Advice for Young People Who Have Grown Up Without Fathers, Part 3 (The Man in the Mirror #9)

Today, I want to continue sharing some advice with young people who have grown up without fathers. Already, we have discussed six things that you should do.:

1. Get to know God as your Heavenly Father.
2. Read the Bible consistently.
3. Talk to God about anything and everything through prayer.
4. Choose not to become bitter toward your father.
5. Choose to love, appreciate, and thank God for the parent or parent figure you do have.
6. Ask God to give you godly, older mentors and friends.

Here are three more things that you ought to do if you are in such a situation.

1. Do not let the absence of a father in your life become a crutch or excuse for not reaching your potential. Often, when a person grows up with disadvantages or has some kind of disability in life, they will use that disadvantage or disability as an excuse for not accomplishing great things. Every time they fail or every time someone asks them why they did not reach a goal, they eventually come back around to an explanation that begins with, ‘Well, my father was not in my life…’ or whatever their disadvantage happens to be.

You don’t want to be that person. Your entire life does not have to be defined by your father’s absence from your childhood. Instead of viewing it as a permanent handicap, simply view it a hurdle that must be overcome. And, the Bible says that through Jesus Christ, we are overcomers. Learn to say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Don’t be afraid to dream big and to set big goals. Don’t let a disadvantage hold you back from accomplishing everything that God wants you to accomplish.

2. Commit to having an others-focused view of life. Another trap that some people who grow up with a disadvantage fall into is living a self-centered life. Of course, all people struggle with this malady, but some who have a disadvantage may feel like they are entitled to feel the way they do. This is a sad way to live. Someone once said, “A person wrapped up in himself makes a small package.”

Don’t be a ‘small package’ person. Have an others-focused view of life. Think more about what you can do for others and how you can help others than about what others can do for you. In this case, your disadvantage of growing up without a father is actually an advantage because it places you in a unique position to help other young people who also do not know their fathers. You understand how they feel and what they are going through, and if you have overcome the challenges of such a childhood, you can help them do the same. Second Corinthians 1:4-5 says that God “comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Once you put Jesus Christ first in your life, commit to having an others-focused life so that you can be used by God to bless and help those around you.

3. Learn the principles of life from successful men in history. One of the traits of great men is that they leave a legacy behind. You can learn about the lives and legacies of such men by reading books, watching a documentary regarding their lives, or listening to them give a speech or interview. You can learn from the experiences of great men such as Winston Churchill, George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and so many others, both dead and alive. You can learn from their successes and their failures, what to do and what not to do, and you can see how certain principles benefitted them throughout their lives and helped them reach the level of accomplishment that they were able to reach.

Take these principles to heart, learn from them, and apply them to your life. Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” In the Bible, the Apostle Paul told young believers, “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day…” What he was saying was, ‘You saw how we carried ourselves, you saw how we worked hard night and day. You ought to do the same.’ He also told another group of believers, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Dear friend, you don’t have to do this thing called life all on your own. Learn from the examples of others. It can save you a whole lot of trouble in the days ahead.

These are just some of the things you can do as a young person to get on the right track even if you have not had the benefit of a father in your life. I hope that you will take heed to these things so that you can live a happy, successful, blessed, and productive life for God’s glory.

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Oh! The Troubles I’ve Seen #2 (Letter 4)

Dear Y.B.M.:

The second trouble that I brought upon myself during my young years was loving many young women and using women for all the wrong reasons. Dear brother, when God made women, He made something! To me, there is nothing on God’s green earth more beautiful than “phat” women. Nothing! (For the ebonically challenged, “phat” means very fine.)

I am now an out and out Christian man; I am an ordained minister of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; I pray and read the Bible every day; I have been married for over twenty-seven years now to my first and only wife. But I don’t think I will ever get over God’s handiwork of the second and third quarters of a woman’s body. Most men, if they are honest, will tell you that their greatest struggle in life is the same struggle that David and Samson experienced—”phat” women folk. We criticize Adam for casting all of humanity toward the gates of hell, but the fact of the matter is, if we had seen the first, second, and third quarters of the naked body of Eve, not only would we have eaten the apple, we would have eaten the entire tree and then we would have helped to plant another one. You know I am right about that.

Be that as it may, the truth of the matter is, men who violate the Word of God by having sex with women they are not married to will pay for doing so. Look at King David and Bathsheba — God took away the son who was born to them out of their sin, and trouble never left his household. Samson’s lust for women caused him to get deceived by a beautiful but conniving woman named Delilah, and he ended up with his eyes plucked out and he lost his life.

