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Oklahoma City Pastor Preaches A Candid Sermon About Racism and The Gospel

Religion is Dead: The Gospel & Racism from Frontline Church on Vimeo.

Oklahoma City Pastor Josh Kouri (Frontline Church) speaks very candidly about race, racial IQ, the system, justice, peace, racism and The Gospel.

Real Talk… Definitely worth your while.

Extremely Awesome and Touching Video Moment Of Will Smith and Uncle Phil

James Avery aka “Uncle Phil” played the roll of Will Smith’s Uncle in the awesome series “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.” James Avery died on New Years Eve at the age of 68 in a Los Angeles from what has been stated as compliments from an open heart surgery.

This clip here is one of the best acting pieces ever by Will Smith and and James Avery. Emotion, authenticity, relevant, believable, touching, educational… all in about 3 minutes. This is a great clip to watch as a parent, a fan of the Fresh Prince and someone who appreciates the awesomeness of television shows from this era that were ahead of their times.

Watch, Enjoy, Share and RIP Uncle Phil/

3 Things Every Kid Wants In 2014

3I thoughts the title 3 Things Every Kid Wants In 2014 was an time appropriate and clickable title; however the title of this post is simply “3 Things Every Kid Wants” period, the end.

Parents this post is for your. Consider it a reminder, a wake-up call, a gift or an attention getter similar to what the Chick-fil-A cow would do to get you to “Eat Mor Chikin.”

No matter how old your kids are; you can take it to the bank that they still want these 3 things.

• 1. Spend More Time: Kids want time and they want quality time. We all understand that as they get older  much of their time, conversations and interactions are with their friends, but that doesn’t take away from their deep desire to spend more time with you. Some people take quality time as turning off the technology devices and others are not so concerned about shutting things down as they are about turning the time up.

Hangout, chill, play some sports together, a video game, take a vacation, sit around in your pajamas, talk, laugh, live, watch football, try going to get some manicures and pedicures together. It doesn’t matter the what or the how, what matter sis that you do it. Spend More Time!

• 2. Give More Approval: Kids are always looking for their parents’ approval. As soon as they begin to utter words as a baba they start looking, searching, asking questions and seeking approval of mom and dad or mom or dad: “Is that good enough?” “Did I make you proud?” “Am I stacking up?” “Do you approve?”

As Parents we have the responsibility of always encouraging our kids. When they look over at you in the stands while you’re at the sporting event, give them a big thumbs up. When they are trying out some new style, give them an “I like that you’re being creative and point them to some fashion sites.” When they start dating, put some standards in place and encourage them with an “I trust your judgment.” It doesn’t matter how you give the approval – just give it.

For as long as I can remember, the one thing my mother did was always give her approval, not only her approval but also her encouragement. You can do it, you can do anything if you put your mind to it, I like that you are willing to try. As I’m turning 40 and my mother is turning 70, nothing has changed about her approval and encouragement for me. I was at her house last night before I left on a business trip to LA and she encouraged me and gave me her approval with these words, “Son, I’m so proud of you.” Give More Approval!

• 3. Give More Yes’: When I was a Prison Warden, I had an Office Administrator who lived and operated by a slogan “Starting from yes!” I was always impressed about how she truly operated her life from a “Starting From Yes” perspective. I have come to realize that is a great mindset and mantra for parents to live by.

Let me unpack this a little bit. Parents can have a seemingly natural bad habit of simply starting from no and more importantly they are often times oblivious to it. “Mom, can I go to the movies with Jill?” “NO” “Dad, do you think we can go outside and throw the football?” “NO, Not right now.” “Can I get this, do this, try this, see this, date them, build this, go here, go there???” “NO, NO, NO.”

It’s real easy to get into the habit of saying “NO” just because you can. Saying yes might be just the thing that builds the leader, inspires the entrepreneur, pulls out the strong nature, builds the creative spirit, builds the trust, provides the encouragements, helps to overcome the insecurity and builds a legacy of “Starting From Yes.” Next time you say “NO”, Stop, Pause and Ask Yourself Why? The more you give the “Yes”, the more the “NO’s” are understood and appreciated. Give More Yes’.

