Ruama Camp, Pastor Gregory Cheeks. Valerie Peterson Kelly, Yvette Cheeks
The First Juneteenth
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” —General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865
When Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued the above order, he had no idea that, in establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, he was also establishing the basis for a holiday, “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), today the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States. After all, by the time Granger assumed command of the Department of Texas, the Confederate capital in Richmond had fallen; the “Executive” to whom he referred, President Lincoln, was dead; and the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was well on its way to ratification.
But Granger wasn’t just a few months late. The Emancipation Proclamation itself, ending slavery in the Confederacy (at least on paper), had taken effect two-and-a-half years before, and in the interim, close to 200,000 black men had enlisted in the fight. So, formalities aside, wasn’t it all over, literally, but the shouting?
It would be easy to think so in our world of immediate communication, but as Granger and the 1,800 bluecoats under him soon found out, news traveled slowly in Texas. Whatever Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered in Virginia, the Army of the Trans-Mississippi had held out until late May, and even with its formal surrender on June 2, a number of ex-rebels in the region took to bushwhacking and plunder.
That’s not all that plagued the extreme western edge of the former Confederate states. Since the capture of New Orleans in 1862, slave owners in Mississippi, Louisiana and other points east had been migrating to Texas to escape the Union Army’s reach. In a hurried re-enactment of the original Middle Passage, more than 150,000 slaves had made the trek west, according to historian Leon Litwack in his book Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery. As one former slave he quotes recalled, ” ‘It looked like everybody in the world was going to Texas.’ ”
When Texas fell and Granger dispatched his now famous order No. 3, it wasn’t exactly instant magic for most of the Lone Star State’s 250,000 slaves. On plantations, masters had to decide when and how to announce the news — or wait for a government agent to arrive — and it was not uncommon for them to delay until after the harvest. Even in Galveston city, the ex-Confederate mayor flouted the Army by forcing the freed people back to work, as historian Elizabeth Hayes Turner details in her comprehensive essay, “Juneteenth: Emancipation and Memory,” in Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas.
Those who acted on the news did so at their peril. As quoted in Litwack’s book, former slave Susan Merritt recalled, ” ‘You could see lots of niggers hangin’ to trees in Sabine bottom right after freedom, ’cause they cotch ’em swimmin’ ‘cross Sabine River and shoot ’em.’ ” In one extreme case, according to Hayes Turner, a former slave named Katie Darling continued working for her mistress another six years (She ” ‘whip me after the war jist like she did ‘fore,’ ” Darling said).
Hardly the recipe for a celebration — which is what makes the story of Juneteenth all the more remarkable. Defying confusion and delay, terror and violence, the newly “freed” black men and women of Texas, with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau (itself delayed from arriving until September 1865), now had a date to rally around. In one of the most inspiring grassroots efforts of the post-Civil War period, they transformed June 19 from a day of unheeded military orders into their own annual rite, “Juneteenth,” beginning one year later in 1866.
” ‘The way it was explained to me,’ ” one heir to the tradition is quoted in Hayes Turner’s essay, ” ‘the 19th of June wasn’t the exact day the Negro was freed. But that’s the day they told them that they was free … And my daddy told me that they whooped and hollered and bored holes in trees with augers and stopped it up with [gun] powder and light and that would be their blast for the celebration.’ ”
Now if you made it this far a reminder that God wants us all to be free to choose Him and life in Eternity. Jesus bridged the divide for us and it was and is immediate. Once you accept God as your Savior, you are no longer bound but, free.
Accept His love, grace and, peace today. Come and fellowship with other believers. You need us and we need you.
Pastor Gregory Cheeks
So, when something bad happens do you ever feel as if God is angry with you? I’ve heard it said that, “Every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” None of us are saints but, because of redemption through God’s loving forgiveness we are given a chance to begin again. He’s waiting for you. All we need to do is ask him to bring us out of the drought in our life. He wants to rain down His love and blessings.
God is so faithful. So gracious. He holds us, strengthens us, renews us, transforms us, refines us and, enables us to move in His strength, His peace and with His love through life’s journey.
