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In Recognition of Our Esteemed Pastor

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built there upon, he shall receive a reward.”

1 Corinthians 3:14 KJV

Thirty years ago, Pastor Washington came to this hamlet of Rockville Centre, called to be Pastor; Sent by God to Shiloh. This past June, we celebrated this milestone with a drive-by parade because COVID-19 Pandemic did not allow us to gather- but gather we did! Not ignoring the severity of COVID-19, we adorned our masks, decorated our cars, and lined up like obedient children, as we drove one behind the other, about 30 cars, through our church parking lot, honking our horns to letting the world knows, and our Pastor, that we love and appreciate him.

It was a memorable occasion because we had not been able to gather as a congregation, in-person, due to COVID-19, for some time, and we had not seen one another in weeks. Worship, as we knew came to a screeching halt, and we longed for one another: To see. To speak. To hug. To pray. To sing. To praise God. In some cases, just to exhale. How good it was to see each other again. I was not a member of Shiloh at the time Pastor Washington came, but word quickly spread that there was a man in town who could not only preach but also teach the word. Several Sunday mornings, in those days, I gathered my children and left my service because I was starving, craving what I knew the Lord had in store for me and went to Shiloh. And one Sunday, twenty-two years ago, I found myself walking down the aisle, joining fellowship with Shiloh. I have never looked back, and for twenty-two years, no longer the same, I have been growing in spiritual maturity. This testimony is not just unique to me. Many of you, I am sure have a similar, if not the same story. Down through these 30 years, we, Shiloh and Pastor, have shared many memorable occasions, and the one thing that has always remained constant is that we have been there for each other. Whether facilitating our marriages and weddings, or celebrating the life of our deceased, and burying our dead; whether blessing our babies, or our graduates going off to school, or higher education; whether visiting us in the hospital or praying for us when we were sick, our Pastor has not failed to be there for us. He has not failed to lead. He has not failed to be our example of faith. He has not failed to continue to preach or teach the word of God, in spite of the many challenges. He laughs with us and cries with us. Ours has not been a one-sided relationship, and to quote Pastor, “That’s what family does!”

In expressing appreciation for our Pastor during this season of Clergy Appreciation, I looked for the right words. It took me several days to sit down and begin writing because I wanted to say something profound about the work of a pastor. I wanted to be inspired to write something that perhaps had not yet been said, but there are no revelations about what a man of God has been called to do, or who a man of God is called to be. Nobody knows that better than the man himself. So, I came away with these words, when reflecting on our Pastor.

“For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good”

Luke 6:44-45 KJV

Having served with Pastor and being a disciple of this ministry, I believe that we, the Shiloh family, are the best testimonial to who our Pastor is because it has been his ministry that we aim to be like Jesus-Living Like Him-Serving Like Him- Giving like Him.

Having been called out of darkness himself, Pastor shines the light of God’s word every time he stands in our pulpit, to lead us out of darkness. Born again himself, he nurtures us through the life-giving, life-transforming word of God. Hungry himself, he feeds us the bread of life. Thirsty himself, he fills us with the living water that we may never thirst again. He is our pastor, but he is also our brother. He walks alongside of us, and not ahead of us. To me, our relationship with Pastor is much like Jesus’ relationship with his disciples. “What Manner of Man is this?” In Christ, our union with Pastor Washington is divine, and hereto set forth for the glory of God. The calling of the man of God is to preach, reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2); to watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist; make full proof of ministry (2 Timothy 4:5). God engineers everything.  Wherever he puts us, our one great goal is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him.

In doing so, it is not a job, but a labor of love. In this, Pastor Washington’s 30th Pastoral Year at Shiloh, and given this opportunity to extend our gratitude one more time for his self-less, obedient service, and love, all I can say is “Thank You Pastor Washington. We salute you. We love you too!”

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon

What is the Truth about Eternal Life?

“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody really wants to die!” Not sure who said it, but I know for sure that many of us believe it. In fact, nobody likes death at all. It is the thing we fear the most. And I think the reason is that we do not understand it. So, the question is, “Is there life after death? What really is the truth about Eternal Life?” This inquisition is just that. A query. It is not the answer to the question, but more an investigation into what we have been taught, and what we really think about life and life after death. Many of us have suffered the loss of loved ones, some more times than we care to recall, and we have been comforted in our belief that there is life after death. We have submitted our will to the Sovereign Will of God in these times, and that has proven to be just what we needed. Death is really not something that we want to talk about, nor think about it. None of us, and nor do I. But one day we are all going to die. We do not know when, and we do not know-how. But I know that we who have faith in the True & Living God, also trust His Word, and He has a lot to say on this topic; but can we have an open and honest dialogue about life and death.

