Madison | Worship Leader

 

The Inner

September of last year I was at a conference in Minneapolis. The second day of the conference I was eating lunch by myself, happy and content, and a stranger came to me. He said, “I didn’t know why I was here, because I’m certainly not here for the conference. But when I saw you I knew that I was here to speak to you.”
He proceeded to tell me many things. When he left, I spent some time with Jesus and asked, “Are any of the things this strange man said true?”
To which Jesus replied, “I don’t want to tell you about these words. I want to instead inform you more of My calling on your life. My son, you were created to be creative. You are an Artist and I want you to learn how to stand in that call, strongly.
And not just an Artist- but a Worship Leader…this will be apparent soon”

I knew I was an Artist. But…a Worship Leader? What? I’m not musical! I just write poetry.
This bout with non-understanding launched a process wherein Father taught me how I’ve been limiting what worship truly is. He showed me how being a worship leader does not mean talented singer/song-writer, that worship, really, at it’s essence is this: “responding to God”.
And how my poetry in and of itself is Worship because through it, I am responding to God. And that if I learn what it is to use my Pieces to facilitate the movement of Spirit, I indeed can lead other’s into their own God-responses.

This revelation inspired me to go to my Pastor and offer him my creative services. He told me that he’d send me the bible verses he was preaching about, and I could write whatever I wanted, however he’d retain veto power.
Two Sundays later and my whole church was singing Song of Praise, a song I’d written.
At least once every month of the Fall I was sharing a piece during church in conjunction with the sermon.

Within all of this, too, is the story of God’s faithfulness to me. When I was 13 I lived in a hellhouse. As a result I was suicidal. At 1am I went into the kitchen to grab a butcher knife to slit my wrists- hoping I’d bleed out. As I placed the knife on my left wrist I heard a voice say, “if you don’t take your life, I will use your life to help countless others.”.
That was the first time I’d ever heard the voice of God, and nowhere near the last. When I was in Trinidad, 2 years later for a mission trip a Prophetess came to me, saying, “The Lord has some things He wants me to tell you.” So, I listened. She spoke of things I had not as of yet told anybody in my life. And then she spoke of the future I’d have, she said,
“you have the heart of David, and one day you will have words that can move mountains.”

Fast forward to today, and indeed. My words are incredibly powerful. A few weeks ago I was reading over one of the prophetic words that a friend had given me, “Poetry is a way for you to teach God’s values to the generations.”. And instantly, one specific Sunday at church came to mind. A woman had come to me and said that a poem (Titled: I Will Not Let You Live) I had shared during the service a few weeks prior had tremendously helped her wrestle through a serious theological issue (Malachi.Jacob I loved, Esau I hated). And that came from my poetry. So, from that one experience, there is a triple fulfillment of prophecy. And all being done in the context of me, increasingly taking up a mantle as somebody who leads people into responding to God.

 

The Outer

  • Leading Spark (arts elective in the Discipleship Training School)
  • Staffing at Phos House (YWAM Campus Ministry House)
  • Volunteering 2x a week at Vera Court- an after school program where I tutor kids.

 

A Photo

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A bunch of artists got together 2 weeks and made Chinese dumplings. yay for bonding over food!

 

 

[Cover Photo is a portrait by Reyna Groff. Find more of her art on ig @reynagroff.art]

Congo | I believe but help my unbelief

[Performance starts at 1:36]

The Inner

Jesus said, “All things are possible for one who believes.”
But I find myself like the father of the mute son asking for healing
and my prayer echoes his,

I believe but help my unbelief!

When I was in Congo late last year I had an experience with my own unbelief that I will not soon forget. As our team clustered together, communing, a few locals came to us. With them stood a girl, no older than 10 years old, and near her left eye socket was a bandage that was wrapped around a small circular something. We came to find out that this precious girl’s eyeball had literally fallen out of her face and was attached solely by sinew and bandage.
How did this happen?? We never found out. The girl approached us with what looked to be her mother, and the mother told us that she would be taking her daughter to the hospital, and she asked us to pray for the journey, and the medical procedure.
As we prayed, God spoke to me in ways that harken to Christ’s using spit, soil, and river water to heal a blind man. He asked, “If I asked you to unbandage her eye, spit on your hand, rub said spit into her eye, and place the loose eyeball back in her socket, would you do this?”

“[expletive] no I wouldn’t!!!”
And I didn’t.
But what if I had been  unhindered by unbelief?
Maybe that child would be seeing today. From two eyes.
orrr maybe my risk would have been for nothing and I would have actually harmed her, because maybe God didn’t speak to me at all?

All I know is that believing is far more scary,  exponentially more risky, and
a lot more rewarding
than unbelief.

