What I Learned From Watching ‘Scandal’

Like many, I eagerly anticipated the airing of the show Scandal. Whenever I see beautiful, African Americans who are power players in our Nation’s capital, I’m excited.  So, like millions, I was glued to the TV wondering what would happen to Hollis, will Fitz divorce his wife, and would Olivia & Edison become a permanent item.

Scandal Photo


If you’re a fan of the show, you may be offended if you continue reading.

With all the strong television shows for women, I don’t know why a beautiful, African American women forsakes a relationship with an African American Senator (Edison) for a married man (President Fitz).

I know why…love makes you do crazy things & act out of character.

Before you go sucking your teeth, rolling your eyes and calling me self-righteous, hear me out. I think there is an opportunity here to encourage the writers of the show to be bold and courageous.

I am rooting for the show to succeed, but, the creators have to be fearless and let Olivia Pope not be another man’s mistress. She’s too beautiful, too strong, and too smart for that.  I say let Olivia Pope control the interactions with her lovers. Don’t allow her to be a woman of straw that bends in whatever direction her lover needs. Additionally, I’d love to see her relationship with Edison grow into a beautiful picture of a healthy/strong relationship.

Finally, If not Edison, Olivia needs a new love interest and assert her independence from Fitz.  People seem to be ignoring the fact Olivia is having an affair with a married man.  In my humble opinion, that isn’t romantic…it’s actually tragic and pathetic.


At the end of the day Olivia goes home to her apartment ALONE and single…hardly an equal relationship.

What are your thoughts about today’s post?

Whatever You Post – Stays Forever

There really is such a thing as too much information.

There are things that you don’t want to know, even about your spouse or significant other.  Yet people seem to like to share these things online. Before you do, think about whether you’d want your parents, grandparents or even kids to see the post.  It seems today that everyone is using social media.

Blogs, Facebook and Twitter are popular and powerful tools. And like most tools, they could be helpful if used correctly or dangerous if used inappropriately.

The bottom line principle is that you are responsible for what you write. The Internet is a public forum, and writing something is the same as speaking it from a stage. Even if you delete a blog post, RSS feeds will still contain your post. Once something is published, it’s impossible to take it back, so think before you update, and be responsible for your words.

Watch Your Word

Recently, I decided to rework our social media policy and send it to our ministry leaders to share with their teams.  Additionally, I used Facebook to encourage our members to connect with their ministry leaders and read the policy.  Surprisingly, many pastors and ministry leaders sent inbox messages and emails requesting our policy.  Yep, I sent it to them…free of charge!

I want to be a blessing to the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, I decided to post it on my blog for all to glean.  Here’s what it says:

Do You Know The “Real” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

When was the last time you heard a speech that moved you, that made you sit up and brush the potato cookie crumbs off your lap and watch?

The last time you heard a speech that made your eyes well up? When was the last time anyone really got to you, really said something with substance that you will always keep with you?

Dr. King 3

Lately, I’ve been thinking about sound bites, and how we live in a sound bite society. Unfortunately, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been reduced to the “I Have a Dream” soundbite.  But, if you think about it, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream…” message was a simple, yet powerful message. And very necessary.

Do you really know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Why doesn’t anyone ever quote these words by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Mars Hill Baptist Church: A Great Place Filled With Great People

On Sunday, January 13, 2013, the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago launched “Water Sunday.”  It’s part of our global outreach strategy to make Christ know to the “uttermost parts of the world.”  I want to personally thank Shauntai Stowers, my wife and leader of our Women of Worth Ministry for leading this initiative.  They did an outstanding job leading and organizing this initiative.

The lack of safe water and adequate sanitation worldwide is a crisis.  This crisis steals the lives of 5,500 people each day – more than war, natural disasters, AIDS or hunger. This crisis rarely makes the headlines – it is today’s silent killer.

Water Sunday1

We challenged our members & guests to skip their regularly purchased beverages and have water instead. And then for four weeks, take the money that they would normally spend on soda, coffee, tea, etc. and put it in one of these water bottles labeled “Water Mission Sunday.”

We had an OVERWHELMING response! 

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Over a thousand adults & children decided to partner with us and provide safe drinking water to people in developing & devastated countries.  I’m proud of our members & guests who provided water bottles for everyone.

Water Sunday2

If you were not able to attend Sunday’s services or want additional bottles, you can pick them up Wednesday, January 16, 2013 during Diggin’ Deeper (7PM). We’re asking that you return your bottles on Sunday, February 10th filled with your sacrificial offering of at least $10.

Thank you Mars Hill & friends…you are great people!

How Greed Killed Thanksgiving

Last week I noticed something deeply disturbing.  As long as I’ve been living, Thanksgiving was a day to relax with family, friends, football, while enjoying great food.  It is the day when we express our gratitude and show appreciation.  What’s disturbing is how greed & excess invaded and took over the ethos of Thanksgiving.


