Autumn Inspiration

Happy Autumn! This new season brings many opportunities to reflect on God’s majesty and savor this Season of Change. We see God’s majesty ion the rising and setting of the sun. We see God’s hand vividly in the changing of the colors of nature and in bountiful fall harvest.

As we embrace the fresh changes of nature, let us not neglect the opportunities for personal change. Perhaps this is the season to refresh our spiritual walk with the Lord. Whether this new season is presenting us with blessings, challenges, or both, we know that we can count on God’s mercies in every season of our life. Leviticus 3: 23-23 reminds us that God’s steadfast love for us is unchanging and (like clock-work), His mercies are renewed every morning.

As Christ followers, we know that changing seasons of life have a purpose and that all things work together for good, for those who truly love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8: 28).

My Brothers and Sisters, God has a purpose for you in this new Season of Change. Don’t miss it!

Pastor R. Mario Howell

Power of Praise

Praise is the expression of adoration. When we praise God, we celebrate, we exalt, and we worship Him. As blood-washed believers, we should praise God for His many blessings, because He is good, and His mercy is everlasting. Even when we don’t feel like praising God, the question we should ask ourselves is: “What does my problem have to do with my praise”?

Here are some reasons to praise God, especially in tough times:

  • Praise invites His presence.
  • Praise takes the focus off us and directs it back to God.
  • Praise causes the enemy of our spirit to flee.
  • Praise leaves no room for complaints and negativity.
  • Praise opens the door to God’s blessings over our lives.
  • Praise refreshes and renews our spirit.
  • Praise encourages others.
  • Every day, at every opportunity, we should praise the Lord. In good times and bad; in sickness and health; with or without a job, we should make Psalm 150 a part of our daily experience: “Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”

Pastor R. Mario Howell

Encouragement For the Weary Soul

No matter how strong we think we are, or how knowledgeable we might be, we are not equipped to carry our own burdens. Too often, we look at our victories and are tempted to take the credit for the success, rather than giving God the glory due Him and the praise for moving on our behalf.

God is the expert at solving our problems, so why not take them to Him in prayer? There is no problem that He cannot solve or burden that He cannot carry. I Peter 5: 7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” This is not only a gracious invitation to the doorway of freedom, but a privilege to gladly accept the invitation without hesitation. As the lyrics of an old hymn remind us: “Oh! What a privilege it is to carry everything to God in prayer”.

It’s liberating to know that we can give All our burdens, All of our worries, All of our cares, All of our problems, to the One who cares. The word, “all”, in this context, simply means completely, entirely and without reservation, trusting that God can do all things, and do all things well.

What a wonderful privilege we also see in Psalm 55: 22, “Cast your cares upon the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken”. God’s promises are unfailing!

Pastor R. Mario Howell

Staying Spiritually Focused

In a world filled with distractions, it is a challenge to stay spiritually focused. Our quiet time is filled with noise. If there is a moment to slow
down and seek the Lord, we tend to distract ourselves instead of giving our attention to God. This is what satisfies Satan. His goal is “to kill, to steal, and to destroy” us (John 10:10).

Here are three ways we can stay spiritually focused in a distracted world.

Pay attention to what you pay attention to. What we focus on is what becomes our influencer. Another way to put it is what fills our minds ultimately fills our hearts. A Romans 12:2 reminder is “ Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

Create boundaries. Proverb 4: 23 “Above all else, guard your heart with all diligence, for it is the wellspring of life.” Just like we establish guards and boundaries to protect our personal valuables, we must guard our heart and protect it from the things that direct your focus away from the things of God.

Concentrate on what matters. Philippians 4: 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think (focus) on these things.”

“What fills our minds ultimately fills our hearts.”

Pastor R. Mario Howell

Business of Discipleship

Dear Saints of God,

It’s time for us to be about the business of discipleship. When Jesus called His disciples, He gave them important commands:
Follow Me, establish discipling relationships and make other disciples. Those commands were also among Jesus’s last
instructions to His disciples (Matthew 28: 18-20) and important acts of love we can show to another person.

What is disciple-making and how can we, as disciples of Christ, obey the command? It’s simply this: helping someone to place his
or her faith in Christ, form a life around Him, and become more like Him. Often, we use “churchy” terms like evangelism,
conversion, and sanctification to explain our purpose and intent. But it all boils down to “making disciples”.

 There are four essentials of discipling others.

·       The Word of God: The scripture teaches us what God wants us to know, do and be.

·        The People of God: We have an obligation to focus on relationships that help people to be disciples and make disciples.

·        The Spirit of God: The transforming power of God’s Spirit working in us makes us sensitive to discipling opportunities.

·        The Priority of Jesus: Discipling others is the priority of Christ and should be our mission and focus.

Every potential disciple needs someone to guide him/her. Examine your discipleship=making method against the 4 essentials and ask
God to help you to be more intentional in reaching others for Christ.


Pastor R. Mario Howell

Relax and Let God Handle It!

Being relaxed feels wonderful. Doesn’t it? If that is true, why aren’t more people relaxed? Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. (Matt 11: 28-29) Jesus wants us to know that if we are weary and overburdened, we should go to him and He will give us rest and relaxation.

