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Sunday, February 26, 2017


The first message in the series walking through the book of  Exodus. 

 The title of the sermon is MAKING SLAVES & SETTING THEM FREE

Listen well.

If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog .

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064 

Thursday, February 23, 2017


18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.
19 And he blessed him and said:“Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
20         And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. (Genesis 14:18-20)

Two kings met Abram as he was returning from the rescue mission that freed his nephew Lot:  the king of Sodom and the king of Salem (Genesis 14: 17, 18).    The king of Sodom asked Abram to give him the people he’d taken out of captivity.  Abram told him to kick rocks (Genesis 14: 22-23).  Melchizedek king of Salem, as far as we can tell, didn’t ask Abram for anything.  Instead, he brought
food for Abram and his rescue squad.  Abram gave him 10% of his treasure.

Slow down.  Process that.

Two kings.  One (Sodom) we’d heard of before.  The other (Melchizedek) shows up for the first time out of nowhere in the Biblical record.  Abram the Hebrew patriarch of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, deferred to the new guy, and even paid his tithes to him.  Jews don’t tithe to pagan priests.

This Canaanite king, this Melchizedek was priest to the same God Abram served. 

The meeting with Melchizedek means that before Abraham,  there was an entire kingdom in Canaan already worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus.

Monotheism didn’t begin with the Jews.   God was in the land before Abraham got there.

Soon after these things (Genesis 15:1) God reiterated his promises to the patriarch.  In that vision, the Lord prophesied the Jews’ captivity in Egypt and explained why it would take 400 years.

But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”  (Genesis 15:16)

In Genesis 15, the Canaanites hadn’t yet totally abandoned the worship of God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus.  For 5 centuries, God gave them space to repent, but by Moses’ day, their apostasy was complete/ full.  That’s why the Lord sent Israel to displace the Amorites and other -ites of Canaan.  Yes, because He’d promised the land it Abraham; but also because by idolatry, the -ites had rejected Melchizedek’s preaching and forfeited their Divine rights to the land.

That’s why God warned the Israelites against adopting Canaanite culture.

Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. (Leviticus 18: 24-25)

But even in judgment against the land, God always saves a remnant among his children and not just among his Abrahamic children.

Remember Moses’ father-in-law.  Jethro, aka Reuel,  was a Kenite and a Midianite.  His dual-ethnicity tied him to multiple idolatrous Canaanite cultures, but Jethro wasn’t a pagan.  Like Melchizedek, Jethro the Kenite-Midianite was a priest to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus (Exodus 3:1). 

Melchizedek’s faith had survived 500 years of idolatry.   In Genesis 14, Melchizedek  met and refreshed Abraham.  In the next chapter, God formalized the Covenant with Abraham.   In Exodus chapter 2 Jethro met and refreshed Moses.   Moses encountered the burning bush in chapter 3.

2 points:
1.      God has true worshippers in every ethnicity and nationality. 

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold (John 10: 16). 

2.       Those of us who (think we) trace our ecclesiastical lineage directly to the apostles and patriarchs need to dial back the pride. 

Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side. (Mark 9: 38-39)

Scripture implies that one day we’re going to need to be refreshed by those other guys, the ones from “those countries” who despite their culture still worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus.

They won't look, sound, dress, or worship like you're used to, but being strange to you doesn't mean they're strangers to God.    Do not forbid them.  
Methodists, Baptist, Presbyterian, Unitarians, Jews, Muslims, and Community Agencies at Miles Chapel CME Church all working together to make the community better.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog .

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132

Fairfield, Al 35064

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Ethnically a Jew, politically a citizen of Rome, and religiously a Christian, the apostle Paul stood in Athens, the birthplace of European philosophy and proclaimed the God we serve. 

Paul said:
Acts 17: 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

In the first century, the church was explaining to Europeans that no matter what our races, nationalities, or geographies, we are all children of the same God and descendants of the same bloodline. From the very beginning, this has been the message of the church---- but somehow over the last 2,000 years, somebody got confused. 

