Dying 2 Live...!

Dying 2 Live...!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Respect Series 12: "The Anti-Factor"

Well, well, well...it looks as if we're at the onset of concluding another year. A year to be grateful for the ups and even the downs. A year to love more, live more, and serve God more faithfully. And of course, a year to ring in the culmination of many things. In this case: the ringing in of "The Respect Series" as an array of blog-posts.

But there's still one last factor to address; one last post to write. This is the post I knew I couldn't avoid: "The Anti-Factor." So if one should consider doing away with all the preconceived notions of respect in this world, does that mean one should go after a life of welcoming disrespect as the ultimate means to respect? Should you hate anyone who doesn't agree with your opinion or value your perspective? Should you seek to be at odds with the thug, wealthy, happily married, overwhelmingly talented, seemingly religious, most popular, extremely athletic, elderly, handicapped, etc?

Unfortunately, many hear questions like these and mistakenly answer, "YES!" Being a loner is their cup of tea and anything the world praises they're in opposition to. That's right, they're anti. They're anti-establishment, anti-success, anti-love, anti almost everything. Most are even anti-God. My heart goes out to these individuals deeply. And to my dismay, a lot of them are young, way too young to be spiteful with their life and the life of anyone else.

If you go into the Hot Topic retail store in a mall, you'll see many of them purchasing their anti-fashion full of pictures of death, skulls and bones. Some even label themselves as Gothic, identifying with the Goth Subculture which is based on sexually-explicit, grudge rock music mixed with horror.

Many feel hopeless, with no voice and are too welcoming to suicide, hate and even murder (Columbine & Red Lake High Schools and the Dawson College killings, just to name a few). Many video games, movies and science-fiction novels are influenced by this culture. As I submit this post, the numer one film in the world is a goth-related production: Twilight - a vampire tale of youngsters which in its first installation has grossed over $1 billion at the box office alone.

Okay, so what am I getting at? Many of these "youths" (dressed in their black leather with black boots and black makeup) just want to be loved, valued and appreciated. Underneath all that black stuff are gorgeous individuals, who are usually as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside (when given a chance to truly be heard). They want their voice heard and resent the fact that their voices are crowded out due to all the other voices the world so keenly respects. After all, their voice tends to be one of the ones MOST disrespected. But if society won't reach out to them, JESUS WILL! So let's come together as Christians and represent Jesus well by loving all, even the ones we may not fully understand and have difficulty respecting. At least let's give their hurting hearts a voice, and let them know that God is listening. He SO GREATLY loves them all, enough to die on their behalf.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And may WE ALL continue to grow in the area of respect...!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Respect Series 11: "The Sympathy Factor"

Whoa, poor _____! How will they be able to make it, after such a loss, or this situation? Many times, words like these are often muttered by sympathizers. These are the individuals who wish to respect or support you, based on your series of unfortunate events: the loss of a loved one, during the fight against a deadly disease, or some other major adversity faced.

But instead of respecting these individuals because one feels sorry for them, you can aid them in their need. Here are some examples:

For the elderly individual --- help them pay for their medicine or be that listening ear, providing hope and encouragement, to a lonely soul.

For the physically challenged/handicapped individual --- help them with medial services like getting dressed, play and eating. More importantly, try assisting those who are called to take care of these individuals.

For the individual who has just experienced a loss --- help them with chores around the home, babysitting children or finding new ways of moving on.

This list could go on and on for the: homeless, drug addict, individual with full blown AIDS, excon, someone presently incarcerated, ones in extreme poverty, the starving, the unemployed, the grossly uneducated, the single-parent, etc.

Instead of just respecting these individuals out of sympathy, how about you truly try getting to know them? Better yet, why don't you seek to love them and even learn to appreciate them? Sadly, many Christians could care less about many of these individuals! Just as long as me, my four and no more are okay, I'm fine and everything's just dandy. But many are physically dying all around you, and also spiritually dying as well. They have came to the belief that no one really cares, about them for that matter.

For some apparent reason, "the light bulb of care" doesn't seem to go off until it hits home. When YOU are the one going through the pain and crisis, suddenly it's a major crisis that needs immediate attention. When it's your family member dying or your spouse being wrapped with depression, all of the sudden it's a matter of life and death and everyone around you, in your circle of influence and your city need to get on board. Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31 makes it clear that this type of attitude should extend so far beyond your family, friends and relatives. But "a respectful heart of sympathy" should extend to others you encounter in one form or another.

Remember, selfishness and sympathy usually never go together!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Respect Series 10: "The Talent Factor"

I am by no means "a television buff" but am aware of some of the programs out there, from commercials coming on in the middle of sporting games I view. There are three shows I continue to see advertised: America's Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars and The X Factor. I have never actually seen any of these shows, but one thing is certain. There is a high stakes on viewing talent. Whether someone is singing, dancing or a combination of the two, we want to see that talent displayed.

I've already mentioned my fascination for sports. But why such a fascination with balls, fields, hoops, tracks, rackets, bats, etc? Well, it's not about any of those things as much as it's about the astounding talent. Numerous others like myself want to see spectacular talent at least every weekend. That's why billions are spent annually on sports with people filling stadiums, purchasing jerseys or tailgating.

The better the talent, the better the chances are for a seemingly well off life. See, most people overwhelmingly LOVE the quintessential star. A rising-professional athlete is mainly known as one with a life filled with good living. Money galore, praise abundant and MAJOR RESPECT are the norm for most top notch athletes. But why? Why is an athlete so widely respected? It's not like they're all saving lives, repetitively ministering hope or revolutionizing this world for God's glory. They're just simply PLAYING a sport. The same goes for an actor or artist; they're not doing anything super special as it relates to the grand scope of things in the world.