Relaxation is impossible without trust! If we know we can’t fix our problem, then why not relax while God is working on it? The ability to relax is dependent upon our willingness to trust God completely. If things don’t go our way, instead of being upset, believe that getting our way was not what we needed. God knew that! So, He gave us what was best for us, instead of what we wanted.

If we are waiting longer than we had hoped to, we can either get frustrated and angry, or we can say, “God’s timing is perfect; He is never late, furthermore, my steps are ordered by the Lord.” Then we can relax and go with the flow of what is happening in our life.

Prayer: Father, I commit all my cares, concerns and circumstances to You. Help me to trust You, to give my burdens to You, and relax in Your love, knowing You have everything under control. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Pastor R. Mario Howell

Reflecting on Precious Freedoms

What comes to your mind when you think of Independence Day, which is celebrated each year on the 4th day of July? Most of us think of barbeque, family, friends and, of course, fireworks. If the truth is told, few of us reflect on the reason for our celebration.

In schools around the country, children are taught that the Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776, declared the 13 American colonies free from British rule and free to serve God without British control. We call that Freedom of Religion! What a wonderful blessing it is to live in a country where we have diverse religious worship and laws to protect that precious freedom! However, the freedom of religion that we enjoy today did not occur until brave, black spiritual leaders broke away from the mainstream Caucasian-ruled denominations, and
establish movements such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME in the early1800s); the National Baptist Convention (1895); The Church of God in Christ Movement (1897); Catholic expansion to black people (turn of the century); and many other black religious movements.

Ephesians 3: 12 reminds us of another kind of freedom, a freedom that is even more precious than the freedoms guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence “In [Christ] and through faith in Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” We can be confident in our “freedom of speech” and our “authorization to approach” God at any time. The more we reflect on this invitation, the more we’ll come to realize
just how precious freedom is.


Pastor R. Mario Howell

How Committed Are You?

It’s almost mid-year and many of us are still wrestling with unfulfilled goals and plans set at the beginning of the year, or even prior. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to always succeed with their plans? Could it be that they have committed their ways unto the Lord and no longer struggle through trying to make things happen on their own? Could it be that they are not slack on their commitment to God?

Commitment is a strong sense of dedication to something, someone, or to an undertaking. It’s a readiness to stand by your promises no matter what. It means loyalty and reliability, even when it’s easier to quit. The big question is: How well do you keep your commitments? If you commit to something or someone, do you honor that? Your character is linked to your ability to carry out your commitment. If you don’t honor your
commitments, your credibility will be marred and your Christian witness and testimony will be tainted.

The most important commitment in life is the commitment to God. When we commit our ways to God, He fulfills promises in all areas of our life according to His will. Psalm 37: 5 – 6 “Commit everything you do to the LORD (your dreams, your life, your work). Trust him, and He will be your helper. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” Committing to God invites divine assistance regardless of your challenge or circumstance. Proverb 16: 3 “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established”. It’s a promise!


Pastor R. Mario Howell

A Commitment to Obey (Daniel 6: 5 – 28)

It’s easy to rationalize making choices to please ourselves or others, but the wise choice is always God’s will. We’ll all encounter times when we
feel pressured to act outside of God’s will. Perhaps the boss tells us to act dishonestly, or a friend pressures us to join in sinful behavior. Maybe a family member urges us to lie on his or her behalf. Saying no could bring rejection or even the end of a valuable relationship. On the other hand, going along with the situation would break God’s commands and compromise our Christian witness.

Daniel found himself in such a predicament when officials of King Darius set a trap for him…prohibiting him from worshipping his God and only
worshipping King Darius (Dan. 6:7). Daniel courageously “went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem and prayed to his God” (v. 10). As a punishment for disobeying the king, Daniel was thrown into a den of lions. The next morning, King Darius was relieved that Daniel had been protected, and decreed that all his subjects “must fear and reverence” the God of Daniel. (v. 26).

What is our responsibility when we are tempted to compromise our Christian witness? Our responsibility is to trust and obey the Lord. Daniel’s
faithfulness resulted in royal favor and honor to God (v. 26). This lesson might also be a reminder of how the obedience of our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ led to the cross, God’s glorification and our salvation. When we obey, the consequences may vary, but two things are always the same: Our obedience glorifies and pleases our Heavenly Father.


Pastor R. Mario Howell

A Season of Surrender

This coming Wednesday, February 22nd, Christians around the world (especially Catholics), will begin a sacred period of sacrifice and surrender, called “Lent”. The sacrifices made during Lent are two-fold: (a) reflective of the 40 days of fasting that Jesus did in the wilderness immediately
after His Baptism, and (b) in honor of the price that Christ paid on Calvary.

With the backdrop of the cross, many Christians make a decision to sacrifice something… perhaps meat, or bread or even their favorite treat for 40 days, ending on Resurrection Day. Even though, there is no scripture to justify “Lent”, there is plenty of Word to justify personal sacrifice and surrender to God’s Holy will and way in our lives.

In Romans 12: 1, we are reminded of the type of sacrifice that God requires: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is (by the way) only your reasonable service”. Luke 9: 23 “If anyone would come after me, let him (first) deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” This is the level of surrender that honors God…nothing less!

So, my Brothers and Sisters, if you have an area in your life, that you have not fully surrendered to God as you approach Lent, I beseech you to surrender your all to Him who gave His all for you!


Pastor R. Mario Howell