I watched my mom and dad get up and go to work everyday, and now that I am older I can’t help but to wonder did they really enjoy what they did for a living? Like most high school students we all have expressed what we felt our career goals and choices would be. A pediatrician, a doctor, a lawyer, etc. knowing all too often those career goals are not achieved. My mom worked for over 20 years as a grocery store clerk, and my father as a recreation supervisor. Both honorable careers, that kept food on our table, gave me and my sister the best, it took us on vacations, and even we were not rich we were not poor by a long shot. At least as kids it didnt seem like it. But I can’t help but to wonder, was that the career that they dreamed of doing? Was that the career they dreamed of as a child. Or did they like so many others end up in a job that pays the bills due to circumstances. VERY FEW PEOPLE IN LIFE GET TO DO WHAT THEY LOVE AND GET PAID FOR IT. Very few people get to follow their life passion and make a good living from it. I remember my late aunt, as I would pick her up from her first job as a food service worker at a hospital to a job as a security night watchman. And she would tell me make sure I got my education. And maybe thats why so many of our elders had the same advice because they did not want to see us fall into the same situation.

I AM BLESSED to be able to do something I love and make a decent living at it. I couldn’t see doing anything else with my life. Though it is very difficult at times I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Sometimes I walk away from the office and can’t believe I actually get paid to do this. I recognize that this opportunity is not afforded to everyone, and I am blessed to be able to do something that I am gifted to do and get paid for it.

At the end of the day I get great consolation in knowing that I gave my life in the service of helping others and I love my job



Stop Watching the Parade

One of my fondest childhood memories were the various parades we would go to. I can still taste the cotton candy, the smell of popcorn, and the pinwheels spinning in the breeze. Of course a good parade consists of two things: Those who are IN the parade, performing and showcasing various talents. And those who are on the sidelines watching, clapping and admiring those in the parade.

Life is similar to the parade scenario. There are those who are using, displaying, showcasing, and even profiting from the use of certain gifts and talents. And there are the countless others who are on the sidelines cheering, admiring, talking, coveting and are jealous of those who are IN the parade. I have decided that I cannot be one who is on the sidelines watching the parade as it passes me by. I would much rather be able to look back on my life and know that I was not content standing on the sidelines watching everyone else. But that I was an active participant giving the world my gifts, talents, and resources.

Of course we all have reasons why we did not take full advantage of certain opportunities; Things that we wish we would have accomplished, or at least attempted so we never have to surmise what would have happened if I would have done so and so. I can’t speak for you, but I can speak for myself. I have spent ample time watching the parade. Sometimes because of my own fears and issues, and at other times just simply watching instead of participating. When I didn’t step up, I would say to myself I could have done a better job. During my high school years, I had the gifts, talents, and charisma to my high school class president. Unfortunately I had a severe case of acne and it destroyed my self-image, self-esteem and my confidence. I missed out on a whole lot of opportunities because of that. Though my acne has cleared up and I am handsome as can be (J/K) I still am affected at times from the scars and residue of that experience. That is why even now when I see teens who may be having the same issues I did I really empathize with them because I know what it is like to walk in their shoes. But I am determined to Stop watching the parade. A great preacher of our time T.D. Jakes was published in time magazine saying that his goal in life is to breathe out every creative thought that God has placed in him before he dies. I like that.

I have always been an avid reader. Enjoying poems especially. Recently I watched a movie entitled “Akeelah and the Bee” and there was a portion of a poem by Marianne Williamson that was really inspirational to me and I want to leave it with you. And again STOP WATCHING THE PARADE!!! You have too much to offer and the world is waiting.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about your shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us. It is in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Forever Grateful

I am a gospel preacher! I love the way that sounds! I could not see doing anything else with my life and gifts. I get no other joy than helping people, which often extends beyond the preaching moment. Since the begining of my ministry I have been blessed to have been touched and impacted by great men of God. I know I would not be who I am, or what little I am if it had not been for men who have taken time and interest in my development as a gospel preacher.

My grandfather was the earliest eccesiastical model I had. I would sit in awe as a little boy and watch my grandfather preach for what seemed like hours. (Back in those days if you didn’t preach for 2 hours nobody would come to hear you, nowadays if you preach for two hours nobody will want to hear you) He would always take his coat off and preach in his vest. Walking and preaching! Punctuating his discourse by saying “Y’all lookin at me funny” and I wanted to use big words like him.

My father was also a preacher. His gift clearly and uniquely was teaching. I wondered how he would see some of the things he could see in a text. When I started preaching he would challenge me to delve and stay with the text. While members of one church we became good friends with the Pastor’s family. On occasion he would drop us off at school and in the summer for day camp. Even as a pre-teen I remember admiring how “busy” and how much in demand he seemed to be, and even then I believe the Lord was giving me a commercial before I even knew it.

I started preaching at 19 years age (whew! thats 18 years ago) under Pastor Willie Radcliff. It was through him I got both the importance of the preaching task and the lifestyle that should accompany the preacher. Though he never went to college or seminary he taught me the value of burning the midnight oil and giving yourself to study, and making sure you are as simple as you can be. If the food is too high only the giraffes can eat. But if its on the ground both giraffes and sheep can eat it. I have never met anyone like him. He taught me the value of giving and helping those in need. Much of what I know practically, both in and outof thepulpit, I learned from him.

Though, I started preaching at 19 I delayed my calling because as I looked at the “grand” tradition of african-american preaching, I looked at that and decided that I can’t do that. I still would say personally that I am a better teacher that preacher. God used the Bishop Kenneth Ulmer to validate that I didn’t have to be like anyone else but use the gift God had given to me. Bishop’s style of preaching was basically that of a teacher. The Lord used him to show me that I didnt have to fit in anybodys mold I could be myself. After hearing him preach, I never saw preaching the same. He officially modeled expository preaching at its best. Context, language, and culture. After hearing him for the first time he had me hooked! I would go to his 7a.m. service to hear him exegete the Word of God. He has been a model that I must admit I imitate and emulate.

I thank God for my models and mentors and now I look to give to others what I have received, and I pass it on as freely as I can.