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2015 Book of the Year: Kingdom Man by Dr. Tony Evans

The most profound, eye-opening, hands down best book I have read this year is Kingdom Man by Dr. Tony Evans.

I have yet to read a better book on God's perspective and prescription for manhood, responsibility, and stewardship.

Kingdom Man was my summer book and I found it difficult to put down. Dr. Evans is not only the Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, but also the chaplain of the Dallas Mavericks (he holds the longest standing chaplaincy on NBA record spanning at least 3 decades), he was also chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys.

Growing up around many siblings and having a large family of his own, there could not be a more credible source on biblical instructions for manhood than Dr. Evans.

Kingdom Man is broken into three parts: The Formation of a Kingdom Man, the Foundation of a Kingdom Man, and the Function of a Kingdom Man.

Dr. Evans uses his own experiences, statistics, and most importantly, the Bible, to beckon Kingdom Men, men who govern themselves according to God'…

Oh, What a Merry Christmas

Christmas was very merry. Indeed, very merry.

I spent the day, and my entire Christmas break, with family and friends. What better way?

Between last Tuesday (12/22) and today, I have been with my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, my brother and his family, and even got to see my God-brother and his family from Chicago.

It really meant so much when my little cousins from Chattanooga sent me a video message wishing me a Merry Christmas, in addition to our frequent texting throughout the day. I am not much of a texter, but I'd do anything for my little cousins (too many to name).

Christmas 2015 was a rainy one so we didn't get to go to Chattanooga as planned, but we still met up at my Aunt Sister's and had a fun time playing games, eating, watching basketball, exchanging gifts, and being family.

So, yes, Christmas was fully of merriment and joy and laughter. I hope yours was, too.





Immanuel: God With Us

Matthew 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, "God with us."
Immanuel, or Emmanuel means "God with us." It is a name of hope and salvation no matter how desperate our condition.

Christ's name, Immanuel, is the believer's unconditional guarantee that God is sovereign, ever-present (Psalm 46:1), and will meet the needs of His people. It is a reminder of God's never-ending presence. Those who place their faith in Christ will not be forsaken.

Immanuel is God saying "I will not leave you. I am always with you."

This means we can move forward in our darkest, loneliest, and overwhelming times. Do not quit.

"God with us" is as much a promise as it is a challenge: When the worst confronts you, trust that JESUS, Immanuel is with you. Christ never fails and always saves.



Rehoboam: A Story of What Not to Be

King Solomon was the wisest and richest man on earth during his reign over Israel and Judah (1 Kings 11:23-24). When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam succeeded him (1 Kings 11:41-43).  Thus, Rehoboam inherited the greatest kingdom on earth.

And squandered it.

As a historical context, before Solomon died, he started worshiping idols and "turned his heart after other gods" (1 Kings 11:4-10). Eventually God finally told Solomon that his kingdom would be taken from him (1 Kings 11:11-13).

Unfortunately, Rehoboam made the one decision that brought destruction to the kingdom. 
Jeroboam was an officer in Solomon's administration (1 Kings 11:28). Because of Solomon's idolatry, Jeroboam was prophesied to become a ruler of God's people (1 Kings 11:29-40). Solomon became jealous and sought to kill Jeroboam. To save his own life,  Jeroboam fled to Egypt until Solomon died and Rehoboam became king.
Once Rehoboam took the throne, Jeroboam returned home and requested of the king …

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration

The Holidays are here. So, up until Christmas (and days after), Music Spotlight Tuesday will feature Christmas music.

There is no better way to kick off the merry season than with Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration. It is exactly what the title describes: a soulful compilation of Handel's Messiah. 
Released in 1992, this album features some of the best and brightest in music. In fact, it won the 1992 GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. That is very telling of the quality of this project, which was co-produced by Gail Hamilton, Norman Miller, and Mervyn Warren (a founding member of Take 6).
When artists such as Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Daryl Coley, Patti Austin, Tramaine Hawkins, Stevie Wonder, Take 6, Sounds of Blackness, The Boys Choir of Harlem, The Richard Smallwood Singers, Commissioned, The Clark Sisters, Al Jarreau, and Tevin Campbell are all included on a single album- which also features a track conducted by Quincy Jones- it would be difficult to …

The Name of Jesus

Matthew 1:21 "... you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
Matthew 1:23 "... and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, "God with us.""
Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
There is no name higher than Jesus.

