I had hit a brick wall in early 1986 attempting to write what was supposed to be a spiritual interpretation of the first of several planned black historical fact segments for a radio program this Ministry was airing and abandoned the effort titled, From Slavery To Victory: One Man’s Journey. As I wrote in a 1995 Op-ed distributed nationally by Religion News Service, “I retreated to determined prayer and Bible study.” I asked God why and as I learned, the sovereign God who is a Participant in and trustworthy Witness of human affairs, really will give wisdom and understanding to His people that but ask (Psalm 33:10-15; Proverbs 2:1-9; Luke 11:9-13; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; James 1:5)!
In my child-like faith over the next seven years, little by little the Lord not only gave me an understanding of the major facts of black history from a biblical worldview, but also led me back to pen and paper to write then finally, produce the just under one hour From Slavery To Victory: One Man’s Journey Radio Special.4 In the docu-drama, the Lord uses me as He did Ezekiel, the exemplary prototype of my gifting and ministry, to communicate through narration, dramatic sound effects and music the major facts and biblically grounded understanding of the historic black American experience along with a prophetic warning against rejecting it (Ezekiel 4-5, 33:1-9).
The Word of God that undergirds the Lord’s instruction and my understanding of His involvement in the history of black Americans is so obviously strewn about the entire Bible the question begged to be asked, so I asked, “Why don’t we all see it?” Tragically, it is because the vast majority of black Americans to include many professed Christians have chosen--some out of fresh wounds--to be victims and see our experience entirely from that perspective. However, Psalm 107 is one of the many Bible passages that clearly show God behind the deliverances of suffering men brought about by natural circumstances and calamities that befall them as judgment from Him.
The Psalmist urges men delivered out of both natural situations of distress and those brought about through divine judgment to “give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men,” (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31, NKJV). Among the natural distresses in Psalm 107 are homeless folk faint in wilderness wandering (vs.4-9), mariners facing the challenges of an angry sea (vs. 23-32) and the hungry from parched land (vs. 35-38). God’s works of judgment are seen upon men in shackles (vs. 10-16), stubborn transgressors near death (vs. 17-22), the wicked in a fruitful land made barren (vs. 33-34) and in His contempt on oppressive rulers (vs. 39-41).5
Surely, black Americans that will be honest see our historical experience in Psalm 107:10-16! The reason the men pictured in this passage are sitting “in darkness” “and the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons” is “because they rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High,” (vs. 10-11, NKJV). But someone will ask, “when did West Africans receive the ‘words of God’ to rebel against them prior to the arrival of the Europeans in the 14th century AD?” Did they not begin to hear the “words of God” in warnings passed down to them from our forefather, Ham, son of Noah, in the day of wrath through the global flood (Genesis 6:9-13, 9:1-19, 10:6-20)?
Did not the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen to save men from our sins travel naturally throughout all of the ancient trading caravans and intentionally by way of His apostles and disciples of that first century AD (Mark 15:21; Acts 2:1-16, 8:1-8, 26-40)? The apostle Paul also preached that neither prior to that time nor after has God left “Himself without witness,” (Acts 14:8-18, NKJV). He later boldly asserts, however, that wrath is again upon men who “are without excuse” because they willfully refuse to give heed to all of the various ways God has testified to them over the centuries to this hour (Romans 1:18-32, NKJV). The West African arrival of European missionaries to preach a largely rejected Gospel was the last chance for our forefathers (Psalm 107:12).
The From Slavery To Victory: One Man’s Journey Radio Special that first aired in the Dallas, TX, radio market during Black History Month 1993, became the flagship program piece in the full on FSTVEP launched Juneteenth 1994 to widely proclaim the biblical worldview of the black American experience as of God not only in the judgment of bondage, but freedom (Psalm 107:13-16)! For truly, rather than painful bondage, the Lord would have been within His sovereign right to destroy us, but instead, in His mercy and (plainly with hope) plans for us, spared our people!6 The redeemed of the Lord; the righteous in wisdom “see” and “rejoice” over “these things” understood (Psalm 107:42-43, NKJV). Failure to see from “God’s eye view” has brought forth disastrous consequences to many.7
4 I am eternally grateful to the then Vice President of the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission in Fort Worth, TX, Ed Malone, and the team of producers
under him that gave guidance and technical assistance to me in producing the Radio Special.
5 Let all that would oppress and afflict others be fully warned! Or, what was the American Civil War but divine contempt for the Southern oppression and affliction of my
slave forefathers; worldwide condemnation of the brutally violent reaction to the peaceful, nonviolent protests of slave descendants nearly a hundred years later still
seeking complete, unimpeded and tangible freedom from a professed Christian nation?
6 Click through The Journey on the FSTVEP Web Site for a more thorough presentation of the biblical worldview of the black American experience. Also, read the
February 26-March 19, 2017 four-part series, God Of Restoration And Judgment, under multiple categories.
7 In spite of the consequences of rejecting a biblical worldview of our experience by many to date, there is still hope and help the FSTVEP offers for the willing to pur-
posely include our men who are God’s chosen leaders beginning in the home. The strong man of God cause to restore men and my book, The Strong Man Of God:
Back To Basics have their origin in the FSTVEP. The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the
Strong Man Store.
