Words Hurt: Bad fathers are Evident…So are the good ones.

 

Hello,

It’s been a while since I have written anything.  Life has been happening and is still happening as we speak.  With school, my upcoming marriage, and children, time seems to get away from me.  This isn’t any excuse, per se.  Just an observation.

Speaking of children, I would like to talk about fathers for a second.  Yes, we get that annual day where we have the opportunity to be celebrated but there is a lot that is unseen during the other 364 days.  Now, I do not claim to be an expert in the art of Fatherhood, nor am I downplaying the art of Motherhood.  What seems to be prevalent are the numerous opinions and think-pieces about how there are so many bad fathers out there without too many opinions of think-pieces about the good ones:

The good ones that, despite lack of whatever, they still manage to sacrifice what they have so that their children get what they need.

The good ones that are trying to do the best that they can.

The good ones that are managing a career, school, etc. without neglecting their children.

Those guys.

Again, I am not trying to shame mothers in any way.  I just want the record straight.  When fatherhood is reduced to the showing of bad opinions, unresolved feelings, name calling and general disdain, it takes away from the MEN out here taking it to the max.  In other words, there could be a reason why “part-time dads”exist that have nothing to do with them actually being part-time.  Maybe, just maybe, their “part-time” status is not their doing.  Maybe, their “full-time” status has been reduced because of said issues above.  IT JUST MAY BE NOT THEIR FAULT!

For the Gentlemen doing the best that they can, this does not give you the option to slack off or stop.  This means that, despite what may be said about you, you keep doing what you’re doing…if not more.  Don’t let the words of some dictate how you help raise your children (some of this is directed right at me).  Stay focused, stay involved.  No matter the situation or circumstance, your impact matters.  You were given a gift(s) from God and the very least you can do is show appreciation by being present, involved, and dedicated.  That’s only the minimum.  The more you add makes it that much sweeter in the end.

Until next time…

(Photo courtesy of voicemalemagazine.org)

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Love in the Lunch

I was at work the other day and it was time for lunch.  I went to the fridge in the break room and took my lunch out. I opened the bag and put my container in the microwave to warm up my food.  When it was done I went to my desk to start eating.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  However, when I looked in the bag I saw a note.  It was a yellow sticky that read, “Have a good day at work babe.  I love you.”  Did I mention that my fiance was here visiting? Well, she was.  She was here for 10 days from Wednesday before Father’s Day until yesterday morning.  Normally, eating leftovers isn’t really a big deal but, there was something special about what was in the bag today.  She put love in my lunch.  This may not seem like a bog deal to some of you out there reading this but, to me, this was extra special.  For starters, I didn’t know she slipped the note in my lunch bag.  Second, she did it when I wasn’t really expecting it. Third, I wasn’t in the best mood since my car is acting up, yet again.  All I know that there was not in my bag that I did not expect and it was right on time.

This makes me think of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-2).  You see all throughout life we have the opportunity to do things to and for people.  We have the chance, every single day to do something good.  The key is that you have to do it in love otherwise, what’s the point? If I tell you that I am going to do something for you just to let you know that I did something for you, that’s not what it’s about.  If my service to humanity is insistent upon itself, I’m not doing what Paul, more so what Christ has been trying to teach us.  In fact, it’s just a bunch of noise for my own gratification.  Not cool at all.

I said all of this to say that I love the Love in the Lunch.  It really made me feel special and it definitely made my day brighter.  I’m looking forward to more of the same and can’t wait until I can’t return the love.

The Email That Never Leaves Your Outbox

I wrote an email once.  It was long and sort of detailed.  I was able to describe my feelings the best way I know how…sometimes. I talked about how I lost this and lost that; how I thought they were this or thought they were doing that.  It really was a powerful letter.  I mean, I poured my soul–what was left of it–onto my electronic paper.  My words were sharp and ready.  Was it too much?  No.  Was I letting all of it out? Sure.  I could go on and on about what I could have and should have and actually did say but, the thing of it is this:  I never sent it.  It stayed right there in my Outbox.  Sure I wanted to type the recipient’s address and send it on its way, but I didn’t.  The point I’m trying to make here is that there really are things that should be left unsaid.  There are some things that need to be carried to God and not to someone else. There are way too many things that we can never take back.  True, we can think whatever we want but, once they leave your mouth, all bets are off.  It changes everything. That’s one thing I’ve learned in these short years of my life.  When you throw those “rocks”, they don’t come back.  When you hit send, that email isn’t coming back.  Whatever you say has a one-way trip to whomever your saying it to.  You have to be careful.

Then again, you can always delete the email…

The Organism: Stronger Than The Building

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

 

There has been a tragic event that has happened.  My former church has been burned.  The church where I was raised.  The church where my Dad was Pastor for 17 years.  The church where my oldest was baptized.  The same church where I delivered my very first sermon is now in structural ruin.  I’m trying my absolute best to not let my anger show at this time so, I am asking God and you for forgiveness.

One of the things that we have to remind ourselves of is that the Church is NOT the building where we worship.  Granted we have called said buildings and structures “churches” but the actual church that was established by Jesus Christ is YOU, WE, and US.  Paul made this very clear in Acts 17:24 that God DOES NOT live in temples that are built by man.  Yes, these buildings that we construct are meant for us to worship together corporately and to hear the Word of God preached to us.  Make no mistake, however, if the building collapses, or is destroyed, the church still lives because we are it! Paul goes on the say that cannot think that God Himself is like some piece of gold or a brick.  The children of Israel made that mistake in the wilderness.  We can’t keep thinking that.  Especially when we know better.  Yes, there will have to be a rebuilding of the building but Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church that HE built.  The one not made my human hands.

