Monthly Archives: October 2014

Beware of #TeamNoSleep

I was listening to the Yolanda Adams Morning Show this morning (as I always do on my way to work) and they were discussing this delusional statement #TeamNoSleep. Now I have to be honest, I lived by this mantra up until 8 months ago. I have a full time job, own 2 businesses, and I do volunteer work. I figured the only way to be able to live life making a living from my dream career would be to work myself dry now and reap the benefits down the road.

I WAS SO OFF!

Fact: Americans put emphasis on the notion that hard work and workaholic lifestyles equal success.

But the truth is God did not design us to live that way. If we were capable of doing everything on our own, there would be no need for Him. AND SINCE THAT ISN’T REALITY and we DO need God for everything, we need to know when to work and know when to rest. Since I was 19 years old, “late nights, early mornings” were second nature to me. I sacrificed friend time, family time, my love life, and even more alarmingly…my health if it meant getting work done.

Many people don’t know this but over the past 3 years I’ve been sick and hospitalized more than I’ve been since I was a kid! I thought it was just asthma or allergies getting me down, but what was actually happening was my body was giving me a wakeup call! Working on the go, eating out all the time, getting 2 – 3hours sleep at a time, working all day then staying up all night editing photos was slowly depleting my immune system. I learned THE HARD WAY that our bodies NEED rest and there is nothing glorious about passing out dead from an unhealthy lifestyle.

 

Mark 4: 35-38 NLT reads, “As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

ALSO…

Mark 6: 30-31 NLT reads, “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”

If JESUS knew enough to rest with all of the ministry He did, we not only need to be concerned about just our spiritual health, but our physical too! I mean come on, Jesus was the SON OF GOD…and He rested to show us what we need to do. After all, a Christian is someone who is a follower of Christ and His teachings correct?! CORRECT!

So the next time you jump on that bandwagon talking about “We hustling ova here” “#TeamNoSleep” “Late Nights, Early Mornings” – just know that you sound dumb and are quickly on your way to being the newest member of #TeamSixFeetUnder and #TeamNoMore.

Take care of yourself folks. TRUE hustlers know that there is a balance to this thing. Levels.

Be Blessed, Joc

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7 Things You Do Every Day That Are Destroying Your Life’s Potential

7 Things You Do Every Day That Are Destroying Your Life’s Potential

7 Things You Do Every Day That Are Destroying Your Life’s Potential
Via http://elitedaily.com/life/destroying-your-lifes-potential/788864/
WELLNESS

Throughout my young life, one of the most important things I have noticed is that the smallest decisions we make each day tend to have some of the most profound consequences on our overall state of being.

However, sometimes unhealthy habits become so routine, we forget to take a moment to think about the value these choices have on our futures, and even our day-to-day lives.

Below are seven decisions from which I have chosen to refrain. The benefits have become clear almost immediately in my attitude and overall wellbeing.

1) Excessive Social Media

One of the first things you do each morning is roll over and unlock your phone. Someone you barely remember from that party freshman year announces her engagement on Facebook, and soon, you’re 20 profile pictures deep into her past, questioning why you’re still single.

You then proceed to scroll through every missed Instagram picture until you’re at the exact same snap of any one of the Kardashians’ multiple selfies, right before you turned the lights out.

Instead, silence your alarm and pull yourself out of the sheets. Stretching every morning reduces muscle tension and increases energy levels. Eating protein within 30 minutes after waking up accelerates the metabolism and speeds up the weight loss process.

Changing up your morning routine could transform your entire day.


2) Worrying About Nothing

Don’t feel the constant need to make sure everything will fall perfectly into place in life. Let events, changes and new experiences shape you without being preoccupied with the future.

Know that, sometimes, things are just completely out of your control. Worry less about making more and more money (if you love what you do, this will come naturally).

Understand that events in life occur in processes, and while difficult times will happen, they will ultimately end, as well. It will all work out fine — I promise.


3) Becoming Complacent

When was the last time you tried a new dish at that same restaurant you’ve frequented since moving into your apartment? I get that the buffalo chicken wrap is out of this world, but the second page of the menu may unlock secrets you’ve never even imagined.

Go out into the world and try something you’ve never done before, like yoga, rock climbing or improv classes. Google how to thank the barista who speaks a different language at your local coffee shop.

These small, new choices you make in your life will not only shape your perspective of life and its different meanings, but also help you to discover new interests and passions.


4) Bumming It To School Or Work

Rather than straightening your hair, you throw it up in a bun. Instead of hitting the gym bright and early, you throw on last week’s sweats and rush to catch the train.

