The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel

Denomination: United Church of Christ (UCC)
Organization: Victory for the World

The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel is pastor of Victory for the World Church (United Church of Christ) in Stone Mountain, GA.

He is a native of Darlington, South Carolina; one of four children born to Mr. & Mrs. Bessie and Albert Samuel, Sr. He has been the recipient of many scholastic and civic honors, including A Better Chance Scholarship, which allowed him to attend high school at the prestigious Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey.

He graduated in 1978 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History. He continued his academic pursuit by matriculating at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received the Benjamin E. Mays Theological Fellowship Award among others. In 1981, he received his Master of Divinity Degree. In 1996, he received the Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. His theological focus is in the field of homiletics and social ethics.

Dr. Samuel is an adjunct professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department at Clark Atlanta University, and has served as a Teaching Assistant in homiletics at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Dr. Samuel is the author of Solomon's Success: Four Essential Keys to Leadership.

Dr. Samuel was licensed as a Minister of the Gospel on his 23rd birthday, August 5, 1979, at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, under the pastorate of the Reverend Doctor Joseph L. Roberts, Jr., and Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. He was ordained in 1982.

His many community involvements have included service in the following civic organizations:

-The DeKalb County NAACP, Governor

-Appointment to the Georgia Council On Adult Literacy, Governor

-Appointment to the Georgia

-Commission For Service and Volunteerism

-The Citizens Panel Review Board of DeKalb Juvenile Court

-Volunteer Chaplain of the DeKalb County Jail

-A Southern Regional Chaplain of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

-Leadership Dekalb, trustee

Dr. Samuel and Victory are leading contributors to the United Negro College Fund, and Dr. Samuel leads the campaign for UNCF Church Contributions in metro Atlanta. Dr. Samuel is also a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Metro Atlanta. Dr. Samuel is politically active and has been elected as a Georgia delegate to the last four Democratic National Conventions.

In March of 1987, Dr. Samuel organized the Victory for the World Church which has dual standing as an independent Baptist Church, and an active congregation of the United Church of Christ. Situated in a growing eastern suburb of Atlanta called Stone Mountain, the Victory Church seeks to address the total needs of the total person through a broad array of ministries and services which promote the spiritual development, educational enhancement, physical fitness and social empowerment of every child of God regardless of race, gender, culture, class or sexual orientation. In 2002, Dr. Samuel and the Victory Church completed construction on a 3000 seat Worship Center, replete with classrooms, offices, a library, a bookstore, a recording studio and a 500 seat Fellowship Hall. In addition, the Kenneth L. Samuel (KLS) Community Life Center houses a full court gymnasium, additional classrooms, offices and a computer lab. The 25 acre Victory campus also houses the Victory Christian Academy which serves grades K3 through 4th grade, and the Victory Annex and trailers which are used for counseling and community outreach.

Dr. Samuel is married to the  former Ms. Sherry Nichols. They are the proud parents of one daughter, Kendalle Marye, and they reside in Lithonia, Georgia.

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel

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Love Supreme

Friday October 24, 2008
Dr. Samuel is pastor of Victory United Church of Christ in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

The God Who Leaves No One Behind

Friday October 24, 2008
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel is pastor of Victory for the World Church (United Church of Christ) in Stone Mountain, GA.

Jesus and Rejection

Friday October 24, 2008
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel is pastor of Victory for the World Church (United Church of Christ) in Stone Mountain, GA.

Articles by The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel

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Ken Samuel: In the Last Days

Friday October 24, 2008
Not all prophesies about the "End Time" are full of dread. Isaiah gives us a vision of the last days that actually gives us reason to rejoice about the changing times.

Kenneth Samuel: Almighty Purpose

Friday October 24, 2008
I can't speak for everyone, but I cannot imagine a greater living hell than that of going through life without a purpose.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Are You With Me?

Friday October 24, 2008
According to the gospel, Christ came not to bring peace (the absence of tension), but a sword (the presence of principled conflict). As a result, he made lots of enemies.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Jesus, Amazed!

Friday October 24, 2008
Have you ever wondered if the Amazing Grace could ever be amazed? What could possibly cause Emanuel, God with us, to ever be astounded, taken aback, startled or amazed?

Kenneth Samuel: Ownership

Friday October 24, 2008
In these days of economic stagnation, public school crises and health care debates, it is extremely difficult to find any person or entity willing to step up to the plate and take full ownership and responsibility.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Voyage to Intimacy

Friday October 24, 2008
It's easier to explore the unknown than it is to re-examine the inner dimensions of life toward which we have become so complacent.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Made in America?

Friday October 24, 2008
Is it just me, or does it seem that the outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs only becomes a prominent issue during elections?

