Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Interestingly an upper respiratory infection has rendered me hoarse and almost voiceless for the last five days. It is interesting that these challenges often leave me with no voice to talk; however, I have the mind to think and a soul and spirit to pray. God hears us in our silence and God speaks even when we are not speaking. Actually, sometimes I believe I hear the Lord clearer when I have been benched. None of us really like to be benched, but sometimes God in His infinite wisdom puts us aside for a moment. And so it is because God, in His infinite wisdom is all knowing, he knows the beginning before we know the end of a thing; we yield to His infinite wisdom.

It is in that spirit that I speak to you with this new blog today. Today is January 9th, 2018. January 1985, at the tender age of 18, I preached my first sermon and I was licensed that night. It was a Friday night, and the sermon was “Guilty and You Know It.” And so it is interesting that I kick off this blog of inspiration and information to help each of you go into your NEXT.

The Holy Spirit has witnessed to me that it is important for us in our Consecration prayers to be: #1 revive our INTEREST, and #2, to be INSPIRED. Perhaps our prayers should be “Lord give me continued interest in all that you have assigned my hands to do.” These first 21 days are critical. I am on my way crunching through the snow to be at the sanctuary. I have challenged the people to meet me there for the next 21 days. We did this years ago and it was always effective. God honors the press and as we move forward I don’t want to lose interest in the things that God has given me. I need every idea that God has given me to move according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.   I need God’s breath, I need the ruach! I need the spirit of the living God to breathe, I need the dunamis power of God to undergird and anoint what He spoke in my spirit and soul. Off times we are discouraged if we come to the end of a year. At the end of that year we are often discouraged because so many things that we had in mind in January, maybe February, we just no longer have in mind. I believe that sometimes we lose interest in the things that God has spoken to us, so our prayer does not always need to be “Lord help me to give vision and give me favor”, because, what about when God does do that and there is a slow erosion of Godliness? A slow erosion of holy attention given to the ideas that God has inspired us with?

That’s my prayer tonight. God continue to keep me interested in God, interested in His church, interested in His plan, interested in His program; and that I would continue to keep that interest. That I would stay interested to what God has called me to do.

We need to be interested, inspired, interested, intrigued; because God s infinite! I personally bore easily. I lose interest in things easily. It is easy for me to go to the next. I can’t go over the same thing over and over and over again and not see anything. Yes, I will write the vision. Yes, I will make it plain. Yes, I’ll run with it, but I need to see some kind of life somewhere in the midst of the idea. I need to sense something, see something, feel something, and bear witness to something. I need that and that’s what we need. We need helpers to help us birth, not only help us birth, but who is around us, who’s in our team, who’s all In? Who’s all in that will give us the help and speak to the baby in our womb? You remember Mary when she visited her first cousin Elizabeth and upon Mary greeting her she felt the baby leap in her womb. Oh how we need this year to be surrounded not by just YES people, but people who honestly want to see what God has given us to come to past. And even if it hurts us, they want us to fulfill the destiny. So iron sharpens iron. And so when they share an idea with us it ought to be to help us not to hurt us, to build us not to tear us down, and to anoint us and not to destroy us. Beloved, God has given all you need to fulfill his purpose and his plan for 2018. Let’s get to it in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Even Jesus, the Christ of God.

Have a HOPE-Y New Year

Now that the ghost of Christmas has passed, many people are now turning their attention to the New Year. January 1st has become the unofficial end of the holiday season. While it represents an ending, it also stands as a doorway to a new beginning. People around the world choose the dawning of a new year as the optimum opportunity to make changes in their lives. All of the excessive eating during the Christmas season gives way to resolutions that involve losing weight and exercising. The overspending on Christmas gifts makes many people resolve to spend less, save more, and get on a budget. All of these goals and resolutions have one thing in common – they are rooted in hope.

A New Year represents a new hope, and if we are to be successful in the New Year, we must find a way to hold on to our hope. Hope is the expectation of good. It is that thing inside of us that pushes us to keep pursuing even when things around us seem bleak. Hope helps us to hold on when we feel like letting go. This New Year, I want to encourage you to hold on to your rope of hope! Hope is the rope that anchors you during times of storm. Hope tethers you to your goals, dreams and aspirations. It ties you to your promise. You can afford to leave some things in 2016, but you cannot forget to pack your hope!

