Rev Fave

Do You Know The Way?

Read More

“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.

Forgive Me

Read More

Forgiveness is a healing agent; repairing the spiritual wounds caused by others as well as myself. The internal process of forgiveness remains the most difficult as I continue to navigate through life as an imperfect person – destined to make mistakes. I’m always trying to “fix” things, so when I break something (e.g., hurt someone unintentionally), I wouldn’t initially forgive; I’d beat myself up more than anyone else ever could.

When I think of the situations I should have avoided or the people I shouldn’t have trusted – I found it hard to forgive myself for placing my life in harm’s way.

Through God’s Word and continuous prayer, He reminds me that He has forgiven me; therefore, it’s okay to forgive myself.

I refer to forgiveness as “healing and repairing” because it is something that lives in the present with me. In order for forgiveness to work in my life, I must keep it in the NOW; I cannot leave it in the past nor anticipate it in the future.

As it relates to others, I need forgiveness to release the pain caused by others. It has nothing to do with their remorse or apology. As we hold on to their actions, it erodes us from within. The anger, bitterness, resentfulness, etc. spills over into other areas of our lives. I’m called to lead in a world predestined to work against me. If I hold on to what others have done to me, I threaten the destruction of my purpose and weaken my effectiveness to live in that purpose.

Forgiveness is not an option, it’s a mandate from God that keeps my adversaries from winning. Despite it’s non-negotiable status, it is one of the most excruciating actions to employ; but thank God it gets better with time.

My spiritual, physical, professional and personal goals are directly linked to my being a man. Forgiveness is an invisible action with highly visible results. In the natural, I thought it would make me appear weak. In the spiritual, I’ve learned how forgiveness is like strength training for my soul. It keeps my sins from being remembered by God. It is the sledgehammer that breaks the lock of guilt, depression, anger, envy, anxiety and bitterness. The caveat is that the sledgehammer is heavy at times. Thank God I’m a man with upper-body strength!

Thankfully and prayerfully, God grants us the strength to wield that sledgehammer of forgiveness, regardless of our size. The process starts with Him. It continues with Him. I didn’t truly understand what it meant to be a man until I embraced the potency of forgiveness. It has healed  decades of self-hate, bitterness against those who probably don’t remember my name and blockage between me and the Almighty God who has forgiven me countless times.

The process of forgiveness has saved my life… eternally.

 

 

 

Old Man, Young Preacher

Read More

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.

 

 

 

I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye to My Sister

Read More
He never looked so excited. His smile never stretched that wide. I hadn’t been home from college five minutes and he’s got me on the road again. Dude never drove so fast. Why are we flying to East Chicago? What’s her name? You know that light was red, right? We couldn’t stop by Ray’s Shrimp on the way out here? It’s like that???
 
When we arrived at your apartment, he couldn’t get out the car quick enough. He couldn’t walk the pavement swift enough. He couldn’t wait to get to you. He couldn’t wait for me to meet you. I’d known him all my life and I had never seen him so happy, eager and enamored. Meeting you, seeing your smile for the first time and the effect it had on him – I understood why his actions were so unorthodox. You took his breath away and the look on his face made me forget about the shrimp with hot and mild sauce on it and to the side. From the moment he introduced you, I knew you weren’t going anywhere.

I was meeting my sister for the very first time.

Praise God I wasn’t losing my brother — but gaining a sister, a niece and here comes a nephew. You never stopped smiling. When we lost my brother, you never stopped being my sister. Years of galavanting across the country couldn’t stop you from reaching out to me and we’d laugh and joke about the good ol’ days and how God good continued to be in our lives.
 
Our last conversation, I was driving and we talked for hours about my brother, your children, the past, the future, our life challenges and how God would see us through it all.
 
Ironically, during my last conversation with my brother, I was driving and we talked for hours about you, your children, the past, the future, our life challenges and how God would see us through it all.
 
And for the same reason, I have no regrets of conversations never spoken. We laughed. We joked. We prayed. We did that. I have that. I will always be your little brother.
 
