I Want a Divorce!

Marriage is no joke. It requires patience and perseverance.

I’ve sat with many couples to advise them before they took that long walk down the aisle. I do not say this with joy, but I have denied more couples from marriage than I’ve approved. This means I refused to marry them because they were unfit—according to the standards of the Word of God—to be married. Some were unequally yoked; others simply refused to change. Ultimately, I could not support their union. Most of them decided to get married anyway. Despite my initial opposition, I only desire for them to prosper and have longevity. Their marriage needs all the encouragement it can get, as does every marriage.

Personally, I have seen just how hard marriage can be. It is difficult because it requires work. It requires change, and that is not always easy. It requires compromise, selflessness, and every fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). It requires effective communication, constant forgivingness, and mutual respect. These are not easy to give. Our world is lawless and full of rebellion; therefore, it is important to remain in prayer and continue studying the Word of God.

I have read many books about marriage. My wife and I also wrote one, which is entitled FIGHTING TOGETHER. Ultimately, I have concluded that no marriage is safe from the attacks of the wicked one. He desires to ruin your marriage before it gets started. I do not care who you are, how much money you have, how wise you are, who you know, or where you live because he is coming after you and your legacy. Samson was a physically strong man. In fact, he was stronger than everyone, but he was not strong enough to deny the temptation to lay his head in the lap of Delilah. David was referred to as a man after God’s own heart. He was a warrior, a fighter, a champion, and a king, but he was not strong enough to fight the temptation to have sex with another man’s wife—Bathsheba. Solomon, David’s son, was wiser than anyone, but he was not wise enough to avoid the 700 wives and 300 concubines. They were strong and wise men who were too weak to avoid temptation! And the day will come when temptation will hit your house, if it has not already.

Understand that every marriage struggles. There’s not a perfect marriage. There’s no such thing! There’s only two willing people who refuse to give up on their covenant. They simply will not allow their covenant to go down without a fight! Are you willing to fight for your marriage? Are you willing to give it your all? I’m not referring to how you feel when everything is going right. I’m talking about when everything is falling apart! Are you still willing to fight when you don’t like your spouse; when you feel as if you married the wrong person; when you feel like your spouse hasn’t been there for you; when finances are tight; when emotions are high? Are you willing to fight when you find out that your spouse has a secret pornography addiction? How about when you find out that your spouse cheated on you? Are you still willing to fight in sickness and in health; in richer or for poorer; til death do you both part? Those questions must to be answered! They must be answered, and only you can answer them!

Sadly, my wife and I have seen many of the couples we’ve started with end in divorce. I’ve sat in front of too many couples who’ve spoken these words, “I want a divorce!” We looked up to their marriage and sought to emulate their good works. The couples provided us strength and hope. We listened to their counsel, took them out for dinner so we could sow into them, and adored their love for one another. Unfortunately, as it is in every marriage, the enemy was at work behind the scene. He was planting seeds of doubt, lust, and discontentment that would one day mature into divorce. My heart breaks for them and their family. It breaks for their children and generations thereafter.

Ultimately, no marriage is safe, NOT ONE! I do not care about the person’s influence or affluence. I have witnessed the most profound people who were able to be successful in everything else fail in their marriage. Please understand that I do not seek to condemn them for their divorce. My desire is to encourage those who are getting married to understand the covenant they are entering and challenge those who are married to fight together. Remove divorce as an option! My encouragement to you is simple; don’t quit on your spouse. Just keep fighting! Please keep fighting together, not one another. Settle petty arguments immediately. Find a local church home and serve together. It does not have to be the same ministry (it’s preferred), just make sure you two are serving together. Communicate regularly. Take time out for each other. Get around other married couples who love each other and are serious about their walk with God. Grow with them. Build community with them! They will be there to help you through your toughest times. Have sex regularly so you do not give the enemy an open door. Submit to one another. Have fun; laugh. Remember the fun days you had together before all the stresses of life. Simplify your life. This means instead of being upset with each other because of finances, lower your expenses and get on a budget. Find a marriage retreat and attend at least one a year. Invest in your marriage! Do whatever you have to do. Just fight together.

My wife and I are praying for you, as I hope you are praying for us. We need strong marriages in our society today. This is because strong and godly people build strong marriages, strong marriages build strong families, strong families build strong communities, and strong communities build strong nations.


God bless!

Are You Connected to my Destiny?

Ruth 1:16,17 – “But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!

Have you ever met someone you felt you were called to serve? It is as if that person is tied to your destiny. You cannot shake the uncanny feeling that you were meant to be in that person’s life for a specific purpose and reason. It is as if you were called by name from your place of comfort to serve the life of the one you’ve met.

Ruth felt this way about Naomi. Her words to her mother-in-law were deep words of commitment and loyalty. Ruth was making an allegiance and covenant to Naomi that called for judgment upon herself if she ever left her. She felt obligated to stay, and she let her words prove it. This kind of loyalty is almost absent in our world today.

I like to think that God ordains our steps in such a way that we’re able to meet 3 separated groups of people: (1) those we’re called to serve, (2) those we serve alongside, and (3) those we’re called to pour into. I’ve had my fair share of encounters with all three. For example, I truly believe with all my heart that I have been called to serve alongside my wife. God ordered our steps to meet and marry so we can do what we do now—preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ together. I cannot argue that my destiny is somehow tied to hers and vice versa. There was a time when we broke up, and I could only imagine how my life would be today without my destiny-partner. This is important for us to understand. I can give anyone my money, but I must be selective with my time. I can make more money, but I cannot get my time back. To give you my resources is one thing, but nothing compares to the value that's found in giving you my life. Ultimately, those I spend my time around will determine the course of my destiny. If I hang around fools, I can only expect foolish behavior. Their corrupt behavior will poison my good morals, which will alter the direction of my destiny.

I have also encountered men who I believe I've been called to serve. I see them as elders—an elite group of men who devote themselves to a life of godly character and service. They are teachers and doers of the Word of God. I am able to learn from them. These relationships require a great deal of humility! The enemy tempts me to discount their words and live as if their leadership is not worth emulating. I see promise and strength in these men, and I am willing to follow them wherever they go. I feel as if God assigned them to me. Elisha saw this in Elijah. Elisha was called to follow Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:19). He spent almost 8 years as Elijah’s protégé. He served him faithfully, and he was rewarded because of it. What men and women have you been called to serve? Are you still serving them? If not, why? Consider the seriousness of your assignment.

