Rev Fave

Three Years a Preacher

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Today I celebrate three years of sharing the Gospel.

I’ve learned that, when you run from God, the road of life is paved with challenges, disappointments, heartaches, anger, pain, victories, betrayal, increase, friends turned enemies, enemies turned friends, attacks, inner-battles, happiness and sadness. You must run swiftly with no real breaks, polluted water to drink and worn out shoes.

But “twistedeth not unto thine self.”

The irony is that, when you decide to run towards God, the road is STILL paved with all those things; with some parts of the road having MORE challenging elements. It’s the same road (life) but thank God He gives you rest [Matthew 11:29], He empowers you to be at peace regardless of the road conditions [Philippians 4:7], His living water is the best you’ll ever drink [John 7:38] and your shoe game is on point [Ephesians 6:15].

The road doesn’t change yet your journey is so much better. And you don’t have to be a preacher to experience this pivotal moment. You just have to believe.

Crying Times

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Someone once told me, “You don’t have a money problem, you have a faith problem.”

This was hard to receive, considering every challenge in front of me came has a price tag dangling in the shadow of my limited resources. I’m a consistent tither. I’m a good steward over my finances. I’m spirit-led to sow into the causes and needs of others. I strive to show joy regardless of what’s in my bank account. I praise God for being my source. I know I won’t always be where I am; but I find myself crying at times, for not being where I think I should be.

Yet I’m struggling with being able to see the spout from where my blessings were promised to flow. I fight to prevent my logic, skills and personal creativity to get in the way of God’s work in my life. I trust that He’s working things out for my good because I love Him, but I rarely have a clear view of what He’s doing. I can’t see the inner workings of my victory; yet my problems broadcast on a vivid, 60-inch, 1080p HD screen with more clarity than I’ll ever need or want.

But it’s a faith problem.

In the New Testament, Bartimaeus wondered the streets, blindly and aimlessly, crying for money. When he heard Jesus was on the scene, he changed his cry from a plea for money to a plea for mercy. Bartimaeus’ surroundings could only respond with money; but he knew that Jesus would respond with a deliverance money couldn’t acquire.

I’ve got to change my cry.

I’m blind. I’m having issues seeing my way through the negativity. I’ve been crying for resources, when I should have been crying for revelation. I don’t have a money problem, I have a faith problem. I don’t have a family problem, I have a faith problem. I don’t have a health problem, I have a faith problem.

My faith needs to flow through my tears and cascade down my heart, where my trust is renewed. We can’t see always see how things are going to work out, but we must find peace in the surety that God already has it worked out.

 

Get Righteous

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“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)

Being righteous doesn’t mean you’re a mega-holy, Bible-thumbing, “Super Christian” – looking down on the heathens around you.

It just means that your relationship with God is on point. It means when you text Him with your needs, He doesn’t text back, “New phone. Who dis?” You’re not perfect, but you ARE connected beyond your distress signals to Him.

When the righteous pray, incredible things jump off and the end result is so superb that only God could (and should) get the glory.

Recent events challenged me not to beg for healing, but to thank Him for the healing He promised. What I asked for was information that would counteract anxiety of the unknown. What I asked for was for rest, alertness and kindness, amongst those that would come in contact with the challenge, to be abundant. What I asked for was supernatural recovery, not just for restored quality of life but so others can be encouraged by the testimony.

It is in the midst of prayer, praise and worship that God does His thing in our lives. Casting our cares on Him. Trusting Him. Speaking His Word is always better than anything we could say on our own. In doing so, speaking His Word hides our ignorance behind His excellence.

Speaking His WORD hides our IGNORANCE behind His EXCELLENCE.

Speaking GOD’S WORD (instead of words from our limited, logical thinking) hides our ignorance (of not knowing) behind His excellence (that’s all-knowing).

It’s better to pray to God than to say something ignorant. No, seriously. If you don’t know what to say to the point you’re talking negatively or against what you’re believing God to work on…I believe you should have not several…but ALL the seats.

Shut up.

Let’s shut our minds and mouths off to the rhetoric that is not of God (or in private supplication to God) in order to open up our hearts and spirits to the promises and awesomeness of God.

All this is so much easier to do when you have a relationship with Him; hence, righteousness, love and trust.

At that point, your prayers become powerful and produce results so wonderful that, even the things/people/words/attacks begin to work for YOU (Romans 8:28).

No person on earth, no imp from hell, no circumstance of life, no physio- or psychological battle will be able to withstand your faith.

 

Trust: Put That On Everything

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It’s like hot sauce.

