Interesting Article – “Breaking Up With Porn” by Jarrid Wilson

Pornography is a serious issue. It’s not one that’s talked about nearly as much as it needs to be. Often it gets lumped into the wide topic of Sexual Immorality without being discussed individually on the same level pre-marital sex and homosexuality. Surprisingly enough, men aren’t the only ones who struggle with pornography anymore, although it still is a sexual sin men deal with more than women. Jarrid Wilson writes a short article with stats and advice to help christians break up with their pornography addiction. Here’s an excerpt (Read the full article here)

Here are some stats:

– 54% of Christians said they had watched pornographic material within the last year. (survey from pastors.com)

– 47% of Christian households said that porn is a struggle in their household. (2003 focus on the family survey)

Pretty crazy, huh?

Jarrid Wilson goes on to list 5 methods to help you on your struggle. One of the biggest (and often most ignored) weapons in your fight is ACCOUNTABILITY. Let’s face it – you aren’t alone. But satan wants you to feel that you are so that he can pick at your faith, self confidence and self esteem. This is an incredibly difficult journey to embark on that is exponentially harder if you try to do it alone. Talk to someone you trust. Have that person block/monitor the sites you visit. You have to be honest to beat your pornography addiction, and you have to stay in your word.

For those struggling with it, I’ll be transparent enough to say that it’s something I’ve struggled with since I was a teenager. Over time, I’ve gotten better (by the grace of God), but there are still times when I fall. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. But know this, God is greater. Greater than your struggles and your enemy. Greater than your doubts and your failures. He’s already provided you with the power to beat this thing. You can, and will, break up with pornography.

For all those out their struggling, I’m praying for you. Did Jarrid Wilson’s tips help out? How do you feel about the stats he gave? Weigh in.

~Signing Off

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Interesting Article – “The State Of Christian Hip Hop: Balancing Business & Ministry” By David Daniels

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This is a FANTASTIC article for every Christian Hip-Hop artist, producer, promoter and listener to read. DJ Wade-O has been releasing a series of articles entitled “The State Of Christian Hip Hop”. While the first edition dealt with the artistry of CHH, this issue tackles the difficulties balancing business and ministry (as I’m sure you got from the title of the article). Here’s a great quote from the intriguing article written David Daniels: (Full link to the article here)

“Thomason applauded Washer for leading the Christian hip-hop marketing revolution saying it saved the game, but he hasn’t clapped for all who followed in his footsteps.

Collision’s CEO said when some labels realized they could chart on iTunes, they began to think, “How can we make this happen?” compared to what was previously a complete reliance on God.

He added that many looked at Reach’s success—saw attractive album covers and advertisements—and attempted to reproduce a branding-focused formula, all while forgetting that the label’s pure craft and worship were at the center of its success.

“People took what was supposed to be craft and greatness of the Lord and we turned it into a den of thieves and robbers,” said Thomason. “When you take a gift that was given to you and use it to build up yourself and your brand, that’s a language, us vs. them, which isn’t of the kingdom.”

That “us vs. them” attitude has Christian hip hop resembling one’s local high school—there are too many cliques.
“There’s a lot of people in Christian rap who act like divas,” said K-Drama.

Butta P of Rhema Soul claimed the genre is so cliquey that if an artist isn’t connected to a group, he or she is likely to go unnoticed. She sees Christian hip hop as one huge movement rather than a collective of competitors.

D-MAUB felt the same way and believes Christian artists are called to promote one another.

“Here’s what I don’t believe,” he said, “that God will not bless me because I’m helping promote somebody else who’s doing it for the Kingdom. That’s a selfish, backward, greedy mindset.”

D-MAUB said too many artists worry about their brand more than their Christian community.”

Whoa. The article is packed with many hard hitting truths about the downfalls of an industry filled with people who find it challenging to balance business and ministry. To be transparent, I’ve been struggling with the same thing for years now. Wanting to put God first, but falling into the trap of focusing on my own “Brand” too much. It’s an easy pitfall to fall into. My belief is that constant study of the Word, being an active part of your church, and having a group of humble christians to hold you accountable are great ways to avoid becoming imbalanced.

What do you think?

~Signing Off

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Positive Audio/Video of the Week (3.17.13 – 3.23.13): AJ – Dive In (@AJ_Raps)

Gospel Rapper AJ released his first single today from “No Holds Barred: The Release”. This lyric video takes you through what it means to “Dive In”. I even make a short cameo at the end. Enjoy!

Interested in a Lyric Video? Contact the good folks at hdgrid.com.

