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Those Who Wait

2015 August 28

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Thirteenth Sunday of Pentecost
August 16, 2015

Sermon Link: Those Who Wait

Unlocking Potential

2015 August 26

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Twelfth Sunday of Pentecost
August 9, 2015

Sermon Link: Unlocking Potential

Lessons from the Lepers

2015 August 24

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Eleventh Sunday of Pentecost
August 2, 2015

Sermon Link: Lessons from the Lepers

Or Die Mad

2015 August 22

Bishop David EppsOnce upon a time I used to agonize over decisions I had to make. It wasn’t just that I was afraid to do the wrong thing, although that certainly played a part. It was also that I agonized over what people would think, how they would react, or if they would be displeased with me. In fact, in one church over 30 years ago, I was sometimes called “Slick” behind my back because I was so hard to pin down when it came to decisions and answers. Whatever that behavior is, it certainly is not leadership.

I think I have come a long way since that time. For one thing, I painfully learned that, in evading the responsibility of making decisions, I lost the respect of other leaders. I also discovered that some people cannot be pleased no matter what decision is made. And I learned that the only person losing sleep and worrying all night long was me. A trip to Tennessee helped begin the change.

Years ago, I was speaking to a friend and he told me about a decision he had made that would not be popular with a certain person. I asked, “Are you worried about his reaction?” His reply was, “He’ll either get over it or die mad. I’m moving on.” Sometimes the best practical wisdom comes from down-to- earth good old boys. “Horse Sense,” my dad called it. It’s true. People either get over being offended, disagreed with, out voted, and disappointed—or they die mad. They let a thing fester like an infected boil, dispensing ever-increasing misery, until they deal with it in a positive way or they carry their anger to the grave.

A part of my job involves making decisions. In fact, all people have decisions they must make. A wise person will gather knowledge, seek the advice of competent people, consider the risks versus the benefits, and, eventually, choose a path. Carly Fiorina, former CEO at Hewlett-Packard, stated in one of her books that a CEO must gather the best information, make the best decisions possible, and then stand by them.

Certainly not every decision will turn out to be the best path chosen but even a bad decision can be valuable in the lessons learned. A Fortune 500 CEO who started in the mail room of his company was asked, “How did you rise from the mail room to eventually become the CEO?” He said, “I learned to make good decisions.” He was then asked, “How did you learn to make good decisions?” His reply was, “By making bad decisions. And learning from them.”

So, for the most part, I try not to agonize over decisions after they are made. I don’t try to hurt anyone, cause any grief, or ignore wise counsel. I also try to make decisions that are for the greater good for an individual and/or the organization. I rarely intentionally make decisions with the purpose of benefiting personally.

No one calls me “Slick” these days. Apparently, some even think that I am too opinionated. But, then, you can’t please everybody. Some people are just bound and determined to be offended, get angry, and act out. But, don’t worry. Eventually, they’ll get over it – or die mad.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org

Facing Your Giants

2015 August 20
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Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Tenth Sunday of Pentecost
July 26, 2015

Sermon Link: Facing Your Giants

Not Counting Their Trespasses

2015 August 18
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Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Ninth Sunday of Pentecost
July 19, 2015

Sermon Link: Not Counting Their Trespasses

Dancing on the Railroad Tracks

2015 August 14
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Bishop David EppsSome time ago, I attended a wedding. The service was beautiful, the couple was charming. At the reception, the newlyweds shared their first dance together. The person standing next to me said, “Don’t they look so sweet? So much in love!” I replied, “Yes. They don’t even realize that they are dancing on the railroad tracks and, somewhere down the line, a train is coming. They don’t see the lights and they don’t hear the whistle blowing.” The person just looked at me as though I were the world’s biggest cynic. But I’m not. I am, however, a realist.

What I said was the truth. Every couple, who is getting married for the first time, really doesn’t know what’s coming. No amount of marriage preparation courses, no amount of pre-marital counseling will prepare them for the challenges ahead. Somewhere, sometime, trouble will hit them head on. That is a fact. The train is coming.

About half of all marriages end in divorce. Almost every single one had a “first dance” on the day of the wedding. None of them expected anything other than to grow old together. But all of them were dancing on the railroad tracks.

On the TV reality show, “Life Below Zero,” set in Alaska, one wife, after ten years of marriage, said, “I love this place. I love this life. I love my husband. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” That was in 2013. By the time 2015 rolled around, she was gone. She was off the show, out of the cabin, and away from her husband. What happened? The train hit them, whatever the train was. Their marriage, which had survived 10 years of subsistence living in Alaska, did not survive whatever happened that caused them to go apart.

The train hits everyone. It slams into every couple at some point. It may hit several times. One cannot prevent the train from coming. But the good news is, the train is survivable. Half of all marriages survive the train wrecks. Couples get mowed down by life and get up again together. Often they emerge stronger as a result of the crisis.

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Blanche Faulkner passed away at the age of 90. She is survived by her husband, John. He is 94. A few months ago, they celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary. Their story is a beautiful one of commitment, caring, persistence, and success. Except for the time spent by Mr. Faulkner in the Army during World War II and a few nights on a scout trip with his sons, they never spent a night apart. Last year, Mrs. Faulkner was hospitalized for several weeks. He was there, at her bedside, 24 hours a day, never leaving until he could take her home. People tried to get him to go home and rest. He politely declined and kept her company.

Couples, single people too, need to know that life will be hard at times. Not “can be,” but “will be.” We are always dancing on the tracks. Sometimes we can get out of the way; often we can avoid the crash. But not always. Sometimes, however hard we try, we still get hit. But down does not mean out and setbacks do not mean defeat. Getting hit need not result in being destroyed. Life is hard but life is good, too. What really defeats us is not the train. What really defeats us is that we lose the will to try, to survive, to prevail. Choosing to quit is what causes defeat.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org