Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We Have Moved...

We've Moved...

I am no longer blogging at this site.

Click here to reach my new blog site. Make the note of the new address:

All of the content from this site can be found on the new site.

I appreciate you for reading.

Praying that you will continue to follow my thoughts about pastoring, preaching, christian education, and other stuff (now to include running).

Have a blessed day.


Saturday, May 5, 2012


Today for some, is just another ordinary Saturday. Rest from the work week. Parties, shopping, and chores to complete. But for me, today was an important day for me. I participated in my very first 5K race. 

Some may say, "Brodes, it's just a race." But for me it was more than that. I've blogged earlier about my weight loss journey and have been pretty transparent about the challenges, both the good and the bad. I've decided to take this seriously, my health that is. And I'm grateful for all of the support, encouragement, advice, or just listening ear (and eyes) of those who have been my community of accountability partners throughout all of this. 

When I decided to participate in a 5K, I really was hoping that I didn't "bite off more than I could chew." It was a decision I made, but I also had a bit of nervousness along with it. Will I come in last place? What if people laugh at me? How will I compete with those who have been running longer, faster, and harder than I have? Then I concluded that at the end of the day all I wanted to do was just finish. It didn't matter what place I came in, what others were doing, nor how much more they trained. Just finish. 

I had been nervous all week leading up to the race, for obvious reasons, and I tried to remind myself, "just finish." I even gave myself a personal goal of 37'30" but I kept telling myself, "just finish." This morning came and as I drove to the race, all I could think about was "just finish."

Over 1300 walkers/joggers/runners there just like me, and immediately I thought, "just finish." You see, what I'm discovering about running, just like in life, what matters most is that you finish what you start. That's what makes you a winner. We each have our own race, and your race isn't mine, and mine isn't yours. Arthur Blank, Co-Founder of Home Depot says, "I run because it's so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you're capable of so much more than you thought."

I never thought I'd see 220 lbs again (Seeing 200 lbs again is my ultimate goal). I never thought I'd run in a 5K race. But I did it. I had to drive myself to overcome it, but I finished. Here are my stats:

The Player's 5K With Donna - 5/5/12
TPC Sawgrass
Ponte Vedra, Florida

Bib: #748
Overall Place: 234 (Out of 1,288 finishers)
Age Division Place (25-29): 40 (Out of 54)
Gun Time: 35:51
Chip Time: 34:58
Pace: 11:15

If I could offer any advice from my experience today, JUST FINISH! Whatever it is, drive yourself to overcome, and you'll see how rewarding it is just to know you've finished!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Open Letter About My Health...

I haven't written in quite some time on this blog. Something I'm not proud of as I told myself that I wanted to commit to become a better writer. To become a better writer, one must write! So, I will do better in that regard.

Over the past few months, I've been on a journey to improve my health. Some of you may know (and some may not know) that I have type 2 diabetes. I've had diabetes since November 2004. This disease is very prevalent on both sides of my family and even as a child, I was told, "It's not if you'll get it, but when it will catch up with you." This meant nothing to me, even when I was diagnosed since I felt I was young and this wasn't something that I should take seriously.

In addition to having diabetes, I am what my doctor calls, atypical. In short, this means I don't exhibit many of the signs that most diabetics have when they sugar levels are either too high or too low. This didn't help my attitude towards this silent, but potentially deadly disease.

To make a long story short, I've decided to take this thing head on. So I began a diet protocol that helped me lose 40+ pounds. My starting weight was 263 lbs, and I currently weigh 223 lbs. But more than that, my levels have been great, and I'm awaiting the results of my A1C test (the test that measures your sugar over a period of time). It was so encouraging from family and friend during this process. It wasn't easy, but I was motivated to make this goal a reality. I'm not where I want to be (205-210 lbs is MY goal), but I'm on my way.

While on the diet, I was restricted from any physical exercise. During that time, I begin to read and prayerfully consider what my next steps would to continue this journey of healthy living. After reading and looking at some friends who I admire, I decided that I wanted to take running up going forward. For me, one who's never played organized sports, nor considers himself athletically inclined, this would be a stretch. But one that I'm taken very seriously.

I started this week with walking/jogging and I can already see that I'm going to be addicted. Today, I visited a local runners sports shop (1st Place Sports - San Marco) with the goal of learning more about "Running 101" and a new pair of shoes to continue this journey of health/wellness. I'm grateful to Brian Doyle (San Marco's Manager) for taking the time to take an analysis of my feet, my walk, etc. and answer all of the questions I had about this lifestyle.

I also have begun to post my times on FB. Not for pride's sake, but as an added since of both accountability and encouragement. I know this isn't going to be an overnight process, but a lifestyle. I'm grateful for all of the support I've received thus far from many family and friends alike. I'm looking forward to my first 5k on June 9th, 2012 here in Jacksonville, Florida ( My life is important to me and I have much to live for. I'm learning that now. This is more than just about fitness, but it's about making a priority of my health.