Some consider it a necessity in our savory meals. Hot sauce can awaken the essence of an entree or send a surge of flavor through our side dishes. We drench our chicken wings in it and we sprinkle our soups with a few drops. Despite the varied quantities, I submit that some instances of hot sauce infusion are merely psychological pacifiers that have no substantial taste impact; but the comfort of its presence creates a reality of perceived enhancement. Whether the hot sauce brings spice to your life or simply pretends to punch up what’s in your pot — we ultimately have it because we want it there.

So we put that on everything; and so we must transform this sensory habit into a spiritual habit as it relates to our trust in God.

Our trust in Him goes on everything, from the grandiose to the simplistic. Like hot sauce, we benefit from God’s presence in every facet of our lives. The only difference lies in the fact that His presence doesn’t pacify but amplifies everything by which we trust in God. Trusting Him transcends circumstances, reaches beyond our (temporal) feelings and withstands any attacks on the mind, body and spirit.

Trusting God in every area of your life, strengthens your relationship with God. This strength brings forth spiritual maturity as each opportunity to trust God prompts us to make a choice. That constant choice to trust God in everything will be reflected in your lifestyle; therefore, your lifestyle of trusting God becomes a testimony that encourages others to do the same.

When my car wouldn’t start, I thanked God for being in a safe area. I praised Him for insurance and free roadside assistance. I acknowledged Him for giving me wisdom and resources to purchase a warranty at the time of sale. What I didn’t do is panic or exude any level of fear. I trust God above my circumstances.

Life departures have touched the lives of those whom I respect and fellowship; one of which has me feeling a deep sense of loss and sadness. I’m not so holy that I don’t feel the shock, anxiety, frustration, anger and sorrow that anyone else would feel. I thank God for relationship and subsequent communication that has encouraged me to a place of peace beyond my own understanding. Trusting God and expressing myself corporately and privately has been an encouraging reminder of my growth in God’s grace.

The streets are watching. Many don’t trust what they cannot see; ironically, they will find a modicum of trust in you as you believe what you cannot see. When your situations are the epitome of ratchet, yet you’re calm. When everyone around you is feeling some kind of way (and justifiably so, in the natural) and your heart is steadfast in the promises of God’s Word. When the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy your life, and everyone connected to it, and your trust enables you to stand firmly on the Word of God. That’s trust. In everything you do and it cannot go unnoticed.

There is not an area of your life that doesn’t require a trust in Him. Activating that trust will have monumental impact on your journey — so put it on everything.

 

 

 

For Real For Real

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What happens when you believe in limitations? I’m not talking about speaking negativity; but what about speaking faith over dreams that are beneath the factory settings God placed in you before you were born? I was given dreams as a child. I pulled them out of the shrink wrap and exposed them to the elements of peers who laughed, family who belittled, media who distorted and life experiences that diminished the fresh, new plastic smell of my dreams over time.

Keeping it 100 begins with myself. This summer has been an intentional focus on fighting the good fight of faith in various areas. Ironically, it wasn’t until I began fighting that the enemy began accelerating towards me. Challenges in my career, business endeavors, creativity, health, finances, relationships, family and self-image — all required an increased activation of my faith. I believe this happened because all of the aforementioned are influenced by God’s purpose for my life.

In response to the exposure, I subconsciously made my dreams smaller and palatable to the tastebuds of mediocrity.

By the grace of God and the potency of His Word, this faith fight has awakened me to the reality that my original dreams are bigger than the ones I’ve been speaking in faith to manifest. There is an initial greatness that God wants to make even greater in my life for His Glory.

So, now what?

Dream for real. Not the dwarfed dreams of outside perceptions. Not the reluctant dreams of internal insecurities. It’s time to trust God to put your dreams back to factory settings. Those dreams are huge. Those dreams are fearless. Those dreams awaken the child who sees nothing standing in the way. Those dreams ascend to the tangent of your soul sphere of imagination and orbit your mind as you sleep.

And God wants to take you even further.

In my faith fight, I shouldn’t be fighting myself. I was fighting my conviction to embrace the enormity of my dreams. My real dreams. Speaking faith on 75% of what I truly wanted, wasn’t faith at all. It was only when I spoke God’s Word, prayed and asked Him for the grandiose blessings — that I felt my faith getting stronger. I’m not talking about solely material things, but relationship restoration, emotional intelligence, spiritual maturity, wisdom and healthy, edifying connections with people.

I want it all and I thank God for revealing to me, through His Word and people in my life, that He wants me to have it all, too.

And I’ll always give Him the glory.