Instead most teachers, firefighters, policemen and pastors wish they could be respected with at least half of the respect of top-tier athletes and actors. Many would feel so blessed to gain just some of that recognition. But they as well as ourselves should realize that living for the accolades of people is not a healthy goal. People are fleeting and fickled; they love you today and turn their backs on you tomorrow. If you don't believe me, just ask the star athlete or actor who has regressed in their performance or production. Suddenly, their fans agree in unison, "Next, c'mon let's do away with them and look for the next best thing coming."

Even Jesus can assist us in identifying with that disappointing feeling. He was gloriously praised on Thursday and painfully crucified on Friday. For those who may have outstanding talent, or their opposite counterparts who are much less talented, to put it kindly. Know that you are blessed, special and can rest in the talent and power of Jesus. He wants to work in you and through you, where He gets ALL the glory. God doesn't just only want the best ability but total availability. EFFORT matters with Him much more than just talented results. Contemporary Christian singer Rachael Lampa said it best in one of her old hits: "I AM BLESSED... Oh Lord, for all the worse and all the best, I am blessed!"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Respect Series 9: "The Fashion Factor"

Bill at time of checkout: $30 for a bra, $300 for a pair of shoes, $3,000 for a bracelet, and $30,000 for an evening dress with matching shawl laced with 1/2 cut diamonds. It seems ridiculous, doesn't it? Nearly $35,000 spent on 1 outfit to be used for only 1 evening. Again, it seems ridiculous, doesn't it? How about I add the fact that the purchaser has a salary of $75,000, is in debt from student loans, have a mortgage payment of $2,500, and car payment of $500. Is it still ridiculous? How about I say the purchase is for their wedding day on tomorrow. Suddenly, the purchase is now seemingly justified...and the check is comfortably written. Wow!

Let's try this on for size. If I say, "An elegant texture with refined faux, touch of cowhide laces and shiek but chic looping brooch." Who would have known that I was referring to a designer belt. I can tell the truth, I wouldn't have even known. Well, what about when we hear names like Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Prada, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Vera Wang, Salvatore Ferragamo, and MIU MIU? To be frankly honest, I would nearly be just as lost as I was with the belt scenario. But much of the nation in general would know about all of those names in some manner or another. And the fashion industry, media circuits, or luxury community would make sure you're privvy to many of those names and more. The fashion industry has their own language that the masses, surprisingly, understand. Not only do they understand this language, but they validate so many others by it.

I can remember growing up in grade school and hearing children taunt one another over their fashion. "Whoa, your shoes are bobos...Those aren't Nikes, they're Mike's!" or "Girl, who did your makeup? It's tore up from the floor up!" Children were so cruel in those days, targeting many times the fashion of their peers. Many believe, today's children are even worst! So, if I didn't want to get made fun of, I had to beg my parents, sneak designer clothes from my older siblings or try to work a minimum wage job at a young age. Tough times I tell you, tough times! But why? Why was there such an elite significance placed on designer clothes?

Actually, the significance wasn't placed on the clothes as much as it was placed on the name on the clothes. Then, why was the name important? Well, the name really wasn't important either. For all we know, some of those individuals could have been killers, bigots, thieves, snobs, etc. Eventually, what I learned over time was that the name wasn't the significant or important thing. The primary focus was on the name's affluence level. People usually identified the brands with affluence. Even if you weren't rich, at least, you could feel like you were. Better yet, you would even get respected like the rich get respected, seemingly. Herein lies a problem.

Value and respect, in this essence, is based on something fleeting, something material, someone mainly given worth due to their income or inheritance---someone RICH. For many of us, we're no longer in grade school. Thus, we shouldn't be acting like children. Let's grow up! Let's stop seeking to identify with a cultural norm that only respects you for your social class or income level. Or, in this case, your fashion... and let's look to be respected for who we are, not so much what we have or where we seem to stand in society.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Respect Series 8: "The Civil/Patriot Factor"

For the common individual, respect is often given to those we are most proud of. This can range from our great grandparents all the way down to our children. But this type of respect is usually fleeting and fickled. The moment they tick you off, or you find out about something shamefully detrimental in their past, all of that admiration suddenly goes out the window. On the contrary, there are certain individuals we give a much longer lasting since of dignity to. Interestingly, their not that much different from the aforementioned individuals, like great grandparents and children. Many of these individuals have seemingly earned respect on an ongoing basis, no matter what! They will never lose it all, regardless of what they do. Also, this is usually based on one event or concept. But the commitment from that event or concept goes on for nearly a lifetime.

See, that's exactly it --- the COMMITMENT!

This is why we can continually give honor to those who fought in the 'Civil Rights Movement.' Their life before or even after that movement could be anything other than honorable and civic. But we don't even begin to attempt to discredit them (or their legacy) for their mishaps and failures. And neither should we!

Likewise, similar to notable civic leaders, patriots are given a pass for their unjust involvment in countless wars and the carrying out of unethical or unpopular policy. Except for the unjust disdain for the Veitnam War which was not highly appropriate, those men shouldn't have taken the brunt of the blame. Also, many argue that disdain was not so much targeted toward the Vets but rather the American government, once everything was said and done. Anyway, the soldiers or individuals laying their lives down for our nation are STILL greatly respected.

