To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill: Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage To do my Master’s will! -Charles Wesley
For most of my life I've heard that I have an old soul! I started to embrace it in my 20's and even dismissed some of the uniqueness of my generation. In 2015, I was in a car accident and got banged up, pretty good. One day last year, my knees were hurting and I was walking with a limp. Before I knew it, I was hunched over and walking like an 'old man'. Or was I? I know too many 'old' people getting around much better than myself so I knew that wasn't true. Though I was in pain (still feeling the effects of the car accident), I immediately straightened up declared (I had to say it aloud) "I ain't old!" I have been told that I carry myself like an older person and people are shocked when I tell them my actual age. What I hear in church when I tell people my age is: "you're a baby!" Well, maybe but I'll admit, sometimes I act like a baby boomer! LOL
I actually believe that it's a lie to skip your generation and act older. You'll miss out on the lessons, the innovation and the experience of being young! Remember few people want to be old, most people want to be "forever young!" If this weren't the case, the beauty industry wouldn't be such a rich business. Hair dyes, extensions, hair restoration products, slimmers and the like all help us sort of retain our youthful look! Well, I want to look as young as I am, too! Being young and old has had many downfalls. I have found myself as an outcast in the company of the people who would easily understand me. Because I hadn't "paid my dues" yet or they felt that I was speaking out of turn, they turned a deaf ear to me. My actual generation is growing and there are still some of us lagging behind who haven't caught the momentum that growing up causes! Trust me, even with an "old soul", I made sure that I took part in my season of being young and dumb...with my nose wide open! Well...there's some youthfulness I can always point to, albeit youthful ignorance!
Wisdom has placed me in circles and situations beyond my years, but I have learned that I don't have to age with the circumstance. I am grateful to God for His wisdom beyond my years, but as a steward of it, I discovered that I have a responsibility to my generation in this present age. Serving this present age involves previous generations, my generation and the generations to come after me. I have a duty in some regard to serve each of them in this present age and I want to do just that!
Bishop Robert Nichols, Jr. was on a Facebook LIVE and spoke about this phenomenon that causes young preachers to reach outside of their generation, first. He actually encouraged us not to do that and I agree. This year, I will be 37 and I want to reach as many people of all ages that I can, but I don't want to be non-existent and ineffective for my own generation. I am called out and called upon to serve, but not without my generation in mind! If I am my brother's keeper, he's in my generation, right? Yes, yes he is!
Another faith leader in my generation really got me thinking about this as I listened to his initial podcast last week. Pastor Robert Wagner reminded me to really home in on the full scope of the audience of my ministry. To do this, I have begun the journey of authorship. My new book releases today in hopes of me better serving this present age with the gift of writing. I play and sing in church each week and minister as a preacher of the gospel, but writing has given me a voice many people in this present age have never heard!
My new book "The Journey to Genesis" was written in hopes that men everywhere become aware of their life's purpose. Regardless of the circumstance of your conception, God has a plan for your life and YOU have a purpose! The book is available here on the site as an e-Book and will be available in print next month. I want to thank everyone for their support and even their curiosity as i began to share pieces of information online. The journey begins, now and with Genesis in our view, we're headed in the right direction!
So what is The Journey to Genesis? It is a discovery of your created purpose, a real connection to the reason you were born. The journey to Genesis is a clarion call for men to return to fellowship with God that will define and even refine your life’s purpose, relationships and partnerships in a transformative way. Three scriptures inspired this writing journey: Genesis 2:15, Psalm 24:1a, and Psalm 100:3b. These scriptures challenged me in this manner: 1) There’s never an instance where we’re not spending our lives in response to our creation. 2) The earth is His and everything in it. 3) We are God’s people and belong to Him like sheep roaming in a pasture. Then it hit me…there’s a reason I’m here! Beyond conception, beyond creation…there’s a reason! Getting to know the reason is where many people like myself get lost in the sauce of self-discovery. I prayed and asked God why I’m here, and I’m somewhat confident that I’m now walking in it. For me, it wasn’t not knowing; it was the lack of boldness that retarded my progress. For most of us men, we’re in either category: we either don’t know, or we’re afraid! Fear robs you of your opportunity to be great, and while many of you have thought it, you yet struggle to do it. Why is that? How long will you refuse your life’s purpose? Join me on the journey and discover the wonder of walking in your life's purpose!
To purchase the e-book and pre-order physical copies, visit our store.
Thank You, So Much!