What’s sad is when we purposefully end relationships with those we know we have been called to. I’ve had to kill my pride to contact elders in my life who I purposefully rejected with my words and actions. I tried to pretend as if I did not need them, but I could not stop feeling like I was making a big mistake. It was not easy to make those phone calls, send the e-mail, and text the “forgive me” message, but it has been worth it. My life is better because of those men, and I’m a better man because of them.

I also believe there are men I have been called to serve alongside. These are my comrades. We fight together for those things we’re passionate about, which is mostly the Gospel. We also join together to fight against those enemies that try to ruin our good name and tarnish the reputation of the Church. All in all, we fight together. Arguments arise amongst us and disagreements happen often, but we tend to find peace because we know we have been called to one another. I’ve found it helpful to let my brothers know that I have been called to serve alongside them. It reassures them that I am in their corner.

The last group is those you’re called to pour into. I have a few young men who I truly feel as if I’ve been called and chosen to pour into them. I see the promise in them. I see the desire in their eyes, the purpose in their life, and the passion in their heart. I am able to speak to the king in them while they only see a prince in the mirror. I see their destiny, and I call it out by name. Like a father, I bless and anoint their heads. I teach, encourage, and discipline them. I am a source of strength for them, as they are for me.

It is important that you do not allow the devil to convince you that those you’ve been called to serve are your enemies! Remember the commitment you made to those you’ve been called to serve, those you’ve been called to serve alongside, and those you’ve been called to pour into. While I do not believe a person can stop God’s plan for our lives, I do believe that He strategically orders our steps so we can encounter and befriend those who can help us achieve our greatest potential. God bless our friends for loving us at all times, but praise God for our brothers who were born for our adversity.

I challenge you to reach out to those you’ve been divinely connected with and reassure them of your relationship. Restate your loyalty, and reaffirm your commitment. Make your intentions clear, and fulfill your ministry.

When Emotions Cannot Be Trusted

Life is one big rollercoaster with many highs and lows. You must learn to endure each season. At times, it seems as if you’re climbing up the rough side of the mountain or coasting down a steep hill. No matter the situation, we are tasked with remaining faithful and humble regardless of what we face.

I sat down with a couple who survived adultery. Everything seemed to be back to normal. Weeks passed since our last conversation. Before going to bed one evening, my phone vibrated. I checked the message, and it was from the husband. It read: “I’m done! I’m through! I can’t do this anymore!” My calls to him were left unanswered; my messages, left without response. Months later, I found out that he divorced his wife and abandoned his family.

I was able to walk them through their storm of adultery, but I failed to understand what happens after the rain has ceased and clouds have left. Consider being stuck in the middle of a raging storm. Your only focus is getting back to the safety of the shore. You exhaust all your physical and emotional energy trying to stay alive. You steady the rudder, fix the sails, and toss the water that’s formed at the bottom of the boat. You’re physically exhausted, but you cannot stop. Because stopping could mean death. Instead, you have to keep getting back up and continue being strong for everyone else. In addition, you have to do everything you can so you won’t go crazy. After what seems like forever, the winds are shut up in their chamber, the waves are calmed, and the rain ceases from falling from the dark clouds. Daylight has come, and safety is in sight. After all you have endured, everything and everyone you lost in the process, and all the energy you exerted in the process, you finally made it to the shore. You should be safe, right? Unfortunately, you’re tired and emotionally fatigued.

When you’re emotionally fatigued, you’re low on energy, lack motivation, have troubles concentrating, and you just feel strange in your surroundings. Many refer to this as burnout. Simply put, you’re exhausted! You’ve put up a hard fight, but you failed to rest after the victory was won. You endured through the raging storm only to make it to shore and jump right back into another battle. You have not given yourself an opportunity to be tired. Most times, life does not give us an opportunity to rest. We jump from one battle to another.

The couple managed to make it out of a high stress situation, but they did not take the proper time to rest. They went from one battle of infidelity to parenting their kids to fighting to keep their jobs to paying the bills to paying off debt and so on. Without proper rest, the husband burned out and the wife stop fighting. They were at the point where their emotions could not be trusted! And, we shouldn't make decisions when our emotions are exhausted.

Many things happen when you are emotionally fatigued. They include:

  1. No rational thinking. Simply put, you cannot trust yourself when you’re tired. My mother always taught me never to make any decisions when I’m hungry, sleepy, or angry. This is because you do not think rationally. If you pass the point of no return and hit a stressful peak in your emotions, you’re sure to crash eventually.
  2. Depress into a state of hopelessness. This does not mean you are really hopeless. Usually, it means that you think you are hopeless. I preached a sermon entitled—Don’t Drown—and I was encouraging those under the sound of my voice to stand up in the shallow water. Isn’t it something that we think we'll drown in the water that we can easily stand up in? This is because all you can remember is the hell you endured through the night. Because you’re tired, you do not realize that you’re no longer in danger. You’re safe, but burnout has convinced you that all is lost. The husband in my example was in a safe place, but because he failed to take necessary rest, he made an emotional decision out of a depressed state of hopelessness.
  3. Become paranoid. You will start thinking those who are in your corner are actually out to get you. You will mistaken your enemies for your friends and your friends for your enemies. Your level of discernment is off, and you invite in the devils while pushing out the angels. You’re paranoid, and it’s because you’re tired.
  4. Grow physically tired. Your body begins to wear down. You lose your appetite, develop certain chest pains, and become more vulnerable to colds, infections, and other immune-related illnesses. This is because your body and mind are interconnected. If your mind is diseased, then your body will follow suit. Believe it or not, but your physical symptoms could be healed if you took the time to rest and recuperate. Maybe there is some truth to my parents also telling me to go take a nap when I wasn’t felling well. It actually worked for me when I was younger.
  5. Develop a serious anger issue. I know this personally. During a very traumatic time in my life, I developed a serious anger issue. I was mad, but I couldn’t identify the point of my frustration. My issue grew from occasional irritability and frustrations to serious arguments and angry outbursts. I went from name-calling to punching the wall. That was not me. I’m not a violent person, but anyone who is emotionally drained and cannot think rationally will fight when s/he feels backed into a corner instead of responding in love and faith.
  6. Become pessimistic. I've also experienced this one as well. There was a point in my life where I viewed everything as if my glass was half-empty. In fact, I got to the point where I my glass was completely empty. I looked down on myself and developed trust issues with others. I was growing emotionally detached from the world around me. I was becoming a hermit internally without any hope of ever being free.