The Moment When Everything Changed

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I have never seen him like this. Since the 5th grade, he has always been the epitome of cool. He has never raised his voice, behaved erratically or emotionally. Through decades of euphoric highs and dungeon level lows, he has maintained a neutrality in his demeanor that always reflected peace, but not excitement. We’ve laughed, joked and encouraged each other over the years as we navigated through middle school, high school, college, career changes, marriage, fatherhood, divorce and re-invention. Like most guys, we didn’t talk about our emotions, but our connection remained strong. He is not just my best friend, he is my brother.

And everything about him changed the moment he met her.

His modest, reserved personality began sprouting sudden outbursts of joy on Facebook. He started posting date night photos and making frequent trips to where she lived. Our conversations on the phone went from sports and music to relationship lessons and thoughts of the future. He wasn’t just in love, he had made a decision to love. This would be the first of many decisions that would impact their lives forever.

He proposed. She accepted. Planning began. He began expressing his emotions more as we grew closer to the big day. They picked colors together, decided on wedding favors and asked me to lead their ceremony. Despite my substantial counseling and prayer, nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed on their wedding day.

My best friend was beaming with joy unlike anything I’d ever seen. It was so vibrant that it made him look younger. He smiled incessantly. There was a diamond-like sparkle in his eyes. No cold feet; just high anticipation. He cried tears of joy – several times. Their vows were endearing. His confidence in his decision to love his bride until death was undeniable. The way he held her during their first dance, it was clear that he was never letting her go.

In 30+ years, I have never seen my best friend smile beyond his classic “smirk.” I have never seen him cry one tear; let alone a steady stream down his face. We’ve been at school dances and formal events; but I’d never seen my brother slow dance. I have never seen him so submerged in joy and happiness – and it looked good on him. Challenges and triumphs are on the horizon for these newlyweds, but I believe God will keep them through it all.

I realize that God is the originator of all the joy I witnessed. Everything about me changed the moment I accepted Him into my life. This milestone in my brother’s life was a strong reminder that I need to reflect the joy and happiness God continues to give me with life, health, strength and opportunities to help others. My smiling is a rarity and I’m working hard to increase my frequency.

I don’t want someone to be in search of God and cannot get a glimpse of Him in me.

Close Your Eyes And Focus

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I didn’t plan on being there. It was a random pit stop while waiting for a friend, mixed with a sudden hunger for egg drop soup. He was there when I walked in – a skinny, dark-skinned guy in his late-30s wearing a tattered black T-shirt and jeans. He hovered in my peripheral view as I ordered my food and sat down to play a few rounds of Words With Friends. Read More

Three Is The Magic Number

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My new BASICS notebook keeps me connected to that “analog life” while consolidating four (4) digital calendars by way of organized paper and my trusty Pilot G2 gel pen. I love my devices (e.g., smartphone, tablets, laptop, etc.) and I believe the muscle memory associated with handwriting allows my written words to adhere to my mind better. In addition to calendar entries, this notebook contains weekly prompts to stimulate me. This week’s prompt was:

Each day this week before going to bed, write down three things that you are grateful for.

My reflections on this task today took me to a revelation that gave me comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable situation. My three grateful things for today found themselves far from the cliché…

I’m grateful for a successful surgical procedure. This morning I underwent oral surgery with a myriad of mixed feelings. I’ve only had one surgical procedure in my life (which was also oral) and that experience crafted an unpleasant memory of pain, abandonment and regret in which I needed (and received) deliverance (Amen!).

Today was not only a simple process, with manageable discomfort, but my recovery the past several hours has been nothing short of miraculous. I know it is because of the prayers of my family, friends and colleagues all over the country. It’s amazing to actually “feel” the power of prayer surround you and I’ve very grateful for that experience / lifestyle.

I’m grateful for syndicating my defunct podcast. Seven years of my life was spent producing a podcast showcasing the best indie music in the world. I was blessed with awards, partnerships, friendships and opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. I produced my final podcast in December 2013  and there are literally hundreds of one-hour MP3s of my show sitting on an external hard drive as well as the cloud.

The site was shut down in ’13 as well, but I’ve revitalized the domain and re-broadcasted shows will be available for download on Mondays and Wednesday. I’m grateful I have such a vast library of creative expression that features so much obscure music that still needs to be discovered. Despite that season of my life ending, it will live on via the Internet.

I’m grateful for phenomenal friends and prayer gladiators. There have been subtle events this week that attempted to make me sad, angry, disappointed and extremely cautious towards individuals. Watching passive aggressiveness mix with long term memories as a function of manipulation just made me shake my head… and pray. The sobering reality is some people enter your life with a one-sided agenda that only benefits them. The harsh reality is some people feel it’s their duty to remind you of your torrid past, under the guise of living in their truth, while lazily acknowledging the deliverance and diligence to walk as a new creature.