So what's the point I'm getting at? Well, the point is this: individuals involved in ministry or the work of the Gospel rarely ever get a justifiable pass, even when needed. They are respected within the perimeters of the church only, and that varies from local church to local church. Rarely are they ever respected out of it, once they fall. And condemningly, the world kicks them hard while they're down on a continual basis. Unfortunately, nowadays, so does the church! Now I'm not only talking about leaders, pastors or bishops. I'm referring to you and I as well. Sadly, when Christians fail, and we all do daily in some sort of way, we are the bud of every joke. We are disrepected on all accounts. You know the popular word we tend to be known by --- HYPOCRITS!

My prayer is that this unbelieving world would start to, at least, see Christians for who they are as individuals. That's right, we are still INDIVIDUALS. We are individuals who are called to make a difference in this world for God's glory, not necessarily to be perfect individuals who are super-faultless. Yes, Christians ought to seek to do and be better. But we also are to let others know we're strongly seeking to do that and not individuals who always get it right all the time, or the first time around for that matter. We should still be given, the same bit of respect civil leaders and patriots are given for our continued sacrifice, just like theirs. And let's be about lifting up others while their down, instead of kicking them hard, permanently wounding our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Friday, October 7, 2011

5 After 7

Believe it or not, 'The Respect Series' is not over. Yes, it was supposed to end at the 7th factor---"The Holy Factor." But it's definitely not over! To your surprise and mine, the series continues with, not 1 but, 5 more posts. Therefore, it looks as if we'll be communicating about this, in detail, until the end of the year --- 2011. The posts are as follows:

* The Civil/Patriot Factor

* The Fashion Factor

* The Talent Factor

* The Sympathy Factor

* The Anti-Factor

Of course, this will make 12 factors in total instead of the perceived 7. Twelve is not necessarily a bad number. After all, these are the amount of disciples Jesus truly chose. Also, this is the number of months in a full year. And so on and so forth. So twelve does work pretty well. If I decide to go pass twelve, "Someone please stop me!" Enough already; by now, you all should begin to understand where your respect should and should not lie. It definitely shouldn't lie in many of the things we so overwhelmingly over-value. God, and God alone is due our ultimate respect --- fear, devotion, honor, passion, hope, idolization, and love.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Respect Series 7: "The Holy Factor"

Now, this may rub some Christians the wrong way. If you can, focus on the point of the message and hear God's heart within the matter. Instead of looking at me or yourself, let us both seek to clearly look at and listen to God. With that said and with no further ado, God wants holiness to come forth through our lives. But he wants HIS VERSION of holiness to come forth and not our own. In Leviticus 20:26 and I Peter 1:16 God desires for us to be holy, EVEN AS He is holy.

Holiness is based upon His standard and on His terms. And we CANNOT meet His standard of holiness apart from Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for our sins. Therefore, we should STOP trying to become something we already are.

You're not trying to become holy, you're already holy..., so just be yourself---the real you that is, according to I Corinthians 5:17. Easier said than done, hummm! Why?

Because many people don't know who the real them really is. How does it look? How does it act? What does it like? Many Christians are trying to become Godly right now, when they never became Godly in the first place. They never died for anyone's sins, not even their own. Their good deeds of sacrifice and service don't impress God one bit---the monk, priest, archbishop, pastor, deacon, prayer warrior, nun, tither, missionary, or even simple Christian.

Some people are religious extremists and will blow themselves up, killing innocent people, for their holiness. Others will pray for an hour 3x a day and fast 5 days a week for theirs. Also, others will bathe in sacred rivers, worship trees, or become devoted to a cult or masonic order for theirs.

Okay, what am I really getting at? It's this, we need God in order to live for God---in order to be holy. IT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH IN AND OF YOURSELF! In order to meet His lofty standard of PERFECTION. In order to truly give Him what He desires from us. See, God is love. I Corinthians 13 makes it pretty clear that, even if we do Godly things, without it being done in HIS DEFINITION of love we're wasting our time. Without God is doing things without His direction and you heeding to His leading through loving obedience. This obedience thing is key. The Bible says, that to God, ...obedience is better than sacrifice... (I Samuel 15:22). Seek to obey what He's telling YOU to do, not so much what every other Christian is doing, even if it's Godly. For example, Hebrews 11 reveals many Christians who God honored for their faith. And each one of them were approved for their specific obedience to what God called THEM to do. None of them followed God quite the same---one may have built an ark in order to save mankind, while another led a nation out of bondage into a promised land. The list goes on and on.

Being overly religious for Godly respect is a waste of time. Those who you impress with "ohs" and "ahs" will rob you of the major and eternal heavenly reward God has for you (Matthew 6). The holiness that God wants to respect is your simple obedience to Him.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Respect Series 6: "The Genius Factor"

A genius is, basically, known as someone with high intellectual ability. Sometimes, they're often referred to as nerds, geeks, or individuals with top tier IQs. Another labeling for this word is denoting someone as being "smart." This is a bit misleading because smarts are based upon knowledge, and most knowledge has to be learned. In others words, smarts are mainly taught and not automatic. For example, if I begin teaching one individual mathematics (along with test-taking skills) at the age of 3 and another at the age 7, when it comes to a second-grade math exam, which individual do you think will perform better? If they are both age 7 at the present time, the individual who gained knowledge much earlier would perform better and be deemed gifted or smart. The underlying notion associated with smarts or geniusness is them being in high demand. Many corporations want to have someone with genius ability making major decisions for their company. Many educational institutions of higher learning (Princeton, Standford, Harvard, M.I.T, and Yale) prefer having at least a few genius professors on their faculty. The list can go on and on. Like what was stated earlier, they're in demand!