There are many other things that can happen when you’re emotionally fatigued. The goal, as it is in everything, is to come out of whatever you are in. The initial place of freedom is through Jesus Christ, but you must admit that there is a problem. If any of the words you’ve read have ministered to you, then it’s highly likely that you are emotionally exhausted.

I fully support Christian advisement, and I highly recommend you seeking the help you desperately need. If you’re like me, then you rolled your eyes at that statement. But, trust me that it is important for you to talk to someone—even if it’s a trusted friend. Talk until there’s a solution.

I also recommend planning some necessary rest and relaxation. Take time to care for yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. If not, you will burnout. Ultimately, you must know when your emotions cannot be trusted.

When Eternity is Real

Life is all about growth. We live and we learn. We have the opportunity to mature and develop into productive citizens, hardworking family members, and humble servants to the one and only living Lord Jesus Christ.

Jonathan Edwards, an 18th Century revivalist preacher and acclaimed theologian is famous for saying, “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!” Second Corinthians 4:18 reads “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” How often do we wake up considering eternity before we start the day? Unfortunately, our greatest resolve will come when it’s time to die. It’s then that many of us will wish we had done more, prayed more, gave more, served more, and been more.

Jonathan Edwards was asking God for an eternal perspective. He desires for eternity to be woven into his mentality. It’s as if every thought is first baptized in this eternal perspective so it can be judged accurately and acted on righteously. He desires for every thought to be weighed against eternity. Compared to eternity, our lives on Earth are but a vapor. We’re just sojourners passing through a sin-filled world on our way to a heavenly paradise.

Second Corinthians 5:10 reads “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” That verse is a bold reminder of the eternal consequences of our earthly actions. While salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ, our works are our evidence of what we say we believe. James 2:17, 18 reads “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’” If eternity is the set of the grand stage, then this life is the dress rehearsal. It means something.

I’ve found myself asking God to stamp eternity on my eyeballs as well. Because of this reality, there are some things that have become real for my life. I desire to share some of the truths with you.

When eternity becomes real:

  1. Strongly consider everything and everyone around you. Simply put, I don’t have time for certain things anymore. When your eyes are fixed on the prize, you don’t have time to consider the distractions around you. And, the distractions are many. I recommend surveying your life and “…[laying] aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) And, I’d like to add that you should not make any apologies for the decisions you are led to make. Consider this; eternity is but a heartbeat away.
  2. Weigh everything on eternity’s scale. I caution you to look beyond the surface issues to discover the real problems. Forgive freely, and consider the weightier matters. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to do more pleasing for me or God? Will God be glorified by my actions or repulsed because of them?” Consider yourself last, be the first to ask for forgiveness, and give to those in need without asking. It won’t matter who won the argument when looking back from eternity? Place all of your offence, insecurities, rejections, frustrations, and annoyances on that scale, and realize that they are all featherweights in comparison to the golden weight of eternity.
  3. Clear the stage. I love Jimmy Needham’s song—Clear the Stage. He sings, “Tell your friends that this is where the party ends/Until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social.” The song is about clearing away any idolatry and making room for the One who deserves it—Jesus Christ. If you have any idols in your life, destroy them! If anything or anyone is more influential to you than God, REMOVE IT, HIM, OR HER NOW! Eliminate them once and for all, and do not allow them entrance again.
  4. Fulfill your ministry at all costs. Apostle Paul encourages Timothy to fulfill his ministry (see 2 Timothy 4:5). Paul was a worthy candidate to encourage the younger Timothy because he finished his course. His life was poured out as a drink offering. He sacrificed all he could. He gave everything he had. He was hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (see 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9). He was beaten on multiple occasions, stoned and left to die, shipwrecked three times, ridiculed, mocked, persecuted, left cold and naked, found himself in hunger and thirst, and snake-bitten, but he was determined to fulfill his ministry! Although he was heavy-pressed, he was God-directed! He endured, and we must endure as well. If you’ve been called, preach as if you’re on fire; pray is if it is your last prayer; sing as if it is your final song; go as if you’ve been commissioned!
  5. Walk as a barefooted priest, and speak as if every word is your last. Your steps are thoroughly considered when your feet are bare! You are cautious about where you are willing to move, how far you are willing to go, and why you choose to stay when you walk as if every step is sensitive. You are quick to consider your words when the next one you speak could be your last. No wise man or woman would desire for his or her last words to be foolish or drenched in anger! You’d be quick to reconsider every statement you make and every promise you give before speaking. Take this to heart and live this way because eternity is but a heartbeat away!

Cry out to God and pray this prayer with me, “God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs! Let me see life through the lens of eternity. Let me see that I’m living on borrowed time, and my life is not my own. I have a responsibility—a ministry to fulfill—and I intend on fulfilling it to the best of my ability. I will not quit! Whether I’m afflicted like Paul or stoned liked Stephen, I will not give up this fight. I REFUSE TO COMPROMISE!  I can and will do all things through Jesus Christ who gives me strength! My life is His, and I look forward to the day I stand before Him. I only pray that my faith is sure and my works are pure. Let this prayer flow from my heart to Your Throne, and may Your anointing rest on me and Your conviction pierce my heart until my final breath. Amen.

Missing the Turn

God has a way of teaching us in everyday situations. Today was my day to learn a valuable lesson in following directions.

How many times have we been given directions only to go a different way? Well, I know I have done it more times than I can remember. It is very embarrassing actually. I turned on my GPS to find the quickest route to get home after a meeting today. Like always, I was given the quickest route to get home. I was also shown other routes that could take longer. I chose the quickest route, and I started following the directions. That is until I missed an important turn. I had a couple of options, but the best option was to go up a little and make a legal u-turn. Did I do that? Absolutely not! Instead, I took another turn and went a completely different way thinking that I could bypass the traffic and chart my own way home. It was a very ambitious gamble, but I was willing to take it. The ride was supposed to take us 31 minutes, but it took us almost 1.5 hours! We added on extra time to get home just because I missed the turn.

