An Evening with Michael Vick

by Mark Davis

Arrogance. Selfishness. Poor decision making. Greed. A forgotten Bible.  These are the things that tackled Michael Vick when seemingly no one in the National Football League could.  During New Beginnings Fellowship Church’s “Tuesday Night Lights” youth service, the former Falcons, Eagles, Jets, and Steelers quarterback shared his rags to riches to prison rags to redemption story.  During a spirit filed, high energy service, the Fox Sports analyst was open about his past mistakes, his tough upbringing in Newport News, Virginia, and how these things helped to drive him to become the man that God intended for him to be.

As a youth, Mr. Vick slept with his Bible under his pillow.  He didn’t really understand how, but it was a source of comfort, but he would hide it if a friend came to spend the night. As he grew to be a star athlete in Pop Warner, high school, Virginia Tech, and eventually the NFL, the Bible was no longer as prominent in his life literally and figuratively.  While things came easily on the field, off the field, unhealthy habits and the pull of hometown friends would pop up from time to time and cause issues.  A 1.9 GPA during his junior year of high school almost derailed his future. His coach, Tommy Reamon, told him that he wouldn’t talk to him again until he got his grades up.  Coach Reamon ignored him for almost an entire semester.  Hurt, Mr. Vick pulled his grades up and was able to get a scholarship to Virginia Tech.  As a redshirt freshman, Mr. Vick led Virginia Tech to the National Championship game against Florida State.  After another sensational season, Mr. Vick was tired of going to class.  This caused his eligibility to be in jeopardy, so he declared early for the NFL draft.  Seeing his sensational ability, the Atlanta Falcons traded up to make him the number one overall pick.

As he flourished on the field, poor decision making began to lead to his downfall in life.  Mr. Vick believed that he could do whatever he wanted.  Relying on pure talent, Mr. Vick wasn’t focusing on improving his craft.  He didn’t spend time studying his playbook or working out and began to hang out with people from his hometown.  Those “friends” were involved in many questionable activities, including dog fighting.  A cousin was stopped by authorities in one of Mr. Vick’s vehicles with a large amount of marijuana. To lighten his sentence, he cooperated with the authorities and volunteered information on the dog fighting ring.  Eventually, Mr. Vick pled guilty to financing the ring and was sentenced to 23 months in Leavenworth Federal Prison.

It was in Leavenworth that Mr. Vick returned to the Bible that he had long ago began to turn from.  It took prison to remove his old crew.  Mr. Vick said that it was during this time that he found out who his true friends were.   Former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy was one of those who was there during this time.  As Mr. Vick and Pastor James Anthony Jackson, Sr. spoke during a question and answer session, Mr. Vick shared that it is during this time that Jesus became real in his life again as everything that he thought he needed was taken away from him.  The Bible that he had hidden from others as a child returned and was now in full view.

The irony is that prison wasn’t the darkest time in his life. That time was right before he was caught.   Mr. Vick said that in his heart he was done.  He knew it wasn’t right and wanted to walk away.  But he didn’t.  Upon reflection, Mr. Vick says now, that he wouldn’t change the way things happened.  By not walking away, he was sent to prison which gave him time to “decompress”, change his crew.  “I needed to miss my wife, to appreciate her now,” said Mr. Vick.  He also said that God gave him back everything that he lost and more because God knew that he could handle it this time.  In keeping with that spirit of giving, New B gave away over $3,500 in college scholarships to high school seniors during the fellowship evening with Mr. Vick.

Thunder on Thursday – Dr. R.A. Vernon

It’s On The Way

by Brenda Ellis

For the members and guests that pushed through their busy day on Thursday, October 26, 2017, with the anticipation of being spiritually lifted, was not disappointed.  Voices became one, all honoring and praising God for His grace and mercy.  Our very own New B Praise Team and Guest Artist Todd Galbreath, blessed us with selections that had us shedding tears of joy and uttering words of praise.  We were guaranteed by Pastor Jackson that on this night we should expect to go higher, and he was right.

The word delivered by Dr. R.A. Vernon, Pastor of The Word Church, Warrensville Heights Ohio was nothing short of being dynamic, hopeful, uplifting, and inspiring.  Teaching from the book of Luke 17:12-14 (NASB) and Luke 17:15-19 (NLT), he reminded us that our deliverance is on the way, but it does require some action from us.  Pastor Vernon said that sometimes you have to holler to be heard and receive what God has planned for your future.  No one should stop you from raising your voice to honor and praise God even when you are still seeking your deliverance.

Pastor Vernon also told us that God’s blessings are based on our willingness and ability to follow His instructions even though we don’t know the end results.  This is known as stepping out on faith.  Just remember, when you trust God, He will make a way out of no way.  When God delivers you, give Him your life, time, and body then encourage others.

The spirit was so high that the praises, hugs, tears of joy, smiles, and kisses poured over outside of the church.

Dr. R. A. Vernon’s assignment was signed, sealed and delivered.

