Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All that from a Root Canal

Think on this…I have recently had a root canal. It was so much more pain then I have ever experienced in my life. To give some context, I am not one of those guys who have never been touched by true pain. I have been in riots, had the business end of an umbrella thrust into my jaw, I have been punched square in the mouth (split my lip, stitches), been hit by a car, and grew up with a black mother who believed in corporal punishment. I know pain. But, never have I considered reaching into my mouth, grabbing my entire jaw (teeth, gums, skull) and pulling everything out. The pain had a way of reaching around to parts of my head that were nowhere near the offending tooth. I have a big head so that is a lot of traveling. Are you getting my point? This thing hurt!

In between the throbbing pain, I had one lucid thought. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to endure the cross. I know that is way out there, but Jesus was a real in the flesh man, who went through so much more intense pain then this little tooth. The truth is I probably, due to some poor habit or bad genes caused this pain. He endured this pain for others. You see, I would have traded your tranquility, for my root canal in a minute. To get relief in that moment, oh yeah, I would have sold you out, sorry. Okay, I am not that bad, I wouldn’t do that to my mom, son, wife, or maybe 1 out of the 3 of my siblings (they can fight for which). But everybody else would have been fair game. Jesus died for us when we were not even thinking about him.No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person. But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful. But there is more! Now that God has accepted us because Christ sacrificed his life's blood, we will also be kept safe from God's anger.” Romans 5:7-9 All I can say is, Thank you Jesus…Just a thought.

Monday, September 28, 2009

That’s Just Crazy

Think on this…I recently had the opportunity to speak at 4 services at my local church. The outcome was, let me say, better then I could have done on my own. Basically, God did his thing. The crazy thing is that he let me be apart of it. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am a screw up on my own. I am not just saying that to sound humble, I am convinced that I am the last person God should ever want to do anything through. I still have struggles and challenges that I am trying to overcome, and more often then not I fail at that, I am simply a mess. To think that God, Almighty God would use me is miraculous and quite frankly hilarious.

Here is the really crazy part. I realize that I am not special. God loves to use some of the most unlikely people to do some of the most amazing things. So many people resist the loving urges of God to come forward because they either feel unworthy or they are trying to “get their lives together”. I have news for you, that simply impossible. Just like me, God sees how much of a train wreck you are and if you let him he would love use you too. "My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak. So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 You see, when God does great things through us, even in our broken state, that enables him to show how glorious he is. Everyone will say in that moment, “There is no way they could do that, there has to be a God”. He loves taking our mess and making a masterpiece…Just a thought.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Of Faith and Floods

Think on this…with the recent floods here in the Atlanta area my heart wonders where people are in the process. We can begin to ask, why God allows things like this to happen. The reality is that good people and bad people alike were affected. So, why did this not just affect the bad people? One thing I have learned over my years is that life happens. The floods came because that’s what floods do. I am not saying this to be callus because I care about people in my community suffering and am apart of them getting the help they need. The truth is we expect man made things like buildings, bridges, and retaining walls to remain forever and the simply can’t. (I do understand issues do to shabby work, just follow me)

I see people questioning God, during these times, and it breaks my heart. Now, I do believe that God is big enough to answer all questions, but the attitude that nothing bad should happen to me is just wrong. God never promised that our lives would be filled with ice cream and lollipops. But he promised that he would be there through it all. Jesus said, I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." Matt 28:20b That means that no matter what you go through he has your back, if you truly love and follow him. So to those affected by the floods you have my prayers. But, greater then that you can have all mighty God carry you through. I learned that lesson years ago when my house was flooded…Just a thought…

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Primary Care Giver

Think on this…since I am no longer working a traditional job I have the awesome opportunity to be my son’s primary care giver. Conversely, I have been very vocal about my daddy issues and my past, so this is an amazing chance to get some things right in his life that were wrong in mine. What some may not know is that I have a child with special needs so it requires a whole different level of focus and energy. I love that kid, but it takes a lot. He is an amazing little guy and I really enjoy our time together. I get him ready for school, put him on the bus, get him off the bus, and run him to his therapies. I am more worn out now then when I worked at my former job.

My wife shared with me recently that she believed he needed me now. I really feel that deep down. My son needs me. It has special meaning to me in light of my experiences. I have a chance to make an imprint into this young man that only a father can bring. I love how the bible says, I'm writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can't wait to tell you what you've done wrong, but there aren't many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. 1 Corinthians 4:14-15 It’s my privilege and responsibility to make sure this young man develops correctly. In a culture were dad’s aren’t given much credit, fatherhood is at premium in my household…Just a thought.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Transition

Think on this…I recently had a transition from my job of 10 years (on good terms) with hopes of more intentionally focusing on my life’s work. The funny thing is that no one prepared me for the in between time. You see sometimes the dream is differed momentarily and I (we) can grow weak while waiting. There is often distance between doing what you know to do and the moment where God brings the dream to fruition. I am in that waiting place and it is excruciating. If you are in that place also I want to encourage you, the journey is not over, there is hope.

