Rev Fave

I’m New Here

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When I began capturing this journey, I nearly collapsed from the exhaustion of running from God for nearly 18 years. My enthusiasm was overwhelming as I began writing sermons, learning church operations, studying more and truly growing in grace. I’ve eulogized family members and led congregations through worship service from beginning to end. Now I’m teaching the youth while learning about discipleship. I feel myself growing and, while I haven’t done it all, I’ve done a lot under the guidance of a great pastor.

So why do I still feel as though I’m new here?

As soon as I felt myself getting into a flow, things change again. People change. Support system changed. Priorities changed. I’m called to help people; yet it’s people who seem to gleefully bring me challenges on a dingy, silver platter of passive aggressiveness and co-dependency. And God instructs me not to “get weary in well doing,” so I press despite how I feel.

I’m tired, though.

Smoke Free Blessing

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The aim of “Smoke Free Blessing” is to encourage believers in that, as we endure the fires of life circumstances, God is with us and He is why we do not and should not carry the residue of what we’ve been through.

We know fire is dangerous; but the greatest risk to our minds, our bodies and our possessions — is smoke.

Do You Know The Way?

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“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

My maternal grandfather was a truck driver in Mississippi. He once spoke of how he used the painted white line, on the right side of the highway, to stay on the road in hazardous conditions.

This line led him through bad weather while serving  as a focal point in the midst of his own fatigue and sleep deprivation. Transportation was how he made a living, so the painted white line on the right side of the highway not only kept him safe, but it was a critical, constant component of his livelihood. The painted white line on the right side of the road was my grandfather’s consistency as he drove on inconsistent terrain through inconsistent environments with inconsistent thoughts in an inconsistent body.

I never met my grandfather. He died at the age of 39, when my mother was still a child. It was in her childhood that she heard him talk about the painted white line to one of her uncles.

My mother later shared his story with me at a time when I was driving on the highway frequently for my job. It wasn’t uncommon for me to drive along unfamiliar interstates and county roads;  winding through pouring rain and dark, unfamiliar territory. I often drove in pitch black darkness with little or no sleep.

These were the times I relied on the words of my grandfather and I found myself focusing  on the painted white line on the right side of the road. When I couldn’t see clearly or my eyes got weary, it guided me safely through dangerous conditions, both externally and internally.

Keeping my eyes on the painted white line on the right side of the road was more than a helpful driving technique. It was a connection to a man I never met, but whose blood ran through my veins. I received guidance from one whose face I’d never seen but his method kept me, literally, on the road safely to this day.

Life, much like our highways, is often filled with darkness and difficult weather; making it hard to navigate safely to our destinations. Sometimes the obstacles aren’t fallen tree branches or icy bridges, but the  barriers are within: insecurities, negative voices, past disappointments, current feelings of anger, work-related stress, family-oriented drama and ongoing church mess — it can hinder our ability to stay on the road safely. It’s draining. Exhausting. It can blur your vision, cloud your judgement and – if you’re not careful – it can cause you to wreck your life before you reach your final destination.

So what do you do?

Jesus Christ says He is “the way, the truth and the life.” He sits on the right hand of the Father, shining as a beacon leading us towards eternal peace. Jesus has shown us how we should love each other and more importantly, He has commanded and equipped us with the ability to love. Jesus is the painted white line on the right side of the road that leads us through life’s challenges and triumphs. He even gave us 24-hour roadside assistance, better known as the Holy Spirit. He knew our road would be often be covered  darkness, temptation and attacks. Jesus knew the rain of health problems, marriage complications, scandalous lies and financial struggle would splash against our windshield. He knew it would be hard for us to see the road, especially when there are countless other paths seeking to lead us towards destruction.

But thank God. He is the way.

Following Christ brings focus to your journey. He is the one and only way to God, the Father. With Jesus as the way, you are guaranteed to travel in God given destiny, no matter what and who comes in your path. Find confidence in knowing that focusing on Jesus will keep you on the road and in your purpose. .

Praise God. He is the truth.

The painted white line on the right side of the highway are  constant. No matter what blows through the road or tumbles across our minds, the love of Jesus is consistent and consistency is truth. The enemy loves to create noise to distract us while we’re driving down the road of life for God. The more you depend on Jesus to guide you through life, the more sensitive you become to the counterfeits designed to throw you off-course.

Glory to God. He is the life.

We all want our journey to be prosperous. True  prosperity is not rooted in financial gain, but rather in spiritual assurance. The painted white line on the right side of the road helped my grandfather make a living by keeping his truck on the road and when you focus on Jesus, above anything else, He will help you to live a life that goes beyond your wildest imagination.