I added on extra time and did a lot more than I needed to do because I missed the turn. That happens to us a lot in life. We ask for guidance only to ignore it! How silly! After receiving the proper guidance, we take our own turns and try to set our own paths. It makes things difficult and very hard. My wife and I sat in traffic for over an hour and we moved less than one mile due to construction. The GPS set a path for us to avoid the delay, but I decided to go that way anyway. 

The Holy Spirit guides us in the way we should go, but we try to set our own path. We miss the turns we are supposed to take. Instead of making a quick u-turn, we set out to chart our own course and path. We think that going a different way might cause us to skip some of the "traffic" along the way. What we fail to realize is that He put us on a course to avoid all of it. When we ignore His leadings, we are running head-on to what we desire to avoid.

If it seems like you are sitting still in the traffic of life, it might be wise to make a u-turn. Go the direction you've been given from the Holy Spirit, and don't miss the turns of life. Isn't it great that God has given us a roadmap to follow, which is His Holy Word! And He's given us a GPS, who is the Holy Spirit. We can avoid the detours of life if we are obedient and attentive to the guidance we are given. Don't miss the turns! If you have, make a quick u-turn and go on towards your destination!



Molested Men

Molestation is not limited to little girls. It affects children from both genders, all races, different nationalities, diverse cultures, and every background imaginable. It just as prevalent in the inner-city as it is in the countryside. It's going on in low-income communities as well as wealthier districts. It's happening everywhere, and the church is not exempt from it. In fact, many men hide behind religious acts to cover up what's happened to them in their past. 

The consequences of the act can be emotionally and physically destructive. Our community doesn't talk about it--especially in the church, and that's a big problem. What's hidden can't be dealt with properly. It's one thing to deal with many of the contributing factors like pornography, homosexuality, pedophilia, and such, but we must address the rampant molestation that takes place daily in homes, in places of worship, in offices, in classrooms, in locker rooms and abroad. As believers, we cannot be so quick to address the fruit of the tree without identifying its roots. Oftentimes, the root of the issues I deal with as a pastor from men is molestation. It's the deep, dark secret that they've tried to keep hidden. It's the elephant in the room they've tried to cover up. It's the one thing they've tried their entire adolescent and young adult life to ignore, but the effects of what's happened to them still lingers. In fact, what's happened to them greatly affects what has happening in them. It affects their ability to trust, to confide, to befriend, and to enjoy the company of others. Their relationships are shallow. Going too deep with them is forbidden. If they notice you're getting too close they immediately build a wall to block you out. Oftentimes, they find an excuse to end the friendship/relationship, or many just end it cold turkey. Running away is easier for them instead of facing their emotions and fears.

Far too often have I heard the words: "It's my fault!" spoken by an adult male with tears running down his face. The adult speaking those words was a just a child when he became a victim. He tells his story as if he was the problem and the molestation was somehow his fault. In an hour conversation he will experience every emotion from sadness to guilt to anger. It's a difficult issue for him to explore, but it must be dealt with or it will deal with him.

Sexual abuse, a silent and deadly evil, walks with the child well beyond his adolescent years. It follows him into adulthood. He works hard to hide it. He covers it. He doesn't want to talk about it. He tries to drown his sorrows and fears in addictive substances. I've seen this happen before my eyes. I've even experienced this truth personally. I can tell you from experience that pornography and alcohol won't drown out the "voices" in your head. Seeking prostitutes, seeking lovers on sex sites, or seeking peace in drugs won't heal you. Drinking an alcoholic beverage until it's empty won't fill you. You'll feel just as empty as the bottle you've emptied. The embarrassment of being found out is too much for many men to consider. They'll do all they can to kill that part of their life. The thought of facing their attacker(s) is just as scary as facing their emotions. It could be that they've tried to confront their attacker(s), but they weren't successful. To escape any accountability for his actions he must work hard to forget them. If forgetting doesn't work, then he must live in secrecy. If secrecy doesn't work, then he must discredit the credibility of this victims. To be discredited by someone you probably trusted is heartbreaking and has the potential to send the victim(s) in a deeper downward spiral. The victims try to move on, but the "demons" in their head won't allow them to live in peace. Their public persona doesn't match their private struggles. No matter the cost of their suits, the number of women they sleep with, their position in the business firm, or the amount of money in their bank account(s), they cannot seem to put to their past to rest. They were sexually abused, but you'd never know it. Like many other boys, they were molested. Their innocence was stolen from them. Now, they find themselves suffering silently especially when curiosity comes face-to-face with temptation and opportunity. They're wounded men, and they need help. They must realize they were victims. If they do not, then they could potentially continue that cycle of victimization. 

Whether you were raped, a victim of incest, or any other forms of sexual abuse, I recommend you seek help immediately to address the trauma of sexual assault. If you're in a position where your attacker used his or her position of authority to silence you, you must speak up. Please do not live in fear. You must resolve the feelings of guilt, shame, fear, depression, and anger. Continuing to suppress it is not healthy. I encourage you to begin this journey of healing by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. All sin, no matter the degree, is punishable by death. This means we are all sentenced to die and inherit eternal damnation. However, Jesus Christ has become the sacrifice needed to redeem us from the damnation. He gives us life (John 10:10), forgives us of our sins (1 John 1:9), makes us new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and redeems us from wickedness (Titus 2:14). Healing beings with Him. Then, I would suggest forgiving your attacker(s). I realize this can seem difficult, but it's important. Ephesians 4:32 reads "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." If you desire to be forgiven, then you must forgive others. Consider the other scenario. If you don't forgive, then you aren't forgiven. You'll also carry the weight of what happened to you, and that's too heavy a load to bear. Thirdly, I'd recommend seeking help with a Spirit-filled therapist and spiritual leader so you'll have the opportunity to confess what has happened to you. James 5:16 reads "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." Confession is healthy; hiding is dangerous. Finally, find a Bible-teaching, Spirit-filled church where you can be taught the Word of God and serve faithfully.