But none of that prepared me for any of this. I simply wasn’t ready. I didn’t expect our last conversation to be our last conversation. All I can say with any confidence is “Thank You, Jesus” for keeping you here for as long as He did. I’m praying God’s comfort to blanket your children, family members and friends. I’m praising God for your smile, that slender grin that changed the life of my best friend, extended our family and increased the love. I’m thanking God for the legacy of your laughter, sincerity and willingness to help others.
 
God bless you, Darveen. Rest, my sister…rest.

We Need A Few Saved Men

Read More

I’ve seen the face of hopelessness and his beard was immaculate. The sunken eyes of shattered dreams rest securely behind the tinted glasses of designer frames. Anger and rage pulsate in veins that throb against dress shirt collars kept close by bowties and sportcoats. The battle lines for souls are drawn across the strong chest that’s covered in orange jump suits; blanketing a bleeding heart that beats inside a cage…subconsciously begging to be saved.

When I see my brother making a conscious decision to get saved and give his life to Jesus Christ, it is a victory won against the enemy that sought to destroy him. And I understand the road to salvation is often paved with discouragement, challenges, temptations and dangers.

Upon salvation, it often gets worst as you have made yourself the enemy’s prime target. Through salvation, the miracle of God transforming every circumstance into a catalyst for glory — is a wonder to behold, if we hold on to faith until it overrides fact. It energizes my spirit to see men…young men…young, black men…make that decision to choose life when the world shows, practices and ultimately wants to administer death.

The world has always had good men. Now more than ever, the world is in need of saved men. I’m beyond ecstatic to see them transforming before my eyes – one baptism at a time – because there’s so much work to do. There are so many lives to be revolutionized. There are so many families to be built, restored and rescued. There are so many businesses and organizations that require a saved man’s leadership. There are communities whose vitality hangs in the balance and waits for the intercession of saved men with steps ordered by God to do the impossible and change the world.

Regardless of the calamity shared in our society’s media, I know that a few saved men are being made everyday. The battle is on and popping. The war is already won. All we gotta do is give our time, talents and treasures to the Lord.

I praise God that a few saved men can do with Him what a few good men could never do without.

Behind the Selfie

Read More

For more than 10 years, I’ve called social media our “best foot forward” in terms of sharing our thoughts, life events and appearances. It’s the digital equivalent of teenagers hanging out at the mall on a Saturday afternoon; and I don’t expect to see you out there in a dingy robe, house shoes and a bonnet on your head – smelling like bacon and syrup.

Some of us are out there like that, though.

For every person that posts the immaculate selfie, a cautionary status directed at their “haters” or a gushy relationship status — there’s someone who’s not happy with their appearance, feel inferior because they think no one likes them or compressed by the gravity of loneliness. And they aren’t teenagers; these emotions grip the lives of middle-aged parents, professionals and even the elderly.

We see your blessings. We celebrate your milestones. I thank God for technology that connects us like never before. Behind the selfies are bruises from abusive relationships – internal and external. Your children are ’bout that life and you pray that, when the phone rings, it’s not someone asking you to come ID their body or bail them out of jail. The lie of worthlessness keeps you on the ledge of suicidal thoughts.

You’re on FB for the sole purpose of stalking his page, going through her photos and reliving a season long gone…and painful. You’re one check away from homelessness. You can’t stand your marriage. You hate your job. You don’t see the point of school. Some days, you don’t see the point of you.

That’s what I see often behind the smiles of social media. It is indeed our best foot forward; yet our shoes are dirty, worn and uncomfortable. My God wants us to follow Him – he doesn’t have a 5,000 friend limit. My prayer is that He heals our heart – so what’s left is joy. When joy cohabits with your circumstances, it gives your situation purpose and leverages your life challenges into testimonies.

Thank God for touching the statuses we don’t post, wiping the tears that fall after the selfie is taken and restoring the life we work tirelessly to polish before others who are hurting, too.

5 Things Baby Boomers Need to Get Through Their Heads

Read More

*This doesn’t apply to all Baby Boomers but there’s been enough repetition of thought from them in my world that compelled me to write this prose*

I get it.

You are reveled as the wealthiest, most active, physically fit generation in American history. You’ve experienced the highest levels of income, often with a modicum of education, thanks to an industrial-based economy. Your upward mobility meant access to an excess of food, apparel, retirement programs, and discretionary products. You fed this capitalistic society well with your abundant consumerism. For most of your lives, you have been blessed and highly favored.

