Tag Archives: Run Your Race

You’re Still In The Running: Thank God Your Past Doesn’t Disqualify You!

In this current election cycle, as it has been in the past, there’s a lot of conversation about the pasts of the candidates. When you’re running for the office of President of The United States, you should expect that people will dig into your past, look at your voting record on certain issues believed to be critical, and even your past personal behavior to see what kind of character you have. While character and voting records are definitely things to consider when voting for someone for the supposed highest office in the land, standing firm on people’s past can be tricky proposition.

Now, I didn’t write this to tell anyone how to vote or what conspiracies they should be mindful of. I’m a preacher and I’m saved. That means that when I consider my past and where God has brought me from and what He has brought me to, I understand that we are often more than the sum of our pasts. When I see how we’re examining people based on past behavior, I can’t help but wonder, what if God disqualified me because of some decisions I made because of youth, ignorance (both willful and otherwise), and just plain ol’ rebellion? What if I wasn’t allowed to run for Jesus because in the past, I ran with the devil?

I’m reminded of Moses as I write this. When God chose him, he was a murderer and a fugitive. Even Moses thought he should’ve been disqualified, giving God every reason he could as to why God should choose someone else for this most important leadership position. But God was well aware of what Moses had done and he chose him anyway. God had to show Moses that he was more than his past decisions.

Recently after the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant in January of this year, there was murmuring about his indiscretions in Eagle, Colorado in 2003, almost 17 years before his death. In fact, it was just hours after the helicopter crash that people brought it up. Some on social media had held so tightly to his past, that they couldn’t even offer condolences to his family before they sought to remind all of what happened in 2003.

This compelled me to do two podcasts on redemption and retribution because I felt that we were confusing the two. By many accounts, whoever Kobe was in 2003 and no matter what anybody thinks he did or didn’t get away with almost 17 years ago, he was a far, far cry from that man at the time of his death. And because we believe so much in holding on to past shortcomings, I find it hard to believe that Kobe had another night like that and no one brought it to light. I’m not suggesting he was perfect for the rest of his days, but it was obvious he had changed.

I imagine what might have been had Kobe not been allowed to keep going, despite his past. It was clear that God had more for him to do. It was clear that he was more than just the poor choices he made in Colorado. And while some may think I’m defending what he was accused of, that’s not the case. I’m merely pointing out that some that have considered themselves better than Kobe was that night have committed atrocities in the sight of God and He still gave them the chance to change their lives for the better. If God won’t handcuff us to the past through an act of grace, who are we to deny people the opportunity to show that they’ve changed?

If all I ever care about is what you used to be, I may never fully come to realize what you are right now. If I’m solely stuck in where you were, I may never see how far God has brought you. And while it’s true that sometimes past behavior can predict future behaviors in our lives, I’ve listed two examples in this post alone that shows that there are exceptions to our rules when God gets involved.

The fact remains that God could easily do some fact finding in our lives. God could easily dig up some dirt on us and it would all be accurate. God could easily see what our voting record says when it was time choose between right or wrong, and He most definitely could have analyzed our character at any given moment and deemed us unfit to continue to run our race to make our calling and election sure. Instead, He chose grace. Instead, He sent a Savior.

In this climate of mud slinging and fact checking, let us remember that God has the goods on all of us. And yet, He’s allowed us to remain in the race. We haven’t been disqualified yet. We’re still in the running. In spite of our shortcomings and our pasts, we can still win this thing.

You’re right, they don’t support you. But there’s more to the story.

You’re not crazy. Don’t let people make you think that you are. The very people that should support you in some way, form or fashion, the people that you call bro, sis, bother, sister, cousin, mother, father, friend, and even sometimes BFF, etc, are ignoring your efforts to live your dreams and create a better life. You see it because they do it in the open. The neglect is real. No, you’re not crazy. But you’re not defeated either.

If there’s anything that I’ve learned on this journey of entrepreneurship and individual ministry, it’s that God is The One that makes a way, and therefore, God is The One to be counted on. Many of us have simply misidentified our target (I’m guilty of that). We’ve missed who God has sent us to impact because we’re trying to reach for what’s right in front of us. However, the truth is who we’re near and who we’re meant to reach can often be two different things.

The fact remains that Jesus Himself had to leave His kindred and do the works that God sent Him to do (Mark 6:1-6). It was for them, but someone else had to receive it before they could appreciate it, and they still never fully did that. If Jesus faced rejection and neglect in light of His tremendous purpose, it’s going to be the same for you and I. But there is more to the story. God will still make a path for you.