Therefore, many parents want for their children to reach a genius level of intellect, or close to it. They'll pressure their children to study relentlessly, anything less than all "A"s is unacceptable. They'll pressure their children to have no social life, spending much of their time researching and reading. They'll pushed their chidlren to get into the leading colleges matriculating through some of the most difficult majors (astrophysics, histology, and nanotechnology). Once everything is said and done, the child is depleted from seeking to live up to the lofty expectations.

See, the main problem lies in the fact that we believe, "the more intellectual knowledge you possess, the better off in life you'll be." In other words, you'll reach that apex of genius-level respect and be in high demand. But smart people can do awfully dumb things! There is a distinct difference between book knowledge and Godly wisdom. Often, superior book knowledge is used to impress others with information that few people understand. Jesus didn't mainly advocate book knowledge but rather Godly wisdom. Scriptures like I Corinthians 1:19, 27, I Corinthians 3:18-23, and Romans 1:22 reiterate this point. Some of the apostles were even known as unlearned men or uneducated men, and God used them mightily. So much to the point that it baffled the minds of those who were schooled all their lives, they knew that these men had been with Jesus. But true wisdom comes ONLY from God (Proverbs 2:6). In addition, that very wisdom is pure and peaceful, not arrogant, pompous, and seeking to impress others (James 3:17).

The focus I'm getting at is not to denounce learning knowledge, rather it is not to seek knowledge as an avenue for respect. It is not to defined your significance by how much complicated information you may know. None of these things bring about Godly wisdom. And none of these things are the key source of respect. They are just there to make one seem over-impressive and verbally confusing. Gain knowledge, but more importantly seek out Godly wisdom!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Respect Series 5: "The Family Factor"

Over and over, people want to be esteemed in some sort of manner. They eventually want to gain high praise and elite respect. Some individuals desire to get that respect from their appearance. Others seek for it to come from their monetary status or possessions. While even others feel it is accomplished through their own efforts and abilities in an activity (maybe athletic)or the educational sphere (maybe intellectual invention or discovery). But there are those unique individuals who want it to be AUTOMATIC. They don't really want to have to do too much of anything for it. Actually, to do just nothing would fit extremely well into their plans. You know, to have the wonders of life handed to them on a silver platter. If you're having difficulty understanding what I'm getting at, try these names on for size. The Rockefellers, The Vanderbilts, The Hiltons, The Trumps, The Waltons, The Woodruffs, The Mellons, etc. When we hear names like these, money comes to mind. Not just lots and lots of money, but OLD MONEY. Money that's been around through generations upon generations, from great grandfather to present day child.

And many of the kids that's from this type of 'unearned wealth' feel entitled to respect. Not for their own sakes, but for their family's namesake. For example, Paris Hilton is adored or Kim Kardashian is beloved, not just for their beauty but, for their ultra-wealthy family connections. Really though, should we respect these individuals just for the family they belong to? Even if most of them are spoiled brats, arrogant snobs, or superficial jerks, should we still respect them highly, anyway? Unfortunately, many believe we still should. Many are convinced in their thinking that monetary power and influence trumps everything else.

Well, there are those who may not have come from families with this grand-level of cash-influence. But that doesn't mean they are not still stuck in this rationale of thinking when it comes to respect. Numerous individuals may simply belong to a prestigious pastoral family, family of doctors, family of lawyers, or just a well-known family in the community. These children can still carry on in the same manner of many of the ultra-wealthy, spoiled brats. Or, maybe it's not the children but it's their parents. Some parents could be pushing their children so hard to become famous or ridiculously wealthy that they pressure them to live up to the standards of the ultra-wealthy's spoiled brats, not so much in action, but in attitude. Where kids go around thinking they're the greastest thing walking and everyone else in beneath them. Better yet, those individuals should be serving and catering to their "super-fabolousness."

Regardless of the cause, children or parents, this is a completely flawed way to garner respect. What happens when all the money is eventually squandered or loss? What happens when the family name is no longer sufficient for respect and one is left to face the real world on its terms? Now what? Many times, people spend their entire lives building a name for themselves, even dedicating generations to it. And in an instant flash, one single family member runs their name through the mud, all over the very thing that got the family famous, money. One child feels that they should be receiving more money than the other child, and so on and so forth. Thus, the fight breaks out, and the lawyers are summoned. Therefore, it is easy to see, this is an unwise foundation for your family's significance or respect. How about your family being known for loving people who are in need? Or, they choose to be key in shaping the world for the greater good and, ultimately, GOD'S GLORY! If they were honest and had to admit it, even the children of the ultra-wealthy would respect those individuals much more than they do their own parents. And in many circles, much more than they their own selves.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Respect Series 4: "The Status Factor"

Most people desire distinguished titles---doctor so and so, vice president of blank, supervisor whoever, director of organization XYZ. Goodness, individuals will go through countless hours of schooling, train rigorously, and deprived themselves of a certain standard of living all in hopes of getting to a select position. Individuals will manipulate others, mistreat people, suck up to leadership, and even sleep around just to gain an upper level status. If that wasn't enough, this has also became the environment of many churches. Some church goers are in sole allegience to their clique. There are those who seek to look as pretty as the pastor's wife and only allow other very attractive people into their circle. Then, the ones closes to the pastor feel more important than the ones not quite as close. The wealthy and educated hang out together like they're in a country club setting, and the poor and depressed get together in their small groups in order to bad mouth the arrogant wealthy and educated. It's NOT hard to notice how ridiculous all of this is!

Some facets of Christian leadership will become highly offended if you don't call them bishop, pastor, reverend, prophet, or apostle so and so. Or, maybe it's their assistants that will carry more of the offence. But Jesus had no problem being referred to as the Son of Man---which denoted Him as an individual without any apparent title. Furthermore, in the Bible, Jesus spoke negatively about religious leaders always needing to be addressed by their titles.

"Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called 'Rabbi'..." (Matthew 23:5-7) NLT

Many may say, "Hey, that's not me, I don't have a big time title." Okay! But that still doesn't mean you're not trying to gain much respect from your status. Maybe it's how you seek to dress, with fancy clothes and all---your shoes, your watch, etc. are pretty expensive. Or, it could be what your drive, when you pull up in your car, the distinguished label on the front of it speaks highly of you. Yet, it could even be walking into an event or restaurant with that extremely attractive man or woman on your arm. I got it...maybe it's your zip code status. You live in an outstanding school district, in a top tier city, where prices range from $350,000 and up. None of these things should be used to define your status because they can all EASILY CHANGE. Neither should one look to these things for respect. You're more than some over exaggerated title, expensive fashion, a fancy car, a part of an attractive couple, or belonging to a top tier zip code. You're an individual GREATLY LOVED by the Almighty God. Always seek to remember that and leave the Joneses to being the Joneses. And know that you're a special part of something, better yet someone, that's so much greater than any perceived status.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Respect Series 3: "The Money Factor"

All I is do is win win win, no matter what. Got money on my mind, I can never get enough. And everytime I step up in the building, everybody's hands go up! (And they stay there, and they say yeah! 2X) Cause all I do is win win win. And if you coming in, put your hands in the air, make them stay there.

By now most people would be aware that the lyrics wrote above are the chorus to one of the number one songs in the world. It's called 'All I do is Win' and is produced by DJ Khaled, an ex-radio jockey now famed rapper/producer from Miami, FL. The problem with the overrated lyrics is that in them large sums of money = winning. On the contrary, it's actually not. So many people seem to believe that, if one has a lot of cash, they can't lose. All problems will go away and life will be a walk in the park. Then explain to me this. Why are some of the wealthiest people on the planet so miserable? Why are so many of them still searching for true peace, hope, love, etc? Why do so many of them end up despising the wealth, become hook on drugs, drink huge amounts of alcohol in order to drown away their sorrows and even, at times, commit suicide.

The answer is: because they're not really winning. Many of them just don't want us to know how badly they're losing in life. But what's even more alarming is the great respect given to the wealthy. Even those who may know aren't winning. It's like we're blindsided to the fact and realization of the ridiculous amounts of money No matter how much money one has, there's just certain things money can't do. See, money has limitations. What about the person dying of a tragic disease? How about the individual who lost the family over money? Or the person who feels horrible emotionally, even with loads of cash. Again, the money has limitations. For all it can do, there's much it can't do. So the next time you see or meet an individual with tons of money don't automatically assuming they're winning. And don't give them all of your undying respect. How about this: try getting to know them for who they are, and not so much what they have. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Respect Series 2: "The Gorgeous Factor"

Merriam-Webster has defined gorgeous as being beautiful; very attractive. So many people want to be viewed this way, and would do nearly anything to accomplish that feat. You know, many will starve themselves to death until they're only weighing 90lbs. Others would advocate extreme plastic surgery methods, cutting into their nose, sucking tissue away from their stomach, or injecting fluid into their lips and around their eyes. What's even more disturbing, most would spare no expense at doing it. Furthermore, individuals would run multiple miles a day, invest in every diet plan imaginable, and slave over weights and step aerobics in a gym all for beautiful results. It's not that they're doing these things for health reasons, the health aspects are some of the lasts things on their minds and, for many, it's all about the beauty.

It's all about other superficial people showing I value you, not for who you are but, for how you look. See, this becomes a major problem when too much value is placed on being gorgeous. I don't need to tell you all the people who have seen themselves as worthless because of their less-than-stellar appearance. Some have even ended their lives over it! Why? This is so tragic and totally unnecessary. Unfortunately, this is how our world is, and it's not improving anytime soon. For many, image is everything. It is how they validate their shallow existence. It is how they define their perceived significance. It's even how they garner mad respect. Their picture will be posted on a magazine cover, people will try to worship them, and they'll gain an uncanny level of massive fame. I ask again, "Why?" What's so key about the superficial? Why it is so vital? Because, to be painfully honest, it's not!

Over time, looks will change. Muscles that should be stout and strong will start to sag and turn into fat. Glowing radiant beauty will begin to turn into wretched wrinkles. You just don't stay young forever! Moreover, this is not one of the greatest ways to garner TRUE respect. When I see a crippled child, an elderly woman, or a baby with down's syndrome, one thing is clear. THEY ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL! To add to that, so are the people who care for them, and love them regardless of their physical conditions. I can speak from this even from personal experience. This is not just something I 've seen or heard, this is something I know all too well. Many of us may be asleep to this issue, but let's wake up and find that true respect has NOTHING to do with how one physically looks. It's all about who they are on the INSIDE!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Respect Series 1: "The Gangster Factor"

We embark on the Respect Series by addressing the Gangster, which is known as a wannabe thug, a tough guy/girl, a member of a gang or organized crime unit. So many negative aspects are centered around this word, but it is a word that seemingly vibes for respect. See, if you act gangster or people around you think you're one, they'll be afraid of you. And most individuals respect those they fear. The bully implements this philosophy, sometimes the angry military brat, and company supervisor as well. Some individuals, from low-socioeconomic conditions, feel that this is the primary way of keeping mean people from physically hurting them. The old aged sentiment goes, "If you can't beat them, then join them." Surprisingly, an array of psychological studies have revealed that these are some of the most fearful individuals on the planet. Their identity is found in being on the attack because they're so afraid to be on the defense. When numerous individuals stand up to them, they become baffled on how to react to the unexpected defensive side of the situation. What's more, for Christians, this is the appeal the devil provides. And many Christians buy into it. This is one reason why some Christian youths wear their pants below their bottoms, hold a mean demeanor, and rebel against authority. Being HARD is deemed as being HIP! Again, this is the appeal the devil provides.

