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Three Questions for Wintley Phipps
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By Mary Maxson

In light of your call to pastoral ministry what is your definition of a godly character?
My definition of a godly character is a character that resembles, reflects, and reveals the character of God. Many people don’t know how to define what the character of God looks like. God gave me a tremendous perceptive insight. He armed me in a wonderful way. God said to me ‘Go back through the Word and study the Word of God, and whatever God asked me to be, He already is.’ And so He is—in perfection. He would never ask you to be what He is not.  So then I was able to go back through the Word of God and see in so many dimensions of God’s character that I have not looked at it through that prism. That is to recognize that Jesus came to the earth to vindicate and defend and reflect His Father’s character.
 
What character trait of God would you want to reflect in your own character?
There are 8 key dimensions that God says He wants us to have. That means He already has them. One of them is faith. The other is the power and ability to believe. God is the ultimate Dreamer. Only when He dreams, planets are born. When He dreams, stars twinkle in the sky. When He dreams, flowers come up out the ground, and you see His glory, and they blush in Technicolor. There are 8 keys dimensions that He clearly wants us to have. But they represent the character of perfection. There are two highest expressions of God’s character. One is kindness and the highest expression of God’s is love. The law of self-renouncing love is the law of the universe and so if it isn’t unhealthy to covet. I would covet the highest dimension of His character is love. Love is when… you can choose to be at your best when the other person is not at their best. Love is when…what you want is never important. What the other person needs and wants is paramount. That is the dimensional character of God’s character that I want to have.
 
Where do you find the greatest source of power in your life which grows and strengthens your character?
Probably it is the understanding that because of His character—sinner though I be—He allows me to have this electric unmistakable sense of His presence. I am so grateful because that is where my greatest strength comes from—in my ministry and in my music. I don’t want people to hear a good slogan or hear good notes. I want to be an ambassador of the presence of God. Because when you sense the presence of God, there is, of course, great peace and fulfillment. There is great strength in knowing that the God of the Universe is standing by your side. I would say that is where I get my greatest strength—living in His presence.

Mary Maxson is an associate pastor for discipleship and nurture at the Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church in Paradise, CA.  Wintley Phipps is pastor of the Palm Bay Church, FL