Saturday, February 24, 2007

Going tomorrow to the City of My Birth: Jersey City, NJ

On tomorrow, I am scheduled to go back to the city where I was born--Jersey City, NJ and work for a week with my employer's offices there.

The last time that I was in Jersey City was in 1996 for a Smith family reunion.  Prior to that, I believe that it was in 1991 for a funeral and probably 1977 before then.

To say the least, returning there is raising multiple emotions, thoughts, and what ifs about where and who would I be.

What if my family at the ultimatum of my mother did not move to Nichols, SC in 1971?

What career path would I have been placed on?

What hobbies and lifestyle would I have if I still lived in Jersey City?

Would I still live if I lived in Jersey City and had not moved?

Thanks to Google Maps, I am able to see multiple places that I have vivid memories of but do not know how to get to and from.

So I am plotting my travels from a satellite eye's view.  I like to have a feel for a city now before I ever set foot on the ground.

At the family reunion in 1996, my mother and wife double teamed me on not exactly knowing where I was going to the point that I bought a map, studied it while they were taking a nap, and flawlessly drove from that point on.  I was waiting for them to compliment me on the improvement, but you know how women are:) 

They just rubbed it in more while laughing about it.  But I knew that they knew:)

I had a conversation with a first cousin Thursday night and he had not been back longer than I have.  Within the conversation, he mentioned that I would be safely "sheltered" while there and I realized that there were some areas such as the old neighborhood that I had better remember from the brief daytime visit in 1996 there.

I have no intentions of trying to revisit my past in depth on this trip, but I am planning on soaking up The Big Apple next door.

I have not been to New York as an adult and now working within the financial services industry, thoughts of being in the financial district is magnetic to me right now.

The New York Stock Exchange is not open to tours since 9-11-2001 and I do not have any contacts that could get me in as a working professional.

But to take a photo of the Wall Street Bull is going to be an objective on next Thursday for sure.

I may be able to see NASDAQ open that morning in the Times Square location as well and that would be totally cool.

To say that I am pumped up is indeed an understatement.

Another what if is after my bike accident last summer--what if I did not survive the experience?  I thank You God for keeping me alive and nothing in my life has been less than gravy since the experience.

I could just as easily be dead as these words are created.

Overall, this trip is going to be a memorable one and one filled with thanksgiving, gratitude, and wonder.

I thank God for my employer in having full confidence to send me to every call center outside of the one where I work.  Going to Tampa, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, and now Jersey City before celebrating my first anniversary of working for the company has made every experience in getting to this point worth it all.

I hold no grudges even against my entry point into the industry (first financial services employer) but I am more competitive to smash them in any way possible just to show them what their policies and practices pushed out the door.

This trip is to date the capstone of my experience within any industry of employment thus far.

As a minister, anywhere that people have been saved is a blessing, so the secular employment cannot ever compare.

Seeing someone get saved while in Jersey City would be a wonderful bonus though. 

I will share more how God moves throughout this coming week as well as have photos on my dotMac page.

God is indeed good and worthy to be praised!


Friday, February 23, 2007

Obama Has Energy While Hillary Looks Cheneyish!

I am glad that I have my roles clearly defined at least in my mind and do not have to make a tough decision in who to finance in their run for president tonight.

But history has taught me enough things about people and appearances to better understand human nature enough to make a solid prediction on who will win the Democratic Party's nomination for president.

I was just looking at some photos of the leading contenders' cross country appearances and fundraising efforts and saw some interesting things.

New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton suffers from the same problem that crippled former vice-president Al Gore's presidential bid before our nation was raped in broad daylight with the more than a conspiracy of events that happened in Florida 2000:  she is too busy trying to look presidential while it appears stiff, false, and untrustworthy.

I say this whether it is the right, wrong, good, or bad impression of her in spite of her credentials.

I remember seeing a photo of defeated presidential candidate Gore partying like it was 1999 with his hands in the air like he didn't care either on the election night or when the final decisions were made and if enough people saw their genuine warmth and zest for life, they would have gotten and will get more votes and donations.

But the attempt to appear presidential only builds the ranks of those who wish to throw stones without regard to the person's ability.

While I do not want or expect Senator Clinton to appear within the upcoming spring break season dropping it like it's hot, but I would prefer to see her shake the handcuffs and shackles that what would have been the right thing to do in decades past for a more lively persona.  Where is Chelsea in all of this?  Did she not learn anything from her husband and what attracted people to him right or wrong?

In looking at Illinois Senator Barack Obama's photos, he is having a blast and the charisma race is over in his favor hands down at this point.

