The year 2020 has been an exceptionally eventful year.  We have been observers to history being made in numerous areas – the global pandemic, politics of the day, and other social issues.  And of course, everyone has an opinion on these issues.  With the technology of today, everyone has easy, immediate and almost unlimited access to information via broadcast news, online news and social media.  Someone famously stated, “information is power”, but I think as believers that an overload of information can be detrimental to our emotional and spiritual well-being.  Let me explain…

The recent death of George Floyd while being arrested in Minneapolis has captured the nation’s attention and been the catalyst for numerous demonstrations in multiple cities, some of which have been accompanied by violence.  We all want to know the latest developments on all fronts; many have chosen to give voice to their feelings on this situation.  The result is that we find ourselves scouring the news outlets and social media for more information, to argue our viewpoint and see the positions of others we know.

Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (NKJV). We as Christians should think of our hearts as a gateway or checkpoint that we guard diligently.  What goes into the heart will inevitably come out, in various forms.  What does this mean in practical terms?

As a person of color, I know that if I consume too much information about the social injustices of our society, a seed of anger will take root and grow within me.  That anger, if unchecked, will come out in my interactions with my fellow citizens, my fellow brethren in Christ, especially those who are white.  That same anger, if checked and kept inside, can begin to fester inside and damage me emotionally, physically, and most of all, spiritually.  I cannot let anger separate me from my relationship with God.  

So part of my mandate from God is to be the guardian of what enters my heart, through the portals of my eyes, ears and brain.  I need to “know my limit” of information I can consume before frustration, resentment, pressure and ungodly thoughts start pushing their way to the front.  Another part of my mandate is to be an ambassador for Christ; to be the “only Jesus” some people will see.  How I conduct myself in challenging times is what will be remembered.

I would ask us all to enlist God’s help in finding the balance between being well-informed, speaking out on pertinent issues, and not allowing negativity or anger to find a foothold within us.  As Yoda famously said in the Star Wars movies, “anger leads to the dark side.”  Let’s all walk in the Light.


Happy 2020!


God recently dropped a little insight on me from a fairly familiar passage of scripture in the Gospels – the Parable of the Talents, taken from Matthew 14:29-30.  In the parable, there are three servants who are entrusted with funds from their master while he goes away on an extended journey.  The overall lesson that we should take away from this story is that God gives us responsibilities and gifts, and that we should make the most of what he has given us.  

You may recall from the story that the three servants were given five, two, and one talent respectively.  There were no explicit instructions given to the servants, although the master made it clear upon his return that he expected his servants to anticipate his desire to receive a return on the investment he had given them.  Let’s take a closer look at the second servant for a few minutes, however…

We know that the second servant was entrusted with two talents, and was able to double that amount for his master’s benefit.  That’s what he DID; consider what he DIDN’T do, for a moment.  He could have easily looked down his nose at the servant with one talent and thought to himself how much more trustworthy he was to get twice as much as his fellow servant.  It is human nature to take pride in our achievements, responsibilities and positions.  This can easily turn into smugness and an ungodly pride.

The second servant also didn’t look at the one who received five talents and say, “Why does he get more than me?  I’m just as good as him.”  Jealousy is something we all have to guard against when we see others do well in the financial realm as well as spiritual areas.

We can take inspiration (as we rightly should) from the first servant who received the most talents and was able to increase what was given him.  I believe we should also be inspired by the second servant, who, when given less than the first, still managed to make the most of what was entrusted to him.  In the end, he was rewarded by his master for his faithfulness.

I think it’s important for us who aspire to greater things in our walk with God and perhaps greater responsibility in our local church, to ask our selves, “Am I being faithful in the ‘few things’ in order to be proven capable of being the ‘ruler over many’?”  After all, in this parable, the master gave out the talents according to the ability of his servants.  In other words, God knows what we can handle – even if we sometimes may not.

For me, what this all boils down to is this – whatever God has you doing in this season, do it to the best of your ability.  Don’t look at what people around you have been given or are doing; stay in your lane, as the saying goes.

Much has been written, spoken of, and preached about the subject of forgiveness.  It’s a subject that seems to be both easily understood but also deeply complex.  At one time or another we’ve probably found ourselves in the position of needing forgiveness or needing to forgive someone.  Jesus makes it very plain in the Gospels that we are to forgive those who offend us (Matt 6:14-15, Mark 11:25-26).  He adds in these passages that we need to forgive others so that God will forgive us. 


