Urban Report

Foundation of Our Faith

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Yvonne Lewis (Host), Ezra Bates, Timothy Nixon


Series Code: UBR

Program Code: UBR000091S

00:01 Dare to Dream has a new series: Foundation of our Faith.
00:04 Stay tuned to meet the speaker and the musical evangelist
00:08 that are launching it. My name is Yvonne Lewis
00:11 and you're watching Urban Report.
00:34 Hello and welcome to Urban Report.
00:36 My guests today are Dr. Timothy Nixon
00:39 and Brian Ezra Bates.
00:41 I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Nixon
00:44 and Brian on the set of Foundation of our Faith:
00:47 Dare to Dream's new series.
00:50 I first talked to Dr. Timothy Nixon,
00:53 who by the way is an old family friend...
00:56 like a cousin to me.
00:58 He grew up in the inner city and we went to the same church.
01:02 Our parents were friends.
01:04 I was close to his family.
01:05 So it was really a blessing to bring him here
01:09 and to have him as our first speaker. Take a look.
01:15 As you know, I love to be on the set
01:19 of a new program for Dare to Dream
01:22 with the speaker or the host. It is such a blessing for me.
01:26 And tonight I am thrilled to be here
01:30 with my friend, my family... I call him my cousin...
01:34 Dr. Timothy Nixon, who is the associate chaplain
01:38 at Andrews University. Thank you so much.
01:41 Thank you. May I call you Tim? Yes you may. OK.
01:45 Tim, you are just such a blessed speaker.
01:51 And one of the things that I notice is that
01:55 you have a passion when you speak.
01:58 You are fervent about what you're talking about...
02:03 about your topic. Where do you think that comes from?
02:06 That passion, that fervency for the Word?
02:11 Where do you think that comes from?
02:14 Boy... wow!
02:20 I just believe that there's such an urgency all the time.
02:26 Especially now.
02:32 You just never know whoever's listening to you
02:38 whether or not this might be the last time they hear a sermon.
02:42 Mmmm. And so
02:47 I really always feel that sense of urgency,
02:51 and I feel that especially believing
02:57 that God has given me something to say.
02:59 That it must be for someone who is there to hear the sermon.
03:04 Wow! That is so true.
03:05 This time... at this time in earth's history
03:10 we have to hear... people have to hear this message
03:14 because it could be the last time. That's right.
03:16 You grew up in the inner city... in Brooklyn.
03:20 That's right. Tell me about growing up in the inner city
03:24 'cause you are like a poster guy for Dare to Dream.
03:28 You know, you grew up in the inner city
03:30 and God has blessed you to just accomplish so many things.
03:33 And we praise Him for that.
03:35 Tell us about your background.
03:37 Well, I grew up in Brooklyn.
03:40 Bedford-Stuyvesant.
03:43 And you know thinking about those days growing up in the
03:47 1960's through the riots of the 60's.
03:51 Through the civil rights struggles.
03:53 Through so many things.
03:58 To just think of living through that
04:02 is just an amazing thing to think about.
04:05 And what brought me through that was family
04:08 and the church.
04:10 Those are the two things that I firmly believe
04:14 brought me through that.
04:15 You know, it's interesting that you would say that
04:17 because you were raised in a two-parent household.
04:22 I know... I knew your parents and they were like my aunt
04:28 and uncle. So how do you think
04:33 your upbringing gave you an advantage
04:38 over some of the boys that didn't have what you had?
04:44 It's invaluable. Ummm.
04:47 Just to... I often tell people that
04:52 there was never a thought in my mind
04:57 that my parents would ever divorce. Hmmm.
05:00 So to grow up never even thinking
05:05 that that would happen just takes such a burden
05:11 from you emotionally
05:14 and in every other way.
05:16 And to think that there are young people
05:19 who grow up having to deal with that kind of burden.
05:23 You know, I see them now... Being a chaplain
05:26 you see all kinds of young people who come to the campus
05:29 who come to school, you know, with varying kinds of
05:33 situations that they come with
05:34 and the various baggage that they come with.
05:36 And it's really amazing the kinds of things
05:39 that young people have to deal with and struggle through.
05:45 And to see them persevere
05:48 is really quite an amazing thing.
05:51 And it's so different, isn't it, from when we were kids.
05:54 I mean I know I'm older than you.
05:56 And you don't have to remind me of that.
05:58 Yes... just a little older.
06:02 But you know when we were coming up
06:05 we didn't have some of the same challenges
06:07 that we have now... that these kids have now.
06:10 Not at all. And so I know you see it first hand.
