The Second City of Redemption

When Steven Malcolm was nine, his father was deported back to Jamaica. His mother turned to alcohol, and he gravitated toward the streets. But his search for identity would ultimately lead him to his heavenly Father.

His new album, The Second City, tells some of that story. His father’s hometown, Montego Bay, is often called ‘the second city’. But for him, the title also symbolises the second chance that comes with redemption.

At 18, Steven was studying Criminal Justice, and pursuing a basketball career. But when events in his life caused him to look in the mirror, he realised he was lost. ‘I found myself a young, talented kid, who was generally a good kid, but I didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do on this Earth. Everybody here in Grand Rapids kept telling me about this hip hop Church. Go check this place out! And I’m like nah, I’m not into the whole Church thing.’

It seemed like the opposite of the party life he was enjoying. But he had a basketball friend who’d given his life to Christ a year earlier. Having someone he knew well to go with inspired him to try it out. ‘I walked in there, and everything I was going through in that time, God became the answer to that. And the rest is history.’

‘I started leading worship at the hip hop Church,’ he said, ‘and then I felt this calling really to pursue it as a career. And so I diligently did that, and stewarded that to the best of my ability, and tried to be the hardest worker in the room, and got a record deal two years ago.’

Since then he’s produced two awesome albums, and made what might be Alex’s favourite song, Fuego. ‘It literally is fire!’’ she said.

Either we can hold onto that strength that is in God… & continue to praise… or give into it

He admitted it’s his favourite too. ‘When I press play at my shows, it goes crazy. So Fuego’s my baby.’

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing though. In his latest single, Even Louder, he says: ‘The harder my depression hits, the louder my praise gets.’ Through the hardships in his own life, he’s realised that the sin and brokenness in the world means all of us will go through experiences that leave us stressed, depressed or frightened.

‘We have two choices when we’re in that spot,’ he said. ‘Either we can hold onto that strength that is in God, that is in Christ, and continue to praise, and continue to pray, and to worship, and to fight through it, or give in to it, and crumble. And we can’t.’

That got him thinking about all the suffering Job endured. ‘And still he chose to not curse God. It’s like: the little I’m going through? Imagine if my whole family’s just died! So I want to be that person, who I can be down and out, and still lift up my voice, and say Christ is Lord.’

Steven is dedicated to serving the world with the gifts God gave him. It was partly losing his real father that helped him find his heavenly one. And that journey has taught him how important it is that those of us who know the Truth are outspoken about our faith.

That night he attended hip hop Church, looking for himself, he found someone else as well, someone who sacrificed his life for people he would never even meet. ‘I was like yo, there’s a Man who loved me so much, that lived a perfect life. There was no reason for Him to die. And He chose to take on that for me. The least I can do is tell the world about Him.’

Steven Malcolm’s new album, The Second City, is out now. If Alex had her way, Vision180 would just play Fuego 24/7 from now on. But our music director says we have to play some other stuff too! Still it’s always in the mix, so stay tuned!

Get Back Up: 2

‘Go out and stand before Me.’ 
1 Kings 19:11 NLT

Ok, so what do you do when, like Eeyore, your own personal grey cloud follows you around, raining gloom and doom down on your head? Well, let’s take a few tips from Elijah. When he’d reached his lowest point, God told him two things.

(1) ‘Go out and stand before Me on the mountain.’ God helped Elijah to stop thinking about himself and his problems and start thinking about Him. When God has your ear, He can speak into it. When He has your heart, He can minister to it. That’s why reading Scripture is so important. If life is dragging you down and you’re ready to stand back up, climb into God’s Word, claim His promises and ask for His help.

(2) ‘Anoint Elisha… to succeed you as prophet.’ (1 Kings 19:16 NIV) Take the focus off yourself and look for someone to minister to. There are many people also struggling with problems and worries. They need someone like you to come alongside them, and, if nothing else, let them know you can relate to how they feel. They need someone like you to encourage them. If you want to see the fog of discouragement lifted, stop looking in the mirror and start looking out the window.

The famous psychiatrist Karl Menninger was asked, ‘What would you advise a person to do who is experiencing depression and unhappiness?’ He replied, ‘Lock the door behind you. Go across the street. Find somebody who has a need and do something to help them.’

It’s so simple, yet we keep missing it! The truth is—by helping others you help yourself.