The Surprise Wedding

Check out this surprise wedding from my man @RyanLeak it is absolutely awesome… I don’t think I’ve ever watched a 30 min. YouTube video from start to finish besides Kony, that was until this video. It’s crazy to see this come together as I remember having conversations with Ryan as he was planning an entire wedding, all by his lonesome. (Crazy and Awesome at the same time)

Check this video out, let it inspire you, encourage you and just make you smile as you watch a true love story unfold on the screen

Unconditional Love

unconditional loveInspired by the film Unconditional and Papa Joe Bradford’s outreach to at-risk children, My buddy Ben Stroup writes a new book called Unconditional Love.” Ben gathers real-life stories celebrating the best in ordinary people who have found extraordinary ways to act as the hands and feet of Jesus in their time and place. Through them we see what matters most in this life, we stir our God-made desire to help others in need, and the world becomes a better place.

I was able to ask Ben some questions about his new book. Hopefully Ben’s answers to these questions can give you some insight into the idea of “Unconditional Love” and a better understanding how how this book can have a positive impact on you, those who come in contact with you and the world as a whole.

1. In your new book “Unconditional Love” you make reference to the idea that love is rarely received in its purest form… What exactly do you mean by that?

It’s nearly impossible for people to act without thinking about how it might benefit them. Most people live with a little skepticism about people and their intentions anyway. We’ve all been burned. That’s why we are so surprised when we discover—or receive—kindness that has no strings attached. It’s so rare, in fact, that we never forget the experience or the person.

2. Why is the concept of unconditional love so complicated?

Because human nature is flawed. To do something without condition requires a great deal of soul-searching, risk, and willingness to fail. You are reckless when you give something like love away without any thought or guarantee it will be returned—especially to someone who hasn’t “earned” it. But reckless love is what it takes to establish a genuine connection with someone else and bring out personal transformation.

3. In what seems to be paradoxical in nature, you tell us the way to receive unconditional love is to give it away. What do you mean?

I think AA nailed this principle. “You have to fake it until you make it.” We can’t recognize unconditional love until we give it away. Perhaps more accurate is that we are not prepared to receive love without condition until we are humble enough to show it to others. Unconditional love is not a state of being but a verb—an action. It describes something that is in motion and being shared with others

4. The book Unconditional Love is inspired by the film Unconditional that profiles the real life ministry of Papa Joe Bradford. What inspired you most from Papa Joe’s story?

He didn’t have to share love and hope with others—especially other people’s children. He could have remained a quiet person who chose to live his life independent of the people around him. Any no one would have thought less of him for doing that. Instead, he chose to respond to the hope and promise so readily found within the eyes of a child. Joe Bradford became Papa Joe because he was willing to love children he didn’t have to love.

5. How can a book like Unconditional Love empower others to step out of their comfort zones and make a difference?

So many people will read the stories in the book and say, “I can’t do what they’ve done.” They will miss that each person included in the book said the same thing about themselves. But their desire to help someone around them in need was greater than their fear that their efforts would be in vain. Each person said yes to an opportunity to help someone in need. As a result of the purity of their intentions and willingness to go all-in, their impact was multiplied.

Just say yes when the opportunity presents itself to help someone else in need. Don’t worry about the rest. Unconditional love can be as simple as a handshake and a pat on the back or as complex as starting an international charity. Everyone can do something.

6. What are some questions we need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves as we try to discover how we can use our gifts to make an impact?

  • Who have I helped today?
  • What skills, talents, or resources do I have that others might benefit from?
  • How can I teach—and show—my children what it means to love without condition?
  • What is holding me back from responding to a need around me?
  • What do I need to change or adjust in my life to be ready and available to show unconditional love to others?

7. Last Question: In your book you pose the question “How will this idea make God famous?” Can you go a little deeper as to the heart behind that question?

The Bible tells us Jesus emptied himself of all privilege and power so that he could give himself away. In doing so, we have life forever. Our lives were given to us so that we—in turn—would give it away. Before we can show love without condition, we, too, must empty ourselves of all privilege and power. Then—and only then—can we be sure our actions, intentions, and sacrifice point to the Originator and Giver of unconditional love. The paradox is that we discover life in all its fullness when we give it away freely—and unconditionally.