We can try to make other matters higher, but they cannot and will not save us from our own depravity and shortcomings. That name is only reserved for One: Jesus.

Career, music, fame, relationships, money- all those are good, but us trying to find peace, establishing our identities, or approval in any of these is a lost cause. They fade.

None of them can save us. They cannot restore us. They cannot heal. They cannot deliver us from addictions, heal sickness, nor fill our hearts with compassion.

Most importantly, nothing can right the wrongs of sin. Only the Name of Jesus can. Only Immanuel- a guara…

Music Spotlight Tuesday: The CFC 2015 Annual Thanksgiving Musical

This week's Music Spotlight Tuesday is dedicated to the CFC 2015 Annual Thanksgiving Musical held this past Sunday.

The program was beyond anything that I, or anyone, in the Music Department could have ever scripted. The Holy Spirit moved.

There was singing, dancing, shouting, clapping, and this glorious celebration was topped by two young ladies in attendance giving their lives to Christ.

I am so grateful for our church, the Bishop, the choir, praise team, One Accord, and the musicians because no one has an ego. Everyone ministers and serves with love, humility, compassion, and a singular focus of glorifying Christ.

To be there was an experience like none other. And most importantly, God gets the glory.

Here's a link to some footage.


Kingdom Man and Some News

I am currently reading Kingdom Man by Tony Evans. The book is based on the Biblical alignment of true manhood as God designed it. It empowers men to live like Christ.
So far, its been a really good book. One that's extremely difficult to put down once I start. I'll definitely be posting more about it, but I would like to share a few lines from the book that I have highlighted. 
God doesn't always call the equipped, He always equips the called.Being a kingdom man involves exercising authority and responsibility along with wisdom and compassion. A kingdom man intentionally aligns his life, choices, thoughts, and actions under the lordship of Jesus Christ.Biblical manhood is when a man not only understands and embraces, but also fully lives out, the principles and truths in God's Word.A kingdom man serves in a kingdom. God is the King. Christ is the head, the leader. He has asked us to stand fast. He has asked us to give our undivided allegiance to Christ's command thr…

The World Needs Jesus

Yesterday, after church, I volunteered to walk around to the nearby neighborhoods and pass out flyers to the church's upcoming Thanksgiving Musical. The drive was lead by the church Evangelism Ministry.

It was my first time "pounding the pavement" in evangelism since 2012.

As I was able to speak with those living, not even half a mile from the church, I realized an astonishing fact: Most people in the neighborhood knew of our church's location, but had never been invited. Some people did not even want to be bothered with us.

It was a wake-up call. As the Body of Christ, we have to get more serious about sharing the salvation, hope, and life-changing love of Jesus. Persistently and truthfully.

People really are struggling. The world is hurting. Souls are lost. Christ is the answer. But how will they, or anyone, learn of Christ's love without His people sharing the message???

After yesterday, I woke up. One objective of my life rang loud and clear: Point People to …

Practice

When do I practice piano? How long do I practice? What do I practice?

I practice for at least 30 minutes a day on my Roland FP-80. By the way, the Roland FP-80 is the best sounding stage piano I have ever heard.

I use a number of tools and resources to aid in my practice and they are secrets that I am sharing for the very first time.