More importantly, Boomers raised us: the Generation X’ers, Y’ers and Millennials. You want the best for us; but it seems many of you think we should implement the exact methods you applied to achieve the same lifestyle – as if the world around us hasn’t changed (largely due to your generation’s influence, actions and population).

But the world has changed. Dramatically.

The (financial, emotional and physical) stability – in which you may have basked in during your 20s – is something many of us have yet to realize as we approach our mid-30s and early-40s. There are many dynamics that have impacted us to this point. But instead of pointing fingers, I’ve recognized some ideologies between us that need to be addressed; specifically in five (5) areas I’m compelled to put out there:

01 We Will Never Work The Way You Do
Show me someone who works 30 years at the same company and retire with their pension intact and I’ll show you a baby boomer who’s incredibly blessed. I applaud that kind of blessing, but I abhor your condescending expectation for us to do the same. That’s not our reality and it doesn’t make us flaky, wishy-washy or unstable because we, on average, change jobs every 3-5 years if not starting our own businesses.

Steady paycheck? Benefits? Yes, those are great things you enjoyed on general principle. Take it from someone who’s been downsized, re-organized and had contracts expire from some of the largest corporations in the world…there’s no such thing as a steady paycheck just because get a job working for someone else. That blessing can shift in the blink of an eye. Don’t believe me? Ask my old neighbor, Mr. Roy, a 59-year old baby boomer whose company folded during his 29th year of employment and now has no pension (and subsequently is STILL working). Our economy is different. You know this. So stop expecting us to work the way you worked. It’s not feasible. It’s not available. It’s not the same as it was when you worked hard. We have to work smart and our career paths are paved with many experiences with many companies, maybe even our own.

02 Health is Wealth
Steroids. Pesticides. GMO’s. Service industries that demand we sit at desks for longer hours, staring at a light bulb (aka your computer monitor) and snacking on processed, high carb viddles from the vending machine next to the Keurig pumping out low-grade caffeine disguised as coffee. Do you realize that we’re not projected to live as long as you are? Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc. are all a result of lifestyle and societal influence.

Watch the film, Food, Inc. It’s inevitable that we are leading less healthy lives than you are. It’s ultimately our choice but we are not lazy bums. We are not trying to kill ourselves. We have more gyms than ever before with the most advanced medical breakthroughs in history, but we’re still dying and most of us will die younger than you. And when you tell us how fat we are or how we need to eat less or how much sleep we need; while you’re still serving pork-boiled vegetables, red meat and carb-laden Sunday dinners…that’s not hot, fam.

03 Different Doesn’t Mean Wrong
Calling does seem more effective than texting to you. Social media goes beyond spying on your grandkids’ Facebook page. Instagram is not the best platform to post the pictures from your flip phone. But just because we communicate differently doesn’t mean we got it wrong. Stop acting like your way is always the best way. That’s arrogance and it taints wisdom. The result is your wisdom becomes diluted and something, designed to help your wisdomless children, will miss us because you’re too busy criticizing along with your advice instead of focusing on helping with your expertise.

04 You Were Right vs I Told You So
We need your wisdom, not your indignation. It is such a better feeling to have us let you know you were right versus your taunting us, consciously and subconsciously, when things don’t happen for us in which you warned us. It makes you unapproachable and, again, potentially denies us access to the wisdom you do have. No one wants to hear “I told you so” in any medium but letting you know you were right shows that the lesson was learned and we can move on to the next level. That is what you want us to do, right?

The fifth area allows me to end this on a high note (pun intended):

05 Your Music Was Better
Concept albums. Live musicians. Dynamic vocalists. No AutoTune. Cultural expression. Political activism. Meaningful lyrics. I have no argument in the area of music because your generation had no chill when it came to cranking out timeless compositions.

But we did give you hip-hop and on the cool, our indie scene is incredible.

If you could just pause and see that we are doing the best with what you gave us, I’m sure we could communicate better. In return, we won’t be so much on the defensive. And please excuse those of our generation who are NOT trying and have a sense of entitlement.This doesn’t apply to all of our respective generations, but it happens enough in my environment to say something.