06:12 Can you give us an example of some student that you
06:17 have - without naming any names - but a challenge
06:19 that is different with a student that you have now
06:23 versus when you were coming up.
06:25 Well... I mean there are students who come
06:29 to our campus who are actually the glue
06:35 that holds their families together.
06:37 How so?
06:38 Financially. There have been situations where...
06:43 where we find out that there are students who are taking out
06:45 student loans to really support their families.
06:51 And it's really a tragic thing to find out.
06:56 You have those kinds of situations happening.
06:59 And it's really hard to fathom that this young adult
07:05 is carrying that kind of burden for their families
07:08 along with trying to get through college.
07:13 So it's really very challenging today
07:18 for some of the young adults. And of course,
07:20 you know, there are others who are really thriving
07:24 and who come from very strong families and strong backgrounds.
07:26 But you have those cases as well.
07:29 Yes, yes. You were in New York City
07:32 last year. What were you doing in New York City
07:35 evangelistically?
07:36 I was a speaker for one of the NY13 meetings
07:40 this past summer in Brooklyn. Back in Brooklyn. OK, OK.
07:44 At the Bushwick. OK. And it was really a...
07:49 It was an amazing thing to be back in Brooklyn
07:52 and to be in Brooklyn for an extended period of time.
07:55 I had been back before, but just a weekend here and there.
07:59 Right. But to be there for four weeks
08:02 and to really be back in Brooklyn and to
08:05 travel around and to get a feel for the city again
08:10 and to see how drastically it has changed was just amazing.
08:14 I was just going to ask you: how has it changed?
08:16 How is it the same and how is it changed?
08:19 It has... the demographic has changed tremendously.
08:25 The neighborhoods have changed tremendously.
08:29 It's just a completely different mix now.
08:35 And you would not recognize downtown Brooklyn
08:39 from the days when I grew up there and what it is today.
08:43 And it just reminded me how we have to think differently
08:49 about how to minister to the city
08:53 and how to reach people in cities today.
08:58 'Cause there are unique challenges, are there not?
09:01 I mean, unique challenges to inner city residents
09:05 that perhaps suburban people don't encounter.
09:10 For example, the gangs.
09:13 You know, you don't have a lot of gangs in the suburbs
09:17 but you do have the Bloods and the Crips
09:20 and all that in the inner cities.
09:22 And so what we're finding with the inner cities
09:25 is... the absentee fathers.
09:29 The mothers raising boys
09:33 without the fathers. I mean, this is happening in the suburbs
09:35 but it's happening a lot in the inner cities.
09:38 And so we have some really unique challenges.
09:43 Mass incarceration and all of these things.
09:46 So it's like... To me, you know, growing up...
09:50 I didn't grow up in Brooklyn but I went to church in Brooklyn
09:54 and my dad was your principal.
09:56 That's right. By the way, let me just ask you this:
09:58 did you get the wire like Pastor Lomacang?
10:00 Did you get the wire? Everybody got the wire.
10:05 Your father should be very lucky that he's not a principal
10:10 these days... he'd be in jail.
10:12 We won't talk about that.
10:15 But look how you turned out. Well, yes.
10:17 And look how Pastor Lomacang turned out. That's true,
10:20 that's true. We know you guys got a little spankings, but
10:22 you know... Well, I wouldn't call them little spankings.
10:25 But we won't talk about that.
10:28 You are here for Foundation of our Faith,
10:32 and you are our first speaker for this whole series.
10:35 Yes. Tell us a little bit about what you're going to be doing
10:39 with this series.
10:41 I'm going to be dealing with relationships
10:43 because I think that it's one of the most important
10:48 issues for us to deal with and talk about.
10:53 I think it's one of the biggest challenges in our community
10:57 today. Young people, young adults
11:01 and older people
11:06 have some of the greatest challenges as it relates to
11:09 relationships. Male, female, and marital relationships.
11:13 The home is at the center of our communities.
11:18 And so I felt it would be good to deal with
11:23 those issues. To talk about men in relationships,
11:26 women in relationships, marriage, and then the family.
11:29 And so I wanted to focus on that
11:31 and just spend some time talking about some real issues.
11:35 Some adult issues. We don't talk about adult issues in the
11:38 church - mmmm - and so I wanted to really spend some time
11:42 talking about some serious adult issues
11:44 in the church as opposed to letting everybody else
11:47 talk about it. I think that's so important
11:49 because there's so many things that sometimes we just tend to
11:53 sweep under the rug or we just don't deal with at all
11:56 because we don't feel that they're necessarily appropriate.
