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Trusting God!

November 5, 2018

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My wife and I had a candid conversation about trusting God with our hearts. We talked about my career path and her career path … mostly mine.

For example, I love the idea of pursuing a Ph.D. and I may do that sooner than I think. But, I also like the idea of earning more training in the media realm, particularly Journalism and Creative Writing and even Graphic Design (Art, Illustration).

When my wife Rachel and I attended a nearby college preview day to see what they had to offer, I was really excited by what I learned. Then came the questions … does this make sense, will this work, and so forth.

I’m learning not to cringe if I get excited over various topics or ideas that light up my heart. Where do we learn that “cringe” feeling over things that light us up, the things that make our heart soar?

My guess is shame. That among other issues of course. We feel like we can’t have certain things in life because we are either not worthy of it and God certainly wouldn’t want us to have certain things … or we lack believe that God is a giver of good gifts.

Matthew 7:11 (NKJV)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Theirs just some things that God will not let me have … at least not yet. And it is not because God is cruel, unloving and unfair. Far from it! God loves me and loves you, and often times I see that love in play when He withholds certain things from me that are not for me and gives me the things that He desires to give me out of his abundance and out of his love for me. This is actively God’s Grace and God’s Mercy. His Grace and Mercy means way more to me than material things.

Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

My wife spoke this point to me: “trust God with your heart!”

Note, not “trust your heart,” or “follow your heart.” We both knew that could lead to some very interesting, treacherous places.

So, in the midst of all of the questions I have about what’s next, I have learned to just relax and see the Lord in the midst of it all. We want to be sure not to lean on our own understanding of the issues of life, but to reach out to and acknowledge the Lord in our life … the Lord of our life … trusting God and Christ Jesus as we go forward.

 

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A Merry Heart

September 5, 2018
"Angelo Rules" by Team TO and Cake Entertainment

“Angelo Rules” by Team TO and Cake Entertainment

 

One of the things I’m grateful for is a “merry,” or cheerful heart. My wife woke up one morning to this scripture she shared with me … Proverbs 17:22 …

A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

It has been days since Rachel and I read that scripture and discussed it in length. We know that there’s a lot going on in the world, our culture, our own life and our family and it can be kind of tough to actually be “cheerful” or “merry.”

It has actually been really nice that she’s been reminding me of how cheerful I always tend to be. In fact, the running joke is that I don’t really need too much more caffeine because of how cheerful I am most days.

Usually you have to wait for the holidays for that, right? A dozen or more genuine “Merry” Christmas responses should do it, right?

But, what if it was a choice.

What if we chose to see the blessings that God has given us. I woke up that morning because the Lord so willed for me to be up and alive that morning. I have a sound mind. I have a portion of health and strength. But, more importantly, I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And that’s enough to be cheerful about.

But, note the wording in the scripture. “A merry heart does good, like medicine….”

The world is full of things in front of us by which we can medicate ourselves. But, the end result will only be an artificial cheerfulness, an artificial and temporary “merry” state, a temporary happiness.

“A broken spirit,” sadness and desperation is draining. It is completely opposite of being cheerful. As the text says, it “dries the bones.”

But, when we find ourselves in God’s Word, spending time in prayer and consistently focusing on Christ in our circumstances, the real medication for our ailment of sinfulness, we can have a “merry” heart, which does good like medicine.

Message: Keep Creating

January 22, 2018

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On a cold, winter day, my wife and I ventured off to Northpark Mall in Dallas, Texas for an art event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.

While there, I had the opportunity to share advice on the creative process and what it took to get my webcomic started:

Do Not Stop Creating

Keep creating the art that you create. Why!? Because, in this day and time, our lives depends on it.

So much is going on and people should express themselves and share their story through art and creativity.

Step Outside of Your Box of Influence

Learn and grow and do something different and challenging. Learn from other groups, other people and other cultures.

As you learn and grow, you’ll find your work influenced. But, also, you’ll find your work get better and better.

I could never have created the webcomic that tells the story of middle school students had I not worked in Youth Ministry or had I not worked around young people who are in the process of growing up.

Keep Telling Your Story

It is so important, now more than ever, to tell your story.

My story is of the kid who was “different” and struggled to fit in. But, I’m in a different place now and I’m a better person in spite of the struggles I’ve been through.

Telling your story could inspire and encourage someone else whose either hesitant or going through really deep and difficult challenges.

Remember Those Before Us

Because of Dr. King, we were able to share with one another and celebrate the freedom we have because of the fight for Civil Rights.

There are countless others throughout history that we should remember and recognize who have made a difference for the rights of women, minorities and people from various backgrounds.

I create what I create in an effort to exercise the appreciation I have for those who went before me. I create because I know I have a story to tell and I’m blessed to be able to do so. I create because I know someone else needs it.

It’s fun for me, but it may be therapeutic for someone else too.

Free To Speak

March 17, 2017 — 3 Comments

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On a Friday morning I had a chance to go to the barbershop while I was out of town in Oklahoma City.

You know the experience especially if you’ve ever ventured into a predominantly black barbershop. Their’s that familiar sound of electric clippers humming in the background, boisterous conversations over the current affairs of the day and sometimes you get a hint of background noise from the TV or radio.

I normally don’t go to the barbershop, but this time, I had a chance to experience this very familiar moment once again. The discussion between the barbers and the people in the shop turned from who was the best quarterback in football to the president and the congress and finally to race and culture.

As I sat there, I quietly listened. It reminded me of the times I was a little boy. I would sit and listen to this adults go back and forth until they were blue in the face. But then it hit me…I am free to speak now! I actually have a voice! I am an adult with the privilege to share my views and analysis.

One gentlemen said a few things I both agreed and disagreed with. I listened intently to the man’s take on race, prejudice, life, women, politics and much more. My arms and legs were crossed and my eyes slowly wandered as to avoid staring.

As I was getting my haircut, I felt this deep, bottom of my stomach urge to speak up. I really, really, didn’t want too. Seriously, I didn’t!

I mean, what could I possibly contribute to this conversation? What would happen if I did say something? Who would care? Why would it matter? Who on earth needs to even hear it? I don’t have the background, experience or anything to back up what comes out?

The conversation was finally over! I realized I just about lost my opportunity to speak up. I felt like such a loser at that moment. A really deep part of me demanded to speak out and I kept silent.

But just as I was about to give up, the conversation started back up.

I added my two cents! A consensus was made with a very understandable group of men who heard what I had to say. In fact, they even demanded more depth from me, which I might add was pretty cool! Here I am, a young guy being asked to expand on my analysis in front of men who were several years older than me.

Deep down, this very real, masculine, powerful and vocal part of me wanted to speak out and I almost missed out.

Why!? Because we short change ourselves! We doubt if we really have what it takes. We doubt if we could make a difference. We sit back and allow things to unfold and cower in the back.

The experience at the barbershop moved me from being the boy who sat back and watched to a real man with real perspective and real insight.