The Super Bowl: The win determined by a ten year old

Our daughter, Jenesis, is like most children. Well, she is alike in many things. She loves to play, she has a vivid imagination and she enjoys gatherings that involve food.  Naturally, she was looking forward to yesterday’s match-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.  Imagine my surprise …

Obama’s time is done. It’s High Time for Wisdom.

I remember watching the television alone in my living room, curled up on my sofa as I listened to Senator Barack Obama prepare to give his victory speech on the night of November 4, 2008.  At the time, I was the mother of a toddler girl and barely three years in marriage.  I watched Barack and Michelle Obama take that stage with their two girls.  You might be thinking that I was sitting there grinning from ear to ear.  I wasn’t.  Several clips flashed across the screen of people all over the world witnessing this historical moment in the United States.  It appeared to me that many of them were more proud to be Americans than I was at that moment.  I wasn’t a fan of Barack Obama. I feared for Obama.  On that night, visions of Martin Luther King and President John F. Kennedy raced across my mind.  I clutched my decorative pillows.  As people were carrying signs at Grant Park in Illinois that stated “HOPE”, I sat there gripped with fear.  I feared for the life of the next president of the United States. 

The years passed after Inauguration Day 2009 and I grew weary of hearing the dialogue about RACE IN AMERICA. I am not one to say that race relations worsened under The Obama Administration.  I believe the evil of discrimination just got really bold.

I served as an officer in the military. I was taught that you never speak harmful words about the Commander In Chief.  You can have your convictions but it would be best not to share them publicly and certainly not in uniform. Was I the only officer that got that training? You have to wonder that when you hear high officials speaking of the leader of this great nation with such hard to hear disdain.  If my child hears me screaming through the house, I set the example for him to follow.  And that is what I felt was taking place in America…everybody screaming how much they hate Barack Obama.

When the following election came, I just wanted Obama out of office so the screaming would stop.  I just wanted to see him and his family go back to their lives and safely live.  For those first four years, I believe he had a target on his back and I just knew it was a matter of time before someone would try it.  So, there I was election night in 2012 waiting to hear that the Obama Era had come to an end and I would get my wish.  But when it was announced that he was elected for a second term, I sat alone in the quiet of my living room.  I looked up at heaven knowing surely this was the Lord’s doing because the Bible says that the existing authorities are established by God (Romans 13.1).  I asked a question of God, “What does this mean?” For three presidential elections in a row, it appeared that I had voted contrary to God.

Do you think that after his second term elected to office that my feelings about him would have changed? No.  I am not a fan of his politics.  I don’t support his views on many, many issues.  But you know what, I have to tell you that despite the fact that I disagree with him, I’ve grown to love the person.  I am extremely proud of the family man that is Barack H. Obama.  I am not his fan but I love him for what his image has done for me; a black woman, the oldest of three girls whose father was absent when we were Sasha and Malia’s ages.

Family Man: President Barack Obama

If I can say anything about his presidency, I cannot deny that he has stood the test against much adversity AND he has represented the versions of the leading man in black families that we rarely see (how many good examples of that do we see in celebrity?)  For that, I give you a high five and a bow President Barack Obama.  You showed the world.

1)      Black men love black women, faithfully. (First Lady Obama has hips and an attitude too.)

2)      Educated black men seek out talented black women, marry, raise families and treat each other like royals.

3)      Black men want to be involved in the lives of their wife and children. They want to build families and not just breed seed.

4)      Black men aren’t afraid to show deep affection for their queen in public.

5)      Strong, black men are not rock hard, unfeeling people.  They cry and they get emotional at times.  They are forgiving.

6)      Black men don’t have to curse, change their facial expressions or get loud to let you know that they are in charge.

7)      Black men can have non-black buddies and really get along to the point it is special to watch.

8)      Black men demonstrate what a good man looks like to their little girls because they treat her mother so well.

9)      A black man is unselfish and he wants you to have the best and he will give his best trying to give that to you.

10)  Black men want to see younger black men succeed and so they lead them and mentor them.

“Pretty sure I’ve never cried during a President’s speech until tonight, for he’s a fantastic orator. Please tell me I wasn’t alone.” – Jodi McGovney Sewell, USNA Class of 1999

I didn’t watch President Obama’s Farewell address.  I was grading papers that night. But I certainly heard about it the next day. It was my Naval Academy classmate’s Facebook post that reinforced my need to write this note.  (Thank you Jodi Sewell for allowing me to share this.)