Somebody got mixed up and started talking about a White Jesus and calling the Bible a White man’s book. 

Somebody got confused and said that there are no Black people in the Bible or if there are, they’re all slaves and servants.

Somebody got off-track and said that Africans didn’t know God until Europeans showed up to trade Christianity for their freedom. 

Somebody missed something somewhere and began to think that the world is divided into Black and White and that White folks have power and Black folks have problems, and that’s the way God wants it to be.

Well, the Bible is God’s direct Word about what He wants and thinks about humanity, and I happen to own a Bible.  And I’ve read it—the whole thing; and the Lord told me to tell you that

“Somebody done told you wrong.”

Today we look Into the Bible and Beyond Black & White.

We will survey, some (but by no means all) of the key references to Black people in the Old Testament as we work our way back to the book of Acts. 
Our journey INTO THE BIBLE AND BEYOND BLACK & WHITE has 3 overlapping stages:
1) Black presence
2)  Black Power
3)  Black Piety

First, to answer those who say that there is no Black presence in the Bible or that it doesn’t matter:   Of course it matters. 

It matters so much that slave traders and colonialists went to extreme efforts to create the lie that the Bible is only for White people.  They created illogical and self-contradictory stories about Black people being descended from the murderer Cain.  They claimed that Noah had cursed his son Ham, the patriarch of African and Middle Eastern nations, even though the Bible clearly states that Noah cursed CANAAN, not Ham, which explains why the Jews conquered and displaced the people in the land of Canaan.

The Black Presence in the Bible is so important that slave states made it illegal for slaves to learn to read or even possess a book, including the Bible.  They knew that if you knew that you are present, powerful, and important to God’s plan--- then the enemy couldn’t destroy your self esteem or trick you into believing that the Bible is only for White people.

But, if you get into the Bible, you’ll know about :
                    Zerah the Ethiopian, who led an army of a million men. (2 Chronicles 14:9-15)
                    The ambassadors  of Ethiopia, whom God calls a people tall and of smooth skin from a powerful nation prophesied to bring gifts to the Lord in Mt. Zion (Isaiah 18:1,-7)
                    Asenath, the Egyptian wife of Joseph, and mother of the Israelite tribes Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 41:45, 51, 52; 46:20)
                    Moses' (2nd) wife who was Ethiopian, when Moses’ siblings objected to Moses marrying a Black woman, God struck Moses’ sister with leprosy. (Numbers 12:1)
                    The Queen of Sheba whose kingdom included parts of Africa and Arabia(1 Kings 10:1-13).
                    Tirhakah,  the Ethiopian, who brought an army to support King Hezekiah of Judah against the Assyrian invasion (2 Kings 19:8,9; Isaiah 37:8,9)
                    The Prophet Zephaniah whose daddy was Cushi.  Cushi means Black. (Zephaniah 1:1).
                    Solomon’s favorite wife the Shulamite whom the Bible describes as “Lovely and dark. (Song of Solomon 1: 5,6)
                    And the multi-national force of African warriors who served as the hand of God’s judgment against the Jewish people in 2 Chronicles chapter 12.

Now turn to 2 Chronicles 12: 1.  Let’s talk about Biblical Black power.

2 Chronicles 12, takes place in the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah, under the rule of King Rehoboam.  Rehoboam was Solomon’s son and successor, but verse 1 says that when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel along with him.
So, God punished Judah. Verse 2.

And it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord,
with twelve hundred chariots, sixty thousand horsemen, and people without number who came with him out of Egypt—the Lubim and the Sukkiim and the Ethiopians.

Egypt was the lead country in a coalition of African nations.The Lubim were from modern day Libya in north Africa. The Sukkiim were a group of desert tribes, also from North Africa. Ethiopia was an empire of central and southern Africa.

Note that this pan-African force came BECAUSE Judah had sinned against the Lord.  The Africans were God’s instrument of punishment against the Jews.

Africans were God’s instrument of punishment against the Jews.

