Brandon’s Brownies: Review of T.D Jakes Sermon ‘Branded’

Probably one of the biggest blessings a person can have are their wonder years; those times in the ‘good ol’ days’ when things were more simple & blissful. You may have made childhood friends that may or may not have lasted a lifetime. Perhaps you had a childhood sweetheart that either stayed or faded out of your life. As I count my blessings, I can honestly say that I have good friends…now. Which leads me to a quick review of T.D Jakes sermon, “Branded”.

I have yet to listen to a single T.D Jakes sermon in which I was not deeply moved. This time however, I watched in sober silence. I watched a man in a snowy sweater speak to a man who is broken on the inside. I listened to the sermon with Shandra, and it was therapeutic for us to listen to a sermon together. For me, I couldn’t help but to listen, feel, and analyze the word of God delivered through Jakes.

A few highlights that ought to be commended about the message:

  1. Confirming the need for critical thinking when examining the text. As many of you know my positions on Biblical issues, there is a pandemic of Biblical assumptions postulated as orthodoxy.
  2. Confirming the dual nature of the mind of Christ. Because although Christ didn’t think of being equal with God something to be grasped, he also didn’t think of himself robbing God of His glory in claiming equality with Him. The significance of this assertion is that this mindset should be adopted by fellow Christians.
  3. Bringing in an inspiring personal testimony. To hear Jakes talk about his personal struggles and learning how to make do obviously resonated with me. To see where God took Him over the course of his career gives me hope. If God can bring abundant blessings in the midst of suffering, why can’t he also do it with me?
  4. Remembering that our story is meant to be shared for edification. There are countless stories of men and women who hit rock bottom only to receive healing, success, and favor. The Christian Testimony is given to show that with God all things are possible. And the more we submit to God’s ways, the more our stories will be effective in outreach.
  5. Hearing an exchange of spiritual truths – from speaking about computers, gates, soup, and chess, I felt heard. And oe of my deepest desires is to feel loved ad accepted. It’s one thing to experience that in Christ, it’s quite another to experience intin the world with people you care about.
  6. Being reminded that our suffering is what qualifies us for royalty. This gives me relief as I can see purpose in hardship. ‘the greater the suffering; the fuller the discipline, the bigger the crown.

Not looking for brownie points in writing this review. Rather this is my attempt to live out the passage in outdoing another in showing honor uncoerced. My most important relationship is between me and God, and after that His people. I dream of one day seeing His Spirit at work in His people in a powerful way.

LORD transform our minds so that we may have a pure conscience; circumspect and forbearing in all circumstances. Let our faith be genuine where we do not downplay our doubts but are vigorous in convictions. Let it be established on truth and not mere fancies. Give us a fervent heart to love others beyond normal compacity. We thank you for those who have labored over us in these dark times. Give us grace to be edifying. – Amen

Please check out my wife’s review on the same sermon entitled, “Emptying Yourself to Receive His Brand”

Emptying Yourself to Recieve His Brand: A review on Bishop T.D. Jakes Message, a complimentary take to James Richardson’s review

Philippians 2:2-11

2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,

    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7 rather, he made himself nothing

    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,

    being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,

    he humbled himself

    by becoming obedient to death—

        even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

“Grace and Peace”

This greeting rings in my head, I used to hear it time and again during a season of my life in which I attended a church in the south suburbs of Chicago. During this time James and I would help lead worship by playing our instruments in the morning and then high-tail it back into the city to attend our church in the afternoon.  The church members at this particular place of worship would consistently greet one another this way. At that time I thought it was nothing more than “Christianese”. And yet now almost ten years later, it has become a life gripping phrase for me as I have become more aware of how much grace and peace I need to navigate the hardships presently before me. I am also aware of the tremendous grace He has given me to do what before seemed impossible- to grow in patience and in faith in the face of persistent struggle. It is with this opening that Paul writes his letter to the Philippians. Chapter 1 verse 2 he writes:

“ May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” So now I say to a younger, more ignorant, immature version of Shandra “ No, this was not some religious idiom, it is a lifeline of encouragement, drawing from the true source of strength you will need in life- Grace and Peace in the Lord Christ.

But now what does this exactly mean, what does it even look like? This is where I’d like to share some insights I’ve gleaned from this passage in Philippians, my life experience, and a message recently preached by Bishop T.D. Jakes.

Oftentimes when we discuss grace in the biblical context we are focusing on its chief definition which is known to most as “unmerited favor”. In the context of salvation, yes it is right to think about this because we have been granted eternal and unmerited favor through the death and resurrection of Jesus to live with Him throughout eternity should we embrace salvation. Right now, I’d like to underscore another dimension of the word which is more aligned with this definition:

Oxford Dictionary

noun

  1. 1.
    simple elegance or refinement of movement.
    “she moved through the water with effortless grace”

2.

courteous goodwill.

“at least he has the grace to admit his debt to her”

verb

  1. do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.
    “she bowed out from the sport she has graced for two decades”

And so when we say “grace be upon you” we are granting that someone would have the elegance to move with refinement, the strength to do goodwill, and the capacity to do honorably in whatever circumstance they find themselves within. We see this unfold in Paul’s instruction in Philippians chapter 2. In this text Paul brings up the conduct that Christ displayed while here on earth- he made himself nothing, humbled himself, became a servant. By the way, how authentic that Paul would write this type of encouragement while he himself is imprisoned! He was displaying the type of grace he encourages others to obtain.  And you may ask “Why? Why do I need to have this type of grace and to what end?” This is where I wholeheartedly appreciate Bishop T.D. Jakes sermon. Bishop Jakes would say for the purpose of “Brand”. Brand, as expressed by Jakes, is to be sealed, authenticated so that one understands the ownership thereof. We know that in this life we cannot escape hardship. Hardships come in many forms- physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. And these categories themselves lend to various types of hardships one can suffer and the intensities thereof. Regardless of whether my hardships have been more intense than yours or not, one thing is true among us- we have faced them and they have profoundly impacted our souls. Given that suffering is inevitable, what comes out of its process is what becomes of chief importance. In other words are we better or worse off through it and after it? Are we more virtuous and productive than before? Note when I say productive, I am referring to the ability to produce life-giving attributes. This is exactly what we see of Christ, he went towards the cross, through the cross, and out of the cross giving eternal life to all who fellowship with Him. My goodness, we should pause right there and seriously contemplate this profound occurrence…Christ gave life while embarking upon the pathway towards death. Am I giving (life not grief to others) while on this pathway of suffering? 

