I hope that the end of 2011 was a time of joy and celebration for you as you look excitedly to the new year 2012. Me and my family closed the year with an invigorating vacation in central Florida. We spent five days in Orlando Florida and loved every minute of it. The weather was perfect. The resort that we stayed at was beautiful. The restaurants that we ate at where good, even though I didn't get to go to the Crab House that I was trying to find and kept getting caught in traffic! and our visit to the Holy Land Experience on Christmas Eve was great!
If you've never been to the Holy Land Experience I encourage you to go. The Crouches and TBN has done a phenomenal job in creating that park. It has created a desire in me now to visit the Holy Land in Israel and experience the place where our Lord lived.
|My son Quincy|
|Me, Myself and I.|
With a new year I have a new mind. I have new plans and new goals. I have new dreams and new projects. I am excited about 2012 and what I will accomplish because God has given me the idea and the grace to perform the idea but in the midst of this new year I have already experienced sorrow. That's part and parcel of this life that we live. Success is inside of me manifesting and sorrow is in me because of devastating losses.
On last Thursday my wife Vantoria received news that her best friend had died. Her nickname was Dee, her name Daveida Wallace. She was the mother of Eric, me and Vantoria's godson, Kayla and David. She fought valiantly with cancer but last week she broke the news to my wife that they had reached the end of the road together. She bid my wife goodbye and went into the hospital the next day. She died two days later.
It has been painful watching my wife deal with the pain from the death of her friend. The two of them had been through a lot together. They had shared many experiences, both good and bad. They were loyal to one another and they were friends to the very end.
Although the two of them lived hundreds apart and they didn't see each other often the distance didn't diminish their relationship. They counted themselves blessed to have known each other and Vantoria will have a great void in her life with her best friend gone.
|Dee and her daughter Kayla|
|Dee and her firstborn Eric|
The day after I received the news about Dee dying I discovered on the Internet that one of my mentors and a giant in the field of preaching died a month ago. The Reverend Freddie L. Brown was one of Cleveland's greatest preachers. He pastored the Mount Gillion Baptist Church for over thirty years. In the National Baptist Convention Reverend Brown was a renown revivalist and one of the most popular preachers in that denomination. He was packed with spiritual power and a dynamo in the pulpit.
For many years Reverend Brown was heard all over Cleveland Ohio and surrounding areas through his radio broadcast heard on Sunday nights from WJMO. As a young preacher I attended Mount Gillion every Sunday night where I sat and learned the fundamentals of soul preaching preaching from Reverend Brown. Before Reverend Brown would preach he would lead the choir in singing "Look where he brought me from." Another song that he would sing during prayer time was "God will take care of you." Over the weekend as I mourned his passing I can still hear Reverend Brown singing those songs lifting the congregation in the church and over the airwaves to a crescendo of excitement.
Reverend Brown encouraged young preachers like me. I preached on youth day at Mount Gillion when I was eighteen years old. It was the largest church that I had preached at up to that point and the experience was a foreshadow of where I was going in ministry. After that service Rev Brown told me to take my time and grow into the calling that God had on my life. That would be the first of many lessons that I would receive from Reverend Brown who opened his pulpit and his heart to developing me as a minister of the gospel.
Because of his openness to young preachers a gang of us assembled at at Mount Gillion. We were in school learning from one of the best.
The last time I saw Reverend Brown was in a November 2006. Reverend Brown had a stroke that summer that left him unable to speak. With no voice one of the greatest preachers in America could no longer do what he had been doing since the 1950's and he stepped away from active ministry. The church had a lengthy celebration as he was retired that November. I went that night to let Reverend Brown know how much he meant to me. The preacher that Friday night was Reverend Jasper Williams from Atlanta. The service was explosive, it took me back to old times, the way church use to be.
I walked over to Reverend Brown to speak to him and shake his hand. I told him that I would be praying for him and how much he had influenced me to pursue excellence in ministry as he done, to love people and care for their souls, and to be innovative and always seeking God for fresh approaches to ministry. He couldn't reply although he tried to.
So my mind is looking to success and what I need to do to experience success. And my mind is reflecting on these two incredible persons who I had the privilege of knowing. My heart is full of hope for the future and my heart is full of sorrow over the passing of these two very important people that blessed my life with their presence.
Please enjoy this short excerpt of Reverend Brown's message "The Seven Promises of God."