What’s Your Life Plan?

7 Jump-Starting questions for you, as you prepare for 2012.

1. What do you want?

2. How do you plan to get it?

3. How do you plan to maintain it?

4. What’s your course of action?

5. What daily-disciplines need to be instituted & implemented?

6. Which “habits” need to be “deep-sixed”?

7. 2012 is right around the corner. How is this new season really going to be different for you? Make it count!

(*Copy and paste these to a word document, and then write down some of those things that pop into your mind.)


The “Leader’s Cheer”

I was shocked the other day. During our youth leaders meeting I found myself in a room full of young adults cheering like it was the Superbowl. What was it… Free pizza? Monster drinks all around? No, it was the sound of leaders cheering after someone shared a simple testimony of what God had done in their life that week. At that moment I felt such joy bubbling-out of me. We were smiling, laughing, and having the time of our life. The best part of it, was that it wasn’t initiate by me.

These youth leaders tapped-in to a biblical principle… “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Rom. 12:15). Ideally we want people to cheer for us. We love it when someone says, “You’re awesome!” But when we see other people excited about something, or getting the ‘ol “pat on the back” we tend to be jealous with envy, or… Yawn with indifference. But love is a 2-way street that must be traversed both ways. I, for one am so impressed and godly-proud by our IG Leadership Team. They’re traveling down this road well, and together we’re going to do great things!

40 Lessons I Learned from Pastor Wendell Smith

Pastor Wendell, his teachings, and his life, made a indelible mark upon my own heart and life, which can never be erased. Being trained under him for 3 years at The City Church is one of the highlights of my life. His sensitivity to the things of God, were like no other. “The Spirit & the Word”, “Grace-Grace”, “Faith!”, “Whatever it Takes”… were his mottos, and became the battle cry for all of us to live by. I will never forget you, Pastor, nor the things you taught me. I love you. I will see you soon.

As I was taking the plane back from the Homegoing Service, here’s some of the lessons I learned from one of the greatest Pastors to ever grace this planet::


1. Live a life worthy to be emulated.

2. Make time to love your wife & kids.

3. Pastor your family, before your church.

4. A good name is more important than you think.

5. Even after a long wed nite, people remember being loved & valued, (even if you don’t think they do).

6. Never stop dreaming, writing, or strategizing.

7. Even in hardship, have a good attitude.

8. Never loose your graciousness.

9. Be transparent with people.

10. Be yourself, but be your’ anointed-self.

11. Don’t be a people-pleaser. Be strong in the grace that’s in Christ Jesus.

12. Smile while you preach.”

13. There’s only two speeds at which to operate: Wait; and Go-Fast.

14. Pray, receive a word from God, get counsel, take weeks & months if you have to, before you make important decisions that guide your church/ministry. (This way you’ll be right 99% of the time).

15. Believe in every promise in the Bible, even if you don’t see it’s fulfillment right away.

16. Really get into your Bible & mark it up, (the scriptures you don’t read & highlight can’t help you.)

17. Have scriptures on certain topics printed out (like: Prosperity, etc.) so that you can quote them in times of need & encourage your family with them too.

18. Make people feel special.

19. Relationships are too important, (never take them for granted.)

20. Give honor to whom honor is due.

21. Be a Giver.

22. “Do the ridiculous, and God will do the miraculous.”

23. Be secure enough to laugh or cry in the pulpit.

24. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, even in a restaurant, (you never know when God is going to move.)

25. Be a man of prayer, (your children really are watching.)

26. Practice “60-Second Pastoring” on Sunday mornings & Wed. nites, (don’t be in such a hurry that you walk past people without seeing how they’re doing. It just takes a minute).

27. Pastor your staff/leaders well; and they’ll pastor your people well.

28. “Attitude is the most important thing.”

29. Prayer is what makes things work.

30. Possess an excellent spirit.

31. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

32. Have a vision, have a verse, have a strategy.

33. Don’t be so busy, that you forget to come out of your tent and look up at the stars.

34. Be a Worshipper first, then be a Pastor.

35. Learn, (and never lose) the art & practice of Intercession.

36. Pastor Wendell loved golf & birds. Have hobbies. They’re a great release of pressure in life, and the ministry.

37. Take lots of pictures & video of your people, so you can mark the progress of your ministry, and celebrate your victories.

38. Never forget the people who helped you get where you’re at today.

39. At special events, you can eat later. Walk around, pastor & love on your people while they’re there.

40. When you take along one of your young staff members as your armor-bearer, make him feel special by acknowledging him before your preach, by saying, “This is __________ one of my anointed associates.” (Pastor Wendell always knew how to make me feel special, even when I was just a “maintenance guy”.)


If you enjoyed this post, come check out my new blog:   www.todayicanchange.com





Playing it Safe?

If God promises you something big, never settle for less.

“And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben: “Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here?” (Numbers 32:6, NKJV)

This verse, literally jumped out at me this week. The significance of the original language, in this text, is absolutely eye-opening. The tribe of Ruben (which means, “to see” ), and Gad (which means, “a fortune” ), these two tribes saw the incredible land that they wanted to be theirs. The only problem is that it was on the wrong side of the Jordan. The whole deliverance from Egypt was for the purpose of getting them across the Jordan River, and into their very own “Promised Land”. But these two tribes were content to stay right where they were at. What did they see? Num. 32:1 says they saw the land of Jazer (which means, “help & protection” ), and Gilead, (which means: “to be exposed” and “arguments” ). Here’s the thing: Sometimes what looks good on the surface, ends up leaving you exposed, and causes a lot of arguments, shouting matches, and family feuds. When we begin playing it safe, it ends up biting us in the end! Matthew Henry says it like this: “They consulted their own private convenience more than the public good.”

