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Sun, Dec 05, 2021
Passage: Luke 1:26-38
Duration: 25 mins 2 secs
On this first Sunday of Advent, we light the purple candle symbolizing hope, and Pastor Victor commences a new sermon series, entitled “Jesus, Our Hope”.

In the passage taken from Luke 1:26-38, Mary from the small town of Nazareth is visited by the angel Gabriel. He tells the young virgin that she is honored with the favor of God, and though Mary is confused by Gabriel’s pronouncement that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ, she surrenders to His will for her life. In this world, there are distinct preferences for specific traits or lofty origins and accomplishments, however, the Lord honors His own with favor. In today’s message our preacher shares with us three common aspects of God’s favor.

The first aspect of favor is that God is pleased when we are welcoming and open to His plan for our lives. Just as Mary chose not to reject the message from the angel, God favors us when we welcome His direction and follow the path He has designed for us. God also favors an inquisitive spirit. An inquisitive spirit is one that does not reject God’s plans but seeks to understand and discover new, different and better ways of being.

Finally, one must be available and surrender all to the Lord. By allowing God to use us for His purposes, submitting mind, body and spirit to the Lord, we gain His favor. God’s limitless power enables us to accomplish all that He has in store for our lives. Thank God that as children of the Most High we are not dependent on the favor of humankind to have hope in our lives. Even though the world may relegate us as “other”, we have hope because of the child born in the manger. When we welcome God into our lives, have an inquisitive spirit and are available to Him, He will in turn honor us with divine favor. As we await with great anticipation the birth of our Savior, let us hold on to a spirit filled with hope, the hope that is ours because of His favor.
Sun, Nov 21, 2021
On this fifth Sunday in October, Pastor Victor concludes the enlightening sermon series, “The Evolution of a Henchman: The Spiritual Transformation of the Apostle Paul.” A completely converted Paul is now nearing the end of his life and is in confinement and restrained under house arrest. The reason? He is being held for hoping and believing in the promise of God. We learn from the text, Acts 27:17-22, although Paul is bound his spirit remains free. In this sermon the question before us is how does one experience liberation although confined? Of course, our preacher will provide to us the answer.

The first thing our pastor tells us is surely there is freedom when you honor God. An unbreakable connection to the Holy One allows a liberation that is not affected by current circumstances or situations. Honoring God has more sway than statutes and rules enforced by this world’s institutions. Secondly, honoring your authentic self prevents you from allowing others to have control over you. Being genuine means you are truly free from external forces that attempt to restrain you or toss you about. Finally, being true to one’s calling is liberating as well. We of the Christian faith have an assignment and a purpose to serve the Lord by sharing our unique gifts, and as long as we are heeding our call, we can live freely.

We experience complete and transcendent liberation by honoring our Creator, honoring ourselves and staying on the ordered path by honoring God’s call on our life. My beloved, our work is to understand and be faithful to the assignment our Lord and Savior has just for us. Therefore, even when earthly shackles do their best to bind us and our bodies are held in chains, our spirit and our mind cannot be constrained, and we continue to experience and live in a state of constant and unrestrained sweet freedom.
Sun, Nov 07, 2021
In today’s passage, Acts 28: 1-6, we find our shipwreck survivor Paul on the island of Malta surrounded by kind and welcoming islanders. Incredibly, as he is warmed by their inviting campfire, he has to contend with a poisonous snake bite which the locals assumed would lead to his quick demise. However, Paul had an immunity from the “venom of vipers”, as Pastor Victor tells us in this powerful sermon. He succinctly delineates three things that render Paul immune from that which seeks to destroy him. Blessed immunity allows the apostle to shake off his potential killer to be consumed by the crackling fire.

The first thing that contributes to Paul’s immunity was that he was close to the proceedings of the people. Closeness to a community of caring people helps to protect you from life’s vicious venom. When we look back over our lives it is clear that the strength, support and encouragement of the community has been and always will be essential to our well-being and progress. A hospitable community helps to keep you from hurt, harm and even imminent danger.

Secondly, Paul’s proximity to the fire was also significant. The same fire that provided warmth to restore him after being subjected to the raging sea and harsh weather was there to extinguish the deadly snake. It is amazing that the beautiful, majestic fire allowed Paul to recover and also eliminate the snake. And finally, because Paul was on a prescribed path and his divine assignment to spread the gospel was not complete, his immunity sustained him to repel anything that threatened to end his life prematurely and halt his sacred mission.

