Many of you guys know that my family and I have been going through crazy transitions with our kids growing up, going to college, entering high school and it all happening at once! You’ve heard from me so many times, I thought it would be cool for you to hear from my best friend, my homie, my partner, my wife! She is the glue to the family. And I know her words will make you smile like they do for me everyday. Mrs. Tammy Franklin! [Read more…]
So, I’m in the Dr’s office yesterday and there’s an office assistant there who had no idea who I was [or who I think I am] and probably never heard of my music until yesterday. My doctor asked me what I’d been working on, and I played him a new song off my phone. With the assistant standing there trying to figure out what in the world is going on, my Dr. and I start enjoying emotionally the new song I was playing. Suddenly I noticed the assistant quickly stepped out… I didn’t know if that was a good or bad sign, but my Dr. and I kept vibing to the song. [Read more…]
I must confess that I get very weary of content that’s labeled Christian. It is not because I don’t support work that can inspire people or bring the Good News in new styles or formats. Instead, it is because I constantly worry that products labeled “Christian” might not stand up to what I believe should be the best coming from people who serve the best; God himself. [Read more…]
It happened again!
I’m blogging from an airport that I’ve been stuck in since early this morning. Of course, that’s nothing new when your job requires you to travel a lot. What makes this “stuck” situation more interesting is that is it is a continuum of a long weekend of “GOD, WHAT’S GOING ON?!” scenarios that often leave me wrestling with my faith a little. [Read more…]
Our Good Lord has always used the unlikeliest of people to bring glory to Himself. Jesus Christ himself was mocked by the haters in his day because of who he hung out with and what they looked like.
It’s probably a good idea to not repeat the mistakes of those who crucified our Christ. [Read more…]
Because I’m a lover of all music, I’m fascinated by biographies of musicians and singers and all the good and bad things they go through. Over the weekend, I went to check out the documentary of Amy Winehouse. I think she was a phenomenal singer, and earlier interviews revealed her deep love for gospel music. You can hear it in her voice. [Read more…]
I was a sixteen years old fresh, born again Christian, when I went to a skating rink that doubled as a teen club one Saturday night. Some of my friends were raised Pentecostal, so they didn’t think a newly confessing young Christian should be going roller skating. They wanted me to attend a church event with them, but I chose to lace up my skates. I remember it like it was yesterday… I was dancing on the floor with a really cute girl named Melani, hoping my dance moves were good enough to get her phone number and ask her to be my girlfriend. [Read more…]
Sometimes, I can be a whining, complaining wimp. Often I can quickly point out the things that are not convenient or not up to par to what I think things need to be. I’ve been programmed — whether by difficult circumstances or choices of my own — to be able to point out clouds in the midst of sun. [Read more…]
One thing you can definitely say about this NBA championship is that it has been a nail biter every step of the way. The overtimes, the last minute shots, the injuries, the titans of the game showing up to carry the weight on their shoulders, all of this has made this championship one that will go down in the books! If it was a sleeper, where one team dominated the whole series, we would’ve turned it off around the second game. Because what we crave is “close calls.” The drama of not knowing what’s gonna happen next drives our attention and energy. The adrenaline created while watching the game causes our hearts to beat faster and faster as we watch the clock and the court at the same time, wondering who will walk off the court as winners. The excitement even continues the next day around water coolers and lunch breaks about what happened the night before. But the stories of “the unexpected” are what make the games so dramatic.
The only time it doesn’t is when it’s happening to us.
It’s cool for the court, but not cool for our personal lives. We don’t enjoy sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to see if God will show up with a healing or a financial break through at the last few seconds left in the quarter. It drives us crazy when the uncertainties of life can’t be planned or seen in the future so we can prepare. The close calls during other peoples’ games are enjoyable… but not the close calls in our own.
Paul talked about it in 2nd Corinthians. He said that when he was shipwrecked and even despaired life, he thought what he was facing was the end. He said he could smell death knocking at his door. The close call caused him to prepare for the worst. But he flips the script in a way that can help us in our over time-nail biting moments.
1. He said the close calls he faced happened so he would not trust in himself, but in God who raises the dead. Basically close calls force you to look up. They force you to run to God instead of jog.