And so, again, I say, “I believe but help my unbelief!”

And that prayer carries not just into ministry life, but into personal life
because “insecurities treat me like a summer day, with not an inch of shade”.
It’s a vast array of things I’m insecure about. Just this week I’m learning that while I enjoy conflict- it makes me uncertain of me and my co-conflictor’s relationship. Like, “are we good?” “Are we actually friends after this?”, and as a result of doubt I walk on eggshells uncertain of our relational security.

“It run through my mind like a sickness!”

I had a vision. In one scene, there was a boy with raggedy clothes draped on him. The wind whipped at his back like a Master to his disobedient slave- threatening to blow just hard enough that they fly away with the wind. His backdrop was barren war-torn ruins. And though his eyes were resilient, his spirit was weak and alone. Weary, and wanting to weave home from the disparate threads of his existence yet not knowing how to. His heart was constantly in a  posture of yearning for more,  but being perpetually incapable of experiencing moreness
In the next scene, there was a man wearing black armor, with gold trim. His feet were like the trunk of a tree, not in size, but in how rooted to the earth they were. Nothing could move him to uncertainty- He would grow here. His background was the same as the boy’s, yet his was a much different demeanor.
Sometimes, much to my detriment,  I choose to believe I am that child- insecure and uncertain of present and future.
As that child I feel alone, disinherited and unempowered.
But when I choose to dwell in reality as the man, the conqueror who’s confidence comes from His certainty, my feet too are like the trunk of a tree, not in size, but in how rooted to the earth they are. Nothing can move me to uncertainty- I will grow here.

“Surround me in such a way there is just light
and the darkness, the nearby insecurities are flung like
dung in a monkey fight- out of my hands
I need something new to hold on to
I’ve been wandering in the wilderness of disbelief for too long, too
Can you save me?
I know you can, but will I believe the words you’re saying?”

 

Wanna Support me?

The Prayer

  • Finances. Still tryna raise my monthly income from $960 to $1500
  • Family. My brother is getting out of jail soon. I’ll hopefully see him this summer. I haven’t seen him since we were 14 years old. Pray that our meet up goes well, and that he is doing well.
  • Opportunities. Lot of opportunities seem to be getting thrown my way. Pray that I approach them with Wisdom, and am saturated with God’s perspective on what to say ‘yes’ to, and what to say ‘no’ to.
  • Belief. Simply put I wanna believe I’m ready for the things God calls me to, but often I find myself wrestling with insecurity. To be insecure is to be human..but God asks us to be more than just human, He asks us to be Godly. And He ain’t insecure, so I don’t think I should be either.

 

The Pictures

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At our Art show, Lily (right) explaining her art. ISN’T SHE AMAZING.

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We [Spark] invited John Stenson [bearded] to teach the winter Discipleship Training School about Art Evangelism as they prepped for outreach. He summarized it as “finding creative ways to connect with people”

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After the art show, Spark staff and students picture 🙂

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Last 2 years I been on a team of campus ministers called Race & Faith, tryna engage the campus on issues of race through a faith perspective. This is the banner signifying our annual event. ( I didn’t take pictures during the thing)

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Springing from one of the connections I have with a co-laborer on the Race & Faith team, I was invited to perform a piece I wrote called Fight Back at Geneva Campus Church. Thanks Pastor Mike for having me! It was a great opportunity!

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idk who this professor is but I went to a conference on Howard Thurman- a seminal pre-King Jr. theologian that heavily influenced him. Reading Thurman’s book Jesus and the Disinherited was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year.

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Privileged to live and staff at Phos House for another year!

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As the semester winds to a close, this is Evan, a student that graduated from Aveda. I was his staff-backer. We met a couple times a month throughout the year with the purpose of friendship, guidance, and sharing ice cream.

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Went home for a week to fundraise, I stopped at my church’s youth group. The fun activity you see before you is them building a structure around her head from pasta and marshmellows. It was a competition and our team obviously won. CANDY FOR US WOOO!.

 

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Like this post? Deal with insecurity? Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Madison | Snowflakes [Made to be Caught]

 


“But don’t you know that snowflakes were made to be caught?