2 Chronicles 12: Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who were gathered together in Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord: ‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak.’ ”

This pan-African coalition was militarily victorious and spiritually obedient.  God sent them to conquer, so they conquered.

2 Chronicles 12: And they took the fortified cities of Judah and came to Jerusalem.

When God told them to show mercy, they were merciful.

2 Chronicles 12: So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, “The Lord is righteous.”
Now when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance. My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they will be his servants, that they may distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of the nations.”

So, in verse 9, the African armies carried away the treasures of Jerusalem, stripping Rehoboam of his father’s riches, but they left the Tempe, the city, and the lives of the royal family intact.   BLACK POWER is a great thing when BLACK POWER  is obedient to God’s will.
But, Black Power outside of God’s will leads to trouble.
Jump over to 2 Chronicles chapter 14.

2 Chronicles 14:  Then Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and he came to Mareshah. 10 So Asa went out against him, and they set the troops in battle array in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
When you compare verses 8 and 9 you see that Judah had 580,000 soldiers.  The Ethiopians had a million.  The Africans outnumbered the Jews by almost 2 to 1, plus the African had chariots, which were the ancient equivalent of tanks.
2 Chronicles 14: 11 And Asa cried out to the Lord his God,

Hmmm.  I bet he did!
Asa said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”
2 Chronicles 14: 12 So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 And Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the Lord and His army. And they carried away very much spoil.

Wait.  The Africans lost?  But in chapter 12, the African armies were God’s powerful hand of judgment again st Judah.  How could they lose, especially with chariots and a 2 to 1 advantage?  What happened to BLACK POWER?

In chapter 12, the people of Judah had turned away from God, and the African army was obeying God.  In chapter 14, it’s exactly the opposite.  Judah was doing right in God’s sight, and Ethiopia invaded just because they felt like it.

Jews can be wrong.  White folks can be wrong.  And Black folks can be wrong, too.  Our place in God’s favor is not determined by our skin, our culture, or our ancestry.  Our place in God’s favor is determined by our OBEDIENCE to God.

When our culture lines up with God’s will, we can change the course of a nation.  That’s what happened in the civil rights movement.  It isn’t a coincidence  that the leaders of the movement that ended legal segregation had titles like reverend and minister.  Without Christ, we can do nothing.  But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

In the Old Testament, Black Power empowered by God’s command changed the course of the nation of Judah. In 2 Chronicles chapter 13, Abijah, the next king, trusted God and the Lord gave him victory over his enemies.  Ironically, in those days the greatest threat to the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah was the northern Jewish kingdom of Israel.

Let me rephrase that.  Nationally, the greatest threat of violence against the Jewish people was Jew-on-Jew attacks.  Sometimes it’s people who look just like you who are your greatest threat.
White people kill each other at much higher rates than Black people kill White people.  An Asian-America is more likely to be killed by another Asian-American than by a member of another ethnic group.
Most of the time, any given culture is its own worst enemy.

The  problem of Black people killing and sabotaging one another is NOT as we have been programmed to believe, something unique to people whose ancestors came out of Africa in the last 400 years.  Our problem is an age-old human problem. 

The leaders of the nations kept the Jewish people divided so they couldn’t retake their power.  National leaders promoted internal division and self-hatred so successfully that by the time we move from Chronicles to the gospels, the Jews in Judaea can’t stand the Jews in Galilee, and the Jews in Galilee and Judaea won’t even talk to the Samaritans who are descended from Jews, but the other Jews don’t think they’re  “real Jews,”  and the upperclass Pharisees call the lower class multitudes ignorant and accursed, and traditionalist Jewish men don’t respect Jewish women enough to speak to them in public, and the upperclass Jews are kissing up to the Romans while telling the lower classes that they hate the Romans, which is fine with the Romans because they run the whole country and they can kill a bunch of Jews anytime they feel like it.

Does any of this sound familiar? Go back through the previous paragraph and replace “Jew” with “African and Black.”  No, seriously.  Go back through the paragraph. 