He came, lived, died and rose – not for you to simply exist, but so you can live a life in abundance in every area of your life:

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) NKJV

I cherish that memory of my grandfather. He didn’t know that his little girl would retain that one conversation, and one day pass it onto to her son decades later. It may seem a bit odd to have a connection to someone who died long before I came on the scene.

But God.

“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” (Ephesians 1:4) NKJV

He knew us before He brought the world into existence. He knew she was going to hurt you. He knew they were going to lie on you. He knew how many lives you were going to touch. He knows your future is shaping up to be more than you can even hold in your brain right now.

He also knew you would mess up. He knew you would turn away from Him, then run back when you needed something. He knew sin was going to eat you up if you kept heading down the path you were on.

So He sent His son to be an example; to be the way. He knew confusion and traumatic events, you never got to process, would attempt to take your mind and make it hard to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. Jesus is the truth. God knew your life would be tragically beautiful and the enemy hungers for your guaranteed victory. Christ rose from the dead; showing the world that He is the life.

Like my grandfather, we have never seen His face, yet we still find guidance through God’s Word. Keeping our lives focused on the “painted white line on the right side of the road” of Jesus’ perfect love and example for living…we WILL  see His face and live in the eternal awe of His presence.

What an amazing promise! But we must first go through this journey of life. It gets dark. It appears lonely. We get tired. Rain. Snow. Ice. Mud. Blinding sun. Sadness. Depression. Fatigue. Weariness. Low Self-esteem.  How do we stay on course? How do we stay in the road and out of the ditch?

Follow Jesus. Follow Jesus. Follow Jesus.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. He not only knows the way…He is the Way.

The Replacements (You Know What I’m Saying?)

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As the cream-filled donut introduces artery-clogging cholesterol, glucose-spiking refined sugar and unwanted trans fat — the fear-filled words introduce satan’s word system to steal your motivation, kill your joy and destroy your destiny…or so he thought.

I’m thinking about what what I’m thinking about and placed a proverbial magnifying glass on my everyday speech. How do you sound in response to the world around you? What thoughts are you embracing and for how long? Are those thoughts promoting fear or strengthening your faith?

I’m replacing it all. Every negative thought, every horrible re-enactment, every highlight reel of disappointment. Each fearful scene comes with a script and the enemy is burning up (pun intended) waiting on me to “read my lines” so that I speak fear, degradation and destruction into my world.

Not today, satan.

Pray like God is sitting in your living room (because he is), speak life into the dead areas of your life. My prayer is that we seek God for the strength to continue our fight of faith. I pray our fear-filled words are replaced with the faith-filled words in our rhetoric. Our lives are a reflection of the words we’ve spoken from the time we learned our native language until now.

So what are you saying?

Dying of Thirst

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Dying of Thirst is a message encouraging believers not to quench their thirst with the temporal things of the world; but to thirst for God and the living waters of Jesus Christ, who is the Only One who can save us from spiritual dehydration and fill us with the waters of eternal life.

We live in a society where we aren’t being killed, shot and hung for being Christians; yet, we are we suffering from spiritual dehydration. It’s making us confused and it’s effecting our decision-making. We’re tired and some of us are to the point where the enemy has convinced us we don’t need to move.

If you stay spiritually dehydrated, you’ll eventually become fatigued and therefore it’s hard to fight the good fight of faith when you’re tired. When you’re spiritually dehydrated for an extended amount of time, the enemy has you on auto-pilot. You won’t have a desire to quench your thirst; you won’t have the energy to care. And it is at that point of spiritual dehydration, when your spirit begins to shut down, shrivel up and die.

He wants us to stay thirsty, shrivel up and die but you don’t have to die of thirst because God is our living water.

And You Call Yourself A Man of God

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It’s been 861 days since my first sermon. In the midst of those days are moments of triumphs that amplify the closeness of God; plus disappointments that gave the false perception that God was nowhere to be found. I’m thankful for His ability to cover my imperfections with His perfect love. Buried within those 861 days are several sleepless nights of studying His Word and writing His messages to share with His people. Those days capture a substantial number of attempts to enhance my intellect and wisdom, with the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to share something that would help someone… even if that someone was me.

Layered into those 861 days are periods of frustration, doubt, self-pity, challenging self-esteem and a myriad of mistakes. Those layers cradle unpleasant memories crafted by unwise and unpopular decisions; thus, reaffirming my fallible state of being. When my missteps reveal my carnal nature to periodically fail or disappoint someone — it is the same carnal nature that arises in those who witness my fall and immediately say:

And you call yourself a man of God.