The first tool is my God-given imagination. I am a firm believer in originality and innovation and that no one perceives, intuits, or interprets like you. I believe humankind is to use our uniqueness to bring glory to God. Everyone has their own style and their own sound. The second tool is recorded music. Whether you realize it or not, we have access to the largest library of music ever in history. It is in many forms: vinyl records, CD's, cassette tapes, or mp3's, we have it and we can learn from past recordings.Other, better musicians and mentors. Kevin "KC" Conley is in that small group. His company, Pretty Simple Music, has numerous …

CFC's 34th Anniversary Celebration

Community Fellowship Church of Ministries (CFC) celebrated 34 years yesterday.
The celebration service was a grand occasion. 
Old and new songs were sang. The choir, consisting of 30+ voices, bolted an original CFC classic. T.U.F.F. Alumni stepped together for the first time in over a decade. There was a even a CFC museum that marked key relics from the church's past.
CFC has helped so many people come to Christ and grow stronger in Him. Lives in Dalton, GA, Chattanooga, TN, Calhoun, GA, Ringgold, GA, Lafayette, GA, and the entire Northwest Georgia/Southeast Tennessee region and all around the world have been blessed.
I am really blessed to be a part of it the great work. God takes all the credit.
Below are some pictures from yesterday and, yes, I am stepping with T.U.F.F. One of my best friends Adrian and I, joined the team in 2002 and were part of the last T.U.F.F. step show, up to this point...



Here is a video of yesterday's show. Enjoy
https://www.facebook.com/brandon.curti…

When Facing the Temptation to Make a Name for Yourself...

Matthew 20:25-2825"But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26"Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27"And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave- 28"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be great. In fact, Jesus instructs us on how to be great. It is not like the Gentiles who used power plays, back-stabbing, and an insatiable appetite for greed and recognition to get ahead (sounds a lot like our current society, huh?). Jesus teaches us the right way to achieve greatness.
God blesses us with gifts, not to try to dominate people, but to employ those gifts to serve Him and improve the lives of others. Our motives have to align with His.
I have played p…

Music Spotlight Tuesday: The Commissioned Reunion Part 2 (Far-fetched Wishes)

Commissioned is my all-time favorite singing group. I love Take 6, The Winans, and 4Him, but NO group compares to the harmonies, relevance, and Scriptural soundness of Commissioned.

Commissioned's last album to date was the Commissioned Reunion (2002). It was an incredible recording that gave superb justice to their consistent delivery of power-packed and anointed songs beginning in the 1980's.

However, as in any "Best Of" list, inevitably good ones get left out. That is why I created a tracklist of some of my favorite Commissioned songs that are just as good as those on the real Commissioned Reunion, but did not make the cut.

So...

IF, IF, IF Commissioned was to pull together for a Commissioned Reunion Part 2, I believe the song list would look something like this...

DISC 1
He Set Me FreeWork On MeStandWe Are OvercomersThe Way You Love MeDon't WorryI'm LearningBack to My First LoveAt the Point of Your NeedIf God is For UsOnly What You Do For Christ Will LastLe…

Observations from the Weekend 10/25/15

My mom and I go see my grandparents (her parents) once a month in rural Tignall, Georgia. Our trips are always fun as she and I get to talk, bond, and catch up.

Saturday morning after breakfast, my grandparents, Moma, and I cleaned up and threw away some of Grandmama's years' long junk in my grandparents' storage house. I mean junk! I have no idea how all those old newspapers, empty boxes, and broken decorations accumulated, but all four us got rid of a lot it.

Grandaddy and I hauled the throwaways on the back of his truck and took it to a nearby dumpster. After two hours of non-stop cleaning and heavy lifting, Grandaddy took the drive to the dumpster.

It was the longest ride he and I had together in at least six years. When I was college, I would visit my grandparents whenever I could and go to church with him.

Graddaddy is an introvert. Typically he only opens up in one-on-one conversations.

Going to the dumpster and coming back, he and I rode with our windows down in hi…

Music Spotlight Tuesday: 5 Favorite Cyphers

What's a cypher? A cypher is rapping in a group setting with each rapper getting a turn to share their best rhymes. That is the best I could do, at least. There is no formal definition of a "cypher." It is a bunch of rappers rapping together.

In case you do not know already, hip-hop is one of my favorite genres and it only gets better when it glorifies Christ.

With that in mind, here are five of my favorite cyphers. They are listed in alphabetical order by artist name.