11:58 But they are. If we don't talk about them in church,
12:01 where are we going to really give a spiritual perspective
12:05 on those issues? So I think that
12:08 the whole relationship emphasis is critical.
12:13 Because again you know that, within American society
12:18 anyway, we have the erosion of the family...
12:21 and particularly in black communities we have the erosion
12:23 of the family... so we really need what you're bringing.
12:27 Thank you so very much for what you're doing for us.
12:31 And I want you to know, viewers, that these messages
12:36 are so God-sent. I know you're going to be blessed
12:40 by Dr. Timothy Nixon.
12:42 Thank you so much for being with us.
12:45 Thank you for having me. God bless.
12:49 It was so great to talk to Dr. Nixon
12:52 and to just see where he's come.
12:55 God has brought him a mighty long way.
12:58 Next I sat and talked to Brian Ezra Bates
13:01 and I was so impressed with his transparency.
13:05 He really opened up and shared some personal information.
13:09 One of the things that blesses me so much
13:12 about our speaker and our musician
13:16 is that they've been on the spiritual path.
13:19 And you can see. You'll be able to see with Brian
13:22 how God has just led him so far.
13:26 I'm sure it's going to bless you. It certainly blessed me.
13:29 Let's check it out.
13:32 Join me in welcoming Brian Ezra Bates
13:36 to the Foundation of our Faith set and Urban Report.
13:40 How are you? Hello! I'm great, thank you.
13:42 It's so great to have you. You are our musical evangelist
13:47 for this set of Foundation of our Faith - yes -
13:51 and we are just being blessed by your music.
13:56 Well it's a true blessing to be here. Well praise the Lord!
13:59 Tell me... Let's hear a little bit about your background.
14:03 Where'd you come from? Well, I was born in Jackson, MS.
14:08 I grew up some in Atlanta, Georgia.
14:11 And I moved to Huntsville, Alabama, when I was a senior
14:15 in high school. And I just recently moved from there
14:18 about a year and a half ago to another little city in Georgia
14:23 next to Chattanooga, TN. Oh wow, wow.
14:26 And are you in music ministry full time? 'Cause you certainly
14:29 have the gift. No, no. Full time I'm a drug and alcohol
14:34 counselor full time. How did you go there?
14:37 How did you get to be that?
14:39 Well I have a real passion for addiction -
14:43 all types of addiction - because of my family background
14:46 and my own personal history with it.
14:49 Tell us about that.
14:50 Well I grew up in a family of mostly men...
14:54 with my dad's family. And every man in my family
14:59 including my dad, his brothers, my uncles,
15:02 his uncles, his father even
15:05 suffered from some type of addiction.
15:10 His father died when he was six
15:12 of cirrhosis of the liver.
15:15 He drank himself to death.
15:17 Now this is your grandfather?
15:19 This is my grandfather who I never met
15:20 because of his alcoholism.
15:22 I have uncles who were raising alcoholics.
15:26 My father was an alcoholic, a drug addict, sex addict...
15:31 and his brothers were the same.
15:33 And so addiction just runs rampant through the men
15:37 in my family. And so once I had my own personal struggle
15:42 with it I had to really depend on God to change some things
15:48 in my life. And once He did
15:50 I was able to understand some of the things that He
15:53 did those things for. And part of the reason was
15:55 because of my own personal testimony that He had given me
15:58 and the responsibility to share that.
16:01 How did? Let's unpack that a little bit.
16:05 How did you fall into it as well?
16:09 Well my uncle actually introduced me to some things.
16:13 Was he a young uncle?
16:15 Well at the time he was younger but he was older than me.
16:18 He was my dad's age, but at the time he was a younger man,
16:22 of course. And he introduced me to pornography
16:25 at a very early age. I was very intrigued by it.
16:30 Of course. I was a young boy but definitely too young
16:34 to be exposed to that type of thing. No man should be,
16:37 but I was very young.
16:39 And I had an empty place in my spirit because I never
16:44 really had a connection with my father.
16:46 I never really felt like he liked me when I was a kid
16:49 growing up. I would do things for him, but he just never
16:52 really seemed interested. And so I already had a hole there.
16:55 And so my uncle introduced me to something that I could
16:58 actually fill that hole with for a very long time in my life.
17:00 And so I started very early
17:03 delving into pornography and all of such things.
17:08 And I took it into a marriage that I ultimately lost.
17:12 And, you know, it ran rampant through my life as well.
17:16 It's amazing, isn't it Brian? how... On Urban Report
17:20 I always talk about God's plan.
17:24 And God has a plan for each person and so does Satan.