You can pick up a copy of Unconditional Love here.

44 #MLK Quotes (All Retweetable)

Just imagine if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had Twitter or other social networking applications at his disposal, his message would have been even more world changing.  He was known as one of the best orators of his day and one of the top in the history of the country.  The exponential impact of his sound bites and oratory skills would have been extremely powerful with a tool like Twitter.

I believe we take for granted the fact that our message, story, voice and thoughts can literally be globally shared at our leisure and by the push of a button.  This year in the United States we set aside Monday, January 16th. to honor the life of a civil rights leader, pastor and social justice martyr.  MLK positively impacted the US and the world in so many ways, I think it’s great the US has an official holiday in his honor.

Last year, my wife and I were in Atlanta during the MLK Holiday. We visited the Atlanta Memorial and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church that Dr. King pastored. This summer we took our sons and visited the MLK  Memorial at the National Mall in Washington DC and stood at the very place he delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

This year I’m sharing 44 of Dr. King’s memorable quotes that could have easily  been tweets. 44 in remembrance of 44 years ago he sacrificed his life so that we could dream. Not only are they tweetable (at 140 characters or less), they are all short enough to be retweetable (122 characters or less).  Quotes can have such power, as a matter of fact I used a number of Dr. King’s quotes to illustrate some power points in my book.

44 Retweetable #MLK Quotes

  • 1. Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or darkness of destructive selfishness. #MLK
  • 2. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. #MLK
  • 3. To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. #MLK
  • 4. Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. #MLK
  • 5. I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. #MLK
  • 6. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. #MLK
  • 7. The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. #MLK
  • 8. We are not makers of history. We are made by history. #MLK
  • 9. We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now. #MLK
  • 10. We must face the sad fact that Sunday morning when we stand 2 sing, we stand in the most segregated hour in America. #MLK
  • 11. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. #MLK
  • 12. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. #MLK
  • 13. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” #MLK
  • 14. The measure of a man isn’t whr he stands in moments of comfort, but whr he stands @ times of challenge & controversy. #MLK
  • 15. If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live. #MLK
  • 16. Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.  #MLK
  • 17. We must use time creatively — and forever realize that the time is always hope to do great things. #MLK
  • 18. The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be.  #MLK
  • 19. The time is always right to do what is right. #MLK
  • 20. I have a dream my 4 little children will 1 day liv in a nation whr they will not B judged by the color of their skin. #MLK
  • 21. Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see. #MLK
  • 22. Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. #MLK
  • 23. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. #MLK
  • 24. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. #MLK
  • 25. When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. #MLK
  • 26. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. #MLK
  • 27. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. #MLK
  • 28. Lightning makes no sound until it strikes. #MLK
  • 29. There is no gain without struggle. #MLK
  • 30. A right delayed is a right denied. #MLK
  • 31. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me; that’s pretty important. #MLK
  • 32. If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation. #MLK
  • 33. One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong. #MLK
  • 34. Quietly endure, silently suffer and patiently wait. #MLK
  • 35. Hate destroys the hater… #MLK
  • 36. True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice. #MLK
  • 37. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. #MLK
  • 38. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. #MLK
  • 39. Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. #MLK
  • 40. We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. #MLK
  • 41. Science investigates religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge (power), religion gives man wisdom (control). #MLK
  • 42. We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. #MLK
  • 43. Seeing is not always believing. #MLK
  • 44. I Have A Dream! #MLK

There are so many more tremendous quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  These are just 44 retweetable quotes that have stood out to me over the years.  Please share your favorites from the above list or any other #MLK quotes that you like.  If you can share them in 120 characters or less, please do so. This will allow them to be retweetable.

Happy #MLK Holiday!  Please take a few moments on #MLK Holiday to share some quotes, watch a speech, serve in the community, attend the parade, talk to your family about his impact over dinner, communicate to your team that you value the holiday and what Dr. King stood for…  Do something!

Aloha – 10 Reasons Greetings Matter

It’s been said that “You never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.” That’s a very true statement; however you can still make a great 2nd impression if for some reason you botched the 1st one. Impressions matter and 1st impressions really matter.

