Christianity, Courting, Dating, Holiness, Life, Love, Uncategorized

New Sexuality

new-sexuality

One of the main tenets of Transformation Church is that all of life is worship. All of life is worship; not just a few parts, but all parts of life are worship. Even in our struggles and pains that we face in life, we are to lift all of these up to God; not just a few of our struggles, but all of them. We are to sing praises to God for all of our joys; not just a few of those joys, but all of them. All of life is worship.

Continue reading “New Sexuality”

Life, Love, Moving Forward

Last Year in My 20’s!

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Birthday blogs are cool. I don’t do them every year but I thought, hey this is my last year in my 20’s, surely I have something to say…

Recently, I was hanging out with some friends at a cool rooftop spot with some dope food. We began to talk about leaving our 20’s and what it was like for each of them. One shared, how he broke down and cried. (This made me scared. Ha!) As you can imagine, the other friend shared how it was just another day. I love hearing two ends of the spectrum, especially when both spectrums can be viewed as being extreme.

Although I am not crying, well at least while I am writing this I’m not, I am truly thankful to be alive another year. Despite some of my life goals not being accomplished yet, I believe God has me exactly where I need to be. With this perspective, I can keep living life to the best of my ability.

I want to share a few thoughts about my 20’s. Check them out below! 

Here are 29  thoughts for my 29th birthday:

  1. I am almost done with my 20’s which means, I have experienced some life. Yes, wisdom!
  2. Be optimistic. There is so much opportunity in your 20’s. Your life is not over because you’re not married, have a house, dream car, etc…
  3. Post college can be rough! Searching for my identity, calling and what I was suppose to do post basketball. ahhhhh!!
  4. Be authentic. Be real. Be you. Don’t try to copy someone else and don’t chase someone else’s dream. Go after your God driven dreams!
  5. Don’t rush love. So often we want to force relationships with people that don’t need to be in our life.
  6. Spend a lot of time alone. Singleness is a gift my friend. Utilize it. Grow. Learn who you are. Save money!
  7. Travel. Explore the world. The most meaningful experiences happen when you travel.
  8. Read. Invest in your mind and education. Every new book you read, opens a new door.
  9. Cry. Too often, we hold in our anger and frustration or we take it out in the wrong way. It’s okay to lay on the ground and cry because you are frustrated with how life is going. I did!
  10. Grow with God! Ask those questions about the Bible and faith that you always wanted to know. 2011 was my quest to truly understand the Bible and Christianity. This was 6 years after God saving me.
  11. Give back. Invest your time in your community, spend time with youth, be a mentor or a coach. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have spent with youth.
  12. Celebrate your friend’s success. Sometimes we get sour when one of our friends graduate college, write a book or land their dream job. Your time is coming so in the meantime be happy for your friends!
  13. Attend weddings and actually be and look happy. A lot of your high school/college friends will be getting hitched. Help your friends celebrate their special day. Go to the reception and help them turn up!
  14. Take time on making babies. Okay, this is my personal opinion. Kids are a major blessing to this world but I wanted to enjoy my 20’s kid free. One more year left. Fingers crossed! Ha
  15. Exercise! Stay consistent! Trust me, once collegiate/professional sports are over, the lbs will come if you are not consistently working out.
  16. Eat! Ha, you like how I added this one after exercise. Try out different food from different ethnic groups. Step away from the fast food. 🙂
  17. Write. Journal. Start a blog. Keep a record of great moments and bad moments. It always helps me to look back and reflect.
  18. Pray. If you are a believer, spend a lot of time talking with God. Me and God had to duke (fight) it out! God and I had some amazing, tough and challenging conversations through my 20’s. I am thankful for each conversation.
  19. Step out your comfort zone. Do something you are afraid to do. Move to a new state, or two. 🙂 Once you do, you will slap yourself afterwards and realize it wasn’t that scary after all.
  20. Love. Love every person in your life unconditionally.
  21. Forgive. Your heart will be broken. You will hurt people. Learn. Let go. Don’t hold grudges or regrets.
  22. Eat chocolate. Chocolate does the body, mind and soul good. It also cures bad days. Just saying…
  23. Drink coffee. 2012, I discovered a hidden love for coffee. My favorite drink is a cafe mocha with foam and an extra shot of expresso!
  24. Find patience. Your time in your 20’s is a long journey. Don’t try to become an overnight success.
  25. Progress not perfection. Give your all but ultimately understand your goal is to enjoy the process while making progress.
  26. Give yourself grace. You will make mistakes and you will make poor decisions. Learn from your choices and love yourself enough to move forward.
  27. Date/Court. Do this in healthy ways and be intentional about who you give your time and energy too. Oh yeah, money too. Dating is expensive. Isn’t it funny how, women get all the free dates and food? 🙂 
  28. Don’t do life alone. Find accountability, encouragement and support. You need a community that you can do life with.
  29. Celebrate! You need to celebrate your small victories. Remember to write your celebrations down so when you get discouraged, you can go back and get recharged!