I Peter 5:8 denotes the devil as being like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The thing about a roaring lion is that the older and weakly the lion becomes, the more and louder it roars. At this age, the lion really doesn't want a confronting battle to the death, just for one to flee in fear from the intimidating roar. The bible also talks about how demons tremble at the name of Jesus. An all out tedious war is the last thing they want. This is why the fear tactic of intimidation is so effective for people unaware of these conditions. But as Christians, we should let the enemy know that we're ready for an all out battle. We need to put our dukes up and swing away at everything he throws at us. Ephesians 6 talks about our armory, sword, and shield of faith. Also, II Corinthians 10:4-6 tells us how we should casts down evil thoughts.

But the main thing the devil throws at us is an attack on our identity. Each and every single attack on Jesus in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 was an indentity attack. When we know who we are in God, the devil is terrified. Thus, instead of acting gangster, we can operate loving. Instead of being intimidating, we can be meek and humble. Instead of figthing our own battles, we can realize more and more that the battle truly does belong to the Lord---especially our own personal battles. We shouldn't be so much like this world but should take after our father---our Heavenly Father that is. We're respected not for our aggression toward other people, but for our freedom in God. Jesus was taunted on the cross, beat, and rejected, but He's NOW the most respected individual to have ever walked this planet. Remind yourself; He has the final say! Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10 indicates that EVERY knee will bow and tongue confess, "Jesus is Lord to the glory of God." So seek to gain your respect from God and not merely people. And remember Romans 12:21, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with GOOD!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Upcoming "RESPECT"...

Soon, we will be venturing on throughout the next few months on a new upcoming series. The series will be denoted as "The Respect Series". This will address 7 elements of a topic that is key to the lives of almost every single individual on the planet. Some aspects may seem painful wherein others may be wrote off as being trivial or simply filled with drama. Regardless, these issues are here to stay and what God has done is given us the immense capability to deal with them in a manner that's pleasing to HIM as well as life-transforming for others we face. Everyone in some form or another is looking to be respected. They're looking to be appreciated. They're looking to be recognized and valued in, at least, some small way. It could be on the job, in the home, even in the church, or just generally in life. Christians as well as non-Christians are in desperate need of it. And, there is nothing wrong with giving it. As a matter of fact, most problems in life have some element of disrespect centered around them. Moreover, God has never supported rudeness or disrespect being a rule of thumb for mankind toward one another. But, we all know that He is fixed on the attitude of LOVE being the dominating factor over individual relationships with one another according to what HE considers as the GREATEST COMMANDMENT. So, venture on with me and let's explore this issue of respect or the lack thereof.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


When one thinks of the word "HELL" an abundance of views come to mind. Is there actually a place where torment is eternal and pleasure is forsaken? Is there really a devil who leads a host of demon followers? Or, is all this just make-believe? Many individuals would have us believe that any suffering on this earth is equivalent to @#!*% . Many just write off the word as an angry slur or the description of an 103 degree day in a desert oasis. Regardless of what one thinks or seeks for in their own philosophy of the after life, a @#!*% actually does exist. This is no surprise just like it's no new thing to know that a sky exist or the obvious existence of an ocean.

Just because one can try to explain away a specific notion has nothing to do with the existence or lack thereof of the notion. We can't fully understand why the moon is round and the seas are blue but we know that they are. We can't fully explain why women age faster than men and men die quicker than women but we know that they do. We don't necessarily know why the wind blows and the heart pumps at the rate they do but it still continues to happen this way in life. So, just because we don't know fully why @#!*% is the way it is and people who don't surrender to God go there that still doesn't stop it from happening.

Instead of trying to figure everything out we should just live life and realize that many concepts were in function way before we were---including @#!*% . If God has prescribed a plan for avoiding an eternity in @#!*% we should be apt to heed that plan. Better yet, we should be eager to assist others in heeding the plan as well---our family, friends, coworkers, etc. Who today can you assist in heeding God's plan in escaping @#!*% ? You don't need to give them a fire and brimstone sermon but you can live a life before them that makes them curiously desire what you have---that love, joy, and peace!

Monday, May 16, 2011


I was graced with the opportunity of writing a portion of a new curriculum series and would like for you to experience a small piece of that portion...ENJOY!

Often times we admire so many people who excel in life or those accomplished in fulfilling lofty pursuits. You know; we would love to be the next Bill Gates with loads of cash. Or, the next Oprah Winfrey with a tantalizing ability to influence the social climate of our day. Better yet, how about the next Barack Obama with the skillset to break down political barriers with articulate proclamations of change and justice? More important than those 3, a greater example to follow is Jesus and Biblical influencers who impacted the world for God's glory. However, many of us are too comfortable with it being someone else's time to shine. We may see it as a longshot to be able to walk into our destiny. Why?

But, what about you and your shot? What about you and your destiny? What about you and your time? A famous phrase over the years has been, "There's more to life than just watching other people live it!" This speaks volumes on some of our views in fulfilling our dreams. The wonderful thing is that God is no respector of persons (Acts 10:34-35). He doesn't show partiality in choosing one individual to succeed over another (Romans 2:11). It's all a matter of faith, expectation, willingness, obedience, and perspective. One has to truly BELIEVE and RECEIVE from God everything He is willing to give. Instead of putting all of your dreams on hold or off to another day, you should realize that today could be your B-E-S-T day and really prove that "IT'S YOUR TIME!"