“…the very emblem of our faith is suffering….we carry crosses to remind us that this did not come cheap…”

Bishop T.D. Jakes – Branded

What is my mindset as I navigate these hardships? In honesty- during what I call grey days, I have thoughts that range from- “ I deserve better than this…” to  “ This is the consequence of my sinful behavior of the past, if I only do better from now on, I can circumvent suffering in the future…Lord please give me the grace to get out of this!”. Once I sober up from this state, I come to recognize that first, these are lies. They are lies because they are extreme statements that derive from a place of judgment of the heart that is not based on a full view of what is truth. No matter what I did in the past or do now, I cannot circumvent suffering in this world, our world is marked by hardship. Further, these types of thoughts do not produce in me the capability (grace) to walk in peace and give life to all that is good in my life despite the hardship. Instead, they have me turn inward and get stuck in the mire. And this is exactly what amazes me about Jesus. On his way to the cross, he washed the feet of his disciples, he fed the masses, he healed the ill and did that which seemed impossible for a man who was to face the most gruesome death physically and spiritually. Make no mistake Jesus was under duress. We are told in Luke 22:43-44 that He was so stressed in the Garden of Gethsemane that He began to sweat blood! And it is this reality that puts my heart in check. Surely I can serve well despite my disappointments… YET I can only do this by thinking like Christ and drawing from His divine strength.


I have begun to learn the art of drawing from His strength. Can I tell you a secret? Mastering this art is not rocket science and it is one of the hardest skills one will need to learn in order to survive the darkest hours.  It is much like the training of a young Jedi. Mastering self-control while drawing from the strength of the force is critical in order to avoid the destructive, seductive power of the Darkside. (More on Star Wars and biblical theology…)

Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

Hebrews 6:11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

These passages side by side convey something about our strength’s source and resting in the Lord. First that there is a power within the Lord and secondly that your very life depends upon its resource. I have learned that resting requires a discipline of redirecting my thought life, redirecting my attention,  recalibrating my body, forcing my mouth to praise when my heart is so heavy it has tried to lock down my words, exercising and moving, fellowshipping with others, withdrawing from others at the appropriate time, and so much more. Resting is not only physical health, resting my friends is mental health (more on mental health in a future blog and podcast) To rest in Christ is to trust that the hope of being with Him eternally and internally is greater than the pain I currently experience from the cross He has allowed me to experience. I am so sure there are deeper layers of truth to what it means to rest in Christ. For me, this is what I have come to understand at this leg of my journey. I also rest my worry of the unknown in the fact that I know that come what may, there is a beauty unfolding towards a purposeful end. In other words, I do believe there is a purpose to my current hardship- branding, authentication, to be useful to others in a greater life-giving way, etc. 

A few years ago, 2 Corinthians 1:4 became my “jam” while I was in a hard space. This became my jam much like a slow R & B to groove or a funk soundtrack one dances to no matter what circumstance they find themselves in. And so it says: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” It is important to not miss the “so that” in biblical text. It’s like the pocket by which the beat resides and produces more resonance. It is the purpose I am talking about. If we miss the purpose, then what really is the point of it all?

I’ve seen this come to life in my own life! I began to realize that the encouragement I would give to others was now more than what I call “Christian platitudes”. By the way here’s the definition of platitudes:

a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.

Thats Good To Know Lisa Mcdowell GIF from Thatsgoodtoknow GIFs

If you’ve been around church people for some time you know these all well-  verses out of context thrown at you during a hard time, unbiblical phrases such as “ Well, He won’t give you more than you can bear…” By the way, that’s nowhere in scripture my friends. And is actually quite offensive to people who have borne a crapload. Or another one I disdain is the “ Thanks for sharing…” left with a hollow emptiness and no mutual return of exchanging how one has either experienced God’s grace in an equally difficult time OR an admission that they are in need of God’s grace in a similar or profound way. What we find in 2 Corinthians 1:4 is the mark of one who has been authenticated, branded not just with hardship but with the comfort that those who walk with Christ experience! I can now look another person in their eyes and truly tell her/him I know what it means to come to the recognition that Christ alone is my all as I’ve experienced deep relational disappointments. I can equally tell you what God’s comfort meant for me as He gently but firmly showed me the darkness and deception of my own heart and how I’ve deeply hurt those I love. The point here is- receiving His brand requires us to be unashamed of the gospel in our lives.

And so I’d like to end this blog with an invitation for you to share your process with someone about how you are being branded for a greater purpose. I’d suggest to you that even if you just share what insights you’ve gathered (without sharing the details of the situation), that alone is a gem that could touch another soul in the deepest parts of their being- calling them towards endurance and life. You may share with us by commenting, share with me directly by email,  or better yet share with another with whom you are in relationship with throughout your daily life.

Grace and peace to you friends, may the Force, the only true One, be with you.

Declaration of being loved

oil on panel – 12’x8′ – 2012

I know no such thing as unrequited love.

This is because God’s love is steadfast and threefold, expressed in the manifold glory of the Trinity.

He is my center.

I have been known as Israel, but now I surrender, and I home at Zion.

“I will restore you to health and heal your wounds”, declares the Lord, “because you are called an outcast Zion for whom no one cares.” Jeremiah 30:17

The Father considers me in His plans| The Son knocks on the door of my heart| The Holy Spirit comforts me and leads me into all truth.

REINSTATING THE TRUTH IN DARK TIMES

Glowing tent in the mountains under a starry sky. Crimea, Demerdzhi.

THE POWER OF CONFESSION

This is a new day for us. I do come in agreement with the confession:

We have a new covenant built on love, hope, and truth that cannot be broken with the Lord Christ Jesus. 

I love the fact that Julia loves writing in the air now. I am grateful because I know that over time, it will spill over into other things of authorship. Thank you for sharing this.

— James Richardson, October 12, 2020

Over 15 years ago I learned the power of confession. At Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan, MA, each Sunday I heard Bishop Gideon Thompson say at the beginning of each sermon- “ This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be in glad in it. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law…” On and on he would go with the same confession. I learned that confession and prayer goes hand in hand. Little did I know that years to come, once I left Boston and settled in Chicago that those moments would become a bedrock for faith. A faith that has held me to His truth in some of the hardest darkest times of my life. To this day I carry these words in my heart. In 2009, a year before I left Boston, the Lord gave me a vision and a confession of faith of my very own. I had little understanding of this vision, but now it is clearly understood and erected in the depths of my soul. As the world grows dark I see an invincible light emanating from a tent in which I dwell with the Lord. The quote I posted by James above is a part of this confession of faith. James and I both are under development. If you have been following this blog, you may perceive this and much more. What is being built is being constructed on a foundation that will not be shaken. A new ground that cannot be broken and will stay in place throughout eternity. There is so much more I could say however again I have learned the power to confess that which I know is real, that which is aligned with the author of Truth- El Emeth. May you experience an unshakable encounter with Him.