Notice that I have not gone to the point of addressing the unspoken but visible elephant of race and racism and if American citizens are indeed at the point of electing a black man as president. 

Somehow I had felt as if a black man would finally be elected president after a nationwide toxic and dysfunctional American experience, but I may be right about this point after all.

Yet after looking at the photos and video appearances, the race is for Senator Obama to lose at this point because, Senator Clinton is looking like a before photo for either a spa treatment or cosmetic surgery.

All presidents' hair turn gray while they are in office and especially if they win a second term.  At this rate, I abhor to think of the impact of the stress of the Oval Office on Senator Clinton.

I firmly believe at this point that she would make a grand Vice-President with Senator Barack Obama as the presidential nominee simply for her health alone.  Standing at attention for a self-righteous appearance would drive anyone crazy trying to keep up appearances.

Cheney somehow would look at her and say "I wish I had thought of that!"

With so much on the line, it clearly appears as if the ball to win the White House could be dropped if candidates feel as if this is their only shot.  Right now, it would take skills that I am still having developed to see who has the spirit to "stand down" in order for the Democratic Party to win the White House versus going for the individual win.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Danger within "The Secret"

Last night, I watched an episode of Oprah on the DVD movie and book entitled "The Secret" and to say the least, I am deeply troubled by the discussions at the trap set for both the unsaved world and babes in Christ.

I went to YouTube and saw the actual multiple clip footage of "The Secret" and basically it is the offering of the following Scripture:

Galatians 6:7-8 (King James Version) with italics, underlining, and bold text added by myself:

 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

But the danger of "The Secret" is that it attempts to offer God's word without God and raises multiple identities and beliefs equal to the Son of God Jesus Christ.

There is nothing within the DVD, book, or Oprah's show that directly attempts to minimize the significance of Jesus Christ, but these venues attempt to elevate every other deity, route, or person of influence known and unknown to man to be equal with Him.

There was a Christian woman within the audience of Oprah's audience that had a look of confusion and clearly felt uneasy at the way the teachings of various experts and authors were lifting up "The Secret" and to comfort her, a minister named Dr. Michael Beckwith spoke to her from a Christian perspective.

But the conversation quickly moved to include other ways, doors, and routes to God which is totally contrary to:

John 14:6 (King James Version)

 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

I know that there is a lot of touchy feely, "you are empowered", within the teachings of mankind and televised programs such as Oprah, but clarity has to exist within the kingdom of God.

I admire everything that God has done within and through Oprah, but leaving the opportunity for others to occupy a position anywhere on the level of Christ Jesus is fallacy and eternally self-destructive.

One clip that I remember seeing live and on YouTube has Oprah attempting to please too many people while revealing that there is something clearly missing within her version and beliefs of Christianity.

After God's chastisement and correction for having opened the door to simply view "The Secret" that I received this morning, I know that I must share what I have received this morning as a result of simply viewing the movie and teachings.

The "law of attraction" is Galatians 6:7-8 expressed in an easy packaged way and it is indeed clever.  But what is need by more Christians including myself is to firmly explain God's word in such a way that will not leave any room for misunderstanding and misapplication for all Christians alike.

We must continue to use the bait and reward that God has already given to us without allowing it to be watered down and bring every other doctrine and wind to bring anyone or anything to equality with Christ Jesus.

Luke 9:48 states "And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great."

2 Corinthians 10:5 (King James Version)

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

To anyone that professes any other way to coexist and share the throne with Christ and claims to be a Christian I ask, where is the captivity and where is the sovereignty of Christ?

Another reference link on the movie itself has been located at Wikipedia. Please note the heavy push to market the movie that caused one speaker within the movie to request to be excluded from further activities.

I encourage each of us today to raise up the single banner of the Holy Trinity, march onward Christian soldier, and fight the good fight of faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In Him and only in Him, we move, live, and have our being!


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hats Off To The Colts, You've Beat The Best Team in the NFL:)

