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U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black Chapel Service for CBN

See Barry Black leading Chapel at CBN. Read Transcript

United States Senate Chaplain Barry Black

is our featured guest today, and he comes to us

from nearly 30 years of service in the Navy.

As a two star Admiral he was the chief of all Navy chaplains,

the only African-American to do so.

His academic career-- it's simply too robust to list here,

but he earned master's degrees in divinity, counseling,

and management.

His doctorates, plural, were achieved

in ministry and psychology.

Chaplain Black became the 62nd US Senate Chaplain in 2003.

And he weekly serves as a pastor, a spiritual leader,

to 7,000 on Capitol Hill.

Seems like we could just pause here and pray awhile when you

think about that, doesn't it?

Recently his ministry at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast

drew bipartisan acclaim, and I'm sure you saw that.

And today he and his dear wife, Brenda,

have come to "The 700 Club" sharing wisdom

with Dr. Pat Robertson and through our other media


Chaplain Black's latest book is Nothing to Fear.

And that is just the way he lives it, nothing to fear.

He's familiar here at Regent University,

having preached here one day outdoors-- right down here--

until the heavens opened up, quite literally.


We want him and his dear Brenda to feel the love

that we all intend.

Let's welcome the US Senate Chaplain, Barry Black.


God bless you.

God bless you.

Thank you.

Praise the Lord.

Well anyone who preaches with such ineptitude

that the heavens weep we know you're

in for some trouble today.


Praise the Lord.

I'm going to ask my beautiful wife,

Brenda, if she will stand again so that folk can see you,



This is the kind of beautiful woman

you can get if you fast and pray.

This one-- can't just pray.

You got to fast and pray to get a woman like that.

Praise the Lord.

I want to talk about living for God's will.

And when I look out at this audience,

particularly when I see young people,

my heart is filled with such passion and love

because you are privileged to be the recipient

of a Christian education.

And I believe that God is preparing you

right now to provide prosperity to America.

He is equipping you to be leaders and counselors

at the highest level.

And so I am feeling you, literally feeling you,

and asking that the Holy Spirit would use me to say something

from my experience that will hopefully change

the trajectory of some life.

So that you can maximize the possibilities God

has placed in you and live, not for your desires,

but to literally--

this has been such an epiphany for me in my sojourn--

live for God's will.

Now I don't know about you--

I won't even ask for a show of hands, but--

has anyone here ever run from God?

You know, OK.

All right.

Well, as I've said in some of the interviews,

my mother became a Christian when she was pregnant with me.

And one of the Bible verses that was

used in the evangelistic meeting was about Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 1:5, while you were in your mother's womb,

I knew you and set you apart.

So as my mother, fourth grade education,

daughter of a South Carolina sharecropper,

was immersed in the watery grave of baptism--

as we would say in my tradition, in the watery grave of baptism,


she asked for a special anointing on her unborn child.

And she never told me this story until as a child,

I was showing special inclinations

toward the spiritual, which is not exactly

the norm in my family.

We do not have those natural proclivities.

But I would gather my older siblings--

I was number four--

together to play church.

I was, of course, always the preacher.

A monosyllabic message-- my favorite sermon was on sin.

It was called Dirt-- powerful word, by the way.

Dirt, dirt,dirt, dirt, dirt,dirt, dirt, dirt,

dirt was the beginning of it.

And they had to say amen, they had to lift holy hands.

They had-- you know, they would--

so I knew the call of God was on my life.

Now this may sound strange.

I used to hide in church.

We had a very large church, a sanctuary larger than this.

Hide in church until the janitor would leave and lock the door

because I actually felt, as a child, even in the dark,

more at home in the House of God than anywhere else.

I would kneel and pray, that was the way it was.

But every preacher I knew was po'.

I did not say poor.

They were po'.

They could not afford the O and the R. They were po', OK?


And used cars, beat up, the whole nine yards.

And you know, poverty is an acquired taste.