And if it sounds like I'm speaking from a place of experience, I am. Just know that the same God that healed me can heal you! Now is the time for healing. Deal with the issues before they deal with you. God bless.



re: USA Presidential Election

We elected a new United States President in the early hours of the morning. This is not new to the American people, and the emotions felt by all are not new either. One clear issue that we all face as a nation is severe division. Politics can bring out the worst in people and can cause great division. Elections can unearth many of the issues that some thought were no longer embedded in our republic. I want to remind you that before any of us are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and etc. we are Christians! Our devotion to Christ isn’t negated during a presidential election. As your pastor, I humbly ask that you refrain from unhealthy, vengeful rhetoric that divides instead of unifies. Please remember that our main objective is preach the Gospel, but most importantly, we are called to LIVE IT!
I am a lover of politics, but I must always remember that Christ is still King no matter who sits in the Oval Office or who stands in the chambers of the Senate and the House. You must remember that as well.
Based on Psalm 125, we must pray that those who trust in the Lord will not be shaken. Based on Romans 12:12, we must rejoice in our confident hope and keep praying. Based on 1 Timothy 2:1-2, we must pray and intercede for all those in authority so we can live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Based on Psalm 22:28, we know that kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations. Based on Proverbs 21:1, we can rest assured that the leader’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, and He turns it however He desires.
Please keep your mind stayed on the Lord! Remain prayerful and stay focused on the Great Commission! It would do you well to go pray and realign your focus back on Jesus Christ. Don’t allow for your Christian witness to be tainted because of loose and reckless conversation. And please examine your heart to make sure this election, a particular candidate, and/or a particular party hasn’t become an idol in your life. If you find yourself speaking more about the election today than you do meditating in the Word and sharing Christ, then it’s safe to assume that it’s become an idol that must be destroyed.

And please do not forget about the exhortation given last Sunday. This is the time to pay off the debt we've accumulated and store up for the drought that's to come. Let's be wise.
Remain focused!
-Pastor Cornelius

Walking with a Cane

Some months ago I had the honor and privilege of praying over a woman after I preached who was walking with a cane. She slowly walked to the altar as if there was a new surge of pain with each step. But there was hope and determination in her eyes. Her faith was sure, and she was confident that God would heal whatever was ailing her. After prayer she turned around and walked away, but she was still leaning on and using her cane.

Some months had passed. I had forgotten about the entire situation until one Tuesday night when I saw her sitting in the audience while I taught in our bible study. After I finished teaching and put the podium away, she stepped forward towards me. Something was different about her. She was missing something that she needed to have before. I couldn't quite make out what was different until she walked up, gave me a hug, and asked me if I remember praying and believing that God would heal her. I couldn't help but continue to think what was missing. Then she asked me to look over where she was sitting. There sat the cane she needed to use to walk. She said she hadn't used it in weeks, BUT she continued to carry it with her just...in...case.

We rejoiced for a moment over what Jehovah Rapha had done. What stuck out most wasn't that she didn't have the cane, but what she said following her admission that she no longer needed it. She told me that she lived in another state, but she needed to be close to her family for support since she couldn't get around as well as she'd like. She was afraid that something would happen to her if she was alone because of her physical condition. She desperately wanted to return home, but her lack of balance kept her from having the confidence to return.

I thought her physical healing was what we were after, but it was something much deeper for her that God needed to heal. She ended up telling me that she was finally ready to return home! Why? Well, her knowing that she no longer needed the cane healed her of fear and grew her confidence in God. She no longer felt like she was alone. She wasn't returning home with just a healed body, but she was also returning with a healed mind.

Oftentimes we go to God expecting Him to do one thing, but He has mind on doing something we weren't thinking of. The lady went to God for healing for her body, but she returned with much more. This is the God we serve. We go to Him with our brokenness, and He restores, renews, and returns us in a better condition than how we came. He is more valuable than the all the galaxies combined because the creation is never more valuable than the Creator. Therefore, you can only imagine the value ascribed to those He touches with His mighty hand. I'm convinced that God placed His hand on the lady, and she was healed. The cane she once needed to walk and lean on has become a reminder of His grace, love, and mercy. God removed the object with Himself. He became the strength in her steps, the balance she depends on, and the cane she leans on.

I don't know what your cane is in your life, but I do know that God still heals. And you can fully expect that He will heal whatever is dis-easesed in the body, and He will transform your soul as well. He will heal your mind and lead you back to the paths of righteousness. Cry out to Him. Have faith in Him. Then serve Him all the days of your life.


To My Fellow Pastors:

You are not alone. There's a certain reassurance and confidence that churns within us once we finally realize we aren't alone. I'm sure that we've all felt like Elijah as he sat underneath the juniper tree regretting the day he was born. We've had our victory moments on the top of Mount Carmel, but those moments are oftentimes few and far between. It's the process between those victories that can seem lonely and difficult. Many quit and give up. Many of our soldiers have fallen by the wayside. They lay motionless on the battlefield refusing to continue moving forward. Their wounds are many and their sorrow is overwhelming.

It's important for you to know that your diligence and sacrifice isn't in vain. I know what it's like for the congregation to expect more of you than what they expect of themselves. We are oftentimes told what we do wrong while rarely being celebrated for what we do right. I know they expect you to ask nothing for yourself while they ask everything of you. I know what it's like to feel trapped between the feelings of being unappreciated and content with God's reward for your private works. I know what it's like to smile during the tough times because that's what expected of you.

Oftentimes we the shoulder the weak and weary while the physical shoulder we're to lean on is absent. I know what it's like to feel reluctant to trust others because of the hurt from many. You give your time, money, and energy for others, and there's oftentimes nothing given in return. It is true that your reward awaits; yet, us men in mortal bodies have to tussle with the desire to be appreciated. And the criticism can be distracting. I know that so well. I know what it's like to be criticized unjustly and labeled prematurely.

I also know what it's like to till the soil of a field that doesn't feed you. Your mouth has been muzzled while you plow the field. Many assume your life is lived based on the congregation's giving. What they fail to realize is that many of them don't give. We have nothing to steal from the church seeing that there isn't anything to steal. The needs are many, and the righteous preachers seek to meet all of them. I know what it's like for the accounts to be low, but your faith is high. The only problem is that the electric company doesn't accept payments of faith. I know what it's like to wait at the jailhouse for hours until one of your congregants is bailed out. I also know what it's like to plead with a couple not to go to the courthouse to sign those divorce papers. I know what it's like to sit with the mourning and laugh with the joyful. Funerals are no fun, but seeing the birth of the babies is a joyous occasion. You are a mediator, counselor, friend, confidant, janitor, cook, community organizer, and so much more. Your responsibility is heavy, and the burden doesn't let up just because you don't feel like carrying it. You consider shutting everything down and becoming a "pew-seating Christian" where demands aren't asked of you. You know you'd be the best support staff of whatever church you sit in because you'd be willing to give what you know you sometimes lacked--support.

