the friend.

his name is nathan. the stranger (read more here) that became a friend. we met again – november 6, 2010. he was still at the same park. i spotted him from a long distance. i was filled with excitement. the fact that he was still there and that i was going to get another opportunity to sit and talk with him.
my feet began to move speedily through the crowd of lawn chairs occupied by other tenants of the park, giving praises to God. there had been a park church service going on. finally, i was close enough and spoke his name excitedly, “nate! how are you!?” he responded with grief and sorrow coated all over his voice, “i’m ok.” i said, “do you remember me!? we met about four months ago!” he tilted his head to get a glimpse of who i was with his deep sea blue-green eyes and said, “no. not really.”
his body language had been one of discomfort and shame. i could tell he did not want to be bothered and he looked as if the world was on his shoulders. i was tempted to turn away from him, to continue on with my day but i couldn’t. i just couldn’t because the bond we shared on first meeting one another was amazing. i was certain that it was not in vain. so i probed him a little more, then simply asked if i could pray with him and for him and he said yes.
after prayer, his mood shifted into a completely new position. he said, “i do remember you! jasmine! right?” his words and reaction inspired tears that i withheld and a smile and i responded, “yes.” i was in awe and disbelief at the power of prayer and the way the Holy Spirit moves in situations as such. we carried a light conversation before we departed. i told him how beautiful his eyes were again and he said, “you said that last time and since then, you’ve been the only one to tell me that.”  i reminded him about the scripture that he had given me from his Bible and he said “here you go!” while handing me another page that was crumbled into his pocket as his daily read, genesis 20. he, then, took a photo with me and allowed me to take one of him. i have never felt this type of feeling before.
i remember, so vividly, when i treated God as if He was a stranger. as if He had no purpose in my life. i rejected him. turned away from him. and now, i am experiencing the transition of a stranger to a friend, He calls me friend. and i know how unworthy i am of it. yet, He still calls me friend.
if you would like to come out and experience the presence of those who we so often pass by on the streets because they look “unworthy of our attention,” please, come out on Saturday at 9 a.m. to feed those without a home and without a promised meal.  we will be meeting in front of the center of hope at Good Hope (3015 N. MacGregor Way -Houston, Tx  77004).

this is where strangers become ex-strangers. this is why i am inspired daily. because strangers don’t have to carry that badge for the rest of their lives if we just make an attempt to make them ex-strangers.

happy anniversary!!!

Google Image.

the city good hope celebrates its ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY as the New Year has rolled in. we thank you ALL for visiting us daily and taking time out to read, listen and watch the various posts that are submitted.


we would like for you to share your experiences with us from the passed year of 2010, anything you would like to share: testimonies, praise reports, prayer requests, etc.  we would love to read them and to pray specifically for each and every one of our readers!


also, if you would like to see more of something else on this website, offer us some suggestions! we know we need growth and you all are important in this process!!!  for example, a new writer – maybe YOU!!!  if you would like to submit a post, do not hesitate to suggest yourself!


we pray this year is full of Gods grace in your lives and that your eyes, heart, mind and soul remain focused on Christ and if it is not already, we pray that God leads you to the truth in His time!!! His will shall be done!


thank you for all of your support and please keep us in your prayers, that we may continue to provide a sacred way of reconciling culturally relevant subjects to our Lord and Savior, the one and only, JC (Jesus Christ)!!!


we love and thank you all!!! and always remember:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

King James has nothing on this

HOW MANY KINGS….

I was rolling in the slab (Buick Century 2002-step ya game up ya feel meh?) and turned on 89.3 and this song came on. At first I was cool, but quickly I broke down upon really listening to the lyrics. Check out the questions posed in the song and the declaration proclaimed.

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all weve projected
A child in a manger

Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliness hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl
Just a child
Is this who weve waited for?

Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn savior
All that we have whether costly or meek
Because we believe
Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross hell suffer
Do you believe, is this who weve waited for?
Its who weve waited for

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

All for me
All for you
All for me
All for you

the gods of love and relationships, part I

...your "god" determines your belief.

