Posted by: pastorapbell | January 16, 2014

Why should I fast and pray?

At the beginning of each year we generally discipline ourselves through a time of fasting and praying. We believe it at this time that repentancethe Lord speaks to us to set the agenda for the coming months. There is a desperate need for all those who believe in a God who sees, hears and knows the bigger picture, to rebuild and repair the various walls in society, our families and our finances that are broken. Consequently, when we read the narrative of Isaiah 58, we are reminded that there is an outcome from our fasting and praying and the results should be repentance from all of us who have sinned and reparation and restoration of the various things that are not working.

These are the immediate requirements from the Christian communities. Isaiah states that the real purpose of fasting is to break yokes that ensnare us to particular life styles and remove burdensome situations or relationships that oppress us. Fasting should make us and our situation better.

As the people of God, we are called to be the conscience of the state and as those who stand up and preach righteousness and justice. However, the vast majority of our societies have lost their moral compass and are heading wide eyed toward an abyss.

Recently I visited the houses of Parliament to hear people from the local community in North London argue against the verdict given by a jury of 8 out of ten individuals regarding the killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, North London on the 4th August 2011.  Although it is regrettable that a young man lost his life, seemingly without having the supposed weapon anyway near him, unlike an armed gunman, Raoul Moat, who shot and blinded a traffic policeman a year earlier, and who they negotiated with until he shot himself, Mark Duggan was associated with gangs and guns rather than extolling the discipline of fasting and praying or even learning the ten commandments on which our society was built.

Moral amnesia needs to be remedied and addressed post haste. And this is what the community activists should be advocating. Let us get our children and young people back into our churches. And for God’s sake and for the sake of humanity let us preach righteousness, justice and peace. The disciplines extolled and practiced by Jesus is the only way that our young men, communities and nation will be hauled back from the abyss. As we start the New Year, let us all remember that God is real. The devil and his minions are real and that there is no repentance in the grave.  Read Isaiah 58.

Posted by: pastorapbell | October 31, 2013

Who am I, Surely not an ethnic minority!

The BibleEach individual is placed in a location and given responsibility and restriction about what they can and cannot do. Above all, the Lord has called all us to watch and pray. When humanity was created, he was placed in a particular location and given specific instructions and prohibitions.  Over time, Adam forgot those prohibitions and did the unthinkable. He disobeyed the instructions from God. The ability to forget has its merits, however, the propensity to follow simply instructions has far greater rewards.

Like Adam, we are all located in a particular place in time, to fulfill the purposes for which God in his sovereignty has called and located us. Notwithstanding that we have been displaced from our original location, there is a master plan. So wherever you find yourself, find out from the creator what his original plan was for your life and the purpose for you being located in this particular place at this particular time.

Once we have the blueprint for our existence, we are then able to do exactly what were are called and designed to do. Adam was given social, ecological and theological responsibility to ensure that the created order was maintained and sustained. In our context, we also have these moral responsibilities and must challenge injustices, malpractices and actions and practices that are designed to destroy God original plan and purposes for humanity. Structural and systemic evil must be challenges and the wrongs of the past righted.

The domination of one people group by another damages the original plan of God. The words used to describe people who are not like you is also problematic, in that these terms are generally derogatory. By displacing someone and then referring to them as the ‘ethnic’ minority suggests that they are inferior to you. since the original translation of the word ‘ethnic or ethnikos in the Greek, means heathen. Did God create heathens or is this a man-made phenomenon?

Generations of displaced Africans are still searching for their true selves. There are many who have no concept of their ‘Blackness’ and have brought into the colonial ideology of ‘pigmentocracy’ that located people in society according to the shade of their skin or their skin tone.

Each and every one of us are the children of God and have been created in his image. That image is borne and displayed by Jesus Christ and is not physical but spiritual. It is his character. And so the image we must present is found in scripture and not in glossy magazines such as Time or Ebony. The image is depicted in Galatians 5.22. do read it and practice it as best you can.