There was a time in my life when I would not go to a funeral. I was in my actual infancy in my relationship with Christ, and far away from Him, when my mother’s father died. I was in my early teens, and it has been a long while now, but I remember exactly how I felt. I remember being angry. I remember not understanding. I remember having questions, and nobody to answer them. I remember the Home-going Service, and the people walking up to the casket and looking in at my grandfather who lay there, dead. And I remember wondering what he was thinking, and if he wanted to get up. I remember the people coming back to our house afterward, and the laughter, and the “celebration” while they ate fried chicken, collard greens, and potato salad, while we (who were grieving) catered to their needs; they were our guests, and somehow this was to bring us comfort. Then after so many hours, they were gone, and we were left alone to figure out how to get along without “Dootley!” Colonel Parker was my mother’s father. All we really know about him is that his father was an American Indian, whose name was “Jerry.” I never knew Dootley’s mother, nor his father, or even why we called him Dootley. But it was our affectionate name for him, and we still call him that to this day. I do not know if he was ever truly a “Colonel,” but it was his name. I do not know when or where he married my grandmother, but I know that from that union, they had twelve children; and the first-born of the four boys, was named “Colonel Parker, Jr.,” after his father, and we called him “Junior.” Long after Dootley died, one by one, other family members and friends died too. And we would go on to repeat the “home-going service” like so many times before. I would despise those times because they made no sense to me. I did not understand then, and there was nobody to whom I could ask my questions. “Would they get up again?” What were they thinking?” “Did they miss us too?” “Where are they now?” “Where is paradise?” It was a very long time until I got to a place of “understanding,” that no one ceases to exist when they die, having been taught that everyone lives forever, in either heaven or hell.

When it came to death and dying, somewhere along the way I was taught that eternal life is living forever, and even though she did not understand it either, my mom used to say, “That’s God’s Business!” So, I resolved that if it was God’s business, ultimately that was good enough for me. But everlasting life is not something that begins when we get to heaven. There are a number of scriptures that speak to everlasting life as our possession in this life (John 4:14; 5:24; 6:27; 6:40-47). In our salvation experience, we have the promise of eternal life, and we know that God accomplished that through the sacrificing of Jesus, His Son, and our Savior, for His glory and our good. This means that there is nothing good about death and dying. So, what else did Jesus accomplish by dying Himself? The promise of Eternal life. Sin was a barrier that stood between us and a holy God. But by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, Sin can no longer stand between God and Man. Jesus defined eternal life for us in John 17:3, where he prays for his disciples, and says, “And this is eternal life, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Eternal Life is knowing God, and it is more than the intellectual knowledge that one might have. It is more than book knowledge. It is experiential knowledge that comes from time spent with someone; intimacy, like between a husband and a wife; indeed, Jesus the Bridegroom and His bride, the Church. When Jesus spoke of knowing God, He spoke of having an intimate, close, personal relationship with Him. Many great men have died. Many lesser-known men have died. People we have immortalized forever, have died. Whitney Houston. Prince. Michael Jackson. Maurice White. Bernie Mac. Luther! And the list goes on. If all you did in your salvation experience was ask Jesus to forgive your sins so that you would not perish in hell, then you are missing out on the eternal life the Lord wants us to have right now. Your Salvation is more than your trip to heaven, as Pastor have told us many times. We must not be content to muddle through life singing songs about how, when we all get to heaven, what a day that will be. It will be a good day, but today can be a good day too if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. For it is in Jesus Christ that we have, “A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:2). People that we love will continue to die, and one day so will we. But when you have a personal relationship with the Lord that is not waiting to start in heaven but is working in you while you are still in the world, you know that Jesus came to bring us back into an intimate relationship with God, the Father. Faith comes from hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17). We must not wait for heaven to start living. In Jesus Christ, we have eternal life right now.

To this day, I still do not like funerals, and by the Word of God, and under the pastorate of Pastor Washington, I have come to know the Lord and to trust Him. And every time I pay my last respects and look into the face of someone who has gone on to be with the Lord, I pray that they have settled the issue of eternal life, having spent many years with the Lord, and intending to spend the rest, as they rest. If there was no afterlife, if there was no heaven or hell, John 3:16 reveals that Jesus would have still come, and died for our sins so we could once again have an intimate relationship with Him and His father right now, in this present evil world (Galatians.1:4). While I may not understand it all, like my momma used to say, “It’s God’s business,” I am convinced of who Jesus is. I am committed to what He taught, and I have total confidence in what He has done to secure my life in Him, and with Him. He is Lord. He will reign forever, and we who belong to Him will reign with Him…Forever! Bottom Line: God is not mad at you! He is not counting your sins and holding them against you. He wants so much, to have a personal relationship with you that He sent Jesus, His only Son, to shed His blood, die on the cross and be raised from the dead. He did all of that so that you can be set free from the bondage of sin and the fear of death and enter into eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17 KJV).