I’m encouraging all of my friends who are still members there that, while buildings come and go, YOU are part of the organism.  Therefore the Church still stands…

 

A Plank, A Fork in the Road, and A Blindfold

If you’ve ever seen some of those old pirate movies, there was always a scene where someone, who was caught by the pirates, forced to “walk the plank”.  The plank I’m speaking of was basically made of wood and stretched out from the side of the ship.  The prisoner had to literally walk on that piece of wood, to the edge, and fall off into the water.  Did I mention that their hands were tied and that they were blindfolded?  Yeah,  that too.  Needless to say, right as the prisoner was taking that last step, the hero of the film would come in at the last second and save said prisoner from certain death.  If you’ve never seen that, try this scenario.  You’re walking along a path and you come to a fork in the road.  You have to choose which way to go.  You have no idea what awaits you but, there is still a choice to be made and, no you can’t just sit there at the fork in the road! You have to make a decision.  Oh, by the way, you’re blindfolded.  What to do?

 

Well, Proverbs 3:5-6 says to trust God with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.  This means that you shouldn’t go into something without faith.  Sure you can go straight ahead and with whatever decision you want to make but be careful.  That path you choose may not be the best one for you.  Plus, you’re going in blind so, how can you even see where you’re going?  If and when you trust God, He will put you in on a path of His choosing.  Sometimes, it’s a blessing and sometimes, it’s a blessing to others, and sometimes, it’s a lesson.  You never really know what’s ahead because, well, we’re not God.  He is God so, he already knows what’s in store for you.  You can keep the blindfold.  Just be sure you’re trusting the right person.

2014: In Review

Well, it’s that time of year when we start to countdown. We’re getting rid of an old year and starting on a new one. Everyone is all a buzz about where to spend the last few hours of 2014 and what they’re going to accomplish in 2015. Personally, I’d rather show you as we go along. No need in predicting anything as of yet because God has this all under His control. I’ll just give you a recap.

This year has been very interesting, to say the least. There were some definitely highs as well as some definite lows. Thankfully, the one thing that was constant was my ministry. My personal life wasn’t stuff made for movies but, my ministry was a great learn period for me. I definitely appreciated the contrasts that were involved. It takes me back to Ecclesiastes 3:1-4…

3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

I was given the opportunities to baptize two people and, by contrast, I was able to eulogize two people. This was not by accident, I can assure you. All of these experiences were humbling. Twice, I helped welcome someone into the family of God and, twice, I comforted a family who had someone going to be with God. Talk about mind-blowing!! I know that, as long as I am still able to do this task and call, there will be more of both. No one is really ever ready for these types of things–especially death–but just being able to help the family that lost someone is worth it all.

Speaking of baptizing, my youngest son was baptized last Sunday. (INSERT PROUD DAD MOMENT HERE!) When his mom told me the great news, I was definitely elated, joyful, thankful, and any other type of happy expression you could think of. This gave me reassurance that I was doing a good job after all. Of course, I have to give credit to his mom and step-father and, of course, to God Himself. What a way to end the year! I can definitely say without a doubt, “As for me and my house…”

Well, that about sums it up for 2014 for me. I know that’s not a lot in words but the impact is much greater. Happy New Year and I will see you all in 2015! God Bless

Until next year…

And in this corner….

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I’m not the biggest boxing fan but, I do know that, when it comes to this sport, one of the most important places the combatants go to is their own corner. There, each man or woman gets instructions, care, attention and most importantly, encouragement. You will always see a cut man as well as a man there to give him or her a drink of water. However, it’s the trainer that gives the fighter what they need to go back in and fight. “They’re coming at you with the left more than the right so, stay away from the left jabs.” These are good instructions because the trainer sees things differently. He sees you as well as sees your opponent. The strength and weaknesses that can help you turn the tide in your favor. A good trainer does that. Angelo Dundee was one of the best because he was also a trainer for the best, Muhammad Ali. I am convinced that had Angelo not been in Ali’s corner, a lot of those victories could and would have gone the other way.

What am I saying here? I’m saying that a good fighter is great and being a great fighter is paramount but, if you don’t have that one person in your corner, some of those victories can prove costly. From my own personal experiences as of late, my corner has no one but the best in it. God, being the most important but He has seen fit to give me a few and one in particular to help me fight through this thing called life. I’ve lost a few rounds but my corner has been there to give me what I needed to hear; even though I wasn’t ready to necessarily hear it. I had to listen to my corner! There was once a time when I was younger when Dad would tell me, “everybody’s in your corner but YOU!” That didn’t matter much to me until now. “My corner” has been there and I had to make a decision to join them there in order to get back in and fight.

I’ll leave you with this. There are two types of people. Those that fight and those will have to. The key is to pick your battles or, they will be chosen for you. When you have picked your battle, make sure your corner has the right people in it. You definitely don’t want to get the wrong plan of attack. I’m really fortunate and blessed that “My corner” knows what I need and can see what I need to do to get back in the ring and fight because “My corner” has a better view of the entire ring. As long as “My corner is there, I WILL WIN!!

Until next time…