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Over the past decade we have experienced numerous tragedies within our world. The 9/11 attacks, the Haiti earthquake, and the U.S. housing recession just to name a few. But, recently Japan has just experienced a massive disaster in the form of an earthquake and nuclear explosion. Unfortunately, many lives were lost in this predicament and the area probably will never be the same again. Instead of one holding their head down low and being depressed at life, one should realize more often that this world is not our home. For the Christian, there is an eternity planned in a much better place---HEAVEN!

What's more tragic than the lives lost over the past decade are the lives that are continually lost over eternity. Many people may be at odds with salvation and religious rhetoric concerning the afterlife, but it definitely shouldn't be a subject that individuals are comfortable in playing a guessing game with. Regardless of one's opinion, everybody still dies and most things in life still have some type of explanation. There are reasons for why things are the way they are. Your heart pumps, nose smells, trees bloom, fish swim, and birds fly all for a purpose. It wouldn't be far-fetched to believe that, just like this world has a purpose, so does the world after life have a purpose. Get real with God and search out in detail this whole business about the afterlife. I DARE YOU...! You just might be surprised at what you find out---the facts and not the fiction.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Ear-full

Well, last week was one of the roughest weeks I had in a long time. First, I started off with a stomach virus from something I ate. That virus lasted about 2 days. Next, I was victim to the flu. Following that, I had a lingering fever with a touch of Laryngitis (a severly sore throat). And just when I thought everything was over, I was hit with an ear infection. The ear infection was so bad that it kept me up for almost 3 days. By the way, it's still lingering even as I write this blog post. But it is quickly fading as of late. So I had to search out what went wrong so horribly that I had to endure a week as severe as this one. The answer was discomforting. I was told that this was normal, especially for children. Not only that, the earache probably was the cultprit that started everything else into motion. And trying to wrongly treat it may have led to the other ills. The solution was mainly simple rest, that's all---REST. Earaches and ear infections (especially to the middle ear--where the eardrum is located) can cause the eardrum to deteriorate from something as simple as the flu and grow back healthy after the old and swollen eardrum (from excessive mucus) is fused out through eardrop medication, antibiotics, and other treatments---such as simple rest. Also, I learned that stress, diet, and a lack of temperture control to the environment could add to these ailments.

What's more interesting is the fact that God puts so much emphasis on the ear. Matthew 11:15, Revelation 2:7, and Revelation 3:22 all place strong focus on those who have an ear should hear what the Spirit is saying. I finally get it..."God was wanting for me to slow down and simply rest." He was pretty clear about it. He also wanted me to begin paying even more attention to Him on a continual basis---something I thought that I was already doing enough of. If anything got my attention this week, that certainly did. But, enough about me,..."What about you?" What has God allowed in your life as an ATTENTION GETTER? My advice would be to start noticing Him even more and listening to His direction. It's NEVER too late!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Finally, Saying Something...!

People argue that God has given you 2 ears and only 1 mouth so you're suppose to listen twice as much as you speak. But, Christians should speak when they truly have something pertinent to say that can save a life, change a heart, or renew a mind.

"WISE people speak because they have something to say; FOOLS speak because they have to say something...!" There's a distinct difference.

I have been running my mouth for as long as I could remember. I come from a family of talkers, so I got it honest. I've often heard this statement from many editorial platforms:

"Everyone has a right to speak, but not everyone has a right to be heard."

I desire to definitely be one saying something WORTH hearing. I have sought this stance over the years and gained somewhat of a reputation as an individual with something to say, especially when it comes to Godly matters. Fortunately, I've had a good track record within this area of teaching. Evidently, God has graced me with a voice not merely for melodious song but for Biblical instruction. More importantly, I'm just a mouthpiece for God's glory and you can be one too. Just allow God to touch your heart in an undeniable way and get across to others how that simple touch has transformed your life for the better.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Apple Syndrome

Everyone is apple crazy nowadays. I'm not referring to the delicious acidic red fruit with a white core but, I'm speakin about the Apple, Inc. fortune 500 corporation run by Steve Jobs. Apple is marketing designer of Macintosh computers, itunes, the iPod, the iPhone, and newly created iPads 1 & 2. The company is becoming so popular that they had to create 300 retail stores and counting just in order to keep up with the demand for their products. People are overly-in-love with what they're selling and take off of work as well as skip school in order to wait in long lines placing them in the position of having first dibs on Apple's products as soon as they are launched.

Writing about this ordeal won't give you the full feelings of hysteria while watching this take place. It's similar to Black Friday or December 26 if you know what I mean. On the contrary, when someone gets saved or there's an opportunity to attend a missions outreach event, much of that same hysteria is vitally lacking. The excitement is lagging and the expectation is fleeting. Sometimes, it comes off as stale and redundant. You know, the same old song and dance. Choir or praise team sings songs, preacher shouts or gives a 3-points sermon, and someone may or may not get saved within the experience. Just make sure it's brief so you can go and watch the game or stuff your face with food.

Wow! Hopefully, that's not your Sunday experiences. If so, psalms 100 should be a chapter you meditate on this week. God wants you to be excited about serving Him. Actually, when you gain the opportunity to worship God individually or in a group setting, you should consider operating just like the Apple crazies. Use the 'Apple Syndrome' for God's purposes and you'll find your relationship with Him growing fresher and more alive with each new coming day. You'll be ever grateful you did!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Robin's Photogenic Expression

I just had the delightful privilege of being shot by Robin Ewing. No, there were no bullets involved, this was a photoshoot. By far, this was my best photography experience to date. For a guy who doesn't really consider himself as being photogenic, Robin brought a lot out of me. She has a mastery skill-level with working with outdoor lighting, fashion, location, backgrounds, textiles, and textures.