17:29 Yes. And Satan's plan is to ultimately destroy you. Yes.
17:35 And God's plan is to prosper you - yes -
17:38 and to give you a future and a hope. Correct.
17:41 And some times families just get caught up...
17:44 families, generations. Um-hmm. You know, there are generations
17:48 of issues. Yes. And so what you're telling us
17:51 is that you had generational issues
17:55 with addiction... whether it was pornography or substance abuse
18:00 or whatever. Right, right. And that is part of what
18:05 Satan's plan was for you. Right.
18:08 Where was your mom in all this?
18:09 Were you raised by your mom at all? Yeah, my poor mom.
18:12 She was kind of helpless to the whole thing.
18:16 She married this man who was a great man.
18:18 My father was a great man but he had these vices
18:22 that ultimately destroyed their marriage.
18:25 And so I grew up in several kinds of homes.
18:27 I grew up in a loving home with my mom and dad at first.
18:32 And then all of a sudden tumultuously thrown into
18:35 a single-parent home where... I stayed with my mom, of course.
18:39 And then I moved with my dad for a spell
18:42 which was really rough on my life as well.
18:44 Which is actually where I discovered my love for music
18:47 was with my father.
18:48 Mmmm. I grew up with music in the home.
18:51 I mean, all types of gospel music, secular music.
18:54 And that was... For a long time my escape
18:58 was into music.
19:01 And so I actually ended up moving back with my mom
19:04 at some point, and my love for music continued to just grow.
19:09 And I know it was God because He knew that I needed
19:12 something to help me keep grounded during the process
19:15 of delving actually even further into my addiction.
19:18 And I'm just grateful to Him for that.
19:21 Yes, yes... He's so good.
19:24 And even when we stray, even when we go away from Him
19:29 He gently leads us back. Yeah.
19:32 How did you find God?
19:35 How did He become the Lord of your life?
19:38 Hmmm... I was searching, I was searching.
19:40 I was sick... I was tired of being tired.
19:43 And you know, I knew that... How old were you?
19:47 My relationship... my real relationship with Him started
19:50 when I was probably about 20.
19:52 19... 18 or 19.
19:55 And I was really tired of the way that I was living.
19:59 And I had met this beautiful young lady, and she was a SDA.
20:03 I wasn't Adventist.
20:05 And I started going to church with her
20:07 and going to Oakwood College to AYS
20:11 and being exposed to the music there.
20:13 And I made a promise to God. I said: "God, if You will bless
20:17 my voice and help me to get better" - 'cause I thought I was
20:20 pretty good. Turns out I wasn't very good in fact.
20:24 She let me know that without any question.
20:27 But I told Him if He blessed my voice that I would only use it
20:30 for Him. And He began to do that.
20:34 And it was during that process of time that I got
20:39 acquainted with the church
20:40 and started studying for myself for the first time in my life.
20:43 Reading the Bible for myself and studying these powerful
20:46 messages. And God just... He just did something for me.
20:50 I mean, and it was amazing how He turned my life.
20:53 God is amazing because all of your steps
20:58 were orchestrated - yes, every one -
21:01 so even when you made mistakes He was bringing you back.
21:03 He was exposing you to music - yes - and the things that
21:07 would draw you to Him. Yes. People and places that
21:10 would draw you to Him. Yes.
21:12 So at what point did you finally say "I surrender...
21:16 I give my life to You. " How old were you then?
21:18 I was probably about the same age. It probably happened
21:20 about a year later so I was probably 19.
21:23 And that's when I got baptized.
21:25 And I completely gave my life over to God.
21:28 I tried to carry the message to everybody I met.
21:30 Even to my family... who are still not Adventists
21:33 but that's what happened for me.
21:36 That's what happened for me.
21:37 And my struggle with my addic- tion got a lot worse after that.
21:41 Really? It did. It really did. How so?
21:45 How did it get worse?
21:46 Because at that point I was now part of this church.
21:50 And I had experience with God that was real
21:53 and so I felt like that experience was going to cure me.
21:57 Hmmm. And it definitely was the stepping stone
22:01 towards aiding me, but because I had an expectation
22:07 that wasn't realistic my addiction got much worse.
22:11 So what did you do?
22:13 What did you do to actually
22:18 get on a different path? 'Cause it was getting worse...
22:21 Um-hmm. How did you get it better?
22:23 What did God do through you? He broke me, man.
22:27 He broke me. He broke me and everything that I held so dearly
22:32 was taken from me and I hit what they call "rock bottom. "
22:36 And I ended up actually going to rehab
22:41 and counseling and support groups.
