FundTheMentals Bible Study @ Elements Church

I am leading the fundamentals bible study at Elements church every 2nd & 3rd Wednesday of the month from 7:30pm-8:30pm. A leadership development bible study will be taking place same time, date & frequency in another room at Elements church lead by Pastor E.

All our welcome. Come through, bring a friend, and lets build. Looking forward to growing with you.

“The Late Night Sessions” Mixtape (Randy Mason & Peace 586) Free download.

A few months back I got sick, and lost my voice. Around the same time I downloaded a few really awesome beats by the super talented Peace 586. One evening my wife and I were up talking, and she could see the wheels turning in my head. She said “you should probably get some rest.” I agreed, but instead decided to stay up all night writing, and recording. This mixtape features the songs/freestyles from two consecutive late night sessions at my kitchen table doing what I love to do.

“Late Night Sessions” link to free download

https://bundles.bittorrent.com/bundles/cecc3010ae4466aca39fad5c43b21f2a7a24331f1c1d03c558fbd1052a29849f

All These Things

 How enormous a challenge it is to remain at peace in this fast paced life, where ironically the pressure to produce can often be paralyzing.  Even as I write this, the whirlwind of worry within my mind swirls violently, threatening to rob me of the peace that is.

Mr. Fillmore & The Great Abyss (Never Enough)

My appetite to achieve has become an abyss, chasing dreams through revolving doors.

Life can sometimes feel like a long list of things to do, a mere checklist of mundane matters. Too often, regardless of how much we do, we are left feeling like it just isn’t enough, and truth is… It isn’t. From our daily tasks, to our life long dreams, all these things although potentially necessary and good, will never satisfy our hunger for completion, and perfect peace. So how do we conquer the conundrum of the never-ending to do list? If instead of dwelling on all these things we need, and want to do, we focus more on the one calling, and empowering us to do them; we will then discover the peace, and fulfillment we desire. Thus filling a God sized void with only that which can fill it; God.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you. 

 A Busy Life Isn’t Necessarily an Effective Life (Avoiding Powerlessness)

Press pause, unplug, pray, repeat.

So much to do, so much to do. How much of what we do has any power? Impact? Lasting impression? How much of what we do is fruitful, and effective? How much of what we do is in vain, and with selfish ambition? Ouch. Yeah, these are challenging questions, but in order for us to live to our fullest potential we have to examine our lives and determine the areas that need improvement. How much of what we do is simply excess that can be eliminated? A busy life isn’t necessarily an effective life, but a prayerful life is. The power, and productivity is in prayer. We need to unplug from everything going on around us, quiet our mind, and just be still. When we spend quiet time in prayer, and in the scriptures we are refreshed, and better prepared for the busyness of life.

Mark 6:31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Mark 9:28-29 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, why could we not cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. 

 Joy on The Job

 Determining what’s most important, is most important.

I used to feel so uninterested, and unenthused at my previous day job. It was such a chore, and really burdensome. Until I asked myself, why am I here? Why am I doing all these things? Initially the answer was, to get paid, but that answer didn’t cut it. When I pondered the question further, but this time from a biblical perspective I realized that I was there for something far more important than a pay check. I was there to shine a light, and share the love of God with the people I interacted with on a daily basis. Remembering my purpose got me through some really challenging times on that job. Take a look at your to do list, and try to view it from a biblical perspective. Why are we doing all these things? Things related to our family, our home, our marriage, our friends, our jobs, our church, ministry, our business, our art. Grumbling, and complaining is an indicator that I have forgotten my purpose, and need to pause, unplug, pray, and repeat. We can have joy on any job, any task at hand, whether it’s doing the laundry or writing a song, inputting data at work, or sweeping the church floor. There is great purpose in all these things. Getting up early to take the kids to school can be a drag, or it can be an opportunity to pour into the kids words of wisdom and encouragement that will help them throughout the day. Remember joy and happiness are not the same. I am not suggesting that we bounce around smiling and whistling all day every day, but what I am suggesting is that we can have peace, and joy amidst all these things that we want, and need to do, when we remember to seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. After all, what is always most important is that God’s will be fulfilled in and through us.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well

Here’s a link to the slides from the sermon I gave on this same subject. “All These Things” (Work Hard Pray Harder)

https://www.haikudeck.com/all-these-things-uncategorized-presentation-Eixhq0jtcc

Here is a fun song that gives us a fresh perspective on all these things we do.

The Elements of Worship

Church Music?

 We’ve all heard traditional “church” music at some point in our lives. Whether we grew up in the church, or only attended church on holidays like Christmas, New Years Eve, and Easter. Never been to church? It’s likely you’ve still heard your share of hymns ( a religious song or poem, typically of praise to God.) in movies, at funerals, or even at a sports game (God bless America sounds like church music to me). Ever hear the song “Amazing grace”? It’s just an old didy the President of The United States recently sang at a eulogy, and is estimated to have been recorded over 6,000 times, and quite possibly the most recorded song ever on the planet.

 Some of the most succesful American singer songwriters of all time have roots that we can trace back to their musical beginnings in the local church. Yet there still remains a bit of confusion surrounding “church” music, a sense of obscurity both for the secular world, and the christian world alike. Walk into any charismatic church on a Sunday morning during praise & worship, observe and you’ll see some people totally unengaged, others clapping, and singing in the most monotonous manner possible, and some lifting their hands, maybe crying, maybe smiling but definitely in a state of rapture. As a Hip Hop artist I’ve performed in front of plenty of people in various types of settings from NYC to Paris France. As a christian who grew up in church, I’ve participated in praise and worship from the pew for years; but when I was recently asked to lead worship at a church in the Bronx, I began to shrink in fear realizing the magnitude of worship, and how I/we sometimes take it for granted. Here are a few thoughts, and notes I prayed on, and scribbled in my notebook days prior to my first day as worship leader at Elements church in the Bronx.