Are you ready for your victory? January 22, 2017
Reverend Webb delivered the message to our congregation that was timely and heaven sent to remind us of God’s faithfulness and sovereign power.
He stated that, “Victory is within our reach if we remain focused, faithful and, steadfast. God will rescue us from the trials we go through but, we must ask Him for help. Some of us will not ask because we don’t feel worthy or don’t want to then, owe Him something in return.” He then asked how many know that we already cant repay God for what He has done.
11 Is it not you, God, you who have rejected us and no longer go out with our armies?
12 Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.
13 With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.
Rev. Webb explained that in the text the Israelites had enemies to the left and right of them. David in this scripture prayed not merely for rescue but, for victory. Are you asking God to help you win?
God can use your situation to show His power. You can rejoice now in the battle. All you have to do is think of past victories that He has helped you. He stated that the battles we go through can be overwhelming. But, to pour out your heart to God and He will be merciful and supply the answers even if it is just how to go through the battle until He gives the victory.
He gave us several examples from the Bible of God’s triumphs
Remember to continue to praise God and remember His divineness. He emphasized that we should respect His abilities and that should give us comfort as we humble ourselves to His will and way.
Remember God is both perfectly loving and perfectly just.
Be careful when God gives you the victory that you don’t take the credit for it yourself. It is not your abilities that cause you to be successful but, God’s nobility..
The 3 steps necessary to find victory over sin.
- Seek the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word
There is a difference between reading and hearing God’s word and Doing God’s word.
- Stay away from Tempting Situations
Like a child on the candy aisle. We sometimes have to keep ourselves
- Seek the help of wise counsel. Go to them for advice or for prayer .
We all have areas that temptation is strong and habits that are hard to break. Philippians 4:8 Admonishes us to think on things of good virtue and report, to think on things that are honorable, lovely, pure and just.
Genesis 22 1-12
Fire refines us not just metal
Blessing on other side of through
Hebrews tested by wilderness we will be as well
We spend hoursw working on outer man but few minutes looking inward to fix
What does your heart look like
Bible is reliable, you can trust His Word
Don’t twist God’s words
Obeying God can be a struggle because against our nature
Testing us to strengthen ua
4 ways we can be better:
1 Improve our character aspire to be like Christ
2 Increase our holiness by sseparating from the world
3 We need to increase our maturity some kids never grow up
4 Aim for higher Love Human tendency to err should not deter us from love
Finally, Rejoice in suffering He’s using life’s difficulties to strengthen and bless us. Come join us for VBS this Wednesday at 6pm.
Are you Content in your Circumstance? Sermon by Rev. Cynthia Carradine on February 12, 2017
Scripture Reference: Philippians 4:10-14
Our Society is marked by an “Inextinguishable Discontent.” Our quest is Better & what is next? We want a better job with better pay & a better boss. We want better relationships & a better car. We have a propensity to live endlessly for the next thing – the next weekend, the next vacation, the next experience. We are never satisfied, never content and Even envious of those who have what we have not attained or accumulated.
The definition of Contentment (in biblical tense) – Satisfaction in God’s Sufficient Provision
Contentment is like a cup of cold water to a man in a desert. Get it? Desert means thirst.
Contentment is the Promised Land!!! When we left the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness, they were caught up in the “we want more” attitude. What lessons do you suppose God wanted to teach them by providing only enough manna for their daily needs and no more?
Examples of Discontented thinking – Yours or those you have observed:
God, you’ve provided a job for me, but I want ______”
Why do you think some of the Israelite’s hoarded the manna God provided?
They were not satisfied to just receive a DAILY blessing, Like some of us!
Let’s look at what Paul said in Vs. 11. When he had much, he knew how to use it. He had asked of God that he might be kept humble. That when his cup ran over he might not let it run to waste–so also that he might be ready to give to those who had need.
When we are full, we forget GOD. We are satisfied with the earthly things and are content to do without heaven. Being full is a much harder lesson.
Contentment invites us to look Vertically —at God. When we look in his direction, regardless of our possession or lack of status or Lack of, we know that HE is enough!