22:43 With prayer and fasting and everything that the church
22:48 taught me to do. I had to not only do that
22:51 but I had to actually join that with some other things.
22:55 You know, I had a lot of formulas in my head
22:57 about what I thought I should do.
22:59 You know, the praying and the things that the church teaches.
23:04 And I didn't actually grab onto some of these other things
23:09 as well like counseling and things.
23:11 Had a lot of Christians tell me that all I needed
23:13 was to just pray and just fast and just give it to God.
23:16 And I did all of that and it just never went away.
23:18 Um-hmm. And when it actually came to me was one day
23:22 I was praying I said: "God, I just need You to take this
23:24 from me. " And He spoke very clearly to me. He said:
23:27 "No, I want you to give it to Me. "
23:29 Wow! And so that's when my process of surrender started.
23:33 Wow! What a deep point.
23:35 Not take it from me but the Lord said
23:39 "give it to Me. " He wanted me to offer it up to Him as a gift.
23:42 And I was thinking: "Why would You want this as a gift? "
23:45 You know: "Why would You want this as my offering to You...
23:49 this awful thing? "
23:51 And He made it very clear to me that He put it in my life
23:55 at a time when I actually needed it
23:58 to survive some of the things that I was going through
24:00 as a way to disconnect from it so that I could survive it.
24:03 And now I didn't need it any more so He wanted it back.
24:07 Wow! So you had to surrender your life
24:12 and God also allowed you to get the tools that you needed.
24:16 Yes. You needed some tools - yeah - to get through it.
24:20 Some real stuff, yeah. Right? Um-hmm. And it wasn't just...
24:23 It's OK to get counseling; it's OK to get tools - yes -
24:27 and help - yes - you know, because God works through
24:31 people as well. That's right; that's right.
24:32 So what a blessing... what a blessing.
24:35 And your story is so powerful because you show -
24:41 and your transparency is a blessing, too -
24:43 and you show that it's God's work in you.
24:47 God is working through you.
24:49 What do you want? In about a minute, what do you want
24:52 our viewers to know about Brian Ezra Bates.
24:56 I am a man saved by grace.
24:58 And He took me from a place of shame
25:04 to a place of grace.
25:06 And I'm so grateful... and that's it.
25:08 I mean, for me I just want to share
25:11 as much as I can with everybody.
25:13 I'm an open book as you can tell.
25:17 But there's no shame here any more.
25:19 It's just grace, and I just want to share that grace
25:22 with others. Amen. Well, thank you for sharing
25:24 that with us and thank you for sharing your wonderful gift.
25:28 And viewers: you are going to be so blessed
25:31 when you hear the ministry of Brian Ezra Bates.
25:35 Thanks.
25:38 I really enjoy talking to our guests
25:41 on the sets of their programs.
25:43 It seems to be a comfortable environment for the guests
25:46 and it's a change of pace for me.
25:48 I hope that you were inspired by these interviews
25:51 and that you will apply any spiritual lessons
25:53 that you learned from them.
25:55 Man, Brian's testimony is so powerful!
25:59 Just to know that he went through all of those twists
26:03 and turns and God has him on his feet standing and ministering
26:08 before people now. It is such an amazing blessing.
26:12 And wait until you hear Dr. Nixon's sermons
26:15 and Brian's music.
26:17 Make sure to tune in to Dare to Dream
26:20 and watch Foundation of our Faith.
26:22 Check the website for the scheduled days and the times
26:25 of this airing. Also, if you know of any singers,
26:30 musicians, artists, that would like to be on Dare to Dream
26:35 or be on Magnify Him or be featured on Foundation
26:40 of our Faith, please contact us here.
26:43 You can write me here care of:
27:11 Call us and let us know or send some music.
27:14 Send a sample of your music so that we can hear
27:17 and then we'll be able to check it out and see if
27:20 it'll work for Magnify Him.
27:23 We are looking for people to minister not just perform.
27:27 Performance is not what we're looking for.
27:30 We're looking for ministry and of course great voices
27:33 and great musicians. So please, support us in that effort.
27:37 Pray for us, and also support us financially.
27:41 Ask the Lord what He would have you to do
27:43 for Dare to Dream and how He would have you to support us.
27:48 We really need your prayers and your financial support.
27:51 Well, that's the end of our program for today.
27:54 I hope that you were blessed. I hope that you were inspired.
27:57 And I hope that you will tune in on a regular basis.
28:00 Thanks for tuning in today.
28:02 Join us next time. Just wouldn't be the same without you.


Revised 2023-10-07