... And one side note, I wish rappers would bring cyphers back to their albums. There is nothing like hearing 5-6 emcees blaze the mic and bring their diverse flavors to tracks.

Enjoy!

1. "The Reunion Cypha"- The Ambassador ft. God’s Servant, J.A.Z., Shai Linne, Andy Mineo, Cruz Cordero, & DJ Wade-O


2. "Eternal Cypha"- The Cross Movement ft. Da' T.R.U.T.H., J-Silas, Todd Bangz, Flame, R-Swift, & DJ Official


3. "Everyday All Day Cypha"- Everyday Process ft. Lecrae, …

Observations from the Weekend

A few observations this past weekend...
One of the most moving funeral services I have ever attended and played piano at was that of Ms. Virginia Hitchcock of Chattanooga, TN this past Saturday. This one hit close for a few reasons 1) She was a very faithful member of the church 2) She was really precious to my parents 3) The delight she brought to our church. A mother of six, she was classy, stylish, sweet, and could throw down in the kitchen! As a kid I remember how people would rave about her red velvet cakes. In fact, hers was the very first red velvet cake I ever had. She graduated from Howard High School in 1958. Several of her classmates were present and they gave a resolution to the family. Graduating in '58 means she witnessed segregation, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and the disenfranchisement of African Americans to an unreal degree in her lifetime. And yet, living to witness our nation's first African-American President. I wish I could have spoke with her mo…

Luke 4:12-16

Luke 4:12-16

12 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him saying, "Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean." 13 Then He put out His hand and touch him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately, the leprosy left him. 14 And He charged him to tell no one, "But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded." 15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
This man has a severe skin disease.
We do not know how this man recognizes Jesus' authority to heal, but he clearly understands that Jesus can. Then, Jesus does something that no one else would ever do: He reaches out and touches the diseased skin. 

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Pianos in Hip Hop

No instrument sounds better than a piano on a hip hop beat. None.

Pianos enhance melodies, create harmony, and establish tone. Mix that with the authenticity of hip hop and the sound produced is distinct and original.

As a pianist and hip hop producer and lover, here are five songs that combine the piano and hip hop in a flavorful way.

Enjoy the music, but even more importantly, enjoy the lyrics as emcee is lifting up Christ!

1. "One Two"- The Ambassador

2. "Certified Gold"- Eshon Burgundy

3. "The Art of Joy"- Jackie Hill Perry

4. "The All Sufficiency of Christ"- Timothy Brindle




Music Spotlight Tuesday: 10 Boom Bap Hip-Hop Albums You Must Download- And They Are Free!!!

Boom bap is that original hip-hop sound: grimy snares, gritty kicks, heavy use of samples, break beats, turntable- spinning, and lyric-centric rap music.

It is hip-hop in its original state. No 808's, synthesizers, or sonically-modified sounds, just pure hip-hop. No disrespect to those who use the 808's and synths (I use them in my own productions and definitely appreciate their contributions to the genre), but there is nothing like that classic hip-hop sound.

If you like that classic sound and love Christ-glorifying rhymes, then this list is just for you! You must download these albums because: 1. I do not know how long the artists will continue to have them posted 2. They are free. So, no excuses.

I hope these albums enrich your walk with Christ. My life has certainly been blessed by the lyrics of these emcees representing the LORD with their talent, while also staying true to the art form of hip-hop.

They are listed in alphabetical order and not by favorites (nor their numb…

Random Thoughts

Just some random thoughts from today...

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin jousted today at the 70th Annual United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Both have completely opposite views of the Syrian crisis and Middle Eastern intervention. The big ripple between the two opposing views is acknowledgment of Bashar al-Assad's regime- America neither acknowledges nor supports his governance while Russia does. Fortunately, President Obama and Mr. Putin met earlier today, which opens the lines of communication of progress and peace. International relations is a fine line to walk. Critics who shout "Do something!" are generally clueless of the fact that any action taken in crisis could yield unfathomable consequences in the present and future. The best strategy is to assess matters on a case-by-case basis. With that in mind, I believe President Obama and his administration are handling the Syrian crisis with poise, tact, and wisdom.I was reading …

Speaker John Boehner Resignation

Before going any further, Pianomics is not political. But, working in the public sector and as an American citizen, I do have a great appreciation for those who invest their talents and abilities to serve our country and our people.

