Sensationalized

We can't save ourselves and we can't jump ship.Throughout my life God has taught me lessons while in seasons.

I’ve wrestled with many desires in ministry and as well writing. My desires in and of themselves aren’t bad but to obtain these desires I have had to consistently check my heart with regards to my methods to obtaining these desires.

The seasons God has brought me through have been seasons to remind myself who has ultimate control in my life.

A lot of these seasons I have seen in my life have been centered on purpose and fulfillment. So in my ministry I have had desires to expand my platform. To have numerous people reading my writings. To be respected as a voice in certain arenas of life.

While desiring these things, God has sent me different people in my life to remind me some essential truths.

Trust God through the season.

The first one was a guy named Doug. I was living in Indianapolis, ministering among Urban youth in a job I loved so much, I always thought I’d die doing it.

While there, I wanted to be married. I wanted a wife. I wanted kids. I wanted to rush this season of singleness to become the man. Doug took me back to reality.

Doug opened his life up to me to learn about being a good dad and good husband. He didn’t give me a class. No seminar. He isn’t a guy who has sought to make much of his name. But in the same token he taught me by his example.

In that season of my singleness, he taught me the simple act of trusting God through the season I’m in. In the words of my pastor TC Taylor, “bloom where you’re planted”. This has been a big and important part of my life is learning to make the most of each season. Cherish its uniqueness and beauty. Don’t wish away its difficulties, learn from them.

Faithfulness must be the goal.

Several years later came a great brother named Jamaal Williams. Jamaal and I became great friends while he was my pastor at Forest Baptist Church. Jamaal reiterated one simple thing that has shaped my life in a huge way. Faithfulness.

The measure of success in ministry and life can be shaped by a lot of distractions that have little to do with God. We can get distracted by numbers, titles/positions, networks, recognition and other things. Our minds must shift towards being faithful to God. I’m thankful to Jamaal for shining light on this need in my life. Be faithful. Through this season of being under his leadership, this was a theme God taught me while in this season to shape my life.

Truth and Integrity honor God above sensationalism.

Another theme came while talking with a friend named Curtis, recently. While I have been getting more and more into writing and hoping to use my words to make a difference for the kingdom of God, I have been confronted with a truth about our time; the internet has brought us to becoming a very sensationalized culture. We have little regard for truth yet high regard for attention catching.

You know what I’m talking about. How many articles have you seen that are pure click bait? Think about news outlets. Satire is huge and is almost undistinguishable from legit, real news networks. You rarely see most of these articles citing sources for their information. There is rarely accountability for most of these online articles.

It’s ridiculous. Yet you’d think this would be absent within the Christian stream but as said on the Lord of the Rings, “the hearts of men are easily corrupted.”

I have noticed within many conversations being had in the Christian sphere, and especially the race conversation, there seems to be a lot of information passed to and from yet little real conversation dealing with explicit truth. I am guilty of this myself. Passing information on without confirming credibility. It happens so much and the danger is that our words begin carrying less weight and God is not honored in lying.

I have also seen this out of people who desire platforms. They will take extreme positions because they want a reaction out of others. They have little desire for a balanced approach and more desire to stir the pot.

For myself I can easily gravitate towards this position. I can easily want to sensationalize things consistently because I love reactions. But I realized that if that is my desire to gain a platform by any means necessary, then that is an idol. I need to remember the beauty and value of truth.

Honestly, there are many great Godly men and women with huge platforms. As well, there are many people who have huge platforms surrounding their consistent exaggerations with their opinions.

My heart needs to remember to value truth and seek to honor God with having an honest and balanced approach in my writing. I don’t need to sensationalize my writing by exaggerating or making my opinions overtly blatant for attention. I need to allow my opinions to be honest and as biblically sound as I can.

My thoughts on the West Louisville Walmart…

The planned West End Walmart (Courtesy Walmart)

The planned West End Walmart (Courtesy Walmart)

Conflicted.

Most likely you are reading this and know the situation those of us in West Louisville are dealing with. Church leaders have began praying for Walmart while others have pulled out the picket signs and stood in strong protest.

Living in and knowing the lack of resources in our community, I have been torn about this issue. I have been surprised that many have taken this as a holy war considering that Walmart is no hero in my opinion.

I don’t want to paint them as being the evil empire that has come to suck the resources of the community dry. But I also don’t want to act blind towards the reality that they are a business that some find having questionable ethics. You have to be curious when one business produces 4 of the countries ten richest people(Sam Walton’s 4 children, if their money was put together it would be worth almost twice of Bill Gates). All of that money within one family. One last name. That alone shows a type of power that is scary.

When considering Walmart, let’s begin with the Good.

