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“Either You Are or You Ain’t!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

And don’t nobody know better than you which you are. So what you need to do is be honest with yourself and stop playing; and stop thinking that you are fooling everybody else; because you know what they say… You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. So do yourself a favor and just admit that you like what you are doing. You like the way sin makes you feel.  Don’t worry we all are to some extent a hypocrite. Everyone has their own little treasure box… guilty as charged; and if you say that you are without sin, then you are unsaved and calling God a liar [1 John 1:8-10]. God calls all men sinners [Romans 3:10, 19-23]. Let God be true and every man a liar! Listen, as I told you before,  God has called me to teach against sin, not people. I teach against sin, many times stepping on my own toes as well.  It is “Woe is me! For I am undone” as [Isaiah 6:5] said, and as Paul said “Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” [1Tim 1:15] so as [Ephesian 4:15] encourages us “Express the truth in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, and living truly.  Refuse to wear a mask and play games. Set yourself free!  Be honest; because if you don’t live authentically, you live a lie. You live phony. You try to be somebody you’re not. And that becomes comical. [2Cor 4:2]. Tell the truth and make the devil mad! You or either a Saint or an Ain’t! I’m talking to the almost Christians. “Almost thou persuades me to be a Christian [Acts 26:28]

I tell you it is a tragedy that the church is as carnal as can be. But then again, there is nothing new under the sun. In [1 Corinthians 3:1-3] they were just as carnal back in New Testament times; yet the world has never witnessed apostasy as we are seeing it today everywhere. I want you to know; God is not pleased! Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. [James 4:4].  How sad; the same mentality that drive the world today has invaded the church. We live in a day of half-hearted service, when people serve the gods of self, materialism, recreation and pleasure more than they serve the God of Heaven. Shame on us! Listen, it’s time to get right with God and have a pure heart. It’s Time to Stop Playing Church!  God wants you to know today that He is still Lord of Lords and King of Kings; and one day He is coming back for a church without spot or blemish and like He called Israel back to Himself on Mount Carmel, He is calling you back to Him today.

You know in [1King 18:21] Elijah Challenged the People – A Question – Simply put, “How long are you going to waiver or vacillate between two ways of life?” These people were guilty of trying to hold hands with God and Baal. They wanted the best of both worlds! My friend that will never work! You might as well come to understand right now that divided allegiance is as wicked as open idolatry! This is proven by Christ’s condemnation of the church at Laodicea, [Rev. 3:14-22]. A person is either for Christ as he is against Him! You cannot be neutral! You cannot occupy the middle of the road! Jesus said it this way, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathered not with me scattered abroad. [Matt. 12:30].  I ask you…. Where do you stand in regard to Christ?

I want you to know that Elijah presented the people with the problem. He told them that they were being contradictory. If God is Lord, then Baal cannot be. If Baal is Lord then God cannot be. Elijah told them there was room in the universe for only one Lord and one God! They were challenged to choose who they will follow. This is the same challenge before you right now. Many who claim to love the Lord are also holding hands with the world, the flesh, material possessions or whatever. This is a contradiction! Either God is Lord or He isn’t. If He isn’t, then those other things you hold to must be. The bottom line is this: you have to make a choice! Who will you serve? Who is really the Lord of your life? You can’t have it both ways! If you say you love the Lord and deny Him by your life, you actions and your activities, then you really don’t love Him at all! Be honest with yourself!

I leave you with a divine and profound paradox.  We are all sinners who miss the mark and who are in need of God’s lavish grace to forgive us and save us.  And the other side of the paradox is this:  “I beg you, I plead with you, and I implore you:  Lead a life worthy of the high calling that you have received in Jesus Christ.” As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

Original Tuskegee Airman and Fighter Pilot, Lieutenant Calvin Spann, Passes at 90

Tuskagee AirmanDALLAS, TX- Original Tuskegee airman and fighter pilot, Lieutenant Calvin Spann, passed away on Sunday, September 6, 2015 at his home surrounded by his family. He was 90 years old.

Lt. Spann was an original Tuskegee Airman and fighter pilot with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group. Spann received his wings from the Tuskegee Flight School as a part of the graduating class of 44G, an elite squadron of African-American pilots. As a member of the United States Army Air Corps, he served in Europe during World War II, where he flew 26 combat missions, including a 1,600-mile round trip mission on March 24, 1945 from Ramitelli, Italy to Berlin, Germany to destroy the Daimler-Benz manufacturing plant, according to the Dallas Love Field Frontiers of Flight Museum.