Kenneth Samuel: Somebody Ought to Say Something

Friday October 24, 2008
In the midst of cascading deficits, constant debacles and continuous depressions, the Psalmist declares that there is Good News, which every believer in God ought to be talking about.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: A Knock at Midnight

Friday October 24, 2008
What strikes me the most about this parable in Luke 11:5-8 is the audacity of faith expressed by the man who has the nerve to knock on a neighbor's door at midnight – not because of a personal crisis, but to provide hospitality for a friend. Who does that?

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Moving the Heart of God

Friday October 24, 2008
I can't speak for everyone, but for most of my life I believed that the providential will of God was settled and fixed for eternity. I believed that there is absolutely nothing I could ever do to change or to move the heart of God.

Kenneth Samuel: Money and Value

Friday October 24, 2008
We don't often admit it, but how we spend our money says a lot about what we value in life. Cash transactions and credit card accounts do say something about character. Jesus puts it even more directly when he says that wherever our treasures are, our hearts are there also.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Born Yesterday

Friday October 24, 2008
Wisdom is usually regarded as a product of longevity and associated with old age and antiquity. But maybe the babies that were born yesterday have more to offer us than a sentimental sense of pristine innocence.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: We All Have Our Moments

Friday October 24, 2008
People who contend daily for the integrity of their faith understand, better than anyone else, that faith can never be completely separated from moments of deep, dark, desperate despair.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Not In My Lifetime

Friday October 24, 2008
I think every generation possesses a certain degree of self-indulgence. The Baby Boomers, of which I'm a part, have certainly reveled in our preoccupations with avant-garde fashion, sexual revolution, status-quo demonization, music protest and drug abuse. But when does one generation's present indulgence become the next generation's inherited curse?

Kenneth Samuel: When It Matters Most

Friday October 24, 2008
I wonder what kind of new life could be generated in the world if the church became a living testimony to the gospel truth that love given should never be governed by the expectations of love received. I wonder what relationships in my own life could be rescued from despair if I sought more earnestly to love others the way Christ loves me.

Kenneth Samuel: What a Reward!

Friday October 24, 2008
It has been said that we are not so much punished for our sins as we are punished by our sins.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Larger Than Life Visions

Friday October 24, 2008
In this devotional on Psalm 132, Dr. Ken Samuel writes, There is nothing as powerful as a passion or vision that inspires and drives our every waking moment. Life can be quite tedious and tasteless without someone or something to live for.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: A More Generous Generosity

Friday October 24, 2008
Most of us are accustomed to giving out of our abundance. We give away only what we can comfortably afford to give away. Yet, it's not the example of giving out of one's abundance, but giving out of one's own need that the Apostle Paul lifts up for Christian emulation.

Kenneth Samuel: Let's Start at the Beginning

Friday October 24, 2008
The New Year gives us an opportunity to do some things differently. The wise writer of Proverbs begins with one simple but often neglected insight: "The fear or the reverence of God is the beginning of knowledge." The wisdom here has to do with how we begin.

Kenneth Samuel: Waters of Affirmation

Friday October 24, 2008
To be baptized into our affirmation by God at the outset of a new year or a new initiative is a powerful thing. It lets the student know on the first day of class that she is already affirmed as competent and capable of academic excellence.

Kenneth Samuel: Got the Answer?

Friday October 24, 2008
According to Romans, the will of God is not determined by easy recitations and catechisms. The will of God must be proven. The will of God must be tried and tested. The will of God must be examined and discussed. The will of God must be discerned.

Kenneth Samuel: Perfection in Perspective

Friday October 24, 2008
There is a certain Don Quixote in each of us. Who among us isn't on a quest to preserve and prolong the best of our experiences? And are we not engaged in perpetual campaigns to discover, recover or maintain our imaginings of the "perfect" – be it in family, finance or social function?

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Dealing with Obstinacy

Friday October 24, 2008
One of the things I love about the Gospel of Christ is that it can never be compelled by force. The gospel can only be received by virtue of its ability to convince, convict and convert the hearts of free-thinking individuals. This makes the gospel compelling but never compulsory.

Kenneth Samuel: I Promise

Friday October 24, 2008
We all know that promises are only as good as the persons who make them, but there is another side to promise-keeping. Those to whom promises are made must keep faith in the promise as well.

