Tag Archives: the black church

**The Road To 27** Post 3 of 7 – Friends and Relationships

** Reflections on Friends and Relationships **

I was actually debating whether or not to even reflect on this because I could go on forever. But for your sakes (and attention spans) I won’t take long.

These past 27 years haven’t always lent themselves to the best friendships and relationships until just recently. Since as far ago as I can remember, I’ve always wanted “friends of my own”. I know that sounds neurotic, but being the miniature tv addict I was, I wanted a core group of friends like the ones on The BabySitters Club or Harriet the Spy. Up until middle school I had those friends — but heading into high school some of the people I thought were closest to me, actually weren’t as loyal as I thought.

Wait. Let’s back up to the beginning and cover relationships. 


My little adolescent/tween view on relationships and dating was the same as my friendships. Since the day I and three other girls in my kindergarten class were molested by classmates (who were clearly exposed to too much sex), my view on relationships was flawed. From that point on, all I wanted was a boyfriend who would protect me (as my father strove to do each day), and grow into a husband that loved me like the Disney princess my parents always told me I was. I failed to realize that NO ONE under the age of 18 or 20 is truly equipped to protect ANYONE — they’re just learning to handle themselves. I remember the night I told my babysitter what had happened, I was scared to my tiny 5-6 year old core! Now that I’m really taking time to think on it, I was more embarrassed than anything because I didn’t want my parents to think I was ‘fast’. That’s why none of you have probably heard about what happened until this very second. I took all of that trauma, bottled it up, and carried it with me all the way until high school and college. Because I didn’t allow myself to really form the right view on relationships (despite the wonderful example I had in my parents) I was naive, too trustworthy, and felt like I could read people a little better than I actually could.  This led to me making MANY MANY bad judges of character and a few bad choices in boyfriends.

WHEW — did you get all of that?! Ok, let’s keep going and put it all together.

DAY 3 PART 2So here it is, 2010. I’m out of college, full time in the work force, and secretly damaged from all that I’d been through. It was serious, painstaking work attempting to really trust ANYONE — even the friends that were still sticking with me. By 2011, things with the last guy I dated blew up into oblivion and all I could do was just cry out to God…why me?! Why am I always the one getting lied to?! Why do these people insist on chipping away at the last bit of kindness I can muster up?! Why do people insist on misinterpreting my well meaning friendship? Will I be alone and friendless forever?! (dramatic I know, but this is what honestly went through my mind — it made for great poetry though, I’ve got notebooks full!)

That’s when God began to answer the prayers I’d prayed for so long! I began reconnecting with old friends, gaining new ones, and while my dating life was pretty much non existent, I was allowing God to heal me from my past hurts. Now, here I am on the brink of my 27th birthday surrounded by the best friends I could have ever wished for — and can testify that God certainly gave me double for my trouble! The dating life is still — eh — but hey, at least I can say I am free from the bondage of relationships’ past AND I’m looking to get my feet wet in the dating pool again! I’m looking forward to a wonderful future with great friends, an awesome boyfriend (whoever that will be), and a wonderful life!


Photo shot and edited by Rich Griffis (www.richgriffis.com)

[photo by Rich Griffis ]


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I’ve Got A Question For You…. (Christians Only Chat)

As Christians living in this millennium, there has always been this increasing discussion (sometimes debate) as to how a Christian (a follow of Christ) should act. What is ‘human nature’ and what is blatant sin.

I normally give my commentary, but today I want to read the honest opinions of what others think, feel, and believe. I know my own personal thoughts — and some weren’t easy to come to — but I want YOUR honest thoughts

Note that what this is NOT is a set up for a fight.

With this being said…. I have a few questions for you.

QUESTION A – Do you hold gospel/Christian music singers to the same moral standard as preachers/ministers?

QUESTION B – Would you attend (or stay at) a church where you know the pastor or ministerial staff dabbles in deviant activities or a lifestyle that is contrary to the teachings of Christ? What if they preach truth straight from the bible but are just not living as a Christian ought?


Would you regularly attend or join a church where the pastor…

  1. Drank socially (this includes wine and coolers)
  2. Openly carried on a homosexual relationship
  3. “Discretely” carried on a homosexual lifestyle
  4. Smoke cigarettes or Black-and-Milds (no weed)
  5. Married or was married to someone who drank heavily and did drugs
  6. Gossiped or had a bad attitude at times
  7. Was not a “people person”


Would you regular buy the music of, support, and listen to a gospel/Christian artist who….

  1. Drank socially (this includes wine and coolers)
  2. Openly carried on a homosexual relationship
  3. “Discretely” carried on a homosexual lifestyle
  4. Smoke cigarettes or Black-and-Milds (no weed)
  5. Married or was married to someone who drank heavily and did drugs
  6. Gossiped or had a bad attitude at times
  7. Was not a “people person”

Just open a blank word document or take out a scratch piece of paper and just write down your simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Comment on this post… I’m eager to see how your mind thinks!