I know what it's like to have financial hardship both personally and in the church. While many come, only a few believe enough to actually give to the house they are fed in. They receive spiritually but usually give nothing of their own substance in return.

I even know what it feels like to wake up to hateful, terroristic messages that are meant to invoke fear and dread. My life has been threatened more times than I can count. Yet, we continue to plow. Our hands don't let go even though we feel drained and worn out.

The support system for the shepherd is almost nonexistent. And oftentimes shepherds can be spiteful and discouraging towards one another. Instead of edifying, some tear down and instead of reconciling, some expose. Instead of being a band of brothers, we're like a bag of loose leaf tea--bound as one but loose and separated within. The sheep herd, but the earthly one that stands with the rod and staff is alone. At the end of the night he returns to his chambers with his family oftentimes filled with sorrow, pain, bites from sheep he was trying to feed, wounds from the attacks of neighboring shepherds, scratches from attempting to rescue fleeing sheep from the thorns, bite marks from fighting wolves, and the scars brought on from deep depression. When you're tired few people actually know. When you express your weariness you're told to rest, but what they fail to see is that you're emotionally drained and depleted. A vacation doesn't refresh you. This is because ministry follows you wherever you go. You cannot turn it off. Unlike a profession, this calling lasts until you take you last breath. You can't escape it, and you don't resign from it. 

Just know your labor isn't in vain, your value isn't found in the size of your congregation, and those who stand against you aren't as many as those who are with you. When God asked, "Whom shall we send? Who will go for us?", you answered the call. Many heard the voice, but you responded. You didn't put the responsibility on someone else. You heard, and you answered. Don't doubt it. The greatest office in the land isn't the president, but the preacher. The president handles what's temporal, but the preacher handles that which is eternal. You're loved and appreciated. From one Pastor to another, THANK YOU. Please don't quit! Be encouraged. 


Family Altar Time

Building an altar in the home is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Unfortunately it’s one that is not practiced as much as it should be in our society today. Many see it as form of legalism, and some would speculate that it’s a form of idolatry. However, it’s really an attitude of the heart and simply creating a place separated for worship, communion, and Bible study. This time helps to reassure the foundation of Christ in the home. It is for the single wo/man, the newly married, the married couple with children, and so on and so forth. Don't think that you not having children disqualifies you from this time. Prepare now so it's just a continuation later on.

An altar is a special place designated for worship unto God. You don’t have to worry about getting a fatted calf or bringing the ninth heifer to the altar to sacrifice for your sins. We know that Jesus is and will always be all you need. The altar in the home should be a place that represents holiness. It’s not the place of holiness, but a place that represents it. It’s a place of refuge and comfort from the trouble of the world. It’s a place where God is glorified and you and your family are edified through prayer, Scripture reading, and edifying conversation.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 is a great reference on the importance of teaching the commands to your children. Verse 7 instructs us to “impress them on your children.” This means the conversation would have to be consistent, persistent, and intentional. Our teaching doesn’t stop in the home. We’re instructed to teach in our going in and our going out. This means you make every opportunity in life your classroom. For example, take the children outside to teach the principle of sowing and reaping. Use fertile soil in a small flower pot to teach the benefits of planting in good ground. Then get soil that is dry to teach what to avoid. Water the seeds together to teach persistence and patience. Then enjoy the fruit of the harvest with one another. Even better, teach the value of giving by allowing your children to gift what they have grown to someone else in need. Jesus was a master at this principle. He taught while standing beside the fig tree, while standing at the well, in the city street, and on the mountaintop. His life was His mission field, and we must practice this same principle at home with our children.

This special family time, which we refer to as “family altar time,” is special because we designate time for our first ministry--our family. It becomes the place where the family gathers together for the purpose of teaching, edification, loving reproof, fellowship, praise, communion, Scripture reading, and prayer. It’s a designated time just for them, which makes it extra special. No one or no thing can take the place of that time. We oftentimes allow others to come in to our special time, but we do not make a habit of it. We also do not allow for our family altar time to take the place of regular church attendance. I wouldn't recommend planning your family altar time around the same time as the services at your local church. Your entire family needs to attend those services to promote fellowship, social interaction, corporate teaching, corporate worship, and maturity with the brethren.

Before designating a special place in the home for family altar time, we should make sure our heart is pure and our desire is to truly seek God for ourselves and for our family. Make sure you are one with Christ so your family can follow. Command your household to put away any foreign gods, to be purged and purified, and to take off whatever they’ve put on that counters the teachings of Christ as Jacob did in Genesis 35:2. Remove anything in the home that is anti-Christ. Then boldly declare that you and your house will serve the Lord. That declaration is both personal and collective. It tells them that you will serve the Lord, and they must follow.

If you are in a situation where your spouse doesn't want to participate with the family altar time, do it anyway. Add him or her to your prayers, and win him or her over with your quiet, gentle Spirit. Don't be rude or demeaning. Be inviting and thankful for each step he or she takes to participate. If there are children in the home with the inactive spouse, make sure you do not seek to demonize the other spouse for his or her inactivity. Rather use it as an opportunity to pray for the "entire family" without singling out just "your mom" or "your dad." Demeaning the other parent can be counterproductive to the time together that should be marked with love, forgiveness, patience, longsuffering, and gentleness.

In my house we like to have our family altar time at dinnertime. This is our special time around the table where our family discusses our day, reads Scripture, and prays together. As the patriarch of the house, I lead the discussion, the prayer, and the teaching. I have two young children so I seek to relate the Gospel in a way they will understand. As they grow older I will assign them things to study like faith, hope, love, communion, salvation etc. so they can lead the discussion, Scripture reading, and prayer. It is important for them to read, study, and teach so they are prepared and feel comfortable enough to duplicate their actions in their home with their family. Our goal is to teach in a way that they’re able to teach others. My son is old enough to lead prayer, so we allow him to do it. His prayers have grown tremendously since he did it the first time. Seeing that growth means so much to me.

