Black Cat Blue Sea Award


It’s an honor and a privilege to be nominated for any award. I never heard of this award before, so it’s exciting to learn about something new. The Black Cat Sea Award is for bloggers who make an effort to write for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or have been blogging for years, what is important is that you inspire your readers.  At the end of the day, we are all bloggers trying to share what inspires us the most. What motivates me is helping people see the love of God.

I was nominated by Shawna.  She has an excellent blog and would highly recommend you check it out:

The questions Shawna posted for me to answer are below.

My Questions:

1. If you could give a homeless person a gift, what would you give?

That is a difficult question.  I would not want to give a homeless person a gift that would not transform their life.  I would want to give them a gift that would allow them to regain their dignity.  I want to give a gift that would restore their hope.  And a gift that would allow them a chance to start fresh.  So I would give the gift of knowledge and the resources to transform their station in life.  I would also encourage them to pass that gift on to someone else in a similar situation.

2. If the world ended in one week, and you could write one last letter what would it say ( Summarize in one paragraph)?

Dear People of Earth,

Many of you are fearful and worried that the world is coming to an end.  Nothing I can say will stop those fears.  But I can point you to something that many of you have ignored for far too long.  The love of God, in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ.  He makes you one promise that will give you hope this last week. “I will never leave you, nor abandon you.”  We don’t know how the world will end, but we are aware we never face death alone.  Fear not! He is with you.  See you on the other side.

Your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

3.What means the most to you money or love?

Money is temporal.  It is nice to have.  Money can make the day to day existence a little easier, but I would rather have love.  Love bring life.  Love invigorates me.  Love gets me up in the morning and motivates me to strive for greater heights.  I would take love over money every day of the week and twice on Sunday’s.

I nominate for this award:

Three Quotes In Three Days: Day Three



(I was nominated by Joanna Lynn her blog is for the 3 Quotes, 3 Days challenge. Her blog is for anyone, but especially for those who come from a place of abuse or still suffer the ongoing negative “tape recordings” that someone spoke into your life. She writes from a Christian worldview because she believes that nothing is possible without Jesus. Stop by and check out her site. I accepted the challenge because it sounds like fun and fits into my Words of encouragement posts as well. For the challenge, I am to nominate three people a day to the challenge and a quote (or three) a day. Here are my nominees:

“In any dispute or disagreement where the outcome has winners and losers. In the end, everyone is a loser. Reconciliation should be the end goal not one side getting their way.”- Keith Haney

In this election season, there has never been a more significant statement.  If we can’t come together as a nation, as a people, no matter what candidate wins, we are all losers.

Three Quotes in Three Days: Day Two

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”― Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It is a sad reality that Dr. King’s dream to see a time when race is not a dividing factor in America has not come to fruition. It falls in the lap of the Church to be that voice of truth in the world. We have the gospel message of the new life in Christ. It is only through the regenerate man. That we see people of different races, creeds, and color as a neighbor. As long as there are individuals who are persecuted and disenfranchised the Church of Jesus Christ has work to do to see the dream of equality in Christ become a reality. We are called by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be a neighbor to the ones who need mercy. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. And who is our neighbor? Anyone, we come into contact with, not just the people who look like us and think like us but everyone God places in our lives is our neighbor.

Like the Good Samaritan our mission in the world is to “Go and show mercy.” In doing so, you model for those who are far from God the love of the Savior and the mercy and grace of God. So go and do likewise.

Three Quotes in Three Days

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(I was nominated by Joanna Lynn her blog is for the 3 Quotes, 3 Days challenge. Her blog is for anyone, but especially for those who come from a place of abuse or still suffer the ongoing negative “tape recordings” that someone spoke into your life. She writes from a Christian worldview because she believes that nothing is possible without Jesus. Stop by and check out her site. I accepted the challenge because it sounds like fun and fits into my Words of encouragement posts as well. For the challenge, I am to nominate three people a day to the challenge and a quote (or three) a day. Here are my nominees:

Now on with the challenge.  Here is the quote for today.

“We don’t always understand while we are in the moment the purpose for the events in our lives. Yet none of those events are without a purpose.”- Keith Haney

There are moments in our life where the challenges and the trials seem overwhelming even more that we can bare.  Realize we are never alone.  God makes us this promise in Isaiah 41:10, “fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Meet and Greet Weekend



It’s Meet and Greet time! I’ve loved hosting these in the past, so I’m very excited to be hosting this one. Getting to know new bloggers and watching bloggers I like to get to know each other makes me happy!