Sure, many of us will claim to have haters that we don’t have, but that’s because we often fail to see that people don’t have to be haters in order to not support you. It’s true, some are haters, but some are also indifferent, and some quite honestly see you as competition or a threat. But if your eyes are on your God and on your mission, even though you see what you see and feel what you feel, you won’t be terminally affected, and most importantly, you won’t quit.

I’ve survived a lack of support by people that embraced me regularly and told me they loved me, just so that they can turn around and talk openly or post online about people that did the same thing that I do, while never saying a word about their “bro” or sending any love my way. I’ve survived my own mismanagement of my ministry, missing both financial support and other opportunities, because I was more focused on getting support from who I thought should have been supporting instead of going where God told me to go for support. You could almost say that I was constantly missing the bus because I was consistently standing at the wrong bus stops.

I’ve survived days when I looked up and the ministry was a one man show from beginning to end because my passion and perspective superseded those that pledged to help, but they didn’t know what help really entailed, and they bailed on me when they found out. But in the midst of it all, God was in the midst of it all. I’m still going. Not because of me, but because it’s greater than me. I’m still going because God has purposed this work, not because man supported this work.

I just want to encourage somebody today and tell you not to give up and not to give in. Remember why you started, and if the only goal was to be loved and accepted by all, you may need to adjust your goals because that one is unattainable. Remember, Jesus Himself was rejected by family, friends, neighbors and such. He was sent away by people who actually needed what He had. Work your plan according to The Master’s Plan (Matthew 6:33). That’s the true definition of success. Be encouraged on today. God has a victory waiting for you that no amount of earthly support could ever match.

There’s Still Power In Grassroots Ministry

Grassroots or small ministry has become a dirty word amongst the people. These days, everybody wants to start at the top. Even those that are on the bottom have aspirations that are beyond their meager beginnings. It seems as if they haven’t even asked God if they’re where they’re supposed to be before telling God where they want to go. Nobody wants to plant anymore. We all want to go straight to harvest season.

Nobody wants to be that “little church on the corner” anymore, but little church principles are sorely needed these days. We need to reconnect with that sense of community that we once had as the church. It’s not that everybody knew your business, but there were some people that were concerned about your business, meaning that they cared about what you were going through.

These days, we seem to be isolated both inside and outside of the church. People want to be elevated these days, not so that they can be of greater service to the body, but so that they can be isolated from the body. Believe it or not, the higher you go within the body, the more you should be seen by the body, and not just on the screen, but on the scene. Jesus did His ministry amongst the people, not apart from them.

At the end of 2018, God arrested my attention once again concerning my little corner of the ministry world. I was wrapping up my 12th book and things were going well in my radio ministry. God told me to stay focused. It’s not that I wasn’t or that I was looking to go somewhere that He hadn’t ordered, but it seems as if God was making a preemptive strike on my conscience. He reminded me that He had me exactly where He wanted me in this little corner of the world. Keep writing. Keep delivering The Word across the airwaves. Keep preaching when called upon. Keep teaching when called upon. He reminded me that this is what’s need. A grassroots approach. Don’t turn to the left or right, and by all means, don’t look to see what others are doing. Do what you’ve been called to do.

I’ve taught in places where there were close to 100 people. I’ve preached before 300 people as well. I know, that may not seem like much to some, but I’m not here to exaggerate numbers. I’m on the radio each week in 6 states, potentially speaking to over 1 million people. I even have a podcast. However, some of my best days as a preacher/teacher have come in rooms where there were less than 10 people. There’s something about seeing the impact of the Word of God on people’s faces up close and personal that brings joy to my soul.

Many have perverted their God-given gifts because they’d rather be on a flyer than in the will of God. We can’t allow our ambitions to get in the way of His mission! Our call is to be more attracted to The Light than we are to the spotlight. Even if you’re on the flyer, why are you on the flyer? What are you bringing? We should never look to be the main attraction on God’s program. It should be our desire to be intentional servants.

The church has become more theatrical than therapeutic. It is the job of an entertainer to find out what people want and like and bring it to the stage, screen, or studio. It is the job of the church to identify what the people need and bring it to their attention, whether they like it or not. The fact is, pleasing in His sight isn’t always pleasing to our ears, but we must surrender anyway.

One of the things I find puzzling in ministry is that many of us know what’s not right, and yet, we continue to do it and encourage it. Even in our large spaces, we see the deficiencies in our people, and we continue to make them weaker. A challenging word isn’t just a word that challenges the faith of the believer as they pray for material increase. A challenging word is a word that echoes 1 Peter 1:16 which tells us to be holy because the God we serve is holy.