Being close to the proceedings of the people allows the beloved community to embrace us with their support and their loving kindness, thereby sustaining humanity. Our proximity to the fire provides warmth and restoration while protecting us from the ill-intentioned adversary. The immunity God grants ensures we can shake off the proverbial snakes that sometimes rear their ugly heads, enabling us to stay the course, follow our prescribed path and finish our earthly assignment which is to serve the Lord.
Sun, Oct 31, 2021
On this crisp, sunny autumn morning, Pastor Victor continues to explore the sermon series, “The Evolution of a Henchman: The Spiritual Transformation of the Apostle Paul”. Again, he is focused on Paul’s conversion from notorious persecutor of the early disciples to one who passionately spreads the teaching of Jesus Christ. In today’s text, Acts 27: 39-44, there is an invaluable lesson about surviving life’s shipwrecks. In our lifetime we will all be faced with tumultuous shipwreck situations, but thankfully, on this Sunday we receive a multi-faceted strategy that will help us survive them.

The first part of this strategy entails understanding that God can make a way even when we see no way. However, God expects all of us to do everything that is within our power to survive a shipwreck. When your ship is wrecked and no longer moving you toward your destination, follow your inclination to swim with all your might and do not sink. The bold human spirit within us is resilient and instinctively strives to survive and not perish.

In the midst of the shipwreck, we must also find something that floats. When life gets rocky and unsteady trust that God is still there. His steady hand keeps us afloat as we endure health, financial or even emotional challenges from people or situations that absolutely break the heart. Our pastor notes that Paul’s writings tell us of three things that will always remain in life. They are faith, hope and love. These three will always buoy and sustain us.

Lastly, learn to hold on. Hold on and don’t you ever give up for surely the Master is always at work. In His own time, our God will make a move on our behalf. He possesses the power, and He has an obligation to us, His children, to fix it. Be sure to hold on because a wonderful change will come over you.

Alas, in this life shipwrecks will happen, but you can be sure you will survive them if you follow this proven, three-pronged strategy. First, do everything in your own power to survive. The strong spirit within you will provide the strength you need to make it. Then, be resourceful and use the broken pieces scattered around you to stay afloat. And finally, just hold on for God is always moving and He will not abandon you. Remember, my beloved child of God, you are a survivor!
Sun, Oct 24, 2021
In today’s sermon Pastor Victor delves deeper into the spiritual evolution of the Christian teacher, formerly known as Saul. Like numerous others in the Holy Book, his name has been changed following his encounter with the Lord. In the passage, 1st Corinthians 9: 19-23, apostle Paul, is now answering his calling and carrying out his assigned mission to spread the gospel far and wide.

Apostle Paul understood that in order to spread the gospel with expediency he needed to become more relatable by developing a rapport with all people. However, becoming all things to all people is risky because it places oneself in a perilous position. From this position if one is not sure of themselves, they can lose sight of their rightful identity and become lost. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to never lose sight of whose you are as you seek to influence others. No matter your past failings and mistakes, you belong to the Lord.

Now consider that by being all things to all people you are also in a position of great possibility. In order to reach the masses, Paul marketed himself so that he could achieve larger scale. He met people at their present level, becoming their partner, and this resulted in an exponential growth of believers. Paul’s degree of adaptability and flexibility allowed him to reach the Jew, the Gentile and the weak.

Finally, we learn that Paul loses himself to the mission. He is willing to lose himself to Christ so that he might win some new believers and they too could spread the good news. In this world that seems driven by materialism, greed and self-aggrandizement, our true mission is to live in a way that others will see the God in us, and we will give Him all the glory. Live so everyone can see that we live in God’s grace, and our hearts and our minds have been touched by the Lord.

Even though we may be placed in a perilous position by striving to become all things to all people, we will not suffer crisis of identity as we are children of the Most High King. In this position there also exists great possibility as our perspective and our reach are broadened. Lose yourself to your earthly mission and live to bring others to Christ. That is our calling once we have been blessed and transformed by our own divine encounter.
Sun, Oct 17, 2021
On this glorious First Sunday in October, Pastor Victor continues with another installment in the sermon series “The Evolution of a Henchman: The Spiritual Transformation of the Apostle Paul”. From the familiar text, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, we learn how a proverbial thorn in the flesh opens us up to spiritual growth, becoming closer and closer to God. Now that is truly good news, for in life we all experience and have to deal with our own personal thorns in the flesh.

