Rev Fave

Alone or Nah?

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For the past month, I’ve been immersed in the Book of Judges; with a primary focus on Samson, one of the strongest (and vulnerable) men in the Bible. As a Nazarite, he was set apart to fulfill God’s predestined purpose for his life. I am no Samson (with the exception of the long hair…lol) but I find myself set apart from my immediate surroundings. I don’t fit inside the cliques found in my church, at my place of employment or even within my own family.

I deleted the Group.Me app from my mobile devices. Originally downloaded to connect with young adults and musicians at church, it was relegated to a timesuck where the cliques forged a tighter bond of constant communication. Meanwhile, my wayward messages of encouragement seemed like more of an interruption in their current of thoughts.

The workspace is filled with hundreds of personalities confined to bizarre social constructs crippled by attempts at micromanagement and the incessant need to control other human beings. I’m immune to the tactics, but the cliques that are formed stay cool with me, even though they’re not welcoming.

I gave up on my family understanding me a long time ago. I believe they want the best for me; however, I believe their definition of “best” is vastly different from mine. When manual labor and acceptance of mediocrity is revered moreso than intellectual prowess and relentless pursuit of excellence…it makes for one lonely dude.

Nobody gets me…but God.

I believe I’m set apart for a purpose. My position places me on a path to gather experiences that will help me fulfill that purpose. I wish it wasn’t riddled with so much frustration. I wish I wasn’t surrounded by individuals who could care less about me, my life, my feelings, my goals and aspirations. I wish I could find consolation instead of a bombardment of narcissistic opportunists who overshadow the handful of true friends and family who wish me well.

I find peace in knowing God in interested in me and what I have to say. That reality quenches the dry, wasteland of thoughts that crackle with the lie that I’m alone. Because I’m not. I’m set apart. And you can watch God fulfill His purpose for my life from where you are.

When’s the Last Time You Heard a Funky Diabetic?

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September 15th is perhaps the most significant, memory-packed day of my life. There are a myriad of strong moments that occurred to me on that date – from births and deaths to initial callings from God and would’ve been wedding anniversaries. This year marks yet another unforgettable moment on this fateful day…it’s the day I was diagnosed with diabetes.

This diagnosis, told casually by my doctor’s nurse over the phone, ushered an initial wave of disbelief, fear and anger. Until now, I’ve never had a health issue. I feel just as good now as I did twenty years ago. I’ve never had a major illness, never had a hospital stay or an ambulance ride. I can’t even recall the last time I had a cold. Now I’ve found myself at the pharmacy counter picking up MetFormin and being blessed with a glucose monitor and test strips from my dad. After all these years, the attack on my health has finally reached my doorstep.

And I’m going to punch it in the mouth.

For the past six weeks, I’ve been working out with a personal trainer recommended to me by my brother-in-ministry, Pastor Daniel. I keep a food journal and I walk/jog an additional 6-8 miles outside of my 3x per week training. I met with a nutritionist this week who helped me create a game plan of changing up how and when I eat. I have many titles attributed to my name, but ‘diabetic’ is one that has to go and the good news is that I do have an opportunity to turn this condition around and put this wretched disease in reverse until it backs up out of my life.

This doesn’t negate the fact that I’m still very concerned and trying to put this whole situation into perspective. While walking on my lunch hour I was reminded of the other September 15th milestones; along with the countless other miracles and blessings that have happened in my lifetime. I was reminded of the hell from which God saved me. He brought to my remembrance the times I should’ve died or been severely disabled. God showed me the highlight reel of His greatness in my life.

And just like He blessed me immensely in the past – I believe God is going to use this circumstance to bless me, and those around me, in the future.

Digital Ministry

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Debating whether I’m going to post the audio of my messages as a podcast on this site. For seven years, I hosted my own podcast celebrating indie music, but this is taking things to another level. Granted, I only have 3-4 sermons under my belt and who knows when I will share again (except for my cousin’s funeral this Saturday).

I struggle with coming across arrogant vs. sincerely sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Either way, I just want to be a blessing to those who get their encouragement digitally.

Heavy Week

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My cousin passed away this weekend. Not some random, distant cousin — I grew up with him, we were only three years apart and as he was a big part of my childhood. Now he’s gone and his mother has asked me to do his eulogy this upcoming weekend. I’ve attended several funerals this year and I’ve been learning about the proper “flow” of funeral services from my pastor and brothers-in-ministry. I didn’t plan on eulogizing a close relative so soon or ever; yet here I am.

Speaking of brothers-in-ministry, one of my brothers, Eric, lost his dad this weekend. His father was a prominent preacher in his own right and his departure has sent waves of sadness throughout the community. More importantly, my brother is hurting. His father’s funeral is also this weekend and we are going to support him however he needs.

My other brother-in-ministry, Aramis, is being installed this weekend as the new pastor of Saint John Divine M.B. Church in Milton, Florida. I’ll be boarding a bus at 6am on Sunday to be there with him as my pastor shares a Word during their 11am service.

In the interim, I started working with a personal trainer today and I have a few media clients to manage in addition to my 40-hour work week.

So what does all this mean?

I NEED PRAYER!

Beyond Mediocre

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Two weeks ago, I was asked to volunteer my time and talents on the Pastor’s Love Day Committee. He’s celebrating forty (40) years of preaching and the church is having a huge gala for him downtown. I designed the poster and video promo for the event – which was announced today at church.

What God inspired me to create was beyond mediocre – although it was par for the course in the world of corporate america, where I learned to build and implement world-class creative strategies. I’m simply happy to be used to do things for the kingdom in an excellent way. This was not done without pushback, but God showed me that I don’t have to dilute my destiny for the sake of others who don’t yet understand. My job is to take them higher with the my God-given gifts.