More importantly, Robin loves Jesus and is a born again Christian! She is a 40's admirer and caters toward unique antigue looks of the past but with a modern twist. She is caught up in the realization that beauty can be found in anything, anywhere. God has revealed so much to her over the years about the importance of seeing life through His eyes and not just hers. She's not a photographer on the side but this is one of her primary passions. If you're in or near the city of Atlanta and need a phenomenal photographer, who'll make you feel like family, Robin is the one.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Well, today is one day before VALENTINE'S DAY...! This is a time where couples go all out for each other with expensive gifts, enormous amounts of chocolate, dozens of flowers, and other heartfelt thoughts of love. This is a customary tradition in the U.S. and has somewhat of a following around the world. But, just like any other tradition day of celebration in the states, it is over-commercialized.

Businesses salivate at the opportunity to make loads of money on this day. Therefore, the love will come at an abundant cost. A cost many people really can't afford to pay. But, this is not the primary issue surrounding Valentine's Day.

There's a larger problem that is plaguing society concerning this day---the drastic need for a validating relationship. Many people will run to online dating sites, speed dating rituals, or bars/clubs seeking someone to help them not be alone on this day. It doesn't matter so much that the individual truly loves them or that they're someone God has approved of. The person just wants to have someone, anyone to show them they are loved. Worse off, if they can't find someone that will validate them in a relationship by that day they'll be depressed all day long, even for weeks at a time.

I have a question, "When did we start becoming lesser of an individual because we're not married, in a superficial relationship on Feb. 14, or dating somebody?"

The answer is quite simple, "Never...We didn't!"

On tomorrow, you'll be the same you regardless of who gave you flowers or not. To get depressed over this day shows that many of us need to start finding validation in God alone and stop looking for it in other people who may not even be with us a year from now. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise if they're with somebody else Feb. 14, 2012. Let's not get so caught up in seeking to be like everyone else in the world in being so needy for a dating relationship or something close to it. The breakup-get back together-breakup again-get back together lifestyle, song and dance is really old, overrated, and emotionally unhealthy. Try finding your TRUE LOVE in knowing the love that God has so graciously given you...When this is focused upon it puts you in a better position for an eventual committed relationship with the opposite sex---you won't have so much emotional baggage to carry over from lack of self-esteem, insecurity, a need for validation and additional needy issues. Believe me; it'll make a world of difference!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


A nation that is divided is a nation that is on the verge of collapse. Likewise, a city that is divided is a place soon to be run with violence and mayhem. Chaos is inevitable and misery will overtake the society. America may think that this doesn't apply to them but maybe for a Communist nation or one financially deprived. Well, America is becoming more and more divided---Democrat vs. Republican, wealthy elite vs. the disenfranchised poor, Blacks vs. Whites, women vs. men, etc. What's more, much of this divided confusion has leaked over into many of our local churches---the Body of Christ and Kingdom of God. Jesus exclaimed in Mark 3:24 that, "A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand." It's not so much that it "will not" but that it "cannot." It's an impossible feat!

As Christians, we have to learn how to become less selfish and a lot more united. It is shameful that Sunday morning is still the most segregated day of the week, where many churches are separated by culture and race. I just don't get it! The same individual(s) you work with, who claims a relationship with Jesus, you can't seem to worship with. Or, on weekends, you can't even associate with them because they make less money a year than you and your counterparts. Maybe, they are janitors and you're a doctor. The interesting thing about heaven, that we know of, is that it will be filled with people from various backgrounds, races, cultures, income levels, and all other walks of life---who are in love with Jesus.

Instead of seeing individuals in black or white, by an idolized status, or by some additional preference we need to see others by love. Better yet, we need to see others by RED---The Blood of Jesus---the epitome of LOVE. With this outlook, people can notice the truth of what it means to be ONE!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Heart That Forgives

By now, many have heard of Kevin Levar's hit song "A Heart that Forgives." What's different about his song is, not the lyrical arrangements or melodious feel but, the authenticity of its message. Forgiveness is a touchy subject, even for Christians. Surprising to many, the church is often a place where people become quickly hurt and easily offended. Grudges tend to get set in stone and bitterness becomes a way of life. Individuals refuse to sit next to their counterparts, couples fuss in the parking lot, and some preachers spew out angry venom at their members for not catering to their wishes.

Regardless, the church becomes a mere battle ground, not against the devil or demons, but against each other. It's just the wounds are much more internal than external. We can draft a laundry list of reasons for this occurence. But, our time may be more useful with drafting only three words...not "I love you" but "I FORGIVE YOU." This is not the easiest thing to do but it's one of the most freeing things that can be done. The word of God has made it vitally clear that forgiveness is not an option but a required action (Matthew 18). Instead of forgiving out of duty, one should forgive out of choice. Actually, we should be QUICK to forgive...knowing HOW MUCH WE'VE BEEN FORGIVEN!

God didn't have to send His son to redeem sinful mankind. Jesus didn't have to DIE on a rugged cross for our sins, and the Holy Spirit didn't have to comfort us in our times of need. Thankfully, THEY WILLFULLY CHOSE to forgive, love, and care for us inspite of ourselves. Wow, what great love...we owe them so much...TOO BIG of a debt to repay! So, the next time you want to think about holding hate and bitterness toward someone for what they did to you---DON'T!

When you get a chance purchase Kevin Levar's cd at this site, you'll be ever grateful you did!