The three words I have often uttered to describe where I am in my ministerial career: “ministry is hard”. Lately, I’m coming to learn that these words may actually be “full of it”. While it is true, for me at least, the ministry was not a career move. I never chose ministry: ministry chose me. I do it because I am truly compelled to, and I feel it is my God-given calling to mainly teach, then preach, and lead. Yes, I feel an obligation to God to fulfill this purpose, and some have made me feel as if the simple presence of purpose should make the process painlessly easy. And I don’t ever want to negate the hard work that goes into studying, planning, and executing ministry, while performing some of the mundane tasks of pastoring. All this may be true, but these aren’t the reasons ministry is hard.  (more…)

It’s been said that dreams reveal our subconscious: all the stuff we don’t realize we’re thinking. As a kid (and a few times as an adult) I would experience the terror of a recurring theme in my dreams. Something would happen and I would try to speak, only to realize nothing was coming out. I would try even to scream at the top of my lungs, to no avail. This would send me into a panic, trying to get someone to listen to me, and I would wake up in a cold sweat. I really had no clue what those dreams meant, I only knew that they terrified me. (more…)

There is an age-old debate circulating the making of sandwiches, tuna, and potato salads. Mayo or Miracle Whip? While superficially, these two dressings look alike, use most of the same ingredients and operate with the same functions, there are distinct differences between the two. Mayo is typically heavier, and more tangy, and whipped dressings are lighter and sweeter; but you wouldn’t know that until you put it on your sandwich and take a bite. Sure, some people can’t tell the difference, yet the differences are there, and clear to those who take the time to truly savor what they are eating. So no … Mayo is NOT THE SAME as Miracle Whip!

I’m sure you’re asking, “What does this have to do with me?”

Well, you have been given a gift; a function to serve in this world. God gave it to you, for reasons that are all His own. It is very easy to look at what’s been given to you generically, assuming it is the same thing such-n-such, and s0-n-so have been given. Sure, on the surface, there are a lot of people who have the same gifting, but upon further inspecting, you will discover they are NOT THE SAME.

There are subtile, and seemingly undetectable, differences that make you … well … YOU! While you may even serve the same function as someone else, your differences may determine the contexts in which you will flourish. For example, if I may continue my analogy, I prefer my potato salad be made with mayo. I also prefer my tuna salad be made with whipped dressing. However, when it comes down to a sandwich or burger, I can go either way. With either context, mayo and Miracle Whip could be used interchangeably, but their subtle differences suit my tastes differently.

So, don’t get discouraged when you see a gift like yours, functioning like yours, looking and sounding like yours, that is being received differently; you are NOT THE SAME. Don’t think that you deserve the same platforms as similar gifts with a wider reach; you are NOT THE SAME. Don’t assume that someone with the same abilities or comparable styles reflect where you are going; you are NOT THE SAME. Embrace your differences and shine where you are. At the end of the day, God knows what He is doing, so trust the process.

© 2017 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved.

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I hate to say it, but reality is relative. We all have our own variations of what is real and what is not, and we subsequently live in response to the reality we choose. Where there was once absolutes surrounding things as fundamental as gender identification, we now live in a culture where all those concrete concepts are now being broken up, and we get live in our own relative realities.  (more…)

We tell people all the time, “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.” “Embrace your own uniqueness.” “There is only one YOU.” Sure we say that stuff, but we really don’t mean it. How many times have you gotten caught up in those discussions about your “top 5 rappers of all time”? People magazine does their “Most Beautiful” and “Sexiest” lists every year, and every barbershop has pitted MJ, against LBJ and Black Mamba. We compare people all the time! (more…)

 

Most of us didn’t grow up on a farm, nor have we ever had to spend any extensive amounts of time with the barn yard animals. The most we know of the social inner workings at the barn is EB Whites’s Charlotte’s Web (one of my favorite animated movies ever, and I cry every time). In real life, however, there is an interesting social phenomena among chickens. The young male chicken, called a cockerel, at some point will dance for the ladies.  (more…)