Alton Sterling

alton-sterling-10Another person killed by police. It’s becoming an all too familiar headline. Same story, different name. But not just a name; a human being.

I hear people say, “They need to take responsibility for their actions. They should not have been ________ (fill in the blank),” referring to the victim. Let’s say Alton Sterling was doing something more than selling CDs in front of a convenience store. Let’s say he did threaten someone with a gun that led to a 9-1-1 call. Can we honestly say that the events that subsequently transpired were the best course of action?

The consequence for Alton Sterling was death. The punishment does not fit the crime (if some crime was committed). Not to mention, if a crime was committed, he was not allowed due process by the justice system to be proven innocent or found guilty.

I’m not playing the race card. It’s what has been dealt. I won’t wave the black banner for justice and civil rights. That is not where my hope lies. I wave the banner of Jesus Christ – the banner of compassion toward people who are suffering and forgiveness toward those who wrong others. Let God bring justice; and I will bring love.

Too Good To Be True

We see it every day on social media. Donald Trump or Mark Zuckerberg giving away loads of money if you just share a post. Don’t we all know if it’s too good to be true, it probably is? Nothing in life is free. But is the Good News too good to be true?89299_orig

The Gospel is that all have sinned, but if we repent of our sins & accept the free gift of salvation given by Jesus Christ, we’ll spend eternity with Him & enjoy the benefits of a relationship with Him while on this Earth. Other religions make you work for it. Muslims must observe the five pillars in hopes that their good deeds outweigh the bad. Buddhists go through a cycle of rebirth, following the Noble Eightfold Path until they reach nirvana. Hindus go through a cycle of reincarnation based on karma until their good deeds are good enough to achieve oneness with God. Christianity is the only faith where salvation is free, while the others take work.

Anything worth having takes work, one may say. But what if the work has already been done for you? Jesus Christ has finished the work & given salvation to you. All you have to do is accept the gift. The good news is that the Good News is true.

SHAKEN worship album

cover_releasedateMy desire is to bring people into the presence of God where only He can change them. I’ve been leading worship since 2009 and writing music since 2011.

I’ll be releasing my first worship album, “Shaken,” on October 30th, 2015. This album will take the listener into the presence of God where He will move and change their lives, bringing healing, deliverance, and a personal encounter with Him.

This album is a unique experience, crossing genres, to bring a fresh sound to worship. From rock to country, and worship to dubstep, this album has something for everyone. It will have you jumping on your feet and rocking it out, then bring you to your knees in intimate worship.

I find inspiration from worship artists, such as, Jesus Culture Band, Kim Walker-Smith, Bethel Music Collective, Fearless Bnd (formerly Worth Dying For), and David and Nicole Binion. I also enjoy Lecrae and the other Reach Records artists, plus For Today and Sleeping Giant.

Stay tuned for more information and details on how to purchase this album.

#alllivesmatter

Mike Brown… Darren Wilson. Eric Garner… Daniel Pantaleo. Walter Scott… Michael Slager.

We’ve all heard these names. These recent killings have sparked movements across the nation that focus on injustices that appear to happen to a specific group of people. While it may be necessary, it can also inadvertently breed an underlying current of division because of these categorizations.

i-want-to-be-here-ferguson-protests-lure-many-from-across-the-country-2a703f7e566aa30dThe person who may or may not have acted completely responsibly and innocently matters. The person who made a mistake, exercised poor judgment, or even consciously made a horribly tragic choice still matters. No matter what side of the equation, the people involved are still people, whether they were right or wrong.

We must be careful to not dismiss anyone as invaluable, regardless of their actions, while we push to raise the value of someone else. To get to a better place, everyone must matter.

Jesus died for all lives. To Him, all lives matter.

Kanye

Musical artist, fashion designer, celebrity… ego-maniac… Yeezus?
Kanye West has been the center of much genius and much controversy, the latest being the “Book of Yeezus,” a so-called bible that replaces
every use of “God” with “Kanye.”

