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Purpose Driven Life – Day 36

Purpose Driven Life – Day 36

36 Days Down! 4 Days to Go!

Today’s chapter is the start of the 5th Purpose – Mission.

This chapter definitely reflects one of the newest additions to my relationship with God.

The idea of sharing Jesus was so odd to me just a little over a year ago. It would make me uncomfortable or I would think, “oh I don’t want to offend anyone,” which I still don’t want to do. However, I started thinking about all the other experiences (Spelman, Study Abroad, Fulbright) that I have had that I share with enthusiasm and passion and with ease. Then one day I just said to myself, “if I can share these things why not Jesus?”

Over time I have learned that I don’t have to share Jesus the same way with everyone nor do I have to be like those soapbox preachers who stand on street corners in major cities sharing the “good news” by scaring the bejesus out of people (“Isn’t it ironic…don’t cha think?”). As I have shared a bit on other days of this journey, this is an area of my relationship that I am working on and its getting better but I still struggle. However, this chapter definitely helps me get additional understanding on this area.

Mission? What?

Growing up as a kid, mission as Rev. Warren describes it in this chapter was not something that was talked about in my church. Sure we had a Missionaries Ministry and I remember digging in my little purse or pockets to find spare change to put in the offering plate on “their” Sunday (Cultural clarification-Some churches take different offerings on different weeks in addition to the normal general offering and tithe) but my understanding was that was the money the church used to help people physically not spiritually. Now the latter could have been going on but I don’t remember that being shared on a Sunday but I was a kid.

Honestly, I never really thought about mission as a sharing of my faith until much later and even then I didn’t have a positive view about it thanks to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who have knocked on my door over the years. Actually, I still remember when a Mormon came to my host mom’s house in the DR when I studied abroad there and she was sharing her faith in her developing Spanish. She was going so fast I couldn’t even tell her that I was a US Citizen and spoke English until after she finished. Anyway, as you can tell by earlier statements I have a new understanding about missions.

In the book, Rev. Warren starts the chapter by declaring, “You were made for a mission.” He continues:

God wants you to have both a ministry in the Body of Christ and a mission in the world. Your ministry is your service to believers, and your mission is your service to unbelievers. Fulfilling your mission in the world is God’s fifth purpose for your life.

Why Me?

Why not you? Based on what we have learned in this book, you have a unique purpose and you have a unique gift and by not fulfilling your purpose and sharing your unique gift someone on this planet is missing information they need. This also is true for sharing Jesus. Someone needs to hear about how you “came to Jesus” or came to a deeper relationship with God because that story will speak to them in a way that only your story can. Rev. Warren encourages us in this area when he shares that:

There are people on this planet whom only you will be able to reach, because of where you live and what God has made you to be. If just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life will have made a difference for eternity. Start looking around at your personal mission field and pray, “God, who have you put in my life for me to tell about Jesus?”

Additionally, Rev. Warren shares that:

The clock is ticking down on your life mission, so don’t delay another day…This does not mean you should quit your job to become a full-time evangelist. God wants you to share the Good News where you are. As a student, mother, preschool teacher, salesman, or manager or whatever you do… [Emphasis mine]

I mentioned earlier how I enthusiastically share with others various experiences that I have had. Because of this sharing, I know that there are people that have been and are going to Spelman College (including a family friend who starts in just a few weeks :D), have or will be going abroad while in college or have been on/are pursuing Fulbright grants because I shared my experiences with them and shared how these experiences changed my life. The changes these experiences have made in my life include, I know I would not be as successful as I am in graduate school without the support and foundation Spelman gave me and I know that I would not be fluent in Spanish if I had not studied abroad and I know that I would not be a PhD student if I had not gone on my Fulbright to do research and fall in love with researching.

With Jesus, the changes that I have made include being more patient, being more forgiving, not falling into the trap of addiction and more…Now, my new challenge is to share Jesus and these experiences in my own unique way while connecting with people. Lord willing, some day I will be able to say with confidence that, “I know people that have accepted Jesus because I shared my journey, the good and the bad, with them.”