You may ask, why do I have to pay for having sex with a woman I am not married to? Notice what God says in His Holy Word on this matter.

I Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

I Corinthians 7:1 says, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”

Suffice it to say that every time, not just some of the time, but every time I had sex with a woman I was not married to, it was great while it lasted, but trouble and problems followed the pleasure. Millions can testify to the fact found in Proverbs 9:17: “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But the trouble comes double.

Now, I have never been the romantic type. I am not naturally inclined to try to win a girl by buying her candy or flowers, taking her out on expensive dates, or buying her expensive gifts. But I have found other ways to win women over. Since I have never been the “sweet” type, I have never been hurt by a woman. In other words, I have never been “played” by a woman. Unlike Samson of old, I have never given my heart to a woman. I just don’t roll like that. I never considered any one girl my girlfriend even though she may have thought she was my girlfriend. In fact, I was seeing more than one girl at any given time when I was younger. That being the case, I have never held any bitterness or animosity toward women folk.

Like Samson, however, I “loved” women too much and all for the wrong reasons. The truth is, I didn’t love women for who they were, but for what I could get from them. When I got what I wanted from them—which was sex—trouble always followed.

You ask what kind of trouble followed?

1. After a period of casual sex, the relationship would begin to sour. It began to sour because even though she was giving me what I wanted, I had no intentions on giving her what she wanted, which was commitment, love, and affection.

2. If the young woman became pregnant, that created another set of problems, which are self-explanatory.

One problem came up that haunts me to this very day—and it has been over thirty years now since it happened. I was seeing one girl for sex repeatedly. To be honest, we were having a lot of fun together—until she got pregnant. We were very young—about fifteen-years-old. We both decided that it would be best to get an abortion. Somehow, I came up with the money and she and I went down to the doctor’s office and had the baby aborted. For some strange reason, the doctor wrapped the aborted baby in a napkin and gave it to her. Once we got in front of her house, we both looked at the aborted baby boy after which we placed him in the woods across the street from her home. Believe it or not, we both continued having sex and we did not stop until I got one of her best friends pregnant. Fortunately, for this child and for our own consciences, her girlfriend kept the baby.

Later in life, after I got saved, I learned that what that young woman and I did was murder an innocent child. Every now and then, I think about that baby buried in the woods across the street from her house, and the guilt and shame is painful.

The moral of that story, if you will, is: when you break God’s law, God’s law has a tendency to break you.

Again, remember this verse in Galatians 6:7: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

3. The third type of trouble that follows sex outside of marriage is that even if you actually have children out of wedlock and things do not work out between you and the baby’s mother, as a father, you will suffer the pain and heartache of not having the privilege of loving and raising those children especially as you grow older. Every now and then you will feel guilt and shame regarding that.

4. The fourth type of trouble you will run into is, very simply, baby mama drama. Some women will try to use your children against you in an attempt to get money from you or to get you to stay with them or marry them. They will often try to control the relationship by telling you that you cannot see your children if you do not do things their way. This is trouble you can and should avoid.

So, young black man, do not have sex outside of marriage because trouble is sure to come.

Numbers 32:23 says, “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.”

Avoiding More Trouble,

Daniel

P.T.: Power Thoughts

John Dewey said, “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”

Jerry Falwell said, “Any sex outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman is violating God’s law.”

Someone once said, “When trouble calls on you, call on God.”

Advice for Young People Who Have Grown Up Without Fathers, Part 2 (The Man in the Mirror #8)

Today, I want to continue sharing some advice with young people who have grown up without fathers. On last week I encouraged you to do three things:

1. Get to know God as your Heavenly Father.
2. Read the Bible consistently.
3. Talk to God about anything and everything through prayer.

Here are three more things that you ought to do if you are in such a situation.

1. Choose not to become bitter toward your father. Yes, by choosing not to be a part of your life, your father was irresponsible and he did you wrong. But you will not be well served by allowing a root of bitterness, resentment, or hatred to grow in your heart. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, “Look diligently [watch out for or be careful]… lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you.” The only person who will be hurt by the bitterness or resentment you carry in your heart toward your father is you. Thus, it is a waste of energy and time.

Instead, you ought to forgive your father because that is what God would have you to do and that is the only thing that will set you free. Colossians 3:13 says, “forgive one another, if any man have a quarrel (or grievance) against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.“

2. Choose to love, appreciate, and thank God for the parent or parent figure you do have. This comes easy for many young people, yet it is worth saying here. You may be raised by your mother, by your grandparents, by some other older relative, or by a combination of these. Even though you may not have the perfect family situation, you can be thankful for what you do have.

