I haven’t been on social media for two weeks. The horror!
However, terrifying that was, I learned many things. And many miracles happened, see.
First, time is so precious and limited. I had so little time to do all I needed and eliminated social media to rid the distractions and focus. My goal was to capture and mine the gold of every minute in every hour of every day while I observed and measured the impact on my relationships.
And let me tell you – amazing results. But, there was still not enough time even after eliminating social media for a bit. On the other hand, there was no shortage of contacts and connections. In fact, I hardly had time to keep up with my old and especially new friends.
I learned much about the people I was meeting and about what they were doing. The opportunities that emerged from mere conversations were mind-boggling. My conversations were real, simple, filling, and refreshing. Continue reading “Lost in the Real World”
I can’t figure HIM out. He is somethin’ else. Our heavenly dad’s ways can be frustrating at times, won’t you agree Making us wait when “It don’t make no sense.” I mean who does that? Doesn’t it bother you how sometimes He seems to be talking with you about something trivial like He didn’t see the elephant in the room?
Like “Duh” Jesus, hello…challenges here. What’s up with that?
But, He will be who He will be. The meaning of I AM THAT I AM (Not hating Jesus, just saying). Anywho!
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt 5:9)
Yesterday, I was at a Diplomatic Peace Summit.
The speakers consisted of Sikhs, Monks, Hindu Priests, Bishops, the Former President of Ecuador, Heads of various Parishes from The Americas, and one of my friends, Angel Roman, who was representing a fledgling Peace Initiative.
In attendance were thousands of young people, the general public, and honored guests. Thundered applause electrified the room from start to finish as each speaker gave their 3-5 mins speech in native lingo. Angel’s mother shed tears of joy seeing her 20-year-old boy made his entrance on the International Stage. Quite moving.
Then, came the SHOCK wave that pulsated the room and left me breathless!
Last night, I was going through some archives and came across this description of the Kingdom of God that moved me and has since shaped the way I approach life. I heard it from John Paul Jackson of righteous memory on his show, Dreams and Mysteries on the episode – The Kingdom of God. It was worth sharing today.
On that episode, the scene begins with John Paul sitting down with a woman. He begins talking about the inner life. Then shifts to the subject of the Kingdom. He talked about the woman’s inner issues which he noted were mostly spiritual. Then, he said –
Because it is spiritual, they require some change. One that begins inside of you more than anywhere else.
We all live in a kingdom and there are many kingdoms.
There have been many kingdoms of men throughout history.
They come. They go. They rise. They fall.
But, there is a kingdom. A kingdom above every kingdom that spans far beyond the limited kingdoms of men. One cannot see the castles on earth of this kingdom because this kingdom begins in the heart. It begins inside of us.
This isn’t a kingdom of politics or economics but of brotherhood.
It has an aristocracy not based on dominance but on service.
It has a house of Lords but it is not filled with eldest sons but of selfless brothers.
It’s not a kingdom of pride but of humility.
It knows no greed but fosters selfless giving.
It’s a kingdom that does not banish the weak but offers to make the weak strong.
This kingdom is the kingdom of heaven.
And in the final analysis, how we’ve lived our life in this kingdom is all that will matter.
There are some things that God wants to do that begins inside of you that’s going to change everything in your life. But it is going to require you accepting His only begotten son.
That kingdom begins with Jesus and with you accepting him and his sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins and payment to help you draw near freely and boldly to God your creator who longs to be a good father to you.
As I near – The Promised Land – I can see it. I see the difference and I can see why its hard. I see why it’s counterintuitive. Don’t get it wrong.
First, let’s see what you think.
In the Books of Exodus and Numbers, we read about journeys. They are strikingly similar and hard to tear apart. In both books, the people of Israel are on the journey which ends in sin and then, destruction. In Exodus, its the golden calf and in Numbers, the story of the spies. In both, God threatens to destroy them and restart the journey with Moses. And in both, Moses pleads for Israel.
