Business, Encouragement, Faith, Health, Life Coaching, Men, Relationships, Uncategorized

Higher Learning

After becoming an adult with a family and responsibilities, I quickly learned that there were things that I did not know. Things that if I had known them they would have made my transition to adulthood much smoother. One of those things was performing general maintenance on a vehicle. Well I knew how to change a tire… slightly. Other than that, I was oblivious. So when it came time to repair or maintain things on the hoopties I owned in my young adult days, I would have to call my Dad. Now, I appreciated the fact that my Dad was industrious and versatile enough to know how to do things like change the oil, change my brakes, change my spark plugs, and replace small items like fuses. But if I were to be honest, I cringed at the idea of having to call him to help me! Why, you ask? I didn’t like to call my Dad to help me with my car maintenance issues because, instead of teaching me how to do what I needed help with and work to make me more independent, my Dad would get so engrossed into the project that he would just take over and do it! Interestingly enough, my wife and my sons say that I perform the same way.

One of the advantages, however, to having him “help me” with these projects was that I had an opportunity to watch him observe the issue from various vantage points to see what would be the most advantageous solution. This taught me to be analytical in my problem solving. In hindsight, most of the solutions would involve raising the car up with a jack and attacking the issue from the underside of the vehicle. A disadvantage to these encounters was that Daddy would open his tailgate and pull out all of his tools and had a 10-15 minute preparation ritual before actually starting the work. This man was serious about the tasks! It was like watching a surgeon prepare to perform a delicate procedure. On the flip side, this taught me a great deal about preparation.

20190815_140642_0000.png

Fast forward to 2019. A few weeks ago, I went to borrow one of my Dad’s trucks to help move my sons into their apartment and one of his front daytime running lights were out. I assured him that I could take care of that for him and get it done. Instead, he wanted to repair it himself before I took the truck. I had already peeped out the strategy for what needed to happen to replace the bulb, because I had learned from him to plan before you attack. It would have taken me no more than 15-20 minutes to complete the task. But Daddy, of course, has his preparation ritual. He pulls his truck out to his shed, lets up the rolling door, pulls out his tools,  and brings out his car jack and his utility light. While he is doing that, I had already began my strategy and had successfully loosened the bulb from the casing. I am laughing hysterically inside while he is getting his stuff together. When he gets to a stopping point, right before he puts something on the floor to get up under the car, I respectfully ask,

“Daddy what are you about to do?”

He then says, “Well I have to get up under the truck to remove the bulb.” I then explain to him that I have the bulb twisted off and that it would not be possible to get it out from the bottom because there is a metal casing that will prevent him from accessing it from the bottom. He walks over to the truck and I show him what I had just shared with him. He then sees that the bulb is already twisted out of the casing. It is at that point that he understands that though the bulb is difficult to get to, he doesn’t need to get under the truck to access it, he just needs to maneuver differently from above. He also learned at that moment that he didn’t need the whole tool box, he only needed one tool. Now he still didn’t let me help with the manual activities involved to complete the task, but we saved at least 20-30 minutes by me providing a different perspective on how to complete it.

I see a few interesting takeaway analogies from this story.

  1. Being excluded from a processes can be an advantageous learning experience. It was David’s exclusion from his family that made him a skilled warrior.- I Samuel 17:34-36
  2. A fresh perspective can open up new and more efficient ways of doing things. We shouldn’t be so routine in our operation that we fail to ask ourselves if what we do can be done in a different way that can save us time, energy and resources.- Isaiah 43:19
  3. As men of God we must learn to maintain our position of being the head even in challenging and transitional times. It can sometimes be tempting to lay down our standards in a effort to complete a task, but we should learn to maneuver from above instead of going to a lower standard.- Colossians 3:1-3
  4. Learning from those you teach can be a rewarding as the act of teaching itself.- Luke 7:6-9
  5. We can’t be so quick to judge what we seem as shortcomings in the lives of others, because we might find ourselves being judged by the same standard. -Galatians 6:1

So in this case, I learned from an experience I didn’t like. And even though I didn’t always learn what I set out to learn, my learning experience was so much greater than what I initially intended. The things that I learned from my Dad during those encounters were seeds that he unknowingly sowed that brought him back a harvest. Yeah, I know… it may not have been a big harvest to you, but because I partially threw his day off, it was a big harvest to him (that’s an inside joke that only he and I will understand)! LOL

 

Business, Encouragement, Faith, Relationships, Uncategorized

Tough Choices; Perfect Results

I enjoy movies that fall in the genre of action or drama. I can appreciate comedy as well. My favorite type of drama or action movie is one based upon history of philosophy. These type movies stimulate my thinking, and they often have lessons interwoven into them that make lifelong impacts upon my own personal convictions. One such example is that of a conversation that takes place at the beginning of the movie Great Debaters.