On February 28, 2006, the U.S. Congress approved a bill authorizing President George W. Bush to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tuskegee Airmen, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States. The 2012 Hollywood blockbuster movie, Red Tails, was based on the African-American pilots in the Tuskegee training program.

Prior to his death, Lt. Spann was still very active in his community, speaking at schools, churches and organizations about the Tuskegee Airmen experience and how their courage and valor helped them to triumph. During these speeches, he encouraged students to make a commitment to excel in the study of mathematics and science, reminding them that through preparation and perseverance, they can succeed.

Women Helping 2 Empower Women (W.H.E.W.) Wellness Event Focused on Sickle Cell

YWE Founder Gwen Rodgers, Rev. Bronica Martindale-Taylor, Yolanda Markham, Sharon Ellis, and Dr. Margaret Hill.

YWE Founder Gwen Rodgers, Rev. Bronica Martindale-Taylor, Yolanda Markham, Sharon Ellis, and Dr. Margaret Hill.

By Angela M. Coggs

IMG_0305On Saturday, September 5, 2015 Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation hosted their 3rd Annual Wellness event in the Henderson Auditorium at San Bernardino Community Hospital. The event began at 8am continental breakfast for all the attendees. The event, “Women Helping 2 Empower Women (W.H.E.W.)”, invited women to participate in a day focused on Sickle Cell Awareness and overall health. The idea was to highlight emotional, physical, and spiritual health. The event featured keynote speaker, Dr. Beverly Crockett, featured speaker, Farron Dozier, and the testimonials from Therese Adjivon, Carletta Loftin, and Janice Freeman-Neubel.

The event was kicked off by Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation founder, Gwen Rodgers’ warm welcome.  The call to action from Rodgers to become aware and vigilant about health and fitness was heard loud and clear thoroughout the day. Activities focused exercising the body beginning with Reverend Bronica Martindale- Taylor IMG_0242physical activity called, “The Harvest Dance.” Everyone was out of their seats and participated wholeheartedly.

Feature speaker Farron Dozier, a Sickle Cell Advocate and radio personality on WDC Radio Show, spoke passionately about living with sickle cell trait after learning he had Sickle Cell when he was 29 years old when was he a Sergeant First Class in the United States Army.  Dozier was discharged from the military because he was no longer physically fit for service. His youngest of three daughters (Deja Dozier) was also diagnosed with sickle cell at a young age.  His story reverberated with the audience as he spoke about the pain he endured growing up and it being dismissed as growing pains. He discussed his experience living with the disease known as, “The Silent Killer,” which primarily affects the African American population but has been known to affect other nationalities.

IMG_0292Dozier’s organization, “WHATZ DA COUNT,” and his campaign, “What’z in your Genes?” provides sickle cell trait awareness and to re-educate the community about the sickle cell trait and thalassemia trait.

After Dozier spoke about the importance of getting tested for Sickle Cell, over 30 attendees signed up and were tested by medical professionals from Community Hospital where a room was set up to draw blood. Attendees, speakers, vendors as well as YWE Board Members were tested and the results will be sent to them in the mail in the next few weeks. Another highlight of the day was the powerful testimonials.

Therese’ Adjivon is a young woman who is determined to change lives. She was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia at the young age of 3. Although she has struggled with obstacles in her life, her positive outlook was sensed by everyone on the room. She credited her mother for allowing her to be raised in her home and not in a hospital room. Despite the hurdles she has to endure she still finds time to be a mentor and coordinator for an organization called FOOCUS2 and also an advocate for patients that battle Sickle Cell and other rare disorders. Adjivon spoke with passion and her words resonated with the audience when she said, “Just because I have Sickle Cell doesn’t mean that it has me.”IMG_0271

Carletta Loftin began her testimonial with playing the beginning of Kirk Franklin’s song, “Declaration (This Is It!)”. She said that the words meant a lot to her. She started her testimonial by saying she was a mother of three but later indicated she was diagnosed with Bell Palsy/ Blood Disorder which prevented her from carrying her first two children to term. Her daughter Carrington is her little miracle baby. Her story of determination and survival was deeply felt by the attendees. Loftin words of purpose and encouragement touched the audience in such an uplifting manner that it inspired many to stand to their feet and shout. She is a fighter and is not willing to give in or give up on the fight.