Yesterday Speaker of the House, John Boehner announced his resignation. Speaker Boehner, the highest-ranking member of the US House of Representatives faced numerous challenges and issues during his tenure as well as political and ideological clashes with President Obama and, apparently, disunity among his Republican colleagues.

The timing of his resignation comes amidst a potential government shutdown next week, a day after Pope Francis' first visit to the US, and during China President Xi Jinping's visit to Washington.

During my vacation in DC last month, I walked past the hallway of Mr. Boehner's office in the US Capitol. It is heavily guarded by security- which in and of itself speaks volume of how important his work is to our country. Bein…

Music Spotlight Tuesday: The Top 7 Songs That Shaped Summer 2015

Today is the last day of Summer 2015. It is literally hours before summer ends and autumn begins. So today's Music Spotlight Tuesday is dedicated to the songs, sounds, lyrics, and melodies that shaped my summer.

Summer 2015 has been a season of growth, new experiences, education, and the reality that I am now closer to 30 than I am 20 (still not sure how to feel about that yet).
I have been blessed to accomplish and achieve a lot this summer and I give all the glory to God, who gives me the strength. All of the accolades, awards, achievements, and every thing else is because of Him (Philippians 4:13, 2 Timothy 1:7, Ephesians 5:10). These 7 songs are associated with those moments and memories that will last a lifetime.
After all, what better way to commemorate good times than by sharing the songs that are intricately connected to them? 
So, it is with gladness that I share with you The Top 7 Songs That Shaped Summer 2015- from my perspective. I hope they encourage, inspire, and rea…

2015 Georgia Economic Developers Association Annual Conference: Taking Georgia From Good to Great

Last week I attended the 2015 Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) Annual Conference in lovely Savannah: Taking Georgia from Good to Great. 
It was my second consecutive time attending in as many years as I have been a member. 
I have yet to encounter a better organization that provides so much for its membership- from an resources standpoint and a participation and leadership standpoint.
One quality about GEDA that I really like is that everyone can feel like a part of the group. Seasoned veterans, rookies, development authority executives; chamber of commerce leaders; county, city, and special district directors and managers; engineers, marketers, contractors, real estate developers- they all compose GEDA's membership.
Governor Nathan Deal addressed us on Tuesday evening; and we heard presentations about trends and their affect on jobs in the state, Georgia's ports, global competitiveness, economic development marketing, and leadership insights from appointed leade…

The ABC's of Vision

One of the most influential books I have read recently is Living Above the Level of Mediocrity by Charles Swindoll.

Written in 1989, the book is loaded with insights on pursuing excellence. Even greater, Pastor Swindoll's book is Scripture-based, so God's Word is the focus of the content.

Chapter 5 is about vision. This is where Swindoll introduces the ABC's for Vision; and that is what I would like to share and summarize, briefly.

A. Attitude. Vision affects your attitude. Your attitude should be positive, not negative. Optimistic rather than pessimistic. Not foolishly positive, but realistic because you trust God.

B. Belief. Have a strong belief in the power of God, confidence in others around you, and confidence in yourself, by the grace of God. Refusing to give in to temptation, cynicism, and doubt. Not allowing yourself to become jaded.

C. Capacity. A willingness to be stretched.

D. Determination. Hanging tough when the going gets rough. Implementing a vision and accompli…

The DC Experience: The National Mall

I only saw four monuments last week in Washington, DC. Nowhere near the number I wanted to see, but as many past DC visitors will tell you, there's no way you can see it all!

The four monuments and memorials I saw were worth every second of viewing and reflection. I took a friend's advice and viewed them at night- good idea. The National Mall is very safe. Even at night, security and fellow tourists are everywhere. Below are the monuments I saw and a few thoughts and observations.