Definitions of words are often lost in translation.

For the sake of being on one accord I am going to define some words; idols, worship, and love. Idols aren’t merely wooden statues, worship isn’t thirty minutes on a Sunday morning, and love isn’t just a feeling.

An idol by definition is:

  • An image used as an object of worship, a false god.
  • One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
  • Something visible but without substance.
  • “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

When an idol presents itself we respond in worship to it. Worship is a response to something/someone worthy of praise. Worship is a response in devotion of time, talent, resources, and respect.

Some will define love as a chemical imbalance in your brain. Others will define love as a mysterious emotion or feeling.  I define [Americanized] love as a self-seeking desire to be pleased.

God is Love, but love is not God.

This is how the Holy Spirit through Solomon defined Love:

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised
. -Song of Solomon 8:6-7

We all long for love and relationship, which is not a bad thing. When this longing is placed before God is when it becomes a bad thing. The Bible is explicit that the power that Love holds is as a raging fire, and as absolute as death. Death is the great denominator and no matter how we fight it we are inevitably consumed by it.

Love in the same manner can consume. There is a Biblical way and there is a world taught way. The world says love can grab you at any time and it’s uncontrollable whom (and when) you love. The Bible says that we can awaken love before its time and we do have a choice.

Love is a paradox in which the world says love is about self. Jesus says love is about sacrifice, no matter the circumstance. Not only did Jesus say it, He came down and showed us how to love. He set the standard of how men and women should love each other; which is sacrificially.

Jesus set Himself as a seal upon our hearts. His love was strong enough to die for us. His jealousy for us from other false gods brought Him to the grave, but not even the grave could contain Jesus’ love. Jesus not only offered all His riches in Heaven but His very life. That’s Love.

[Now that I have defined these words in an academic way  I can respond in a more heart felt manner to a specific question that I was asked about becoming one in marriage with an unbeliever…in my next blog post. so please keep your station set on thecitygoodhope.]

These are My Confessions….

So, I have a story:

On my daily excursion to a University of Houston Cafeteria (go coogs), I saw a young devout man praying to….well for the intensive purposes of this blog we will say his god.” As the picture shows, he had his head down, his rug laid out, and he was talking to allah for about 5 minutes.  I stood silent in the middle of the cafeteria with my mouth slightly agape.

May I Be Honest?

I was bothered.  I mean this person one minute is eating, then his timer goes off and he pulls out a mat in order to pray on it in front of everyone.  Afterwards, he gets up and gets on his cell phone…? I mean, come on! But then I felt #convicted. This is religion and make slaves of so many, and only by God’s grace am I free.

How is religion a slave master?

Religion is about doing things for the sake of being in good with your god, be it prayer, church attendance, avoidance of “big sins”, giving your time, money, talent…it is all a desperate, devout, serious and some times painful plea so that your god can say “well done my good and faithful servant.” There is no relationship, there is no love, there are simply rules that you do your damnedest to follow, so that you will not be damned.

So yeah, even though I know all of this, I did nothing. In my passive arrogance and hate took the picture, shrugged my shoulders and sat down and ate some food, probably some pork to spite this guy indirectly- I cannot remember (but I probably did).

What I Should Have Done

I should have told him there is a God (the true God) that is amazingly powerful. So powerful that He did the unthinkable, and  that  in that unthinkable power and love,  He sent Himself in flesh to live a perfect life for us to meet the standard of perfection that He Himself set long ago, before forever ago, by the simple nature of who He is. Not only did this God (the true God) do that, but also allowed Himself to be put under His own wrath for all the wrong that we have done so that we could escape punishment.

But wait, there is more: Remember that perfect life He lived? He gave it to those who turn away from their sin and believe in Him, so there is no more performance required because not only have you been forgiven, but you have also been given the righteous righteousness of GOD. So the good things you do are not out of fear or merit and demerit, but out of the love from the relationship you are now in, through Him.