2 Corinthians 3:6, 9

He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is a new way, which makes us right with God!

Return of the JedEye

Jedi Sign

chapter one

1These are the words of James: one of the many servants in the Chi; which he heard regarding Israel during the last days of Trump, and in the days of Joe President of the United States, and Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China, one year before the Great Quake.

2This is what was seen and heard, those who have an ear to hear, let them hear:

“The winds would have guided you,

And the currents would carry along.

The trees have disclosed secrets;

Of the embers to come.

3Had you paid attention,

You would have known of my dangers,

For the LORD’s voice buzzed amongst many flowers,

Now shall he drone bellows below!”

4Thus saith the LORD:

“When Judah and Simeon hung up their bowed instruments,

They were utterly defeated amongst the Caananites;

They were chased away by the sword and robbed and plundered.

I the LORD have humbled them before the nations,

Could you not see this?”

Judgement on washington

5And the LORD said to me:

“Speak in the ears of the rulers who stand by the gates,

‘I have opened the windows of heaven on you,

And blessed you with everything you could desire,

I gave you wisdom and surrounded you with learned men,

They’ll be Some Changes Made – Dinah Washington

But your heart became proud and did not fear me.

6O Obsidian and Leviathan do you see this?

Even the serpent knows that wickedness will not be exalted forever,

Yet these men build towers to oppress my people.

7Therefore what I will do to them shall be a surprise.

Their downfall shall come not from the mighty, but from babes.

Children shall open their mouths – even the children of Jerusalem,

8And their lofts shall fall to the ground quicker than lightning.

Terror shall scatter your wizards and men of knowledge.

You will seek them for counsel, and they will tell you lies.

9For you have deceived my people,

And enriched yourself while perverting their ways.

10The heart of Jacob shall be strengthened,

And Judah shall restore worship in the temple of God.

11It shall occupy the households of Hebron,

And the extended lands shall wither.’”

12Thus saith the LORD:

“ O, Shepherds, mourn for the lost children of Zion.

Knowledge has been despised in the land.

13The men have been emasculated through oppression,

And the women are led to prostitution through poverty.

14My kings have been led into exile,

And queens abandoned to rule alone.

15For wickedness has spread upon the earth,

And the light of the LORD is withheld from them.

NEXT CHAPTER >>

3And God said,

An Intimate Invitation

Here I Am

Hey hey hey friends! It is with a refreshed heart and a full belly of warmth that I come back here to The Prototype to share another insight this month. This holiday season no doubt was laced with challenges and grief as we consider the loved ones we either lost directly or indirectly taken by the storm of the 2020 pandemic. And yet in the depths of these dark times, I have experienced these great bursts of light within my own quiet times and through hearing about your “silver lining” moments. For this my friends, I am incredibly thankful.

With a heart full of gratitude and hopeful anticipation, I invite you into a specific place in my thoughts – I’ve been thinking deeply about what it means to be known and what it really means to know God and His son, Jesus Christ. If you’ve grown up in church like me, you’ve been groomed to assume the position of “knowing” God. To take it a step further, if you’ve grown up in a black pentecostal church with a music director who was in tune with every hit gospel song of the 80s and 90s, and an insanely good choir, then you’ve belted out this line at least once or twice if not three times- “Do you know, do you know, Do you know the man?” – Stranger by Donald Lawrence, Tri City Singers 

What does it mean to know? What does it mean to be known? As I pondered these questions, I went into the depths of my heart and examined my experience around arriving at knowledge within the context of my marriage. My marriage has been a bedrock of evolution for my growth. The experiences I’ve had over the past 9 years have been full of great joy and great pain. And yet no matter what season we are within, I continue to evolve into my true identity, this is the mysterious and glorious blessing of covenant relationship. Secondly, I looked up the definition of the word in the Oxford Dictionary, then I turned my sights to see how the author(s) of the bible define the word in both Hebrew and Greek. The following are insights I gleaned:

The desire to be known is a direct imprint from the Creator’s design and I’ve come to realize that what truly matters in life is that I am known by Him

Experience in all relationships and especially marriage has taught me that serious friction occurs at the intersection of need and unmet expectations. (New) Love has a unique way of fueling the heart to start down the road of hopeful exploration causing one to go forth in the journey of togetherness with joyful anticipation – to see what else is to come, and maybe, just maybe to have your heart fulfilled once and for all. While some of us have had incredibly fulfilling relationships and marriages, about all of us can say (in romantic and non-romantic relationships) that we evidently encounter the roadblock of recognizing that our loved one has limitations in his or her capability to close the gap between our need and desire. I believe that what is within this gap is the desire to be known, truly known, and loved regardless of what is known about us. 

Now back to the definition of knowledge. Did you know that there are over 10 definitions of this word in the Oxford Dictionary? It makes sense! I’d like to underscore definitions 8, 9, 10 which are headlined and summed up as to recognize, to understand the difference, to experience. You can already tell that these definitions highlight depthness. You see, to know someone’s heart, to be known is beyond head knowledge, it is not simply the gathering of data or analytics. It is to recognize that person as the unique individual that they are and to experience the fullness of who they are. 

Our hearts ache for this type of knowledge from others. This heartthrob shows up in every sphere of life and plays out in various ways within our soul, families, places of work, community, and society. If we are not careful to tend to this longing in some way, our hearts are compelled to park on a lot of deceit, disillusionment, despair, depression, and even resentment. I could expound upon this, but for the sake of brevity, I will save this postulation for another blog.

Psalm 139:1-6 says

God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

139 

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up;

You understand my thought afar off.

You [a]comprehend my path and my lying down,

And are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue,

But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

You have [b]hedged me behind and before,

And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is high, I cannot attain it

I have experienced this intimate knowledge with the Lord that David is talking about friends. Times when my heart was so full of confusion, emotions, pain from unmet expectations, I sensed a deep peace in a moment with the Lord. A soft word whispered to me within my heart, a call from a friend who had no idea what I was encountering, a smile from a stranger, a “I love you” , and so much more has affirmed that my Creator knows every second of my heartbeat  and what I need. On the note of a complete stranger-no lie, while on business travel, a security guard intently looked at me and said I love you while in a hotel lobby. And before you roll your eyes and say “ Oh come on! He was hitting on you!” I promise he was NOT, lol. I’ve been randomly hit on many times- and this- my friends, was not that. This was almost like an angel sent at that moment. What this guard did not know is that although I was perfectly dressed up in makeup with my business cards and pressed hair, and surrounded by so many colleagues, I was so heartbroken and alone on that trip. I needed to hear that when I was passing through the conference center. I needed to know that I was loved. 