Today in our various western societies, many families descended from former slaves and slave owners are dysfunctional. This dysfunction stock-photo-19788392-father-feeding-son-with-mother-lookingdid not occur in a vacuum and passes down from one generation to the next generation unless the cycle is broken. The descendants from the African Diaspora inherited this legacy. And with this inheritance comes the breakdown we see in our societies and the infighting that still mars us and keeps us ‘down’ today. Many people still live in denial and suggest that, with the abolition slavery over 175 years ago in 1838, that was that and all will be normal. How wrong they were! It was not until the 1960s that the dream of civil liberties started to be realised. There is a saying that goes like this: Rosa [Parks] sat so that Martin [Luther King Jr.] could walk. And Martin walked so that Barak [Obama] could fly.

However, 175 years on, many black men have never being ‘fathered’. Many young black women are still having children for multiple men. Many children are growing up without the knowledge and understanding of what marriage is all about. Does the legacy of slavery still exist? Too right! It is alive and well and needs to be broken.

The current situation is further exacerbated by the continued problem of shadism within the black community, this is a direct legacy of the pigmentocratic stratification, [locating people in society because of the colour of their skin] in society under British colonialism in particular.

To rebuild society we need people to understand and practice the biblical institution of marriage. We need people to understand the impact that the past has on their future and the power there is in the blood of Jesus to break every curse from the past.

Read the letter to the Galatians chapter 3, focussing on v.13.

Contact  Marva and Alton Bell if you would like to attend or have us present a marriage seminar to your community.

For the next couple of blogs I want to ask the question, is marriage still the best option for humanity and for the African Diaspora in particular?

Slavery ChainsA few weeks ago I asked my grand nephew when was he going to marry the mother of his young child. He said to me, “he did not believe in marriage” and that he was still living with her and looking after his child. Within my own wider family structure, there are many children produced by one man and many different women.

It this unique for my family and where does the notion that I don’t need to marry actually come from?

Firstly, let me quote Fredrick Douglas, who said, “in slavery there is no such thing as family” therefore having children and leaving them to fend for themselves was commonplace. During the period of African chattel enslavement circa 1500-1838 (1865 in America), it was illegal for slaves to be taught to read and write, to have any liaison with a ‘white woman’ or to legally marry.

The legality of marriage pans into insignificance if one does not understand the underlying principle and the premise of marriage.

The biblical narrative of Genesis 1:27, 2:23-24 & 5:2 sets out the basis on which the institution of marriage is to be built. Jesus Christ confirmed and re-iterated this, as did the apostle Paul in their New Testament pronouncements (Matt 19:4-6, Eph 5:22).

Marriage is the sexual (one flesh), emotional, psychological, financial, spiritual and cultural union between one man and one woman. If you have had sex with more than one person other than your lifetime partner (wife/husband), either before or after your legal marriage, you are an adulterer and need deliverance. The sexual bond creates a ‘soul tie’, which indelibly links one individual to the other spiritually. If this tie is not broken, then issues will appear in future relationships. [more about soul ties and their impact later].

Marriage is a God idea not just a good idea and is for life not just for a few Christmases!

Read the scriptures quoted above. Get a copy of my book from http://www.hdr-ministries.co.uk

Posted by: pastorapbell | September 9, 2013

Yesterday evening I went to see the film, ‘Songs of Redemption, breaking the chains” and participate in the post screening debate, at the seventh ‘I will tell’ film festival in Pimlico SW1V. The film graphically show the experiences of several men incarcerated in a prison in Kingston songs-of-redemption-02Jamaica, serving sentences from three years to life. The majority of the inmates pass their time by writing, composing and singing songs in which they share their stories. For them this is cathartic, as it gives them an opportunity to reflect on their crime, come to terms with their lot and hope for a better future.

