One of my favorite childhood memories was watching Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. begin and conclude his sermons with the phrase: "Keep Hope Alive." That phrase came to life during the 1988 Democratic National Convention when Rev. Jackson caused the tissue boxes to be passed around Atlanta's Omni Coliseum like beach balls at a Beach Boys' concert. Jackson shared a personal story abouthis youth that conjured up every emotion. Rev. Jackson's story would make one ask where was the hope in this sad and moving story? From the pain of his past and the discouragement that he faced at seemingly every turn, Rev. Jackson learned to embrace the faint colored thread of hope that ran the course of his life. In John 16:33 Jesus says, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." You know what Jesus is saying? KEEP HOPE ALIVE. Whatever you are going through, keep your hope in the only one who can pull you through. Two of the most notable persons in scripture, David and Paul, both share meaningful messages of hope between covenants both old and new. David prays: " 5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah" (Psalm 62:5-8). David reminds us that the hope that we possess is hope that derives from God. The hope that we should place in God is God's own hope that he places in us. That hope provides us refuge in both encouraging and discouraging times. Colossians 1:27 tells us: "God wanted to make known to them the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Today, in the spirit of our focus Psalm 42:11, I conclude by praying for you this prayer of the Apostle Paul found in Romans 15:13: "I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope." #KeepHopeAlive
On January 21, 2000, Reverend Shanan E. Jones was licensed to preach the Gospel at the historic Eliot Congregational Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts before moving back to Atlanta. In August of 2000, Reverend Jones was not only hired as the Pastor for Public Relations/Political Liaison to the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and its Bishop, but also re-licensed as a Baptist Minister by this house of worship on January 23, 2001. Reverend Jones also served faithfully as the Executive Pastor of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church from April of 2006 until December 31, 2017. He was instrumental in building important political, as well as national and international business, relationships for thousands of members and national acclaimed pastors for several years. Reverend Jones coordinated official trips of countless heads of state, international governmental representatives, senators, congresspersons, governors, and mayors who traveled to this Church as guests.