The greatest pursuit I will ever take is to know Jesus in the fullest sense

And so once I gained this deep experiential knowledge of being known by God, my faith cemented deep within my heart. I have come to fully believe that nothing can separate me from His love. I have also arrived at a different lot after encountering the intersection of need and unmet expectations within my marriage and other relationships and it is this place- he alone can know my needs and meet my needs. Should he use my husband to meet a need or another loved one, that is an extension of His love and His grace shown through them. And I believe this to be true the other way around, I am under no disillusion that I can meet my husband’s deepest needs and longings. Instead, I pray daily that his heart is filled with the intimate knowledge of Christ’s love and that he evolves into the man he was created to be which is a man fully loved and full of generosity. 

 I have had the beautiful experience of being in a relationship with people who have not only had different experiences than I but different paradigms. From this diversity, I’ve learned many things. One thing rings true, knowing about someone or something and deeply knowing that being is two different things leading to two different realities. When the Apostle Paul says in the letter to the Philippians that he desires to know Christ in every facet, he is talking about a deep soul-level understanding that is joined through experience. This type of knowledge leads to the transformation of one’s life.

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

I can assuredly say I have NOT obtained all this either Paul! So I thank Paul, that great warrior of Christian faith, for his humility. And yet I also press on to know Jesus this way. Why? One may ask, why would you seek so hard to know Christ whom you cannot see? My answer to this is – because He has filled me with life and light in my darkest moments. I believe that the times my heart has been revived from what could have been its final beat of death is because of the love God made accessible to me through Emannuel.

My friends, what is your experience with intimate knowledge? Do you feel known by God, do you affirm to know Him? Why or why not? Would love to hear your thoughts. These questions go out to people of all beliefs whether people who have a religious faith or not, please drop a comment. I recognize God in everything and I seek to know Him more by understanding who you are. Until then, much love and have a wonderful new year.

A Dark XoDus

Exodus

God trained Moses in a palace to use him in a desert. He trained Joseph in a desert to use him in a palace. – Ravi Zacharias

We could be flying starships across galaxies and shooting hostile alien aircrafts but here we are on social media again swiping through tweets and reading blog posts. Well at least one of us have super powers! We made it to the last week of one of the hardest and unique years many of us have ever faced, and I’d like to say that if all you managed to do this year was simply survive you have done an excellent job. If all you could did was fight to maintain your sanity, I salute as one who is strong. Indeed, the forces that be have tried to manipulate many into false dilemmas and catch 22s, yet they have failed to control those who are awakened by tenors of truth.

Synced Migration

1:01 a.m. I had the privilege of watching ‘Soul’ last night which led me to tears towards the end. More frequently than normal have I enjoyed art deeply for its resonation with me. James I really do hope you get the inside joke here: I didn’t know aliens from Mars are sporting Jerry curls. Could reality be that bizarre? Are we nothing more than microcosms of stories told by co-auteurs? True story – before I decided to become a Jazz Musician, my passion was in animation; I drew a lot with my dreams of one day developing a picture for Pixar Studios.

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder (also ‘author’ in the Greek) and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2 ESV)

Why did ‘Soul’ touch me so much? Well for one I think any musician that has ever been ‘in the zone’ can relate to those experiences Joe Gardner had. Number two, the sound behind the story was familiar to me. The way Joe Gardner played and felt the music – I know that sound…

Jamie Foxx
Jon Baptiste smiling

Shout out to Jamie Foxx for another stellar performance! Truly you are an underrated musician and vocalist of our day. Big props to Jon Baptiste! There must be something in the water for you to have the type of talent that you have!

From the Evil Donkeys

You know what problems biases can create? I find they tend to bring about injustices in opinions; partiality in understandings which can lead to undue indulgence in one’s convictions. There are subtle delusions in confirmation biases: just because a handful of people agree to certain facts doesn’t’ make it the actual and/or ultimate truth. I say this so that those who subscribe to certain frameworks of thinking whether be in science, philosophy, politics, or faith – yes I am talking even to Christians here – may put our worldviews in their proper place and truly scrutinize the veracity of our beliefs. Did you know that Jainism has what can be called a ‘transtheistic’ philosophy; a middle ground of sorts between theism and atheism in which god is not the highest spiritual instance? From my understanding, they also believe in reincarnation which I find interesting. What makes being a born again Christian different than reincarnation? Furthermore, can there be a higher spiritual instance than God? If these questions are startling the faith of you my brother, I question whether you know Jesus well, for Jesus is RIDDLED WITHIN THIS ENTIRE PARAGRAPH. How strange is it that a God who demands worship of Himself, would create religions antagonistic to His ways!

Going out of Order

Those who are familiar with JS, what’s wrong with the following code?

All too often, we exalt Logic over Perception, but how can we reason well if our perception is limited?

This past year, an unprecedented number of jobs were lost due to the pandemic and many jobs went out of business; all due to pre-conceived prejudices, ill-natured motives, and lack of urgency to stop a ‘bug’ from spreading. However, even if this year wasn’t stopped by Covid-19, the threat of AI taking over jobs and businesses still lingers over the Economy. If we’re not careful, we can allow these fears to bring out the worst in us, rather than use them as tools to make our world better. It is not inevitable to fall into a dystopian technocracy, nevertheless a beast-like world order seems to be on the uprise. What manner of beast is it though: NWO, BoeM, BWO, L.A.M.B, or the Anti-Christ? Try to keep an open mind so that we won’t live the rest of our lives in drudgery over eschatology.

6but when they had grazed,[a] they became full,
    they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
    therefore they forgot me.
So I am to them like a lion;
    like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;
    I will tear open their breast,
and there I will devour them like a lion,
    as a wild beast would rip them open.

Hos 13:6-8

Try to keep an open mind so that we won’t live the rest of our lives in drudgery over eschatology.