I would be remiss if I didn't thank these people for helping me in the writing process, being a part of my life and contributing to the book. As I wrote, I recalled many of my experiences from childhood, school, college and beyond and shared them in the book. I am so glad to have experienced life with them to share with you in this book! Some of them you have heard me talk about and some you have not. This is not all, I want to thank all of y'all!! For now, allow me to present to some and introduce to others, my thank yous:
My Wife, Rhonda- she was there, even when I was "away" with my head in a book researching, or at the computer writing. I consulted her for many of the ideas and chapters in the book. She read them first and her honest critiques help me polish my writing. Here's a quick, fun fact for you...Rhonda took the cover picture! We had so many to choose from but I had one more idea and I gave Rhonda my camera. She took the picture and voila! Thanks, Love!
My mother- "I'll always love my mama...!" It's more than a song to me and I'm thankful to be able to release this book in her lifetime. She has supported this and the other books to come by proofreading and editing and also just showing genuine support to this revelatory experience.
Dr. Alvin Pope- As I reached a level of completion of the book, I asked Dr. Pope to write the foreword. Dr. Pope has been in my life for a number of years not only as a Pastor and father but as a music and ministry mentor. What I have seen Dr. Pope walk out emulates much of what I see in myself, to say that I am thrilled to have him as part of this book is an understatement.
Dr. J. B. Horton- Honestly, the man I am today is due to the young man Dr. Horton helped shape. I will forever be indebted to the selflessness with which Dr. Horton gave of himself. I met him when I was five and he is much more than a Pastor, shepherd and leader to me, he is remains a father figure.
Rev. Joe A. Foster- Where it all began...! My coffee buddy and FIRST of many father figures in my life. I was Rev. Foster's little sidekick and as a grown man, I can honestly say that he laid the groundwork for what Dr. Horton and Dr. Pope have been in my life.
Pastor Ronald O. Daugherty-You can't choose your family and God knows we're not smart enough to even try. Pastor Daugherty is not only my father in law, but he is a wise man who has made it his mission to see to it that men and young men become their best selves in this live God has given us. As a Pastor, he regularly shares his passion for Christian living with the New Beginnings Full Gospel Church in Chicago, Illinois and in just a few years has already made an indelible impact on the surrounding community the church serves. In 2015, Pastor Daugherty wrote an inspirational poetry book to share from the wealth of his knowledge of the word. His poem entitled "Shine Your Light" is featured in the epilogue of the book. Thanks for everything, Papa D!
Dale Long- I met Mr. Long in 2017 when I played an MLK scholarship banquet. He was the keynote speaker and he told us about his youth and survival of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. I wouldn't call myself a history buff, but I did pay good enough attention in History class that I knew that someone special was at the lectern. He told us about the event and his life as a Big Brother and I knew I had to learn more about him. I was finally able to get in touch with Mr. Long and learned even more about him. I told him that I was writing a book and wanted to include his story and he graciously agreed to allow me the privilege to tell a piece of his amazing story. For that, I am eternally grateful!
Sherilyn Bennett- Friends, how many of us have them? In 2015 I met Prophetess Bennett at Megafest and there was instant magnetism that drew me to her booth. I really tried to keep walking but I had to stop. I'm so glad I did because she has been such a vital part of this journey. In fact, I was on my way to her LEAP! conference last year when the Lord placed this book on my heart. I am so grateful that I was able to become her client in this process. She is much more than a graphic designer. Once I let go of the reins, she prayed about the designs and presented me with three incredible designs. I wanted them all! I appreciate her prayers and patience with me as a first timer. She is so vital to me and even helped facilitate communique between myself and Mr. Carr for his chapter in the book. Thank you Sherilyn, you're the best!
Ernestine Rose- The editor God knew I needed! Ms. Rose is a retired educator in the Fort Worth, ISD and now works as an author and editor (Rose Freelance). Ms. Rose didn't let me slide, she knew that this book needed depth and a real voice. She called it out and I had to respond, re-writing and even adding a section to the book to accomplish what she knew the book could be. I am so glad that she took time to work with me, even during a major relocation and life events. Thank you, immensely!
Antwon James- There are people that come into your life and you just don't know why. I have a million reasons why I think I met "Doc" but none of them seem adequate, enough! We are mirrors of each other and as much as I admire him and what he does, I hear the same from him. "Doc" is a young renaissance man and does so much-much more than I could ever think of doing! As a graphic designer, he lent himself to my many questions and queries about graphics in the book. His generosity knows no bounds and I plan to repay, him in kind! Antwon took my vision of the "Mighty Pen Publishing" logo and did what great designers do...make clients say: "WOW"! Thank you, Doc!