In my 2016 book “Are We Still Making Disciples”, I no doubt ruffled some feathers when I suggested that we care more about promoting our events and even ourselves than we do about making disciples, which is the primary function of the church. I made it clear then, and I’ll repeat myself here, I have nothing against promoting the church and having a marketing plan. However, I do have something against promoting us above the church.

Whether it be preacher, evangelist, praise team, singing group, or whatever, nothing should take precedence over Jesus. I stated that anything that happened in the church should be looking to do 3 things: Glorify God, get someone saved, and keep someone connected to God. The question was asked, if people leave your event, will they witness about Jesus or the event itself?

It was John The Baptist who said in the Gospel of John 3:30 that Christ must increase, but he himself must decrease. He wasn’t saying that so that he could end his ministry. He was saying that so that the focus of his ministry could have its proper preeminence. “Church” is still popularity driven, but evangelism is still very much a grassroots effort and souls will always be converted one by one, even if a group of people all get baptized on the same day. Even as 3000 were saved in Acts 2:41, we can’t lose sight of the fact that 3000 individual choices were made, and those 3000 were all there as a result of some grassroots efforts on the part of the Disciples.

The challenge for the church is that we recognize when we have become more popular than Christ and shift the focus. The moment they’re drawn by our name instead of the name of Jesus, we must shift the focus. Come off the flyer if you must or do away with it all together, but make sure that Jesus has preeminence. This may shrink the crowds, and dare I say, force us to be more grassroots in our approach to be sure that we’re drawing the right crowds for the right cause, but being set apart and peculiar doesn’t often lend itself to large crowds anyway.

It was the late singer John Lennon who famously said in 1966 that his band The Beatles were “bigger than Jesus”. People were outraged at such a statement and begin to ban The Beatles music in various places. However, the point Lennon was making went over their heads. He wasn’t suggesting that it was the goal of the band to be bigger than Jesus. He was pointing out the absurdity that they were probably more important to some Christians than their Savior.

The church is still facing this crisis because we’ve made some of the things that we do in our churches “bigger than Jesus”. Many won’t even attend a church function if it doesn’t seem like there’s a possibility that it will be standing room only. Worse yet, some ministry leaders won’t put on an event unless they believe they can draw a certain number of people or get certain people on program. I submit to you that if we sometimes do it small, we’ll find out who’s really coming for the right reason. You’ll find out who’ll come out for an event versus who’ll come out for an encounter!

We’ve rebelled against being small, but effective. In an effort to be seen by man, we’re missing the people that we’ve been commissioned to serve. Grassroots isn’t a dirty word. Small group Bible study isn’t an exercise in futility. We must always remember the basics. Believe it or not, God still has a heart for the remnant. He has yet to despise small beginnings. If you start small, but you start in His name, He’ll still do great things within your ministry. That little church on the corner still has power and she should never abandon her call.

Battling a Cain spirit: Our DNA is still a threat to unity in ministry

In my book An Understanding with God, I referenced the fact that we come from a damaged DNA in Adam. David outlines this in Psalm 51:5 when He says we were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. This stresses the fact that sin is a part of our makeup, and if not for the Spirit guiding us, we’re all susceptible. After all, the man that wrote the Psalm wrote it after taking another man’s wife, getting her pregnant, and having that man killed to cover up his sin. And he was a man after God’s own heart.

What this reminds me of is the fact that even God’s chosen can be a mess at times. I myself have behaved outside of my calling, and as long as I’m alive, there’s a good chance I’ll do it again. Thank God for grace, but how do we manage our ministry when it seems that those of a similar vocation in God seem to be at odds with us?

The first thing we need to remember is that DNA. It caused one man in Cain to kill his own brother. He did it simply because his gift wasn’t honored in the same way as Abel’s. This still happens today. We don’t know how to honor one another’s gifts at times, so we try and kill one another. We do this, and when God questions us, we act as if we have no idea what happened.

Understand that ministry can be a wonderful thing. It can be filled with camaraderie, love, fellowship, support, and encouragement. However, it can also be filled with jealousy, backbiting, sabotage, and quite honestly, hate. Depending on who you are, that can either discourage you or motivate you.

What must be remembered is that we’re all on the same team (unless, like Cain, we’re not). We do this for The Kingdom and not for ourselves. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to be. There is no competition, except against the devil because we are trying to defeat him and win the souls of mankind.

