Guest Columnist: Give It to God

A little girl attended a prayer service with her mother. She sat on the back pew while her mom and a few others knelt at the altar to pray. She listened closely while the adults cried out to God, some weeping. Finally, she could sit still no longer. She stood on the pew, looked up into heaven, and cried, “Dear God! A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z. Amen!” Then she sat down. Her mother, a bit embarrassed, asked her, “Honey, why did you say that?” The little girl responded, “Because you were all praying such beautiful prayers, and I wanted to talk to God. I didn’t know the words, so I thought if I gave God the letters, he could make the words come out right.” That little girl didn’t know the words, but she understood a profound truth – when we give it to God, he makes it come out right.

So many times in life, we are faced with challenges. There’s something before us that we do not feel equipped to handle or to undertake. Yet, something about it makes us want to dive right in…to be part of the action…to not be left behind. In those moments, we can trust that God can take what we have, even if it’s just letters, and use it for the glory of God.

Other times, we find ourselves stagnant. We know our letters but we still don’t have the words. This is when God pushes us to grow…to move to another level. Maybe it’s time to join a new ministry and utilize our gifts in new ways. Or, we finally decide to delve into God’s Word and make Bible Study a priority. We may even respond to God’s call to break out of our comfort zone. If we’ve become complacent in our giving, we decide to trust God with our resources and commit to tithing. If inviting people to church doesn’t come naturally, we decide to become an evangelist, whether we’re comfortable or not.

The Lord gave our Pastor, Rev. Paul, a theme: “A New Way for a New Day.” That’s not only true for Mt. Zion as a gathered community, but it also resounds as a call for all of us to go deeper and move higher in this season. Whatever it may be, we may not have all that we think we need…money…time… experience…talent…but this much we know…when we give it to God, God will make it right.

In faith,

Min. Cheryl A. Lindsay

From Our Pastor: The Joy of Celebration

We are blessed to be in an exciting season in the life of our church. We are in the second half of our year-long celebration of the 150th Anniversary of this body of believers. We are in an active and exciting phase of our Capital Campaign. Our parking lot upgrade is underway and nearly complete. We are in the process of preparing for the renovation of our Fellowship House, which will include the installation of an elevator which will make all of our usable space accessible. We just completed an extremely successful revival that traced our history from our beginning at Shiloh Baptist Church and setting out on faith with the assistance of Plymouth Church.

The summer has also been filled with other joyful celebrations like the Shiloh Family Reunion Picnic, Mt. Zion’s Church Picnic, the HBCU Sunday, attended by the Cleveland Council of Black Colleges Alumni Association and their Constituent units, and the A Capella Camp presented by Reginald Bowens of Afro Blue.

As we move forward in this summer season, we look forward to our Salute to Veterans: Community Festival and Classic Car Show. Much work has gone into the planning and there is still much to do. We look forward to seeing all of our members present at the Community Festival to help make it one of the best ever.

It is truly a joy to see what God has done and what God is doing with, in and through Mt. Zion. I look forward with great anticipation to what lies ahead, for God never fails to surprise us with the awesomeness of God’s blessings. Let us work together to continue to be the church that God needs in this present age.

In celebration,

Rev. Paul

From our Pastor: Building on Our Blessings

Many years ago, I had the privilege of listening to an amazing sermon entitled, “It’s in Your Hands” by Bishop Alfred Owens, when he was a struggling young Pastor and English teacher at Howard University. His message was simple and to the point…everything that you need is already in your hands. This message has come to mind numerous times as we have re-envisioned our Capital Campaign and as we have begun the process of raising the funds necessary for the restoration and renovation of our Fellowship House. Indeed, we have an extraordinary gift in that building that our forebears sacrificed to get and to keep, in the face of great opposition. Our renewed vision will provide us with a beautiful accessible and useful space for our ministries and meetings that will be a blessings to our church family for years to come.

Look all around you, what are the things that you desire that you may already have or have the resources to acquire? Have you best utilized everything that you have so that you are getting the most out of it? I frequently remind our church family of the words of Dr. Willie Jolley, who said, “If you do the things today that others won’t do you, you will have the things tomorrow that others won’t have.” Perhaps what you need is not to have more, but rather to better utilize what you already have. This requires hard work, dedication and commitment. You need only to look at what you already have and build on it…make it better…or take it to the next level. This is how we build on our blessings.

God has blessed each and every one of us with amazing blessings…many of which we are either unaware of or simply take for granted. In spite of this, most of us are always asking for something more. Why not take the time to evaluate what is already in your hand and then utilize that to best advantage? Good stewardship is always rewarded by God. So, let us be better stewards of the good gifts that God has already given and let us get busy building on our blessings.

With a mind to work,

Rev. Paul

From Our Pastor: A Season of Celebration

It is with great joy in the Lord that we come to the mid-point of our 150th Anniversary Celebration Year. June is traditionally a month of great celebrations, with graduations and weddings, and other events related to this season and time of year. In June at Mt. Zion, we celebrate the Christian Family, in the beauty of its diversity. We celebrate and encourage our graduates and use this time to remind the family of God that it is never too late to pursue your dreams and goals, for with God all things are possible.

So many exciting celebrations are on the horizon, including our Family Day Celebration and Worship on the Lawn next Sunday, June 8, Vacation Bible School, June 23-27, Anniversary Revival, July 16-18, with Rev. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr., Church Picnic and Weekend with Covenant UCC in Cleveland July 19-20, A Capella Vocal Camp with Reginald Bowens (Afro Blue Vocalist) and finally our Annual Community Festival and Classic Car Show, August 2.

With all of these amazing celebrations before us, we must give God glory and praise, for all that God has done and continues to do in the life of Mt. Zion. As we move forward in this season of celebration, we profoundly thank God for allowing this church to be a blessing to God’s people for 150 years. We continue to strive for new and different ways to serve God and to be a blessing to God’s people on the next leg of the journey, that is set before us.

In a spirit of celebration,

Rev. Paul

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