*But remember, I did not say any of that, or anything like that.

I pray that I see him again, better yet I pray someone tells him about the True God. If I do seem him again, hopefully I will have the courage and love to tell him because this is truly Good News. I pray for those of you who know this Good News to tell folks about it. Also, I pray if you are in the same boat as those under religion that you see the God (again the true God) that loves you and sent Himself in flesh (#Jesus) to die so that you may not only live, but live more abundantly.


Grace. Peace.

Religion vs. Relationship, (Part 1)

I used to think that if I prayed, read the bible a certain number of times a week, and went to church on Sunday that I was okay with God.  Heck, I believed if I went to church on Wednesday, God would give me bonus points!!!  Every week I got into a routine that just seemed to be like clockwork.  When I kept that schedule I felt great and righteous, but the weeks I didn’t keep the schedule, I did not feel so good about myself.  In some ways I felt like I was letting God down.  Man, don’t let the occasional “big” sin happen, I was crushed for a few weeks.

However, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I figured out that what I was doing wasn’t working.  I was working under a tremendous amount of guilt because I couldn’t always keep to the things that I set out.  Though I am a Christian, I subconsciously thought that if I did all these things that God would be pleased and that I was on my way to becoming a better person.  I had become religious and thought my being right consisted of the things I did for God.  In the process, I became a slave of my guilt and I became frustrated in my walk.

What I just described to you is a picture of Religion.  We keep a spiritual to-do list, and when we can’t check off everything, we feel frustrated and guilty.  The free gift that God gave us in Jesus doesn’t feel so free anymore.  In fact, the walk as a Christian feels enslaving, draining, and depressing.  Is this what God intended?  What do you think?

coloring apologetically.

ok so i just went on a random (providential actually) twitter rant on the gospel, using a super Spirit-led analogy (thank You), as a result of reconciling some twitter trending topics (#tobehonest & #alljokesaside) back to Christ with my blood brothers @2Live4Him and @RevNunnWisdom. i’m going to just copy and paste it, so bear with the twitter grammar please (140 characters isn’t enough, obviously, lol) … it wasn’t thought out so there could be some theological mishaps, lol, but hey as long as God gets the glory! here it is in it’s entirety! soli Deo gloria!

let’s use coloring as an example, perhaps, as an #apologeticexample right quick. lol. follow me on this (this is life and death :/ you know?). let’s say we get a black and white picture to color in with crayons, and all we have to do is color and not get out of line … if we color the entire picture without getting out of line, we get to see the bigger picture, if not, we get trashed with the pic. #ouch. so i’m coloring right, and then i take my eyes off of the picture, and i color outside of the line. #ouch. now i got out of line that 1 time, but i’m like, “let me just try to color the rest of the picture perfectly, to ‘overshadow’ that mistake.” so i began to really concentrate on staying within the lines, but my hand is so nervous that i still get out of line every once and a while. sometimes i get out of line because i take my eyes off of the picture, other times, because i let someone distract me. blah. so now i come to a point where, no matter how much i stay in line of that picture, those times i drew outside the picture will remain. #sin. so that means, as of now, me, along with the pic, will be trashed, because i drew outside of the line, and i can’t erase those mistakes. now what am i, man, supposed to do? there is no earthly way that i can erase those crayola marks that are outside the lines on my pic! the only way that i can get those mistakes off of the pic, is for them to be completely washed away! where can i get some white-out!?!

well here is the good news #gospel #tobehonest #alljokesaside Jesus Christ is the only Way to have a brand new picture with no mistakes! although i have worked and worked and worked to color the rest of the picture perfectly, that 1 mistake is enough to get trashed, but God! God sent a Way for your colorful mistakes to be washed! no matter how hard we work (go to church, help old ladies cross the street, give money to poor, volunteer, pray, fast) we still out of line! but God, being Love, gave His only Son, and He shed blood for the remission of those coloring mistakes, now you’re picture is brand new! but the only way you can see “the bigger picture” is if you repent (turn away, adios, deuce, bye) from your old lifestyle, and believe! believe that Jesus was born of a virgin (with the only God ALL things are possible), lived a life where he didn’t color out of line … died on the Cross so that we who believe can receive credit for the perfect life He lived, and resurrected so that we can have new life too!

repent and believe in the gospel!

