Archive for Faith

Happy Birthday to Me! and Malcolm X, Kevin Garnett, Joey Ramone…

Posted in Birthday, Faith & Religion, Life, people, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Rick

…and Ho Chi Mihn, Pete Townsend and last, but not cute, Grace Jones!

I used to be full of crap now I'm just full of Joy!

I used to be full of crap now I'm just full of Joy!

Today I celebrated birthday number 33! While my joints feel the effects of 33 years of too much stress my spirit has never felt more alive. I have a core of friends and family that love me for who I am, I have two incredible jobs, two precious children to love and develop, and I have the most wonderful marriage a person could hope for. I think back to mid February of 1996 when I effectively alienated everyone that meant anything to me and I was forced to evaluate the abysmal choices I’d made to that point and purpose to do something different going forward. At 18 years old my life was marked by deceit, selfishness and foolish pursuits. To shorten this epic, I recommitted my life and decision making to pursuing Jesus Christ and the will of God. I didn’t get it perfect but I sensed more of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my heart and the things I thought were important before that time didn’t seem as urgent or relevant any longer. At my lowest, I never felt God could forgive me for my transgressions or use me to do anything for Him or anyone else. I thought I was eternally sidelined. That turned out to be a lie from the pit of Hell. I realize now that the brokenness I experienced in my youth was fertile ground for God to begin His work of restoration in my life. I believed I could plot my own course to success and joy but that left me outcast and irrelevant. Living for Christ has afforded me joy, respect and purpose. I credit all that I am and all that I have to God and God alone. I firmly believe had I continued life under my own guidance I would not have a story of celebration to report today.

Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I will abide in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

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A Great Memory of Wayman Tisdale!

Posted in Early Death, Life, Music, NBA, people, Sports, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by Rick

Another great memory of former NBAer and musician Wayman Tisdale, shared by his friend, saxophonist, Kirk Whalum. This is one of Wayman’s  first public messages after having most of his leg removed due to cancer. Inspiring!

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more about “A Great Memory of Wayman Tisdale!“, posted with vodpod

What if…?

Posted in Early Death, Faith & Religion, Family, Life, people, politics, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2009 by Rick

That’s a question my father always asked when explaining to my siblings and I the travesty of abortion. He was conceived as result of date rape. In 1957 his young mother was faced with two unpopular options. She could abort my father, justifiably by many standards. She was young, severely underemployed, and the victim of rape. Her other choice was to have the baby, knowing its father would not be around to support it, and place a heavy burden on her lifestyle and those that loved her. Praise God she chose the later. My father was raised with the support of his mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles, and some close friends of the family and he lived to play significant roles in the lives of his mother, his birth-father, everyone that helped raised him, his eight siblings (papa was a rolling stone for REAL, but found redemption and reconciliation before death) and countless others. My father is now a devout Christ-follower and  a successful husband, father, church elder, friend, brother and business man. His story of triumph in adversity is not an anomaly, but the testament of millions like him who were given a chance to live despite the odds. It all started with mothers’ selfless decision to say abortion is not the only answer to unwanted pregnancy. Granny exercised the audacity of hope.

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SOME of the family

Today I saw a video that my friend Ben Washer posted on his blog after seeing it on BET. It’s not sponsored by a political party, person or organization but by the Fidelis Center for Law & Policy through CatholicVote.com.  I don’t know if it is marketed beyond BET but when I saw it I thought, “What if…?” Like dad, I pondered “What if this man and his unique path had never been actualized?” What would that mean socially and politically in America?

It’s painful to think that our new President, with my vote, will push legislation allowing mothers to snatch hope, potential and possibility out of the hands of deserving lives.  The unborn won’t have the opportunity to follow  in his footsteps. It’s like getting to Heaven and closing the door on those behind you. On this issue, I pray his political rhetoric was just that.

For the record I am not a one-issue-voter. Had the election outcome been different this post would be on a different yet equally painful attrocity in government.

Prayer Answered

Posted in Faith & Religion, Life, politics with tags , , on November 7, 2008 by Rick

God,

I’d like to thank you for a very peaceful and well-run election day. No vote tallying controvercy and no violent demonstrations. I am reminded of your sovereignty during this whole process. Thank you for your trancendence.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Tested YOUR faith today?