If we want to manage our ministries, we have to manage our emotions. We weren’t called to do everything, be everything, boss everybody, or even reach everybody. God has a lane for all of us. We need to find that lane and stay in it until God gives the order to shift. And, as I stated on broadcast last week, when He calls for a shift, you may be shifting alone and away from some people that you thought you’d be working with forever.

The best thing that we can do is to manage our own ministry without trying to manage the ministry of others. We all have a call that we’re responsible for. And truth be told, we wouldn’t be that impressed with God if we were all carbon copies. We have similar vocations, but different administrations. Applaud when you can and should. Pray when you feel you can’t. Because sin lieth at the door. I know we all feel like we’re Abel. But just remember, there’s a little bit of Cain in your DNA as well.

Your Faith Must Match Your Vision 

God is showing some people some amazing visions these days, myself included. There are businesses that He wants to birth, ministries that He wants to bring to fruition, and dreams that He wants to fulfill. The only thing that can stop us is a lack of faith, not a lack of resources. 

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith. That tells me that impossible is where our dreams die. Impossible is what will cause us to lose when we’re born to win. Impossible is a disappointment to God. Impossible shouldn’t be in our Spiritual nature because it’s not in God’s. 

Scripture also tells us that faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Therefore, if your vision is larger than a mountain, you must increase your faith even more. At the bare minimum, we should all have mustard seed faith. Just imagine what a little boost can do for you. 

Scripture also reminds us that with God, nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37). Therefore, we must remove that word from our vocabulary. The struggle that we have with the gap between our vision and our faith is we’re often in moments of discomfort when the vision comes.  

God shows you the business plan when you’re broke with a mountain of bills. God shows you the plan for the ministry when people are still questioning your call and your ability. God shows you the better career when you’re barely holding on to a job that you hate, but you need for your survival! Yes, God will show you the best of life when it seems that you’re at your worst points. That’s not a time to shrink in your faith. That’s when you must grow! 

I encourage those that may be reading this to see God more clearly than you see your circumstances. You could have all the money in the world, but if you lack faith, you’ll be scared to invest it in your dreams. So see the vision more clearly than you see your lack of income and/or opportunity. God will never lead you to it without a plan to feed you through it. Trust Him more than you fear failure. He’s committed to you. Increase your faith. See the vision clearly. Watch God work!

Get Ready For Your Elevation!

There comes a moment when God wants some alone time with His children. Away from where we think we should be, and certainly away from where we used to roam and from what we used to be. Maybe He called you out of a bad relationship. Maybe He called you out of physical or spiritual bondage. Maybe He called you off of an unfulfilling job or out of a church where you could no longer produce. Or maybe, just maybe, He called you away from who you’ve been, so that He can bring you to be what He wants you to be.

It’s during this time of isolation that God will shape you and mold you into what He wants you to be and what you need to be for the next level of your journey. It’s during these moments when God will cause you to re-evaluate your life and whether or not you’re effectively operating in your purpose.

It’s during these times that even those around you may seem as if they’re “funny acting”, they have no time for you, or they’re kicking you out of their circle. But 2 Corinthians 6:17 says “Come out from among them and be ye separate, says The Lord”. So, know that they’re not kicking you out, they’re kicking you up! God has a new you waiting at the next level!

Know that your isolation is preparation for your elevation. Enjoy your alone time with God. Don’t despair when your phone calls go unanswered. Don’t worry when the enemy attacks you for leaving your former place. Be not dismayed when you had more company in bondage than you have when your chains fall off. Get ready, child of God. It’s time for your elevation!

(Like that “Isolation for Elevation” t-shirt Rev. Jackson is wearing? Click here to order yours in support of the “Your Life with Purpose” radio broadcast!)

#DontDieWithIt!

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#DontDieWithIt is a movement. It’s a statement. It’s a call to action!

Whatever it is that God has called you to do and be, your mission should be to not leave this earth without giving it your very best. It doesn’t do anybody any good in the grave. Whatever you do, don’t die with it!

That business idea He gave you, that dream He woke you up in the middle of the night to tell you about, that talent, that gift, that anointing, that undying desire to be something other than what “they” said you could and should be, don’t you dare take it to the funeral home. God didn’t give it to you for nothing. You can’t leave it undone.

This is an encouragement movement! This a motivational movement. This is a God-ordained movement. You have the time. You have the talent. You have the call. Be courageous. Be active. Be progressive. Be aggressive. God is on your side and He’s gifted you and purposed you. Do it all and do it now. Don’t die with it!

Purchase your #DontDieWithIt t-shirt here!