You may not have liked everything that he was about.  You may not have liked anything he put out.  But I believe there is plenty about this President of the United States that you can say that you absolutely loved.  And you loved it to the point that you are going to miss it when he moves on.  Go ahead, be honest, Barack Obama, got under your skin…in a good way.  I won’t tell anyone you said it.

So, on to tomorrow.  I have another kind of fear for tomorrow’s Inauguration Day.  I am asking you all to pray.  Pray for this nation.  Pray for the Trump Administration.  Pray that he leads with wisdom and that he makes us proud.  I am not his fan either but who knows, Obama had Hope.

Blessings to the Obama Family! Live Long.

QuaWanna Bannarbie

 

Now that I have your attention…

Pastor Andrew Brown, assistant Pastor of Covenant Community Church, shared a revealing word this past Sunday that I will not soon forget.  His text for the sermon was from the well-known story of Moses and the burning bush in the book of Exodus.  “God will use what already has your attention to get your attention”, he said.  Pastor Brown shared how he had questions about the burning bush and how peculiar a choice this “attention grabber” was for God.  Surely, God could have chosen anything.  I thought, “if that already had the attention of Moses then how?”  Sitting among the congregation, I realized it wasn’t so much the bush as it was what had Moses’ attention. The bush just happened to be in the area of Moses’ attention.  Moses had consumed himself with the job of a sheep herder probably thinking he had avoided his past.  In fact, he was wandering carefree in the back of the desert when he stumbled upon this bush.  I would venture to say that God realized it was time to let Moses know he couldn’t avoid HIM any longer.  I believe God used the bush because Moses’ occupation had his attention.  I could relate to Moses in that moment Pastor Brown explained the choice of the bush.  I briefly took a job as a tax preparer when I left the U.S. Navy.  It was okay work.  My husband was deployed, our oldest child was less than two years old and I thought this was a good idea.  I found out that God didn’t think it was a good idea.  For three years in a row, something happened as a result of me taking that job.  It affected me and my family adversely.  The first year I was there, they got rid of all first year tax professionals within the first three weeks of the tax season.  I still went back the next year.  Then, co-workers had accidents that caused me to take longer shifts.  The kicker was when my young son of 8 months got sick at daycare and had to be hospitalized.  He had swallowed a coin and it had to be surgically removed.  I put him in home-based care after the ordeal and that didn’t work out either.  So, I finally left the job.  In my over-occupation with what was not the will of God for my life, my family suffered.  Looking back on it now, I assess that getting my attention wasn’t really my problem.  It was difficult to keep my attention because what I wanted become more important than what God wanted for me.

But God has a way of using things that will keep your attention.

I woke up yesterday morning to learn that the country had elected Donald J. Trump to the office of President and I knew immediately that the President-Elect is “the burning bush” but there is not the voice of God coming out of this one.  This burning bush represents the government of which we have taken such an extreme interest. It reminds me of the story of 1 Samuel 8 when the prophet Samuel went to God on the behalf of the people who asked for a king to rule over them.  Although Samuel had reminded them that, as God’s people, they had God and therefore no need for a king to fight for them.  The people had their eyes on the things of other nations and not the things of God.  They replaced God with worldly occupation.  God gave them exactly what they wanted but he used that very king to keep their attention.  I submit to you that since that day, government has represented the replacement of God with worldly occupation.  No matter how much we put IN GOD WE TRUST on our money or our courthouses.  History has repeatedly proven how people replace the things of God with the things of the world.  Our recent national history repeatedly shows how God uses that very thing you replaced Him with to keep your attention.  It will be with Donald J. Trump.  It has been with Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama.  I strongly believe it would have been no different with Al Gore, John McCain, or Mitt Romney.  And yes, it would have been no different with Hillary Clinton.  Sadly though, we haven’t realized it yet.  But thanks to Pastor Brown, I can say I see it now Lord.  I can say this now because I voted in every last one of these past elections and I couldn’t understand how in each one the decision became more and more difficult and less appealing.  But I do now.  You have my attention now God.  In fact, you have the attention of the whole world. The world is watching the United States of America.

Moses asks the question in Exodus 3:3 “How is it that this bush does not burn?”  Moses turned aside toward the bush and then God spoke to Him.  It is time to turn America.  There is a burning bush blazing in a great flame right now.  I recommend we give God our undivided attention.  What is important to God must become important to us.  Be careful that we are not consumed.