Kenneth Samuel: Misleading Signs

Friday October 24, 2008
It's really up to each of us to work to ensure that the signs and symbols that announce us truly reflect the deeds and content that define us.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Free at Last

Friday October 24, 2008
It's one thing to be released from an abuse or an imprisonment; it's quite another thing to be free from it.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Show and Tell

Friday October 24, 2008
At a certain point in his life, the only thing that rivaled the popularity of Jesus and his message in the Jerusalem vicinity was a living manifestation of Jesus' power and a living illustration of Jesus' message. According to John's gospel, the power and the proclamation of Jesus were manifested and illustrated in the resurrection of Jesus' friend, Lazarus.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Facing Injustice

Friday October 24, 2008
Even in the celebration of our victories, there must be a sobering accountability for our ethical behavior. This is the reason why the injustices of the past are never really behind us.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: Pray for Peace

Friday October 24, 2008
Jerusalem is a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims around the globe. People in every corner of the world are deeply concerned and invested in the peace of Jerusalem. Some of them are religious; some of them are not.

Kenneth Samuel: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Friday October 24, 2008
In Zora Neale Hurston's moving novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the two main characters are trapped in a Florida monsoon. As blistering lightning flashes and ravaging waters rage all around them, they find themselves completely spent, completely exhausted and completely helpless. They can no longer see rhyme or reason. In the vortex of the terrible storm, their eyes were watching only God.

Kenneth Samuel: Dominion

Friday October 24, 2008
We often fail to appreciate that which God has given us dominion over. Psalm 8:3-6 sheds some light.

Kenneth Samuel: Don't Gather All the Grapes (Lev. 19:10)

Friday October 24, 2008
These days, there is a certain tyranny that accompanies utmost efficiency and accountability. When every single seat on every single flight is booked, those on standby are always left stranded. When every slice of bread is sold to those who can buy it, those who can't afford it are left wanting. When every minute of the day is planned and prescribed, there is no time for unexpected interventions of the Holy Spirit.

Kenneth Samuel: Omissions

Friday October 24, 2008
At an early age I was taught that there are sins of commission – the wrong that we do; and there are sins of omission – the good that we fail to do. In my life I've discovered that it's much easier to refrain from doing the wrong things than it is to commit to doing the right things.

Kenneth Samuel: Can You Remember?

Friday October 24, 2008
Standing on the plateaus of the status quo, we often fail to remember the struggles and the strife we endured to get there. This failure to remember is often the thing that disconnects us from the lives of others who are still struggling for inclusion and enfranchisement.

Kenneth Samuel: A Rock That Is Higher Than I

Friday October 24, 2008
We all know that the only way to get better at anything in life is to engage a challenge. Yet, when it comes to the contests of life that really matter, we often find ourselves clinging to the plateaus of our own abilities and accomplishments.

Kenneth Samuel: Excuse the Mess

Friday October 24, 2008
When democracy works right, it's messy. Justice always seems to travel down tumultuous roads of stops and starts; pain and progress; exhilaration and exasperation.

Kenneth Samuel: A River Runs Through It

Friday October 24, 2008
Our destinies are not so much determined by our anguish in the desert as they are by the renewal we experience down by the riverside.

Kenneth Samuel: Is There a Heart in the Treasury?

Friday October 24, 2008
The price of a thing does not necessarily reveal its value. But the things we value are things that we are willing to pay any price to attain and to maintain.

Kenneth Samuel: How Do You Know?

Friday October 24, 2008
Every now and then someone will ask me: 'How do you know that you've been called to be a minister of the gospel?' Sometimes I answer in the words of Howard Thurman: 'I learned to follow the grain in my own wood.'

Kenneth Samuel: Only One Vengeance

Friday October 24, 2008
People of faith are quite varied in our responses as to how the United States should respond to the atrocities of chemical weapons unleashed on the people of Syria, allegedly under the direction of President Bashad al-Assad.

Kenneth Samuel: Deep Devotion

Friday October 24, 2008
The Tyler Perry Studios are located about 15 miles from my church in metro-Atlanta. I know several people, including some church members who are or who have been employed at Tyler Perry Studios in various capacities””from actors to extras and technicians, etc. I've often said that if I could get Tyler Perry to tithe (10% of his income) to my church just one time, we'd have no more financial worries.

Kenneth Samuel: Somebody Ought to Say Something

Friday October 24, 2008
How many times in any given day are we assaulted by bad news? Seems like we can barely recover from one depressing declaration before we are confronted by another.

Kenneth Samuel: Principles and Practices

Friday October 24, 2008
'The Hunger Games' is one of the most captivating movies I've ever seen (and I'm anxiously anticipating the sequel). The great irony of the film is that in a society that is aesthetically beautiful, technologically advanced, highly sophisticated and socially proper, children are sacrificed for sport.

Kenneth Samuel: Family Reunion

Friday October 24, 2008
Ever notice how difficult it is to think about the seasons of Advent and Christmas without thinking about your family? Even if we are unable to or have no plans to be with family members during this special season, we still reminisce and often relish the ties that bind us to our families.