It’s All Greek to Me…

If while reading today’s chapter or this post, all of this seems weird or unnecessary or any other adjectives that may be coming up for you…skip to the last section of the chapter called “One More for Jesus,” and then consider going back through the rest of the chapter.

Still not convinced? Check out this clip from Shindler’s List which touches on the importance of doing your part:

Today’s Question to Consider is, “What fears have kept me from fulfilling the mission God made me to accomplish? What keeps me from telling others the Good News?”

The fears that have kept me and keep me from sharing Jesus with others is fear of isolation, fear of being talked about/outcasted and fear of being a “Jesus freak.” I also had fear of the rejection around people saying no to Jesus (though learning more about witnessing and sharing Jesus I have learned that it is not up to us to “save” people it is only our job to share so this has helped in this area). The above fears also keep me from telling others the Good News. The other thing that keeps me from sharing is time – do I have time to have this whole conversation and deal with people’s “stuff” around God, religion or Christianity.

Enjoy your day!

DNMP

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Purpose Driven Life – Day Lucky Thirteen

Purpose Driven Life – Day Lucky Thirteen

Lucky number 13 🙂 Thirteen days down and twenty-seven days to go!

I actually got a sneak peak last night of today’s chapter when I didn’t read a twitter post I saw too well. Basically, a former classmate wrote a reflection of the chapter which I enjoyed from what I read (I plan to go back and read the full post after I post this).

Be that as it may, today’s post is about worship, authentic worship. I like this chapter mainly because it is moving away from saying that a particular type of worship is better than another because its not. This chapter was also a good check for myself as I have found myself getting on a “high horse” about how other people or churches worship or not worship.

I love the part of the chapter when it exclaims:
The best style of worship is the one that most authentically represents your love for God, based on the background and personality God gave you.

The chapter also gives an exercise that I want to try at some point, when I’m not studying for PhD qualifying exams. The task is to try praising God without using popular words like praise, hallelujah, thanks or amen by looking up synonyms for these words or other words not commonly used.

However, one of the best lines in the whole chapter is and today’s OjO is, “Real Worship Costs.” As is shared in the chapter, people can worship in many ways. You can be quiet, loud or even run (I go to a running church and I ran in the church I attended in Seattle…its quite refreshing try it sometime :)). However, if what you do isn’t authentic or in spirit and truth as the Bible instructs, its useless (Though I do feel that sometimes you have to “fake it, till you make it” and have your hallelujah anyhow moment but this should not be a 100% of the time thing). For me, the idea of “real worship costs” gets to that spirit and truth idea. If you are not giving of yourself, which is a cost (to me at least), than its not real worship. Real worship is an acknowledgement that it is not all about you and is the ultimate answer to that famous phrase by Real “Housewife” of Atlanta Sheree. “Who’s gonna check me boo?” well God, that’s who! So letting God check you through worship and other things is a cost paid via authentic worship.

To close today’s Q2C is, “Which is more pleasing to God right now–my public worship or my private worship? What will I do about this?
For me, I would say my public worship is more pleasing to God because its probably more consistent and authentic however at the same time I could also argue that my private worship could be more pleasing because God knows that this is an area that I am working to get better at so for me to come out of my comfort zone to give Him authentic worship at home/in private; He knows that it took some work on my part. As far as plans go…just to keep pushing myself in worship and finding new places and ways to give Him authentic worship.

Have a great day!
DNMP
 
 

When By Any Means Necessary Goes Wrong…

When By Any Means Necessary Goes Wrong…

So I recently read a recent post at Ed the Sports Fan called “Kobe Doin Work.” In this post a guest blogger shows how Kobe is hungry for this current title and how Kobe has been “Doin Work” his whole career to be as successful as he is. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a Lakers fan and I am not a Kobe fan either…I’ve even tried to prove & if I ever get time will re-try to prove that he is not as great of a player that people say (I know I know…its crazy I feel like a JFK or 911 conspiracy theorist or something when I share this opinion with people). Anyway, I am going to put my un-rational personal feelings aside and try to analyze the pattern that is discussed in the Ed the Sports Fan post and share “When By Any Means Necessary Goes Wrong.”

