Category Archives: SERMONS

INVENTING DARLA/”A Letter from Susan”

“A Letter from Susan”

Expressed through Darla Davenport-Powell—A Tribute

September 14, 2011

I can imagine Susan Lynne Majette writing this letter:

Hi Everybody!

I made it! I’m breathing on the other side, and I don’t need an oxygen tank. You can’t imagine the celebration that’s going on over here. There are no words to describe how awesome it is to wake up in the arms of God.

It’s better than Hampton’s Homecoming! The “welcome home” sign just blew me away. My Mom, Dad, Clarence Little, Felecia Kurtz-Gillis, Collins, Rodney, Van and so many others just surrounded me with the biggest group hug this side of heaven. They all asked about you and can’t wait to see you again. You know how much I loved Christ as my Lord and Savior. Well, for those of you who don’t know Him, get to know Him, ’cause you haven’t seen life, like life eternal. Don’t know how people live without Him; for it was only God who gave me the strength to live life victoriously on Earth…through all kinds of surgeries, financial challenges, disappointments, heartaches, trials and tribulations; it was His keeping power that gave me peace in the midst of the storm and joy in the midst of sorrow.

You know from Birth to Death, there is a dash. You write your own eulogy by the life you live. I’ve fought a good fight, I’ve finished my course and my question to you is: “How you living your dash?” There is no strife over here, no hatred, no jealousy and no bitterness. Just joy unspeakable! If you’re holding a grudge, or have something in your heart… anger, resentment towards anybody, FORGIVE; and do it today, while the blood is still running warm through your veins. You know it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have any instructions to leave; some call it a legacy…

To my Aunt Shirley, my Aunt Evelyn and cousin Helema: I leave you ever abiding love and hearts filled with peace. I know at times I was a handful, very picky, stubborn, bossy and set in my ways, but God gave me a family that loved me unconditionally. Lupus could not even beat our team! Hold onto the memories, the laughter and the love; and keep taking good care of each other like you took care of me.

To Angie, my Prayer Partner, Sister/Friend and Confidant: I leave you confidence in knowing that our friendship and spiritual connection will never end. There were many nights that I thought I wouldn’t make it to see the next day and you would call and we would pray, and it gave me what I needed to hold on a little while longer. We had some good times too! I am still laughing at some of the stuff that we’ve been through…you get a medal for patience. Your “calling” is clear, don’t run from it…

To my Pastor and Mentor Jan: I leave you with the blessed assurance that your work was not in vain. The respect that Ruth had for Naomi and Timothy for Paul, I had for you. Thank you for your example, for taking me under your wings as a Minister of the Gospel; for living the principles that you preach and for embracing and accepting me as one of your spiritual daughters.

To my Sorors: I leave you each other. Our sisterhood is a gift! Cherish it! Make time to fellowship more . . . there is something special that happens when we get together. Take those trips we talked about; there is no perfect time, so just do it. Charlma and I had planned a trip to Niagara Falls this fall. I didn’t get a chance to go, but you can; and if not there, somewhere.  Every opportunity you get, love and nurture each other.

To my Family, my Friends, to my Church, and my Community: I leave you a spot to fill. We serve God by serving others — for the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Find a cause greater than yourself and make the world better.

And finally, I leave my Doctors, Nurses, Caregivers, and Friends at the dialysis center, my thanks and appreciation for the good times and the challenging times we had, for I know that in the end, it all worked together for good. I leave my chair for the next person who comes in; remember to treat them with kindness, for that may be the only time in their day that they don’t feel alone.

Well, it’s time for me to go now. I know you are going to miss me telling you what to do . . . Well one last thing: Reality shines when we accept the things we cannot change, change those things we can, and in spite of everything we may go through, give God thanks for the journey.

Love you all,





INVENTING DARLA: A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste: A Letter to Derik III

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

Dear Derik III,

You will soon meet your first teachers. They are called, “parents.” From the moment you take your first breath as you enter this world, the education process begins. You will hear sentences, sounds, numbers and bible verses before you are able to form your first words.  At first it will all sound a bit strange but as the days go by, you will begin to mimic the things that you hear because of your natural desire for learning. You will amaze your parents with your intellectual curiosity, and fascinate them with your quick wit and innate gifts.

Your parents will have their hands full in finding schools that will challenge you to excel academically and spiritually. Your job is to always aim higher than your reach and to strive for excellence.

There are no excuses! Your education has been paid for by those who ‘sat in’ at lunchroom counters; by those who went to jail for justice; and by those who marched miles and miles for our freedom. I can hear them saying: “Get your education, no one can ever take that away from you!”

Derik, study to show thyself approved like the biblical Daniel and his teenage friends who developed their skills so well it landed them at the top of their class; “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better…” (Daniel 1:20)

Parents, grandparents, and the village, the Latin word for education is educare, “bring up,” which is related to educere “bring forth what is within.” Our job is to “lead out” what God has already placed in you, Derik III, leaning not to our own understanding but acknowledging Him as He directs our paths.