See you on the pavement...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Early Morning Reflections...

As I reflect on all that has transpired in my life this year, I can't help but to still ask the question, "Why me?" I could write a long list of things that would be considered blessings, and I could equally list burdens that I had to deal with as well. In the end, my conclusion is...Why NOT me. My convictions is the sovereignty of God is that, NOTHING catches HIM by surprise and that He's in control of every detail in my life. This makes me confident. Not in my ability, resources, intellect, but in HIM. I've been in situations just this year where none of those things have helped me. God is the source of everything for me. 

I'm in a good place in my life. Not because things are all good in every aspect of my life, but because I have the comforting assurance that He's got everything under control. As I am writing, it dawns on me that today marks 6 months of service at Shiloh. I still can't believe God placed me there. But I do thank Him for putting me there to "Connect. Grow. Serve." What a great group of people, and to serve alongside Pastor Charles is a privilege words can't describe. It has been a joy serving, and I look forward to many more years of service with this wonderful congregation.

But I also thank God for orchestrating life in such as way that only He knows and we can trust. People ask me all the time do I miss Philippi. The answer is a resounding YES! I miss them, and they're always in my prayers. For me, Philippi was more than a Pastoral assignment, it was the church I was raised in for much of my childhood. They will always be in my heart. I thank God for allowing me to serve His people there, and I'm grateful to know that He still has His hands on them with their new Pastor. As I digress.

Today also marks the birthday of a great friend gone too soon, Adrienne D.M. Rogers. I have always been told that if you can look at your hand and count 5 real friends on them, you are blessed. Adrienne was one of those friends. She was an amazing personality and I've been blessed to know her. FAMU afforded me a great education, leadership training/development, but more than that, great friends. People who have made an impact in my life to this day and Adrienne tops the list. She is truly missed. 

I thought much about 2012 resolutions. Things I want to accomplish, achieve, experience, attain. And as I began to compile my list, the overriding thought that consumed me was just wanting to know that I'm where I'm suppose to be in all aspects of life. So my list is written in pencil, and God has the eraser. He knows how to make sure I keep the resolutions beyond January 2...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lord, I'm available to you...

Sunday evening reflections. Grateful to God for so many reasons, but I'll share this weekend's events.

Yesterday, I facilitated a workshop entitled, "A Passion For Teaching." This workshop was inspired by Mr. Allan Taylor aka "Mr. Sunday School" Pastor of Christian Education of First Baptist Church Woodstock, in Woodstock, Ga. I have been a fan from afar of his work and ministry and thankful that earlier this year I was finally able to meet him in person and we've built a bond ever since. If you're serious about wanting to grow you Sunday School, Allan is the man!

I had much nervousness about this assignment because many and most of the Bible Study Fellowship (Sunday School) teachers are educators by profession. What could I teach teachers I thought? Over the past few weeks of preparation, I had decided that I would give it my best and leave everything up to God.

The response was overwhelming. There were 70+ teachers (current and prospective) in attendance. What they did not know was that for some strange reason, Friday night, I lost ALL of my notes, and spent the entire night and early morning re-writing my notes for this workshop. The only sleep I got was from my house to the church.

We had an amazing (but long) day. We covered topics such as: "A Pledge to Teach," "Perfecting the Teacher," "Philosophy of Teaching," & "Principles of Teaching." The attendees were very attentive and excited about the information and the direction Pastor Charles wants to see this vital ministry go as we use Bible Study Fellowship as the primary means disciple-making within our church. It was a great time of study, encouragement, and fellowship. I learned a lot, and my prayer is that each of those in attendance learned a lot as well.

After the session, got very encouraging comments, emails, phone calls about the workshop which was humbling in many regards. I'm still in awe of the fact that God chose me for this assignment. I thank Pastor Charles for giving me this opportunity to share with our teachers. 

I pray that all of our members will commit themselves to a BSF class starting this Fall as we grow people. Our goal as a church is to become "larger and smaller" at the same time and this will be accomplished through our small group life within the church. 

To God be the glory.

On another note: Great worship today. Pastor Charles began a 2-part series on "Symbols of Salvation." "What We Believe About Baptism" was the message for today. Next week, "What We Believe About the Lord's Supper." 

The choir took me back with "Lord, I'm available to you." I remember singing this song as a child. Those words resonated with me on today as I reflected on God's goodness in my life. I just want to be used by Him. For His glory only. 

May God continue to give us all a greater sense of purpose in pursuing a life that's pleasing to Him. 

Use me Lord...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pinch Hitter

Today I had the privilege of preaching to the Shiloh Church family as our Pastor was away preaching in England. I remember when he mentioned to me shortly after I began this new ministry assignment to mark August 14, 2011 down to preach. I told Pastor Charles on many occasions that I wasn't looking to preach at all, just consider me to "Bible Teacher in Residence." Being such an admirer of how Pastor Charles handles the Word of God I was more than content with being able to sit under his ministry in this new role for me.