 

UPDATE: You can download the song FREE! Here you go! Dive In Download

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POSITIVE AUDIO/VIDEO OF THE WEEK (3.10.13 – 3.16.13) Propaganda – G.O.S.P.E.L

Simply put, this is one of the best spoken word videos I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t checked out this masterpiece by Prop yet, You’ve been missing out. I hope this blesses you.

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Hiatus and Randomness

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Miss me? Hopefully not too much. Prayerfully, your days and weeks have been blessed, even through the trials and tribulations life throws your way. Truth is, I missed you some. Life being as unpredictable as it is, I needed to take a brief hiatus. But now, I think we can continue with our regularly scheduled program.

Randomness: Rapzilla compiled a listing of the Top 30 free Christian Hip Hop Mixtapes of 2012. Even included the download links. You should definitely stop reading this and go free download shopping. Seriously.

Here’s the link: Enjoy!

~Signing Off

Interesting Article – “I Am Damaged Goods” by Sarah Bessey

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I stumbled across this article and I had to share it. The author Sarah Bessey shares a personal experience of being and feeling shamed for her sexual impurity at a young age, and how it affected her faith and outlook on life for a lengthy period of time. Here’s a great except from her article: (Full link to the article here)

We, the majority non-virgins in the myopic purity conversations,  feel like the dirty little secret, the not-as-goods, the easily judged example.  In this clouded swirl of shame, our sexual choices are the barometer of our righteousness and worth. We can’t let any one know, so we keep it quiet, lest any one discover we were not virgins on some mythic wedding night. We don’t want to be the object of disgust or pity or gossip or judgement. And in the silence, our shame – and the lies of the enemy – grow.

And so here, now, I’ll stand up and say it, the way I wish someone had said it to me fifteen years ago when I was sitting in that packed auditorium with my heart racing, wrists aching, eyes stinging, drowning and silenced by the imposition of shame masquerading as ashes of repentance:

“So, you had sex before you were married.

It’s okay.

Really. It’s okay.

There is no shame in Christ’s love. Let him without sin cast the first stone. You are more than your virginity – or lack thereof – and more than your sexual past.

Let me start by saying this: Even though this article is written from a woman’s perspective and story, PLEASE don’t make the mistake in thinking that both men and women deal with the guilt and shame that can come with lustful sin. Is sexual impurity before marriage wrong? Yes. Whether it’s sex before marriage or pornography, the Bible makes it clear what the standard is. Yet so many of us fall short (myself included) and live with this “infinite shame” of this “unwashable” sin. But God FORGIVES. God HEALS. And most importantly, God still LOVES. We can’t and shouldn’t guilt ourselves into trying to earn God’s love and acceptance back. First of all, His love and acceptance was never taken away. Secondly, we couldn’t earn His love even if we tried. It’s by grace and mercy that we can even walk this earth as Christians with a promised eternity of beauty, not our own merits and good works. I’m not saying act as if nothing has happened. I’m saying repent and be free of your guilt and sin, and be OPEN to others who are struggling with sexual purity. I truly believe we as a body of Christ has to be much less judgmental and much more TRANSPARENT. No one is without sin.

What do you think about the article? How have you approached your quest fro sexual purity? Do you struggle with your self-esteem or self-image due to a past sin? Weigh in.

~ Signing Off

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Positive Audio/Video of the Week (2.18.13 – 2.24.13) – One Sixteen Remix by AJ (@AJ_Raps), Phresh Air (@DMVPhreshAir), and Haelo (@Haelo)

A few DOPE CHH artists and myself got together and remixed the popular Trip Lee song “One Sixteen”. We’ve been getting great feedback on it, and just recently topped 1,000 views. Check it out!

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DUDE…It’s Wednesday and You JUST Realized Valentine’s Day is Tomorrow…

Don’t panic. Ok, maybe a little.

(After 15 minutes)

Done yet? Good. Yes, I know you have less than 24 h….yes, I completely understand you’ve been bu….yes, I know your Valentine will be pi…Seriously, RELAX.

You forgot. It happens. But please, do NOT tell her that. Yet. Panicking won’t help you, most fine dining spots are already booked up, and flowers will cost you an arm and a leg to have delivered. TRUST ME. If you want to still put on a Valentine’s Day to remember, you’ve got to roll your sleeves up. Nothing short of Jesus and something original and heartfelt will save you now. You’re a fixer by nature, and if you’re not, I am, and I’m on your team. But honestly, how did you NOT know tomorrow is Valentine’s Day? Sorry, backtracking.

I’m going to assume you’re on a budget. If not, then you’ll be fine and you don’t need this advice. Cash-strapped and still need to impress? Right this way. Jokes aside, if you’re with a woman that truly likes/loves you, while she won’t be happy by your forgetfulness, she’ll forgive you…oh, you’re into the crazy types…oh…OHHHH…yea, let’s talk. Here’s some last minute ideas that might save you tomorrow.