The Word of God explains our problems and offers solutions.  Scripture is a mirror that shows us ourselves, and when we look into that mirror it show us that we are more than Black and White.  We are made from one blood; and every nation, every culture experiences the same cycles of problems and prosperity as they seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though we keep forgetting that He is not far from each one of us.

In 2 Chronicles, the intervention of Black Power set God’s people back on the right course with God, but they were still fighting each other, and that weakened them and set them up for trouble.

2 Chronicles chapter 14.

Asa, son of Abijah, great-granson of Solomon becomes king of Judah.  For years, Asa was a godly man, like his father.   

2 Chronicles 14: Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God,

Asa was a good spiritual leader

for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment.

Asa was also a good military and economic leader.

And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest. Therefore he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and make walls around them, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.

But Asa didn’t prosper just because he was from a certain place or because he looked a certain way.  In fact, God made a point of warning Asa against becoming arrogant about his culture.

2 Chronicles 15: 1 the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin.
2 Chronicles 15: The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

In conservative Christian media, I hear a lot of people talk about how God’s going to judge America for its sins. When New Orleans flooded they said it was God’s judgment on all those sinful Black folks.  I didn’t hear an explanation for flooding in Texas, South Carolina, or New Jersey.

The South, in particular Alabama, has the highest and fast growing rates of HIV/ AIDS, drug addiction, poverty, unemployment, unwed pregnancy, violence, incarceration, infant mortality, and death from preventable illnesses.  

In Scripture, those are called “plagues.”  God sent plagues as judgment.

If you look into the statistics and then you look into the Bible, you realize that God is already judging the people of this nation who have most terribly departed from His will.  And apparently that’s not the liberals up there in the North. 

We, the people of the Bible Belt, the people with the most churches and the most self-identified Christians in the country are living in complete contradiction to the Word of God.  Our leaders talk about Jesus. 

Wait.  No they don’t.

Listen to them carefully.  They talk about “God” and they talk about “Christianity” and they talk about “Values” and “tradition,” but they very, very seldom say the name JESUS.
Our leaders talk about Christianity, but their actions, their policies, and their personal lives are exactly the opposite of what the Bible says.  The political and cultural leaders in the South, Black and White, are like like King Asa in 2 Chronicles.  They start off good and godly, but then they start cutting deals and forgetting about God.

2 Chronicles 15: 12 Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;

In other words, they signed a pledge to honor God.

But in the next chapter, 2 Chronicles 16: Then Asa brought silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-Hadad king of Syria, …saying, “Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you silver and gold; come, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.”
So Ben-Hadad heeded King Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel.

See what happened?  King Asa cut a deal with the heathens so the heathens would help him conquer the other Jewish nation.  He cut a deal with then enemies of his people and his faith so he could dominate people who were his political rivals, but his cultural, ethnic, and religious brothers.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Black Power had put the nation back on track with God, but then leaders adopted the  convenient politics of division and back room deals in violation of God’s will.    Maybe Asa thought that because his skin was a little lighter than the Ethiopians that God would let him get away with it.  Maybe he thought that all he had to do was stand in front of the flag and talk about making Judah great again, and God wouldn’t notice. 

Well God made Ethiopia and God made Israel, and God sent another prophet to remind Judah that God holds all of his children to the same standard.

2 Chronicles 16: 7  …Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand.

Asa wasn’t supposed to cut a deal.  He was supposed to oppose the enemies of his people and of their faith. By cutting a deal with God’s enemies, he had taken his nation outside of God’s favor. 

We don’t have to accept every crappy candidate they send us--- whomever THEY are.  We don’t have to enable the oppression of our brothers over there so we can cut a deal with their oppressors over here.  That’s the game that the enemy runs because they get INTO THE BIBLE, and they know that if we cut a deal with them we will not overcome.  And that’s true whether you’re Black, White, Yellow, or Red.

The prophet reminded the king Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand.