Contentment comes when we can honestly say & agree with the apostle Paul, “I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances, I have learned the secret (of being content) – whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Live one day at a time – “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”
If you know Jesus, you have a God who hears you, the power of love behind you, the Holy Spirit within you and all of heaven ahead of you.
Peace & Blessing to each of you!
2018 Church Theme: Prayer Still Works! James 5:13-16
In this life we will have some difficult days.
Take your situations to God in prayer.
Acknowledge that you have no power alone and you are totally dependent on Him for help.
Prayer is a privilege and a spiritual requirement/command. II Chronicles 7:14 & Luke 18:1
God hears our prayers. St. John 11:42
We are to use prayer as a offensive weapon. Ephesians 6:18-19
Rise above worry with prayer. Phillipians 4:6-7
Pray without ceasing.
We have not because we ask not. James 4:2-3
We have not because, we ask amiss (for the wrong purpose).
Pray the Word! Use God’s own words in yoru prayers John 15:7
He will hear and deliver. II Chronicles 20:9
Don’t forget to participate in the process.
Lastly, Stand Still and See the Salvation of the Lord!
Make a decision today to prayer.
Prayer still works!
Sermon-Lord I believe but Help my unbelief Mark 9:14-29 August 6, 2017
There was a man, like any man that did not want to pay others to do work on his home after a storm. He said I can do it myself. It will not take that long . Any of you ever feel that way? Of course, you have. So he went on the roof and trying to clean off the limbs and the leaves . But, it was harder than he thought and it took longer than he expected. He got hot, tired and, dizzy. and he lost his footing. So, as he is falling ,he is able to catch the gutter with one hand.
As he looks down and sees how far it is to the ground he does a smart thing and he looks up. He says to the heavens, My God can you help me? So, then the clouds parted and the voice of God answers and says, I am here my child just let go.
The man looks down and then looks up again and says, Is there anybody else up there that can help me?
Now, we can all laugh it up at his foolishness but, we all are guilty of the same thing. Saying we believe but, believing half-heartedly. We sing, “Take Your burdens to the Lord and leave them there” at church. We go to the altar and pray for all the issues in our life and then, pick them up and take them back with us.
Try these 3 Steps and watch your FAITH increase.
1.Keep Looking Up to GOD (PSALM 121)
2.Let Go and Let GOD (Hebrews 12:1-2 )
3.Take A LEAP of FAITH.-GOD will never leave you or forsake you. If GOD says LEAP -JUMP TO IT.
May 7, 2017 Pastor Gregory Cheeks Topic: Characteristics of True Christian Love
I John 3:11-18
The old folks used to say, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
vs.16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
vs. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
vs. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Point 1: Christian love is always in keeping with His word and the commandments he left us.
Point 2: Christian love is always in mission/movement vs. 17 (If you have all of this worlds richest and see your brother in need and don’t lend a hand then, that is not love.
Point 3: Christian Love is always a response to God’s love for us. vs. 18 Not to love in words but, in action and in deed for by this will all men know that we are Christ’s disciples by our love for our fellow man.
Love in action is what really counts!
We preach truth with compassion and love.
The truth is the older I get the more I realize how much I have to learn. Much of what is learned is through the example of others. I find that I can learn much from the poor example of others as the good examples.
It is love that gives us strength and courage to push forward through our obstacles. Love is our foundation, our fuel. But, you must give love even when the other party is acting unlovable.
Being faithful starts in your heart and with your conversations. No one else should know more about you, your hopes, dreams, desires than the one that you are with.
We get the person we picked. If they are not perfect, well neither are we. Pray for them. Pray for yourself, for patience for understanding and compassion when tempted to be critical.
Plan something different for your relationship. Find a show to watch together, take a class together, play some old school music and dance together in your own home, set your clock to take your morning coffee and go sit outside and watch the sunrise together. You don’t have to be on vacation to enjoy those blessings. We need to work on not being monotonous and boring but, to add life into our relationships. And it doesn’t take money. Just a willing heart to court one another again.