Posted in Comedy, Entertainment, people with tags , , , , , , , on July 16, 2008 by Rick

I think Hollywood gets too much credit for being the entertainment hub of America when places like Kentucky, West Virginia and Alabama provide endless entertainment without even trying. Case in point, observe this church in northern Alabama.

The Holy Spirit has totally cheated me out of that involuntary jerk thing they do.

Goodbye or Good Riddance? Sean Taylor

Posted in Football, Sean Taylor, Sports, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2007 by Rick

I’d like to state for the record that I titled this piece in a way to grasp attention. As you read further you will hopefully understand that I am reasonably grieved over this tragic occurrence. But the media’s poor handling of this story and casual attitude towards the loss of a human being is much more troubling to me.

I am an avid sports fan. It can get to sinful levels when it comes to NBA basketball and NFL football but I’m sure I’m not on an island in that department (don’t mean to excuse transgression). I was not shocked to hear that Washington Redskins safety, Sean Taylor had passed away after hearing a description of his injuries. I was hoping for the absolute best, but a gunshot wound near the femoral artery is not a good situation to recover from without immediate medical attention. I instantly thought of his family and the child he was leaving behind and I nearly cried. I felt for his friends and teammates who would be left to wonder what happened to their brother. As the reports came in it was difficult to hear accounts of the incident without the disclaimer of his ‘questionable past’. The footprint of his criminal history seemed strategically woven through each head and tag line. Once the pundits finished reporting Taylor’s history of indiscretion outweighed the sorrow of his death. A previous break-in, alleged threats, past DUI’s and a spotty up-bringing all trumped the travesty of a senseless death. What police are deeming a random burglary gone horribly wrong, is being heavily scrutinized and doubted by many of sports’ talking heads and it is raking my soul.

Colin Cowherd, Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon, Jason Whitlock and Doug Gottlieb are just a few names of sports columnists and commentators who have brought light to the fact that this crime was more likely provoked by Taylor rubbing an old associate the wrong way. It bothers me so because the truth of this story is only beneficial to the Taylor family, Miami-Dade Police and residents. Why dig into this story unless the intent is to assist police in bringing the assailant to justice? I don’t get the feeling that Colin Cowherd is solving Miami murders from a radio studio in Bristol, CT. So why all the talk?

I believe many of these writers, much like there tabloid contemporaries, rush to identify the Sean Taylors (I am not condemning him) of the world as bad elements so they can sit back and say ‘See? When you do wrong, bad things happen to you’. This is the credo that helps them all to sleep at night. They also confide in the converse of that statement ‘If you work hard and do right by others good things will happen for you’ and at the very least no horrible things will happen to you. The truth is much more difficult to digest, especially when you don’t believe in an all knowing, all powerful God. Here’s what Solomon of the Bible says to that:

Ecclesiastes 7:15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:
a righteous man perishing in his righteousness,
and a wicked man living long in his wickedness.

Solomon was not God but God allowed him to write this and include it in His holy book. Solomon notices that sometimes good people meet calamity and an early end though they are blameless. He’s also seen evil people live long, seemingly worry-free existences. Thankfully, God has promised that he will not forsake the righteous nor will he ignore the wicked. He promised it would happen but always on this this side of the sun.

Back to Sean’s judges. Random deaths and adversity don’t add up in the ‘get-what-you-deserve’ context. The safe theory is that if you stay out of certain neighborhoods, distance yourself from ‘thugs and gangstas’, mind your business, pay your taxes and take care of you then things will be fine. That’s the kind of thinking that leave many shaking there fists in anger and confusion when the formula falls short of expectation. The assurance of authentic Christian living is that God does not deal in the random. God allows and often causes things to happen, both benefit and calamity. You can rest assured that even when an event seems fortuitous God has a purpose.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything (good and bad),
and a season for every activity under heaven:

No smart person would be arrogant enough to claim to know God’s intention for allowing an act to take place. It can be comforting to think that a perfect God is in control when it feels as though no one is. Sean Taylor’s death, untimely as it may seem, was allowed to happen for some reason. It’s not up to ESPN, Fox Sports radio or anyone else to speculate. The media can, however, help by reporting the facts and speaking well of an imperfect life that still made lasting positive impacts in the lives of family, friends, sports fans and teammates.

Sidenote:

As I complete this entry Miami-Dade police have arrested four youth in conjunction with Taylor’s murder. Confessions have been made and a gun was recovered. It appears at this point that this was indeed a robbery attempt that took an unintended fatal turn. I hope this changes the tone of media coverage.