Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Want Knowledge? Check out the book of Proverbs

The purpose of the book of Proverbs is: to teach people how to attain wisdom, discipline, and a prudent life, how to do what is right, just, and fair. In other words how to apply divine wisdom to daily life. The Key verse is "The fear of the Lord is the begnning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipine".

I will be sharing more thoughts on the book of Proverbs very soon--please check back

Monday, January 24, 2011

A New Heart

Once a week I help lead a substance abuse recovery class at the Allen County Jail in Fort Wayne Indiana. I told my student-inmates about my visit a few weeks ago to my cardiologist for my annual checkup. The doctor gave me an excellent report. He said that my heart was very healthy for a man my age. Of course he was only talking about my physical heart. But what about my spiritual heart?

My spiritual heart was at onetime in such bad shape that only God could heal it. But God chose not to rehabilitate my heart instead he created in me a "new heart" and a "new mind". He created in me the heart and mind of Jesus Christ. He gave me a heart and mind that will never die and one day He will give a body that will never die. For those reasons I am eternally grateful and will forever praise and thank Him.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why I wear the Kufi hat

Some folks are curious as to why I and the man shown in the picture wear those odd looking hats. This is a picture of the late Umaru Yar'Adua the former President of Nigeria wearing a crown style kufi. Yes that funny looking hat is called a "kufi". Let me tell you why men like me wear the kufi.

The history and tradition of African clothing is long and intriguing. One item that comes from this lasting culture is the kufi hat. The kufi hat comes from West Africa where men have worn it for years. In West Africa you often see older men wearing a kufi hat every day. It is worn by Christians, Muslims, and African Jews. Many grandfathers and other older men wear a kufi every day to symbolize their status as wise elders, religious people or family patriarchs.

I am like many men of African decent, who remember the struggles of the African in North, Central, and South America wear my kufi as a witness to those struggles. I wear my kufi not sign of protest but rather it is sign of peace and hope for liberation of all oppressed and impoverish people in the world.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Young Single Mothers In Need of Prayer

Jasmine and her baby daughter Leasia. Leasia is two months old. Also shown in the picture is her friend Talishia. I have known Jasmine since she was a little girl. I was her sponsor when she was baptized at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne Indiana. Jasmine is a single mother facing a number of challenges. She needs our prayers. She is unemployed and looking for a job. She is also looking for an apartment. Please pray that Jasmine finds employment and an apartment.

Talishia is in the tenth grade and she is expecting a baby in August. Please pray for Talishia.

I need your prayers. Please pray that God will show me how best to minister to these young women and the many others that I know.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Repent And Hear The Laughter Of Our Children Again

About two years ago Bethlehem School closed. Our leaders were saying that we are not closing; we are just consolidating with some other Lutheran schools. But members of our congregation knew the truth; we closed our school. The people in our neighborhood knew that we closed our school. One day in April 2009 while walking the halls of our empty school, I began to feel a deep sadness when I realized that the laughter of the school children was gone from our empty school building. I went straight home and wrote the article below and posted it on Facebook.

Will the laughter of children be heard at the Bethlehem School building again?
by Elvis Netterville on Monday, April 6, 2009 at 2:09am

Will the laughter of children be heard in the Bethlehem School building again? This is a question that many people of the Bethlehem congregation are asking themselves. The leaders say that there will be children in our building again. They say that we will reach out to the community and bring them in—but some of the members have serious doubts. These members believe that with the school closing and with our outreach track record there is little chance that the corridors of our school building will ever again echo the laughter and happy voices of our beautiful school children. There is a sadness that is growing in the hearts of many members. Is this really the end of Bethlehem Lutheran School they ask themselves. How could this be happing they wonder. Surely we could have done something to prevent this. What could we have changed that would have made a difference? The answer is we could have allowed God to change our hearths.

But what are we to do now? Well if you ask me and I very aware that nobody has ask me. I say that we need to start with repentance—we need to own up to the fact that we have not walked in the light that God has given each one of us. We can not claim that we did not know better—we must admit that we could have done better. We can cry out to God to create in us “new hearts”. New hearts that are humble and open to the changes that God is calling us to make. We can cry out to God to give “new hearts” that are driven by Kingdom values and Kingdom priorities instead of our cultural priorities and prejudices.

We can ask God to give us the ears, eyes and the heart of Jesus. Ears of Jesus so that we can hear the cries of those who are hurting in our neighborhood. Eyes that see those who are hurting. A compassionate heart that is moved to demonstrate the love of Jesus.

Will the laughter of children be heard in the Bethlehem School building again?

Yes I do believe that the laughter of children will be heard in our building again. I do believe that our neighborhood can be a neighborhood where children can run and play in safety and their grandparents can feel secure in their homes. I believe that Bethlehem can be a fountain of joy, peace and wisdom in this community. Yes I do believe!! Yes I do believe that if we confess our wrong doings and wrong attitudes and if we repent, God, who is always faithful, will keep His word when He promised “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Yes I do believe that we can hear laughter of generation after generation of children in our hallways if we confess our sins and repent.

God forgive us for we have done!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Indiana: Outreach becoming main focus

Leaders from the Indiana District met in Fort Wayne in October to exchange their views about the state of Lutheran congregational healthe and missional focus. The leaders represented Indianapolis, Gary and Fort Wayne--where decline in worship attendance and urban decay are common concerns.
To read more click on news at

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

God Wants To Give You Freedom and Life.

You got to change the way you think if you want the freedom and life that God wants give to you. This was my message to the inmates in my substance abuse recovery class at the Allen County Jail last night.

Norman Vincent Peale wrote "Change your thoughts and you change your world".

This is also a major theme in the Bible. This is what the scripture says "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." John was telling people that they had to go in a whole new direction in their thought life if they wanted the blessing of the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 3:1-3)

This was also the message of Jesus. The Bible tells us in Matthew 4:17 "From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near". Jesus is saying that a change in your thought life is possible and is absolutely required if you to become a part of God's family and kingdom.