You especially ought to be thankful considering the sacrifices that your guardians have had to make in order to raise you and provide for you. You can reward them for their sacrifices by letting them know that you appreciate what they have done and by respecting them as authority figures in your life.

3. Ask God to give you godly, older mentors and friends. When I was a young Christian, God, in His wisdom, placed a few older gentlemen in my life. These men are 20-30 years older than me. As a young man, I watched how these older men lived their lives, I asked them questions about life in general, and I asked their advice on what I should do (and not do) in my life. The wisdom I gained from these older, wiser men has saved me many years of trouble, heartache, and pain. I have been able to avoid some of the mistakes that they made and that they warned me about making.

Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” To be honest, after I decided to follow Jesus Christ at the age of nineteen, I did not spend a lot of time with people my age. I spent time with those who were older than me so that I could learn from them. In fact, my closest friends today are at least 20-30 years older than I am, and, even now, I go to them for advice and encouragement at this stage in my life. I strongly encourage you to do the same.

These are just some of the things you can do as a young person to get on the right track even if you have not had the benefit of a father in your life. I will be sharing some more of these things in our next broadcast.

Oh! The Troubles I’ve Seen #1 (The Brother’s Keeper)

Dear Y.B.M.:

Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” Boy, Job got that right!

Jesus said in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Some years ago, I preached a sermon titled “Songs in the Night.” In that sermon, I brought up the idea of God-ordained troubles and self-imposed troubles. Well, I have had some of both, but in this letter I am going to mainly deal with self-imposed troubles. In other words, I am going to deal with the troubles I brought upon myself. YBM, remember this: Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

The main trouble I brought upon myself stemmed from my bad attitude as a teenager. When I got into my early teens, I developed a very bad attitude—particularly toward my dad. I knew how to play the hate dad/love mom game very well. I don’t really know why I despised my dad so much during those days, other than the fact that he was a preacher. (But I will say this: if a father does not lead the family in the way he should, and if he does not spend quality time with his children, those children will probably grow up bitter toward him.)

Anyway, I had a really bad attitude toward my father—talking back, accusing him of abusing my mother, etc. Well, one day, I was in the bathroom with the door locked, doing my usual running off at the mouth and talking back to my dad because he wouldn’t let me have the car, or something like that. I thought I was safe with the door locked. Friend of mine, my dad got tired of my talking back, and he tore the door down and burst into the bathroom. I thought I was going to die that very hour. I thought I had seen the end of my days. Son, you can avoid a whole lot of trouble by maintaining a good and positive attitude.

Little did I know, my attitude would seep out and affect other areas of my life as well. While in high school, I carried that bad attitude on to my job with me, and even though I was the best worker on the job, my boss, Terry Buchman, got tired of putting up with my bad attitude and one day he told me never to return to the job again. That’s right, I got fired from an afterschool job. This took me by surprise seeing I was the best worker on my job at the time. This is when I learned the lesson that attitude is more important than performance. A few weeks later, I went back to Mr. Terry Buchman and apologized for my attitude. I changed my attitude, and he gave me my job back.

Now, I know this may sound trite, but it is true: “Your attitude determines your altitude”; your attitude determines how high you go in life. If you have the right attitude toward your parents, you will go very high in this life. A bad attitude toward your parents and to others in authority will bring you low.

Exodus 20:12 says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

Ephesians 6:1-3 also tells us: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

I credit an old Bible-believing preacher by the name of Charles McKinney in Biloxi, Mississippi, for helping me to get my attitude changed. He was really the first one who had the guts to consistently stand up against me and my bad attitude, and I thank God he did. I sign off…

With a New Attitude,

Daniel

P.T.: Power Thoughts

Henry Ward Beecher said, “Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.”

Ann Landers said, “If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.’”

William James said, “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.”

Someone once said, “Attitude is the way you mentally look at the world around you. It is how you view your environment and your future. It is the focus you develop toward life itself.”

Edgar Watson Howe said, “The way out of trouble is never as simple as the way in.”