Whew! I hope you enjoyed that list. 20’s are truly a great time. To me, much of life is about perspective, learning and growing. As you can see, the past 9 years of my life, I have done that!

I appreciate you. Let’s continue to get better together! Real talk! < – (Do people still say this? Ha! I did in my early 20’s!!) 

P.S. August 21st is my birthday. I do accept gifts….

Peace out fam! Share this with a friend!

Christianity, Courting, Dating, Life, Love

Dating vs Courting

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What if I told you, everything you ever learned about how to date, how a man pursues a woman and how a woman should prepare herself for a man was wrong, would you believe me?

As I entered my mid-twenties, I began to question my thoughts toward dating. I began to evaluate all of my past dating experiences. I began to read books on dating vs. courting. I began to search the Bible on what a healthy relationship looks like and I began to talk with married couples on their approaches toward their marriage. I began to talk with singles as well as non – married couples. After spending years analyzing and processing, below you will find my thoughts on this hot topic! By the way… I am no expert. 🙂

Let’s define dating:

Dating – Past the friend zone into a mutual liking of one another where two people are building a relationship. Usually built around selfish needs and physical intimacy while giving your best impressions of “who you are.” This is a relationship that is usually short term.

Let’s define courting:

Courting – Pursuing one another with healthy boundaries. Having a long term view in mind of the relationship. Building off emotional and spiritual intimacy rather than physical intimacy.

This is below list is in no specific order. I numbered the list so in the comment section; you can respond by saying I agree or disagree with # such and such… and you can share why you agree or disagree.

  1. Dating is usually selfish. – Why is this? Usually, both parties do not have the other’s best intentions in mind. You tell yourself you do, and think this in the beginning but really you are thinking, what is in this for me?
  1. Dating is usually all about “me” first. – Why is this? Shall we say self-gratification? Your needs and desires come first. Your needs and desires are important but the problem with this is, if your needs and desires aren’t being met, well on to the next.
  1. Dating is usually short term. – Why is this? All dating relationships are not necessarily taken seriously. I mean, who wants to date forever with no serious commitments or ultimate common goal in mind? It amazes me how women will stick around for years with the hope of getting married, when their man doesn’t have any intentions of getting married.
  1. Dating usually leads to break ups. – Why is this? Most people in dating relationships do not know how to handle conflict. All conflict is not bad. Conflict helps you grow. It is usually hard for those in the dating relationship to see this. There isn’t the same team mentality. For example: we may get into it and disagree from time to time, but this does not change our view of each other, our respect for one another or our relationship status. Why? Because we are still on the same team.
  1. Dating usually leads to looking for what’s wrong with the other person. – Why is this? People in dating relationships are constantly thinking and pointing out what’s missing in the other person, how he/she does this wrong, what you don’t like, how different you two are, and for this reason, dating relationships are called off. The self-centered view and perspective leads to going nowhere quickly. – I mean, what did you think? You would find someone just like you?
  1. Dating moves fast, and the relationship is usually rushed. – Why is this? Sparks are flowing, both of you are excited and maybe even too excited that the time being spent together on the phone, in person, and in conversation leads to confusing deep like and emotion for love. Usually before 6 months into the relationship someone says, I love you. – You mean to tell me, after 6 months, you love everything about a person you just met? Ok…
  1. Dating doesn’t usually start off with the end in mind. – Why is this? With dating, often, the two involved in the relationship do not have a common end goal. Hopefully, the end in mind is marriage. Most dating couples are not working towards marriage. What they are working towards is keeping a broken dating relationship together.
  1. Dating usually leads to not growing healthy as a couple. – Why is this? Stages of building in healthy ways are skipped. Such as: Getting to know each other’s personalities, the past, family backgrounds, life goals, life challenges, relationship challenges, dreams, goals, how to respond to conflict, and the list can go on and on.
  1. Dating usually leads to having sex or sexual interactions usually within the first 3 months if not sooner. – Why is this? Well, I am in a quote on quote relationship, so this should solidify that it is okay to now, go to the next level in our intimacy. In most people’s minds, this means having sex. There is not a lot of time spent getting to know one another, which ties into the last dating statement mentioned above. Sex can quickly lead to lies about how one feels about the other. – We all know a person does not have to love someone to have sex with him or her.
  1. Dating usually leads to hiding who you are. – Why is this? It is easy to put on display, my life is together, I know what I want, and I know where I am going in life. Usually, with dating the two in the relationship show their best versions of themselves. Especially in the beginning stages of dating. I mean who would want to date someone that has multiple struggles and issues in life? – Dating is much like our social media accounts. All good with little bad to show.