Praise and Worship is NOT a genre of music, such as Gospel, or Christian Contemporary Music, but is essentially a form of prayer which we are commanded to do.

Revelation 22:9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 

This is what the angel told John on the island of Patmos, when in reverence toward the heavenly angel, John bowed in worship. The angel commanded John to worship God. I doubt John had a full band, sound system, and big screen ready to display lyrics available to him on the island. In theory, we can remove musicality from worship all together without compromising its sole purpose, which is to praise and worship God. Unlike genres of music, praise and worship is not dependent upon lyric, melody, instrumentation, performance, artist, or audience. I will venture to say worship isn’t even dependent upon sound, because the cry of our heart will reach God infinitely quicker than any note we can sing, or play.

Praise and Worship is NOT about our talent, voice, and instrument, but about our heart, offering, and sacrifice.

Mathew 15:8 These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrine the commands of men. (Isaiah 29:13)

In theory, the most skilled musician, and vocalist can be ineffective in their attempt to worship, while a person with virtually no musical ability at all can lead even the heavenly angels in worship.

Offer up a sacrifice of Praise (What Are We Offering God?)

Romans 12: 1-2 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. 

Hebrews 13:15 By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 

When we come before God to worship whether privately, or collectively we are actually presenting an offering, a sacrifice. So what are we offering God? A lyric? A song? A well rehearsed routine? (Insert comic relief here) A two-step, soul clap, and a nice looking choir robe? (We don’t rock robes at Elements church by the way, nothing against robes; just saying) We ought to have a healthy fear when it comes to presenting anything to God. In the old and new testament God has expressed terrifying indignation toward those who offer unworthy sacrifices.

Genesis 4:6 Then The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why are you downcast? If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But it you do not right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Malachi 1:14  But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and takes a vow, but sacrifice to The Lord what is blemished. “For I am a great King” says The Lord of hosts, “and my name is to be feared among the nations”.

Acts 5:3-4 Then peter said, “Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the holy spirit and keep back part of the proceeds from the field? Wasn’t is yours while you possessed it? And after it sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

The Elements of Worship

Psalm 51:15-17 Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not want a sacrifice or I would give it, you are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, you will not despise a broken and humbled heart. 

A humble heart. A repentant heart. Complete and total surrender before God. Adoration. Awareness of our frailty, and God’s omnipotence, gratitude, and thanksgiving for who God is, and for all God has done. Knowledge. We cannot worship a God we do not know personally, and intimately. When I first met my wife I complimented her, but as I got to know her over the years my affection toward her grew deeper, and my way of expressing my love and appreciation for her far out weighed the compliments I showered her with early on. To “keep it 100” as the kids say,  some of the initial compliments at times (Disclaimer: At times, not all the time. I love you sugar, I loved falling in love with you then, and love falling in love with you now) – but at times those compliments came from shallow, and selfish motives, just as some of our early vows to God have. “God get me out of this mess and I’ll serve you forever!” How many messes will we try to game God to get us out of, with no real intention of getting to know him? Today the praise I give my wife comes from a place of experiencing and learning who she is, who I am, and who we are as one. The same applies to praise and worship. Lip service is worthless, and even dangerous. What song does our heart sing? What lyric is our soul writing? What melody does our mind make when reflecting on our savior? God is not impressed with our bands ability to jump and play at the same time. God isn’t impressed with our cool new songs. God is much more concerned with the song of our heart. As a creative artist my prayer is constantly “Lord purify my heart, and the art within it.”

So whether you are a new believer in Christ or as seasoned as a pack of Adobo, let’s be intentional in getting right before God, and make a joyful noise. God bless you!

No Ordinary Living Room

Once a month Dame and I visit the Bronxworks living room homeless shelter and provide a creative writing workshop.

There is a beauty in brokenness that cannot be captured by any of the many wonderful art forms humanity has to offer. A benevolent beauty that subtly shows itself in the most unsuspecting moments. Detrimental decisions and disappointments develop into desolate days of debris covering all corners of the mind, hardening the heart that longs for tenderness.  Yet there is A heroism possessed by the humble, who strive to find peace in the pieces. Stand close enough to a broken heart and you will hear what it beats for. Get close enough to the eyes that have cried tsunamis and you will see the depth of sorrow as deep as the endless sea. Come close enough to touch the untouchable and you will feel the warmth of love that is still alive just waiting to be revived.

Hip Hoppin’ HeART Episode #1 “Arithmetic’s Rhythm” Featuring NYC Math Teacher Marcus Mafematics Johnson

When was the last time you heard a math teacher rhyme? “Arithmetic’s Rhythm” is the first episode of a brand new Hip Hoppin’ HeART web series where Ill be connecting with innovative creatives, educators, and artists who bring unique perspectives and approaches to art and education. In this episode we kick it with NYC math teacher Marcus Mafematics Johnson. Maf tells us about his company Tangent Learning, talks math & music, kicks my butt in a video game, and even has a John Legend moment on the piano. Hip Hoppin’ Heart, putting the FUN back in the fundamentals of art and education. Help us spread the word, and stay tuned for the next episode coming soon.