SoulFood: 1 Chr 6:1–7:19, John 8:21–30, Ps 86, Pro 25:8–12

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

1 Chronicles 6–7:19 ()

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6:1 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Eleazar fathered Phinehas, Phinehas fathered Abishua, Abishua fathered Bukki, Bukki fathered Uzzi, Uzzi fathered Zerahiah, Zerahiah fathered Meraioth, Meraioth fathered Amariah, Amariah fathered Ahitub, Ahitub fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Ahimaaz, Ahimaaz fathered Azariah, Azariah fathered Johanan, 10 and Johanan fathered Azariah (it was he who served as priest in the house that Solomon built in Jerusalem). 11 Azariah fathered Amariah, Amariah fathered Ahitub, 12 Ahitub fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Shallum, 13 Shallum fathered Hilkiah, Hilkiah fathered Azariah, 14 Azariah fathered Seraiah, Seraiah fathered Jehozadak; 15 and Jehozadak went into exile when the LORD sent Judah and Jerusalem into exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.

16 The sons of Levi: Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. 17 And these are the names of the sons of Gershom: Libni and Shimei. 18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. 19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of the Levites according to their fathers. 20 Of Gershom: Libni his son, Jahath his son, Zimmah his son, 21 Joah his son, Iddo his son, Zerah his son, Jeatherai his son. 22 The sons of Kohath: Amminadab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son, 23 Elkanah his son, Ebiasaph his son, Assir his son, 24 Tahath his son, Uriel his son, Uzziah his son, and Shaul his son. 25 The sons of Elkanah: Amasai and Ahimoth, 26 Elkanah his son, Zophai his son, Nahath his son, 27 Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son. 28 The sons of Samuel: Joel his firstborn, the second Abijah. 29 The sons of Merari: Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzzah his son, 30 Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, and Asaiah his son.

31 These are the men whom David put in charge of the service of song in the house of the LORD after the ark rested there. 32 They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting until Solomon built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they performed their service according to their order. 33 These are the men who served and their sons. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman the singer the son of Joel, son of Samuel, 34 son of Elkanah, son of Jeroham, son of Eliel, son of Toah, 35 son of Zuph, son of Elkanah, son of Mahath, son of Amasai, 36 son of Elkanah, son of Joel, son of Azariah, son of Zephaniah, 37 son of Tahath, son of Assir, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah, 38 son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, son of Israel; 39 and his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, namely, Asaph the son of Berechiah, son of Shimea, 40 son of Michael, son of Baaseiah, son of Malchijah, 41 son of Ethni, son of Zerah, son of Adaiah, 42 son of Ethan, son of Zimmah, son of Shimei, 43 son of Jahath, son of Gershom, son of Levi. 44 On the left hand were their brothers, the sons of Merari: Ethan the son of Kishi, son of Abdi, son of Malluch, 45 son of Hashabiah, son of Amaziah, son of Hilkiah, 46 son of Amzi, son of Bani, son of Shemer, 47 son of Mahli, son of Mushi, son of Merari, son of Levi. 48 And their brothers the Levites were appointed for all the service of the tabernacle of the house of God.

49 But Aaron and his sons made offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. 50 These are the sons of Aaron: Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son, 51 Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son, 52 Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son, 53 Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.

54 These are their dwelling places according to their settlements within their borders: to the sons of Aaron of the clans of Kohathites, for theirs was the first lot, 55 to them they gave Hebron in the land of Judah and its surrounding pasturelands, 56 but the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh. 57 To the sons of Aaron they gave the cities of refuge: Hebron, Libnah with its pasturelands, Jattir, Eshtemoa with its pasturelands, 58 Hilen with its pasturelands, Debir with its pasturelands, 59 Ashan with its pasturelands, and Beth-shemesh with its pasturelands; 60 and from the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon, Geba with its pasturelands, Alemeth with its pasturelands, and Anathoth with its pasturelands. All their cities throughout their clans were thirteen.

61 To the rest of the Kohathites were given by lot out of the clan of the tribe, out of the half-tribe, the half of Manasseh, ten cities. 62 To the Gershomites according to their clans were allotted thirteen cities out of the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Manasseh in Bashan. 63 To the Merarites according to their clans were allotted twelve cities out of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun. 64 So the people of Israel gave the Levites the cities with their pasturelands. 65 They gave by lot out of the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin these cities that are mentioned by name.