It is sad, but 2012 will be remembered as the year, where last semblance of a boundary between the actual day of Thanksgiving and the formal commencement of the holiday shopping season finally collapsed. It wasn’t just the decision by some of the biggest retailers to move their opening hours earlier than ever before. For many customers, the exact time when the doors were unlocked was irrelevant, because Thanksgiving had already become completely subsumed in shopping mania. What difference does it make if the doors open at 8 p.m. or midnight, if you were already in line days earlier. Something is wrong with this picture.

The Real Revolution Will Be An Evolution

As the election season comes to a close, whoever wins will make history.  We will elect an African-American to a second term or a Mormon as president.  Both President Obama & Governor Romney talk about change and how they will implement those changes.  Both have a vision on how to get America back on track and believe it wholeheartedly.

dont forget to vote wide t nv

However, what they both fail to articulate is how change involves loss, sacrifice, and pain.  That is the hard part.  Why?  Deep change requires that people change the way they think.  When people change the way they think, it changes how they feel.  When people change how they feel, they change the way they act/behave.  Therefore, when both candidates call for change, what they are calling for is a revolution.  

Hello world!

Welcome back to my blog!

This is my personal blog. It is focused on “empowering people to live an abundant life.” My mission is to help you connect life’s dots while passionately pursuing your purpose. I write on personal development, leadership, finance, relationships, inspiration, and motivation. On occasion, I write about stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into one of these categories.

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My goal is to create insightful, relevant content that you can put to work in your personal and professional life. If you are in a position of leadership—or aspire to be—then this blog is for you. I typically post two to three times a week. To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe via RSS feed

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The Number One Rule of Dating (Break it & You'll Regret It)!

The beauty and challenge of pastoring an urban, thriving, and large congregation are the number of singles who attend.

Our church is filled with people who’ve never been married, recently divorced, and widows.  Since I counsel them all, most are eager to get back into the game before they’re healthy and ready.  Since I’m a pastor, I approach dating from a biblical perspective and having a relationship with God is a given.  However, since I like to keep it real and relevant, I decided to strip away the layers and give it to you – “straight up – no chaser.”

If you’re dating…considering dating…I advise you to NEVER break this rule for anyone:

If a man or woman doesn’t like you for who you are, just stop.

Why?  If you have to change who you are to attract, or keep them, you are cheating both yourself and them.

Whoop, there it is (Man, I’m showing my age).  What are your thoughts?  Sound off?

Why Are Churches Still Segregated In 2010?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog series entitled “Jungle Fever.” This series took a look at the racial differences between African-American and White churches.  This series touched on how churches are still segregated and it appears this dynamic won’t change soon.  Additionally, I shared the differences between black preachers and white preachers.  Finally, I touched on how remarkably different blacks and whites dress when they attend worship.  It was a great series that generated several comments.  You can read more about it HERE.

There are many reasons why Sunday mornings continue to be the most segregated day of the week.  This video excerpt from the documentary, “Baptists and Racism,” attempts to address some of them.

Why do you think the Body of Christ remains segregated so many decades after the civil rights movement?  In my opinion, any time you call upon the majority group to divest themselves of power and influence, you’ll have fear, insecurity, and skepticism.  In short, they’ll passively sabotage any progress towards inclusion and multiculturalism.

Question: What do you believe are the fundamental reasons churches are segregated?

Vital Connections: Financial Friends We All Need – Part 7

For the past two weeks, I’ve shared the importance of reaching out to expand your network of trusted advisors.  Included in the mix are: 1) A Personal Banker or Branch Manager;  2) Mortgage Broker, 3) A Fee-Based Financial Planner; 4) An Insurance Agent, 5) A Certified Public Accountant (CPA); and 6) A “Proven” Real Estate Agent.

In my opinion you should have them on speed dial if you desire to build wealth and leave a lasting legacy.  Your aim should be to develop a team that understands your financial goals and advise with a human touch.  Today, I’d like you to consider adding a seventh and final financial friend:

An Estate Planning Attorney

I Don’t Have Enough Money…

Wrong!  People often think of estate planning, wills, and trusts as tools and services for the wealthy.  Not so!  Why?  The laws governing wills and trusts affect the wealthy, middle-class, and the working class.  Additionally, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding wills and trusts.  People, they are not synonymous.  “A will controls your assets in your individual name when you die, but a trust is used to hold your assets during your lifetime,” according to Vicki Lee Parker, writer for Black Enterprise Magazine.

As a pastor of a thriving church, I can’t tell you how many family fights I had to mediate because no one took the time to consult an estate planning attorney.  Today, many siblings and relatives do not speak because no one took time to plan accordingly.  Since each state has different laws regarding inheritance, your estate shouldn’t be left to the state or do-it-yourself wills.  “An estate planning attorney can help you set up a trust that offers more flexibility and control over how your assets are managed after you die,” says Steve Hartnett, an estate planning attorney in San Diego and associate director of education at the American Academy of Estate Planing.

I Confess…

As I conclude this series, I want inform you that I practice what I preach.  I have six of the seven financial friends on speed dial and I’m currently interviewing estate planning attorneys.  I plan to make my decison by the end of September and will keep you posted.  Thanks for reading and reflecting on my blog posts and my prayers are with you as you assemble your team!

Did I miss anyone?  Who do you have on your team that I missed?