In this particular scene, Dr. James Farmer, played by Forest Whitaker is having a conversation with his son, James Farmer, Jr., played by Denzel Whitaker. James, Jr. attempts to walk in the house and tip toe past his father’s study without greeting him. James, Sr. stops him and reminds him of his expectations of him at the end of each day. The dialogue crescendos into one of those life impacting philosophies that stay etched into my conscience.

Debate

James, Sr.- “What do we do?”

James, Jr.- “We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.”

In the context of the script, James Farmer, Sr. had instilled this wisdom into his son to imply that great study habits and a good education opens doors to a better life. There was probably not a greater truth for African Americans in 1935 when this philosophy was passed from a father to his son. After seeing Great Debaters and hearing those lines, I began to apply this same philosophy to every effort I put my hands and energy toward.

I must say, however, that I have found myself asking on numerous occasions over the past 10 years, “When do I actually get to do what I want to do? I have been doing what I have to do for a long time.”

This questioning has the tendency to send me on a self-deprecating and self-loathing quest to discover where I’ve failed, what I’ve been doing wrong or what I need to do more of. It also has the propensity to influence me to point fingers at those around me as if their choices are slowing my progress. I can now admit that those responses are neither appropriate nor healthy. While I do have the right to ask how long and evaluate the process, I should never negatively assess the status of my success. Instead, I should apply James 1:4 to the philosophy I’ve adopted from the Great Debaters movie.

“And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:4 NASB

In the process of “doing what we have to do”, we must allow the process to be completed so that our season of “doing what we want to do” is not short-lived and ineffective. This means in our communication and interaction with our spouse, in our season of singleness, in our parenting, in our relationship with Christ, in our work and/or business relationships, in our education and in every other facet of our lives that require some type of responsibility on our part. If we can endure the full season of “doing what I have to do”, the scripture states that in the end we will obtain PERFECT RESULTS.

Business, Encouragement, Faith, Relationships, Uncategorized

School Of Rock: A Lesson On Rejection

Ok it’s 1:24 a.m. CST on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, and if you know me, you know I am normally well into my uninterrupted REM sleep by now. So this was inspired by an unwise decision to have coffee with my dessert at my hotel at 7:24 p.m., a conversation of ministry I had with one of my spiritual daughters, and a commitment to embody my brand (PKJONDEMAND) during a training workshop on Tuesday afternoon. All things work together, right?

20131009-050457.jpg

Since my text to her was the last thing I remembered before closing my eyes for a 2 hour interlude, it’s the first thing that comes to mind when my eyes pop open. After an hour and a half of tossing and hoping to go back to sleep, God begins to expound on the insight he had me to share with her. So, rather than turn on the tv or scroll down my social media timelines judging people in my heart for some of the stuff they post (don’t judge me, you do it too 😁), I decided to blog on the site that I paid money to own a URL with my brand on it (PKJONDEMAND) but hadn’t used since May. So here goes…

20131009-050916.jpg

After being alive for forty years, being in ministry for almost 20 years, being an adult for three years (real talk) and being a Pastor for 11 years, I’ve run into this scenario more times than I would like to admit. The child, spouse, friend, employee, sibling or ministry partner who is generally the rejected, ostracized and outcast on the team is usually the one that the leader of that unit will need the most during a state of demise. Now, here is where most biblically astute individuals would plug in the metaphor of Joseph to make this lesson come alive. However, the mocha ghost and the Holy Ghost, have given me the new perspective that Joseph was just a cheap prototype of the ultimate Instructor of Rejection 101: Jesus Christ.

The scriptures clearly illustrate Christ as a baby who was thrown out with the proverbial bath water. Isaiah 53:3 calls Him despised and rejected and several places in the scripture, beginning with Psalms 118:22, He is spoken of as the stone that the builders rejected. The interesting thing about the “rejected stone” thingy is that even though it was rejected it became the cornerstone of the foundation.

Okay, I betcha you are just as confused as I was about this cornerstone concept, because in my mind I heard crickets and saw you with the “deer in the headlights” expression as you just read that last sentence.

20131009-052558.jpg

So, since I finally learned what this concept was in my adult years (remember I’ve only been grown for three years now), I will try to explain it to you as best I can.

When a builder begins to build a structure the must have a foundation to build on. Now, an experienced builder knows that to make sure that everything is lined up right from the foundation to the highest point of the building, they cannot focus on the finished structure; they can’t even start with the full foundation, they have to start by focusing all of their attention on one corner of the foundation. Every other part of that structure must be aligned with that one corner, otherwise (in my New England accent), you’s gotta problem bowse. Now in the throwback days, in order to make sure the first corner of the foundation was perfect, and the rest of the building thereafter was perfect, the builders would use a precisely cut cornerstone to line up every other stone of that foundation. That one stone kept the whole structure solid and capable of withstanding all kinds of pressure: one stone I tell ya!

