Justin's Sermon Prep

Justin's Sermon Prep

Last week I opened up my Instagram to questions and I received a question that I never really thought anyone cared to know. My sermon prep! I am totally humbled by that! I have been told so many times how I am not a good enough preacher or a black enough preacher, so to get asked about sermon prep is so humbling! I do matter! (no sarcasm here)

So, about this. I am currently working on a book to talk through breaking 200 in attendance at a 200 year old church and one of the chapters is on storytelling so this is a preview of that.  Hope this helps someone.  

      One of the challenges I give to those who are working through depression is to seek counsel with a therapist and their friends. So maybe you are a friend of someone who is working through depression.  I’m here to help.    More than 350 million people around the world suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization. Loving someone who's dealing with depression can be difficult.   Someone dealing with depression needs Jesus’s hope and our friendship more than ever. It's not about what we say or what we do but rather how we love them.   Here are three ways you can love someone who's depressed.   1. Be Strong   Someone who’s depressed often feels alone, unloved and doubtful. As followers of Christ, we are called to strengthen and encourage each other. (  1 Thessalonians 5:11  ;   Hebrews 3:13  ). When David feared for his life, his friend Jonathan helped David refocus by reminding him of God’s strength and faithfulness (  1 Samuel 23:15-18  ;   Psalm 40:12  ). Like David, our friends dealing with depression could be doubting God’s faithfulness. Let’s encourage each other with the reminder that God is a promise maker and a promise keeper.   2. Be Patient   Depression often is not healed overnight. Be persistent in prayer and patient in person. To someone who’s depressed, questions like “Are you better?” and “Do you feel good today?” can sound like “Why aren’t you better yet?” In   Psalm 40:1  , we see that David waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord, while crying out to Him in prayer. Be patient while believing and expecting that the Lord will work all things for the good of those who love Him, including our friends (  Romans 8:28  ).   3. Reach Out   A depressed person needs relationships with Christians who aren’t afraid to have uncomfortable conversations, pray with them or just hang out without any expectations. When we’re isolated from other Christians, it’s easier to doubt and feel unloved. But when we’re consistently reminded of God’s faithfulness and promises, it gives us hope that we can make it through whatever we’re facing.  It becomes difficult to love and support those who're dealing with depression when we don't see people like Jesus sees people. Jesus sees someone who needs His healing love. When we see people like Jesus sees people, we will be able to love and support our friends at all times (  John 15:12-13  ;   Proverbs 17:17  ).   

One of the things I had when I dealt with depression was an amazing and caring wife who was present with me.  Christians are not immune to depression and given its prevalence, most of us probably know someone who’s depressed.

This blog is for the friends who want to help their friends!

My 31st birthday has come and gone and I'm uber excited about this year! Maybe its because I had the flu on my 30th birthday or the fact that I never go out of my way to celebrate myself. This year I feel… different. I remember texting some of my best friends in a group message saying “Happy Birthday, can't believe its year 31 for us” as our birthdays are literally back to back. My friend responded, “yes, this is our Proverbs 31 year” I love having Jesus loving friends because everything points back to Jesus, I mean EV.ER.Y.THING! After she said that we all laughed and offered a meme or Gif in agreeance. As churchy as it sounded she was so right. This is our Proverbs 31 year. A year to be a down-right boss and I am excited that I am continuing my journey to be the bold woman God called me to be!

Proverbs 31 is a passage in the Bible that many go to that describes a powerful woman. I even made a shirt about that says “DANG GIRL!” you can find that here.

Everytime I read it I always see this image from the movie Friday in my head. The lady described here is straight killing it. Some scholars believe this was an ode to the writer's grandmother none the less she’s a Boss.

For the longest time, I had a hard time digesting these verses. I would often compare myself and fell short in my mind. But when I changed my lens of these verses from being prescriptive instead of descriptive it changed what this verse meant to me. So through this passage, I was inspired to make a list of 31 things I want to be sure I do in the year 31.

31 in 31

Proverbs 31:10- “A good woman is hard to find, and worth more than diamonds.”

  1. Press Deeper into God! Be so into God that I am undetectable to my flesh, the desire to compare myself to others, and being less than what God called me to be.

  2. Get busy working my gift.

  3. Boldly affirm 1 thing about myself daily.

  4. Bask in my husband’s love! I’m so grateful for him

  5. Pray over Justin daily!

  6. Love my lane in our marriage. I may not be the best cook or most organized but I can plan a vacay, be creative in how we spend time and money as a family!

  7. Experiences > Things

  8. Go to Maine!

  9. Intentionally talk to strangers that are completely different than me and just listen to their story.

  10. Find the sweet moments- I often get home late from work and don't have much time to spend with Cam at night. Cam’s normal waking hour is 5 am and I've grown to love it. It's our sweet time together before the sunrise.