I said, the devil is a liar, if this is what being a preacher

is all about.

I'm headed for Tarshish.

I'm getting out of Dodge, OK?

All right.

In my freshman year at a Christian college

in Huntsville, Alabama, I changed my major five times.

Anything but go to Nineveh, all right.

I am not going to be--

I know what God is thinking-- didn't want when I was young--

not firemen, not policemen.

I knew there was not a rival in my affection for this.

And in my junior year I finally was--

as C.S. Lewis said-- one of the most reluctant converts.

I said, OK, God.

I will be a poor preacher.

I added the O and R by that time.

And I felt something in my spirit say,

who said anything about poor?

Now I did not know the journey that God

was going to take me over, but I knew that I

wanted to be in His will.

Because the will of God is not always happy-go-lucky,

you know.

It was the will of God that Paul and Silas

be in that jail at Philippi.

And that their praises would go up until the blessings of God

and the power of the anointing would come down,

and the warden would say, what must I do to be saved?

It was the will of God that Joseph would

get a free ticket to Egypt.

Remember that?

Those homicidal brothers of his?

Joseph looked like the beautiful Rachel,

and they looked like Leah, her cross-eyed sister.

And so here you got somebody-- you

know Joseph had it going on.

Genesis chapter 37-- no Genesis 39 I think it is-- says,

and Joseph was handsome and well built.

Now when the Holy Spirit gives you too much information,

you had me at handsome, OK?


What is the Holy Ghost saying?

Now Barry, I want you to read [INAUDIBLE].

"And Joseph was handsome."

And I said, OK Lord, now let's move--

no, no, no, I'm not finished yet.

"And he was well built."

And daddy's got the nerve to give him a coat of many colors?

I mean, you're going to give Denzel Armani?

I mean, what's going on here?


But it was the will of God.

Joseph said it was the will of God.

Genesis 50:20, you meant it for evil.

Oh, I feel something pushing me now.

Somebody better come get me, I'm trying to be dignified.

I know I'm the chaplain of the Senate.

Praise God.

You meant it for evil, but God.

I was in the circle of his will.

And God takes my stumbling blocks

and makes them stepping stones.

Oh yes he does.

So that a setback for someone in the circle of God's will,

is really set up for a comeback.

Oh, I feel the Lord in this place now.



Now we do not want--

let's be honest about it.

We do not always want to live in God's will.

One of the first reasons why we don't want to

is because of the 51st Psalm, we are born in sin and shapen how?

In iniquity.

I tell people I was a skillful liar

before I took a single lesson, never had a lesson.

I was good at it.

Once I mauled a coconut cake my mother

had prepared for my father and she--

there were five of us, so you don't know

who did it, praise the Lord.

And she called us in and lined us up.

And we knew what that meant.

For in my home judgment followed the evil deed,

as the shadow follows the substance.

And my mother said, Beverly, did you-- no ma'am, I didn't do it.

Gloria, did you do it?

No ma'am-- no.


Catherine, did you do it?


We go, no, no, no.

Barry, did you do it?

And of course I had spiritual proclivity--

the devil is a liar!


Skillful liar and never had a lesson.

So we are not naturally drawn to the will of God.

Plato described the human will as a charioteer

with two headstrong horses, each pulling

in the opposite direction.

The poet cried out, there's a little bit

of bad in the best of us and a little bit of good

in the worst of us.

So it behooves the best of us not

to talk about the rest of us.


And then there's a second reason why we don't

want to live for God's will.

And that is because we are too exterior focused.

Remember Samuel in 1 Samuel 16, going to the home of Jesse,

successor for King Saul.

Saul was probably about 6'10", 6"11".

The Bible says he was head and shoulders over all

of the people in Israel.

And when Eliab promenaded before the prophet

he said to himself, surely the Lord's anointed

is before me, let me get oil.

The Spirit of God said to the prophet, never mind

how he looks.

You folk who are courting, you better hear the preacher today.

