On Friday August 7, 2015, I received the Kappa Tau National Award of Merit in the Category of Short Sermon, but the real merit came – not with a trophy – but with the God-ordained moments to follow. I was given the opportunity to preach my heart out to over 20,000 people, but despite the number of people in the room, I had an audience of ONE, and that one is GOD.
To provide some context, my father was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer (a 6cm glioblastoma tumor in the center of his brain) on July 5, 2015. Convinced of God’s love and healing power, as National Fine Arts approached, I thought it was only appropriate to preach about my father’s condition.
So, I concocted a 5-minute-word-from-the-Lord addressing our capacity to be convinced:
Drawing from the example of Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego who claimed Christ despite oppression, I taught that a convinced lifestyle does three things:
- Stop Defending: yourself against the enemy. When you worship God, He fights the enemy on your behalf. Just like when the faithful three were given the ultimatum to bow down to a false idol OR be burnt alive in a furnace, they said in Daniel 3:16 “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves.”
- Keep Declaring: deliverance to the face of your oppressor. KNOW that your deliverance is coming. Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego even said in verse 17, “The God we serve is ABLE to deliver us.”
- Start Deciding: that your circumstance will not dictate your commitment to Christ. They said in verse 18, “BUT EVEN IF HE DOESNT, we will not bow down to your gods.” In other words, they were so convinced of God’s love, that even if He didn’t deliver them, they would serve Him anyways.
One of he hardest thing that I had to do in those forty-days between my father’s diagnosis and death, was read this story of Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego to my father while he lay silently sleeping in his hospital bed, and proclaim my faith. Then, I closed my eyes, clenched my fists, stared the enemy dead in the face and said “I KNOW my God will heal my father, BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN’T, I will not bow down to you. I will never stop serving my God.”
We all need to live a BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN’T lifestyle, believing that He WILL, but trusting Him even if He doesn’t.
I “competed” on Thursday August 6 at 3:24PM, and I told everyone that I invited to come watch that I believed that my father was going to get healed during my short sermon that day. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed, that God would heal him at 3:24 that Thursday.
But I also prayed: “God, if you don’t heal him at that time, please allow me to win and let it be a performance category, because my faith is in the miracle not the medicine and I know that when you perform miracles, it is for the ministry of others.”
To my heart-wrenching dismay, an hour after I “competed” that Thursday, my family came to tell me that my father’s cancer/tumor was growing, and by our plan of action he would only have about a week or less to live.
That night, knowing that my father hadn’t been healed like I prayed, OUT OF SHEER FAITH, Pastor Sonia helped me pick out & pack the outfit I would wear the following night if I won AND if it was (against-the-odds) a performance category at the ceremony.
When I found out I won, I was so excited and equally in awe. I thought “THIS IS IT! MY FATHER IS GOING TO GET HEALED TONIGHT,” but he wasn’t healed in the way I had prayed. Someone once told me, “God ALWAYS heals, but whether He chooses to do so on this side of eternity or the next is up to Him.”
Regardless of how difficult this season of life is, I have never been more convinced of God’s love. He loves me and my family SO MUCH, that He would anoint me to win, place me on a stage in front of 20,000 people to share my father’s story, and blanket me in prayers upon prayers.
Even though I stood before 20,000, I had an audience of ONE, and that one is God. My entire sermon was a prayer to God, an act of faith, a testimony to tell Him I trust Him. It didn’t matter to me who sat in the seats, all that mattered was that I was in the presence of GOD, and HE ministered through me.
(What’s amazing, is that my family live-streamed it for my dad in the hospital and he had his eyes open the whole time I spoke, but as soon as I stopped talking, he closed his eyes.)
I had never felt more like the CHURCH UNITED than I had on that night too. All those people gathered together, lifted their hands and voices, for ONE CAUSE and it was to pray for MY DAD! It’s not every day that a cancer patient gets the prayers of 20,000 people all at once.
On August 13, 2015, I had to live on the hard end of that “BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN’T” commitment I made, and although these past eight months have been the HARDEST months of my life, I have confidence in knowing that my father’s life changed, inspired, and united the lives of 20,000 others that night, and now, eight months later, I am so excited to see how many more lives that his story transforms through Let’s Be Frank.