*In 2013 Walmart and it’s foundation gave 1.3 Billion dollars in cash and kind contributions around the world.

*They bring multiple products at the lowest cost to people in one facility.

*The constructing of a Walmart can help bring other businesses into an area because of the guaranteed traffic that will coincide with it.

*With a Walmart will inevitably be plenty of jobs. Not just jobs for people who will work directly for Walmart but as well companies that Walmart partners with.

So what is the bad with Walmart?

*Yes, Walmart will bring plenty of Jobs but they have been blasted in the past for primarily having low wages for their employees.

*Lowering the Cost has been noted as also lowering the quality.

*Walmart has been noted to kill local businesses in the community.

(I understand that there is plenty that could be added to both of those lists for positive and negative impacts a Walmart can make in a community.)

My Thoughts
With all of this in play, I struggle to say that I fully endorse the local Walmart that will go up in West Louisville. Living in West Louisville, I know that we don’t have many businesses. We don’t have many resources within arms reach. To go shopping, if Walgreens doesn’t have it, we have to drive to Indiana to get what we want. That’s frustrating and very inconvenient. To have a Walmart close would help in those extents. But there are costs that leave me very concerned.

My hope for our community is to see more businesses come and to see more entrepreneurs thriving. I’d love to see better jobs within arms reach that aren’t temp jobs on the Riverport. I’d love to see local businesses owned and operated by people living locally and hiring locally with the intent on being a healthy business for the community. That dream is one that Walmart would not be able to coexist with.

I fear that Walmart will just add to the problem that our community continues to deal with, money and resources being outsourced to companies that won’t do a single thing to help West Louisville. I hope I am wrong but that is my fear.

Why Ale 8?

screen-shot-2011-10-28-at-6_07_17-am.pngI like Ale 8.

I drink it a lot.

My wedding rehearsal dinner was Ale 8 themed. My blog references Ale 8. For one of our baby announcements we used Ale 8. So do you get the picture? I like it.

But the question you and even I am wondering is why?

Is it the taste? To be honest, the taste is good but even I know and agree that it is an acquired taste.

Is it because I like carbonated drinks? I really don’t. My preference would be for a tea or non-carbonated drink.

Is it because of any other materialistic feature of Ale 8? Nope.

Multifaceted Answer

I used to love McDonalds. I used to love Walmart. In time though I realized that I loved them only because they are cheap. But what I didn’t think through was that the price I was paying was the value of the product. They are cheap firstly because the products many times aren’t good. Secondly, they are cheap because they undershoot their competitors which ends in eventually family owned businesses being closed down.

After a while I realized how horrible this was and the need to support local businesses. There were several books that helped give clarity to me. One being “Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life” by Robert Lupton.

My Reasoning

Ale 8 is a family owned business that employs Kentucky people and takes good care of its employees. When you spend a dollar on Ale 8 compared to Coca Cola or Sprite, it’s going to support Kentucky families and Kentucky companies. But if you buy from big corporations, the money goes to CEO’s, and all kinds of random businesses they use that are whatever is cheapest.

So Firstly, I support Local Businesses.

My second reason is because I have great memories from my childhood that involve Ale 8. It is a drink that is common all over Eastern Kentucky. When I would go to Eastern Kentucky to see my grandfather and the area he was a Pastor at, I would always see Ale 8 signage and drink machines. It reminds me of being in Eastern Kentucky as a child.

But lastly, it’s because I like the under dog.

It’s a ginger ale drink that can only(for the most part) be bought in my state. It’s still served in a green glass bottle.

I like hole-in-the-wall restaurants. If a team seems inferior, I will most likely cheer for them. This is just who I am. So with all of that being said, this seldom known ginger ale drink that I can’t find when I drive ten minutes into Indiana has my affection. It’s the underdog.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I like Ale 8.

4 Reasons That I Unapologetically Celebrate MLK Jr. Day

history.comToday, many people will take time to remember the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. While I am strictly against elevating men to a point beyond simple admiration, I also believe that it is important to take time and to be thankful for progress that has brought our country beyond a time of legalized hate and mistreatment of people.

Overall, I believe in a sovereign God who utilized and purposed things to happen to bring about the civil rights movement. But as well I am thankful for Martin Luther King specifically because he fought to not only see some progress for minorities in our country but to see equality set as the standard. He could have been satisfied early on and not continued to press against systemic issues to bring about equality for African American’s. But he didn’t.

Here are 4 reasons that I unapologetically celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

1) Because of my marriage.

Being in an interracial marriage, I have become more aware of the racial plight that our country suffers from. I have seen racism and the mistreatment of minorities to a small extent, but I can only imagine the way of life while Jim Crow Laws were still legal and in full force.