This is a chilling reminder of the restorative work that needs to be done among the African Caribbean Diaspora to bringing about healing, deliverance and restoration. What we see in this film, is the fruit of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and its continued impact six generation after manumission.  The inmates present human faces that belie the atrocities they have committed. One young man in particular, speaks about his crime of killing his ‘baby mother’ after being intoxicated with alcohol and marijuana and then feeling to hang himself.  These actions are typical of those inflicted on their ancestors hundreds of years ago. Emasculating the male, using the female as a ‘breeder’ to produce ‘picaninnies’, creating a disconnect between fathers and their children, instituting a cycle of poverty and depravity, causing folks to hate themselves and to beat their off-springs like animals are the back drop to all that is going on.

This documentary highlights the reason why the community needs to work together to deal with the real issues of systemic evil. As the slavers did 180 years ago, the penal justice system seeks to destroy the creativity and the God given ability that these people possess, but somehow they are still alive to tell their story.

Thank God for Jesus, the liberator of humanity!

 

Posted by: pastorapbell | June 24, 2013

as we review the plans for restoration of order

When God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) started the creation process, everything was done in an orderly and succinct manner. From the dark formless Creationvoid, the beauty that we know as earth came into being. It was only when the created light was shone into the darkness, that the prevailing beauty became evident, although it was always there. From day one to five, the triune God created all the elements required to create an environment fit for human habitation. These included the temperate climate, a wide variety of fruit trees and other vegetation to support the final and most beautiful creation of humanity, on day six.

The creator replicated the created order in humanity and gave them two crucial instructions. Be fruitful and multiply, and have dominion over every living thing on the planet. All this occurred before humanity became a living soul, i.e. whilst he was still a spirit after the nature of his creator with the possibility to be either male or female. Physical humanity was created in the image of God at a later stage. That image was not a physical one, but one, which reflects the character displayed by Jesus during his time on the planet. Now the character of Jesus is the fruit of the spirit, which is encapsulated, underpinned and defined by love. The outflow from love is Joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

This image was totally transformed by rebellion. Rebellion is characterised by disbelief and disobedience. This act separated spiritual humanity from the creator of spirits. The only way to return to true relationship with the creator is through the atoning work of Jesus Christ for the sin of humanity.

Read Genesis 1:1-31.

Let us look at some of the biblical texts, which were miss-interpreted to enslave the African person and to keep him in perpetual slavery. Today we will look at the curse of Ham and how this text was used to subjugate black people for many generations.

Broken ChainsGenesis 9:18-28

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.

20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.

24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan!  The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”

26 He also said, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
27 May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”

28 After the flood, Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.

As can be seen from the text, Noah curses the grandson of Ham, Canaan. Nowhere in the text does it ever state that Noah curses his son Ham, who theologians suggests represented people from the African continent.

However, during the 15th Century and latterly in the 20th century, this text was used to suggest that Black people were cursed and were only fit to be slaves or servants.

Now a curse is defined as: ‘A solemn utterance to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.’

Once the nobility of Europe saw that forced labour could greatly enhance their wealth, they used this text to justify the enslavement of African people as chattel. Whereas, the descendants of Canaan are still fighting the Israelites, in the land that was once Canaan, today!

If Ham represents Black people, Noah never cursed Black people! God never cursed Black people. Today you have the power to revoke any negative utterance that was spoken over you or your ancestors in the name of Jesus.

