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.

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.

 

 

 

Two Years a Preacher

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On 26 January 2014, I preached my first sermon entitled “Get Down to Get Up.” This message of humility before God, as a catalyst for elevation on earth, is the foundation of my being a preacher. It is my reminder to remain humble in the presence of the LORD and never get caught up in the accolades that often come with being a man of God.

As a preaching son of The Antioch M.B. Church of Pratt City, I’m blessed to serve under the tutelage of Dr. Q.E. Hammonds – one of the most learned, influential pastors in the country. My spiritual learning is enhanced further as I work alongside seven (7) brothers-in-ministry with varied levels of Biblical knowledge and life experiences. My church is compromised of wise elders, progressive adults and brilliant children. We are well-respected in the community and overflowing with love for each other. I am in a blessed place.

It’s been two years since my first sermon and I’ve been privileged to deliver eight (8) Sunday morning sermons in addition to several Words of Encouragement messages on Wednesday nights (after Bible Study). In two years, I’ve been blessed to share at our district conventions, lead our Order of Service and most recently reflect on the theme of our church’s centennial anniversary, “We’ve Come Thus Far by Faith.”

In two years, I’ve attended more funerals than ever before. The LORD and my family saw fit for me to eulogize my 43-year old cousin. Random pit stops at my church turned into teaching bible study with our senior members (i.e., Lunch With Jesus). God continually finds a way for me to serve Him, humbly.

My friendships are deeper. Apparently, my friends weren’t surprised at my call to ministry and I can see where their authenticity has grown in our conversations. Some have refrained from cursing around me *lol* while others quietly encourage me or ask for prayer. I find myself praying a lot with and for my friends. I’m thankful to be able to be a friend to them in that way.

My role as a father has an added dimension. All men are priests of their home; yet it’s different when you’re a single father who’s experienced separation, divorce, long distance and sorrow from not being in the home. Nevertheless, my children are my first ministry and preaching Jesus to them in a way where they can access God in their walk as children, is one of my greatest joys.

I realize that my two years as a preacher has shown me that I can still be a loner (and I’m working on that) when it comes to studying, praying and interacting with people outside of church. I understand that I’m a better writer than I am a speaker.  I’m working hard to allow the eloquence and practicality of my words to leap off the page in a way that my oratory has the same impact. My third revelation is rooted in the power of prayer to revolutionize my situation. It’s amazing. God is amazing.

Thanking God for my two years a preacher and praying I continue to grow in grace for many years to come.

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