Based on pure work ethic even a non-Kobe fan like myself can admire when a person works hard and achieves greatness but the biggest question I had when I read the post is if you hurt, dismiss, or discredit most of the people around you to achieve greatness have you really achieved anything? I get that in the pursuit of your dreams there are some that you may need to “check” as they are truly hindering you getting your dream especially when this occurs through ill measures. However, I feel that Kobe has done this on such a level that its like his achievements are tainted. And this is why at the end of the day it is hard for me to state or stomach that he is one of the greatest players of late 90s/early 00s NBA history.

For example, The Rev states:

In 2001, already one title under his belt playing along Shaq, he found himself matched up against his home team. Kobe grew up in the Philadelphia area. His father played for the Sixers. Now it was time for the city’s favorite son to do his city proud, talk about how honored he was to be back home on the game’s grandest stage, discuss his love for Philadelphia while doing all in his power to be gracious to his home town while acknowledging that he was out to beat the Sixers anyway. Instead, the first words out of Kobe’s mouth when asked about returning home for the Finals, he very coldly, very flatly said nothing other than he wanted to rip the city’s heart out.

I completely understand the need to focus and go for the win but dismissing the town that helped form if not set the foundation for you as a player (you lived there, your father developed as a player there which I’m sure he took some of that knowledge and placed it in you…) and you can’t even take a moment to say for example: I’m a Laker now and I have to focus on bringing the title home for my team but this [Philly] is where a lot of the seeds of who I am as a player were planted so thank you Philly but Go Lakers! In the words of Ed Lover, “C’mon Son!”

Moving to 2002 and the Western Conference Finals game 6 when Kobe elbowed Michael Bibby in a “drive” to the basket (watch the video of the moment here & here) to try and win the game. It is hard to be rational here because unfortunately the NBA didn’t institute instant replay for playoffs until this season and all we rationally know is that NBA refs did not call this game fairly (go here for review) but I think this is an example of Kobe doing what it takes by any means necessary to be great even if its risking a technical foul or worse the injury of one of your co-workers. Accidents do happen in sports but usually players do what they can to avoid causing serious harm to other players even when the goal is to tackle them.

When I think about Kobe and some of the actions he has taken in his career I just think about how much have you really gained in this process if you have harmed others in the process (thought to be fair Kobe isn’t the first or the last player to do so). Sure Kobe has money, fame, a few sports records and even his wife (thanks to 7 or 8 carats??) but what happens when that all goes away? Endorsements shift, Lebron or some other young buck will break your records and people leave. Was being a cold-blooded killer as the The Rev states Kobe is in the post that inspired this post  the way to go? I would be really interested in getting into Kobe’s head to see if he feels any remorse for the people he has stepped on and over to be so “great.”

Were your efforts really worth it Kobe? So is Kobe an example of when by any means necessary goes wrong…what do you think? Though as I close I think, maybe I should have written the post on how do we get sports back to being about sports and not profit & fame because as I close I see more and more that Kobe could be as much of a victim as victimizer along with most of pro-sports players…but I’ll save that for another day.

 
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Posted by on 10 June 2010 in Basketball, Culture, Ethics, NBA, Sports

 

What I Learned From Oscars Tweet Coverage: Actions Speak Louder!

So I am trying to write a paper that I should have started a month ago but I am also checking my Twitter feed periodically.