When Janice Freeman-Neuble, a neo soul artist originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, stepped up to the podium to share her story she began to sing “I Won’t Complain.” Her voice was so strong and her vocals filled the room. The words alone evoked heartfelt emotions and she shed a few tears along with the audience. After gathering herself she simply stated, “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been sick.” She shared her life and her struggle. She recounted how doctors gave her mother six weeks to plan her funeral when she was a young child. “I have been struggling with Lupus since 2007, but I have had severe illnesses as far back as I can remember,” Neuble proclaimed. She was very young when she was diagnosed with a kidney infection and she had meningitis in the ninth grade. It has been a very long struggle for her but she counts her husband Dion, daughter Hannah, and stepson Dylan along with her strong spirituality as her strength as she takes each day at a time.

IMG_0308“Her voice, which permeated the air, echoed her life experience. Every melodious word was an expression of pain and appreciation, of struggle and triumph of frustration and confidence,” Kimberly Garret said of Freeman-Neuble. “She reminded us all that God’s mercy and goodness is sufficient. Her strength brought me to tears.” At a glance, prayer circles were seen throughout the room. It was defiantly an emotional event, but it was also a safe place to be vulnerable and let go.

Dr. Margaret Hill, San Bernardino City Unified School District Board of Education Vice President, was present and also participated in the fitness activities of the day. When Harriette Coggs- Stuckey, Founder/Director of Heart and Soul Line Dance, invited the participants to learn a dance/exercise she choreographed, Dr. Hill was on the floor with everyone else. Several routine were taught and practiced by the group and everyone appeared to enjoy themselves. “I enjoy workshops where there’s something for everyone. Seeing the young and the mature on the same dance floor at the same time was phenomenal. I guess it’s called building age cultures,” said Hill when asked her perception of the day’s event.

A Step Ahead Entertainment demonstrated a Chicago Steppin’ dance routine choreographed to Janet Jackson’s new song, “No Sleeep”, that was exceptional. The men and women looked radiant in their all white outfits.  Afterwards the dancers gave step-by-step instructions to the audience and many of them took to the dance floor and tried the dance moves. Everyone involved had a really good time.

Just Move Consulting Director and Lead Trainer, Author, Health and Fitness Specialist, Erin Young, invited a few audience members to come to the front of the auditorium to practice a few exercises that she demonstrated. She explained that one does not have to go to the gym in order to work out and be fit. Audience members asked questions and participated in the activity. Using a medicine ball, resistance bands, and chair she taught the group effective and useful.

Keynote speaker Dr. Beverly Crockett

Keynote speaker Dr. Beverly Crockett

Keynote speaker, Dr. Beverly Scott, author of, “Just Run the Race- You Are a Champion,” closed the event with a motivational speech about running your race, fighting your personal battles, surviving challenges, and being champions. She shared her personal struggles and showed how this disease (Sickle Cell) affects everyone including her as she shared about a family member who struggles with this disease and how they elects to deal with it. She encouraged and uplifted those in attendance by saying that no matter what someone goes through, we can beat the odds and come out victorious.

Overall, the event was a success. Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation raised the bar when it comes to wellness events in San Bernardino and the Inland Empire. Attendee Sharon Ellis stated that “the event was well organized, time conscious, informative and a lot of fun.” The community event was inspirational, a worthwhile cause focused on fitness for the mind body, and soul, which provided a day of awareness, soul searching, and unity. “I was pleased with the integrity of the group of women sponsoring the event. This was my first time at a Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation event and health awareness clinic in San Bernardino. I was a vendor at the event but I was also able to participate in the informational and physical fitness sections of the day,” said vendor Garbrille Stuart, from 1 Pound at a Time. “I appreciate YWE for the opportunity to allow me to showcase my organization and learn the importance of health, wellness, and the importance of getting screened for Sickle Cell.  YWE did a fantastic job. I commend them for their leadership and professionalism. I was grateful and moved by all the speakers for sharing their knowledge.”

“I am excited about what the YWE’s Board is doing to promote wellness for women in San Bernardino. None of this could happen without the continuous support from the community and our sponsors, such as Dignity, Edison International, and Kaiser Permanente,” said Gwen Rodgers, Founder of Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation. “W.H.E.W. was a powerful event and there are more to come. I’m also looking forward to Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation’s 10 year anniversary, “Night of Elegance” Fundraiser in January. Stay tuned and like the Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation Facebook page.”