Well Super Bowl XLI is in the history books and the Indianapolis Colts have beaten my Chicago Bears by almost exceeding the margin that I expected the Bears to win by.
It was a great game and I still had a lot to cheer about especially at the game opening Hester kickoff return for a TD.
There was the conservative philosophy that said, "Don't let Manning beat you deep" but instead we let him beat us short.
I would have preferred seeing a change implemented to at least challenge him.
But hey, you cannot win them all and all you Saints fans enjoyed the game from home:)
We will be back next year and our defense is still equipped to bring the pain!
Here are a few observations from the game.
Congratulations especially to the Dungy family and I know that your faith has kept you whole.
My employer had advertised in the third quarter and the ads were pretty good. 
I enjoyed Prince at the halftime show and "Purple Rain" in the rain was poetic.  His time appeared to be shortened somehow.
The Toyota Tundra commercials were pretty good and the Budweiser commercial with the dog getting his spots through the mud was funny.  It never made me thirsty for one though:)
I have never been to Miami yet and everything about the city said that deep pockets is the requirement for entry.  I am so glad to have family and a frat brother there when the time comes to visit:)
Just hearing the Colts' CEO praising God on the international platform was fantastic and he did not hesitate to pass the trophy to Dungy.
Dungy's continued praise as "Christian coaches" is worth the Bears' loss on the scoreboard itself.
I now look forward to seeing the doors opening in unforeseen ways after this Super Bowl.
What a way for Black History Month to begin on this first Sunday in February!  Records were indeed made.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Turnaround Continues: Is Hip Hop Dead?

Last night was nothing short of a miraculous blessing for all involved.

Lives were given to Christ and multimedia content that contained negative lyrics and/or lifestyle were destroyed after an extremely powerful skit based on a real-life event.

Ministry does not get any better than this.

The youth were witnesses to gospel hip hop ministry which included myself and I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as learned something while enjoying the others who shared their music ministries.

I always try to learn something with every opportunity and the trend continued last night and should make future performances more powerful.

The skit that led to the youth rededicating their lives and the call that included the statement "maybe you were baptized at an early age and really did not understand what you were doing" really hit home with me with the realization that if children are baptized before 12 that a disconnect is possible if the church does not have an active youth ministry.

Everyone including God wants the children to come to Him, but we cannot allow a revolving door to exist back to a less than holy lifestyle.

At our home church today, we had rehearsal for Black History Month and the youth choir practiced as well.

I am beginning to receive the vision that our youth may be reached with a Saturday early afternoon event that could incorporate everything witnessed over the past 2 weeks and more.

Our vision is looking to incorporate more participants than just within our church as well.

More prayer and listening for direction is going to take place before such an outreach will begin.

Congratulations Greater Bethany, you made a smooth transition, and are blessing more than just the attendees with your efforts!  The kingdom of God is a clear blessed recipient as well.

The boldness for Christ was clearly being demonstrated last night and this is the trend that must be continued worldwide.


My Super Bowl Prediction: Bears by 13 Points

I am going on the record to say that I believe that my Bears will beat the Colts by half the amount they beat the Saints!

They beat the Saints by 25 and half that amount is 12.5, so I predict that Da Bears will win by 13 points!

Who is going to say "you told us so" when it comes true:)

Go Bears!


Google Has Done It Again To My Surprise! I Am Pleasantly Surprised!

Google is on a roll more than people really recognize.

It is not enough to have a company whose stock price soared upon its IPO and shows promise of going higher, but Google keeps innovating and releasing powerful products both large and small.

Today while using Blogger, I discovered that you can tie Google Reader and Blogger together and share any RSS article that you desire.

There is no faster way than to multiply information that you find relevant and worth sharing without doing a gigantic e-mail blast to people who may not feel the information is as important as you do.

But if there any frequent or once-in-a-blue-moon visitors to this blog, you may more often than not now find something that you would not have discovered otherwise.

I placed my shared Google Reader items at the end of each blog post in order that my shared items would have visibility on both the current items as well as each article as it may appear within a search engine result especially Google's:)

So just look below this immediate post to discover something that may not have crossed your radar before and be sure to check any of the above services as well.  Did I mention that they are all currently free?


Turn A Youth Into Producer of the Year!

This product that I am about to share is one of the most phenomenal software programs made for a PC.

I bought it within the past couple of years and have been nothing short of amazed at what it can do.

Hands down, this is the closest neighbor to GarageBand on the Mac platform that a PC can run. I have both and know the similarities well.

When you consider its now rock-bottom price of only roughly $30 (better price than any video game hardware or software on the market), I recommend that any parent, relative, or concerned adult or even big brother or big sister should buy this program called Cakewalk Kinetic for any youth who needs and deserves an outlet for their creativity.

Cakewalk Kinetic Groove Sequencer Software
Cakewalk Kinetic Groove Sequencer Software

There is a more recent updated version of the same software that retails at a higher price, but it also requires a stronger computer in order to run it effectively. Even if you were going to buy any other Cakewalk program, buy this software and effectively get a "previous owner of Cakewalk software discount" directly from Cakewalk.

If and when your young man or woman starts producing the next multi-platinum hits or the next jam to make you and your family and acquaintances move, please let me know as well.

I look forward to hearing their compositions!