As the 25th Year Anniversary of The From Slavery To Victory Education Project (FSTVEP) conducted by the organizational parent of Strong Man Ministries, Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. (both of which I have been blessed to lead) draws near on Juneteenth this year, I am filled with excitement and gratitude to God.1 I write this post as the Lord leads in obedience to the instruction of the ancient Psalm writer He commissioned to exhort “the redeemed” above all to give thanks to Him for His goodness (Psalm 107:1-3, NKJV)! As well, with that Psalmist’s heart, to express the spiritual “what for” of the FSTVEP to the children of men among fellow black Americans.
Talk about amazing confluences. I write this realizing that it will be fifty years ago this upcoming September that I was asked by my no longer standing Fremont Junior High School, Seaside, CA, English teacher, Mr. Earle Rosenberg, to write a column reporting on our flag football teams. I have not stopped writing since and am overjoyed to have done so in the Lord’s cause for nearly forty of those years! As it turns out, 1969 was also another of a long string of great years for Rhythm and Blues or if you will, Soul Music. On September 23rd that year, the Temptations released their Temptations Puzzle People on Motown’s Gordy label with a number of impressive songs.
One of those songs composed by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong was entitled, Message From A Black Man. Arriving as it did just over a year after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the bold and yet reasoned lyrics of the song directed to white America were delivered deftly by the singing of the Temps as well as the catchy, forceful rhythms of the band. Bold were such lines as, “Yes, my skin is black, but that’s no reason to hold me back…I have wants and desires just like you. So, move on the side ‘cause I’m comin’ through. No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop me now.” Call to action words for a thirteen year old who had been angrily watching the revolution on TV.
Even today, it is hard to honestly refute the logic in the lines, “Black is a color just like white. Tell me: how can a color determine whether you’re wrong or right?” Whitfield and Strong wrote and the Temptations delivered Message From A Black Man as decent “every black man” who were still coming out of the shell shocked silence of intimidation caused demoralization to firmly, yet, peacefully stand up to their oppressive and abusive intimidators. This is not unlike women today who are applauded for standing up to their abusers. While the message from a black man was certainly cathartic and necessary at that moment in 1969, it needed to also be given biblical feet and built on.
I carried the raw message throughout the rest of my secondary education and the first two years of college; leading out as a Black Student Union President giving speeches, helping to organize events, engaging white authorities, publishing materials and writing editorials. At Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) I also began to take the many newly rolled out Black Studies Courses offered and did well because of my intense interest. A desire to attend historic Howard University in 1976 was fueled by my interest in all things black. But as I have testified in other places,2 my passion for pursuing an education began to lose steam as I lost my way at Howard--itself a serious reality check.3
Coming to Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord who redeemed me from a life that had become empty, without purpose and meaning began to change me as a person to include my thinking and worldview after full surrender to Him. Now, for example, nobody could ultimately stop me from being who God created me to be and doing what God wanted me to do with Him working on my behalf (Romans 8:28-39; Philippians 4:13). Moreover, being black skinned in the human skin color spectrum was not a curse or something contemptible, but a blessing because God made me this way (Acts 17:26). Indeed, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139:14, NKJV)!
After receiving the Lord’s call to serve Him in broadcasting in August 1979, I returned to school at MPC that spring, then San Jose State University in San Jose, CA in fall 1980. There, I celebrated God as the inspirational, sustaining hand among black Christians in a radio documentary on the history of Black Gospel Music I wrote and produced. Inevitably, though, even after seminary studies I was stuck attempting to understand why the black American experience beginning with slavery was so in the first place. I had all of the major facts of our historical experience, but of themselves, they brought no satisfying appreciation for why. Instead, as is the case for so many black Americans, the painful facts of our history alone brought nothing but hopeless futility, grief and anger.
1 Too, I am grateful to the 1993-94 Ministry Board of Directors, Rev. Ira Gay, Jr., Rev. Richard Young (with the Lord), Rev. Ron Oliver and Mrs. Linda Beard that gave
unanimous approval for the project and the 2018-19 Directors, Messrs. Alvin Johnson, Richard Anderson and Philip Lovings who also in one accord approved this
year’s anniversary celebration. Not to be left out is my wife, Mary, and our three daughters Sherie, Roberta and Patricia at home at the time as youth and having to
bear with my very involved work on the project. You can learn more about the FSTVEP along with its flagship national Radio Special and now Webcast, From Sla-
very To Victory: One Man’s Journey, to be rolled out Juneteenth 2019 on its newly revamped Web Site, https://fromslaverytovictory.org.
2 For my most recent sharing on this aspect of my testimony, read the February 17, 2019 post, Surrendering All To Jesus, under the category, Glory To God!
3 Howard brought me face to face for the first time with the full mix of socio-economic classes, their divergent political thought and corresponding worldviews in what I
soberly learned was truly not a monolithic black community. Among other sobering realities, I especially had my conscience awakened to the contradictions inherit in
my chosen field of Marketing and the black struggle after spending an afternoon giving away free, addictive and destructive cigarette samples in Southeast DC--its
most economically challenged section. I also had to face my own hypocrisy in personally contributing not to the uplift of my community as I loudly called for, but its
destruction through abusing drugs and alcohol, sexual promiscuity, mistreatment of our women in that lifestyle and practical abandonment of two children I had
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