Before you decide to rip me apart, think about all of your dating relationship experiences. Now ask yourself, with the list mentioned above, how many of those dating statements are true? I am not at all saying dating cannot workout, or it doesn’t lead to marriage, or it cannot be healthy. What I am pointing out is the downside of dating that I see every day. The dating that I have been apart of in the past.

People can make poor decisions and try to justify those decisions by saying, “we weren’t that serious, we were just dating.”

If you are dating, what is your commitment? What are you committing to? What are you working towards? If you do not have clear answers, it is time to re-evaluate your dating relationship.

I do believe there is a significant difference between dating and courting. I would love to hear your thoughts on this blog post in regards to dating vs courting!

P.S. For Christians, I don’t think it is a sin to date or that it is wrong. What I do believe, there needs to be a re-defining of the meaning and purpose of dating.

 

Christianity, Life, Love, Moving Forward, Uncategorized

My Marriage Exposed Me

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Here I was, thinking I had it all together. I had love and my relationship all figured out. I was going into marriage confident that I would never be the one to create conflict and confrontations in our marriage. I would always make my wife feel like she is the most beautiful woman that ever walked the earth. Boy, was I headed for a huge wake up call.

As I was preparing for marriage, reading books, listening to sermons, podcast, conversing and learning from married men, I came to a point where I felt like I had arrived in my relationship with Jasmine before we got married. The struggles from my past, such as, communication, not being me focused all the time were behind me and I had now become the man she needs me to be for a healthy marriage.

After about the first month or so of being married here is what I learned:

  • I am not as kind as I thought
  • I do get upset, frustrated and even angry
  • I struggle with showing the love of Christ daily
  • I am not the best communicator
  • I do have selfish tendencies
  • I can be self centered

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In result of being exposed to a lot of my weaknesses through my marriage, I have been able to own up to the fact that I still have a lot of growing to do. This is great. I am thankful for this but sometimes I get discouraged and overwhelmed. Some days I am not the best servant leader for my wife. Some days, I don’t put in the best amount of energy and prayer for our relationship as I should. Some days, I am mediocre.

Whenever I am exposed to a weakness, I want to go straight to work and turn whatever weaknesses I have into strengths. As a former collegiate and semi-pro basketball player, turning weaknesses into strengths in my game came natural. I watched film or my coach would point something out and boom, I’m spending tons of energy every day to become the best I can be. With my marriage, this is the approach I know I need to take. I need to continue to remind myself, with every healthy relationship, it takes a lot of time, energy and consistent effort.

Marriage has an unique way of saying, “you don’t have it all together. You do have a lot to work on.”

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Here are my closing thoughts about my marriage exposure:

I look at my marriage as God looks at His bride, a.k.a. His church. The church can be messy and so can you and I. The church can be out of order and so can you and I. The church can be a broken vessel and so can you and I. The church can have many flaws and so can you and I. The church can be a bad representation and so can you and I. The church can fall short and so can you and I.

But here’s the beautiful part about the church! Are you ready for it?

The church is beautiful and so are you and I. The church is God’s masterpiece and so are you and I. The church brings God great joy and so do you and I. The church is like a broken clay pot that has been pieced back together to make beautiful art.

This is what I have to remind myself:

I am apart of God’s bride. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. God’s mercy and His grace has been extended to me. Even though I will continue to fall short, and not meet all of Jasmine expectations, Jesus is her Savior and not me. Only He can fulfill her inner most desires. My role is to love her like Christ loves me: Unconditionally! This I can do. Through every struggle, shortcoming and battle, Jasmine and I are still on the same team just like you and I are still on God’s same team. We are all in this together.

God has an unique way of saying, “you don’t have it all together. I have a lot of work I want to do in you.”

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My Prayer is this: For all that God has given me to share through our story; that our story will inspire you to seek and desire a closer relationship with God. My prayer is for you to see that God is getting the glory for the work He has done and is doing in our lives. We are not perfect, we don’t have it all together or figured out. We love God and each other and we are willing to live this out so others can see they too, can do the same.