Thunder on Thursday – Dr. Jazz

Fighting Temptation (The devil never made him do it)

by Vanessa M. Fry

Hardship will happen in life not because of anything we’ve done or as a result of punishment but instead, God will allow us to face adversity to test our character. Developing character is crucial in order for God to take us to new levels. Developing character takes time and isolation, it is in our hidden-ness our purpose is formed. The bible shows us Jesus was hidden for the vast majority of His life. It was during those hidden years He spent time with God that lead Him up to one of His greatest purposes in life: His death and resurrection for the redemption of man. This was no small task, but character was crucial in Jesus’ life and so shall it be in ours for us to fulfill Gods’ purpose in our lives.

Just like our Savior Jesus Christ, once God develops us in private, He’ll show us off in public. God affirmed Jesus by claiming Him in public. God celebrated Jesus by opening the heavens and descending as a dove.  God then identified Jesus to everyone as “My Son” so there was no doubt as to who He was to anyone including His (Jesus’) enemies. After character has been developed, responsibility follows.

God knew Jesus was responsible because of the time they spent together developing character and because of how Jesus responded publicly. Jesus proved He could handle both rights and responsibility. This is why God, the same Spirit that led Jesus to the water for baptism, lead Jesus to the wilderness. God will never allow us to go into the wilderness if He knows we cannot handle it. Yet God allows us to enter the wilderness because God wants to make sure we have an authentic shout and not just a facade.

Hardship will happen in life but when we praise God in the midst of pain, we’re proving we have relationship and not religion with Him. Furthermore, we’re signaling to both God and the devil that we’re not just playing church on Sunday, but that our worship is for real. Because the one thing the enemy cannot stand is a wounded worshipper. Satan’s last and greatest temptation was in exchange for Jesus to worship him. But the devil never made Him do it. Jesus stood firm and used the Word of God as His sword to defeat Satan. Our Savior did not fall into temptation.  When temptation arises remember praise is our weapon. The only way we can conquer and fight any temptation is with our worship and with God’s Word.

Dr. Jasmin Sculark
Victory Grace Center
Bladensburg, MD
@iamdrjazz

13th Birthday Celebration: Day 3

by Francine Dash

The final day of the 13th birthday celebration for New Beginnings was closed out by a high energy sermon from the Pastor Dr. Lance Watson from the St. Paul Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia.  With a sermon entitled “What’s Inside of Me”, the pastor came from the book of 2 Corinthians 4:7.  In doing so, Dr. Watson shared a moving message about how useful the broken are to the Kingdom of God.

The analogy that was used throughout the sermon was an experience Dr. Watson has with his cell phone.  As he was rushing to service one day, he dropped his phone on the bathroom floor and the screen broke.  Shocked at first, the pastor found that the phone still worked as it did before and continued to use it.  But as he encountered others who saw his phone, they all said he should just get a new one.  It was, as the pastor stated, as if everyone else was uncomfortable with the broken phone and ignored that it still worked.

But God sees our brokenness, he also sees all that he has put inside of us is still there and is still useful to the Kingdom.  Dr. Watson went on further to remind worshippers that God knows how to use our brokenness to be a blessing to others.

With this notion, Dr. Watson used the analogy of two clay pots:  one of them was pristine and in perfect condition on the outside, but the other identical pot was cracked.  A woman would put both of these pots on a wooden pole and walk down the road to the well to fill them both then bring them back home.  Then one day the cracked pot spoke to the woman and said, “I’m just not useful.  I’m not like the other pot.  I can’t hold water.  You should just throw me away.”  Then the woman said to the cracked pot, “Have you ever noticed the flowers on the road on the side I carry you on?  I already know about your crack.  That’s why I use you to water my flowers everyday.  In short, we all can serve a greater purpose in the hands of God.

In addition to serving as Senior Pastor, Dr. Lance D. Watson also serves as Chief Visionary for Destiny Schools, Charisma Books and Gifts, Saint Paul’s Community Foundation, NIA, Inc. of Greater Richmond and Positive Power Media Group.  He is host of the telecast “Positive Power” seen around the world at www.myspbc.org; and is a three time Summa Cum Laude graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan (Bachelor of Science in Psychology, the Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and the Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling).  Further, Dr. Watson was Magna Cum Laude Graduate of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University from which he holds a Master of Divinity and a Summa Cum Laude Graduate of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He completed his doctoral studies at United Theological Seminary earning the doctorate of Ministry Degree. He is the father of three and married to his wife Rose Watson.

13th Birthday Celebration: Day 2

by Brittney Burton

Gratefulness filled the atmosphere of the 13th Birthday Celebration that took place on Monday, March 6th as L. LeBron Wilson II ministered with several songs, including “All of My Praise”, during the special worship service.

Many a crowd stood up throughout the evening as Dr. Lance Watson of St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond, VA taught about God’s providing-power during his sermon entitled, “Working Your Way through His Wilderness”.

