Rev Fave

What Do You Really Want?

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During a season of collections, I encountered thousands of debtors who were offered an opportunity to break out of financial bondage. Subsequently, I was rewarded for leading those who took advantage of this opportunity – the larger the debt, the greater the reward.

An individual could clear their debt in 3 installments of $1000 per month – but we would offer them 15 payments of $200 per month; because that’s what “we” could afford. The rewards of that recovery could have been larger, but we’ve asked for too little over too long of a period because we viewed that debtor’s balance through the lens of our own financial limitations.

God owes us nothing, but He has rewards greater than anything we could imagine. He wants to give us more than our dreams can contain. Unfortunately, many of us see God through the lens of our own limitations. Therefore, we tend to subsconsiously (and consciously) ask God for “sippy-cup” blessings, when He’s able and willing to pour out a gallon jug.

Why are we so scared to ask for what we want…what we really, really want? Why do we only ask for God to help us get by when He has enough to give us to where we can be a tremendous blessing to others? Why do we ask for a job when we are called to own a business? Why do we only ask God to get us out of debt when we are destined to be a lender? Why do we ask for peace in just our situation when we are meant to counsel others and usher them towards God’s peace? Why do we act like GOD doesn’t have MORE than what we need?

As a result, we get exactly what we ask for — when we were destined to have so much more.

More Than a Monday

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Most of us dread Mondays. It’s viewed as the death of the weekend and the birth of long hours at work, never ending action items and five days until the next 48 hour reprieve. It’s rare that we see Mondays as the mark of a new beginning. New opportunities stand patiently behind a door we’re too distracted to see because we’re lamenting over a cup of coffee.

But today is much more than Monday. This is a new week to transform your world with a series of simple milestones. Every major triumph has a trail of milestones gathered by forward movement over time. That movement can begin today…the first day of the week…Monday.

This day has no judgments or regrets. It’s ready to receive what you put into it and, thankfully, we have control over what and how we manage our day – regardless of external challenges. If you’re unhappy with your current work/family/health status, this is the beginning of a new week that can catapult you into your destiny – one small win at a time.

This is more than Monday, this is our lives progressing naturally – whether we like it or not. I encourage you to love your life and embrace the beginning with the knowledge that we have control of the outcome. It’s not about getting a promotion, finding the person of your dreams or becoming a millionaire – it’s about peace of mind. Today is the absolute best day of your life because you have yet another opportunity to reach that peaceful state of mind, regardless of what comes your way.

This is more than Monday. It’s our lives and we don’t have to wait until 5 o’clock or the weekend to enjoy it.

Until next time…

Why I Will Never Have a First Lady

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The first panoramic view from the pulpit often gives me a sobering pictorial of my reality. Universal images of gum chewers, crying babies and sleeping congregants are par for the course. My eyes always find their way to the front, where she likes to sit. Her headgear is large enough to balance a small fruit basket. Her smile gleams almost as bright as that diamond ring on her left hand. She’s fresh dressed — like a million bucks; with accessories coordinated with a meticulous level of detail.

Her regal aesthetic is a reflection of the man of God to whom she belongs. If the church were a Christmas tree, then she would be the star. She’s the First Lady.

And I will never have one.

My pastor’s wife is just that…his wife. She is his help meet. His best friend. His lifelong cheerleader, personal chef, co-parent, counselor, road trip partner and motivational speaker. I watch her take care of him with such fervor, even after 35+ years of marriage. She is many things to him, but she is not a First Lady. My pastor doesn’t allow anyone to refer to her as such.

Having a “first” implies a sequential order. There is no second, third or so on when it comes to the love of your life. She is his one and only — her function is to be by his side and not be revered by a congregation. More importantly, she brings so much class and grace to her role as his wife, that being a First Lady would be a demotion.

At first glance, it may seem like an overreaction to semantics; yet the neurolinguistic programming of this moniker makes a difference in the long run. While my pastor’s wife plays an integral role in his ministry, there is no confusion as to her primary role in his life. The only thing greater than her devotion is the reciprocity of love that is displayed whenever I see them together.

It is my prayer than men in ministry — or any man who’s ready to welcome it — finds a wife who transcends social constructs and adheres to high spiritual conduct. First can be any number in any given sequence, but “one” will always be the first number in infinity — the welcome sign towards eternity.

As she waits to be discovered, I believe that miraculous woman should prepare to be worthy of discovery. Meanwhile men should work towards being worthy of her preparation. And when their love for God and individual joy collide — they will jointly discover the labor of love that comes from being more than the first.