The creators of this book ask the questions:
“If the Bible, the most singularly significant publication in the ancient canon of western tradition, were updated to reflect our modern society, what would it look like? Why does Kanye West take such outsized significance in the lives of many?” They describe it as “interventionist art” for the “new age.”

So what is it about Kanye? Is he one of this generation’s gods? What makes him so appealing that the masses want to follow, even worship, him?

It’s a complex idea to sort through, but my point here is really simple. What if Kanye used his influence and artistry to bring those masses to Jesus Christ? What if he took Paul’s approach – follow me, as I follow Christ? So many celebrities have huge followings and major influence. It would be worth so much more if their message was one that changed your eternity.

“One & Done”

Four freshmen led the Duke Blue Devils to win the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball national championship. Now the questions remain: who will return, and who will be “one and done” and enter the NBA draft.

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Attitudes toward whether young athletes with supreme talent should go pro or continue their college career/education span the spectrum. But are comments like this Senator’s tweet necessary? Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but your opinion doesn’t make their choice wrong.

More often than not, I feel there’s no hurry to go pro. Finish your free education and continue to develop as an athlete and mature as a person. Your talent will be even more refined once you reach the big leagues, and you’ll have a fall back plan should something go awry.

But, on the other hand, it’s an elite group of people that even have the skills to make it in professional sports, and an even smaller percentage that have superstar success. So if that’s you, and you feel it’s the right decision for your life, then go for it.

New Year: 2015

Happy New Year!

2015 Happy New YearEveryone gets excited about a new year. Whether you were happy with the previous year or glad to leave it behind, everyone looks forward to what lies ahead in the new year.

But it’s not the number of the year that matters. It’s not the fact that January 1st comes around again. It’s what you will do with the new year that is important.

Without a plan, you can go through the same motions of years past; but with a vision, you can make the most out of the year that lies ahead and make strides in fulfilling your purpose.

Get a vision. Set goals. Take action.

Share your vision for 2015 in the comments.

 

Bad things. Good people.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

With good comes evil. With every superhero comes a villain. With Superman comes Lex Luthor. With Batman comes the Joker.

As much as they will to save everyone, sometimes things go wrong & bad things happen. Sometimes the bad guy unleashes destruction that impacts anyone in its path. Sometimes it seems that evil is running rampant, while humanity searches for someone to save mankind. But the hero always shows up at the right time. He always saves the day. He always wins, and everyone is okay.

There are two forces at work in this world – good & evil; God and the devil. Bad things happen because of the devil. But God is always there. He shows up just at the right time. He always saves the day. He always wins, and everyone is okay.

Sometimes bad things do happen. But don’t fret. God is in control & He is bringing good to you.

batman-and-superman

It’s not all black & white…

… literally & figuratively.

Throughout controversial and tense events covered by the media, there are a few takeaways I have gleaned:

  • Get the facts.
  • Issues are about right and wrong.
  • We need to change our mindsets to not focus on human characteristics, but human character.
  • We all must take responsibility for our own actions.
  • If we listen to each other, we can learn something because there is more than one valid perspective.
  • Don’t generalize.
  • Avoid division.
  • We are not required to choose sides, but have compassion for all.

z_jur-p-04-UnityIn a fallen world where justice is lost, let righteousness be found in us. I’d rather be wrong for the sake of love, than right for the sake of my pride.

 

Starry Night

I love a clear night when you can look up and see the stars. Such a beautiful scene.

Man has explored space, discovering stars, planets, galaxies… even venturing out into the unknown, where no man has gone before to do the impossible in uncovering the mysteries of this other world of outer space.

This is God’s creation – this great expanse of sky sprinkled with glittering lights. Man can search and search, but will never come to a full realization of the magnitude of the Heavens. Looking at a starry night sky from a human perspective on Earth is just a glimpse of God’s beauty.

2954748262_46d3dcca87I see Your beauty in the moon.
I see Your beauty in the stars.
But there’s more beyond this sky,
For this is just a glimpse of who You are.