Advice for Young People Who Have Grown Up Without Fathers, Part 1 (The Man in the Mirror #7)

Today, I want to offer some advice to young people who have grown up without fathers.

fatherlessFatherlessness has been called an epidemic in the black community of America. According to government statistics, 72 percent of African-American children are born to unmarried mothers. The effects of growing up without a father are devastating to say the least. Children: Our Ultimate Investment reports that:

* 63 percent of youth who commit suicide are from fatherless homes
* 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
* 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
* 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
* 75 percent of all teenage patients in drug-abuse centers come from fatherless homes
* 85 percent of all young people in prison come from fatherless homes

If you are a teenager or young person, you may feel that your life will end up with similar results. Perhaps you think that society has already written you off. But I am here to tell you that your life does not have to end up as just another statistic. As the Bible tells us, God has good plans for your life — ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you.’ Even if you grew up without your father in your life, there are some things you can do to survive, to thrive, and to make it in this life. Here they are:

1. Get to know God as your Heavenly Father. The Bible makes clear that God has a special protectiveness for children who are fatherless. David said in Psalm 27:10, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” Maybe you grew up in the church, but I want to encourage you to really get to know God for yourself. He will be the best Father you could ever have. I will show you how you can begin a personal relationship with God at the end of the broadcast.

2. Read the Bible consistently. WIthout a Godly father in your life, you likely missed out on a lot of good, solid advice and counseling as a child — especially if your mother was busy working to provide for you and/or if you did not have teachers or mentors who took you under their wing. However, this can be remedied. The Bible has often been called a guidebook for life — and it is. In the pages of Scripture, you will find all the advice you need to succeed in your relationship with God, your relationships with others, and your interactions with the world.

I strongly recommend that you read through the book of Proverbs. It has 31 chapters, and a good practice is to read one chapter a day; that way, you will get through the book nearly 12 times in one year. Proverbs is full of practical advice and wisdom that will be of extreme usefulness to you as a young person. You will learn how to stay away from bad influences, how to avoid sexual temptation and sexual sin, the value of hard work, and so much more. The book is indeed a gold mine.

3. Talk to God. From time to time in your life, you may have longed for a father to talk to about certain issues. As a young man, there are things your mother will simply not be able to teach you. As a young woman, you may crave a father’s advice on dealing with the opposite sex. Well, you can talk to God about all of those things through prayer. Pour out your heart to Him just as you would talk to your real father. God will hear you and answer you. In the Bible, God said, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee…”

These are just some of the things you can do as a young person to get on the right track even if you have not had the benefit of a father in your life. I will be sharing with you some more of these things in our next broadcast.

Oh! The Mistakes I’ve Made (Letter 2)

Dear Y.B.M.:

I hope my last letter helped you get caught up to where we are.

No one likes admitting to making mistakes, and it is amazing what lengths we go to to try and cover up our mistakes and failures. Below are three reasons why it is a waste of time to try to cover up our mistakes and failures:

1. Covering up our sins and failures never causes us to prosper. Proverbs 28:13 says: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

2. People who are not transparent rarely help other people.

3. Many people already have your number—you just don’t know that they do.

I remember while I was a student at Baptist University of America in Decatur, Georgia, we had mandatory chapel services each morning at around 11:00. We had a different preacher each chapel hour. I enjoyed most of the preachers who preached, but there was one preacher by the name of Raymond Hancock who visited regularly, and whom the entire student body loved to hear. The difference between this preacher and the other preachers was like night and day. The reason is that this preacher had the humility and ability to not only preach the Word of God, but to be transparent at the same time. It made all the difference. I learned through those chapel services that the great preachers and the preachers who help people the most are those who keep it real.

With that said, allow me to share with you some personal and painful mistakes that I made in my early years. My purpose in sharing these mistakes with you is so you would avoid them, because contrary to popular belief, some mistakes done in youth leave scars that can last a lifetime.

The first big mistake I made as a young man was having sex before marriage. I know that may sound punkish. Nevertheless, it was a big mistake. Like so many brothers, I took pride in my sexual “conquests” for a long time. But as time went on, what I was not proud of was the pain I caused so many people: the young lady I was involved with, the mothers and fathers, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the children born out of wedlock, and the child that was aborted when I was only fifteen years old, because the mother and I, in ignorance and immaturity, thought it was the best thing to do at that time. This murdering of an innocent life haunts me even after thirty years.

THE LESSON IS THIS: I believe the real reason God forbids sex before marriage is because it hurts so many people for a long time—sometimes for a lifetime. Although sex is a lot of fun, it is far more a spiritual thing than a physical thing. I say it is more of a spiritual thing because it is only through sex that God brings another spiritual being into the world to fellowship with Him.