Doing this sets you up for failure. Opt for some clothes that will stand out during your morning commute or at the 9 am meeting with the general manager. If you dress for success, no setback will make you feel any less than perfect.

Remember that Beyoncé only has 24 hours in a day, too. If Bey can look that good every day, can’t we?


5) Binge-Watching Netflix And Skipping The Gym

You discovered there is a season two of “Orange is the New Black,” but that does not mean you have to watch it all in one day, no matter how hard it may be to refrain.

As easy as it is to cuddle up to your laptop and a bottle of red, the satisfaction of hitting the gym for just one hour each day will have limitless effects on the body and soul.

Besides, Piper and company isn’t going anywhere. You might as well space out your weekly programming so you can look forward to treating yourself after some hard work and sweat, rather than feeling left without a purpose in-between seasons.


6) Caving Into Temptations

Whether it’s losing five pounds, saving up for a new pair of boots or acing a final exam, humans set their minds to goals on a daily basis.

Immediately after placing these goals, the world seems to throw us boundaries and obstacles that inhibit us from gaining what it is we truly want. For instance, your roommate ordering a pizza, or your friends going out for happy hour (which usually turns into you dipping into rent funds for a $10 margarita).

Endless distractions, cravings and temptations stop us from sticking to what it is we set our minds to. Learn what these challenges look like and conquer them.

Treat each day like a challenge, and congratulate yourself each day you become one step closer to your goal. If you do fall off track, get back up. Don’t let one bad day make you feel incapable, or anything less than worthy.

The saying your fourth grade teacher had still holds true: If you can dream it, you can achieve it.


7) Building Someone Else’s Dream Instead of Your Own

George Bernard Shaw once wrote,

Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Humans are not born on a track. We aren’t just given paths to take and lives to exist in, whether we like it or not. This will limit you from focusing on your life’s deeper meaning.

If there is any aspect of your life you are not happy with, you need to take the steps in order to change it rather than remaining idle. Change has to come from you. Do something about it; cause hell and fight for what you deserve because nobody is going to give you anything in this world but you.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It

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So You Criticize Christians of Being “Judgmental”? Oh How “Non-Judgmental” Of You.

Though I didn’t watch the full episode last night, I did catch the commercial for next week’s Preachers of LA that is evidently going to cover Deitrick’s “after scandal” encounter with gospel singer Kevin Terry.  While I couldn’t really gather much from the commercial, I decided to check the episode synopsis online to get more insight.

I basically saw a “refresher” on Terry and what the whole hoopla was about. Last year, Kevin Terry (of Kevin Terry and Predestined) had his life and ministry interrupted when a homosexual sex tape showing him taking part in some “submissive acts” were released to the public.  Now why it was released? Who knows?  I DO know that Kevin was overwhelmingly embarrassed and as a response to the criticism he was getting for his not-so-undercover lifestyle, released a Facebook status basically pointing the finger back at those who responded negatively to him quoting Acts 18:10 and more or less saying that only God could judge him.

By the time I finished reading this article and shut down my internet for the night, I couldn’t help but shake my head and send up a special prayer for us, the Christians of this present day.

I will be THE FIRST to say that I struggled for years with who I was in Christ and submitting totally to Him. I (a PK) was sexually active with my boyfriend, drank almost every weekend, and was ultimately damaging the kingdom of Christ by living a wayward life.  I was contributing to the new stereotype that “Christians today are just like everybody else or worse.”

I know how freeing it was to finally break through, and now I see that the family I thought was “criticizing and judging me for living my life” we’re doing EXACTLY what Christ calls us to do in the Bible.  Godly reproof is NOT… I repeat NOT judging.  If someone who is pursuing righteousness and not actively living a life of sin gives you godly reproof…hush up and TAKE IT TO HEART! So many people WILLINGLY living against the will of God, like Terry was, are quick to call any type of godly correction “judging”. YES he has the choice to live his own life; however, he shouldn’t have gotten so defensive and justified his actions which are CLEARLY against God’s natural intention (See Romans 1:18-28) . Often times, those who are genuine Bible-believing Christians are called “narrow-minded,” “judgmental,” and “bigots” because of the stand taken against the things welcomed by the world. The stand Jesus Christ took against all sin, however, could not be any clearer. He was perhaps the most “narrow-minded,” “judgmental,” “bigoted” person to ever walk the face of the earth, as viewed by this world’s standards.