Now, the difference. According to Rabbi Sacks, in Exodus, the people are departing while in Numbers, they are arriving. They have left Egypt far behind. Unlike in Exodus, in Numbers, the people are not looking back or thinking of the danger they are fleeing from (Egyptians chasing them at the Red Sea, Amorites etc.). Instead, they are thinking of the destination they are traveling towards, The Promised Land they are about to enter.
One would have thought that as they approached the promised land after escaping many dangers, they would be more relaxed, happy, fruitful, and less demanding. On the contrary., they become more rebellious. Moses becomes more tired, telling God to end his misery (Numbers 11:6) and is now easily prone to anger and despair. He becomes less likely to listen to God, acting on his emotions instead of swiftly obeying the Lord’s command to “Speak to the rock,” INSTEAD OF striking it.
And reading through it now seems like God is calling me out on it (ouch).
“Fill out these one-page surveys and bring them to us when you are done. Be honest. We will like to know how we are doing and how you enjoyed the conference.”
To be honest, the conference was a blast. I had so much fun. I learned so much. I made friends. And I had a breakthrough sharing the most vulnerable part of my life with a complete stranger who also took time to reciprocate.
I thoroughly enjoyed this leadership conference. The people, the dancing, and two-stepping to folk music was a refreshing experience. So, how could I accurately convey how I really felt? On this survey, words were not permitted. Only checks in boxes. And as usual, the survey read –
“From 1-10, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst, rate your experience. How did you enjoy this conference and was it helpful?”
How then could I convey everything I was feeling? Selecting 10 would reflect the outcome but, not what the conference and the people did for me. I need to check this box in a way that filled the page with the level of joy and gratitude I wished to express.
Skid Row is a popular block close to Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles. It is home to the homeless. Tents pegged everywhere, smells, garbage…and then men, women, and families.
It is home to some good people who made mistakes, good people with unfortunate stories, people with good stories who made poor choices, and others.
Yesterday, I saw miracles on Skid Row. I saw miracles in the streets. But first,
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… (Mt 25:35-42)
For about two weeks, the Holy Spirit seemed to pull strings inside of me, pointing me toward that end. So, instead of the regular dose of Sunday Service and Sunday Netflix, I decided to follow Him. And the entire day turned out to be one big divine appointment.
Sometimes, you meet people who just light you up. Following mother’s day, I thought I’d share about a woman whom I met and listened to last week. She reminded me so much of my mom.
Speaking of Mrs. Mom, I called and read Thank You Mrs. Mom as a gift for Mother’s Day since she is so far away. Well – she sobbed. Scary stuff. But, it made her happy. Oh…and the defense? I think I did alright. Presentation was good. But, I could have done better on one or two questions.
Back to our Motown Sister.
I shared a leadership framework which I use to analyze different leadership styles called Sharp Leadership which you can use to carry a vision, your people, and their conversation. Speaking of the Sharp Leadership rubric, it includes five core principles which are:
(i)- Tell the truth, (ii) Be accountable, (iii) take care of your people, (iv) give/receive feedback, and (v) be fair
Based on that rubric I want now to talk about a Soul Sister.
Say hello to an achievement model and a conflict resolution legend. This role model embraces her roots and culture and colorfully champions BET’s “Black is Gold” and “Black Girls Rock” theme in her person like a hashtag representing ethnic pride on different social media frequencies. Quite simply, she is – A Rockstar – whose passion keeps her forever young.
Ms. Avis Ridley-Thomas is that Rockstar. In my observations from dealing with people, I find that the type of music one listens to says a lot about them and about what moves them. Like a Celt, I was curiously searching for the reason for Ms. Avis glow throughout her lecture in order to musically explain her inclined leadership style.
Though she listens to all kinds of music which explains her love for diversity, I may have been sidetracked in my attempt by her preferred love for Motown which compelled me to express a hint of pleasure during her lecture class. I wonder if my reaction was childish. But, I can explain my engagement as delightfully professional.
So, why does she listen to all types of music?
