Read this featured blog post by Pastor Tony Rea


Pastor Tony Rea | April 27, 2020

I Can (series)


The Detroit Police Department hired me in January 1975, about a month after I turned 20 years old. In April of that year, I became a student police officer and entered the Detroit Police Academy. Standing in military formation on that first day of academy training, the entire class was given a rather lengthy briefing of all academy rules and regulations, the “dos and don’ts.” We were then presented with departmental policies and disciplinary procedures. Without going into great detail, all disciplinary action was administered using a demerit system. Minor demerits such as having an unpressed uniform, wearing scuffed shoes, or getting less than an average grade on a classroom test resulted in increased homework and writing assignments. Major demerits like being late, missing class, or being disrespectful in any way were a lot more serious and put your graduation chances in jeopardy. Receiving three major demerits during the 16-week academy training was automatic dismissal from the department; in other words, you were fired.


On Friday, July 25, 1975, the final day of my 1975 E Detroit Police Academy training class, I was standing in roll call during uniform inspection, and my supervisor spent a good deal of time looking me over. He was just about to pass and move on to the next person in line, when he looked back and called out a minor demerit for not having a clean shave. Since I had shaved that morning and knew the charge was not legitimate, I refused to acknowledge the demerit with a “Yes sir!” My actions, or lack thereof, resulted in the sergeant calling out a double minor demerit. My punishment was a 1000-word essay on the importance of being in proper uniform. As you might imagine, I was not happy.  


A few days later, at my graduation ceremony, I met up with my sergeant and asked him why he gave me the demerit knowing full well I had shaved that morning. Even though it’s been 45 years, I still remember his exact words like they were spoken to me yesterday. My sergeant said, “Early that morning, I was reading through your file and noticed you were the only member of the class who didn’t receive a single demerit during the academy training. I also noted your high academic score and distinguished expert qualification with a handgun.” And then my sergeant said, “I didn’t want you to hit the streets and start your police career thinking you were perfect. Thinking you’re perfect is the quickest way to get yourself killed.” 


I didn’t know it at the time, but what my observant academy instructor was attempting to do was teach me a little humility. I was blinded to it back then, but my sergeant was able to easily assess my undeniably arrogant and self-centered tendencies. I’d like to say I learned my lesson that day, and maybe to a lesser degree it did help somewhat. One thing is for sure, I never forgot it. How are you doing with this one—the whole humility thing?


From God’s perspective, there are very few matters more important than humility. I can tell you after years of serving the Lord, genuine humility rates really high on His list. Humility is one of those attributes God will work an entire lifetime to get across to you, and one way or another God is going to win that battle. Either you humble yourself or something else is going to humble you. And before you think that’s just another one of my personal opinions, check out what Jesus had to say in Matthew 23:12, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  


Truth is, one way or another, you’re getting humbled. And I think John the Baptist had a pretty good handle on this thing called humility when he said, “He (Jesus) must become greater, and I must become less” in John 3:30.  


As you reflect on the past month and a half, during the stay at home mandate and the interruption of our “normal” lives and routines, is God becoming greater, and are you becoming less? Instead of barely keeping your head above water, maintaining your sanity, and wishing everything was back to the way it was, has the Spirit of the Lord been able to penetrate your agenda, get your attention, and draw you closer to him?  


God longs for intimacy and connection with you, He loves you with an everlasting love, and at this very moment, the creator God is calling your name. Yes, your name!


Isaiah 43:1-3

…”Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord your God…


Psalm 61:1-2

Hear my cry, O God;

listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,

I call as my heart grows faint;

lead me to the rock that is higher than I.


Micah 6:8

He has shown you, oh man (woman), what is good.

      And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God.


James 4:13-15

Listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will (deo volente), we will live and do this or that.”