And we’re the only ones who’re afraid as we fall”

 

The Inner

I wrote this piece inspired by a speaker at a conference who said, “Good theology makes for good art”. And I began to ponder this and question if my art-by that definition- is good or bad?
I started asking myself, “Why is theology so important in art?”
Well, the answer is simple. Even in my pieces that aren’t as explicitly Christian as the one above, my study of God (theology) informs them. The way I tell stories, my commitment to excellence, my desire to connect with the listener, it’s all inspired by how I see God interacting with the world. Inspired by this revelation I wanted to create a piece of “good art”, and knowing that I needed to create one to present to Spark [art elective in the DTS which I co-lead], I thought about what I’d been seeing to be true of God lately. The truth of it is this: that He calls us higher than we can soar alone, our wings are weak in comparison to the winds that whip us into submission- He calls us deeper than we can reach without Him- He the breath in our oxygen tank that enables us to continually go deeper. What is a scuba diver capable of without breath?  He calls us to be stronger than we can imagine absent His influence on our lives, and so I wrote a piece about this. I spent 36 hours locked away in my room writing, feeling the pulse of the heart of God, how persistently He calls us, and how strongly His desire for us to answer this call.
“Come to me! I’ve come down to you that I might raise you up with me! Arise, mighty valiant warrior!”, He calls us just like He called Gideon.
This year I have been called to Radiance. To shine; a light among darkness, and moreso than ever before.
I am intimidated by this. Afraid.  But like the snowflake I speak of “We’re the only one’s who are afraid as we fall”. God, in His faithfulness is going to catch me. He- the oxygen in my tank, the strength in my wings, the courage behind my conviction.

This year is going to be an exercise in abiding in the truth that I am made to be caught, and that He calls us to nothing wherein His presence is not. He is with me.
A couple Mondays ago I experienced a minor crisis, I was left alone to teach the first night of Spark. Due to poor weather the rest of my team was unable to come and I was stressed because it was a very sudden change that I was unprepared for.
In my franticity God told me to go outside in just my socks.
But it had been snowing all day! WHY WOULD YOU HAVE ME DO THAT?!?!
I didn’t understand why He asked me to do it, so I questioned Him and He told me that I wouldn’t understand until I did it. Fine. I submitted and went outside barefoot and stood in the snow.
You know how when you wash fruit you’re allegedly supposed to do it with cold water because cold water allegedly shocks the fruit or something? Yeah well I was fruit standing in the cold snow shocked clean of my worries as I so clearly heard His comforting voice say to me, “I am closer than the cold on your feet.”
I walked back in, eased and comforted into confidence and faith. He is with me.
Long story short, the night went fine and fluid. Less structured than what was planned, but from the lemons came lemonade. Yum. And amidst my fall, He caught me.

 

 

The Outer

  • The winter DTS is off to a booming start, I am co-leading Spark which is the art elective and I’m so excited to be involved with these students! 7 girls who are all excellent creatives and all learning to intertwine their faith with their creativity! It’s so delightful to watch their process of integration!!
  • I am living at the Phos House [YWAM Madison’s campus ministry house] and this year I am not staffing there, just living, which is nice as I feel more free to engage relationally with the students. But I am leading a friday morning Small Group! The year is off to a great start!
  • Last year I was a student in the BSN and this year I am staffing the BSN (Bible School for the Nations)!! Woo!!! Just got the news like 5 minutes ago, y’all, I’m so excited.

The Photos

PoemIAmMyFathersChild
This is a poem I wrote for a friend of mine and she turned it into this!
Matthew
Bobby Buckets aka Matthew Charles with the clean fade
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Kimono goodbye pics are the sauciest
[Hiro and Mayumi departed from YWAM Madison back to Japan!]

 

ManuelHiroMatthewLastNightHiro’s last night in Madison. Pic ft Manuel, me, and Hiro @ The Decent Dane

 

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My nephew Wes and I in Saint Louis

 

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My sister Rebecca and I in Saint Louis!

 

Timia&I
My good friend Timia who I met in South Africa during DTS outreach 2 years ago came to visit me in Madison! We had a great time catching up! Love you, friend!

 

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Mike and Maya’s [MFB] Wedding reception! I got to give a speech!!

The Prayers

  • I am looking to establish a creative presence online through instagram and facebook, sharing my poems, and in order to effectively do that I need an iphone 7 [For the excellent camera it boasts]. In the next couple of months I am hoping to be able to purchase or have somebody donate to me an iphone 7.
  • I have been very tired, and lacking energy lately. Please pray for endurance and a desire in me to see Christ’s strength revealed through my weakness.
  • Spark is off to a great start! You can pray for the students as each day they are being discipled, encouraged, strengthened, and reformed, that they would continue to press in fervently, receiving all that Father has in store for them!
  • I’ve got some creative projects I’m working on and need people to come alongside of me. Please pray that the right people partner with me and catch the vision and do so at a relatively low financial price to myself LOL.
  • Relationships in Phos House to continue to be strengthened and delve into new areas of intimacy, that we can truly be a Christ-like community.
  • Pray that God reveals Himself to me in powerful ways and I am faithful to continue to seek conviction and conformation to the image He made me to, as I am studying in prep for BSN

 

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or Monthly investment?
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