Goodbye and Pharaoh

As we approach the end of the year, I hope that we will leave certain habits and mindsets behind. I can tell you as one who is relearning what it means to love again there are things that I must cut out in 2021. If I am to love perfectly; to love purely, unconditionally; with prudence and discernment; in a way that is fair and acceptable to God and men, I must discipline myself and allow God to prune the things that is unbecoming of Agape. My wife and I have recently started journaling in a sketchbook in which we would draw anything according to our imagination. And,

Ally,

If there is something that could fulfill my joy, it would be seeing your art again knowing that you enjoy doing what you love 2 do! I used to draw a lot 2 you know? If you have the heart, would you remember me and bond soul to soul? Vamos nos tornar amigos por correspondência ou não?

Panda shaped Solar Panel

I must discipline myself and not overextend myself unnecessarily. Let’s not get it twisted for those who assume roles of healers yet have never healed another in their entire life: I WILL TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY FILL IN MY BODY WHAT IS LACKING IN THE AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST; for the sake of His body – the Church; so that even as death is at work in me, LIFE IS AT WORK IN YOU!!! TALK ABOUT TRANSFER OF ENERGY!

I must discipline myself in that old proverbial wisdom, “Do not spend your strength on women or your vigor on those who ruin kings.” Because where can you find a virtuous woman now a days? And where are the faithful men? I found it disheartening to learn about Ravi Zacharias’ legacy. Indeed, no man is perfect, and I took the confirmation of his sexual deviations as a warning to myself. As much as I desire to see Christ’s Consummation of everything in full effect; I must not step out of the bounds of his will and pacing lest the purity of my intentions be evil spoken of. Where can you find a virtuous woman now a days? There’s only one I know of, and she’s in my dreams – Christ that is. Nevertheless love, don’t be mistaken; I DO want you in your worst state…

-… ..- … .. -. –.

-… ..- … .. -. –.

-… ..- … .. -. –.

-… ..- … .. -. –.

-… ..- … .. -. –.

But in an upright way.

I must respect myself to no longer build another man’s pyramid, unless it is the city of God; that heavenly Jerusalem – where the economy is primarily spiritual and produce free; where the abundant Life eliminates all forms of scarcity.

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Is 55:1 ESV

Not exactly sure how certain Christians have convinced themselves that Capitalism is God’s Economy but I digress. That verse seems impractical until one comes in and turns capitalism against itself; playing the game well.

To take life as it comes; to be in harmony with it whether good or bad; to take strides to live life to the fullest; that’s how I want to enter 2021 – Enter in worship and awe of the One who created it all. For many of those who have entered the narrow path, you will share in the Everlasting Joy of God. For others, you will face trials but keep pushing and you’ll reach the Promised Land. And yet for some, you will face a greater sense of judgment because of your insolence. God will not be mocked. Every idle word will be taken into account May God have mercy upon your soul.

Jerry: So, what do you think you’ll do? How are you gonna spend your life?

Joe: I’m not sure, but I DO know I’m gonna live every minute of it.

God bless you and Happy Wholidays!!!

The Hidden Comic

Well

It’s summer time and you don’t want to go out tonight so you decide to get some store bought ice cream to watch a movie at home. What brand of ice cream are you buying?

One of the few things I’m enjoying more of now that I am reconnecting with my family is playing games with Julia. I am learning to hold precious the times we play Hide and Seek together; she counts to ten and I’ll scurry my little self behind the door in her room knowing that she’ll probably miss me as she comes in. It feels like every time; she just walks right by me and then ARRRGGHHH the harmless monster roars!!! I chased her around and do what good Father’s do when they play with their children. Funny how some of us get the privilege of perceiving what the fear of the Lord is early on in life.

Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet to see who they really are. – Will Ferrell

Who Murdered the Cheerios?

Last night my wife and I watched a comedy special from one of the greatest comedians of the social media era, Tony Baker. I had to support since he’s been moving joysticks and pushing buttons lately…besides we have that Chicago love; if I’m not mistaken, Tony hung out near the Chatham area where my grandfather resides. He may have even visited my grandfather once, you never know. Regardless, this man helped me laugh during my struggles with depression, so big shout out Tony! Congrats on the success of the show! Overall it was good and I am glad I can support! Much love!

My wife and I had a good discussion about culture and what it finds to be humorous. We figured that what people find to be funny depends entirely on a person’s background, their values and personal preferences. Peer pressure may play a part too. Whatever the case, I’m finding comedy to be a true form of art; you need a delicate balance of psychology, wit, and charisma to do it well. It’s sad when you fall into a ditch and just simply butcher one joke after another. I’m sure there’s a term for that but I digress. God has a weird sense of humor.

The Godfather of Funnies

But how do you know that God is funny? Was Jesus humorous when he walked the earth? For many Christians, there aren’t many jokes written in the Scriptures so we get a picture of Jesus not being so funny. What a way to strip away Jesus’ full humanity! All too often we get partial information and then wanna make assumptions. And you know what they say about people who assume:

Can you imagine what it would be like walking around in Biblical times? No shoes. No socks; just rolling through the dust barefoot? I’m quite sure there were plenty of gorilla looking feet in Jesus’ day. They had to be grunting because there were corns somewhere, “Oomph, Grunt, Oomph, Grunt.” The Gospel portrays stories with obscure pictures. Like we take words for granted because words convey several different meanings.

Take Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist for example. Now we know that John was that grave; serious play-no-games type a man. Jesus comes to him and he’s like, you should be baptizing me Jesus, who am I to baptize you?

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Matt 3:15 KJV

Like what in the world is that supposed to mean? Suffer it be so now… WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!! I neva…neva…I NEVA NEW the word ‘fulfil’ had variant spellings. Like did John just baptize Jesus one time in the Jordan, or did he keep baptizing him in the water? Just baptizing him, taking Jesus by the head and dunking him over and over; double and triple dribblin’ Jesus’s head like a basketball, crossing over the Jordan, just DONKEYING HIM shooting buckets.

SWIIIIIISSSHH!!! SPLAAAAASSH!!! Btw, I totally agree with this tweet.

KevonStage is truly the MVP of 2020. Big shout out to Kev for being such a hard worker in bringing people joy. God Bless you sir; you bald-headed Negro you!

God has a weird sense of humor.

Alad

On palju valdkondi, mida rohkem teada saada, kes on Jeesus.

This is my attempt in saying in Estonian: there are many areas to discover more about who Jesus is

Jklpyjulia.

– This is Julia Richardson attempting to spell her name. She wanted to be silly so she spelled her name twice in two different ways. Yeah I know, it doesn’t sound British. Thank God!