66 And some of the clans of the sons of Kohath had cities of their territory out of the tribe of Ephraim. 67 They were given the cities of refuge: Shechem with its pasturelands in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer with its pasturelands, 68 Jokmeam with its pasturelands, Beth-horon with its pasturelands, 69 Aijalon with its pasturelands, Gath-rimmon with its pasturelands, 70 and out of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Aner with its pasturelands, and Bileam with its pasturelands, for the rest of the clans of the Kohathites.

71 To the Gershomites were given out of the clan of the half-tribe of Manasseh: Golan in Bashan with its pasturelands and Ashtaroth with its pasturelands; 72 and out of the tribe of Issachar: Kedesh with its pasturelands, Daberath with its pasturelands, 73 Ramoth with its pasturelands, and Anem with its pasturelands; 74 out of the tribe of Asher: Mashal with its pasturelands, Abdon with its pasturelands, 75 Hukok with its pasturelands, and Rehob with its pasturelands; 76 and out of the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee with its pasturelands, Hammon with its pasturelands, and Kiriathaim with its pasturelands. 77 To the rest of the Merarites were allotted out of the tribe of Zebulun: Rimmono with its pasturelands, Tabor with its pasturelands, 78 and beyond the Jordan at Jericho, on the east side of the Jordan, out of the tribe of Reuben: Bezer in the wilderness with its pasturelands, Jahzah with its pasturelands, 79 Kedemoth with its pasturelands, and Mephaath with its pasturelands; 80 and out of the tribe of Gad: Ramoth in Gilead with its pasturelands, Mahanaim with its pasturelands, 81 Heshbon with its pasturelands, and Jazer with its pasturelands.

7:1 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four. The sons of Tola: Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their fathers' houses, namely of Tola, mighty warriors of their generations, their number in the days of David being 22,600. The son of Uzzi: Izrahiah. And the sons of Izrahiah: Michael, Obadiah, Joel, and Isshiah, all five of them were chief men. And along with them, by their generations, according to their fathers' houses, were units of the army for war, 36,000, for they had many wives and sons. Their kinsmen belonging to all the clans of Issachar were in all 87,000 mighty warriors, enrolled by genealogy.

The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, and Jediael, three. The sons of Bela: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth, and Iri, five, heads of fathers' houses, mighty warriors. And their enrollment by genealogies was 22,034. The sons of Becher: Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, and Alemeth. All these were the sons of Becher. And their enrollment by genealogies, according to their generations, as heads of their fathers' houses, mighty warriors, was 20,200. 10 The son of Jediael: Bilhan. And the sons of Bilhan: Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish, and Ahishahar. 11 All these were the sons of Jediael according to the heads of their fathers' houses, mighty warriors, 17,200, able to go to war. 12 And Shuppim and Huppim were the sons of Ir, Hushim the son of Aher.

13 The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shallum, the descendants of Bilhah.

14 The sons of Manasseh: Asriel, whom his Aramean concubine bore; she bore Machir the father of Gilead. 15 And Machir took a wife for Huppim and for Shuppim. The name of his sister was Maacah. And the name of the second was Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had daughters. 16 And Maacah the wife of Machir bore a son, and she called his name Peresh; and the name of his brother was Sheresh; and his sons were Ulam and Rakem. 17 The son of Ulam: Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead the son of Machir, son of Manasseh. 18 And his sister Hammolecheth bore Ishhod, Abiezer, and Mahlah. 19 The sons of Shemida were Ahian, Shechem, Likhi, and Aniam.

John 8:21–30 ()

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21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

Psalm 86 ()

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A Prayer of David.

86:1   Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
  Preserve my life, for I am godly;
    save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
  Be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all the day.
  Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
  Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
  In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    for you answer me.
  There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
  All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10   For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11   Teach me your way, O LORD,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12   I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13   For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14   O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
    a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
    and they do not set you before them.
15   But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16   Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant,
    and save the son of your maidservant.
17   Show me a sign of your favor,
    that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
    because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Proverbs 25:8–12 ()

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    do not hastily bring into court,
  for what will you do in the end,
    when your neighbor puts you to shame?
  Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
    and do not reveal another's secret,
10   lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
    and your ill repute have no end.
11   A word fitly spoken
    is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
12   Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
    is a wise reprover to a listening ear.

Sat 02 November, 2019


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