Have You Got Served?

Have you seen the dance movie You Got Served?  I could talk about the poor acting for days, but for the sake of length and this blog I’d like to focus on the idea of “getting served.”  In the movie there was a strong dislike of getting served on the dance floor. I had to pause today and really ask myself, “why is that such a big deal?” I mean, why would folk not want to be served? In short, believe the answer has something to do with pride. We want to work, we want to show you what *pounds chest in a manly fashion* we can do, right? Think about it. There was a scene in the beginning of one of the underground battles where one of the B2K team members said something to the tune of “Get served? Nah bro, I’m about to serve you!”  [cue dance music]

The idea of getting served in this B2K movie was abhorred, and I believe when we examine our own lives, we connect with that to a certain extent, because even though the work we do to serve is tough and truly physically taxing, it isn’t outweighed by the internal gratification from knowing you earned something for all that work.

With all of that said, religion is a tough gig. No really, it is. You serve a large, powerful and angry god, a god that blesses you when you do good things, and hates you when you do bad things.  Your service, whatever that may or may not be (praying hard…really hard, not eating pork, praying 5 times a day, driving a hybrid car, church attendance, not looking at certain YouTube videos)  earns you something with the god you are serving. You put in your wages, and your god owes you a blessing (good grades, that new car, a husband/wife) [Opens hand] Pay up, god.

To recap: Religion says “Get served? Nah God, I’m about to serve you!”  [cue good works and avoiding big sins]

But what does Relationship say? Relationship says God serves you.

*Pause* Before you exit out of this window, keep reading. I understand how that may sound a bit blasphemous, just keep reading.

Acts 17: 24-26

24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.

Paul was speaking to a group of people that felt the need to DO something, anything, for their gods. Paul explained that one true God isn’t served, and can’t be served because…well because He’s God. Paul goes on to say God in fact is the one that gives us what it is that we need. A hefty example would be John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave…” (emphasis added)

God gave us Himself in flesh (Jesus) so we could be reconciled to Him (the Father) then sent himself down and dwells in us upon belief (the Holy Spirit/Ghost) so that we may love Him.

So this is the call I have for you: allow God to serve you by (1) accepting the service Jesus did for you on the cross by repenting and believing and (2) living a life dependent upon the Holy Spirit that dwells inside of you upon belief.

Now that you have all the information my question for you is, have you got served?

Fifty-Six Years Later, Today

This past Monday was celebrated as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  It is the selfless work of the courageous, loving, and truthful Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that we celebrate.  For many of us, we take an intimate look into the past at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership during the struggle for freedom and first-class citizen rights for all.  More significantly, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not only a national holiday in which we celebrate his birthday, but also a time of tribute to the apostle of love and action in which we observe views of American society and his personal treatment of the human race.

In the midst of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, his “I Have A Dream” speech is often the concentration of discussion.  Here we question, “Have We Fulfilled the Dream”, Have We Forgotten the Dream”, and of course, “Will America Ever Achieve the Dream”.

Through the many sermons and speeches we have collected from Martin Luther King, Jr., we are able to grasp a great deal of lessons that transcend his time.  Other than King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech of 1963, we can recollect on his sermon, “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” he delivered on January 24, 1954.  This sermon must be one of the greatest sermons ever delivered.  “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” is the street-sweeping sermon in which King states one of his infamous quotes, “even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michaelangelo painted pictures”.  Fifty-six years later, this sermon could be the “I Have A Dream” speech in action.  Here King says, “we were made for God, and we will be restless until we find rest in Him”. The “Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” is a blueprint on how to live a constructive, fulfilling life, and “life as it should be and life at its best is a life that is complete on all sides” says King.  “If life itself is to be complete it must be three-dimensional”.