When we suffer insurmountable pain that has become too much to bear, surely, we call on the Lord in prayer. The greater our pain, the more fervent our prayer. Just as God responded to Paul’s anguished prayers, He has the answer we need as we suffer as well. He wants us to know that His grace is sufficient, for His power is made perfect in weakness. It is quite humbling when we can no longer move forward on our own due to unrelenting discomfort. That is when it becomes abundantly clear that we must call on the Lord to see us through.

God’s grace, His unmerited favor, allows us to overcome and press on, even at our weakest. When we lack confidence, have a broken heart, are faced with crushing disappointments, or devastating illness, that is when God is most powerful in our lives. We are able to courageously transcend our challenges because we have a transcendent God. He can and will move mountains.

Remember, when you are being tormented by a thorn in your flesh, know that God intends the pain to draw you closer to Him. A thorn in your flesh is not a setback, nor is it there for your destruction. Our thorns teach us humility, prevent arrogance, and motivate us to tap into God’s perfect power. Thorns in the flesh are a set up to transform us spiritually in order to walk in our purpose, and keep carrying out our mission for Jesus, the Christ.
Sun, Oct 10, 2021
On this splendid Homecoming Sunday, we learn even more about the apostle Paul through the autobiography he shares in the passage of today’s sermon text, Galatians 1:11-23. In this the fourth installment of the sermon series regarding the transformation of the former henchman, Paul writes to the Galatians about the revelation he received, and his three-year wilderness experience. Though it is human nature to try avoiding the harshness of the wilderness, we too can come to appreciate the value of our time in the wilderness.

The first thing we should understand about the value of a wilderness experience is that there is clarity from confusion. In periods of confusion, we seek to understand why we are going through our present hardships. Beloved, always know that God is up to something for good, even in our state of confusion.

Secondly, confirmation in Christ is another value gleaned in the wilderness. Earthly approval nor affirmation is necessary for God provides the only confirmation we need in our service to Him. When others affirm us and express their approval, their accolades as Pastor Victor notes, are just ‘icing on the cake’.

The third value of the wilderness experience is a clean commencement. Our wilderness journey gives us an opportunity to rid ourselves of our damaged baggage and start afresh. We can let go of anything that holds us back from our own greatness. After enduring the challenges of the wilderness, we are prepared to step into our purpose for the good of His kingdom.

The wilderness experience is unavoidable for the children of God. Accept the inevitable and understand these experiences have great value in our faith walk and spiritual growth. Though in the wilderness there is confusion, we gain clarity, and there we also receive confirmation in Christ. A clean commencement results from our wilderness experience, affording us a future free from past regrets. A future in which we can live life as God intended all the while.

On the other side of a wilderness experience there is discovery of our own God-given assignment, our purpose, and the unimaginable blessings He has in store for us.
Sun, Oct 03, 2021
We have reached the last Sunday of the summer of 2021, and our pastor’s sermon is focused on Paul and his conversion from zealot to a passionate, dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ. Pastor Victor takes his text from Acts 9: 26-30. The apostles Paul first approached in Jerusalem rejected him because of his past heinous deeds and unbelief in Christ. However, his detractors became convinced that his faith was authentic, and he overcame his bad reputation. Pastor Victor imparts to us three things that allowed this former henchman to overcome his sordid past. Firstly, Paul had an advocate in Barnabas, a Christian disciple who told the doubtful believers of the Damascus Road conversion. Barnabas was willing to vouch for Paul’s metamorphosis. We all need an advocate like Barnabas who will stand in the gap and speak up for us when we are not convincing on our own. We need an advocate when others do not accept us, listen to us, or cannot see who we really are. Secondly, Paul himself made an announcement. He not only spoke boldly in the name of Jesus Christ, but he also demonstrated the same in his changed behavior. He walked the talk, as they say. The disciples could see the change for themselves. We can move freely through our lives, speaking the truth, when we are no longer bound by a marred, scarred and shameful past. The last thing that allowed Paul to overcome his bad reputation was his willingness to die for his convictions. He did not back down from the Hellenistic Jews who sought to kill him. The strength of his convictions was proof that he was truly transformed, and other believers protected him.