Before any process can begin, the individual must realise and come to terms with where they are. All of us are located in a particular time and set within a chainsparticular context. This determines what we believe and consequently how we behave. Our norms and our values are set by what our community decides. We then act accordingly. Being led by the prevailing culture causes us to have a distorted set of values, that is, distorted from the biblical model. When this is the case, the culture, these are the local customs and practices, sets our norms and values, which may be a million miles away from what the creator ordained. The challenge that faces us is this; how do we get back to what God intended? The first thing that needs to done is to re-establish a sense of order in our own personal lives.  This only occurs when we make Jesus lord of every area of our lives. We do this by repeating and believing the ‘lordship prayer’ (search Google for lordship prayer) . We must then come under authority. We need people to whom we are accountable. As can be seen by Jesus’ example, he categorically tells us throughout scripture, that he did nothing without first being sent to do it by his father. Therefore, we can see from this that Jesus is under authority and was commissioned, i.e. sent to do his ministry. He is accountable to his father and reports back often to him about what he has done. We must understand who we are and whom it was that called us to work for him. As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to recognise the authority that we have in Christ, but must be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us how to become more and more like Jesus. To do this we need to submit to his authority and ensure that we have been baptised/filled and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the process of restoration can begin and we start this process by developing the characteristics of Jesus. See Galatians 5:22 to see what these characteristics are. Do you want to break the slavery mindset? If yes then start the rebuilding project! Read Galatians 5, Matt 12:22-32.

Posted by: pastorapbell | May 8, 2013

as we un-apologetically call for reparation!

The abolition of slavery in 1833 was a decisive point in the history of African Caribbean people. However, the slaver (British planters including the Broken ChainsChurch of England and their clergy) received the equivalent of £17 billion in compensation while the 700,000 slaves in the British colonies received a yard of land to exist on. This set the scene for the way the vast majority of ex-slaves and their descendants would live; hand to mount, just eking out an existence with no plan for the future.  

At the beginning of the 21st century, many former colonial territories, such as Ghana (1957), Jamaica (1962), Sierra Leone (1961), Barbados (1966), Guyana (1966), Trinidad and Tobago (1962) and so on, are celebrating 50 years since gaining independence from Britain.

As African and Caribbean people and Christians, we need to call for reparation from the British Government for all these ex-colonies. The writer of Proverbs tells us that ‘when the thief is caught, he must repay back seven times what he has stolen’ (Prob. 6:31). We have caught the thief; the ex-colonies need to celebrate its jubilee.

The biblical model is for reparation, so that we can rebuild the ancient ruins (Isaiah 61:4). The most devastating ruin is the nuclear family. We can only rebuild this if we can start with our young boys; teaching and training them to take responsibility, to become priest of their homes and to uphold tenets of manners and respect that this materialistic society abhors.

Today let us put our faith in action and join the chorus for full reparation for the African and Caribbean peoples.

Posted by: pastorapbell | April 29, 2013

as we break free from mental slavery

On Saturday 27th April 2013, H.D.R Ministries delivered the first of many conferences on “Breaking Free from Mental slavery”.  At the conference, Broken Chainswe outlined the many ways in which slavery still affects us and continues to limit so many of us from the African Caribbean Diaspora and those Europeans whose families were directly involved in the slave trade. What was very poignant was a quote from Harriet Tubman, which stuck in our minds: “I freed a thousand slaves. I would have freed a thousand more; if only they knew they were slaves.” This knowing is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to enable those who don’t know about the continued effects to understand and bring about transformation so that we can position ourselves for the Blessing that father God wants to pour on us.

As Christians, we must take these symptoms on board and deal with them. We cannot remain silent. We must act and act now!!

I would argue that there was something fundamentally evil about African enslavement. It took men and women made in the image of God, and through religion, science and philosophy, sought to reduce them to the level of animals. Therefore, while Black folks have valiantly fought against slavery and a range of prejudice over the last 200 years, there is still something quite negative in the psyche of too many of us, which says we are not good enough. I believe, only deliverance can reverse what I would describe as the ‘curse’ of slavery.

Deliverance is about setting people free from the mindset that dictates short-termism, working against each other (the crab in the barrel mentality), and procreating without taking responsibility for our children. It is the means of getting people to understand their cultural, spiritual and economic heritage. If we believe that the truth (the gospel of Jesus Christ) sets us free, we need to engage with our history, reassess our cultural practices and prepare to leave a lasting legacy to our descendants.

If you would like a copy of my first book, “Breaking the chains of mental slavery- practical tools to bring freedom to you and your descendants” priced at £8 please email or call. (H.D.R stands for Healing, Deliverance and Restoration).

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