The Washington Monument- Probably one of the tallest buildings in DC, I could see it from my hotel room across the Potomac in Arlington, VA. It is all the way vertical and stands tall and brave, just like George Washington himself defending the freedom and ideals of America. The 50 US flags around it signify celebration and resolution at the very base of the structure. You can rub your hand on it and feel the firmness of its marble and granite composition. The World War II Memorial- I have never seen …

Music Spotlight Tuesday: KB- Tomorrow We Live

Tomorrow We Live is Tampa, FL-based rapper KB's second studio album. I am spotlighting this album for two reasons: 1. Because it is a really good album 2. Because I listened to it, along with almost all of KB's entire recorded catalog, throughout last week's DC vacation.

I sharply recall listening to tracks light "Lights Go Out" as I walked the National Mall and first saw the George Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. I kept "Sideways" on repeat during my daily ride on the Metro from my hotel in Arlington, VA to DC. Tomorrow We Live was the soundtrack to my DC vacation, and rightfully so.

On Tomorrow We Live, KB communicates the saving, healing, delivering, and potent message of the gospel of Christ as our only hope and salvation. KB's boldness and authenticity comes through in his lyrics and his up-and-down tonality as he raps. KB's fire and fulfillment to please the LORD is conta…

The DC Experience: Introduction

I am back from a week-long vacation in Washington, DC.

I had a blast! If you have not been yet, I highly recommend you go. I found the Nation's Capital to be educational, enlightening, enriching, refreshing, breath-taking, relaxing, and well-worth the 9+ hour trip from Georgia.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be posting about thoughts and experiences related to the trip. Everything such as food, museums, buildings, transportation, history, government, people, and music will be detailed.

Stay tuned!



CFC Youth Day

CFC Youth Day was nothing short of remarkable.

Children, teenagers, young adults (my generation) sang, danced, praised, and worshiped God with passion, love, joy, energy, and sincerity.

We led, both, the 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM services and the LORD ministered through us in His own powerful way.

I am very grateful to have preached at the 10:00 AM service. (Came from 2 Timothy 1:7).

Something amazing happens when we move ourselves out of the way and allow the LORD to communicate His Word through us. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And when you summarize the meaning He brings to life, you realize that all the of the glory belongs to Him.

The reality of God's presence gives life, and everything we involve ourselves in, brand new meaning.

God's awesomeness was displayed in a monumental way today. A flame was kindled in our youth and the church as a whole.

Today was special.

Big thanks to everyone who helped make today such a great success, you know who you are!

Churc…

You Keep on Blessing Me- Live

Here is a video of my all-time favorite singing group, Commissioned, singing "You Keep on Blessing Me Live."

It features all six original members. Enjoy!!!



Planning and People

We are in the embryonic stages of launching the planning portion of our Downtown Master Plan and Market Analysis. I am very excited about this upcoming project.

As the core team plans the scheduling of public engagement activities, public input meetings and benchmark timelines, I thought about why planning requires a public, people-intensive environment. Here are 6 reasons that come to mind:


Planning involves matters in which people have high emotional stakes. For example, a road widening, neighborhood character, the quality of a school district, or the downtown landscaping are all affected by planning decisions.Planning decisions are visible. Whether its buildings, roads, bridges, sidewalks, or parks and greenspaces- people see the results of planning, like architecture. And it is hard to hide.The planning process is easily influenced at the local level. It is much easier to affect change at a local planning commission or a city council meeting than it is the decisions of a state legi…

Willing Workers

For the last three weeks, Bishop Thomas has been preaching from Nehemiah 4:1-6 with an emphasis on the end of verse 6 "for the people had a mind to work."
In the series titled "Willing Workers" Bishop explains how God chooses to accomplish His purposes through people who are willing to work. 
Here are some of my notes from the series: Nehemiah and the Jews worked together.Everybody is not going to like you. Especially when you represent Christ and living to do God's work.Rebuilding the wall required persistence, commitment, and dedication. Will you stay committed when results aren't immediate?The enemy calls the Jews "feeble" in verse 2. But, God has not given His people a spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). You have decide whose word you will believe. Daily.