But what about repeat offenders?  If someone causes me hurt and I forgive them, what if they do it again?  In Matt 18:21, the disciple Peter poses this very question to Jesus.  Peter even offers a possible number of times to forgive the offender – seven.  Jesus counters with a response that was probably unexpected – “up to seventy times seven”.  Of course, Jesus didn’t literally mean 490 times should be the forgiveness limit (70×7), but that our capacity for forgiveness should be limitless, just like God’s capacity to forgive us.  Can you imagine if God had a cosmic counter that counted down our allotment of “forgiveness chits”?  We would all be quaking in our boots!


Do you have what it takes to forgive?  An example of what I call “next level forgiveness” was demonstrated earlier this year in the trial of Amber Guyger, a Dallas police officer convicted of the murder of Botham Jean.  During the delivery of Victim Impact statements, the victim’s younger brother, Brandt Jean, publicly stated that he forgave his brother’s murderer and expressed a desire for her to turn to Christ.  He then amazingly hugged Guyger in the courtroom. 


This scenario demonstrates another aspect of forgiveness.  In Matthew 18:34-35, the wicked servant who refused to forgive a debt after he had received forgiveness for a debt himself was turned over to the torturers.  We are warned that God will do the same to those who do not forgive.  Now we know that no one will be showing up at our door to physically abuse us, so what is meant when the Word says torturers?  The original Greek translation of the word used for “torturer” also uses “tormenter” in the definition.  In other words, harboring unforgiveness causes us to be tormented or tortured; this can have physical and emotional manifestations outside of the spiritual implications. 


If not addressed, unforgiveness will fester and hurt us.  In a different scenario in Acts 8:23, Peter mentions being “poisoned by bitterness”.  God is letting us know that even though we may have been wronged, by not forgiving the offender, we are in fact hurting ourselves.  The offender may be blissfully going on about his/her business, not even knowing that an injury has been caused, meanwhile we are imprisoned and tortured by bitterness and resentment, caused by unforgiveness.


Here is the message – forgiveness is not so much for the offender, it is for us, the offended.  It frees us from a self-made prison.  God does this because he loves us enough to make us face the pain of the hurt and move through it, rather than remaining there indefinitely.  It may not be easy, but it’s for our good.

Hello all:

This past Sunday we discussed Identity and Purpose.  Our subject title was “Who Are You – Really?”  This to me means that we all have both an Identity and a Purpose designated by God.  Let’s dive into this a little further…

As Christians, we should realize that we all have value to God.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:29-31 that a bird as common as a sparrow can’t fall to the ground without God knowing about it, and that we as his children have a lot more value than a sparrow.  What does this boil down to?  For me, it makes me think about a parking space – yes, a parking space.  Not very spiritual sounding, is it?

For me, because I know God cares about the seemingly mundane things in my life, I figure I can trust him to provide a parking spot for me when I’m out running errands.  If the very hairs on my head are numbered as Jesus said, God would care about something this small as well.  So, off I go looking for God to provide a parking spot in a crowded lot.  Now I can’t say my success rate is 100% (gotta stay humble), but God comes through more often than not.  As I learn to trust Him for little things, my faith will grow to trust him for bigger things.  Because I matter to God, I can believe that he will provide for me.  I identify as His child.

As a man, it seems that I am “hard wired” by God to strongly identify and connect with what I do for a living.  I think that’s why when we meet a man for the first time and we’re striking up a conversation, “What do you do?” is one of the first things out of our mouths.  I believe our Creator gave us this strong connection with work so that we would provide for our families.  We as men struggle against having too strong of an identification with our jobs and letting other priorities such as spouse, family (and God) become a distant second.

I believe this is why some professional athletes struggle when their careers end due to injury or retirement.  If your identity is built around the fame, money, adulation and camaraderie that come from pro sports, you can be like a rudderless ship when it all ends.  I’ve also noted that some people with everyday jobs often are dead within a few years of retirement because their identity has been too focused on the job.

As a child of God, I have an assignment from God to fulfill that gives me Identity and Purpose outside of any job.  My assignment also gives me an Identity and Purpose independent of any circumstances that come along – wealth, poverty, sickness, conflict on the home front, struggles with sin – whatever.

My focus is on “laying hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me” (Phil 3:12).  That’s why I ask myself periodically, “Who Are You – Really?”