Just as the disciple Paul was able to overcome his past and his bad reputation, every child of God has the ability to do the same. We need someone to advocate on our behalf, to make an announcement declaring our faith, and finally be willing to die for our convictions. Our reputation can be overcome, and we can live fully and beautifully because the Spirit of the Lord dwells within each of us.
Sun, Sep 12, 2021
Today’s text is taken from Acts 9:1-19, as Pastor Victor continues in the sermon series focused on the spiritual transformation of the apostle Paul. Let us travel with Saul as he journeys on the Damascus road where he falls to the ground and loses his sight. The zealous Saul was unaware that he was about to have an encounter that would fill him with the Holy Spirit and change the trajectory of his life. There are three distinct elements of divine encounters with God that indicate He is moving as only He can.

First, there is a holy orchestration. Just as God gave Saul a vision and instruction to Ananias to restore Saul’s sight in the passage, He moves in our lives in ways that may be apparent at times. Conversely, other times they are not at all apparent. He will get our attention to prepare us to better serve Him. Just know that God is always up to something.

Secondly, there is divine designation. God created each of us to fulfill a unique kingdom purpose here on earth. We may occasionally face uncertainty, unclear of our reason for being. Our vision can be muddled, but fear not, in time God will provide clarity and our assignment will become clearer.

Converted continuation is the third element we may not be aware of. God converted Saul’s zealous hatred of Jesus and his followers into a belief so strong that he spread the Gospel and started many Christian churches, thereby launching many Christian leaders and believers. You see if God can convert a persecutor like Saul, no one is beyond His redemption.

Our journey to discipleship likely did not include being blinded by the light like Paul, however, be aware of transformative encounters with the Holy One. Most assuredly a holy orchestration took place because God always has a plan. There is a divine designation for each of us since we were all created for His purposes. Converted conversion will transform our gifts and our passion to serve the Lord and shine a glorifying light on Him. Do not be discouraged, beloved. Our struggles, our setbacks, our pains are God’s way of preparing us so that our living shall not be in vain. No, our living shall not be in vain.
Sun, Sep 05, 2021
On this Sunday Pastor Victor commences a new sermon series, “The Evolution of a Henchman: The Spiritual Transformation of the Apostle Paul”. Today’s text is taken from Acts 7:54 - 8:3, and here we are introduced to Paul, the legendary and essential apostle, before he became the author of the first recorded writings of the New Testament. In fact, Paul, then known as Saul, is engaged at a crime scene holding the coats of heinous executioners as they stoned Stephen to death. Stephen, one of the first deacons of the Christian church also became its first martyr. In this sermon we will discover that faith-filled and Holy Spirit-filled Stephen demonstrated how to be dedicated to God without being fanatical and condemning others.

Stephen first sees the glory of God as the heavens opened up and he saw Jesus Christ standing next to Him. By seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of God, Stephen realized that our triumphant Savior is the way to God and our salvation. This recognition provides an understanding that our church is not the singular way that we enter into right relationship with the Lord. God is vast and He is grander than our church doctrines and theological constructs.

Secondly, Stephen also demonstrates that there is security in faith. Although death was near, he kept the faith that as a child of God surely the Lord would keep him. Because he was secure in his faith, he had no need to legitimize his own faith by belittling another’s like the stoners who took his life.

Lastly, in order to avoid the bigotry and hate other’s display one must learn to extend forgiveness. As Stephen was dying, like Christ on the cross, he prays to his Father in heaven to forgive his attackers. We too must learn to forgive those who hurt us. We extend forgiveness because we have been forgiven. As the pastor reminds us, when we forgive, we are liberated and no longer bound to the baggage of even our deepest wounds.

Remember, we can avoid a faith that is ignorant, zealous and fanatical by seeing the glory of God, and knowing that the way to our heavenly Father is through His Son. As children of God we can be assured that there is security in faith. All the days of our life, God is looking out for us. Finally, we are to extend forgiveness because we are forgiven for our sins. This is the way to our own spiritual transformation, growing more and more like Jesus each and every day.

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Arlington, VA 22204

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