The challenge in the waiting is not that your desire has not arrived; it is believing that God can bring you out of that place. We can be so consumed with the reality of our situation that we forget that God is bigger then your dreams, and hopefully he is the one who placed the dream in you. For when it is a God dream you can rest assured that he will bring it to pass. “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God's purpose prevails.” Proverb 19:21 You see if you are dependent on your abilities alone then either your dream is not big enough or you are wasting your time. In my transition I am learning to trust God with my entire life, I trust you to do the same…Just a thought.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Daddy wasn’t there!

One of my favorite movie songs is from Austin Powers. “Daddy wasn’t there”, was the song the lead character sang to somehow deal with his abandonment issues related to his father. The story goes, even though he is a super spy that all the ladies love, he still struggles with his daddy issues. I fully understand that premise as a child of abandonment. I didn’t really think of myself as an abandoned child until I was well beyond my child years. The fact that I never met my father didn’t really register on my radar because in my neighborhood only one child had a live in father. Several had dad’s that would visit on occasion, but by and large the projects where I lived was a father free zone.

Although, I didn’t know it had a profound affect on me. My self-esteem was very low, I joined a gang to feel protected, and I still have issues with physical contact with men. If a man (even a good friend) sits next to me and his leg or foot is touching me, it freaks me out a bit. I didn’t realize that until I saw how my son loves to cuddle and rub my facial hair. Some other people have similar stories, where their daddy issues affect their lives too. Whether they had an overly permissive dad, that let them do whatever, or an abusive father, or those rare few with adoring fathers, daddy problems are rampant in our culture.

The biggest problem with daddy issues is not that it screws the child’s life up. The biggest problem is that all mighty God relates to us as a father. Jesus teaching us to relate to God taught, "This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven…” Matt 6:9. If you had an abusive father the tendency is to think God will abuse you. If you had a permissive father then you could be left thinking God doesn’t really care about what you do, or how you live. Or if you had an absent father, like me, you can think God either isn’t there or doesn’t care. None are true. God is not the refection of your earthy father, but rather the perfection. It took me a while to realize how much God loved me, and in him I see what real fatherhood looks like…Just a thought.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Narcissism…How rude!

Think on this…we’ve had recently had a string of celebrities officials and athletes behaving badly. Whether a stream of expletives in a critical sporting moment, an inappropriate outburst during a presidential speech, or my favorite an interruption during an award shows, I wonder what is wrong with people. I think we are in a totally narcissistic culture. What do I mean? Everyone thinks that who they are and what they think is the most important thing in the world. It’s covered with, “I just had to say”, or “I think”, but the truth is not everything we think or feel should be expressed. Who do we think we are? Why does everything need to be about us, all the time?

I think about marriages, many fall apart because instead of serving the other person, people would rather be served. Parents often choose their own happiness over their children’s, that is covered with, “I need to be happy too”, forgetting that being a parent means that you are to sacrifice for your children. Then, what is with the whole Tweeting about every little thing going on in your life? I understand some basic info is good, but I don’t need to know when you use the toilet or go to the OBGYN. You are not that important! Neither am I.

Christians are just as guilty. We use the fact that we are telling people the truth to say the worst things in the worst possible moments. Saying the right things at the wrong time in the wrong way is still wrong. The Bible says, Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” I think we would be able to offer solutions to a narcissistic culture if we behaved better. For God’s sake, life is so much bigger then just you…Just a thought.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Think on this…One of the most powerful words in my life is the word almost. We can use this word in many ways, like I was almost famous. Or I was almost rich, or married, or whatever good thing we’ve missed out on. But, what about those things that you could have done, but for some reason you didn’t, and now afterward you are glad you didn’t. For instance, that late night rendezvous that never happened. Or the engagement you were longing for that never came (later finding out they were crazy). These are the decisions that would have radically altered your life for the worst, but for some reason things worked out differently.

Now, how you interpret these situations is largely based on you belief system. Some would call it luck, but I believe God is looking out for us even when we are not thinking about him and about to wreck our lives. I don’t know about you, but I have done my share of dirt, both pre and post Jesus. (I am just being honest) Sometimes I can be stuck on stupid! So, I have learned to be thankful for the things that I have ALMOST done, like almost losing my mind, and almost quitting, and almost getting tied up in bad business deals. I used to hear people talk about how God was a keeper, now I think I know what they meant. For as much as he let’s me get into, there is much more he keeps me from. To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” Jude 1:24 I am happy to thank God for the almost times in my life…Just a thought.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today is a hard day. I think everyone remembers where they where when the planes flew into the world trade center towers. I remember sitting in the office of a former coworker and we were just speechless. We all knew that life would forever be changed in that moment. My thoughts were racing, but one thought is still clear. I remember wanting to be left alone in a room with whomever was responsible. At that moment your political leanings didn’t matter, race didn’t matter, and even religion mattered in that room. A Muslim coworker was present and I remembered thinking how bad he must feel thinking they attackers were probably of his faith. It was a surreal moment! Then days later the stories came in of heroism and tragedy.