Revival is this upcoming Tuesday through Thursday and YES, I need it. I’m in a challenging place in my life and although I’m optimistic…I’m also human. I thirst for an encouraging Word to carry me through to the next level; meanwhle, I plan to bring my A-praise instead of my complaints and take as much strength from the revival that I can hold.

I’m preaching next Sunday morning. Thank God for Wednesday night bible study “Words of Encouragement” – which has allowed me to work on organizing and delivering my sermons. This will be my third time in the “big pulpit” and my prayer is that the message I share will bless someone’s life.

The Struggle of Humiliation

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Years ago I got a fortune cookie that read:

“Talents that aren’t shared aren’t talents.”

I believed in that fortune because I believed that we are all here to help each other with our individual gifts and talents.

God has given us all unique talents and He has bestowed a number of them in my spirit. My talents have been a wonderful conduit between my imagination and reality. I’ve been able to connect with others in order to help bring their dreams to life as well.

My God-given talents in music, visual arts, technology and writing have paved a colorful life experience to this point. I’m excited to see how God will use my talents as I embark in ministry; however, that excitement is tempered with an apprehension — a reluctancy birthed from the faded and darkened hues of my life’s pavement.

I’ve never been arrogant about my gifts because they are not mine and can be taken away at any moment. Humility is very important to me. I believe that my gifts have made room for me versus my pushing and forcing my way into a opportunity. Having a humble spirit enables you to connect, create and bless others from a God-perspective instead of a “me” perspective. Being quick to give God the glory and credit for my creativity has kept me grounded and opened a lot of doors.

So why is it such a struggle?

I don’t fight arrogance or wrestle with a hunger for the spotlight. Those darkened colors along my life’s journey are painted by two types of individuals who plague my peace with their own agendas: the opportunists and those whom I called “ordinarials.”

Opportunists have a keen sense of smell when it comes to humility. It’s been my experience that they zero in on that humility in order to exploit it. I’ve had my share of scenarios where people are impressed by my multi-talents to the point where their minds conjure several ways to overextend my abilities for their own personal gain.

They could care less about my schedule, how much rest I got, if I spent time with my children or whoever else I’m neglecting to help them look good. Their timelines were often unrealistic, extremely selfish and worst of all…horrendously unimaginative. And there’s nothing worse than having someone with seemingly remedial creativity, micromanage your boundless imagination with limitations and apathy.

The opportunists in my life could care less about the kindgom, my life or my gifts outside of their requests. I found myself putting so much of myself into their dream, without so much as a “thank you” or confirmation receipt. Why? Because they knew they could do it. They wouldn’t have pulled that with an arrogant talent.

But the operative word is “knew” (past-tense).

My second struggle is with ordinarials – those people who have settled for mediocrity and shun you because you haven’t done the same. I don’t think I’m better than them because I’ve tapped into my stash of talents and they haven’t. In fact, I believe more ordinarials have yet to scratch the surface of their capabilities – yet, they find comfort and fuel stubbornness with phrases such as “That’s how we’ve always done it” or “We don’t do it that way” or “Everybody ain’t as <insert sarcastic adjective here> as you.”

They smell the humility (which in this case, is just another word for “I’m not gonna stoop down to curse you out”) and have often written me off as passive or easy to manipulate – simply because I don’t shove my gifts down anyone’s throat. Mediocrity pains my spirit because I believe God made us all extraordinary in our own way. But so many people don’t go for the extra. “It don’t take all that” resonates in the environment of the ordinarials.

I smile to keep my joy in their presence. They seem to resent me for wanting to use my gifts to help and attempt to leverage my humility to diminish my efforts. It’s a weird relationship.

I’m older and my tolerance level for both kinds of people is almost non-existent. I know my heart. I know I’m talented. I’m super-talented. I’m exponentially blessed and I’m just getting started in channeling these talents into their true purpose: giving glory to God and helping others.

I cannot let the opportunists drain me and keep my off focus. I refuse to let ordinarials make me feel bad for being the way God made me. More importantly, I will not allow anger and resentment manage how I interact with them nor create a shield of conceit against them. I’m no better than anyone else, but I’m definitely not less than either.

Humility is a tightrope I struggle to balance and everyday I pray God keeps me from falling.

My First Sermon: Get Down to Get Up

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On January 26, 2014 I delivered my first message from a pulpit. My pastor doesn’t call it a “trial sermon,” but a “first sermon” — signifying that it will be the first of many.

Despite decades as a public speaker, corporate executive and performing musician – rightly dividing the Word of Truth is not of me and totally of God; thus, as I began His ministry on this day, I was called to enter with humility.

This is why you must get down in order to get up.

 

Called

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I walked towards the lectern as my pastor commented on my suit and bow tie. The congregation carried a curious vibe throughout the sanctuary. They weren’t used to seeing me. I just joined Antioch last June. I’d been helping/hiding out in the media control room on Sundays – learning the cameras and sound board. Being an unfamiliar face and arriving at the lectern, located stage right of the altar, increased the crowds curiosity.

Announcement

It was the longest three minutes ever as I informed my newly acquired church family that God had called me to the preaching ministry. My parents stood up, flashing their cameras and smiles. Someone yelped like my pug used to do when I accidentally stepped on his tail. I assumed it was a shout of approval.

I asked for their prayers and support as I began this new journey – a venture I should have started almost 20 years prior…but that’s another post. 

The following week, I met with my pastor who informed me that my first sermon would be in approximately 30 days. I was scheduled to bring the Word on 26 January 2014 at our 11am service.

Yeah, he did that.

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