Stop sitting around twiddling your thumbs

To sum it up, let me share this: If God promises you something big, never settle for less. If He’s spoken to you about being a Pastor, don’t lower yourself by taking a management position just because the job looks good, and you know that you’ll be able to afford a house & car payment. If He’s spoken to you to start a business, why are you settling in the land that looks safe, and that you’re protected? You know you’re not happy. You’re arguing with your spouse, your spiritual-walk is constantly being attacked. Why? Because you’re not strapping on your boots and dealing with the issues at hand. Get in there and possess your land! Stop sitting around twiddling your thumbs, while others are excited to be in the promised land. Go get yours!

5 Things I’ll Miss about Evangel


1. Staff Devo’sdevos
When I came to Chicago I thought “Devo” was a band from the 80’s. Little did I know that these morning times would one of the things that brought our Staff together. Sometimes there was uncontrolled laughter, and other times – tears of truth. “9:15” will always remind me of those times. I’ll miss my Cindy and Ms. Virginia, who both made me smile and demonstated the fruit of the Spirit on a daily basis. I’ll miss Wesley’s worship and powerful insight into the Word, and Robin’s smile when I needed it most. I’ll miss Pastor Adrienne’s motherly care for us all, and Mr. Rudy’s “Energy-Drink” work-ethic, and of course I’ll miss Mr. Tony and Carmello for making Jesus real and by emulating His awesome Carpenter skills.

me-n-p.ray2. Pastor Ray
I never knew a “Pastor” could have so much fun, and still be so mightily used of God. I’ll miss his slaps on the back of my neck and all his stories like my favorite one, “Booker Brown”. I’ll miss the late nite calls just to talk about whatever was on our minds. I’ll miss him saying to me, “How yo Mama doin’?” But somehow I know he’s with this “unapologetically white” guy forever.me and pastor

me-n-evangelme-n-nellyme-n-adrienne3. Holy Spirit Moving & the Human-Chain
When the Spirit moved at Evangel no one had to announce it. Tears flowing, heart-wrenching praise altar-callascending – “When the praises go up…. the blessings come down!” And… I really did want to bust out in a crazy-praise and have a group of people form a human-chain around me so I wouldn’t hurt myself or inflict holy pain on others around me.

4. The Precious People of Evangel
Believe it or not I’ll really miss the wet kisses of George Garza. (If you’re an Evangel member… you know). I’ll miss Nelson saying, “Cool Beans” after everything I said & always making me laugh. My young people are 3-Rsforever in my heart and I’m going to miss them & all their crazy ways. I’ll really miss my Leaders. We were united, we served together, we were all changed together.me-n-leaders

5. The Celebration Choir & The Blood
I’ll miss seeing Deacon Jaime grinning from ear-to-ear in sheer joy. I ‘ll miss Leon throwing his jacket off in a sweaty shout while we’re all going crazy about to have a conniption fit right then and there. This Choir sure did get this white boy clapping… “the right way”. And I sure will miss Pastor Adrienne’s rendition of “The Blood”. Thank God I’ve got it on CD. Evangel’s music will surely be missed.

Evangel, I’ll never forget you!

“Yin or Yang?”

yin-yangBruce Lee, fuzzy fluorescent glow in the dark posters, and China Town are some of the things that come to my mind when I here the term “Yin & Yang” – the balance of life. Although it’s a symbol in Chinese philosophy it sure isn’t an original concept exclusively set-apart for them. I’m not suggesting we all get “Yin & Yang” tattoos on our arm with the scripture reference, “John 3:16” under it, but I am suggesting that we need to find balance in life.

“You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” [Dan. 5:27]

Some of us are wound-up so tight that we’re like a nuclear reactor in our homes & jobs – just waiting to explode. It may be time to take a chill-pill.

But this where I want to set up camp for a minute. I was challenged by a question I heard recently. “Are you Efficient or Effective?” We’d all like to think that we’re being effective, but the truth of the matter is that many of us are hardly even “efficient” in our personal lives or job. We can’t sleep, we’re late, scatter-brained, and don’t have time for a lot of extra stuff. You might say, “Yeah, I know people like that, so disorganized. How do they even manage?” [Chuckle, chuckle]. But what about your life? Are you really “effective”? Sure you’re “efficient”. You get to work on time, you fulfill your job responsibilities, and people rarely complain about your hard work, but what’s really going on inside you? Is there balance?

If we had your funeral today would there be anything significant that you achieved in your time on planet earth? Or did you just maintain status quo? It’s not, “Yin or Yang” – “Overachiever “or “Laid-back-peaceful-kind-of-guy” – it’s having balance in life. Here’s my challenge: In what ways are you make a significant impact for the better upon the world around you?

The Wheelchair Warrior

I think if we could literally see into the spiritual realm we’d actually be shocked by what we saw. Some Christians think they’re a “Hulk-of-a-Christian”, but in reality they’re nothing but a “Pee-Wee-Herman-Christian”.

And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” [Acts 19:15 NKJV]

My Pastor here in Chicago, Ray Berryhill, has a little saying, “Tell the truth – shame the Devil!” Because, as long as you’re faking it, you’ll never make it! Who are you? So many Christians today are like “Spiritual Quadriplegics”, and they don’t even know it. The Devil has you bound. He’s gently combing your hair as you sit in front of “the mirror of poor self image”. All you’ve got is a blank stare. Everyday he laughs and mocks at you as you drool through your “straw of procrastination”.

Who will be bold enough to get out of this “wheelchair”? You can’t be a warrior when the enemy has you bound! Listen and respond to the Master’s voice as He says to you today, “Rise and be Healed!!”