In that same line of thinking, I have come to understand that “Greetings Really Matter.” When my family and I arrived at the airport in Hawaii yesterday, we were greeted with beautiful fresh flower lei’s. A couple of the pastors from Hope Chapel greeted us with warm “aloha’s” and lei’s as a symbol of love and welcome to Hawaii. Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, mercy and love. Hawaii has been very welcoming: Hotel, restaurant, people etc.

This really got me thinking about the importance of greetings and how they can make a world of difference. Here are 10 Reasons Greetings Matter

  • If you greet your family when you come home with hugs, kisses and kind words instead of walking through the door with your phone attached to your ear… You will communicate love, warmth and the fact that “they matter.” Greetings Matter.
  • If you greet people with a smile, hello, and how is your day? You may be the only smile they see and the only person to ask how their day is. It’s a simple way to make a difference. Greetings Matter.
  • If you greet people with a firm handshake, you are communicating hello, strength, passion, respect and remember me… Even if you crush their hand, they will remember. You never remember limp handshakes, but you will generally remember the firm one’s. A firm handshake always makes the non firm handshake person get a tighter grip – a subliminal message to say “Step up your game!” 🙂  Greetings Matter.
  • Greet those you love with “I Love You’s!” Unfortunately we always save the “I Love You’s” as parting words or words of remembrance. Flip it around and greet with I love You! You can still close with another “I Love You!” Greetings Matter.
  • Have an over-the-top greeting. Make your greeting was as memorable as Chick-fil-A’s “My Pleasure.” If you operate a place of business, understand that your welcome, greeting and reception go a very long way. Think of those restaurants that have an over-the-top greeting. Those greetings create great first impressions and opportunities for memorable experiences. Greetings Matter.
  • Phone etiquette and Phone greetings matter. Don’t get me started on “Main Menu, Automated Greeting type stuff.” Greet someone well over the phone. Greetings Matter.
  • Online Greeting – Sometimes the only greeting that people will ever get from you or your business is your website. Make sure your online appearance is communicating a warm welcome, unless of course your business is not warm and welcoming. Greetings Matter.
  • The Church should have the warmest welcome of any public establishment – Is the welcome at your church communicating affection, peace, compassion, mercy and love for everyone? Or is it communicating welcome to those that look like, dress like and act like we do. Your greeting matters, not just the greeting that you say, rather the welcome that you do. Greetings Matter.
  • Give someone a #FistBump. A FistBump is the Swiss Army Knife of greetings and gestures. I greet those in my online community with a #FistBump and good morning (every morning), no matter where I am, what time zone, what part of the world… It’s become my morning greeting and my morning gesture. As soon as I don’t think that this little gesture matters, those that are a part of my online community let me know if I ever forget to send out that top of the morning #FistBump Tweet. The #FistBump is really a Big Deal, as a matter of fact the New York Times recently featured an article about it in print and online, you can check it out here.
  • Your greetings matter because people matter.

Remember greetings really do matter. When you greet strangers, friends and family – make sure you communicate your own version of Aloha. Communicate affection, peace, compassion, mercy and love.

Thoughts? Share your thoughts on the importance of greetings.

10 Reasons You Need To Be Doing The Work You Love

Lists, Lists, Lists… I really don’t really care for list posts; however they are easy to follow, easy to digest and easy to remember. That’s why I keep writing them and you keep reading them all across the interwebs. The reality is maybe I really do like list posts – who knows?

There is one thing that I do like and that’s doing the work I love and you should to. I love spending time with family, sharing the Gospel, strategizing, connecting, thinking, dreaming, leading, challenging and helping others win.