What’s Next? Pray this prayer out loud right now: “Dear God, I want to be a part of your family. Your Word says that if I acknowledge that You raised Jesus from the dead and that I accept Him as my Lord and Savior, I would be saved. So, God, I now say that I believe that you raised Jesus from the dead and that He is alive and well. I accept Him now as my personal Lord and Savior. I accept my salvation from sin right now. Jesus is now my Savior, and I am yours. I belong to you. Thank you, Father God, for forgiving me, saving me, and giving me eternal life with you. Amen!” If you just prayed this prayer for the first time, Welcome to the Family of God! As family we want to pray for you and provide you with the resources to help in your walk with God! Tell everybody that you meet about your Salvation Experience. It is not just for you.

Submitted By Deaconess Irene Gardon

Let the Glory Out!

This issue of the Shiloh quarterly journal marks the debut of “The Shiloh Shout.” Aptly named, I believe for our Church, because of the many references to the “shout,” often made by Pastor when he preaches. How many times have we heard him say, “Shiloh, you missed it; the shout goes right there!” While it is just an expression and is in no wise meant to get us caught up in emotion, or fake worship, it is a clarion call for us to respond to what the Word of God is speaking to us through His Word, and the Man of God, through his diligent study. Nevertheless, I have been thinking a lot about “the shout,” and decided to go deeper.  The word “shout,” defined as a verb means [of a person] to utter a loud cry; typically, as an expression of a strong emotion; to say something very loudly; to speak loudly. As a noun, it means, “a loud cry expressing a strong emotion; or calling attention to, or to get in touch with someone, or to talk openly about something personal.”  

I have watched many Worship Services, under the pastorate of very charismatic Televangelists, like Dr. Stanley, Joyce Meyers, and Joel Osteen, even Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Dr. Fred Price, Jr., and watched their congregations sitting in silence, with almost no emotion. Maybe because they were on T.V., they were acting on “their best behavior.”  It is rare that you get an “Amen!” in those settings, let alone a “shout.” So, then the question becomes is shouting biblical to do in the house of God, and is it necessary?  

The practice from church to church; or denomination to denomination; or from pew to pew; or even from heart to heart; or he who has an ear, can vary greatly. Some shouts can dominate a service, and some shouts can shut the service down. Shouting in the Old Testament was usually a spontaneous expression of joy and praise for an extraordinary blessing of God. It came at a time of unusual blessings of God, such as the completion of the temple foundation; the coming of fire from heaven, or the moving of the ark to Jerusalem.  

But the “shout” can take on many forms. It can be loud. It can be relentless tears. It can be a dance, but it cannot be still. When the shout goes in the “right place,” it lends itself to an expression that can in no otherwise be stated. Sometimes it is the lifting of hands. Sometimes it is the wave of the hands. Sometimes it the growl of the organ; or the beating of the drum; or the tinkling of the loud-sounding cymbal.  Sometimes it’s Carol’s melodic voice as she renders authority of God’s sovereignty in a song she has written. Sometimes it’s Dr. Redmond’s two-step; or Danielle’s cry-out from the mid-sanctuary. Sometimes it Eniola’s shout from the balcony resonating all the way to the pulpit. And on occasion, it is Candy’s affirmation from the crows-nest. Sometimes it’s Pastor’s Hallelujah, in the midst of the sermon; or his excitement to get us to “come along,” with Him, as he delivers the Word.  

Sometimes it the Mass Choir’s inability to get through a song, because of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the quick and powerful words of a song; or the magnificent precision of our praise dancers, as they dance in unison, and a rehearsed dance, becomes unrehearsed unparalleled worship. Sometimes it is the silence in the room when the church gets quiet because of the wisdom of the Word, and the preached Word of God pierces our soul and leaves us in awe and speechless.  Sometimes it’s Mother Antrom’s low settled voice when she sings Deep Settled Peace or Beau’s beckon for us to “Come on in the Garden…” Sometimes it is Verlene’s Solo, or Susan’s, or Donna’s, or Sarah’s, or Brenda, and her “Testimony.” Shouting is not necessary for God’s work to be accomplished. The New Testament Church is never told to shout. Shouting may be the result of a great working of God in the church, and it is not the method by which He does his work in the church. It was never to be the goal of the saints, and though the word is not used, Luke 19:37 comes very close to describing a shouting church service –

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the might works that they had seen.” Jesus came nigh. The disciples rejoiced and praised God with a loud voice.

That sounds like shouting to me. But regardless of the expression, or how we get it out, the Shiloh Shout, is our praise to an Almighty God who is worthy to be praised. He is King. He is Shepherd. He is God.  Our expression of praise to the One so Awesome is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1). And because we are a grateful people. Because we are so blessed. Because we are chosen. Because we are elected. Because we have been redeemed, we have no choice but to say so!

It’s better to shout than to doubt.

It’s better to rise than to fall,

It’s better to let glory out,

Than to have no glory at all!

Submitted By Deaconess Irene Gardon