Old Man, Young Preacher

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When you look at me through the world’s lens, it looks as though I have lived. My talents, education and personality were exposed to opportunities I never dreamed I would experience. I’ve travelled the world coach and first class. Stood on trains and landed on aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean. I’ve driven luxury cars, hatchbacks and SUVs. I’ve closed my eyes in the plush comfort of five-star hotels and ate exotic food with international celebrities. I’ve walked red carpets in Hollywood and sauntered through the stench of Skid Row. I’ve loved hard and lost even harder. I’ve played state-of-art keyboards in front of thousands and stomped on dirt floors as I played upright piano in a rural Georgia church. I’ve had dinner with Miss USA and got manicures with my daughter. I went from walking 5Ks to jogging color runs to trotting along a half-marathon. On the outside, it appears I have truly lived.

Whatever.

When you look at me through the spiritual lens, it was all an elaborate attempt to outrun God. Twenty years of experiences, triumphs and tragedies as my Heavenly Father laughed hysterically at my strategy to live an extraordinary life on the wrong side of the pulpit.

It wasn’t until I stopped running from God, started listening to God and began living for God — that I truly began to live.

I grew up in church. I spent decades behind an organ/piano/keyboard playing for various churches. I leveraged the Word of God from a psalmists perspective; but I was called to preach His message of hope. I am a communications scholar. I spent years developing and delivering corporate presentations from Coca-Cola to Hewlett Packard. I leveraged my written and verbal skills from a business executive’s perspective; but I was called to spread the gospel.

My contemporaries don’t share my background. Most preachers my age have been sharing the good news for nearly 20 years; while my peers in ministry stand at the cusp of discovering themselves in Christ as young men in their 20s. We share the passion for preaching; yet my environment often makes me feel like a young preacher living alongside an old man’s timeline.

I’m thankful that God preserved me in a way that I don’t look like what I’ve been through. However, I thank God he gives me wisdom to use what I’ve been through to seek him more diligently, share more vigorously and help others with more sincerity. Sometimes I feel I’ve wasted so much time, but God continues to leverage my life experiences from a spiritual perspective; because I am called to preach.

I may not hoop like a traditional Baptist preacher. I may not shine with the luster of impressionable youth. But the good news is no one can outdo me being “me” and I praise God for allowing me to grow into an old(er) man with the enthusiasm of a young preacher.

 

 

 

Let the Week Say I Am Strong

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Nothing causes you to reflect on God’s strength like an overwhelming week of challenges. It’s amazing that so many obstacles can present themselves in such a short period of time; yet their origins can be discovered long before this week began. I’m embarking on a new journey in full-time ministry. My connectivity to my community is growing. My local church celebrates its centennial anniversary.

In contrast, I’m losing people. They’re losing me. A parade of grief, inconsideration and erroneous deduction is leading the mass exodus of people from my life. Like a well placed band-aid, the removal hurts and what troubles me is my ignorance to the pain. There’s a level of sensitivity, that’s been with me since childhood, that is no longer present. I love you, but I can’t control your departure. I miss you, but I don’t care about your leaving. It hurts because I know it’s supposed to (hurt), but to be honest — I can’t feel you leave.

The inevitability of death. I knew my sister was going to leave soon. The thoughtlessness of people. I understand certain people see my talents as a means to an end, period. The finite quantity of time. I realize my own mortality. The soaking wet weight of sadness. I’ve discovered that I’ve never learned how to process the unpleasant emotions of life. The echoing void of loss. I stand at the entrance of emptiness, often when others believe I’m never alone.

This is why I don’t trust my feelings. They are fleeting, inconsistent and misleading. Feelings have the potential to guide me away from God’s purpose. My mastery of emotions is still a work in progress. While I cannot control how I feel, I have complete autonomy over how I display, manage and disclose the way I feel. What’s important is the promise of God to keep me in perfect peace despite the chaos externally as well as inside.

What does that mean?

The inevitability of victory. God has promised me that I would win, so why should I worry? The thoughtlessness of my wrongs. God has forgiven me of the wrongs I’ve done to Him; how dare I hold on to the transgressions and inconsideration done to me by others.  The finite quantity of sorrow. It hurts to lose people and can cause you to question your own fallacies; but pain is temporary. This too, shall pass. The soaking wet weight of joy. When I think of from where God has rescued me, there’s a joy that transcends my circumstance and it’s unavoidable. The echoing void of the enemy’s presence. I embrace solitude; especially the absence of the enemy and his delusional practice of winning over me.

Perspective.

I can’t lose. I pray God keeps me and matures me beyond the paralytic response to life events, to where I can feel whatever and trust Him whenever.

Five Ships I Must Catch Before They Sail

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Is the world moving faster than before? Do the seconds sweep swifter than in days past — or could it be that I’ve loaded my life with such a grandiose “to-do list,” that the weight of action items wears me thin? I find myself barely able to celebrate the milestone of reaching one goal before I’m kicking off the start of another — yet I still don’t feel accomplished. Read More