What I have learned tonight via Twitter is that Precious/Mo’Nique won some Oscars tonight. I also have read a series of complaints about the film winning surrounding these victories perpetuating stereotypes about Black people and or women. I do not disagree with most of these complaints and I did re-tweet some of them. I also acknowledge that when Denzel Washington and Hallie Berry won Oscars a few years back I was VERY irritated for the same reasoning. How Denzel did not win for some of his other performances where he played characters that uplifted Black people i.e. Malcolm X (love him or hate him he did help wake up Black America to action against decades of discrimination and self hate) but won for being a corrupt cop highlights SO much of what is wrong with Hollywood. Additionally, the same can be said of Ms. Berry, she won for playing a strung out, deadbeat mother who was “hoish” in some of her actions and choices (I take full acknowledgment of the controversy of the term “ho” but I do have a paper to get back to so…just know that “ho” helps perpetuate the stereotype that women are to act angelic and not express their sexuality openly and men are free to put it where they can fit it whenever they can fit it. Take a feminism or sexuality course to dig into that!).

So moving from the controversy over films like Precious, Training Day, Monster’s Ball with a splash of all the push back I have read over the last year over Tyler Perry’s films and TV/TBS takeover, this is what I am reminded of this evening – the old adage “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”

Sounds simple and it is easier said than done (no pun intended) but if you did not like what you saw this evening at the Oscars or in previous Oscar years don’t just tweet about it – do something about it. Some suggestions include:

  1. Find out your gift and then work it (related to film or not).
  2. Support independent films (most of the good cinematography that does not perpetuate negative stereotypes about people especially black and brown people will not show up at the megaplex).
  3. Make a film or support an organization that encourages historically marginalized groups to do so (check out Black Girls Rock or Reel Girls)
  4. Get into the industry or support those with such gifts to do so (The Oscars are decided by a committee/The Academy. The more diverse this body becomes the better  the nominations and the higher the probability that films like the ones listed above will not win).
  5. Stop supporting “garbage” however you define it. Now this is where the idea of Catch 22 comes in because on some level some may feel that its best to support something so that something does not turn into nothing. Some “garbage” I no longer support is mainstream hip-hop music, the Big 6 mainstream media (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC)  and BET or Black Exploitation Television as I like to call it. I like to plug TV One, NOW on PBS, Grit TV and Democracy Now as much as I can as to date these programs do a better job of representing Black America (US) or the news than the programs I now boycott).
  6. Educate someone/share with someone one of the above actions. Now, do so with the spirit of love and openness and not with a spirit of superiority or as a lecture. Dale Carnage said it best, “criticism puts people on the defensive,” so share with a smile. An example of this is share a link to an interesting news story like this one: Hundreds of Thousands Take Part in National Day of Action to Defend Public Education)

The six items above should get the ball rolling. Do you have other suggestions? What is the “garbage” you no longer support?

Finally, my hope is that this wave of dissatisfaction with the status-quo of Hollywood and the films by people of color that get mainstream recognition turns into something more fruitful than a great tweet or a trending topic. Now, back to that paper I’m supposed to be writing…

 

When your house is no longer your home…

The holidays are a great time to be with family, reminisce and have your favorite fatting food! But recently I have acknowledged that the holidays are also a time to see how just how far you have come. For example, last year, I realized that the house I grew up in is no longer my home. Don’t get me wrong-I love my house and my room is still my room not my mom’s new office-studio but it is not my home which is why this is titled, “When your house is no longer your home…”

Last Christmas I came “home” from the Dominican Republic and after four months I was SOOO ready to come back to the States so that I could make some local phone calls, get a fast home internet connection and speak English to more than two people. However what I found once in the States is that making those phone calls, getting that fast home internet connection and speaking English was well…over rated. I also discovered that I was lost- I didn’t recognize the music on the radio, I found myself craving verdes and maduros and that it was hard to express myself completely in English. Part of these feelings were a classic case of the “grass is greener on the other side,” but part of these feelings were me, me realizing that after four months Calle Proyecto Numero 37, El Portal, Kilómetro Siete y medio had become my home. After the holidays, my arrival to the Dominican Republic was like a homecoming. I was never so happy to see Dominicans. Even in the U.S. airports I just knew when I was approaching my gate because the dominicanisms became more and more apparent: the LARGE boxes to bring back to primos and hijos, women wearing four inch heals and even the baseball debates- How about those Yankees? Once I landed en La República it was a sigh of relief: I recognized the ads on the walls, the actions of the people around me and even better I could sing along to the songs on the radio!