2. Also, they force you to participate in your own recovery. They make you active and not passive. There are things you learn to do for yourself that you would have never learned if the pressure wasn’t turned up. The couch potato in you is killed.
And here’s the one we don’t realize at the moment:
3. We’re creating highlight footage.
See, everybody may not be able to watch the game while it’s happening, but there are sports channels dedicated to giving you the best of the best moments from the game everyone has been talking about. That’s what the word does for us as well. We were not there to see Paul’s face during these difficult moments where he despaired even life, but because of what he went through and what was recorded in the sacred manuscripts, we now have the highlight films we can go to, so we can point to the ups and downs of other players in the game of grace, so that we’re not alone in ours. If God did it then, He most certainly can do it now. They give us hope.
And guess what family, your journey is footage for someone else as well.
When God brings you through this one, like He did the last one [remember?!] you’ll be able to stand around the water cooler and tell your nail biter. About how just as the clock was winding down, and it looked like your game was over, just when the papers to the twenty years of marriage seemed to be lost in overtime, God blocked the shot! Don’t be discouraged my friend, your close call will be tomorrow’s testimony.
I heard a pastor tell a story once about his conversation with one of his homies [one of his friends!]. The pastor was sharing with him that he noticed a recent attack in his private life where he found himself struggling with lustful thoughts more than normal. In his accountability to his friend, he was very concerned with the sudden wave of thoughts and feelings that he knew were against his heart for the Lord and the love he had for his wife. He said his friend leaned back and asked him the weirdest question in the world: “when’s the last time you played golf?”
Confused with what to say in response to this, he asked his friend to repeat the question. He said his friend laughed, repeated himself, and added “I’m asking you when was the last time you did something relaxing? You’ve been pastoring and leading people, but when have you had some time to enjoy yourself and step away from ministry to minister to yourself?”
Of course, this is good news and bad news all at the same time. First, it’s good news to realize that the problem can be fixed, but now the bad news is that you have to deal with the guilt that most of us feel when it’s time use the tool to fix it… the tool of letting something go. My wife just felt it yesterday. She started her morning meeting some friends to discuss an event they were planning. Then her plan was to come home so we could do something with the kids since I’ve been working everyday in the studio. But after her meeting with her friends, the meeting turned into what naturally happens when friends get together: they became FRIENDS!
Minutes turned into hours, business turned into laughing and fun. They talked and just enjoyed themselves. After a while she called me apologizing for how time slipped away. She felt guilty because she didn’t come straight home to us. I stopped her on the phone and celebrated her for taking “Tammy Time.” Time she definitely needed away from our crazy family and time she’s definitely earned doing the hard work of a full time mom. But letting that title go for a few hours really made her feel unnecessary guilt, which — if not released — can turn into resentment. If left unchecked, it can turn into an action that may later be regretted.
Here’s an alert: being busy could turn into a sin. Amen. Not taking time for yourself could turn into a sin. Can somebody say amen again!
This weight we put on ourselves is not a requirement for holiness or kudos from our king. We think performance and productivity equals placement in His presence. But it doesn’t. AND, I repeat, AND, God doesn’t get angry if we take a break.
Sometimes, if we don’t take it ourselves, He’ll create one. HE MAKETH ME LIE DOWN David wrote in his Psalm. Resting and working must be lovers. They must have an intimate waltz they perform so the heart and mind procreate blessings for others as well as the vessel they flow from.
And if working becomes this disfigured animal that’s fueled by your lack of praise from your parents as a kid or the need to be loved by your superiors at the office, you’ve contaminated it. We were created to work to bring God glory by using the life we’ve been given to duplicate His excellence in the world. But it can never become your identity, because then you get burned out. You overwork. You become vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks, and you lose yourself only to find out at times when it’s too late. Don’t feel bad for saying no.
There’s a reason why the word exists.
Don’t let your kids run you crazy or play the little guilt games I’ve seen them do to their momma, who is also my woman, who I gotta protect from their little spoiled selfish behinds at times. YOU need you more than I do. Why? Because my friend, if YOU’RE not good, the WORK isn’t good. Play golf, chill, turn the cell off, catch a movie… BY YOURSELF, and for a few moments, practice the ministry of LYING DOWN.