2 Timothy (ESV) – 3 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

Matthew 29 (ESV) – 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Meaning that while it’s still something to stay on top of, many Christians of this and the next few generations will be littered with “new age or wayward Christian standards”.  This is not be being self-righteous because I had to travel a hard road in order to escape the bondage of the sinful life I was once living; but plain and simple, the Word of God corrects. Whether you’re a closet prostitute, liar, drug addict, or whatever your sin or choice may be; it makes you squirm when it convicts.  The bible is God’s blueprint to living a life that will ensure you are pleasing to Him and it keeps us on the path that leads to heaven. God will love you regardless, why else would He leave us His word and His Holy Spirit?! If you want to even look at it on a surface level, following teachings of Jesus and scripture ultimately saves us from a lot of trouble.

God gives us choice, and while yes, we should pray for those in struggle as well as ourselves, we should also know that “faith without works is dead”SO if we pray “Lord help brother or sister so-and-so in their struggle with addiction” yet still don’t speak up when they smoke that crack or do those drugs around us – we are not being effective.  If we pray “Father God help so-and-so in their struggle with homosexuality or promiscuity” but we still validate their lifestyle by praising “new boos” and not speaking out as they keep having sex with random people and not truly breaking free – we are not being effective.

I strongly believe that God’s Word (through examples from the lives of biblical characters or clearly stated by Christ) convicts.  If we say we are Christians (followers of Christ) and truly of the faith, we should WANT to be salt of the earth, a city upon a hill, a shining example of how we are set apart from the world – we need to not get so defensive when someone corrects us with godly truth.  If I, Jocelyn, am doing something today that doesn’t line up with God’s word, I want someone to TELL ME! Yeah, I might be a little mad for a second, but if I am shown and have been proven to that it is for my own good, I’ll be straight and grateful to whomever pointed out where I could tighten up.  None of us are perfect (only Christ was) BUT that doesn’t give us an excuse to actively live in sin and call it “struggling”. He doesn’t want us to settle for a mediocre, worldly life. He wants us to access his God given peace, biblical prosperity, and more; but the only way to do that is to stop getting so uptight and be open to correction.

Be blessed ya’ll.

– Joc

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The Man God is Preparing for Her

GodlyDating101

There is a process that every male must go through in life. Many boys never become men either because they allow people to control their lives or because they have never submitted to Christ and allowed him to mold them into the man He is preparing them to be. Men, you have to understand that you must go to God before a woman so He can process you. Ladies, you must understand that you cannot force a man to love you who isn’t ready, you will never be good enough.

1. Boys don’t know what they want.

Every boy has a desire to chase after something. However while immature, he will simply go after what looks and feels good not necessarily what is good for them. Which is why just like a parent, God has to teach him what to avoid and what is acceptable. Men, don’t rush this period…

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Is Your Church Worship More Pagan than Christian? by Todd Pruitt

Check out this blog post I came across today during lunch. Thoughts?

– Joc

Is Your Church Worship More Pagan than Christian?
blog post written by Todd Pruitt

Monday, September 29, 2014

There is a great misunderstanding in churches of the purpose of music in Christian worship. Churches routinely advertise their “life-changing” or “dynamic” worship that will “bring you closer to God” or “change your life.” Certain worship CD’s promise that the music will “enable you to enter the presence of God.” Even a flyer for a recent conference for worship leaders boasted:

“Join us for dynamic teaching to set you on the right path, and inspiring worship where you can meet God and receive the energy and love you need to be a mover and shaker in today’s world…Alongside our teaching program are worship events which put you in touch with the power and love of God.”

The problem with the flyer and with many church ads is that these kinds of promises reveal a significant theological error. Music is viewed as a means to facilitate an encounter with God; it will move us closer to God. In this schema, music becomes a means of mediation between God and man. But this idea is closer to ecstatic pagan practices than to Christian worship.

Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. He alone is the One who brings us to God. The popular but mistaken notions regarding worship music undermine this foundational truth of the Christian faith. It is also ironic that while many Christians deny the sacramental role of those ordinances which the Lord Himself has given to the church (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) they are eager to grant music sacramental powers. Music and “the worship experience” are viewed as means by which we enter the presence of God and receive his saving benefits. There is simply no evidence whatsoever in Scripture that music mediates direct encounters or experiences with God. This is a common pagan notion. It is far from Christian.
In his helpful book True Worship Vaughan Roberts offers four consequences of viewing music as an encounter with God. I will summarize them.

1. God’s Word is marginalized.
In many Churches and Christian gatherings it is not unusual for God’s Word to be shortchanged. Music gives people the elusive “liver quiver” while the Bible is more mundane. Pulpits have shrunk and even disappeared while bands and lighting have grown. But faith does not come from music, dynamic experiences, or supposed encounters with God. Faith is birthed through the proclamation of God’s Word (Rom 10:17).