Family altar time is a great time of conversation and edification. Don’t feel overwhelmed by it. Start somewhere. Nowadays the television is the focal point of the home. Family altar time makes sure Christ is the foundation and priority.

Here are some important things to consider for family altar time.

1.     The most important subject to teach them is the Gospel! Tell them the bad news is that their sin is more than what they can pay. Then tell them the Good News is that Jesus has paid the price for us. Explain how sin kills, why God is to be revered, and the greatness of Christ. This is the most important lesson to teach. If you have to teach it over and over again, do it. Teach it until they understand it and are able to communicate it to others.

2.     Use the time to edify and encourage with Scripture, teaching, prayer, and conversation. It’s not a time of tearing down or trying to expose what someone doesn’t know. Pride shouldn’t be allowed in your altar time.

3.     Be consistent. Consistency is key to breaking through. Allow your family, especially your children, to see that you’re consistent in your altar time. They may not like it at first, but they must learn the importance of it. An important part of discipline is teaching, so be sure to teach them the importance of it. Make it interactive for them. It doesn't have to be stale. Have some fun with it. Just remember the importance of it.

4.     Don’t allow technology to take over the time. It’s easy to substitute human interaction and communication with a recorded sermon, a children’s video online, or a phone app that reads the Bible aloud. While those things can be wonderful additions, they shouldn’t take the place of your teaching, singing, praying, studying, and conversing. The children will appreciate dad much more than a recorded sermon. Possibly listen to the sermon from your pastor every Friday together. I'm not seeking to make a rule here. Instead, my goal is to point out the importance of more human interaction. Put the phones away, turn off the television, and speak with one another.

5.     It’s still possible to make time for your family altar even if your children do not live in the same home. This means you will have to be a little creative. The important thing is to establish a consistent schedule of communication and conversation. It could be a daily video chat, a biweekly conversation over ice cream, or sitting with them during their lunch. Be creative. Just remember the objective is to impress the words of God on their heart.

6.      Remember that "family altar time" is simply the designated time for family Bible study, worship, and edifying communication. It's not a time to tear down or ridicule. Spend the time focusing on the fullness of Christ. Children are having less interaction with Scripture nowadays with prayer taken out of schools. Just don't allow for that special time to be taken out of your home. Take this time seriously.

7.      Teach the importance of prayer by demonstrating it. Ask your children who and what they would like to pray for, and make special opportunities for them to pray. Teach them to pray for their family, their pastor, their church, missionaries, the sick and shut-in, the unsaved, the neighbors, our government leaders (no matter their political affiliation), and provision.

I pray these things assist you on your journey of starting a special time of edification in your home. For some, this will be the beginning. For others, this will be a continuation. Be encouraged never to stop. Ultimately, be led by the Holy Spirit.

I'm praying for you and your family.


For more information on this subject, please check out one of my sermons on building an altar in the home. Click here.

The Spirit of Division

Division is a tried and tested tactic of the enemy. He seeks to divide and conquer a unified body of believers. God calls us to be unified with one faith, one baptism, and one hope. There is only one body and one Spirit. We serve one Lord, and our service is to be sure. {Refer to Ephesians 4:1-6.} It is the devil's duty to destroy the bridge that links us together; to tear down families bonded together in unity; to ruin the relationship between husband and wife; to spoil the unity between parent and child. First Peter 5:8 tells us that he roars around like a lion seeking the weak and feeble to divide and devour. He stirs the body with strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disturbances. We must be alert and vigilant to his ways or will risk being victims to his divisive practices.

There are many rogue churches today that were formed by angry, bitter, and rebellious persons. The enemy uses these divisive ways to bring confusion, which ultimately leads to division. He intoxicates the congregants that sit under his spell with pride, jealousy, lust, pettiness, gossip, and slander so they will be destructive with their words and unloving in their actions.

Families are not exempt from his tactics of delusion, division, and destruction. He has been working a plan for years to destroy the healthy image of the family. Ephesians 5:23 tells us that the husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the Church. It's a common practice of war to cut off the head of the enemy whenever he is captured. The enemy practices this by cutting of the strength, respect, presence, and activity of the man so the rest of the body, which is represented by the wife and children, goes lifeless and headless. He knows that destroying the head will ultimately kill the body. And the enemy knows that he can influence the church by dividing the family. He confuses the communication and intimacy between the husband and wife, which causes tension and strife. He confuses the communication between the parents and children, which causes disunity.

Division is dangerous. It's violent. It's unfortunate! It makes the body fight against itself. It turns husband against wife, children against parents, church against church, family against family, preacher against preacher, sheep against shepherd, and so on. It creates an environment of "us" versus "them".

Romans 16:17-18 encourages us to stay away from divisive persons. It commands us to avoid them so we do not imitate their behavior. We are commanded to live at peace, be peacemakers, and be unified. And we must remember that those with this violent tendency are many, but we should never allow their destruction ways to keep us from seeking to be at peace through Christ. For those who repent, we must practice the ministry of reconciliation while celebrating the divisive spell of the enemy has been broken over them. We do not war against the person, but rather the spiritual principality and rulers of darkness in high places. The person is being used to spread a message of disunity and destruction. We must be vigilant and watchful.

For more on this subject, check out my sermon entitled: "The Spirit of Division".

5 Tolls of Leadership

The cost of leadership isn’t cheap. There are many tolls you must pay. I’ve either paid these five tolls or I’m paying them now. You cannot go around them. You must go through them, pay the fee, and drive on. Staying back to negotiate the cost is a poor use of your time. Pay the toll and move on!

1.     Toll of Being Misunderstood. You can work hard to be all things for all people, but they will always find something to convict you. They will work hard to find evidence to validate their claims against. Their objective is to find fault in you. You become their whipping post; their target; their idol. Critics need a large enough target to aim at to fire their hate-filled shots. For many, YOU ARE THE TARGET! Let them fire at will, but resist the urge to fire back. The childish and immature look for someone or something to blame. Like children pointing blame at their parents, they will point it at you to deflect the attention away from their actions or lack thereof. Giving them a stage will make them think it's okay for them to perform. And as a father of two young children, trust me when I tell you that you don't want to sit in the audience of a drama-filled tirade. Your time and focus is best spent elsewhere. You can either focus on the critics or continue helping others. I choose the latter. It takes thick skin to lead. Many of them believe they could do your job much better than you. You cannot focus your valuable time and energy trying to prove or validate yourself to them. You must realize that you will be misunderstood. You will never be enough to them, and what you do will never be enough to please them. THAT CANNOT BE YOUR FOCUS! You must remain faithful to the calling you’ve been given and the people you are called to serve. And you must never forget that you cannot truly serve people if you’re in bondage to how they feel about you. Feelings are fickle! They change like the wind. Those who like you today will hate you tomorrow. You must mature above their ability to move you. Pay the toll of being misunderstood and move on.