My interracial marriage was not legal in my own state until 1967. While Martin Luther King did not fight strictly for Interracial Marriage, to act as if the fight for Civil Rights did not lead to the eventual legalization of Interracial Marriage is foolish.

2) Because of my children.

While this may appear to be because all of my children are at least partially African-American, I feel this is needed to be understood for all children.

For the sins of the previous generation not to be brought back by the next generation, they must see the realities of racial injustice. They are living out the benefits of what Martin Luther King was fighting for, but they need to see the monster of a system that he was fighting against. His fight was against a system of hate, ignorance, injustice and greed that did more than separating blacks and whites, but enslaved the minds into thinking and believing that due to their skin tone, they were less quality of individuals. People who were made in the Image of God.

That is why my children (and all children) need to remember the legacy of Martin Luther King, so that in their time they would prevent the construction of a system of hate like Jim Crow again.

3) Because of my church(New Breed Church).

I live in Louisville, Ky. The home of Muhammad Ali. The famous boxer who shined light on the racial injustices that our city had embraced. I live in a neighborhood that is predominately African-American. The local park in our neighborhood had at one time been the cities largest amusement park and had rejected African American’s from attending.

In the local high school in our neighborhood meets our local church. We aren’t the type of church you can easily label. We are diverse. We are really committed to Jesus and the local community that we love.

Being apart of a local church that has pastors, leaders and members that are white and black has shown me so many beautiful things. I honestly believe that Martin Luther King would walk into our church and weep for joy to see so many people from different backgrounds coming together to worship God.

4) Because I am a Christian.

As a bible-believing follower of Jesus, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is a legacy I support. While I may not stand on similar ground with him on all spheres theologically, and understand his fallibility; the truths of justice and love that he spoke of often, I hold to as a Christian. When he talks of equality for all people, as someone who knows how level the ground of the cross of Christ is for all men, I completely agree. As someone who believes that we are all made in the Image of God, I look at the value he emphasized for all life worldwide and I fully agree that all life is valuable.

My belief in the God of Justice in the bible brings me to look at the fights Martin Luther King fought for in his time and I can only be grateful. Grateful for his willingness to speak up. Grateful for the progress that has been made in our country. And Grateful for God ultimately purposing the changes that were made.


Those are four of many reasons why today is a day that I remember the legacy of Martin Luther King. and am thankful for the fights that he fought.

5 Barriers to your Writing

Have you ever wanted to become a writer but were afraid to cross into that threshold? Maybe you write some on and off but are too scared to look at yourself as a writer.

Whatever the case may be, each one of us have struggled at some point with doubts in our writing. There may be a few out there who knew they were golden from the start but the rest of us are human and need some encouragement.

Well, here are five statements that may float around in your head. This is your time to attack each of these statements and to move forward as the writer you can be.

1) “I don’t have the time.”

Obviously, different people have different schedules. Some really have a jam-packed schedule and can’t necessarily add much to it, while others may be in a season of life where they have a lot more time they can spend.

I read an interesting book on writing called the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. One thing I really got out of that book was the need for me to make time to write, if I say I want to write. If you really want to write, you have to look at your schedule and figure out what can be cut out or shifted so that you can schedule writing.

Maybe it would be good to make a realistic goal of writing a certain number of articles a week or month. But this can’t be an excuse anymore if you want to be a writer.

2) “No one will care to hear my opinion.”

Hog wash!

There has to be a point where lies like this come across your mind and you can simply throw them to the wind. Your opinion has value for one simple reason, you have value. You were created in the image of God and have intrinsic value. Your opinion does matter.

As well, know that you may be robbing people of having the benefit of reading your thoughts on whichever topic you feel led to write. Your opinion matters and is needed!

Next!

3) “My grammar and English aren’t great and I know I’ll be embarrassed.” This has been me for a while.

Sometimes we can stay in fear about the opinions of others. Here are two pieces of advice I’d give regarding these thoughts:

I. Don’t allow the fear of man to be a hurdle to create beautiful art.
II. Remember the gospel in all areas, including your writing.
Just because you don’t know the difference in a verb and adverb or tend to use their/there/they’re in the wrong circumstances, it doesn’t mean that you are less valued, loved and needed to be used by God. God prides himself in using people of all gifting’s to do great things. Many times he likes to show off by using those of us who feel weak in certain areas to do a great work.

Look at everyone he used in the scriptures. You can’t write good; Well, Moses wasn’t a good public speaker yet became the voice for God’s people when they needed a voice. You feel insecure about your grammar; think of the liars, prostitutes, murderers and other sinners God used to do his will.

2 Corinthians 12:10(emphasis added)
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Three walls down. Two more to go.

4) “I don’t know where to start.”