Using 1 Samuel 27:1-4 MSG as a Biblical context, Dr. Watson explained David’s experience as he lived nearly 10 years as a fugitive while trying to escape Saul. With the “Wilderness” as a spiritual metaphor for tough moments in life, Dr. Watson taught that neither an anointing, socioeconomic status, nor being chosen by God will exempt a person from experiencing the “Wilderness” at some point in life. He asked the following question: “Have you ever logged any time in the ‘Wilderness’?”

Although every wilderness looks the same from afar, the crowd was taught that every wilderness has its own characteristics if you’re in it. This is why it’s important to be kind to one another. He said, “all of us have a struggle to face…a tragedy to transcend…a question to answer, a problem to solve…and a burden we have to bear”.

Dr. Watson encouraged the crowd to work through the wilderness with God’s help, despite our first instinct of trying to escape. Similarly to David focusing on his own ability (vs.1), Dr. Watson also encouraged a focal-shift advising it’s a recipe for depression whenever we focus (more) on our own ability instead of God’s ability.

“We are not alone in the “Wilderness”.

“God is always there…and God is at work,” said Dr. Watson. God provides even in the wilderness of our lives by way of people and provision is what the congregation was taught on Monday night. For David, this was demonstrated when God assembled a group of people around him who included family and many others who were in distress, discontentment, and hostile surroundings where prayer was crucial to their survival.

Dr. Watson advised that we have a sacred place in our spirit to live with other people who are in process (bitter, broken, angry, dynamic, and dysfunctional). In the “Wilderness”, God defined a people by what He had done for them and what He had done in them as He has a way of turning it around for us: “God is perfect, but His people are in process,” said Dr. Watson.

“It’s in the middle of dysfunction, disloyalty, disunity that God perfects His cause,” he expressed. The congregation learned how God deliberately chooses the “nobodies” as none of us can get by blowing our own horn as it wasn’t because of us but by Him that we make it through. “God can get something out of everything in your life,” said Dr. Watson.

Provision is another way that God provides. Dr. Watson suggested that God will provide “whatever is necessary for you to achieve God’s purpose and His plan.” For David, this provision took the form of a town called Ziklag, which was assigned to him after providing excellent service to Achish a Philistine King. Ziklag represented a community of grace given to us. Dr. Watson explained that it’s in Ziklag where our testimonies develop and we learn to think. It’s also where we learn to speak, educate, dream, fight, and get up – which is why God expects us to share our testimonies of distress, debt, and discontentment as we all have had to go through something to get here.

Using Psalm 107:2 as reference, Dr. Watson explained how God expects us to share in the context of our community [and] in the Ziklags of where we live. Part of God’s provision is not just the place, but the people. Dr. Watson advised, “Us – with our doubts, fears, reservations, fears, grumbles, negatives, moody, shifty, too-important-to-be-involved, too arrogant, too-cute-to-contribute, too-sophisticated-to-serve […] God’s provision for us is us.

13th Birthday Celebration: Day 1

by Mark Davis

In the thirteen years since it’s founding, the New Beginnings Fellowship Church under the leadership of Pastor James A. Jackson, Sr, has changed and grown exponentially in a number of ways.  New B, as it is affectionately called by it’s Pastor and members, has grown from meeting in the auditorium of a middle school to worshipping in a multi-million dollar building (paid for in under five years).  It has also grown from a few dozen members to several thousand members, dozens of ministries, and a full time staff.  However, if you speak to any member they would tell you that the largest increase has been in the spiritual growth of the members.

Another thing that New B has learned over the years is how to throw a party.  That is exactly what the services on Sunday March 5th were as New Beginnings kicked off it’s 13th Birthday Celebration.  New B Director of Music and national recording artist, L. LeBron Wilson and the Praise Team set an electric spirit in the atmosphere.

This was only heightened by guest speaker Dr. Charles E. Goodman of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia whose sermon was entitled, “You’ve Got Too Much To Lose.”  Dr. Goodman told the crowd not to let frustration hinder their future and to “talk to the Rock” when times are tough.

No birthday party is complete without presents and the dedication of the New Beginnings Fellowship Church Kingdom Center was a priceless gift.  This facility is dedicated to serving not only the youth of New B, but also the entire community.  The state of the art facility includes play areas, meeting and classroom space, kitchen facilities, and more.  The construction of the project was managed by New Beginnings C.O.O. Tim Jackson and the interior design was headed up by First Lady Tara Jackson.  On hand for the dedication were construction project manager Greg Edmund, architect Henry Tobas, and representatives from the firms that worked on the project – Greenfield Associates, Heartland Design, and construction firm Davis & Associates.  The presents did not stop with the dedication as in the spirit of caring and giving, Greg Davis from Davis & Associates presented Pastor Jackson and the New Beginnings Fellowship Church with a $10,000 donation to help the children.

After thirteen years…..WE’RE STILL GROWING!!

Kingdom Center Dedication