Kenneth Samuel: Greatness Lives Among Us

Friday October 24, 2008
The classic movie 'It's a Wonderful Life' is a modern parable about how we often fail to recognize and appreciate the awesome value of where we live and what we have and what we do.

Kenneth Samuel: The Planet In Praise

Friday October 24, 2008
Make no mistake about it, the entire earth is a declaration of God's awesome power to create and sustain life with wondrous beauty and fathomless splendor.

Kenneth Samuel: God Still Rules

Friday October 24, 2008
Rage and rulership are not often viewed as being very compatible. Raging situations can make us feel that no one is in control.

Kenneth Samuel: It's an Inside Job

Friday October 24, 2008
Aside from our religious affiliations and activities, what do our relationships with others reveal about our spiritual condition?

Kenneth Samuel: Envy

Friday October 24, 2008
I don't know about you, but I find the commandment that forbids covetousness to be the most challenging commandment of all.

Kenneth Samuel: Thinking about Direction

Friday October 24, 2008
When I stop being distracted enough to really think about where I'm going and the direction I'm travelling, I do much better. Life is more than a journey. Life is a journey in the right direction.

Kenneth Samuel: Older, and Sometimes Wiser

Friday October 24, 2008
So many of our hopes and dreams for the future are fastened upon the young. We look to youth and young ideas to lead us out of the quagmires of jaded routines and parochial paradigms.

Kenneth Samuel: Knowing and Understanding

Friday October 24, 2008
The disciples of Jesus had knowledge of Scriptures concerning the Messiah - the Promised One sent from God. But even with their knowledge, they had problems actually applying what they knew to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in real time.

Kenneth Samuel: Kindness

Friday October 24, 2008
One hot afternoon, three strangers stood near Abraham's tent. Abraham could have treated them as suspected enemies; he could have harassed them, shunned them or even tried to ignore them. Instead, Abraham opened his heart and his home to the three strangers - offering them water, food and refreshment.

Kenneth Samuel: The Long Way Around

Friday October 24, 2008
One of my seminary professors, Dr. Fred Craddock, used to tell us that the greatest distance in life is the distance between head and heart. There is indeed a great distance between what we know cognitively in our heads and what we know viscerally in our hearts. I think it's the basic difference between knowledge and instinct.

Kenneth Samuel: Justice and Equity

Friday October 24, 2008
One might think that the first order of business for a king would be to protect and preserve the class system of hierarchical nobility that supports his reign. But the reign of God is a reign that establishes equal value upon the life of every person.

Kenneth Samuel: After the Argument

Friday October 24, 2008
We all know that arguments can go too far at times, especially when both parties are passionately invested in their perspectives. But the intensity of an argument is not only fueled by how much we care about a particular perspective; it is also fueled by how much we care about the person with whom we are arguing.

Kenneth Samuel: Full Responsibility

Friday October 24, 2008
By now, I'm sure you've noticed that when things go well, people like to talk about what 'we did.' And when things go wrong, what 'we did' quickly becomes what 'you did' or what someone else did.

Kenneth Samuel: Think Like a Woman

Friday October 24, 2008
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is the title of Steve Harvey's best-selling romance guide. The book claims that if women are to get what they want from men, they must deal with men on men's terms.

Kenneth Samuel: Honoring Our Fore-Parents . . . And Remembering Their Sins

Friday October 24, 2008
There is a certain sacredness that some people attach to antiquity. Many believe that just about any kind of well-established historicity deserves to be recognized and respected by all.

Kenneth Samuel: Music and Misery

Friday October 24, 2008
Most psychotherapists and pastoral care advisors would agree that the most daunting aspect of counseling is getting persons to actually identify and name the source of their distresses. Uncovering the root causes of our emotional and psychological pain requires us to go places that we'd rather avoid and stay much longer than we usually intend.

Kenneth Samuel: Humanity Restored

Friday October 24, 2008
As I write this devotional I, along with millions of admirers around the globe, am moved by the announcement of the death of Robin Williams. Investigators have identified suicide as the probable cause of death.

Kenneth Samuel: Ready for Refinement

Friday October 24, 2008
This summer I had the privilege of visiting Mount Rushmore””the magnificent monument to American ideals etched into the stunning Black Hills of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore is as much a testimonial to human perseverance as it is a memorial to the four esteemed presidents it memorializes.

Kenneth Samuel: Making the Right Entrance

Friday October 24, 2008
The attitude or mindset with which we enter any conversation is crucial. To a great degree, the success of any contract or covenant is determined by the degree of openness to compromise and the degree of willingness to cooperate that we bring to these enterprises.

