Good morning Family, What an honor and a
privilege to be before you today. I bring you
greetings from Fresno Pacific University,
where I have the privilege to encourage
and equip leaders for the future.
I am a product of this valley, I’ve been
trained and nurtured in her bosom …There
is no greater place to serve at and no
greater place to live in.
The Valley is California’s crown Jewel of
beauty. Its the place of Hope, where
dreams are fertilized, planted, watered,
nurtured and translated all over the world.
California’s future is in the valley. The
worlds Hope is in the valley. I come today
to talk with you about that Hope.
The hope of a people, an American people.
This month is African American History
month. It is also American History Month.
We are a part of Americas history.
We are the builders, planters, farmers,
engineers, immigrants, teachers, pastors,
lawyers, athletes, artist and business
people of this great country.
Hope was our first teacher, she nurtured us
on the cotton fields of our southern states.
She cradled us in the blistering summer
sun of segregation and Jim crow laws.
It was Hope, that built those communities
of color, when we were banned from
shopping, studying, performing and
worshiping in places where we could not
Hope fed us through the wicked winters of
lynching’s, and the Assassinations of our leaders…
Hope kept us together, lifted our spirits,
This four-letter word has inspired my
people for over 500 years!
Hope, is the noun that has championed the
economically disadvantaged since we
landed on distant shores.
Hope, is the biblical cousin to faith and
love, that makes generations of dark
skinned people trust that life will someday
get better in-spite of the countless micro
and macro aggressions of rejection, felt
daily in the academy, on wall street, in
politics and systemic layers of racism in
Hope! Keeps people alive, and believing
that everything is gonna be alright.
The song writer of that great black anthem
Lift every voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring.
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise,
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark
past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the
present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
It was Hope, that caused us to sing!
That same teacher called hope,
caused us to build our own schools and
systems of survival to employ and engage
our minds in building a future that would
extend a bridge into tomorrow where we
could share our inventions, scholarship, art,
creativity and biblical worldview.
It was Hope! That dared this little boy from
South Central Los Angeles, to dream of
being the first to go to college, and receive
a PhD. in Divinity.
It was hope that made this preacher, see a
community without hope, and dream that
the word of God could make a difference in
a person’s life, plant a church, and save
lives trapped in drug abuse, gang activity
and welfare systems of poverty.
Hope did this…and that’s what I came to
give you today….[Can I get a witness]
I came to encourage you to keep hope on
the mantle of your hearts!
No matter how hard it gets or how hard it
may seem, you can achieve whatever you
put your mind too.
Keep hope burning bright! It will be like a
light to your feet and a lamp on your path!
Where ever there is hope, there is a chance
to do what you never thought you could do.
A illustration of hope was shared by that preaching pastor of Houston Texas, Dr. Ralph West.
He said, “When his son Ralph Jr, was a boy, he took him to Toys-RUs, and he got detached from him in the store. Ralph jr.
being his first child, his fatherly instincts
caused him to panic.
He said, because he could
see the doors, he knew that he had not exited them.
So Up one corridor, he paced, and down
another… around a corridor… around
another aisle… peeping… looking to find
him amid a crowd of people in the
Christmas rush – but he could not find his
son. I found a security guard and I asked
him, “Do you have surveillance in the
store?” He said, “Yes.” I then asked, “Do
you have a monitor?” “Yes.” “Can I look at
the monitor?” “Yes.” Can you scan the
The guard began to scan up and down the
aisles, and there he saw his son playing with toys, but he was clearly in a state of panic.
His son was all by himself among people he
did not know. He says that his first child was feeling lost and alone, and he did not know what to do.
Dr. West asked the guard, “Do you have an
intercom?” He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Keep the camera on him.” Then I
got on the intercom and said, “Ralph.” My
son looked around because he recognized
my voice. I continued, “Stay where you
are.” He started looking around. “It’s
Daddy,” I said. “Don’t move. I see you
although you can’t see me. Stay where you
are. I’m coming.”
In those moments, when you think that God
cannot see you or that you cannot see God,
always remember that God sees you.
The invisible hand of God is active and is
looking after your life.
There’s hope for your future, there’s hope
for your circumstances, there is hope for
your crisis…because God see’s you and he
He is just like this Father in the story
looking for his children, who are lost .
That’s what makes hope so powerful! It transcends doubt, fear, frustration, insecurity, inadequacies, and incompetence.
Hope makes anticipation move the needle toward success, when the temperature of failure is rising in the climate!
I know what I’m talking about…I’ve swam in the pool of disappointment, and injustice. I’ve had to do the back stroke against the waves of “uncertainty” …I have had to butterfly when the competition was free to swim the free style….
But because of hope, I was able to use muscles I didn’t know that I had….and the grueling discipline of having to be better, work harder, perform longer, be culturally competent and multilingual in a sea of competitors where the race was fixed…. Made me a stand – out participant….
Because of hope…my drive made me stand out above others…because of hope…my skills were unlike anyone else…. because of hope my race was not against those in the same pool, but it was against history itself!
Ive got to close now, but hope has taught me that its not what you do, is how you do it, and to whom you do it for!
You see hope comes from God, and the God who gives me hope allows me to use that gift as I work unto him.
So when you see me working or performing in the spirit of hope….I hope unto God that I bring him honor and glory on the stages of this world.
Hope! A friend to the preacher! Hope! A confidant to the teacher! Hope! A strong ally in a world of discouragement.
Hope! My change agent and inspiration to please the only one who truly matters.
As I close …
Hope makes me remember that Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction….
I choose hope…because therein lies the options that I have against the solutions of injustice.
May the Lord bless and Keep you!