2. Our assurance is threatened.
If we associate God’s presence with a particular experience or emotion, what happens when we no longer feel it? We search for churches whose praise band, orchestra, or pipe organ produce in us the feelings we are chasing. But the reality of God in our lives depends on the mediation of Christ not on subjective experiences.

3. Musicians are given priestly status.
When music is seen as a means to encounter God, worship leaders and musicians are vested with a priestly role. They become the ones who bring us into the presence of God rather than Jesus Christ who alone has already fulfilled that role. Understandably, when a worship leader or band doesn’t help me experience God they have failed and must be replaced. On the other hand, when we believe that they have successfully moved us into God’s presence they will attain in our minds a status that is far too high for their own good.

4. Division is increased.
If we identify a feeling as an encounter with God, and only a particular kind of music produces that feeling, then we will insist that same music be played regularly in our church or gatherings. As long as everyone else shares our taste then there is no problem. But if others depend upon a different kind of music to produce the feeling that is important to them then division is cultivated. And because we routinely classify particular feelings as encounters with God our demands for what produce those feelings become very rigid. This is why so many churches succumb to offering multiple styles of worship services. By doing so, they unwittingly sanction division and self-centeredness among the people of God.
Scripture is full of exhortations to God’s people to sing and make music to the Lord. Our God has been gracious to give us this means to worship Him. But it is important to understand that music in our worship is for two specific purposes: to honor God and to edify our fellow believers. Unfortunately, many Christians tend to grant music a sacramental power which Scripture never bestows upon it.

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From Fatherless to Fatherhood — (Effects on Black Children) Joc’s Thoughts

Tonight I have been blessed to stumble across the gem “From Fatherless to Fatherhood” on ASPIRE and I am really inspired by it! The terrible part is that this film came out 3 years ago and I’m just now hearing about it — but better late than never in this case. This documentary (created by Kobie Brown) addresses some key truths when discussing how fathers being absent or present affect children and their own personal decisions.

The entire film (which is a little over an hour long) is weaving perspectives and raw thoughts and feelings of various men and women on fathers. There were women who admitted to making poor decisions because their fathers weren’t there. They found themselves living the stereotype of “the angry black I-Dont-Need-You independent woman” because that’s how they were FORCED to be by growing up in a household where the woman was alone and doing everything on her own. They also responded to men who say they choose to date outside of their race because they can’t deal with the attitude. One woman simply said that she and other women portray this stereotype don’t WANT to be like that but they never had their dad stick around long enough (or any man for that matter) so they are ready to fight and prepare themselves to do without men because they go into relationships already expecting to be let down.ESSENCE-Music-Festival-2012-ESSENCE-Empowerment-Experience-Speaker-Kobie_Brown

Black men, which included gospel star Kirk Franklin, were also interviewed and candidly stated that they got into trouble growing up because they didn’t have that balance from their fathers in the household. They were just big ball of emotions and didn’t know what to do with them all so they would act out in school, join gangs, or sleep around on women because they grew up not knowing how to be anything else! The same with the single mothers that were interviewed. They wished they had their child’s father in the household to balance their parenting skills. No one does anything perfectly — and aside from the obvious disparity that comes with a single income household, emotional balance is lacking in households with one parent.

Sex is the smallest part of a meaningful relationship; ESPECIALLY when it comes to having children. If you have a child with someone you can’t even get along with, you should really give your all in thinking if being physical with them is even worth it. Even if you’ve married and divorced — your kids still need to have that constant flow of love, nurturing, and attention from their fathers — from their PARENTS! “It’s easy to have a partner in parenting than trying to do it all by yourself.”

But the lesson that literally screamed at me while watching this film is this  — plain and simple. If you are a selfish person it’s IMPOSSIBLE to be a good parent…point blank AND period.

urbanworldfl2(1) w: bleedYou’re going to have to sacrifice some of YOUR comfort for your child. Your love for them should borderline exceed your love for yourself. You should want to see them succeed in life. Being a good parent takes discipline. If you are a father or mother, you need to be physically and mentally present in your kid’s life. Help them with their homework without having to be asked. Take them to the park to get some fresh air. Take them out for an ice cream cone. Turn on the hose and make a homemade sprinkler. Don’t make your children have to FIGHT to get your attention.