Nichole "Nicki" Foster- when I got that emerald green blazer, I knew I needed it to be in pictures! I know so many photographers that I couldn't make a decision. I chose Nicki for this book cover shoot and she rocked it! She is building a platform for business owners and I'm so glad to have been a prototype for that. She is Rev. Foster's daughter and one of our older sisters. The Willis' and the Fosters will forever by TIGHT! Nicki's eye brought out the sophistication and joy you see in the pictures from the shoot! You stretched me beyond my own creativity, thank you for that, Nicki!
Patrick "Jube" Joubert- I have known Jube for a number of years and when we're not talking smoking meat, we're feasting on the meat of the word. As a Pastor, I served Pastor Joubert at the Fellowship Church and gained quite a great understanding of the word! Jube has always been gracious and is a dear friend in ministry and life. As I wrote this book, Jube found himself in my notes on more than one occasion! As you may or may not know about Jube, he's a preacher's preacher and since I couldn't do it any better than he, I decided to simply share what he said. I pray that readers are blessed by it. Thank you, Jube!
Olatia and Thomas Robinson- In 2017 when I thought I would be releasing another book, I called upon OB's Photography to shoot images for that release. The book is still on the way and I will return to OB's for my shoot for that book. I met Thomas and his family as a teenager. He was the drummer at Greater Friendship-the church I was born in, Rev. Foster was pastor then. Thomas was the drummer when Pastor Brown was there and as young drummers we became friends and remain friends to this day! His mother Olatia is an amazing photographer in her own right and knows just how to get a great big smile out of me! Thomas and Olatia are sometimes the first responders to my blog posts on social media. I'm grateful for the twenty plus years of friendship!
Charles McCampbell- Charles is that dude! Hands down...I think I talk about Charles in a few chapters throughout the book. In only a span of a few years, the Charles and Fred show was in full effect! It's crazy how well we clicked but Charles was the source of many life lessons that I share in the book. I really want you to pay special attention to the stories about Charles, I think you'll understand why he is one of my greatest friends and influences! By the way, his birthday is the day before mine and I share a birthday with his daughter and grandmother. If we were any closer, we'd actually be related!
Pastor Anthony Callins- You wouldn't believe me but I'm going to tell you, anyway...a few of the chapters in the book were written over 10 years ago. Sermons that I preached while serving at the Saints Chapel Church. I served under Pastor Callins and developed both my music and word ministry there. His wife, Renee Callins is mentioned in the book and her charisma is the same, today! She wouldn't take no for an answer from me and I'm glad about it. What the Lord released at Saints Chapel marked my ministry and prepared me for what I'm doing, today!
Pastor Velva Waites- I served at the Burning Bush Christian Church and learned so much there. I would always hear Pastor Waites say something about ministry that it serves to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. I agreed then and I agree now. I am so grateful for the time spent at Burning Bush and as you read the book, you'll see that I borrowed a portion of that statement for a chapter title.
Leo Vaughns- How does an English teacher get an auditorium named after him? Not for debates and great speeches, but for making an impact with the students in the choir! I don't know how he's done it, but Leo has impacted young people at Kirkpatrick for almost 30 years. I met him in college and he gave me firsthand knowledge of how to be a church musician. I also learned how to play those songs that would dump the house, because he would be somewhere shouting! Had Leo not passed my name and number to the Callins', I can't really say where I'd be, today. I'm grateful for him and all that God continues to do in his life!
Lastly, allow me to thank the Pastors I have served under during the process of writing: Dr. Alvin Pope, Pastor Don Rogers, Pastor Patrick Joubert and Pastor Ben Nobles.
Let me take you on a quick journey...last night, I was reading "Take the Lid Off" by Pastor Smokie Norful and couldn’t make it past this unforgettable quote: “God, give me the grace to handle Your dream for me.” Then I thought wow, does God dream?!? Does He have a dream for me? What are His aspirations for my life?!? For that answer, I went to Romans 12:2...it starts with a renewed mind. This way I can prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God for my life.
Obviously we know what the word says in Jeremiah 29:11, but that still didn’t immediately cure doubt for me in this instance. Then, I was reminded of a summer over 25 years ago when I discovered Andrae Crouch as a young teen. I knew "MyTribute", but I was sold when I heard "I Didn't Think It Could Be"
That takes me to my final thought, the song says: “I didn’t think it could be until it happened to me!” In Isaiah 55:11, God says that His word will accomplish what He sets it out to accomplish and will prosper in the place/thing (in my life) where He sent it! For many of us on the journey of purpose and destiny, it’s hard to grasp the goodness of God...but receive it, it’s yours!!!! There, that settles it and with that my prayer is (now, with confidence): “God, give me the grace to handle your dream for me!” Thanks, Pastor Smokie Norful for such a great read and revelation!!!
Fred Willis, Pastor Smokie Norful and Pastor Parish Lowery