Jesus Christ is the one Stone that is the foundation of all life and relationship. The bible says that He as the architect came to those who were called to build life and relationship upon Him, but they didn’t receive Him (John 1:10-11). But when we go to Acts 4:11 we see Peter (The Little Rock), who once denied Jesus himself, quoting Psalms 118:22 and declaring that though Jesus was rejected by those who were to build the structure of life and relationship, He has now become the Cornerstone (Chief Rocka) of the foundation. This indicates that all attempts to build apart from Him will fail and the builders will have to reach back to get Him and build all over again with Him as the MAIN STONE IN THE CORNER.

Sly tried to build a Family with another Stone, that’s why he had to keep being his self AGAIN.

20131009-051312.jpg

Roc Nation tried to build an entertainment empire, but to keep it going Jay-Z has to keep coming out of retirement.

20131009-051534.jpg

Dwayne Johnson was once the archetype of modern day professional wrestling, and though some women still find him hot, that Rock ain’t cooking too much here lately.

20131009-051913.jpg

But Christ (if you hadn’t figured it out by now, I’m preaching) started a family that is perfected once and for all (Hebrews 10:14). Christ established a corporate expression and retired once and doesn’t need to keep making a comeback to keep his company on top (Hebrews 10:12-13). Christ was the archetype of modern day warfare who was not just a flash in the pan, but he keeps cooking up something fresh all the time (I Corinthians 2:7-10).

So, if you were the outcast, the rejected one, the ridiculed and ostracized one who is now the one that your supervisor needs in order to keep them out of trouble, that your broke ex needs to borrow money from to keep their lights on, that your sick parent needs to care for them in their latter years, that your crazy siblings need to help them in their time of need, that your ratchet/backstabbing friends need to be their support once everyone else has left the scene, or your messed up ministry colleagues need to get a prayer through on their behalf, you are in great company. I Peter 2:5 (Voice Translation) says,

“5 Like living stones, let yourselves be assembled into a spiritual house, a holy order of priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices that will be acceptable to God through Jesus, the Liberating King. 6 For it says in the words of the prophet Isaiah,
See here—I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone, chosen and precious;
Whoever depends upon Him will never be disgraced.”

But in order to be an effective rock, you have to get the pebble off of your shoulder that you picked up because of the rejection. If you are going to be like the Chief Rocker, you will have to learn how to Rock Out like He did. How did Christ Rock Out? He said,

“Hey Pops, you know what? They rejected me; true. But after observing the way they behave, I’ve come to the occlusion that they are just too ignorant to understand what they’re doing. So, I’m gonna put my Big Boy Draws on and take this one for the team. It’s cool, Pops. Let’s forgive them” (Luke 22:34 PKJ Version)

If you can do this, oh the great reward that awaits you is literally mind-blowing. As Paul the Apostle said in Philippians 2:5-11 (Message Translation)

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human ! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

As they say on HGTV & DIY “I Want That” and I believe you do too. So, let’s acknowledge the rejection, embrace the pain and privilege of it, then process the forgiveness that’s necessary so that we can shine bright like the real Hope Diamond, THE ICY ROCK, The Lord Christ Jesus!

20131009-052140.jpg

Well, the coffee is wearing off. So, This is Helen Jones’ 2nd Son saying, “LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO PLAY GAMES, SO KEEP IT REAL!” Two Fingers To The North ✌️We’re Outta Here!

Business, Encouragement, Faith, Relationships, Uncategorized

Stop Being So Ugly; Literally

20130502-091847.jpg

We hear the phrase “I don’t look like what I’ve been through”, and many of us immediately identify with the reality of that statement. Logic and science says that we should be emotionally and physically debilitated or incapacitated based on our experiences. However, from a biblical perspective, we must realize that the more challenging our experiences are as believers, the better we ought to look!

Psalms 149:3 says, “For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.”

It implies that the more God delivers us from the things that come to oppose us, that very same deliverance process not only rescues us, but also increases our attractiveness. If we CONSISTENTLY look like we need deliverance we are either ignorant of the truth (John 8:32), our minds have not been renewed by the truth we know (Romans 12:2), or we cut the deliverance process short (James 1:4).

The more truth we learn, the more we will have to endure adversity from the kingdom of darkness (Matthew 13:19-21). The more we endure adversity, the more we experience deliverance (Romans 5:3-4). The more we are delivered, the better we should look (149:3).

LET’S STOP BEING UGLY! Learn more and stay in the struggle until it’s over!

20130502-092506.jpg