Be blessed my friends!

P.S. Here is our wedding video:

Here are my Wedding Vows:

Jasmine… When I think of love, I think of us
When I think of love, I think of you.
Bone of my bone. Flesh of my flesh.

Ripped from my rib. Created from dust.

There’s no denying what we share
Through the years. Through these tears
I share my heart. I give you my everything
My submission to Christ. Commissions me to love you
Like He, Christ, Loves the church

Jasmine…
You are more precious than gold
You are my love story that’s being told.
You are a virtuous woman
Your worth is far above rubies…

Jasmine…
I vow to be there next to your side
Through the good times
And through the not so good times
I am yours and you are mines
Together we can
No.. no together we will

Jasmine,
I vow to love patiently
I vow to be kind…

I vow to put even put the toilet seat down
I vow to keep my basketball shoes out of the bedroom.

I vow to allow you to wash the dishes.

In all seriousness…
I vow to not be jealous
I vow to not boast and be proud.
I vow to not be rude and demanding.
I vow to not be irritable
To keep no records of wrong doings
To never lose faith
To never give up,

I vow to always remain hopeful
To endure in every circumstance

Jasmine Marie Martin,
I vow to love you with all I got for the rest of my life!

 P.S.S. We would love to hear your love story and how we can be praying for you! Don’t forget to comment and share on social media to help encourage someone else that may need to see this.

 “God is far more concerned with doing a work in you before He does anything through you.

Christians, Courting, Dating, Forgiveness, Life, Love, Moving Forward

Give Her A Ring Or Move On!

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Give her a ring or move on. Bold huh? Not really. This is something I had to wrestle with. This is something I had to do. There is a Scripture in the Bible that says: “When I was a child, I thought as a child but when I became a man I put away childish things.”

Back Story:

I became an unashamed born-again Christian at the age of 17. Before the age of 17, I was a full-blown immature child. When it came to relationships with the opposite sex, I was no good. I struggled. Lying, manipulating, poor treatment and just doing whatever I wanted.

I didn’t grow up with great representations of how a young man should treat a lady. I learned how to treat women from the movies I watched, from my boys and what I thought in my head was right. So when God got a hold of me at 17, I knew there were many changes to be made. Starting with my view on love, relationships and women.  Continue reading “Give Her A Ring Or Move On!”

Christianity, Forgiveness, Life, Love, Moving Forward

God, Why Is It Hard to Love You?

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You’ve been there before right? Telling God how much you love Him. Praising Him for all of the good times. Thanking Him for making it through all of the difficult seasons in life. We’ve all been there before. It seems more times than often we can give God great lip service.

Surely, God is the center of our life. Surely, He is the best thing that has ever happened to us. Surely, He’s been there for us through the good, bad and the ugly. But wait… Why do we have a problem with loving God?

Love, as we know it, is an action. It is a verb, meaning we should be acting upon the love we say we have. What I want to draw to your attention in this post is how our love should be lived out daily, not just talked about daily. In particular, our love to God. Our love to God should come out of obedience. Here’s why I believe this: Take a look at this verse.

“If you love Me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15

This verse continues to work on my heart. In other words, Jesus is saying here, “if you really are about that life, if you really are down with me then you will follow what I say.” He didn’t quite say it like that but sometimes I translate in the hood version so I can better understand.

 Here’s my thought towards obeying and following Jesus words. Following Jesus commands is not a bad thing. Think about it, what bad in your life can come out of following Jesus?

“You don’t have a sin problem, you have a love problem.” – Henry Blackaby

“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” – 1 John 4:20-21

I’ve been there before. Being full with hatred in my heart, not quite understanding why it was there, I had to desperately seek God for years. I had to cry out to Him, have long talks and walks with Him. Many times I had to ask God to rid the anger and hatred in my heart. I still don’t fully understand why this hatred was there. All I know is, God, over the years helped me overcome this hate. Maybe, you need to allow Him to do the same for you.

My last thought towards why it is hard to love God is the love we are to have for our brother(s) and sister(s). If the love of God is in us then how can we hate another human being? If God’s love is in us, how then can we say I hate this person? We love a God we have never seen and we hate a person we have seen? Nah, that is not the love of God in us.

“If you have a hard time loving people, you have a hard time loving God.”

P.S. God wants to destroy the hate in your life and fill it with love. Trust me, He had to do this for me!