This phrase suggests that my calling elevates me to a standard by which I am not meeting. Being a man of God is the sinners’ favorite catch phrase when the called take a fall and I am not above their reproach. Heavy circumstances such as adultery, substance abuse and domestic violence are major fallacies – but I’ve witnessed this sarcastic-laden tagline hurled towards my character because I forgot to call back, didn’t have the time to listen in that moment or I didn’t have the resources to meet the need of the hour. In those 861 days, I let someone down; whether intentional or unintentional, the pain is the same and so is the phrase:

And you call yourself a man of God.

My calling invites me to improve my character; however, God’s plan for my life does not deviate due to my shortcomings.

He doesn’t change the course of my destiny because of who doesn’t like what I said and/or did. God doesn’t shift the trajectory of my transformation because I hurt someone and now they want to hurt me. I seek forgiveness and attempt to learn from my mistakes.

Yet there are those who have their perception of what a “man of God” should be and perfection is definitely not a prerequisite. In fact, if (perfection) was on the man of God job description, I’d (still) be unemployed. Being a man of God was not my choice, but God’s design. Every gift He gave, that enables me to share the Word of God in a unique way, was given to me by Him. I absorb His Word, I seek His understanding, I pray for his grace and mercy and yes, I still find time to be human and make mistakes while working in full-time ministry.

Man of God ≠ Man is God.

Sticks and Stones

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The purpose of this message is to encourage those who are battling a giant in their lives by deconstructing/changing the perception of our adversary; while reaffirming that the promise of God, the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit guarantees victory over any and every challenge we encounter.

The giant is going to die.

It doesn’t matter if you grew up going to church every Sunday or if you have never set foot in a sanctuary chances are you have at least heard of the story of David and Goliath. It is the classic tale of “little guy vs. big guy”with the little guy winning in the end. This is where our culture gets its love of “rooting for the underdog” – where a small-sized boy can face and triumph over a bigger, badder and more ferocious giant.

I Was To Die For

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The three of us sat in the production suite, sharing our perspectives on God’s validation… how He sent His son to die for us. From this conversation, we prayed for miraculous creativity and synergy as we weaved a lyrical tapestry of spoken word verses to be performed and broadcasted on Resurrection Sunday. Our brainstorming session transitioned to a video shoot in a Downtown Birmingham loft; with backdrops, DSLR cameras and precious daylight shining on our workflow. This was all for Jesus. He paid it all for us.

No one aligns timelines like Our God.

We were anticipating the arrival and worship leadership of GRAMMY® nominated Anthony Brown, fresh from his record-breaking win at the Stellar Awards. This video was scheduled to be a segue-way to Brown singing “Worth” in front of a congregation of 3,000+ members, visitors and friends in person and online. Ironically, I watched the final edits remotely on my iPhone while everyone else experienced it live in the sanctuary. I’ve always said I had the face for audio, but God’s words were channeled through my voice and captured through my brothers’ anointed, cinematic vision.

The rest is… YouTube.

I pray this will be a positive multimedia tool in ministry and definitely a unique level of expression that transcends my comfort zone and meets people where they are.

Praise The Savior Daily (PTSD)

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Years ago, I dated someone whose previous relationship was abusive. As a result, whenever I would reach out to hold her hand, give her a hug, etc. — she would jump away from me. I wouldn’t do anything to harm her, but her reflex was in response to what had happened to her.

My life journey has taken some dark turns. I’ve experienced emotional trauma that was equally damaging to my perception of the world and levels of optimism. I could feel my countenance shift from sincere to cynical, from positive to pessimistic and from happy to hesitant. My reflex to expect the worst was in response to what has happened to me.

Trauma can potentially display an illusion into your future that’s being projected from your past.

Despite those dark turns, God kept me. The trauma was temporary while God’s love remains. The damage to my optimistic nature was repaired by the realness of God’s grace, protection, sovereignty and mercy. I have felt the power of the Holy Spirit move through me and shift catastrophes into celebrations. I’ve witnessed God dismiss the laws of nature in order for His Will for my life to go forth. I have to praise Him in response to what has happened to me.

Praise is the key that unlocks the solution to your problems.

When you direct your energies towards the One who gave you energy to expel, He delights in your genuine praise. Jesus died so that we could be in right relationship with His Father. It may be hard, but I challenge us all to embrace the accessibility to the Creator of the universe with our faith and our praises.

PTSD – Praising The Savior Daily – can literally make all the difference in the world.

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.

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