Yes it is true, I don’t have kids of my own and may catch some flack for this but I don’t care — I know PLENTY of grown folk in their twenties and thirties who are TERRIBLE parents! I don’t have to have children of my own to see the effects of a sorry parent or one who’s not present. I am the product of a two parent household where I have grown up seeing what a 30 + marriage looks like. I know FIRST HAND the benefits and differences that come when you have the balance of a present and active father in the household. Though my life hasn’t been perfect and I haven’t always gotten what I wanted, my father was ALWAYS there to give me little hints of wisdom, buy my favorite candy from the convenient mart, bring soup up to my room when I was sick, make encouragement cards to give me when I was feeling at my lowest, teach me how to ride a bike and roller skate — I am the well rounded, loving person I am today because I didn’t have parents who just stuck me in front of the tv, but actually INTERACTIVELY loved me.

I look at my life and some of my friends who have been forced to live in single parent homes and it, and always has, hurt my heart. Though we have all made similar mistakes, I know none of mine were because I didn’t have a father present in my life — it was because of my own strong will.

Watching this film has once again made me realize how thankful I am for my parents, but also stirs up some hurt in my heart because I know so many deadbeat fathers (AND mothers). It’s ridiculous.

And before I end this post I want to point out that being someone’s father or mother doesn’t make you a DADDY or a MAMA. 

If you would rather sit and daydream about “making it big” all day instead of help your child with their home work — you’re NOT present.

If you can spend money on clothes and trips and parties while your child looks like they’re one step away from the gutter — you’re NOT present.

If you spend more time with your girl, dude, or friends and always stick your child w/a baby sitter or in front of the tv — you’re NOT present.

If you can’t help your child with their homework or at least find a tutor and throw up your hands while they struggle — you’re NOT present.

If you give your child WHATEVER they want, just so they can “shut up” and “be good” while you sleep your life away — you’re NOT present.

If your kid is wreaking havoc on the mall or office and you don’t correct them YET talk about somebody else’s child — you’re NOT present.

 

The black community HAS GOT to do better about having good, faithful, strong fathers in the household or else this cycle will continue to repeat itself. 

 Goodnight,

Joc

 

** all photos courtesy of the film and film’s website

 

 

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What The Cost Of Your Engagement Ring May Say About Your Marriage

What The Cost Of Your Engagement Ring May Say About Your Marriage

The Huffington Post  | By Taryn Hillin

Posted: 10/03/2014 4:46 pm EDT Updated: 10/03/2014 4:59 pm EDT

ENGAGEMENT RING

The say a diamond is forever — but new research suggests the bigger the diamond engagement ring, the shorter the marriage might be.

Economics professors from Emory University surveyed 3,000 U.S. adults who had been married at some point in their lives and found that participants who spent large sums of money on engagement rings and/or their weddings were more likely to end up divorced.

Here are the two main findings:

    1. Men who spent $2,000 to $4,000 on engagement rings were 1.3 times more likely to end up divorced than men who spent $500 to $2,000. Women who received expensive engagement rings also experienced higher rates of divorce.
  1. Women whose weddings cost $20,000 or more were 3.5 times more likely to end up divorced than women who spent $5,000 to $10,000. (According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $30,000).

Interestingly, spending $1,000 or less on the wedding decreased the chances of divorce, but spending too little on an engagement ring backfired; those who spent less than $500 experienced higher rates of divorce.

The authors of the paper hypothesize that the correlation between high wedding and engagement ring costs and divorce may have to do with financial stress placed on brides and grooms who are determined to have the perfect day, whether or not they can actually afford it.

For example, women whose rings cost over $2,000 were three times more likely to complain about stress related to wedding debt. On the other hand, those who spent less than $1,000 on their weddings were 82 to 93 percent less likely to be stressed out by wedding finances.

It makes sense that spending an exorbitant amount on a wedding or engagement ring without being able to afford it could cause unnecessary financial stress, so why do it?

The researchers place some blame on the wedding industry for creating a new standard over the past fifty years through ad campaigns, magazines and inflated costs that encourage brides and grooms to spend, spend, spend.

“In 1959, Bride’s recommended that couples set aside two months to prepare for their wedding and published a checklist with 22 tasks for them to complete. By the 1990s, the magazine recommended 12 months of wedding preparation and published a checklist with 44 tasks to complete.”

They had this to say about engagement rings:

“Prior to World War II, in Western countries, only 10 percent of engagement rings contained a diamond. By the end of the century, about 80 percent did. In 2012, total expenditures on diamond rings were roughly $7 billion in the United States.”

“Our findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry’s general message that connects expensive weddings with positive marital outcomes,” the study states.

But don’t call off your large nuptials just yet. The researchers found that having more guests — not spending more money — led to longer marriages, as did having a honeymoon (even an inexpensive one!)

What do you think of these findings? Sound off in the comments section below.

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