Kenneth Samuel: Specificity

Friday October 24, 2008
When the Apostle Paul stood before Felix, the Roman governor of ancient Palestine, he was accused of troublemaking and inciting riots among the Jewish people. In his defense, Paul argues that his beliefs and religious practices are very much in line with his accusers.

Kenneth Samuel: Somebody's Watching You

Friday October 24, 2008
I've heard it said that integrity is who we are when no one is watching. While I certainly concur with this statement, I also recognize that in a world of ubiquitous cameras, microphones and internet access, there is hardly a time or place when no one is watching.

Kenneth Samuel: Not Creeds But Deeds

Friday October 24, 2008
Have you noticed that the people who have the most to say about the orthodoxy or correctness of Christian doctrine are often not the people who actually do the work of Christ?

Kenneth Samuel: Keep Watching

Friday October 24, 2008
When I was in grade school, I could hardly wait to rush home after school to see the latest episode of 'Batman.' I'm talking the classic Batman played by Adam West, with Eartha Kitt as Catwoman.

Kenneth Samuel: Dominion

Friday October 24, 2008
I got my license to drive when I was seventeen. I couldn't wait to sit in the driver's seat, with no one in the car to nag me about speed limits and stop signs and yellow lights and passing pedestrians. I was interested in speed, and I thought that once I got my license, I would be in control. I considered driving to be a right, not a privilege.

Kenneth Samuel: They Were With Us the Whole Time

Friday October 24, 2008
The names of the twelve apostles of Christ are made known throughout the gospel narratives. Their actions, confessions, mistakes and interactions with Jesus are vividly portrayed. And yet, beside the notable names of the apostles we know, there were some others . . .not noted, but still present in the shadows.

Kenneth Samuel: Will You Join Me?

Friday October 24, 2008
Admiring people for what they do is one thing. Actually joining them is something else. The world is full of compliments. But very few (if any) who give the compliments will become comrades.

Kenneth Samuel: No, Not Alone

Friday October 24, 2008
The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others, followed by the non-indictment or acquittal of those who killed them, have unleashed a firestorm of protests throughout our nation.

Kenneth Samuel: Off to Great Places

Friday October 24, 2008
According to Dr. Suess, our journeys to exciting places and wondrous sites will inevitably lead us to the place of self-encounter.

Kenneth Samuel: Patience

Friday October 24, 2008
Patience. None of us really like it. It often has to be forced upon us while we seethe and simmer. Yet, consider the consequences of living with the lack of it.

Kenneth Samuel: Envy

Friday October 24, 2008
I don't know about you, but I find the commandment that forbids covetousness to be the most challenging commandment of all.

Kenneth Samuel: Good Morning

Friday October 24, 2008
I think I've been hearing the refrain of Psalm 30:5 all of my life. I've heard it proclaimed with powerful conviction from the pulpit and I've heard it beautifully intoned in the melodies of gospel songs and anthems.

Kenneth Samuel: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Friday October 24, 2008
On this Ash Wednesday we are mindful of the ashes from which we were created. With egos in check, we are keenly cognizant of our weaknesses and frailties. And we are humbly grateful for the wondrous mixture of dust and divinity that God has formed in each of us.

Kenneth Samuel: All Things Are Yours

Friday October 24, 2008
Our world is full of difficult choices - most of which are starkly presented to us as either/or choices. You know the drill: To choose one thing presumably means that we have to reject something else.

Kenneth Samuel: Can I Get a Witness?

Friday October 24, 2008
The narratives of the Bible take on texture, taste and smell when they intersect with our own narratives. The stories of God's interactions with the characters of the Bible become real for us when we see our experiences reflected in the text.

Kenneth Samuel: I'm Back!

Friday October 24, 2008
Some of us are old enough to remember the TV series, 'Dark Shadows.' I was most fascinated by the lead character, Barnabas Collins. No matter what was done to kill Barnabas Collins, he kept on coming back.

Kenneth Samuel: Another Question, Please!

Friday October 24, 2008
In various forms, the same question has reverberated throughout human history: Who will show us better times? Who will bring us the good that we seek? Who will deliver us into brighter days?

Kenneth Samuel: Like a Breath of Fresh Air

Friday October 24, 2008
The realm of God is often depicted as a lion and a lamb lying down together. In the dog eat dog world we live in, this image is so refreshingly different from what we're accustomed to that it startles our imagination and beckons the hope that lies still within us.

Kenneth Samuel: Persecution and Progress

Friday October 24, 2008
The church I serve is located in Stone Mountain, Georgia””one of the last places in which I thought I'd ever be found.