It’s amazing what new information lies behind the door of inquiry. All too often in Christendom, we shun and demonize what is foreign to us when in reality it is another facet to everything Jesus is. Take for example the moment in Jesus’ Triumphant Entry. In the gospel of Luke, it appears to be that Jesus is riding two donkeys to fulfill prophesy.

4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
        and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Matt 21:4-5

Have you ever said or did something that you intended to affect your past, present, and future? I know the prevailing opinion is that you can’t change the past nor should you worry about the future. I agree. You can’t change the past, but you can certainly fulfill it. Did you see Jesus in the passage?

I got em shippn’ outlandish/

sailin’ from Kansas/

We birthed a new thing with this message/

It’s high art on a canvas/

Don’t take it for granted/

When I give you my two sense/

I’m a warrior not Lion King/

I got the Scars to prove it/

Where the lamp at? HADOKEN/

My fireball is lucid/

Watch out for the luci/

For Jesus’ comeback is gruesome/

This ain’t a threesome kid/

There’s only one Morning Star/

I see you didn’t choose Mars/

Let me give you these Chocolate Bars/

Could it be that when said that Jesus was riding on two donkeys, it was speaking of Jesus in different times: One coming to Jerusalem getting closer to His crucifixion and two, coming to Jesus through the womb of Mary. Because I find it hard to believe that Mary would be barefoot and walking with Joseph to Jerusalem while pregnant.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, (to the city of David,) which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5 ESV

How probable is it that Jesus is now riding upon silly beasts today to be united with His Holy City? The same city that I too wish to be united to.

Not HidDen

My love,

 You’ve seen the way I paved for us to walk together forever. Through the grace that is in Christ, it is finished; finished before the foundations of the world began. You have witnessed my spirit and the purity of my heart, albeit at times I (James) have made mistakes. You cannot deny the fire we made when you looked into my eyes. Now a city is coming down from Heaven; a city that wars against the ungodly and establishes Eternal peace. Though all of the saints of God are coming down, we can continue to stay in the heavens. Remember the gates that are on the earth and walk in the one where you will find me. For certainly the times of excess will not be expedient. Who else has made you feel the way that you feel when I speak with you? You feel my touch although I’m thousands of miles away. This is free game, and others will see and copy so that you will know who is the Prototype.

I James, servant and brother of THE MOST HIGH, the Lord Jesus Christ do communicate to you the gospel of grace and peace to you. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!

I can see Jesus performing stand up: There was this one time when John tried to drown me in the Jordan. God Bless You!!!

***DROPS (CO)MIC/MIKE***

17and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matt 3:17 ESV

Tuning to Channel F

Channel F

It’s that time of year again folks! And if you’re still eating ice cream in less than 30 degree weather, I’m going to be looking at you funny. How much you wanna bet that somewhere in the world right now, a snow bunny’s tongue got stuck to a popsicle?

Recently, I watched Netflix’s Docuseries, “High Score” about the History behind video games. Just watched the first episode and I found it interesting especially after learning about an unsung hero: Jerry Lawson. Now Jerry is a Black man who invented the first video game console to feature AI programming, microprocessors, and changeable ROM cartridges. Yeah, that’s right, Jerry’s console came before the Atari.

By Fire, Hiatus Kaiyote

A few things I find fascinating about his story: He was apparently a man who found so much delight in his vocation, he worked on side projects in his garage. He also was apart of a computer club where future Apple CEO’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak would collaborate. The fact that Jerry loved doing what he did and was able to achieve success amongst many other legends is a blessing from the Divine. Unfortunately, for many of us, we are still struggling to find meaningful work and/or develop relationships that would last a lifetime.

Three Ways One Can Find Joy in Their Work

  1. Do what you love: The saying goes to follow your passion, however it may be too risky to leave your current job to pursue it. Rather than wait to do what you do full-time, learn to do it on the side after your work or even integrate it with your job if possible.
  2. Smile more: Studies suggest that smiling can send neurons to the brain increasing happiness and improving mental health. While it may sound weird, it’s consistent with what’s implied by joy. Happiness is a choice. Being joyful is choosing to be happy over and over.
  3. Make it a game: Challenge yourself. Set metrics on every achievement you make and reward yourself for it. Humans are naturally driven by a clear set of goals and rules to follow.

Hopefully this list blesses you. I wrote it more for myself than for you, but I think we all can grow from this.

Role Playing

Because its’ so important to be able to find joy in your own work. If you can be content with how God is working in you, you are better positioned to celebrate the accomplishments of others. I intentionally said how God is working in you for a reason. No offense to the family of Jerry, but all too often we take for granted the narratives of other people or the scripts we come up for them. This is unfortunately true in the Black Community as we are quick to cancel each other and fail to support our endeavors. I know this happens frequently among the ‘Woke Community’, Black Liberation, and New Age Movement, however in the assembly that I commune in we simply don’t do that.

We are very innovative people who have set many trends yet we often leave our legacies in the dust in exchange for relevancy. I want to remind our people that our History plays an integral part in generating wealth as much as becoming financially literate. But more importantly, may our Christian family be focused on the game that we all have to play.

Shout out to Chicago’s very own Jahari Stampley! Very talented brother who I’ve yet to meet in person. Continue your work brother. You are inspiring many including myself. Much love for you.

Hate the Game, Not the _______

Because as a people, Blacks have went through so much and hindsight is 2020. If we are to recover as a people, we will have to learn the game and play it well. This goes for others who may share in some respects of our struggle; whether it may be not coming from a healthy home, or being in an orphanage etc. Play the game and beat your high score! But as a Christian man, I must warn you along with my Christian family that God has a game of faith for us and that we must give earnest effort to win that game.

“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:24

The Greek word for strive here means to agonize and was used to describe those who would compete in the Olympic games. I’m writing this to you so you may perceive what manner of mental, spiritual, and emotional gymnastics it takes for a man of faith to not only stand before God, but experience a real and deep connection to the source of all life. This is being written to you as there are souls who deposited deep things into me, and now Iowa to return the favor by quickening godly inspiration in you through words.

 If the only time you think you’re doing music is when you’re singing or playing your instrument, you’re likely missing the cues and ignoring ghost notes.

WILL YOU ALLOW IN YOUR CRANIUM THE SPIRIT THAT PROVOKES MAAAAAAANNNNNIIIIAAAA(IA)!!!!

< function myHeart(feeling, name) {

let emotions = feeling;
console.log(`I ${emotions} ${name}!`);
}

myHeart(“love”, “u”); >

Breaking the 4th wall

You’re probably thinking I’m crazy or a fanatic, and I will agree to you in a certain sense; I am. There seems to be a balance between order and chaos, temperance and unrestraint, the sound and the illogical. And I will state again the importance of narratives we read about others and ourselves.