1) Write her a sincere, unique and heartfelt love letter/poem.

You know why men in almost every sappy love movie ever write love letters or poems? Because when done right, letters/poems are able to deliver the emotions and feelings that we as men sometimes forget to express on a daily basis. Yes, I know you’d do anything for her, but understand this; while men express love through their actions, women still need to HEAR it for confirmation. Didn’t make the most sense to me, either, but it’s the truth.

But you’ve never written a letter/poem before, let alone a GOOD one…I hear you. Here are a few pointers that will help you pull this off. Start with an exercise known as “object writing”. Simply put, it’s a 10 minute (and ONLY 10 minutes. Seriously, don’t cut yourself short or go overboard) exercise that allows you to write about a random topic from by utilizing seven senses. Yes, seven. The first five need no explanation –  Taste, Touch, Sound, Sight and Smell. The remaining two are your Organic Sense and your Kinesthetic Sense. Organic sense is the awareness of your inner bodily functions, such as how your heartbeat reacts, how your breathing tempo changes, how your muscles tighten/loosen, etc. Kinesthetic Sense is your relation to the world around you. Object writing gives you a chance to practice “expressing” yourself fully, diving into the deep recesses of writing you didn’t even know you had. Doesn’t even have to rhyme. Check out http://www.objectwriting.com for the word of the day, and for examples from others. Do about two or three  practice runs at different times of the day. Once you feel comfortable, object write about your Valentine. You’ll find yourself pouring out wells of emotions that she will love. If you have the gift of rhyming, turn that love letter into a love poem. Extra brownie points.

This works best with a talent you already have. Can you sing? Make it a song. Can you play an instrument? Tell her to read the letter/poem out loud as you play a song that you composed for her. Delivery is important here, too. You want the word “cute” to pop in her head. Yes, “cute”.

2) Set up a romantic night where you give her ALL of your time and attention.

V-day isn’t really about the gifts as much as it is about the thought. Most women would rather have their loved ones genuinely spend time with them than to buy an expensive gift without ever showing affection. If you cook for her and spend the night over a romantic dinner full of laughs and conversation, you’re good to go. Beautiful night out? Plan out a night walk or find a spot to gaze at the stars while eating homemade s’mores (start googling places in your area NOW). Find something out of the box (that won’t be over crowded) like a hand dance lesson. Get her curious with random post its, text messages or emails that allude to what’s in store but doesn’t give the plans you have. You’ll have to put in WORK, but you can definitely make it a fantastic, last-minute Valentine’s Day.

3) Be at her service.

This is especially for husbands. From waking moment to waning seconds, you become her personal comfort manager and supervisor. Anything she asks or that she would normally do (cook, handle the kids, clean, etc.), you do, with grace, charisma and charm. Do other things she wouldn’t normally think of, like washing her car. Not married? You can use this idea to a lesser effect, but I’d suggest coupling it with one of the first two. She’ll appreciate the day off.

4) Do something you know she loves that you swore you’d never do.

My wife loves horror movies. I can’t stand them. So I made it pretty clear she’d have to find someone else to watch them with. You know what made her day after an extremely rough day at work? Watching a horror movie with he. Not begrudgingly, but willingly and lovingly. I actually got into it a little bit. However, even if I didn’t, seeing her demeanor change INSTANTLY was more than worth it. Would you do anything to make her smile? Time to prove it. Said you would never watch “The Notebook” with her? Time to break out the tissues.  Swore you’d never get a manicure with her? Time to make those hands sparkle. (Seriously dude, you’re in the HOLE right now. Man up!)

Now let me say this in all seriousness. Valentine’s Day is the day made out to be the day of love (Not arguing the history behind V-Day here), but hopefully you haven’t waited until now to show your Valentine you love her. However, if you’re a single male trying to keep your purity (and I’m praying that you are), you have to be careful. There are plenty of ways to express your love to her that won’t put you both in a tough spot. My prayer is that you and your love enjoy a fantastic Valentine’s Day while still staying faithful to God. If you’re having trouble thinking of ideas that will allow you to stay pure, pray. God is faithful in not giving us more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Married men, you have to be willing to compromise and go all out for your love, and you don’t have to break the bank to do this.

Feel better? Didn’t I say I’d help? You do know that in the event something goes wrong, I’m not liable, right? Just checking. Anyways, enjoy tomorrow. Have a great V-day full of love, laughter and memories…

…AND DON’T FORGET NEXT YEAR!