Kenneth Samuel: Sing a New Song

Friday October 24, 2008
As people of faith, we often look to the classic hymns and anthems of the Church to inform and enhance our worship celebrations. There is a certain 'blessed assurance' that embraces us when we sing the songs bequeathed to us by our fore-parents and fore-runners of the faith.

Dr. Kenneth Samuel: A 'Grown Folks' Conversation'

Friday October 24, 2008
The eleventh chapter of Deuteronomy is a grown folks’ conversation. It is addressed to those who had lived through Israel’s forty-year exodus out of Egypt and entrance into the Promised Land, when the children of Israel had seen the Lord do many great things.

Kenneth Samuel: Another Reason to Rejoice

Friday October 24, 2008
It's wonderful to see God's goodness manifested through the natural splendor of creation, and in the progressive courses of human history and even through the gradual maturity of our own personal development. But it's just as wonderful to see the goodness of God personified in the people with whom we live every day.

Kenneth Samuel: Just Checking

Friday October 24, 2008
In my early years of ministry, I thought that charisma and the 'charismata' (gifts of the Spirit) all operated through the spontaneous, unpredictable, unplanned movement of the Holy Spirit.

Kenneth Samuel: I Got the Message

Friday October 24, 2008
So many things can keep us distracted in church. The temperature is too hot or too cold. A child is playing under the pews or in the aisle. An insect is flying about. The cell phone won't stop vibrating and texts and pics won't stop coming.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Drawn Out to Draw Others

Friday October 24, 2008
Is there any connection between the debacles from which God saves us, and the duties to which God calls us? So often, the deliverance from tragedy and trouble in our lives ends only with relief; but that sense of relief is not always translated into a sense of responsibility.

Kenneth Samuel: A Rock That Is Higher Than I

Friday October 24, 2008
We all know that the only way to get better at anything in life is to engage a challenge. Yet, when it comes to the contests of life that really matter, we often find ourselves clinging to the plateaus of our own abilities and accomplishments.

Kenneth Samuel: All of My Needs, Already Supplied

Friday October 24, 2008
You've probably heard it said that you should never go to the grocery store when you're hungry, because if you do you'll end up buying a whole lot of things that look good to you, but that you really don't need.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Can I Live Here?

Friday October 24, 2008
Sacred sites are preserved and revered because they help us to feel closer to God, and yet the Psalmist informs us that we can be no closer to God than the values we uphold in our everyday lives.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Don't Gather All the Grapes

Friday October 24, 2008
In our concerns over balanced budgets and fiscal accountability, how well are we planning to accommodate those who just arrived in our midst; those, who for countless reasons didn't feel welcomed until very recently; or those whose names were for so long either omitted or deleted from the invitation list; or those who got lost and just made it in?

Kenneth L. Samuel: Is There a Heart in the Treasury?

Friday October 24, 2008
What we love says a lot about who we are. And since we usually spend our money on the things we love, our financial statements are really statements of self-disclosure. They reveal our true priorities, our true values and our true delights.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Care for the Incarcerated

Friday October 24, 2008
As many people know, the stigma and alienation of incarceration remains even after the prison sentence has been served. That's a particular concern for the U.S., which is only 5% of the world population, but harbors 25% of the world's prisoners.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Who Knows?

Friday October 24, 2008
So much of popular religion seems so formulaic. The most popular religions are the ones that promote a certain set of scriptures, messages, symbols, rules, codes and even 'secrets' as the key to unleashing the blessings of divine favor.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Our Dwelling Place

Friday October 24, 2008
I will never forget the last Sunday I worshipped as a member at the church I attended during the three years of my seminary education. The historic Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia, had become my home away from home, my refuge from the grind of academic rigor, and my place of safety amidst the hazards of theological deconstruction and reconstruction.

Kenneth Samuel: Back Home, but Not the Same

Friday October 24, 2008
After the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., the prophet, Ezekiel issued a clarion call for the return to Israel of the Jewish exiles, who had been captive in ancient Babylon for some 70 years. You can imagine the great anticipation and the great relief that consumed the Jews as they prepared to go back home after decades of displacement in foreign lands.

Kenneth Samuel: How Can I Forget?

Friday October 24, 2008
It is said that people often forget what you say to them, but people never forget how you make them feel. Words are powerfully impactful, but only inasmuch as they convey our deepest convictions, sentiments and devotions. Words are often forgotten, but the feelings they convey last a lifetime.

Kenneth Samuel: I Promise

Friday October 24, 2008
We all know that promises are only as good as the persons who make them, but there is another side to promise-keeping. Those to whom promises are made must keep faith in the promise as well.

Kenneth Samuel: Only the Pure in Heart

Friday October 24, 2008
I grew up in a church where it was of utmost importance to keep the differences between the sacred and the secular very clear.