Take Jerry Lawson as an example: Born on Dec 1, 1940 and died on April 9, 2011.

That’s what is said about him (no offense to the family). The question remains how do you know that that statement is true? Are natural phenomena’s the ultimate reality? Let me put it another way: Is the spirit of Jerry still alive and at work in the present day? Forgive me for such thought-provoking sentiments. It’s not my intent to push your buttons, rather I’m helping us to be aware of certain blind spots. Lord willing, we’ll talk more about Philosophical concepts like Epistemology and Solipsism as we explore different cultures around the world. As a Christian, these ideas are crucial in understanding Christ more and the probability of the current times. When we look at philosophies, we can either take a secular approach and remove the supernatural, or through acknowledging metaphysics and Biblical Epistemics, understand true godly worship in learning.

7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov 1:7

Because even Christian Nolan was inspired to direct “Inception”, a movie centering around the premise of being in a dream of dreams. And there’s nothing like thinking you’re awake when in reality you’re still asleep.

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 2 Thess 2:11-12

Don’t let entertainment and pop culture sedate you so much that you lose sight of Christ and the condemnation of the world. For the judgment of Christ will be cold-blooded and his damnation eternal. I don’t want that for anybody so let’s stay vigilant, have fun, and keep each other in prayer. I’ll keep intercession for you, yes I’ll scream for you.

How startling to consider that your waking moments may still be illusory, or that you are an avatar in someone else’s video game. Talk about playing the organ! You mean to tell me you’ve been playing the keys all this time and never once considered someone might be playing you? Ignorance is bliss I guess. Let me reiterate, I’m just here to make us aware of potential blind spots. If there is a God who loves the world so much that he will bring Himself to earth ridding everything that’s not like Him, then it would be wise to inform people we care about what God demands so we can get as many people on His good side. You hear me?

There’s still some people missing for the rehearsal. It’s not Err body just yet. You hear me? We’re hear/here. Should we pull out all the stops?

Or Continue?

A wise teacher once told me: If the only time you think you’re making music is when you’re singing or playing your instrument, you’re most likely missing cues and ignoring ghost notes. In my last blog, I gave a Mission Statement for what I will attempt to do with music. In the same vein, I’ll give a manifesto regarding Computers and Video Gaming.

Find what is Fulfilling

To learn, compute, and revere the Eternal Code. The whole code; more than just abstract syntax on a computer screen. It is the language that reprograms perspective and replenishes the present age and the age to come; the Logos; the Word of God that is intricately interwoven into the fabric of society and towers over the pious soul in humble servitude. How will we journey into this?

  • Self-awareness and it’s correlation to coding inputs and outputs: Proprioception, Geometry, and Calculus.
  • Thorough growth in theory and practice; through idiosyncratic and interpersonal programming, engineering, and manufacturing. The sciences studied will include but not limited to Linguistics, Computers, Genetics, Politics, and the Military.
  • Complete case studies including debugging, app development, and UX/UI design.
  • Video game therapy; indulging in pious escapism listening and seeing the parables of Christ.
  • Business and environmental development; creating devices and assets that appreciates in value; that is organically recyclable and traded as securities.  

Whew that’s a whole lot there! I already know how some of you are going to respond:

Pew, Pew! God wants us to know Him not through worldly wisdom.

Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew! When the Kingdom of Heaven comes, all of these things will pass away.

Ya’ll all up in the church.

Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew! God is about freedom, not manipulation!

Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew! The liberals!!!

Pew, Pew! The conservatives!!!

Pew, Pew! God is a god of love. He will never condemn anyone!

Ya’ll out here got us ducking and dodging! Just shooting and missing….but I miss you and I can’t stop thinking about you love!! Yes love, the force is strong with this one!

You know it’s easy to judge others when you ONLY have a dualistic mindset. And for those who are quick to judge my motives and these purposes, let me ask you a question:

Has it ever occurred to you that the Biblical worldview is more kaleidoscopic in nature? Like it’s static; it’s never changing BECAUSE it’s alive, organic and ever growing? Surely God’s truth is from everlasting to everlasting. Right?

5For the LORD is good;

His mercy is everlasting,

And his truth (<<what’s wrong with the word truth here?) endures to all generations. Psalms 100:5

(Can we cross-reference the word generations? What about that word is organic?)

May we be humble enough so that as God’s perfection comes, we begin to put away all that is in part. There is more than one way of looking at the Scriptures and the world we live in. Over time I’ll show as many others have preached in the past. If we will become children again, let’s enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Let the Spirit of God quicken us so that in paradoxical sobriety, we dream again.

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King quote
Daydreaming, Aretha Franklin

Hopefully, this blog is functioning as a framework for how we can change our world through every sphere of life in worship. Most certainly a Renaissance is brewing as we look forward to the city -and for those Christians who starve of community- the Church that is to come. Or, rather the city and/or church that has always been in our midst; even under our nose.

_____________________ FOREVER!!

Now doesn’t that sound familiar?

A few things you can expect from my family as we move into 2021. Lord willing, we will build on these platforms. If one door closes, we’ll look for another one:

  • Setting up social media accounts: Twitch for the sake of community gaming and talks about the Gospel. It’ll also be a place where we can discuss games we would like to see or learn to develop ourselves.
Unity Gaming Engine
  • Setting up a Unity account so learn how to develop games.
Discord
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  • Setting up a Discord account to build a Christian coding community while learning from other developers.

This is part of my passion so I hope it strikes a chord amongst some of you. My wife and I discussed this along with our other pursuits realizing how our path will look significantly different from those around us. Please keep us in prayer as God leads our paths. We are definitely embarking upon Unchartered Territory in a way that we believe will glorify God. We’re made to not merely follow trends, but to set them. Just in case you’re wondering, I still have no equipment to record music. I’m going to trust God to bring me back to a place of creating alongside with all of you. Until then, keep listening for the sound.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17 ESV

The Manuscript

Manuscript

My secret weapon is my wife. She’s the best judge. She’s a scientist and a natural reader. We’ve developed a detailed code for how she marks a manuscript, and I think it’s what saves me from wild digressions. – Erik Larson

A wise teacher once told me: If the only time you think you’re making music is when you’re singing or playing your instrument, you’re most likely missing cues and ignoring ghost notes. That lesson intrigued me for most of my time in college; it left a profound impression on me for years to come. I can remember one class I had while attending Berklee College of Music. I was taking Conducting 2 with a teacher whose name has slipped my mind. If any of my colleauges reading this took this class with me, share with me his name. We were conducting Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky. I felt nervous after my first day of class because I was chewed out and felt like I could fail because I was giving cues to the wrong section. I couldn’t remember where the oboes and clarinets were and the teacher was like, “I’m only gonna tell you this ONE time, so you better remember this…”

“1st violins here! 2nd violins here! Cellos here!…..” Fortunately, my mind was still # enough to recall things at will. Now a days, it takes a little more soul searching to vividly see things. I struggled that first week of class, but after that, I stayed up all night making sure I marked the piece up well, knowing when to bring certain sections in and out.