  11. This is the year, where we are taking our health back! So I'm excited to cook more!

  12. Seek God consistently in the morning!

  13. Investing more and researching smart financial resources. My girl budget with Belle is great for that (check out her https://www.budgetwithbelle.com/ )!

    (They even have penny accounts like Acron, there are no excuses)

  14. This lady is decisive, my goal this year is to be firm in my decisions made in wisdom,

  15. Acquire property

  16. Organize better, that means starting earlier or the day before.

  17. Ensuring my attitude is eager when I go to work. During this season my ministry is my profession, I'm grateful I get to serve in the marketplace like I'm serving the Lord.

  18. Year 31, she realized her worth! Understanding my value is the theme this year!

  19. My favorite past time is designing our home. Currently we live in an old Mill Loft in RI. One day we hope to build one. So I have started to plan and prepare for that.

  20. Understand that all homemaking is not the same! Sometimes it's working outside the home and bringing it in and other times it's working inside the home to bring it out. Embrace both!

  21. Teach my community the power of sustainable giving!

  22. Always look transitioning people in their eye, and always give them an answer to their questions. Sometimes its a yes and sometimes its a no, but its always HUMAN!

  23. Talk about my Jesus with complete strangers

  24. Always we be a place where my family feels respected and safe.

  25. Be present in everything that makes Justin and Cam light up and even more so in the things that don't!

  26. Press into my creativity more! I love putting our honest faith on clothing! Check out our shop here!

  27. Don't overlook the small things

  28. Enjoy Life! Where life is!

  29. Reach out to my friends whenever prompted by the Spirit! Most of the time God has something to get to them!

  30. Have a coffee date/ lunch with a girlfriend every month.

  31. The ultimate goal is to be everything that God envision when he created me.

“Many women have done wonderful things,

   but you’ve outclassed them all!”

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.

   The woman to be admired and praised

   is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.

Give her everything she deserves!

   Festoon her life with praises!

Be blessed (or whatever),


Thanks Pastors!

Thanks Pastors!

I am in my Third year of Senior Pastorate ministry and as much as I love the senior pastors, I must take a moment to appreciate the 40(ish) - 60(ish) Pastors.  That generation of leaders and pastors are undeniably unique and have battled so I don’t have to battle.  So, to you brothers and sisters, I want to thank you. 

Living Unbothered

Living Unbothered

Let me let you in on a secret I have learned. If it doesn’t bother God, it shouldn’t bother you.  Worry yourself about the things God worries God’s self about. **hint hint** God has no worries **hint hint**

This blog contains a few reflections from Justin.

10 Verses to Remember when...

10 Verses to Remember when...

As we think about ways to utilize scripture in all areas of our life I want to spend this blog to equip you with resources to win the battles of life. 

So lets begin. Whats listed in this blog is really nothing but bible.  

10 Verses on Spiritual Warfare
10 Verses to build your Faith
10 Verses to remember When You’re Stressed

5 Lessons My Son has Taught me

5 Lessons My Son has Taught me

There is NOTHING like being a Father. I don’t like crying. I just don’t. Last year on my first Fathers day I couldn’t believe that I was actually a Father.  God trusted me with a human being. It’s amazing.  There are so many thoughts that have passed through my mind over the year.   They range from the comments I have heard as a Father, a black father, being present, pastoring, what being a woman is, and so much more. 

Crazy? Ugh 

As I paused to reflect over the year (with my son lying on my chest as I write) There are so many things that He has taught me that I want to share with you. This 1 year old money guzzling tickle monster is wide beyond his year (lol) 

Reflections on Preaching Easter 2018

Reflections on Preaching Easter 2018

For the past 5 years I have preached an Easter Sunday service.  Each time it was a beautiful time of sermon preparation.  I would find a text, dive deep into it, find something I have never seen or heard preached before, and find celebration at the end.  I approached it like a revival.  It was the Super Bowl Sunday for preaching.  I mean its Easter! OMG! 

Then I realized something. Here are some thoughts. 

5 Affirmations as you Go into Finals

5 Affirmations as you Go into Finals

Remember when you first went to school and you arrived on campus and all you heard were phrases like “College will be the best time of your life!” You and your parents were unpacking your microwave, shower caddy, and ramen noodles.  The first few weeks of college life, filled with football games and endless orientation mixers, did indeed seem like all that was promised. 

Doing the Extra Thing

Doing the Extra Thing

So! It’s Lent. 

Yay! For me Easter season is one of the most important and powerful times of the year.  Literally, everything church is about centers around easter. 

The Issue that I have been asked about the past few weeks has been what to “give up” for lent.  And its totally valid.