Grab your laptop. Or if you’re old school grab the old pen and pad.

Sit down. Start writing.

Now if you are considering blogging, wordpress is a great site that can host your blog. As well, there are many other sites that can host your blog. But whichever way you want to do it, you have to just sit down and start doing it.

5) “I don’t have any friends that are writers, I need help.”

I can understand this sentiment. It is tough and scary to start doing something that no one in your immediate circles is really doing. Writing is one of those scary things. But that is why the internet is so helpful for this. You can use social media to plugin with other writers via Twitter, facebook or other forms of it.

Maybe you are an Urban Christian writers. Well, I have just the place for you, right here! One of the big proponents to launching the Writers Table was to be a place to connect with other writers and to gain resources. Well, now you have friends that are writers.


With all of these statements defeated, you now have nothing to wait for. Every wall that you felt that was between you and becoming a writer is gone. Now go, become that writer. Enjoy the freedom to express your self with your pen or your fingertips.

All Our Children

My wife as a little girl.

My wife as a little girl.

I have always tried to look at life through a lens of preparing the way for the future. I want to serve God to the fullest but in the same token, I want to see those who come after me to do greater things than I ever did.

My blog, my writings, so many things that I spend time doing are really for the benefit of my wife and children. I want them to have my writings long after I am gone or if they just want to step inside of my mind for a bit. I want to equip them well to make a great change for future generations.

10612801_4582630100131_5332414023468100520_n[1]There was a song I used to listen to while I was in High School. It was called History Maker and it was by a Christian band called Deliriou5. The song really set my mind towards making a difference with my life. Not living my life with the typical American Dream but instead having the hope and the vision to become a missionary or minister for God’s kingdom. I was in high school with the determination that my life would be lived to serve and love others towards the Kingdom of God. This is my hope for my children.

Life throws curve balls. We all sin and make horrible decisions at times. But regardless, I really believe that the Christian life, when lived out in the way described by Jesus, is a radical unexplainable but beautiful life. It doesn’t compromise for the sake of comfort and ease. It brings with it tons of sacrifice. But it is beautiful and well worth it.

Photo 143For all of my sons and daughters(adopted, biological or anyone who comes along the way), I want to use my life to help them see what they can do for the kingdom of God. I want them to know that they could live to grow up as missionaries and ministers. They could live their lives on the brink of excitement and what some deem as crazy by having their minds set on a cause for God.

I have seen that many fathers go through this. Of course Solomon wrote a large book to his children, Proverbs. As well though there have been other great books by fathers to their children.

1483275_3665745338585_1468255940_n[1]I think a lot of it is that, as a parent, you want to do everything possible to see your child one notch higher on the ladder (whatever your ladder may be) then you ever make it to. You want to see them build off what you do, not tear it down or completely walk away from it.

The difficult reality for many is that there are plenty of ministers who will not have children who walk with the Lord. It’s a tough reality. ‘Raise the children in the way they should go, when they are old they won’t depart from it’ is not a promise but a principle. Maybe they won’t go in the direction of righteousness and instead seek to live life differently. As one who believes in a sovereign God, if that happens, it happens. I have no control. I don’t know what will happen with my kids. But I love them and want great things for them. I want them to take what my wife and I have done and to do way more for God. But if they don’t desire to have anything to do with God, then that’s their decision. It will hurt of course. I would be lying to act as if it won’t, but that’s the reality of a fallen world.

So that leads me to a new series I will be doing with my blog. Letters to my sons and Letters to my daughters.

They will be letters on certain topics that I feel it’s important to guide them in. I will not have an end date to this and may be writing on this until my grave.

And these are letters that I will attach with other handwritten letters for them to have. These are public but my children will receive private letters as well.

So this is the intro to the Letters to my children series.

Music List for 2015

I love music. I love the art and the emotions that comes through simply listening. It’s a beautiful thing to me that can never be over appreciated.

While my single years made it easy to listen to tons of music, since having a family, that dynamic has changed and I have to be intentional about listening to certain artist and albums.

Here are the top albums I plan to listen to in 2015:


 D’Angelo and the Vanguard -Black Messiah


Brand New – Album title TBA
I’ve been waiting for this group to finally have another album. One of my favorite groups.


Kendrick Lamar -TBA
He’s an interesting artist that I’m interested in hearing. He’s a really good and

interesting thinker.


Modest Mouse-Strangers to Ourselves


Death Cab for Cutie -TBA
I used to love Death Cab but haven’t heard much in a while.


Shai Linne || Lyrical Theology 1 AND 2
Yes, I have missed out on both and hope to get caught up soon.


Anything that Sho Baraka or Bon Iver put out.
That is all for now. Carry on.