This year I have come “home” from Seattle once again after about four months of living there and once again I find myself having the same feelings that I had last year…that this house I grew up in is no longer my home. I mean the house looks great, my parents have completely redecorated the place, but I find myself missing the First Avenue Bridge, vegan cookies & sweets, even that nasty I-5 and being able to recycle.

In two days my family and friends will be coming together to celebrate the birth of Christ through food, fellowship and favors. Christmas is always a time to appreciate all that you have and all those that you have in your life-the gifts are a nice touch- but I have come to realize that the best gift the Lord gives me for Christmas is realizing that where I am is not as bad as I thought even though I am away from family and friends and find it hard to relate to those around. With this gift He also shows me I have become apart of wherever I am and wherever I live and to me that is a wonderful gift-to realize that my house is my home and I am talking about the place where I pay rent 😉

 

The International Relations of Relationships-Immigration Law

Worker Permits

The worker permit is a program between governments that allows citizens of one nation to temporarily work in another country, many times these permits are seasonal. The work permit program is a quick boost to any nation’s economy. Many time worker permit programs are instituted between neighboring nation states or states in the same region. Colloquial terms for worker permit- talking and/or dating.

Visas

Visas vary in type and purpose. Visas are useful as they permit longer-term travel between countries for study or vacation. Visas are a good option when worker permit requirements cannot be met and/or for nations that do not have a worker permit program in general or does accept/provide permits for your region. The Friendship Zone visa is a popular visa type. Depending on category the friendship zone visa, immigrants are able to get to know a nation that they may wish to obtain residency status at a later date but are not able to pursue a worker’s permit or apply for residency at the current time. Many times the Friendship Zone visa is an alternative route or special case option towards fulfilling the requirements for residency in a nation.

Residency

Residency is the immigrant option that gives security and rights to immigrants without the commitment of citizenship. Residency rights exceed the rights under the visa or worker permit programs. Many times nations will later deny or dispute the few rights that are required by international law for visa or worker permit programs. Colloquial terms for residency- girlfriend/boyfriend, term used depends on the migrant’s sex.

Citizenship

Citizenship is the desire or end goal of most immigrants especially for long term visa and/or resident holders. In a few cases those in the worker permit program are given invitations to citizenship but this is a rare occurrence. In most cases citizenship to a country is by invitation only however there are cases where an immigrant’s request for citizenship is granted. There is a new international tendency to grant immigrants a common law citizenship if the immigrant has more than five years of residency status. Note: residency is NOT a requirement to achieve citizenship though is highly recommended by most migration experts. Colloquial term for citizenship- marriage.

 
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Posted by on 08 August 2006 in Culture, Globalization, Men, Relationships, Women

 

The Shirt and Tie

Lately I have been fascinated with a man in a shirt and tie. It’s on my list of things I am a sucker for see the entry below. For me I a man in a nice tie and shirt can do it. It could be because my father was always big on a man in a shirt and tie. He always said that you go to work with your shirt and tie. Or maybe it is what this shirt and tie means…a successful man. The businessman, the president, and the preacher, anyone in a society that has power and success wears a shirt and tie to work. And looking to Latin American, the Caribbean and more specifically the Dominican Republic where I live men are walking around in full suits and its 90 degrees outside. Why?? It’s the power of a shirt and tie. The shirt and tie shows a status, shows authority and demands to be respected. And looking to a social setting it makes a woman like me swoon. Just today in my diplomado class one of the guys had this wonderful combination it was a magenta toned shirt with a pink tie oh gosh…I had to focus in class, ok so I’m sorta kinda attracted to him but still. A smart man that can dress forget about it. I used to say that there is something appealing about the clean cut guy and something appealing about the thug looking guy but more and more its all about that shirt and tie.

 
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Posted by on 28 April 2006 in Culture, Fashion, Men