How the faith of children strengthens adult faith

Ten-year-old classmates, Simon and Jenesis lagged behind the rest of us as we approached the front doors of the school.  I looked back wondering what was taking them so long.  Simon had previously expressed that he didn’t want to go to school and his mother said that he had had a difficult morning.  I could relate to Simon because my early morning hadn’t been so great either.  I should have expected the unnecessary distractions.  I triumphed despite that.  It is #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  We pressed on.live-it

When Simon and Jenesis came around the corner to the school door, they both were showing each other how they were going to hold their Bibles in their hands as they went to class.  They barely seemed to notice their mothers standing by to wish them well on their day.  I watched as they disappeared through the double archway of the school hall heading toward their class.  Jenesis on the left and Simon on the right both nodding heads as if to say “let’s do this”.

MOTHERING IS A TOOL

Motherhood, for me, has up and down seasons.  There are days when I feel like I want to close myself up in a closet because I get so overwhelmed.  There are other days when I can pat myself on the back and say, “Girl, you done good.”  Today, I am a good girl.

When I told my children about the Focus on the Family campaign, neither of them declared that they wouldn’t do it.  I thought about the fact that in this day and time, my reality could have been that they were uncooperative.  Children today tell their parents what they are and are not going to do.  No, my children were eager to see who would participate in #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  And lucky for me, they were surrounded by classmates and friends of like faith.  No wonder Psalm 127:5 says “blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.”  Children keep you sharp in your faith.children-and-religious-freedom

MY CHILDREN, YOUR CHILDREN, ALL CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE

Our nation should pay close attention, these warriors won’t back down from a challenge, campaign or conquest.  The future is theirs and you better know that they plan to LIVE IT WELL!  Today, they are shining their light in school hallways, tomorrow on Capital Hill.
margaret-mead

Did you know about #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay and did you and your family participate?  Share it with us in the comments.

Who do you choose to follow?

I have a new like.  It is not a love yet but I am beginning to like it very much.  I like Twitter.

You see I only joined Twitter a few months ago.  I joined the same time that I started this blog.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time in order to build a following.  I am learning along the way.  Initially, I only had about a dozen individuals and organizations that I follow on Twitter.  And although I had chosen to follow them, I wasn’t really paying attention to their Twitter feeds.  Many of those I chose were selected because “I like them.”  Last week, I joined the Twitter following of a role model of mine and I was skimming her page when I discovered a mystery.  (Let’s see if you can figure out who I am talking about?)  She is one of my most beloved women in leadership.  Her Twitter profile description simply says “Just a girl…with a sword.”   She has over 229K followers on her personal Twitter account and goes beyond with additional followers on her ministry account.  Yet, she only has 60 people that she follows.  As I browsed the people and organizations in her list, it was a very telling experience.  I would assume (though I may be wrong) that she only chose to follow people closest to her for those people in the Covenant 60 listing are family members, like-minded leaders in ministry and her favorite influencers/artists.  I wanted to Tweet her right away and ask “Why only 60?”

Girl with a sword’s Twitter page reminded me of a teleseminar I attended a little while back with The Christian Mompreneur NetworkTheresa Ceniccola advised the participants of that seminar to narrow your focus.   She said, “if you are listening to too many influencers, delete or unsubscribe.”  That was a key point in her message that day on Promises, Prayers and Practical Steps: How to Build a Business While Raising a Family.  What really struck me is that she offered each listener to “drop her” as an influencer if you didn’t feel that she was resonating with you and who God was using to help.  That was a humble and significant action step I thought Theresa shared that day.  And while I didn’t stick with her advice of only three influencers, I did delete some people and subscriptions out of my inbox that week because I realized that there is truth to “having too many people in our ears.”  Theresa’s advice was so meaningful to me because it helped me realize the intent of following isn’t just about “liking” or “connecting” as it appears in social media.  Social media has made following more about how many tags or rather tag-a-longs we can collect.  We need to reorient the act of following back to its definition and that is to pursue after, come after what or someone who proceeds you; accept the guidance, command, or leadership of.  Following also means to be guided by and move along the path of something or someone gone ahead of you.  The word “pursuit” really speaks to me because I truly believe that you should pursue what you love.  With that in mind, I have adjusted my followership to people, organizations or causes that I love.

I have chosen to apply the Covenant 60 rule to my Twitter page.  I am currently about half-way there.  I invite you to visit my Twitter page today.  As you browse through this small list of people and organizations I follow, you would learn about the music I love, that I am a student of leadership, I am up to date on local news, I advocate and root for family, education and female role models in ministry and I have friends.