2.     Toll of Sacrifice. To sacrifice is an act of love. Jesus became the sacrifice we needed for salvation. He is sufficient. We need nothing or no one else. I want you to think of a sacrifice as if it was an offering you’re surrendering for the betterment of someone else. Oftentimes the main thing you’re sacrificing is your time. As a leader you must be willing to sacrifice your time and energy for the betterment of others. You must be willing to put your plans to the side when duty calls. This is my reality as a pastor. I’m on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have a wife and two children. I also host several annual retreats and conferences, lead several businesses, and run a non-profit organization that’s focused on empowering men. I’ve had to sacrifice my time, money, and energy. I've had to go without sleep and food. It's the price we pay. This is a toll you’ll have to pay daily. Pay it and move on.

3.     Toll of Teaching. This is a toll many don’t realize they must pay, but it’s one of the most important of them all. Teaching others makes sure the information and legacy lives on from generation to generation. Throughout history traditions were passed down orally from generation to generation. They knew the importance of teaching the younger ones so the information and legacy would live on. A failure to teach is a dangerous mistake. Recognize those that want to learn and teach them. I know that I’m not effective as a leader until I have taught and trained others. Without successors the organization is destined to crumble. Develop a strong teaching plan, and do not abandon it. Some will fall away. That's fine! Just fill the gap, keep teaching, and move on.

4.     Toll of Standing Alone. This is an expensive toll to pay. It’s one that challenges you mentally and emotionally. God created us as relational people. Many aspects of life are centered around relationships like our relationship with Christ, our relationship with others, marriage, parenthood, mentorship, and so forth. Relationships are important, but there comes a time when you must stand alone! I’ve had to pay this toll several times. It’s when those around you abandon you. Even the Apostle Paul dealt with this when he stood before his accusers alone. There will come a time when you will stand alone without the support of those around you. Although this toll is costly, it teaches you to truly trust in the Lord. Pay it and move on.

5.     Toll of Being Focused. Distractions are everywhere. I’ve seen some of the most skilled leaders leave their posts because of the distractions around them. Oftentimes we as leaders are tempted to take on more than we can carry. We try to pick it up the slack of the idle while being weighed down by our own responsibilities. Being focused requires you to discover your strengths and operate in them while continuing to staff your weaknesses. My time is valuable, so I’m willing to delegate certain tasks to others so I’m able to remain focused. The inability to keep your priorities and remain on task can cost you more than what you’re willing to pay. While driving in Puerto Rico I went through the same poll three times. There was a side street I was supposed to exit off, but I missed it each time because I wasn’t focused. I paid that toll more than I should have. My prayer is that you remain focused so you don’t pay it more than you should.

Pay the tolls and move on! There's work to do.


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What's More Important?

My son, which is my 3-year-old mini-me, has been a gift and joy to me since he was born. He’s adventurous, witty, daring, and wants to wrestle multiple times a day. What strikes me is how similar we are in so many ways. He is my twin with the only difference being that he’s more outgoing then I was as a child. I attribute it to him being more active than I and having more of my support as his father, which was not something I had at his age. Nonetheless, he teaches me something new daily. He helps me to see things about myself that I’ve never thought of or things I never realized. On this particular day he taught me something that I will carry for the rest of my life.

I work from home. It has its highs and lows, but the highs definitely outweigh the lows. One of the greatest highs is the opportunity to be present in my home. I see my children daily, and we can spend the day together. We’re homeschooling our children, so we will get a lot of time together. And that’s a good thing. One of the many disadvantages about working from home is being able to be disturbed easily. My office is on the same level of the house as my children’s playroom. This means I am interrupted a lot. There’s nothing like being on an important conference call and your son bursts in the room to announce that he has pooped and needs someone to wipe his butt. Those moments are both embarrassing and priceless.

This particular day changed how I saw things in my relationship with him. While working in my office my son burst through the door like he always does. And I don’t want you to think my office is off limits to my children. They have access to me at all times no matter what I am doing or whom I am with. They take full advantage of it. On the day in question my son bursts in my office and lets me know that he wants me to play with him. Unfortunately I had deadlines to meet. It was important that I finished the project by 6pm that afternoon. It was 4pm when he burst in my office. I felt the pressure of what would happen if I did not finish. Having my son stare me down did not help the anxiety. I sat behind my desk fully focused on what I was doing. I looked over to see my 3-year-old son standing in front of me with his head down. He had his little lip stuck out. He was pouting. He continued to ask me over and over to play with him. I was fully focused on my work though. I told him I needed to finish my project. He turned away from me and proceeded to walk out the door. It was not five minutes after he left that I was convicted. The question I had to ask myself was, “What’s more important?” It was in that moment that I chose my work over my child. I put my assignment over him. That is never how I want my child, or family for that matter, to feel. I don’t want them to think they come behind anything. I quickly put my computer to the side, got up, and proceeded to go play with my son. I had to realize that I remembered those moments when I desperately desired for my dad to play with me as a child. I couldn't dare put my son through that same feeling.

My challenge for you is be present in every moment of your life. Take a day to ask yourself what’s more important. Consider all of your activities. Ask yourself what are you giving more value to. What are you choosing over your family? What’s more important? I know what it is like to feel like you’re not valuable because it seemed like your father chose something or someone else over you. That is not a good feeling at all. I believe many of my insecurities are a result of it. You may have a similar story. Please don’t allow the cycle to continue. Ask yourself what and who is more important in your life. Value them. Love on them. Give to them. Be present with them. Be active with them. As for me, I had to get up from my desk and wrestle with my son. After I allowed him to beat me a few times I took time to affirm him. I needed him to know that my work—no matter what it is—will never be more important than he. That goes for my wife and daughter as well. So, what or who is more important to you?