When we’re right with God, we win.  When we’re lined up outside God’s will we lose.  Why, because God doesn’t bless in Black and White.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
The prophet rebuked Asa.  He told him that cutting a deal with the Syrians was foolish and therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

The leaders had not given justice, so God would not give them peace.

James 4: 1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2a You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. . .  
James 4: 2b . . .Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Race doesn’t determine your favor with God, obedience determines your favor with God.
But some folks can’t accept that.

In 2 Chronicles 16, when Hananai the prophet told Asa that God was going to treat him just like God treated the other kings of the ancient world, Asa went OFF!  King Asa did what angry, arrogant leaders continue to do when God won’t conform to their personal will.

First,  they try to silence the voices of protest and truth.

2 Chronicles 16: 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this.

Then, they attack anyone who might possible complain.

2 Chronicles 16: 10b . . . And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.

Let me put that in contemporary language for you:  When the nation sinned, and God sent Word that the nation would have to deal with terrorism just like the “other” nations, and the nation would have to deal with attacks in their streets and marketplaces, just like the other nations, and when they thought they were done with fighting an enemy, another enemy would come out of nowhere for them to have to fight--- just like in them “other” countries; then King Asa got mad and turned against the prophetic voice of condemnation and declared, “I don’t care what God says, ‘We’re gonna make America great again!’ “

Asa was buried in extravagant honor, but he died in excruciating pain without ever repenting of his sin.

The leader suffered, died, and went to Hell.  But he had a very nice funeral. 


Because he would not accept that God would judge his nation just like God would judge any other nation.  Asa couldn’t see beyond Black and White.

Our community, our state, our region, and eventually our nation are on the way to Hell in a golden casket because we think that Black Power, White Power, or whatever culture’s power determines God’s favor. 

We can save our community, our state, our region, and our nation when we realize that God’s will is the only thing that gives our culture power.

God is not color-blind.  He sees our racial and cultural differences. He didn’t make us the same, but He loves us the same; and He will judge us the same.  But if we confess our sins and turn back to Him, He will also forgive us the same and restore to us the Black Power that has redeemed this nation before.  

He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.

The Bible demonstrate the Black presence in God’s plan, reassures us that God gave us our Black Power, and reminds us that long before the trans-atlantic slave trade,  our ancestors knew the Lord and maintained a tradition of Black piety.

Acts 8: 26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,

This African leader in the 1st century was a believer and a student of the Scriptures.  The Ethiopian people practiced a form of Judaism they trace  back to Solomon’s meeting with the Queen of Sheba.

 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.

This was centuries before the printing press, when books of the Bible were hand copied at great expense and under exacting conditions.  Even in Israel, most cities may had only one copy of the first 5 books of the Bible housed in the synagogue.  This means that southern and central Africa had copies of the OT in such abundance that this guy could drive around with a personal copy of the scrolls of Isaiah. Meanwhile, Rome was planning how to invade northern and western Europe to bring civilization to the barbarians who were still worshipping trees and guys with hammers.

Africa had the Bible long before Europeans “discovered” Africa.

29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:
He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
33         In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”
34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

White people didn’t take the gospel to Africa on slave ships.  An Messianic Jewish African took the gospel into Africa in a chariot.

God cared so much for the future of the faith in Africa that he sent Philip into the desert to chase down the one Ethiopian in the country who was in the best position to receive and spread the message of Jesus the Messiah crucified and raised from the dead.

The Bible confirms the original reality of Black piety, the Holy Spirit empowerment of Black Power, and the constancy of the Black Presence in Biblical history and the Divine Plan. 

To my Black brothers and sisters:
Own the faith that your forefathers received directly from the prophets and the apostles .  Own the faith that God Himself delivered to the descendants of Cush in and well beyond the boundaries of ancient Egypt.  Look to the Scriptures. Reject the lies.

To my other brothers and sisters:
Reject the same lies.  Receive the same faith.  We are “made from one blood.”  Don’t just “see no color.”  See all colors and rejoice.

God does.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog .

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064

Monday, February 20, 2017


Blogging Genesis 14

A leader’s work doesn’t end when someone new takes over their title.   

In Genesis chapter 13, Lot, Abram’s young nephew  took over leadership of their prime pasture land.  In Genesis chapter 14, Lot encountered more trouble in that position than he was prepared to handle.  Cause that is how the world works. 

The Devil targets new leaders.
There had been 12 years of peace in the Jordan valley, but as soon as Lot started implementing his

vision for their people, trouble came from 9 different directions.  Nine kingdoms go to war with each other and  Lot is in the middle of it all.  Everything Lot owns, all of his employees, his entire family, and he are all taken by the 4 invading kings.   The other 5 kings, the ones who were supposed to protect Lot and his interests?  Those guys ran away. (Genesis 14:1-10)

Warn your proteges.  Tell your successors that the prophetic pattern is clearThe devil comes for the new guy.

A leader isn’t successful until their successor succeeds.
Now, when Abram heard that his nephew had been kidnapped, he went full on Liam Nelson.  Abram rounded up his boys and called his Amorite allies Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner because some situation require you to call on your heathen friends (Luke 16:9).  They locked and they loaded and they went after the people who had taken Lot.

We make sons so we can have brothers.
Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. (Genesis 13:14)

The rescue mission succeeded but that’s not our main point right now.

In Genesis 14,  Scripture refers to Lot as  his brother not “his nephew.”  In their time together, Lot had been like a son to Abram, his student, his protégé; but Lot had grown up.  The shift in language affirms that Abram hadn’t “let” Lot lead in the south to shut the kid up.  Abram truly saw Lot as an EQUAL.  

Too often, older church folk only see younger adults as baby, son, and so-and-so’s child.  Abraham’s example teaches veteran leaders to progress to a new level of relationship to young adults in which they are your equals.  Don’t postpone that relationship until you’re too tired to hold on to the primacy.

While Abraham was in his prime, while he was still leading and fighting effectively, while he still had the power and influence to shut Lot out --- Abraham stopped calling Lot “my brother’s baby,”
and started calling him “my brother.”

When enemies overwhelmed his brother, the old man had to come to his rescue.  He didn’t ride in singing, “I told you so.”  Abram didn’t say, “I knew you weren’t ready to chair this auxiliary.”  Abram mobilized his contacts and risked his standing to rescue Lot without losing any respect for Lot as a man or a leader. 

Because that’s what you do when YOUR BROTHER is in trouble.

Watch out for the wish-you-were-stills
The mission was a success, but then the wish-you-were-stills came back.  You know  the wish-you-were-stills?  Say you led an organization for several years but you’ve stepped down and a new leader is in charge.  When that new leader  encounters a major problem you stop by to consult.  When you arrive, there will be  people who pull you aside and say, “We wish-you-were-still in charge.”

Some of them will wish-you-were-still out of sincere love.  They supported you while you were in charge. 

But some wish-you-were-stills will be the very people who’d opposed you at every turn, sabotaged your efforts, and made your time in charge a living HELL-O.

In Genesis 14, the 5 kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies were Abram’s wish-you-were-stills.  Remember these were the guys who ran away, abandoning Lot and his family to be robbed and kidnapped (Genesis 14:10-12).  After the rescue (in which the 5 kings did not participate), the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.”  (Genesis 4:21)

He said, “Look, Abram.  This nephew of yours doesn’t deserve the wealth he’s acquired.  You made him what he is.  We wish-you-were-still in charge.  Let us come in after the crisis and remove him from power, and you can take it back. “

Abram recognized the manipulation and his response in verses 22-24 left wisdom for every leader tempted to take out the new guy.
  • ·         Don’t be led by ego.  Be led by God.
  • ·         Stay on mission.  You came to  help not to take over.
  • ·         If you let the wish-you-were-stills give you the kingdom, they will own you.   Besides, if they’ll betray the new guy, they’ll betray you.
  • ·         You have (or should have) new work to do.

Be the former leader you wish your former leader had been. 

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

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