphlet, there are suggested scriptural references provided for memorization. As I have been seeking content for my Teen Sunday School class, I wanted to review both products. Initially, I believed “Pursing Jesus” was a continuous of “Following Jesus.” This is not the case they are virtually the same product. Overall, I prefer “Following Jesus” over the “Pursing Jesus” pamphlet because I like the layout, format, and overall design better for teaching. Both products are good for introducing New Believers to Christ. I would recommend it be used in small group settings to facilitate discussions about what it means to be a Christian.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Massacre

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4, KJV)

My prayers and condolences go out to the congregation, families, and friends impacted by the shooting which took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people including the pastor lost their lives as a result of this shooting. Although the suspect in the killings, Dylann Roof, has been apprehended, the pain of this shooting is felt throughout the Universal Church.

I would encourage all to pray not only for the victims love ones and congregation but to pray for the suspect. We, being the Church, must forgive his actions. Though we grieve, we must also forgive. This is not to say that he should not suffer the consequences for his actions. Regardless to his motives for performing this slaying, redemption is still available to him. Before becoming an Apostle Saul murdered hundreds of Christians until he reached the road of Damascus. He was given a new name, Paul, and would be the writer of fourteen out of twenty-seven books in the Bible.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is historical for their work in civil rights and being active in their community. The “Charleston Nine” are now martyrs of the faith. They spent their final hour studying the Scriptures, praying, and worshipping God not knowing that this would be their last opportunity to do so. For them, death has no sting and the grave has no victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54-56) They have ran their race and kept the faith. The names and ages of the “Charleston Nine” are listed below.

Cynthia Herd (54)

Suzy Jackson (87)

Ethel Lee Lance (70)

Reverend Doctor Depayne Middleton (49)

Pastor Clementa Pinckney(41)

Tywanza Sanders (26)

Reverend Doctor Daniel L. Simmons, Senior (74)

Reverend. Sharonda Singleton (45)

Myra Thompson (59)

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, KJV)