Never mind how she looks.

Never mind how he looks.

The Lord sees not as human beings see.

We are exterior-- we are focused on the exterior.

God looks at the heart.

31St chapter of Proverb says, charm is deceitful

and beauty won't last.

Help us Jesus.

But a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

They get more beautiful as time goes

by with that interior beauty.

In fact, your redemptive possibilities

are actually in that which you do not see.

The things that you see are temporary.

The things that are unseen are eternal.

In fact, even Jacob discovered-- he

thought that Rachel was all of that and a bag of chips.

But he discovered his redemptive possibilities

in cross-eyed Leah.

You remember.

You got Beyonce and Shanaynay, OK?


All right.

That's what it says in the Aramaic.

You got to know these bibli--

Are you teaching them biblical languages?

You got to know the biblical languages, you see.

So you can't pull that out without the biblical languages,

praise God.

What he discovers in cross-eyed Leah--

Reuben-- Leah gives him Reuben, Levi, and Judah,

out of whom comes Moses, David, and Jesus Christ,

the Son of the living God.


You must learn, my friends.

You must learn to appreciate interior beauty.

Now, God may bless you like me and you get

the exterior and the interior.

Praise the Lord for that.


But major in interior and minor in exterior.

Can you get that?

Can you write that down?

You need to know that, all right.

And so, in the scripture that I've chosen, 1 Peter 4.

If we can get that up.

I hope we can get it up, otherwise

I'll have to pull out my smartphone.

1 Peter 4, beginning with verse 1.

There it is.

Oh, look at this.

I need to come here.

This is going to be my new church home, praise the Lord.


So then, since Christ suffered physical pain,

you and I must arm ourselves with the same attitude he had,

and be ready to suffer too.

I don't hear a lot of people volunteering to suffer.

For if you have suffered physically for Christ--

hear it-- you have finished with sin.

Now, we battle with sin.

But here, God is providing us with a strategy.

You won't spend-- this is key-- you

won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires.

That's what we do.

We chase our own desires.

Freud, ID, ego, super ego.

But you will be anxious to do the will of God.

God, am in your will?

You have had enough in the past of the evil things

that godless people enjoy.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Their immorality and lusts, their feasting and drunkenness.

And when I was coming up, you had

to work at getting into sin.

I mean, you really did.

And particularly at a Christian school,

you had to labor long and hard to find some transgression.

Now all you need is a smartphone.

Which will bring the most lurid pathology right up--

you are living in tough times, my friend.

Immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness,

and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols,

and we are still idolaters.

Of course, your former friends are

surprised when you no longer plunge

into the flood of wild and destructive things they do.

So they slander you.

So let me drop this on you and then I'm out of your way.

If you're going to live for God's will,

first, make Jesus your model in suffering.

Particularly, let me add something that.

Make Jesus your model in undeserved suffering.

I went to see The Passion of the Christ.

I must be honest, I thought it was over

after Pilate's beating.

I had to leave the theater.

I said, you've got to be kidding me.

Had a young man call me on Capitol Hill as I was preparing

this message-- you don't want to call a preacher when

he's written up--

he's preparing a message and is all in the Word of God--

Chaplain Black, something terrible has happened.

But I said, wait a minute.

Before you tell me what terrible has happened--

I'm all in 1 Peter.

I said, anybody driven nails in your hands lately?

Well, well, well, well, no sir.

Anybody place a crown of thorns on your head

lately until the herbal spikes were driven beneath the skin

and along the shell of your cranium?

He said, it's a bad time to be talking to you, isn't it?


Used to sing a hymn where I come from,

I've got a long way to go to be like my Lord.

Got a long way to go to be like Him.

I haven't been spat upon, ridiculed, wounded in my side.

Life's no bed of roses but still I

can't deny I've got a long way to go to be like the Lord.

Not that's first thing.

Make Jesus your model of undeserved suffering.

