Tag Archives: people

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!

Advertisements

Motivated to Excellence by Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” ~ (2 Tim 1:7, HCSB)

For as early as I can remember, I have always had this nagging fear of dying and no one knows me. Thus, I have not wanted a house in the country 2-3 miles from my neighbors. I have not wanted a job locked away in solitude to enjoy my work alone. I have wanted to do spectacular noticeable things to ensure someone would know I had lived.

In 2006, of all the things I could have done, I bought a house in the country.  It was a 3 bedroom 2 bath home on a country road in Greenville, Georgia.  For a time I was happy, but alas it is a place I realize I may never live in again.  My fears beckoned me to leave, to return to a place crowded with people.  I guess you could say, I am a city fellow now.  But I know its not because I like people, its because I fear being unknown, of being insignificant, of dying and no one attend my funeral.  

I was beckoned away from the country by a call to serve in Louisiana by a long-time friend.  The service I would render would increase my knowledge among an even wider audience.  I left without hesitation although I was already known by many people, one never can tell who will forget one.  So off I went to discover another place, I had left over 20 years before. Because of these fears, I have and continue to be motivated to excel. And this impetus keeps me moving forward ensuring others will deem me worthy to be remembered. 

I agree that God has not given us “the spirit of fearfulness” but I also agree that fear is a natural part of the human experience.  Fear motivates us to action.  Fear is an activator of our fight or flight reflex.  Since, God has gifted us with “love, power, and sound judgment” to fight our innate fears and win, I overcome my fear with faith – the courage to do it afraid.  I choose to fight my fears by excellence and trying to make a difference in other peoples’ lives.  I choose to exist as a leader, a person who advocates for others, and a person who ensures he is noticed in the world.  People have commended me on my efforts and told me they have been helped throughout my journey.  Yet, their applause was not what I wanted; it was their friendship.  I most of all want to be remembered because to be remembered is mmortality to me.

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!