It has become tradition to greet people in the early days of January with “Happy New Year”. While I certainly want you to be happy in 2017, I am convinced that our happiness is directly related to our “hopeyness”. In fact, hope is what helps us to stay happy. While happiness is based on the external; hope is built on the eternal. In the words of the famous hymn, “our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” When we hold on to the eternal hope, we will not succumb to the momentary fluctuations of happiness.

Hope brings stability. It keeps us focused and moving forward. When we have hope, we are convinced that somehow, some way, things will work together for our good. With that expectation in mind, we are not deterred by the momentary distractions. We keep pressing on the upward way. That is the call and charge for us in 2017. I do not merely want us to have a Happy New Year, but I want you and your family to have a “HOPE-Y New Year!”

As we enter into this HOPE-Y New Year, we anticipate a new year filled with new opportunities. One such new opportunity I would invite you to take advantage of is to partner with me and Donald Hilliard Ministries. Learn more at I also encourage you to download the Donald Hilliard Ministries app from The App Store or on Google Play. Let’s join together to make 2017 the “HOPIEST” New Year we’ve ever seen!

+Donald Hilliard, Jr., D. Min

Lift Every Voice…and Vote!

Over 100 years ago James Weldon Johnson challenged us as a people to “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. His poem, which was written in 1899, and later set to music has been dubbed “The Negro National Anthem”, and its words still ring true today.

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered.
We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

We have come too far and through too much to miss this moment in our history. As the nation prepares to elect its 45th president, this is the time for people of faith (particularly people of color) to lift our voice and be heard. We cannot afford to sit silently on the sidelines and watch progress be repealed. We cannot risk a return to the dark days of our past when America was “great” for some and filled with hate for others. We cannot allow hate to win out this Election Day.

We have prayed. We have protested. We have marched. Now we must vote. In the now immortal words of our 44th president, Barack Obama, “Don’t boo…vote!” Too many people fought and endured for our privilege to have our voices heard on the ballot. The ‘God of our weary years’ and ‘our silent tears’ has given us a voice. We must use it to vote.

For those who were considering staying home this Election Day and not letting your voice be heard, I leave you with the closing lines from James Weldon Johnson’s ode to Black America:

Lest, our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee,
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.

This is not the time to stray; this is the time to stay. This is not the time to forget the past; this is the time to forge forward to the future. This is not the time to fall; this is the time to stand – true to our God, and true to our native land.

Lift your voice…and vote!

Stop Waiting on the World to Change

Not even 24 hours after my last blog concerning the tragic killing of Alton Sterling in Louisiana, I find myself now penning additional sentiments for Philando Castile in Minnesota, and the 5 law enforcement officers in Dallas, whose lives have all ended tragically and senselessly. To echo the words of Dallas Police Chief Brown, “…This must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”

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Anger into Action

By now we have all seen the video and heard the most unfortunate and tragic news about Alton Sterling. This young African-American man and father was shot and killed by a Louisiana police officer while pinned down on the ground in front of a local convenience store where he sold CDs in the parking lot. This brutal act has all been captured on video and posted online for the world to see. 

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Stop the Funeral

Once again our nation and world have been rocked by news of another mass shooting. We are reeling from the horrors of another massacre that has been billed as the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States (although we know that hundreds of African-Americans were massacred in places like Tulsa and Rosewood in the early 20th century).

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Clergy Conversations

Pastors are great at talking. In fact, we talk for a living. One of the greatest pastoral privileges is the opportunity to stand on a stage and talk to people on behalf of God. Yes, talking is what we, as pastors, do, and most of us do it well. One area, however, where our communication skills are sadly lacking is in our ability to talk to other pastors – particularly of different generations. When I look over the landscape of ministry or tune in to the latest hashtag on social media, I see a great deal of preachers talking AT each other, but very few efforts to talk WITH each other.

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In Honor of My Mother

On this 28th day of February, I am proud to honor my late mother, Alease Elizabeth Crawford Hilliard Chapman. My mother was a GIFT! She was the heart and soul of our family, and my most loyal fan and supporter for my entire life. We were mother and son, but I became her protector and covering after my father died and she was widowed at 50 years of age. My mother is in the presence of our living Christ now. However, since I was a boy, I always made a big deal about my mother’s birthday – from the special stones I painted to the dandelions I picked. Of course, those gifts grew along with my age and my ability to be a greater blessing to her.

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