Kenneth Samuel: Do You Really Have to Ask?

Friday October 24, 2008
Is it just me, or do you also find yourself irritated when people ask questions with apparently obvious answers?

Kenneth L. Samuel: Prison Perspectives

Friday October 24, 2008
A Prophet finds himself in the midst of Jewish exiles in ancient Babylon. In exile, the prophet sees vistas of angels and hears a voice of judgement that will immediately chastise and eventually restore his nation.

Kenneth Samuel: Made to Rest

Friday October 24, 2008
The image of the Energizer Bunny is cute when applied to batteries, but quite dangerous when applied to living creatures.

Kenneth L. Samuel: God Still Rules

Friday October 24, 2008
Rage and rulership are not often mentioned in the same sentence. Outrageous situations give us the sinking feeling that no one is in control.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Life and Liberty

Friday October 24, 2008
Our approach to the tomb of the one who took back all of his power by refusing to succumb to the forces of death and despair never really gets old. Confidence in God's desire to give life through death and life despite death is an assurance that we can never get enough of.

Kenneth L. Samuel: We All Have Our Moments

Friday October 24, 2008
I totally understand the push to live in the moment. To totally show up in real time is always needful. But at times, we've all been consumed by moments of anger, regret, sorrow and anguish. And sometimes these moments last for weeks, months and years.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Judgment

Friday October 24, 2008
I know it's not a very liberal or progressive notion. I know it doesn't jibe with the belief that all of our sins, evils and injustices are nullified by the grace and agape love of God. But I still can't bring myself to believe that a life dedicated to love and justice is essentially no different than a life fostered by bigotry and violence.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Medicine, but No Cure

Friday October 24, 2008
We have health facilities in just about every city. Why then are people still sick and suffering? Churches, synagogues, mosques and other faith communities are prevalent throughout most regions. Why then are so many living without hope and spiritual support?

Kenneth L. Samuel: "Climate Change"

Friday October 24, 2008
Saul never threw a stone at Stephen, but he gave consent to Stephen's murder by holding the coats of Stephen's assailants and by offering no conscientious objection.

Kenneth L. Samuel: The Wrong Kind of Fire

Friday October 24, 2008
In grade school I had a teacher who was so concerned with neatness and accuracy that she wouldn't allow the boys to enter her classroom without a shirt and tie and without having our shirts neatly tucked into our pants. And on more than a few occasions, she would glance at my written work and tell me to do it over because the margins weren't quite right.

Kenneth L. Samuel: God Without Godliness

Friday October 24, 2008
Unrealized potential is the ongoing lament of life. To die needing something that was within your grasp. To live under the weight of a problem that you could have developed the courage and the capacity to solve. To go through life without ever realizing who you were created to be.

Kenneth L. Samuel: The Works of Your Own Hands

Friday October 24, 2008
Is there a worse feeling than coming to despise that which was brought about by your own making?

Kenneth L. Samuel: Too Much of What We Want

Friday October 24, 2008
Upon their exodus out of Egyptian slavery, God instructed the Hebrews to abandon the idolatrous religious rituals practiced by their parents while they were in bondage, and to direct their devotions toward the One God who had heard their pleas and secured their liberation. But according to Ezekiel, the Hebrews clung to the idolatrous practices of their parents.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Refuge, Not Retreat

Friday October 24, 2008
'In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: Flee like a bird to your mountain... When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?' - Psalm 11:1,3 (NIV Excerpts) Almost daily now, our sensitivities and sensibilities are being assaulted with cascading reports of gun violence and human massacre, here and abroad.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Heights of Humility

Friday October 24, 2008
And God raised us up... and seated us in the heavenly realms... In order that in the coming ages God might show the incomparable riches of God's grace... - Ephesians 2:6-7 (Excerpts)

Kenneth L. Samuel: Trivia Take Over

Friday October 24, 2008
The Olympic Games this summer should have remained focused on the astounding performances of the athletes and on the resiliency of the country that struggled to overcome a host of odds to even host the Games. But for a disturbing period, the spotlight was stolen by the fabrications of one athlete who concocted trumped up charges against the Brazilian police.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Think Like a Woman

Friday October 24, 2008
'Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man' is the title of Steve Harvey's best-selling romance guide. The book purports that if women are to get what they want from men, they must deal with men on men's terms.

Kenneth L. Samuel: What's Your Story?

Friday October 24, 2008
I love story-telling. Especially group story-telling, when one person in the group begins a story and each person in the group continues the story based on the narrative of the previous story teller.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Belonging

Friday October 24, 2008
Who can bear going through life with no place to call home? Who can bear the status of being a permanent alien? Who can bear the agony of displacement perpetually?