Matthew 16:24, if anyone would come after me,

let him/her deny--

I wonder, do we have biblically literate people here?

Deny self, take up--


--and follow me.

Second thing God told me to tell you is, suffer in your body.

Most of us in temptation, we really

don't know how to suffer in our body.

We haven't experienced any pain at all.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27, I keep my body under

and make it my slave.

Most of us are slaves to the body.

But when you living for God's will, you make your body slave.

You do what I tell you to do.

Lest that any time after I have preached to others.

I myself will be disqualified.

Are you doing that?

Do you have that kind of discipline?

In order to be in God's will-- my wife and I

were in St. Louis, and a friend of ours

took us out to this fancy schmancy restaurant, high up.

Look down and see the Arch.

And I was doing fine with my meal.

The devil is a liar.

Just looking into-- all this great food coming.

And then, finally they said, now, Dr. Black, we've

got to give you the dessert menu.

And something said, avoid that, Barry.

Don't even go near that.

You don't need to do that.

And I say, the devil is a liar.

I can-- No, no.

I'm not going to be intimidated by Satan.

I can at least look at the dessert menu.

Let him know, you talkin' to me?

You want some of me?

Greater is He who is in me?

I'm quoting scripture today.

Bring the dessert menu on in here.


You don't know-- no.

No, no sirree bob.

If you think you're going to intimidate me,

mighty man of God, 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate,

bring it on in here.

Brought it on in there and somebody said--

know my wife was there--

you got to try the Italian cream cake.

Chaplain, have you ever had the Italian cream cake?

No, as a matter of fact, I haven't, but--

Bring a couple of troughs of that Italian cream cake.

And bring in some--

a wheelbarrow worth of ice cream over here to the Chaplain

of the Senate.

Got bring the thing--

So I said, the devil is a liar, if he

thinks I can't take one fork of that cake.

Who am I?

I mean, you know-- let's be not righteous over--

you can find a scripture when you need it--

be not righteous over much, Praise the Lord.

I think that's in the Bible.

But anyhow-- I was quoting it in here, I know.

Must've got a nickel from it some time.

Here they bring it out and my wife will tell you--

she's here to testify--

I lifted holy hands.

That Italian cream cake was off the chain.

I think I got my prayer language at that meal.

Lord have mercy.

My God.

It wiped me out.

And then-- as the young people tell me when I'm counseling--

and then I don't know what happened.

I was gone.

Man down, man down.


You've got to suffer in the body, folks.


1 Corinthians 10:12, let those who think they stand

take heed lest they fall.

And the final thing God told me to you is focus--

could we get verse 3 of 1 Peter 4 back up there?

Because this is so critical.

But remember that they will happen--

nope, that's not what I'm looking for.

Go up another one.

Is it-- that's too far down.

Of course your former friends-- no, up again.

You have enough?

Up again.


You won't-- there it is.

There it is.

Please hear me.

You won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires

but you will be anxious.

Hallelujah To do the will of God wherever it takes you.

I'm so glad that even though I'm born

in sin, in shape, and iniquity.

Even though my natural proclivity is for evil.

Even though I'm exterior focused when I shouldn't be.

Even though there is a demonic element

that I have to deal with.

Ephesians 6:12, we wrestle not against flesh and blood.

I've got a champion who just loved to do the will of God.

He said in John 4:32, my food, my meat

is to do the will of Him who sent me.

And finish it, that's my food!

[INAUDIBLE] woman at the well.

You want something to eat?

No, no.

I'm full because of my encounter with the woman at the well.

He left the chants of cherubims and the songs of seraphims.

He left unpolluted breezes and undarkened days.

He left the Father's presence and a rainbow encircled throne,

in a land where night never comes,

to have a breakthrough at Bethlehem to do the Father's


The incarnation would be analogous to someone asking

you and me to become members of the canine family to save dogs.

The kenosis, he divested himself of the prerogatives of deity.

Omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresent.