2015 Willis Family Reunion

Today we celebrated the 2015 Willis Family Reunion in Lincolnton,GA.

It was a blast. Family shared history, we prayed, ate, laughed, gave door prizes- the typical makings of a family reunion.
I wish more of my family would have attended. The Willis Family is a large group. Most of us are concentrated in Wilkes County (also our native homeland), Dalton, and now parts of Atlanta.
But, nonetheless, family is family and I love mine. 
I am am proud to be an Andrews, a Hassler, a Thomas, and, most certainly, a Willis.
Congrats Willis Family on another successful family reunion! I love ya'll!


IEDC Economic Development Marketing & Attraction Course

This time last week I was attending the International Economic Development Council's (IEDC) Marketing & Attraction course at Georgia Tech.

The course was enlightening on topics like the most effective forms of sharing community information, recruiting prospective businesses, and public engagement best practices.
Subject matter went in depth about website development, social media marketing and updating, Geographic Information Systems, and community branding.
The training also featured two very enthusiastic and knowledgeable speakers in Mr. Anatalio Ubalde (founder of GIS Planning) and Mr. Guillermo Mazier with Atlas Advertising. These two gentlemen, hands down, were the best duo of presenters I have seen teach an economic development course.
I debated whether or not I wanted to take the course because its last day fell on my 26th birthday (August 14th). But in hindsight, I am glad I did.
Additionally, I was fortunate to catch a ride with a friend, whose birthday was on the 17t…

Thank You for the Birthday Wishes!!!

Thanks to everyone for the Happy Birthday wishes, phone calls, texts, facebook posts, statuses, and likes. It truly means a lot and I am overwhelmed with all of the love.

The first few hours of the day were a little difficult. My sister, Tabitha, would have been 30 on August 13th- a day before my birthday. We usually celebrated together.

I am now 26, an age she did not live to see on this earth.

It brings life into perspective and yields even more reason to be grateful for every breath, every relationship, every moment, every laugh, every tear, and every new year.

I choose to embrace the frontier of my late twenties and not taking these days for granted.

This blog post does not give justice to my heartfelt appreciation for you taking the time to wish me a Happy Birthday. Rest assured that your kind words and well wishes have not gone unnoticed.

Thank You and I Love You Back!!!






Obstacle to Abundant Success: Unwise Associations

"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed."  - Proverbs 13:20
Many goals, dreams, visions, and would've-should've-could've been successes have been killed by unwise associations.
How to Recognize Unwise Associations Those who are more critical than they are complimentary and encouraging.Those who belittle and laugh at your God-given dreams and goals.Those who embarrass and humiliate you.Those who drain your energy and time through useless talk. How to Recognize Wise Associations Those who speak words that build your faith and confidence.Those who see the validity and beauty of your God-given dreams and goals.Those who get excited about your potential.Those who remind you of your special gifts and abilities. Time is one of your most valuable assets. It is up to you to invest it wisely, you cannot get it back. Become selective about who you choose to associate with. Choose those who elevate your mind and heart. Those who in…

The Heart of Gospel. The Art of Jazz. Part 4

As I have written numerous times before, and will continue to, gospel's message sang over jazz is the most beautiful combination in all of music: 100% jazz and 100% gospel.

Here are more of my favorite jazz + gospel songs. 

If you have not already, be sure to check my other listings of jazz+gospel songs:

The Heart of Gospel. The Art of Jazz. Part 3The Heart of Gospel. The Art of Jazz. Part 2The Heart of Gospel. The Art of Jazz. Part 1


1. "Turn Right"- Babbie Mason





2. "Please You More"- Commissioned





3. "I Must Tell Jesus"- Delores "Mom" Winans





4. "Been Mighty Good"- James Hall & Worship and Praise





5. "Spread Love"- Take 6