He threw me a curve ball a few weeks ago and had me preach a Wednesday in the Word on 7/27, which I got him back in my introduction about him not being there. But I was grateful for opportunity to share the Word with Shiloh.

I had a very trying and eventful week and wasn't sure if I was able to stand to proclaim God's Word during today's worship services. I was committed to the task, and asked for the Lord's strength during both services.

We spoke from a familiar passage in Mark 2 with the story of the Paralytic and the 4 Friends. I was always reminded in preaching from familiar passages of Scripture to attempt to approach it from an unusual way. E.K. Bailey says "treat the Word of God like a diamond. In that are you turn it you're able to view more and more prisms shining through." I was encouraged in my preparation, and I pray that God was pleased during my proclamation. I appreciate all the kinds words, emails, texts, and calls I received after service. Very uplifting indeed. Shiloh truly is a church with an affinity for God's Word. What a blessing it was to share with them.

I'm learning more and more that Shiloh is a "small church in a big building." By that I mean that while there are a lot of members, they really do make you feel at home. Danielle and I have been recipients of great kindness and hospitality from day one with our new church family.

Some members from Philippi surprised me during the worship service today. Great to see all of them. I promptly sent them back to Philippi to catch the rest of the service being given by their new Pastor, Stavius Powell.

Praying for our Pastor's safe return home and thanking him for giving me a chance at "bat" today. I only "bunted" but God was at the plate with me and that's all that matters.

To God Be the Glory.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lord, I Want To Be Like Joseph...

I'll never forget 4 years ago, my then Pastor (Rev. Kelly E. Brown, Jr.) encouraged me to attend the E.K. Bailey Expository Preaching Conference if I ever got the chance. I had become a fan of expository preaching, and his advice was to make this conference an annual calendar date so that I could be exposed some of the country's greatest practitioners of the craft. July 2009 was my first experience, and I've been attending ever since.

The conference this year was different for me in many ways. Most notably, I was attending the conference, as Pastor of Christian Education of Shiloh MBC NOT Pastor of Philippi MBC. Colleagues I've met over the few years at the conference shared with me their encouragement and excitement of my new assignment and prayed God's choice blessings upon my new work. I was greatly encourage by the kind words expressed from all of the brethren.

In deciding what classes to take this year, I was intrigued by the workshop entitled, "What Every Associate Minister Should Know" being taught my Pastor Stephen G. Brown. Pastor Brown has spent the last 15 years on staff of the Concord Church, and the Lord blessed him this past February in being called to Senior Pastor ministry of the Greater Bethlehem MBC there in Dallas, Texas. I felt that I would be able to glean some great nuggets of wisdom from someone who has been an Associate for such a long time. I was in for a treat.

He introduced the class by having us look at the life of Joseph. The story of a man who had found favor with the Lord by being a good steward over another man's property/responsibilities. In the context of Joseph's life, Rev. Brown reminded us of how we (associates) treat another man's ministry, will directly affect how God blesses our ministries as well. From Potipher's House, to inside the Prison walls, even all the way to the Pharaoh's Palace, Joseph wasn't looking to make a name for himself, he simply made better his leader's stuff. He found favor with God because of his commitment to the task with which God assigned him to. He found favor with man because everything he did, was done in a spirit of humility.

That resonated with me seeing as though, my new ministry assignment transition would be deemed "unusual" to many. Seeing as though I've gone from being a Pastor of a local congregation, to now serving under a Pastor, as a Staff Pastor. Many have questioned as to why would I do something like that at all. This post isn't designed to "explain" myself, other than the fact that I have no doubt this was the Lord's doing. As this assignment wasn't anything I knew about nor was searching for.

But it made me think about my desire to want to be like Joseph. My task isn't to outshine the Pastor. Undermine or undercut him in pursuit of looking "good" in front of the congregation. I simply want to do the assignment with which God has entrusted into my hands. To help serve the ministry as best I can, while giving God the glory, and helping Pastor's vision for the ministry become a reality.

This is also a PSA for current ministers: Don't spend your time trying to make yourself look good at the expense of making your Pastor look bad. You may can preach better, or you may think you're ready to take the helm, but before you can lead, be comfortable with following.

In too many churches, the Pastor is the central and only figure people recognize in the church. So every aspiring preacher wants to be the Pastor feeling as though without that title, no one will take you or your calling seriously. I'm here to encourage some preacher to NOT follow that line of thinking. God has uniquely gifted all of us for ministry, but we must know and be comfortable in the place where God as gifted us and being the Senior Pastor isn't always the place we should be.

Lord, I want to be like Joseph. Comfortable with wherever you place me so that I can be used for your glory. May each of us, whether preachers, or lay persons, embody some of the characteristics of this faithful, humble, and dedicated servant of God.