Derik, the world awaits your arrival with high expectations!

Much love!

Ms. Darla



It’s my Anniversary!

Thirty years ago ,my husband Wayne and I said, “I do” to God and each other and entered into a covenant, not a contract, to live out a marriage designed by God. Wow, little did we know that walking out our vows would be harder than climbing Mt. Everest or swimming the Nile. There were difficult days ahead.

How can two walk together except they agree?

Agree with whom, and agree on what? After the romantic phase was over, there were those power struggle years where it felt like we weren’t agreeing on anything. We didn’t even agree to disagree. One thing for sure that has kept us is our love for God and the desire to do “marriage” his way. He designed it so whenever there was a bump on our journey, we went to Him for answers.  The beautiful thing is that as our relationship with God grew deeper, our relationship with each other began to grow deeper? Why, because we were agreeing with His principles and serious about living them to bring Him glory. We learned early that our lives are not our own.

There is no seniority; always in the process of becoming…

Before we got married, my husband and I went to premarital counseling. After we were married, God always led us to marital enrichment groups, marital retreats, couples ministries, and discipleship classes, all designed to strengthen our relationship. It was there that we learned active listening skills, healthy communication techniques, the value of “leaving and cleaving” and so much more… Life’s a funny thing. Today, we are marriage counselors and facilitate premarital classes. We are still a work in progress.

What’s love got to do with it?

Marriage is that place where God finishes His perfect work. There are three phases: Romantic (That’s easy),  Power Struggle (That’s hard) and Mature Love (That’s mighty sweet!) To all my married folks, be patient with the process and hang on in there until you find the sweet honey in the Rock!  It’s work but it’s well worth it… What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

Darla Davenport-Powell
July 25, 2011

INVENTING DARLA/An invocation that continues the dream

SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ Drexel University held its inaugural commencement outside Philadelphia yesterday in a stellar ceremony that featured Darla Davenport Powell giving the commencement. We’d like to share her words!

My Mother’s favorite saying is: This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it; indeed, this is a great day. Psalm 118:24. Let us still ourselves in this moment… as we give thanks for this special occasion…a historic day in Sacramento…the first commencement of Drexel University outside of Philadelphia in the 120-year history of the University.

We have a lot to be thankful for…

Let us pray…

God we are grateful to be alive today…to witness, to participate and to celebrate our inaugural commencement. We are filled with appreciation for those who made this journey possible.

We give thanks to our grandparents, our parents, our spouses, our significant others, our children, family and friends who gave us the inspiration to “keep on keeping on” in spite of the challenges and in the midst of obstacles.

We give thanks for our late President Constantine Papadakis, ‘Taki’ for his vision, his wife Eliana, for her continued support of his vision and thanks to our administrators for carrying out that vision.

We are grateful for the Trustees, President John Fry and the alumni for their continued commitment and service to this outstanding University. We give thanks to our professors for their rich deposits, our guest lecturers and mentors; and the excellent staff that truly was the wind beneath our wings.

We are grateful for the soldiers who serve to protect our freedom and give thanks for their sacrifice.

Now God we ask your blessing on this ceremony, and on this graduating class. Guide us in our decisions and allow us to use what we’ve learned to make a difference in our communities, this nation and the world. Keeping in mind: “To whom much is given, much is required.”(Luke 12:48)…and in the words of Winston Churchill: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”


Darla Davenport-Powell, M.A., MSHE

INVENTING DARLA / I can do all things . . .

What do you do when the task before you is bigger than you?

I pray to somebody bigger than you and I, who reminds me in Philippians 4:13, that “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.”  I discovered early on that while man and woman can do many things, there are some things that only God can do.

My husband shared those words with our niece, Christen, who is on her way to Madrid, Spain to study at Syracuse this summer. He wanted to assure her that no matter what comes her way, there is strength available to her beyond her strength. God has promised to give us strength for the journey.

I shared those words with our youngest son, Nigel, who is on his way to school this morning and will start the day with a physical education challenge of 167 sit-ups. I reminded him that he had already been successful in his long-distance run and his push-ups and to say, like David when he was met with a giant-sized task, “I’ve already killed a lion; I’ve killed a bear. What is a 9-foot 6 uncircumcised giant? For, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.’ ”

I too, find myself faced with a task that’s bigger than me. I’ve been invited to speak at my home church on the topic, “Beauty for Ashes.”  The speaking part? No problem! But who among us is worthy to speak on God’s behalf?

I am reminded that those whom He called, He qualified. Like the prophet Isaiah, I will proclaim the good news for “the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; (Isaiah 61:1); and as I prepare for this God-sized task, I will pray and proceed, knowing that “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

Darla Davenport-Powell will speak at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1735 Enterprise Drive, Bldg. 3, Fairfield, CA 94533, at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, 2011. She appreciates your prayers in advance and your attendance, if possible. God bless you!

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