Years later I am reminded of all of those thoughts and all the lives lost that day and since then from war. I think of how life has changed for us as a country, but what about the people who lost loved ones. For them there is a more present since of lost, one in which I can’t even imagine. The children who have lost parents, the spouses left behind, and to think that their lost is not even private as most of us know in the face of death. They have to share that moment with the entre country. So, my heart and prayers go to the families who still bare a heavy burden. God bless you.

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.” Matt 5:4 …Just a thought.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Working together…

Think on this… I used to have very low self-esteem. Some of it emanated from a lack of a parental father figure to instill a since of worth, as a father myself I get that now. Then some came from a seemingly extended awkward period. It was rough trust me. When I had come out of that awkwardness I still saw myself as awkward. As a result many (especially the ladies) saw me the way I saw myself. Back then it seemed like the end of the world. It didn’t help that two of my best friends were loaded with charisma, even though they went through their own awkward stages. As a result I walked with my head down, and shoulders slumped over.

Looking back at those pictures I wasn’t a bad looking kid. I spend a lot of time trying to get back to that, although the hair is just gone L. And speaking of the hair, no sooner then I realized how attractive I had eventually become I started losing my hair. So, when I became a Christian I was not thinking about my looks. I focused on what was within, because in my mind that is all I had. By my second year of college everything changed, I discovered this beautiful head under a quickly receding hairline for one. I was the cute guy (at least my wife said so), my posture was changed because I believed in who God was making me into. The amazing thing was I became attractive from within, and then carried it on the outside. If things happened in another sequence I may have not developed the inward confidence.

This is how scripture reads, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 God knows how to orchestrate the right circumstances in your life to develop exactly what you need. This is a message of hope…Just a thought.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Special People

Think on this… I have had so many people in my life that have added to the quality and the direction of my life. I had a rough childhood so I was often left feeling like I didn’t belong. Now, my mother did the best she could with what she had, thank you Mom, but she wasn’t given much to work with considering her parents past away when she was young. So, I had developed an uncanny knack for finding people who were willing to pick up strays. I always had places to go and people to hand with, I am friendly and that worked to my advantage. Whether it was with the Fisher’s, or with Mike and Damon (RIP-I miss you) I had places to go. Then there was Eileen Haynes, my Nanny (I miss you too) who took me in like a son. I had some amazing people.

We can sometimes because of our own self-sufficiency refuse the help of others. The Bible says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 We are not meant to live alone; you will need someone’s help at some time. I would not have made it if not for the Brayboy’s, and the Williams’, and the Crute’s. We all need someone….Just a thought.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back in the Day when I was Young…

Think on this…I have been very nostalgic lately and it’s causing me to think about my upbringing. I come from a small town in New Jersey that most people have never heard of and those who have heard of it try to forget it. It’s a tough little town that many people try to drive through, and not stop. But, it’s where I am from and it is filled with people I love. Perhaps the reason I have been reminiscing so intently is because a dear friend has been posting pictures of a young Damian, long before Da Wise One on a popular social networking site. Looking at that young man and how he saw the world I wonder if he every envisioned living the life I now live.

Back then he never thought he would be anyone important. Many had told him that he would be nothing, and not much was expected from him and he lived down to those expectations. He was a nice kid, but was prone to loose it in the right situation. He didn’t ever imagine that others would someday be reading his writings; he thought he was barely literate. Now, knowing who he has become I am overwhelmed at the reality that God loves me and had a better plan for me then the one I had for myself. I shouldn’t be who I am, based on where I am from, and what I have experienced. The crazy thing is the journey is not over yet! I still have more living to do, that’s so amazing. The bible tells me why. 
”For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 The same way God loves me he loves you. I am so glad that he knows the plans he has for my life, because his plans are amazing…Just a thought.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Think on this… People have much to say about race and color. In this country things are very black and white. Literally! Which can be funny to those in other countries where the differences are not so dramatic. Some would say that since the U.S. has a black president we are in post-racial America. So, the question I am led to ask is, should we be colorblind? Should we not care about race? Many Christians push this philosophy that we are all the same, and race should no longer be a matter. But is that right?

That does not seem right to me (before you start arguing with your computer screen), let me explain. My ancestors have gone through a lot for me to be here. Being stolen from their homes, the middle passage (slave ship export), slavery, the Jim Crow south, oppression, have all played a part in the person I have become. I don’t want to do away with, or ignore, or forget about that. Now, I don’t believe that I should use that to have a victim mentality, or blame “whites” for my life circumstances. But, colorblind seems to devalue the history from which I have come. Jewish people refuse to forget the holocaust, and no one should make them feel bad for that. Their history has value and is important to them and us, for that matter.

I love it when the Bible says, Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. “ Rev. 14:6 That means that in heaven God notices the different colors and cultures and is intentional about getting them all around His throne. That means that God is not colorblind. He sees different cultures and loves them all. So, love who you are and what you come from, and allow others to do the same. Variety is the spice of life. … Just a thought.