We are working smart with the same level of intensity that you worked hard. We have more health challenges than you will ever know. Our differences do not equal our flaws nor your superiority of thought. As we learn lessons, the easy and/or hard way, let us come to you and show you what we’ve learned and how your being right helped us become a little wiser. Stop waiting to slam us with our mistakes. You didn’t do everything right either.

If we can simply respect each other’s views as adults who live in the most free country on earth, then maybe…just maybe we can swap playlists.

Does God Give You More Than You Can Bear?

Read More

God will never put more on you than you can bear, right? Right? RIGHT?

Wrong.

Several events in my life have been more than I could bear. It crushed me. It scrambled my mind to the point of disorientation and a relentless search for a logic that wasn’t there. My natural senses couldn’t comprehend the pain. My emotional stability was shaken to the core and tried to unravel at the seams before me.

There’s no way my upbringing, education, social status or professional acumen could help me withstand the colossal levels of ratchetry, earthly mayhem and spiritual chaos in my life. It was too much. It IS too much for me. And while God didn’t “put it on me” – He definitely allowed it and it’s exponentially more than I could ever handle.

And that’s the point.

I should’ve cracked. You should’ve snapped. We should not be here right now. But the reason you are is not because of you. God purposefully allows circumstances to exceed our capacity because that’s where His perfect love, wisdom and strength comes in to handle situations beyond our control. With Him, we can handle it. With God, we can do anything. Our weakness activates His strength and what becomes more than we can bear, suddenly becomes a triumph in His name.

But you need Him. Life is structured so that things go beyond our control to remind us that He is in control. You weren’t designed to deal with it alone, but thank God you are never alone.

The next time something happens, don’t trip. You weren’t made to bear it. You were hardwired to give it to God and by his strength, you got this because God’s got you.

It Is Not All Black and White

Read More

Black man,

There is a nasty lie being smeared across the face of America – that your life has no value. This lie is trying to work itself into our pores until we sweat and stink like it’s an ugly truth. But it’s still a lie. The truth is there are still more of you graduating from college than being shuffled inside correctional facilities. The truth is many of you are faithful and loving to your wives and children. The truth is there are more of you that are millionaires and business owners than any other time in history. The truth is that you are not lacking value, but God’s strength in you, His plan for you, your talents – your ability to love, build, create, defend and stand…makes you priceless.

Read More

Prayer For Life

Read More

We read instruction manuals and spend time with our computers, phones, apps, etc. so we can use them in our daily life. Yet when this life struggle gets real… we often can’t summon a verse to our minds for comfort, confirmation or encouragement because we haven’t studied the instruction manual (Bible) or spent some “for real for real” time with God (i.e., prayer).

Do you know how annoying Facebook would be if we didn’t use it daily? Imagine if you had to read the steps on how to check messages, post photos and write statuses EVERYTIME we wanted to use it – simply because we used it so infrequently?

Nah, B. we STAY on this thing.

What if we STAYED in the Word? Think about how your prayers would flow if you talked to God on the regular. I’m not talking about “bible thumpin’” everywhere you go or constantly screaming at God with tears and snot oozing out your head (however, if that’s how you get down – then do you, boo).

Consider starting your day with prayer. As my feet hit the floor, I say “Thank (right foot) You (left foot) Lord (stand up).” There are prayer warriors getting down every morning on prayer calls where you can call in and start your day with prayer.

You got “fifty-leven” apps. Download the YouVersion Bible app to your phone/tablet and start with the “Verse of the Day.” Just kick it with God for a moment…He’ll do the rest.

When people start working your last nerve OR you wanna slap somebody to sleep OR sickness attacks you(r family) OR you simply need encouragement OR you need to encourage someone else — we don’t always have time to hunt for our Bible and fumble towards a verse. You don’t wanna have to spend the first five minutes of prayer apologizing and feeling God’s side-eye because you ain’t prayed since Obama won the FIRST time.

When the Word is already inside of you, it enables you to be more effective and just flow with yours — because you’ve spent time with the instruction manual as well as the One who inspired it. I can’t front and say it guarantees you an easy life, but it definitely equips you when life gets hard.

Clef two-factor authentication