The three dimensions are one, length of life, which is about self-acceptance, goals, and self-determination. Second, the breadth of life, which is about a deep concern for others, and last the height of life, which is about one’s relationship with God.

Fifty-six years later, “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” sermon is King’s calling to the fulfillment of his dream.  Will we admit fifty-six years later is enough? Or will we be another fifty-six years later?

Here are short excerpts from “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” sermon, with a link to the sermon at the end.

The Three Dimensions of Life.

“And there are three dimensions of any complete life to which we can fitly give the words of this text: length, breadth, and height. Now the length of life as we shall use it here is the inward concern for one’s own welfare. In other words, it is that inward concern that causes one to push forward, to achieve his own goals and ambitions. The breadth of life as we shall use it here is the outward concern for the welfare of others. And the height of life is the upward reach for God. Now you got to have all three of these to have a complete life.”

The Length of Life: the inward concern for one’s own welfare.

“So many people are busy trying to be somebody else. God gave all of us something significant. And we must pray every day, asking God to help us to accept ourselves. That means everything.” […] “Now the other thing about the length of life: after accepting ourselves and our tools, we must discover what we are called to do. And once we discover it we should set out to do it with all of the strength and all of the power that we have in our systems.”

The Breadth of Life: the outward concern for the welfare of others.

“And don’t forget in doing something for others that you have what you have because of others. Don’t forget that. We are tied together in life and in the world. And you may think you got all you got by yourself. But you know, before you got out here to church this morning, you were dependent on more than half of the world.”

The Height of Life: the Upward (Godward) life.

“And I’m here to tell you today that we need God. Modern man may know a great deal, but his knowledge does not eliminate God. And I tell you this morning that God is here to stay.” […] “Let nobody make us feel that we don’t need God.”

Conclusion.

“Go out this morning. Love yourself, and that means rational and healthy self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That’s the length of life. Then follow that: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That’s the breadth of life. And I’m going to take my seat now by letting you know that there’s a first and even greater commandment: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength.” I think the psychologist would just say with all thy personality. And when you do that, you’ve got the height of life.”

read sermon: “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life”

It Ain't Tricking If You Got It

Christianity is a faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. A personal relationship children of God adopted into God’s family, by the grace of God, through the sacrifice of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Unlike the Soulja Boy-esque “turn my swag on” and off mentality, once a relationship with Christ has been established it can, is, and always will be on without beginning or end as you are most intimate with God. This is true because a sealed and delivered relationship with the Saviour is not only personal, yet it is also perfect. Personal and perfect due to God’s gift of friendship shown in John 15:15. Personal and perfect because of its brotherly love shown in 1 Peter 3:8. Personal and perfect while Jesus in all His righteousness teaches us humility and service, while he washes feet in John 13:1-20. Personal and perfect because Jesus loves you just as you are–flaws and all. Personal and perfect because of all the sin of ours we killed Jesus wich is no longer ours, yet with the resurrection of Jesus Christ our salvation/new birth of heavenly riches is. Personal and perfect because we owed a debt for the sin God hated, yet He loved us enough to send Jesus to save us from His own wrath (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Through prayer with God and reading the Word of God, a relationship with Jesus Christ defines a great significance with the individual. The Bible is a love letter from God to the reader. The more you read and become open for a relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit will reveal more and more of God’s love upon you.

Although puzzling to understand how The Man wants to have an intimate, trustworthy, and encouraging relationship with the man, a relationship with Christ can singlehandedly be the most transforming solution to ever make a difference in your life. So folk, I sincerely ask you to ask yourself: “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Or are you tricking yourself by speaking of having something that you do not actually have?” …because like T.I. says, it aint tricking if you got it.