– Be blessed, Joc


Filed under The Christian Life

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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7 Truths About Marriage You Won’t Hear in Church

7 Truths About Marriage You Won’t Hear in Church

The Church provides a good foundation for marriage, but here are a few of the things you might not always hear.

But it never failed. I would follow the guideline. I would study the handout. But when it came time, the professor would put the exam on my desk and there would be a foreign formula or equation I had never seen—or, at least, one I did not see on the study guide. Looking back, I realize the teacher did not intend for the study guide to be comprehensive. It was simply not possible to include everything from the required reading, class notes and lectures.

Such is the case with the Church and marriage. I am grateful for the foundation the Church gave me in regard to marriage. It was a good study guide. But there some things on the test I did not learn until marriage began. So I am going to give you some answers to the test that some of you might not expect to see. Here are a few truths about marriage I never heard in church:

1. Sex is a Gift From God. Explore It.

God created sex, but through the years, God’s people have allowed Satan to steal this gift—without much of a fight.

I was never educated about sex—and I grew up in a Christian family. My framework for sex was built by my friends at school and the movies I watched. Big uh oh. I still struggle with enjoying the fullness of sex today because of the cloud of lies formed during my teenage years.

It is time for God’s people to take back the gift of sex. The lies surrounding it are ruining lives and marriages. If you are married, explore the fullness of sex for the glory of God. Pray for sexual intimacy with your spouse.

2. There is More Than One Person Out There You Could Marry.

Soulmates are made, not born. Maintaining a healthy relationship is more about commitment than perfection. Every person on earth has imperfections. And the reality is there is more than one person we could spend our lives with.

Soulmates are made, not born. Maintaining a healthy relationship is more about commitment than perfection

I meet too many young people that are waiting for something that is not real. “I just couldn’t marry her because she smacked her food.” “He just wasn’t the one. But I know my soulmate is still out there. I just have to keep looking.”

What if God does not want you to find a perfect person, but find an imperfect person who will draw you closer to Him? What if God desires you to marry a person with flaws to expose yours? What if God wants to teach you the value and life found in committing to one person forever, not the exhausting pursuit of searching your entire life to find the perfect person?

3. The First Year of Marriage is Really Hard.

What have we done? Are we going to make it? Why is this so hard? These are all questions I asked myself many times during my first year of marriage.

We were arguing. We were fighting. It was really hard. And every day I thought something was wrong. Nobody warned me about the difficulty of the first year.

If you are in the first year of marriage and thinking about giving up, you’re not alone. Everyone struggles. Persevere. There are better days coming. Your marriage will get better. Stick with it.

4. A Spouse Does Not Complete You.

Jerry Maguire has brainwashed a generation of people to believe a lie. Spouses do not complete people. I bought this lie, and it wasn’t until I let go of any notion my wife could fill some void that I was able to truly love her. I had been expecting Tiffani to do something only God can do.

If you are empty, broken or insecure and you believe a spouse is the silver bullet to your problems, buckle up. It will be a bumpy ride. You will never be able to enjoy the beauty of marriage if you think your spouse’s job is to complete you.

5. Marry Someone With Similar Goals, Dreams and Passions.

Marry someone who is a Christian, yes. But I would go further—marry someone with similar passions and dreams. Of course, no two people are going to want exactly the same things in life. But some things are harder to work through than others. For example, if you love foreign missions and your potential spouse hates going overseas, tension is going to arise.

If your spouse has similar passions, they will be able to understand your struggles and fully support your pursuits. There is much power in two people living life with the same goals, dreams and passions for life.

6. Marriage is Not for Everybody.

Paul talks about this in Corinthians. He tells the church at Corinth to remain in the situation they are in. If unmarried, then stay unmarried. If married, then stay married. Later, he says, “So then the person who marries his fiancee does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better” (1 Corinthians 7:38).

Maybe it is time for God’s people to accept the reality that God has not called everyone to marry. I have talked with young men and women that are almost consumed with finding a spouse. And most of the pressure comes from church. Once a person reaches mid-twenties, we assume something is wrong with them if they have not married.

Marriage is holy and good, but it is also possible to follow Jesus without a spouse.

Shame on us. Marriage is holy and good, but it is also possible to follow Jesus without a spouse.

7. Marriage is Not About You.

I love weddings. But in an increasingly individualistic, “me” culture, weddings create a potentially dangerous situation. It is all about the bride and groom. Everyone looks at them. Encourages them. Congratulates them.

Many couples have bought the lie of the wedding day: It is all about me. But marriage is at odds with this mindset. A successful wedding day is one where everyone serves you. A successful marriage is one where you serve your spouse. The wedding day is a day where the spotlight is on you. Marriage has no spotlight. The wedding day is joyous and celebratory. Many seasons of marriage are about persevering and not letting go through the storms.

Embrace your wedding day. Prepare for it. Celebrate it. But do not make the mistake of believing the lie that it’s all about you. After your 20 minutes of fame, the spotlight is gone forever. It is no longer about you (and this is a good thing, you will see).

This article was originally posted at frankmatthewpowell.com

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/7-truths-about-marriage-you-won%E2%80%99t-hear-church#vXHRxaV9BGkXlBKd.99

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