This is a party, and it’s meant to be fun. My rules are simple:

ALL Bloggers are welcome!
Leave a link to your blog in the comment section with as much info on your blog as you want to share. (Social Media links too if you’d like)
If you think your readers would enjoy sharing their links, please re-blog to let them know they are invited! Share on social media too if it suits your fancy! The more, the merrier.
Check out the links left by others. I’ve met some of my favorite bloggers at meet and greets.
This party will be going on all weekend…cause that’s the way I roll…so feel free to visit throughout the weekend and leave your links as often as you’d like.

The Power of Building Relationships


Boot Camp By Phil Bandy

Two weeks ago I took a trip to the Cook County boot camp to join Derek Polansky, YFC’s Director of Juvenile Justice Ministry.  Boot camp was in a collection of buildings about a mile square – courthouses, minimum security, maximum security and more.  To get into the boot camp, you pass through metal detectors, show your ID, go through 3 or 4 doors where you are buzzed in and at each door you wait.

We met ten young men in the barracks and Derek told them today’s lesson would be a little different.

He chose four men and me, then assigned us roles.  I was the father, a smaller man was the mother, another was a 17-year-old, a third was a 12-year-old, and the tallest (about 6’ 3”) was the 5-year-old.  The guys in the barracks loved the last choice.

Derek took out a pad of Post-It notes and asked all the young men what the responsibilities were for a father in the family, which he wrote on the Post-It notes.  The first responsibility suggested was “protection” which struck me since some of the guys had joined gangs for the protection they should have received from their fathers.  Each Post-It note was put on my chest – provider, teacher, decision-maker, leader, lover – the list grew until the 10th note was placed on my chest “Be There.”

Derek did the same for the mother (who ended up with more than my list), then the young men posing as the other family members.

When the four of us had all of our responsibilities on our chests, Derek said “…the situation just changed…Dad has had it.  He’s sick of the kids, doesn’t love his wife anymore.  He just walked out.”  Then taking the notes off my chest, he asked who gets these now?  It was unanimous “mom”.  But mom already had 15 notes on “her” chest how can she handle all of hers and all of the father’s responsibilities?  The guys thought some could be passed on to the kids, but not many.  So what could be done?  They all agreed things are going to fall through the cracks; responsibilities were not going to be done.  One man mentioned that mom probably also lost the income the father was bringing in, so she takes a second job.  More things fall through the cracks.

Derek sat down, pulled out his Bible and read the story of God’s creation of man and woman, then the fall.  He asked if they saw any parallel between the fall of man and the loss of a father from the family.  A couple of guys did and agreed both decisions destroyed the future.  Three of the young men asked questions, made comments about their families and I felt maybe, just maybe the spirit was starting to work on them.

On our way back to the cars, Derek mentioned that he would be coming back to boot camp next week and was hoping that the man most verbal about the Bible reading and families would not be there, but be home…with his two kids.

Two Different Views of America



I honestly thought I was done writing on race for a while.  Naïve enough to believe that maybe things were getting better.  And then like the video clip in the opening of this post from the Godfather, events of the past week pull me back in.  Two more shootings.  More protest and the racial tension is heightened even further.

“They have the unique ability to listen to one story and understand another.”
― Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

I found myself watching a segment of the Bill O’Reilly show. As the details of the shooting in Charlotte were being uncovered, Mr. O’Reilly had a civil rights attorney as his guest.  They were discussing the events of the shooting.  One observation Mr. O’Reilly made was striking.  He said, “Well, we have to trust that the police’s information is correct.”  That is the heart of the problem with the two views of America.  For white America that is your starting point.  You believe the police.  You have no reason not to.  It’s likely most of your encounters with police have been fair and reasonable.  That is your reality.

Depending on where you are as a black American that may not be your reality. Your experience with the police may not have turned out so positively, or you may know someone whose experience ended with horrifying results.  As a black male, I was taught to be cautious, even afraid of the police.  So when a law enforcement officer pulls me over (very rarely has that happened) my heart races, I am on edge not knowing how this whole thing will turn out.  I am convinced this uneasiness is felt by both parties, and it is a recipe for disaster.  Two people, both on edge, both afraid of each other. One has a deadly weapon, one is defenseless.

I get the sense that so much of what is happening is based on fear.  Each side is afraid of the other.  What Mr. O’Reilly and his guest were attempting to solve is why?  Why are these shootings happening?  Why is the community reacting in such a violent and destructive way?  Mr. O’Reilly thought if the black community just understood the police were there to protect and serve everything would be ok.  The civil rights attorney was pointing out that the black community doesn’t feel protected or served, but victimized by the police.  So every new incident only feeds the narrative that black men are being victimized.  With that feeling, with that narrative, with the subsequent rioting, the fear on both sides only grows.  The gulf becomes larger and the possible racial explosion becomes more evident with each incident.