The second big mistake I made was not taking my early education seriously. I, like many of my school friends, had no idea how important our education was. In my mind, school was a place to tolerate, a place to skip, a place to run the girls, and a place to have fun. Oh, how I regret not taking my schooling seriously. Because I didn’t, I had to play catch up when I got older. Son, that is exactly where the system messes up young black men. Because many of us have the wrong mentality when we enter high school, and because the teachers don’t have the time nor the patience, they let us keep our playful, wrong mentality, and at the end of our high school days, they pass us on to graduate just to get rid of us—knowing that we haven’t learned anything. If you waste your high school days and still manage to graduate, it is very likely that you will not be able to handle college, because college work is built on high school work.

THE LESSON IS THIS: You will have plenty of time to play after you get your Doctorate. For now, don’t make the mistake I made of not taking school seriously. Learning is best done while your mind is young and while you can grasp things better. So, hit the books while there is still time.

The third big mistake that I made as a young man was running with the wrong crowd. The irony of this is, I was a preacher’s son. Not only was I a preacher’s son, but I had the same name as my dad, and on top of that, my dad was on television each Sunday morning with his Gospel program.

Being a preacher’s kid, I know the reason why many preachers’ kids are worse than the other kids. The preachers’ children are trying to fit in with the in-crowd. My friend, Bill, and I were big time preachers’ kids, yet we raised more hell, drank more liquor, and had more women than any of our other friends. We were the leaders of the pack. I remember one incident in which some of the children on the school bus were joking me about being a preacher’s son, and I blurted out, in an attempt to fit in, that “I am going to drive the bus to hell.” That is frightening, but I remember making that statement.

I remember on another occasion, one of my “girlfriends” and I were sitting on the front porch watching the sun go down. During the course of our conversation, she told me that I was going to be a preacher one day like my father. I don’t know what came over me, but I cursed her and I swore that I would never be a preacher. Why? Because while I was sitting on that porch with her that evening, preaching was not on my mind at all. I despised anything to do with preachers. I wanted to fit in, and preachers’ children normally do not fit in with the in-crowd.

THE LESSON IS THIS: Stop trying to be like others and be yourself. If you think you need a crowd, get with the crowd that is going to church and the crowd that is getting A’s in school. Lynn Swann said: “Why try to fit into a crowd that after you graduate from high school, you will probably never see again?”

As you will see in my next letter, I have made some more mistakes, but these are some of the big ones. Avoid these pitfalls, and you can save yourself a lot of heartache and trouble, and you can get down the highway of success much faster.

Avoiding Mistakes,

Daniel

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Winston Churchill said, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”

James Joyce said, “A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.”

Hugh White said, “When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.”

Ryan Cabrera said, “Running with the wrong crowd will never help you.”

Be a Leader and Think for Yourself (The Man in the Mirror #6)

Recently, I heard a story about five teenagers who decided to rob a house in Illinois. They went across the street to a particular residence, knocked on the door, and rang the doorbell. When no one answered, they broke in. It turns out that the owner of the house was asleep upstairs. When he heard the commotion, he awakened, got his gun, and came downstairs. He shot and killed one of the teenagers and wounded another.

Today, the four teenagers who survived are in jail for fifty years. They were not just sentenced for attempted robbery, but, due to state law, they — not the homeowner who shot the gun — are being held responsible for the death of their companion.

In an interview, one of the teens was asked what caused him to do what he did that day. He said the reason was that he was “just being a follower.”

271-think-for-yourselfThe Bible warns us against being followers of those who would only lead us to do evil. Proverbs 1:10-16 says, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.“

You can probably think of a time in your life when you have done something simply because your friends or someone else suggested doing it and you regretted it later. Sociologists call it peer pressure. You feel somehow that because everyone else is doing it, you have to do it too.

Many people have succumbed to that pressure and later wished they hadn’t. For example, the young man who went along with his buddies who were engaged in criminal activity because he wanted to appear cool and later got arrested along with them. Or, the young woman who was eager to get a boyfriend and have sex because that’s what all her friends were doing and she didn’t want to feel left out and she later got pregnant or got a sexually transmitted disease.

Let me encourage you to not be a follower. Don’t feel the need to go along with the crowd. Just because a lot of people are doing something does not mean that it is the right thing to do. You may not have the gift of leadership, but one thing all of us possess is the ability to think for ourselves. So, think for yourself. Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing. If you do not have a reason other than the fact that others are doing the same thing then you need to reconsider what you are doing.

God gave each of us a brain and the ability to think. Thinking for myself, led by the Holy Spirit of God, has saved me a lot of time, trouble, and consequences down through the years and it will do the same for you.