The Perfect Score

I wish I could say that was the only class I struggled in. I failed Counterpoint 2 in which we were writing ‘Bach Inventions’. Took the class twice and I barely passed the second time. I’m writing this to you so that we have a better understanding of what ‘true perfection’ looks like.

If perfect ˅ complete ↔ ???

God has the bop on everything, so don’t worry about who has a hit on you. Do your best to know who you are in + and do >. Let no one make you feel like anything <.

Fascinating quote I may add. Surely there must be some validity to that statement if we can see past the cultural and/or historical context in which it’s written. What you think?

The Perfect Rest

Well the other reason I turned down a lot of gigs was because of my wife. If she felt uncomfortable with me working with certain people, I wouldn’t take the job. If she felt like we weren’t spending enough time together, I tried my best to accommodate her wishes. I sacrificed my own desires for the sake of my family which is what any good husband would do. Godly men, if you are not willing to put down your own ambitions and goals for the sake of pleasing God and your spouse, do NOT get married. The same goes for godly women.

Unfortunately, these sacrifices would ultimately lead me to bouts of depression. At one point, it got really bad. Not because of my failures, because I understood that to be a part of perfection. Rather after defending my stance in talks of senselessness, I found myself blindsided by spiritual ambushes causing me to question my faith.

The Perfect Sound

Did God really say…? Why is this so difficult? Is there any mercy left for me? I did what good Christians were supposed to do; read the Bible. I glued myself to it to understand it more, but it wasn’t helping me. This was before I understood the whole truth. I did what I understood to be true in spite of what others would say; it doesn’t take all that, it’s not all that deep, you can’t do it, etc. It was when my wife and I got into a tense fight that I really questioned it all and abandoned the faith. It was then I didn’t care about anything, not even music. For at my very core, I couldn’t enjoy music if God wasn’t in it. I threw all of my equipment and instruments away. I didn’t even sell them. I stopped playing in church by the very principle. And yet, in America, a great number of Evangelicals would elect someone to the highest authority in the US, someone that couldn’t even be a deacon if you’re reading the Book. To say that I was disillusioned is an understatement, but a word for musicians if you are reading this testimony: Don’t let silence become your enemy because you refuse to listen.

It was the day the music died in me. And honestly, I can say that something else deep within me died as well.

The Perfect Rhythm

My wife and I separated and would remain that way for over 2 years. During that time, I went to find good reasons; good reasons because those thoughts really did cross my mind. After digging deep to find out my ‘Why’, I needed to also understand my ‘What’. I had no faith in love at this time because for me, man were entirely incapable of loving each other genuinely and fully, and that the greatest argument against the Christian God is how Christians ‘love’ each other. I studied anything and everything I could picking up the pieces of who I was to find out who I truly am. What blessed me more than what I read was what I wrote, for it confirmed a deep seated belief that my words were part of a cadence.

Don’t let silence become your enemy because you refuse to listen.

The Perfect Sound

Although I was regaining ground on who I was and rediscovering what my beliefs and my purpose were, I still found no real joy in music. I understand how weird that can be for musicians to hear. How can something so sacred become so worthless to someone? It’s easy for me to explain but I know it’s hard to comprehend the lies we tell ourselves about music. Apart from singing silly songs with Julia, my joy to create music again came from an unexpected source. You would think it would be from one of my peers. No, it would be from someone…if someone has the ability to reawaken the JedEye in you, they are a keeper.

Big Shout out to my brother Jordan Felisbret for making it into the Voice of Fire Choir. If you want to learn more about his journey, check out Voices of Fire on NetFlix. I like to take a pause here and say that I’m so proud of my music family; there’s quite a few of you up for Grammy’s this year that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Congratulations! I do intend to do a better job at supporting you and having your voices heard. Remember there is infinitely more things to accomplish and explore through and beyond music. Don’t short change yourself by working hard for mere popularity and a graven image. If you find any value in these engrafted words, answer your higher calling.

The Perfect Pitch

And so here I write out my Manifesto regarding music. I know many of us are gifted and strive to worship God as authentically as they can. My hope is that in reading my intentions, you’ll see that I’m striving to do the same.

Find what is fulfilling

To receive, create, and be in awe of the whole note. The whole note; more than just a quadric symbol on staff paper. It is the iconic emblem representing the lifeblood of the Supreme Musician; His majestic ring of heavenly hosts; the greatest of orchestras and angelic of choirs, nourishing the devotee to the satisfaction of their soul. What essential ways will this be accomplished?

  • Complete awareness of oneself and the sound: Kinesthesia, Syntonics, Mindfulness
  • Thorough growth in both theory and practice; both in idiosyncratic and transpersonal performance.
  • Complete reportorial studies including songwriting, composition, and orchestration.
  • Musical therapy through sound and other transfers of energy; Reiki.
  • Physics; analyzing the effect of sound and words on matter. – Manifestation
  • Business development – the ability to develop systems to create wealth through music spiritually and physically
Word Art

If somebody has the ability to awaken the JedEye in you, they are a keeper. Now you’re probably thinking one of four things: 1) This is the most boring thing I’ve ever heard 2) You have good intentions, but you’re crazy and you’ll never accomplish this  3) This is inspiring and I would love to join you in this endeavor or 4) You are nothing, you will never be anything and we will do anything to thwart your plans.

Pretty interesting right? And I think we understand why I would make this plan openly known. So that we’re clear and we know what it means for me/us to meet you/U in the middle. Assuming you want to do this journey with me. I’m not interested in returning back to doing gigs, merely entertaining people, or simply expressing myself. None of that.

This is about covenant for me. And I wanted to make sure this was finished on my wife’s birthday. Darling you know I love you and my intentions are pure even if they are still not fully understood. You know that I strive to protect our integrity. You know by now who been snooping into our business. At least one of us knows how to keep a code.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Col 3:16