Only God’s love can tone down the rhetoric.  Only God’s love can drive out the fear.  We are a nation in need of repentance.  We have allowed Satan to create an atmosphere of suspicion and chaos among peoples and nations.  Like Hezekiah, we need to come before God and seek his forgiveness and healing.  Look at what happened when that occurred in 2 Kings 20:4-5,“And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him:“Turn back, and say to Hezekiah, the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David, your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.”

I call on the people of God to bathe this situation in prayer.  We need to become a people on our knees praying for God to intervene.   God is grieved by what is happening, and if we pray to him, God will heal our land.  He will heal our divisions and create a culture of love and trust.  Only God can fix what is broken among us.

Other related posts on this topic:


Even The Wind and Waves Obey Him


My thoughts this Monday morning are focused on the power of Jesus over nature.  The reading is from Matthew 14:22-33

“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[e] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

In what area of your life is Jesus calling you to trust him today?  Are you by faith able to step out of the comfort of the boat and join him in the water?

Meet and Greet Weekend

Meet and greet are opportunities for you to give people a chance to know more about you.  It also gives you the opportunity to promote your blog.  To make this more fun.  Tell us what country you a…

Source: Meet and Greet Weekend

How to Motivate Volunteers Like Jesus


This is a famous fable about four people in the church whose names were Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

The church had financial responsibilities, and Everybody was asked to help. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it. But you know who did it? Nobody. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Then the church grounds needed some work, and Somebody was asked to help. But Somebody got angry about that, because Anybody could have done it just as well and, after all, it was Everybody’s job. In the end, the work was given to Nobody, and Nobody did an excellent job.

On and on this went. Whenever work was to be done, Nobody could always be counted on. Nobody visited the sick. Nobody gave liberally. Nobody shared his faith. In short, Nobody was a very faithful member.

Finally, the day came when Somebody left the church and took Anybody and Everybody with him. Guess who was left. Nobody![1]

When I read this fable, it just reminds me of how hard it is to motivate Anybody to do the mission work that Jesus gave Everyone to do. So, in the end, we have Nobody willing to volunteer in the church.  I want to share with you some ways Jesus motivated his followers.

Six ways Jesus Keep the Disciples motivated:

1)    Be a leader worth following

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:35-37

Jesus was not like typical king or religious leaders.  He did not look at the crowds and see them as people who should serve him.  Instead, he looked out and with a compassionate heart asked, “How can I serve them?”  He was a leader worth following.  A leader worth laying down your life for.  A leader worthy to take up your cross to help.

2)    Set an example

Jesus left us with a discipleship model. You watch, I do, we talk.  I do, you help, we talk. Then You do, I help, we talk.  You are sent, I watch, we celebrate, and God’s kingdom expands.

3)    Create an environment where they can grow

Jesus was there to protect them and allow them to grow.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 26-31

4)    Make life interesting

“These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons”. Matthew 10:5-8

Following Jesus is rarely dull.  After spending time preparing the disciples for meaningful impact in the world.  Jesus sends them out with the message of salvation they had heard Jesus proclaim countless times.  But he had them start out slow.  Go first to the Jews.  In other words stay for now in your comfort zone.  He wanted them to experience success.

My first door-to-door evangelism experience was in a rural white suburban neighborhood.  I want you to picture this.  I am a six-foot-five and two hundred sixty-pound African American male.  I walk up and ring your doorbell say, “Hello”, and then jump into the old Kennedy evangelism questions.  “If you were to die tonight…?” That is about as far as the conversation went before the door was closed and the police called.

Jesus had the divine wisdom not to put his disciples in a position that they would fail and become discouraged.  Are you putting volunteers in a position that they are doomed to fail?  If so, rethink that strategy.

5)    Offer incentives

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.  The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” Matthew 9:40-41

I am not necessarily encouraging you to pay your volunteers.  What I am saying is given them some incentive.  Let them know that their time and effort is necessary and critical to the ministry of the church and our Lord Jesus Christ.

6)    Stir the pot

 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 9:34-39

Remind people that the work they are called to do has the power to change the world.  Jesus did not come into the world to bring peace but the stir things up.  He began to shake the foundations of the world.  To turn the world upside down.  Jesus came to fix what was broken and restore what was lost.  He came to redeem the world and reconcile a lost world through his death and rising to life again.  And we are joining him on this mission.  We are called to be people who stir things up.  Embrace your calling.  Be empowered by the task ahead.  You are world changers.

Other posts in this series:


[1] Green, M. P. (Ed.). (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.


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