As you read this blog post, please know that I am NOT judging your management style or use of Twitter.  Rather, I want you to take to heart the art of your pursuit.  The celebrity world is changing our mindset about followership.  Followership is defined as the reciprocal social process of leadership.  But we need to rid ourselves of the idea that you have to work to grow the number of people in that circle of reciprocity.  It is a covenant ring and you should use wise judgement in who you choose to invite inside the circle.

Are there any tips you have to choosing who to follow?  Share it with us in the comments.

Will You Be Found Faithful?

As a teenager, I ran for school office.  I always wanted the top positon of president or captain of the group.  Young and ignorant back then, I thought if I allowed someone else to sit in a position above me then it meant that I believed that they could lead better than I or that I was afraid of leading.  But today, I am not as quick to grab the top spot.  I’ve learned what type of leader I am.  I am a Joshua leader.  I often tell those who are over me that if they just do their part as Moses then I can handle the Joshua role with no problem.

Moses, of the Bible’s Exodus story, was God’s mouth piece but Joshua was HIS executor.  Joshua’s responsibility was to hear and pay attention to the instruction and then produce; carrying out the will of God with all his resource and potential.  Joshua Leadership is representative of the words of Luke 16:11-12 which bears witness to a man being faithful to another man’s work so that he too can be given his own.  Demonstration of Joshua’s leadership in bible study or character profiles often references the transition of power after Moses’ succession.  This is mainly because we often see leadership as one head and then several branches in descending order and power.  Yet, Joshua was leading even while Moses was head.  Joshua, an undergird of Moses, empowered Moses’ leadership more than we give credit.

Joshua Leadership can be defined as the executor carrying out the administration of a vision such that production and expected ends are achieved.  Here’s why Joshua’s executor position in leadership is vital to any Moses leading well.

Joshua Leadership Defined

Joshua demonstrated the following:

  • Follow in close proximity – In order to undergird, a Joshua Leader has to be close to the chief leader and you must remain humble. Humility requires that you have close relationship with the Lord because our flesh often wants to compete.  When you are humble, the head doesn’t fear your authority or position in relationship to his/her own.  They welcome your closeness and realize the benefit in having the executor to carry forth the will in its practical sense at the same degree that it was visually imparted to the visionary or mouthpiece as in the case of Moses.
  • Execute with thoughtful precision – A Joshua Leader considers the task carefully without being moved by adverse influence. He or she researches and surveys the environment.  They are wise.  Henry Bergson once stated, “Think like a man of action.  Act like a man of thought”.  This is an accurate description of Joshua.  Joshua’s movements were the results of time of reflection and prayer.  When he did execute, the events followed periods of wait and suspense demonstrating his carefulness in taking action.
  • Exercise your faith – Joshua was close to Moses when he prayed in the tabernacle and he would remain even after Moses departed (Exodus 33:11). This is key because this meant that Joshua had his own relationship and recognized that his positon required more time with God intimately.  A Joshua Leader cannot exercise the will of God without first exercising his faith in Him and doing that means to operate those activities of devotion, meditation, good works and recitation of God’s word outside of the time the leader has instructed or demonstrated.
  • Serve with integrity – A Joshua leader has integrity that serves them well. The head knows the accuracy of his/her actions because he/she has proven dependable in the past and repeatedly demonstrates this level of integrity unwaveringly.

I serve a couple of organizations today in a Joshua Leader role.  It is not an easy role to carry because the production of the vision takes a great deal of work.  When I am speaking of Leadership LINKS, Inc.(www.leadershiplinksus.org), I like to say that our Board Chairman is the heart of the organization and I am the circulatory system.  If I am not carrying it, the blood doesn’t get to the places where it is needed.  I know that there is much power in the blood stream.  The Blood Never Loses Its PowerTherefore, there is also a great deal of spiritual warfare involved in serving as a Joshua Leader.  The devil has witnessed once before what a team of Moses and Joshua can do and so he wreaks havoc on these relationships today in churches, organizations, school, governments and marriages.  But the key is knowing your role and being determined to be found faithful.  “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).  Joshua was such a leader.  He proved himself and when succession was necessary, God made him ruler over the same people Moses has led.

I don’t desire the head position like I did as a high school girl and I tell you why.  If I were in the position of Moses, I would want another QuaWanna to undergird me.  So since I can’t serve myself, I would rather be Joshua to someone else.

Are you a faithful Joshua Leader?  Leave a comment about which of the characteristics mentioned above can you attest to that have proven that you are in the right position?