Kenneth L. Samuel: What Are You Teaching Today?

Friday October 24, 2008
We all know that some of the greatest lessons in life are not given by those designated as teachers. The great lessons in life are not confined to classrooms and lecture halls. The Christians at Colossae, a city in S.W. Asia Minor, were admonished to teach one another in word and deed.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Affirmation

Friday October 24, 2008
According to Matthew's gospel, before Jesus performed any miracles . . . before he interceded on behalf of the weak and the afflicted . . . before he offered himself as a ransom for the sins of many . . . Jesus was affirmed by God.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Exposing Darkness

Friday October 24, 2008
According to philosopher Edmund Burke, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing. Corruption can only thrive in contexts of silent acquiescence.

Kenneth L. Samuel: 'Got Your ID?'

Friday October 24, 2008
Self-appointed messiahs are prevalent everywhere. The pressing questions are always 'Who's the imposter . . . and who's the fake?'

Kenneth L. Samuel: Made to Rest

Friday October 24, 2008
The image of the Energizer Bunny is cute when applied to batteries, but quite dangerous when applied to living creatures.

Kenneth L. Samuel: The Mercy Seat

Friday October 24, 2008
The disastrous events of 1 Chronicles 21 begin with an ill-fated decision by King David to take a census of the Israeli troops. God was displeased because Israel's strength was not in a number; it was in a name””the name of the Lord God.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Religion Without the Rules

Friday October 24, 2008
A consciousness and a community without the moral safeguards and guidelines of a clearly defined religious order frightened me. Much of my fear stemmed from a deep distrust of my own basic instincts.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Can You Stand Success?

Friday October 24, 2008
There is a certain discipline that guides us through our struggles in life. Disciplines of study mark the student in pursuit of a degree. Disciplines of romance and affection guide the paramour in pursuit of a partner. Disciplines of practice and performance direct the athlete in pursuit of a championship.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Facing Injustice

Friday October 24, 2008
Even as John reveals to us the Christ who is utterly victorious over death, hell and the grave, John will not allow us to deny the truth of Jesus' death nor to escape our responsibility for Jesus' suffering.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Making an Entrance

Friday October 24, 2008
Recently, I went to court to settle a landlord-tenant dispute. The judge referred the case to arbitration. I entered the arbitration room armed with details that supported my claim and pretty much convinced that a mutual settlement was not possible. The arbiter entered the room and stated that after reviewing the case, she believed that a mutual settlement could be reached. 'Yeah . . . right!' I thought to myself sarcastically.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Too Much of What We Want

Friday October 24, 2008
Upon their exodus out of Egyptian slavery, God instructed the Hebrews to abandon the worship of idols their parents engaged in while they were in bondage, and to direct their devotions toward the one God who had heard their pleas and secured their liberation. But according to Ezekiel, they clung to the idolatrous practices of their parents.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Light from the Least

Friday October 24, 2008
When thick, palpable, complete darkness descended upon the Egyptians, I wonder why none of them seemed to notice that the Children of Israel had light. Perhaps Egypt's plague of darkness was really a plague of arrogance - a stubborn refusal to look for light among the people to whom the Egyptians felt superior.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Somebody Say Something

Friday October 24, 2008
National Geographic reports that the world's newest religion is no religion. The 'nones' (the religiously non-affiliated) now make up almost a quarter of the U.S. population. In the past decade, U.S. nones have overtaken Catholics, mainline Protestants and all followers of non-Christian faiths.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Lord of Liberation

Friday October 24, 2008
Liberation Theology is a lens through which God is understood and related to as the Divine Being who sets us free from the sins of every kind of oppression. This understanding of God is especially vital to persons who have historically and systemically experienced bondage… even bondage that has been sanctioned by the church.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Possessing What's Ours

Friday October 24, 2008
I own a fairly modern MacBook Air PC, but I can hardly create a flyer, create a Power Point presentation, do a Podcast, or even execute a successful 'cut and paste' maneuver. And when it comes to the more intricate operations of downloading, uploading and providing links, I'm at a complete loss.

Kenneth L. Samuel: Blessed

Friday October 24, 2008
I am blessed to be in a natural wonder as I write this devotion. But as I enjoy its beauty, I am also mindful of the border disputes that currently engulf our country. Threats of deportation and the erection of a border wall seem so inconsistent with the vastness of space and hospitality displayed in this region.

Radio by The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel

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The Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel - Day1 Podcast Extra - 2006

Friday October 24, 2008
In this Day1 Podcast Extra, the Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel, pastor of Victory for the World Church (United Church of Christ) in Stone Mountain, Georgia, shares his personal insights and experiences of preaching at the 2006 Festival of Homiletics.