10 Reasons You Need To Be Doing What You Love

  • 1. It’s what you love… duh.
  • 2. Life is too short to be wasting time doing work that you don’t even like.
  • 3. If you are sharp enough to rise to a leadership role for an organization you are not particularly fond of, you’re definitely sharp enough to successfully do something you love.
  • 4. It’s easier to wake up in the morning, when you’re waking up to do what you love.
  • 5. You are consistently motivated by an inner desire to do what you love and the success of it all is simply a nice bonus.
  • 6. Your dreams can be centered around what you love instead of dreaming about how to get out of a situation that you don’t like.
  • 7. You only live once on this earth. ((repeat))
  • 8. If you find yourself in what you perceive as mediocre work situation – you don’t have much to loose, pursue the work you love.
  • 9. If you don’t feel that you can leave the financial security, ask yourself “Will the money be the most important piece of my life puzzle 5-10-15 years from now?” Better yet talk to someone in the “Car Business” that chased the dollar their entire life.
  • 10. There is a reason something you love is burning deep down inside of you – it’s because it’s what you were created to do.

There are some great lyrics and encouragement for those contemplating, desiring or thinking about pursuing the work they love found in hip hop artist Emimen’s song “Lose Yourself.”

“Lose Yourself”

If you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

You can do anything you set your mind to. ~Eminem

Maybe it’s time that you “Lose Yourself” or better yet, it’s time that you find yourself, it’s time that you do what you love and love what you do.

Why are people so scared or unwilling to do the work they love? Share your thoughts and experiences on this subject and these 10 reasons.

Give Shoes. Give Love.

Over 300 million children worldwide are without shoes.  That’s why I love working with Soles4Souls as they have an unwavering commitment to put shoes on kids feet around the globe. Shoes are important for these children as walking barefoot puts their bodies at major risk of contracting life threatening illnesses caused by parasites.

Without shoes, many of the world’s children will never be allowed to walk through doors of a school. And therefore may never escape the cycle of poverty.

Soles4Souls’ New Micro-giving campaign “Give Shoes. Give Love” in partnership with The Love Alliance is making a difference and you can help.  Just $7 a month and you will provide 7 pairs of shoes to children in need. That adds up to 84 children a year!

Register to donate $7 each month and you’ll receive a FREE Love Alliance t-shirt.

Wear the shirt. Spread the love. Give Shoes. Give Love.

Ladies, STOP Lusting After Your Pastor

I remember having a conversation with a pastor friend of mine who happens to be a female.  She was sharing the various unique things that women in the church struggle with and things they have confided in her.  One of the things that she shared made me have one of those “hmm” moments.  She stated that women that she’s talked w/ in various churches struggle with the fact that They Think Their Pastor’s Sexy!  Not to be confused with the popular country music song “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” Not only do they think their Pastor’s Sexy, but they struggle with their mind and eyes wandering into inappropriate places.  It becomes a challenge because they will have these lustful thoughts as their pastor is speaking. The same can be true for men with a female pastors or lust in general.

Many pastors teach the concept out of the book Every Mans Battle called “Bouncing Your Eyes.” In other words, don’t keep your eyes focused on someone of the opposite sex for too long.   Keeping your eyes moving can keep you out of trouble.  This is something that is stereotypically geared towards guys… but what about the ladies?  There is a book called Every Womans Battle, although I have not heard anything about the content.

After my conversation with my female pastor friend, it’s probably fair for me to make the assumption that there are women sitting in pews and seats of churches all around the country that may be struggling with the inability to “Bounce Their Eyes;”  especially as their eyes are having to be fixated on their “Sexy Pastor,” who happens to be in front of them for relatively lengthy periods of time each and every week.  The fact that their pastor is a man of God, tells great stories and seems to be rather put together only increases the the sexiness factor.

The thoughts running through their head might be something like this: He’s Hot, I like that suit, Are those True Religion Jeans, He’s so spiritual, I wish my husband treated me like that, He’s so Handsome, Nice Hair, He dresses so fly, I can tell he’s been working out, He’s so considerate, I know he’s married but, I would, I wonder if I can share that with him, I bet he… After thinking these thoughts, their mind wanders for a moment or two or three or four and unfortunately, this cycle can repeat itself on a weekly basis.  The Bible says this: ”But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28  Ladies this passage applies to you as well, so please Stop Lusting After Your Pastor!

God created us with a unique ability to train and control our eyes, actions and mind.  Exercise your ability and gain control.

Do women get a pass? Is this a problem? How does play into the overall adultery scheme of things? Share your thoughts.

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