In the words of the Rockstar herself, she said, “It is because I can hear all the talents that people have.” This was music to my ears. Though her statement may sound like “Old Skool” slang, as a fellow Motown lover, also nicknamed Motown for the love the genre, I am certified to translate her wisdom as –
I am currently working on my Master’s defense. But, I just had to squeeze out time to brag about the person who has made it physically, financially, mentally, and emotionally possible for me to be able to do it.
I’m talking about an African Queen, Mrs. Mom.
She is one tough cookie. She is sharp too! In fact, she is so sharp you could get cut standing right next to her.
If I told you about her, you’d feel like you just got served a slice of heaven. She is dubbed the Iron Lady, has one “hell” of a right jab, and knows how to groove to the beat people. If Michael Jackson was alive, she’d beat him hands down on his moonwalk.
So, I forgot to write something in time today. My bad! I was writing a defense for my Masters and briefly stopped to write about what God is doing.
First off, thank you all for reading my posts. A special thanks to Maurice for sending encouraging words and prayers. God bless you. I just figured if I am ever given a chance to tell my story, I would need to be deeply vulnerable. So, “Why not start here?” Isn’t that what a blog is for anyway?
Last weekend, I found solace keeping it real with big brother J.C (Jesus). As it says in Hebrews 10:22, “Draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings.” I did and this past weekend, I found comfort and peace. But, that’s not the surprise I want to tell you about.
See, while I was vacationing on the wild side of Catalina Islands, I discerned the Holy Spirit leading me to write a short book for diplomats, leaders, visionaries…in Africa. Of course, I questioned my ability to do that. But, I wrote down the idea.
Since, I returned, in the midst of the pressures and trials, somehow, I finished it in three weeks. I realized that even though I didn’t know much, the more I wrote down or typed what came to me, the more the words came forth. It was beautiful.
Then, I started drawing and came up with illustrations for theories that just blew my mind. I was in awe of what God can do when you just let go and let God. When you just swiftly and completely obey.
But, this is not the surprise.
During the weekend, I was just thanking God in the midst of the tasty challenges comprising of disappointments, loss, betrayal, and criticism…when I got a phone call. It was from Mike, a former Hollywood actor, entrepreneur, cyber security buff..whom a friend had recommended me to months ago.
Apparently, Mike had been working on a project and while praying discerned the Spirit leading him to call me and discuss ideas, find out what I was doing etc. When he first reached out, I was at a loss. I didn’t know who in the world he was. He had to remind me.
Anyway – we talked and he told me about things he was doing in Africa and how he was working with this CEO from Africa and how they agreed they need ideas, a framework etc. to help diplomats engage communities, entrepreneurs etc.
Well! How about that?
I just cracked up and explained that all the questions he just asked was what I just wrote about. I told him of the sense of urgency from the Holy Spirit to do it. I’m glad I obeyed. Then I told him of some other stuff and it just blew his mind.
He’d just been reading the scripture which I used to create these frameworks for gold medal peak performance for business and leadership. Halo! And what did I have to do with it? Absolutely, “rien du tout” (nothing at all). God is good, ain’t he?
Wait! There is more.
People of stature – Marine Captain, Innovation Strategist, Ambassador, City Inspector… – are accepting my request to review it. How is this happening? Man, God is good. Oh…and there is this Pastor whom I met who is reading it to. He was so kind to me. Our meeting was a kind of divine appointment. Unplanned people, unplanned!
Wow! This is bigger than I expected. God is good. Consider keeping me in your prayers.
I write to encourage you and me to keep being faithful, pressing on, and never –
“Become weary of doing good for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – Galatians 6:9
That said, you need to hear this Old school jam remixed by Dmitri from Paris. Listen! Its got your boy #Motown here sliding to the goodness of God and looking up, trusting His process, and looking ahead with faith.
God throwing this surprise at me as well as me finding this jam is no coincidence. I think its God inspiring me to become miraculously lost in the music of His unconventional ways and in the music that is life.