Tag Archives: friends

Precious People Along the Way

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” 
― Donald Miller

One of Imagethe best things I have discovered as a pastor is that relationships are more important than missions, money, movements or any of that other good stuff.  As a church family, we are multi-faceted not monolithic and it is our charge to “love one another.”  Through constant worship and praise, fellowship, and changing dynamics we discover who each of us really are.  I’ve pastored several churches and the most memorable things are the people I’ve associated with.  I remember Mother Stokes at Rock of Ages; I cherish her because she adopted me when my mother died in 1994.  I remember Annie Ruth Jones, Woodlawn CME Church, she was loyal to me even when she knew I was wrong; she ensured I had space to grow and develop.  I remember Barbara Harris, Jones Chapel CME Church who was diagnosed with stomach cancer, but God healed her to the astonishment of her doctors.  I remember Paige Perry, Trinity CME, as she weeped and worried that her mother would die; but God lifted her mother up off that hospital bed and she still lives today.  I remember Mother Cornelia Ingram, St. Paul CME,  and Betty Henderson, Trinity CME, who held my foot to the fire and made me accountable.  And my Assistant Pastor (:-) Sister Marianne Acee, St. Paul CME who could get a plan activated much quicker than I could.  Sister Patricia Brassel, Lane Chapel CME, continues to teach me many valuable lessons about relationships and I am so glad to have a big sister like her.

Men were also formative in my journey as pastor.  Gene R. Dean, Larry Anders, Earnest Jarrett, Kenneth Wells, Alvin Jackson, Ronald Turk, Joe Cornelius, Theron Winzer, Willie Bradford, Jr., Green P. Lewis, Dr. Joseph Carter, Nathan Jones, Herman Lewis, Larry Anderson, Willie Prather, Travis Griffin, Malachi Cook, and the many other strong men of our church.  Al Devin Jackson, a young boy whom God gifted to play the piano who had never touched a keyboard, but who prayed and God answered the need of the church for a musician.  Now he’s young man leading music ministry at several churches.  Bishop Joseph C. Coles, my 1st bishop who ordained me deacon and prophesized over my life and ministry.  Bishop Otha H. Lakey, who sheltered me in the time of a storm and who became my father after my biological father passed in 1991.  Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr., my present bishop who showed the confidence of the church in my integrity by recommending me as Conference Treasurer.  These men taught me to be strong, courageous, and fair; they leaned in the trenches with me and helped me navigate through dark and deep waters. The list goes on and on.  My point is the people of each church where I have served helped in my personal development in so many ways.

In reflection, I cherish the relationships I’ve had over the years.  They have been more meaningful than any success in missions, money, or movements.  These people and others have been instrumental in teaching me how to love myself and God’s people.  Relationships matter; and when you view people as you should, each person you come in contact with has something to learn from you and something to teach you.  Never discount the value of any relationship you experience; they all matter!  What a blessed life I’ve been priviliged to experience thus far; and the best is yet to come!

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The Value of Teamwork

A loner is out to get what he wants for himself. He opposes all sound reasoning. A fool does not find joy in understanding but only in expressing his own opinion. (Proverbs 18:1, 2 GWT)

A man set his sights on becoming rich and powerful. He made his plans, gathered his resources, and started on his journey. He met a lawyer who wanted to help him volunteering to be a part of his team. The man thought how much that would cost and refused. Further along he met a doctor who volunteered to be his physician, the man also refused. He then met a CPA who volunteered to keep his financial records organized. But this man saw no need of him either; he was totally capable of handling his own affairs. Finally, this man met a beautiful woman who offered him her unconditional love. He had no time for love at this point in his life.

The man ruthlessly pursued his dream and obtained riches and power. He gloated with pride and bragged on his success though he had offended so many.

One day a letter arrived notifying him of a lawsuit that would reduce him to poverty should he lose the case. He needed a lawyer; but he was without one. He became worried and frustrated leading to a stroke. He had no physician whom he could trust. The lawsuit called for a strict accounting of his financial records; he had a few weeks to respond but no accountant. Hospitalized and alone he needed someone to care; the only woman who had offered was gone.

Lying in bed alone and facing ruin, he who would not listen learned the value of teamwork. Greatness demands having the right members on your team!

Beware of Flattery from your Enemies

If a person demonstrates that he or she is your enemy, treat them accordingly. Don’t play with your enemies and don’t believe the situation between you has changed without some form of conflict resolution.

Your enemy is never your friend. When your enemy becomes your biggest cheerleader beware. I’m reminded of what the snake said to Bre Rabbit after Bre Rabbit carried him in his coat pocket until his health returned. The snake bit Bre Rabbit and when Bre Rabbit protested, the snake said, “Bre Rabbit you knowed I was a snake when you see’d me.” Your enemy is never your friend without some concrete form of conflict resolution.

Jesus dealt with His enemies as enemies. Jesus knew their flattery would always precede a trap being sprung. Here is a case in point:

“Then the Pharisees went away and planned to trap Jesus into saying the wrong thing. They sent their disciples to him along with Herod’s followers. They said to him, “Teacher, we know that you tell the truth and that you teach the truth about the way of God. You don’t favor individuals because of who they are. So tell us what you think. Is it right to pay taxes to the emperor or not?” Jesus recognized their evil plan, so he asked, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites? Show me a coin used to pay taxes.”They brought him a coin. He said to them, “Whose face and name is this?” They replied, “The emperor’s.”Then he said to them, “Very well, give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and give God what belongs to God.” They were surprised to hear this. Then they left him alone and went away (Matthew 22:15-22).”

Beware of flattery from your enemies. Pray for them but don’t be misled by them. Ask yourself, “Have we resolved our issues?” If not, protect your destiny and keep it moving.