Now I would have negotiated-- got to be honest with you.

OK, Father.

I'm ready-- I'm willing to go, but could I

please skip puberty?


I mean, let me start at 30.

Running start, that give me extra time-- no, no.

He starts as a baby to do the will of God.

Isaiah's sword, who hath believed our report

and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

If we grew up among us as a tender plant and a root out

of the dry ground.

Look at God's will.

Look at where God's will will take you.

He hath no-- this was not Denzel or Morris Chestnut.

He hath no form nor comeliness.

And when we shall see him, there is no beauty in him

that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected by humanity.

John 1:11 says, he came unto his own

and his own received him not.

And in the Garden of Gethsemane he looked into the cup.

Remember, he saw what would happen.

He was able to predict how many times Peter would deny him.

He said to Judas, what you got to do, do quickly.

He knew what would happen.

He looked into the cup and said to his Father,

regarding the will of God, you have got to be kidding me.

You have got to be kidding me.

Nails driven through my hands until my blood

gushes out like a ruptured water line?

You have got to be kidding me.

Abba, Daddy, if it's possible, I don't want to drink this cup.

Father, all things are possible to You.

Let this cup pass from me.

Nevertheless, I'm not living for me.

Oh, my Father, let Your will be done.

Our blessed Lord knew, they may take my life

but I choose how I will die.

I am the star of this drama.

This is my show.

Matthew 26, Peter, I'm in the will of God.

Put away your sword.

For do you not know that right now I

could speed dial heaven and my Abba,

my daddy, would send 72,000 angels--

that's what 12 legions are.

But if one angel can destroy 185,000 soldiers and Isaiah 37,

I'm glad--


Go ahead and drive the nails through my hands.

Laugh at me where you stand.

Go ahead, say I'm dead and gone.

While I'm in my father's will, you

will see that you are wrong because I'll rise again.


There is no power on earth can tie me down.

I'll rise again.

Death can't keep me in the ground.

Now, that passage talked about judgment and our accountability

to God in the judgment.

One of the most frightening passages of scripture to me

is Ecclesiastes 12, 13, and 14, let

us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.

Fear God-- that's reverential law--

and keep His commandments, for this

is the whole duty of humankind.

For God shall bring every work into judgment-- oh, oh oh,

here it is--

with every secret thing.

Everyone has a skeleton in the closet.

Truth of the matter is, some of us

have bodies in the closet on life support.

With every secret thing--

and then the Bible says, it is appointed unto

all wants to die, and after that the judgment--

but because my champion was in the will of God.

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God.

When God gets to the name of the 62nd Chaplain of the United

States Senate, and Barry Black's name comes up,

God is going to say, OK, we need Barry's record--

all I see, he was born in Bethlehem,

all wrapped in swaddling clothes.


He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan.

Oh, yeah.

Look, he did my will every day.

In fact his food was to do my will.

That's what the hymnist meant when he said, look upon Jesus.

Sinless is He.

Father impute his life unto me.

My life of scarlet.

My sin and woe covered--

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God--

covered with his life whiter than snow.

So when you live for God's will, you cry out,

have thine own way Lord.

Have thine own way.

You are the potter, I am the clay.

Mold me, make me after your will.

While I am waiting yield it and still have thine own way Lord.

Have thine own way.

Wounded and weary, help me, I pray.

Power or power, surely is thine as in thy presence.

Humbly, I bow.

Have thine own way, Lord.

Even if my crazy brothers sell me into Egypt.

Even if it means that being at a jail at Philippi.

Even if it means being single or divorced,

or a woman with an issue of blood.

Mold on-- hold on my being, absolute sway, filled with thy

spirit till all shall see.

Christ, King of kings, Lord of Lords,

heart-fixer, mind regulator, bridge over troubled waters.

Christ only, always, living in me.

I delight to do thy will.

Oh, my God.

Yea, thy law is within me.

God bless you and keep you, is my prayer.





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