The problem is some people choose to exit their season in your life as a victim or martyr rather than embrace their contribution to the departure.

In contrast, there’s a group of people who pray aggressively, consistently and sincerely – with no agenda – and their prayers have become an added layer of awesome over so many areas of my world. Thank you, Jesus.

I recognize the God-exclusive beauty of subtraction actually ADDING to my life. Having a tooth extracted adding to my improved health. Resurrecting a defunct podcast, that’s been dead for three years, will incite discovery into the most creative souls of our generation. Feeling the intercession of those whose ink is still drying from writing my name on their prayer list, while those who’ve professed to care for decades — are leaving with the memory book of sarcastic nostalgia still tucked closely underneath their hearts.

Subtraction can equal addition when you serve a God who defies logic, nature and our perception of reality.

Thank you, God. 

 

I Got It But I Still Can’t Get It

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The mind is the first Wikipedia – so powerful, that we’ve managed to thrive on this planet with 10% usage, on average. It is the storage facility for knowledge and wisdom; although the knowledge shelves are stacked high, wisdom spaces echo with desire to fill their vacancies. You can hold all the knowledge and still be as dumb as a wet pillowcase full of nickels.

I was introduced to the term “transformation tourism” today. Seth Godin summarizes the concept wonderfully:

Merely looking at something almost never causes change. Tourism is fun, but rarely transformative.

Many of us are taking a tour of our own lives. This is why you got so much, yet we’re still out here trying to get it. We have more medical and physiological information than any generation before us, yet our life expectancy is shorter. There are more MOCs (millionaires of color) than ever before and I have yet to attend the ribbon cutting of new banks or credit unions. The Word of God has thousands of translations available through traditional and digital media to reach the dustiest crevices of the most desolate third-world countries — but Christianity suffers at the height of global persecution in present-day society.

If knowledge is the content, then wisdom is the application of said knowledge. We want the satisfaction that comes from the event of getting things (i.e., relationships, houses, cars, jobs, toys, etc.) but struggle with the discipline needed for the lifestyle of having things (i.e., maintaining the acquisition).

We got the books, supplements and workout clothes, but can’t get in the gym. We got the self-help books, but can’t get past the first 12 pages. We got the powerful Word from God on Sunday, but can’t get through the drama of Wednesday. We got the wedding memories, but can’t get a marriage future.

We must discover and re-discover the habits that embrace the application of our knowledge that will bring us wisdom to enhance our quality of life spiritually, physically, mentally and professionally.

Love to Death

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Our world pulsates with the aches of injustice, persecution and poverty. Our country suffers from the bipolar struggle of relative economic strength, riddled by deviant social constructs — slithering beneath a veneer of post-racial, pro-gender acceptance. Our community embraces the dichotomy of global connectivity through smartphones and the discomfort of making eye contact with another soul.

And in this realm, we find love. 

I’ve watched Facebook statuses evolve from devastating bouts of loneliness, depression and longing for human touch – to engagement photography in beautiful, green parks. Digital tears, short circuiting the flow of funny videos and selfies, are now dried up by the sand of beach ceremonies. These mad dashes toward God with lifelong promises range from the seemingly haphazard to the meticulously orchestrated; yet they all reach the finish line with a kiss.

And in the wind of this bliss, we find death.

Inexplicable and sudden, death seems to be on a spree where anyone can be taken. I’ve watched my sister depart with preparation. I’ve been saddened by the loss of a hero, despite my subconscious anticipation. From those closely woven to my lifeline, to creative juggernauts whose expression cascades across my generation – death is going ham in 2016. It cannot be stopped, yet I pray for its deceleration.

Then appears the question… are you ready? 

Where is my level of preparedness for either scenario? My soul was custom manufactured to love, but I’ve tainted my capability from constant exposure to perverted interpretations of what love really means. What’s unfortunate is that I was taught as a child that God = love; therefore, anything that does not point back to Him could never give back to me something good. How can I be ready when I see things, people, feelings and circumstances through a smudgy lens of painful experiences I have yet  to fully release?

And though I long to love my family, my friends, my brothers, my children, my church, my community, my society and my dark, twisted world… how long will it take for me to get it right before death comes to transition me out of here?

Love will transition you out of indifference. Death will transition you out of carnal bondage. Both are poised to guide you towards someplace eternal. Neither are responsible for your condition upon their arrival. That’s on you.

That’s on me. 

I just want to love to death. One is an action waiting to be associated with your spirit. The other is a moment that shifts you into an eternal somewhere. Both have an inevitable impact that correlates to our level of preparation.

Are you ready?

 

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