Phil is a man driven by vision, compelled to fulfill God’s calling on his life. His passion is simply to see people not only come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but also to see them realize their full potential in this life as God has designed and preordained them to be. At the core of his ministry is mentorship, life-on-life ministry. Mentoring those who have a desire to grow is what energizes Phil. He hopes that the lessons learned from mistakes and mentorship in his own life may be beneficial for those whom he has the privilege to lead and teach. He is an author, a teacher, a pastor, and a poet. He is the lead broken one leading broken ones to wholeness in Christ.
All that sounds great, but the truth is that in order to get to the place where I became driven by vision and calling meant I had to endure a lot of hardship. Much of the hardship was from my own doing, but some from betrayal or abandonment. Those too have become tools for God to use in my life to strengthen me, give me wisdom, and help others who have those experiences or have yet to. In other words, I’m familiar with “rock bottom.”
Rock bottom is where God met me and put my trust in Jesus for salvation. Rock bottom is where I was introduced to humility. Rock bottom is where I also learned that I can endure and I can get back up. Once I hit rock bottom, my life took on a new trajectory upward.
The thing I learned about rock bottom is that you don’t have to stay there and God never wants to leave you there. Life may not look the same. Desires begin to change. Friendships take on new faces. Trials begin to have purpose rather than just being obstacles in the journey. I’ve learned that my story is not just that I’m broken, but that I am also being restored. I’m not just suffering, but I am enduring.
Part of my process of healing, restoration, and being built up was accomplished through mentorship. The community of men and women in my life who have gone before me was crucial in helping me to see and come to understand my calling. This is why I am so passionate about mentoring others; it is what God used in my own life. They spoke things over me before I even realized I was wired to do those things. They saw potential in me in ways and areas I hadn’t understood yet. They loved me more than they were impressed with me, holding me accountable and encouraging me with truth in the spirit of love.
Purpose is given to us. Our focus should be to gain clarity on what that purpose is. It precedes our very existence because God already knew us before we were even conceived. Next to knowing and being content in Christ, there is nothing more meaningful than to learn our purpose in life. My problem early on in my relationship with Jesus is that I wasn’t clear at times and wasn’t willing at other times to accept God’s purpose for me because it did not look like what I have designed in my own mind for my life.
Purpose is bigger than us. If what I want to accomplish only impacts my life (at least in my mind), then it is likely something I dreamt up on my own. It is less likely to change another person, a family, a neighborhood, a city, a nation, or a world. It is when I began to live my life concerned with things beyond seeking my own pleasures and desires that life became truly meaningful. This is what drives me until the day I leave this earth, that I impact as many lives as possible.
Purpose comes with the challenge that makes life rich. If you are called to be a mother, you will have challenges. If you are called to be a teacher, you will face difficulty. If you are called to be a pastor, let me tell you, there will be discouraging seasons. I’ve come to learn that all this makes life rich. It gives life flavor and makes your story more palatable for everyone else to even want to listen to you. My purpose in fostering racial unity, within the Church and the broader culture, will come with challenges, as many people will not agree on methods and even end goals. My purpose to develop and raise up culture-changers will not be easy because many people want the easy route to platform. My purpose, much like Abraham in the Bible, involves venturing to a distant land (California) from the comfort zone of my family (South Carolina) to minister the gospel can be painful, missing parents and siblings and the growth of nieces and younger cousins. What is more painful though is taking myself outside of God’s will and choosing to relocate for the sake of comfort rather than a sense of be sent by God. I’ve learned that even location has its purpose.
I hope to inspire anyone reading this to be introspective about what matters most in your life. I hope you are inspired to allow God to have free reign in your gifts, talents, skills, relationships, and your thoughts. That you would not see your trials and suffering as a curse, but as a tool in the process of becoming all that you were ordained to be. I don’t want to just motivate you to become successful, to make a lot of money, or become famous; while they are not bad things in and of themselves, they are temporary. I hope that you desire to leave a legacy, especially one that points people to Jesus.
"Seek first the kingdom and all these things will be added to you." - Matthew 6:33