Why are the basics for living a good life so hard to follow?

The secrets to good health are so simple:

  1. Eat well—fresh fruit and veggies, lean protein, and whole grains
  2. Drink plenty of water
  3. Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep
  4. Exercise regularly
  5. Practice good hygiene

Simple. Basic.

The secrets to success:

  1. Hard work
  2. Diligence
  3. Listening to wise counsel
  4. Generosity
  5. Acquiring and applying knowledge, wisdom, and understanding

Simple. Basic.

The secrets to great relationships:

  1. Clear, loving, and consistent communication
  2. Humility
  3. Service
  4. Acceptance
  5. Support and encouragement

Simple. Basic.

The secrets to intimacy with God:

  1. Accepting His love and forgiveness
  2. Seeking Him through prayer, worship, fasting, and the Word
  3. Extending His love and forgiveness to others
  4. Obedience
  5. Humility

Simple. Basic.

But hard…

Why do we live opposite to most of what’s listed here, yet still expect to live well? We do things our way and expect to have uncommon results. There are laws that require a certain action to be invested in order for things to work out in our favor. They are simple, yet against the grain of our fallen nature; therefore, they are hard. Our nature rebels against doing them.

We are bent toward doing the wrong thing in every area of life. While the principles behind the abundant life Christ died to attain for us are simple and so very basic, the application of them rubs up against our strong will to blaze our own trail.

We have a god complex. It must die.

Being made in the image of God seems to be a double-edged sword. While we are suited to rule and reign, we only find the full potential in that through submission and surrender to God.

Surrender to the basics is a daily discipline in diligence and persistence, of staying aware of the power of the basics and following them. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the apostle Paul said:

“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”

Starting with the basics for intimacy with God will align every other basic in our lives.

Have you ever thought about how simple—but hard—the good life is? Why do you think the basics are so hard to follow?

A Little Hump Day Encouragement

Stay. The. Course. Don’t get caught up in the distractions of the seen world–what people say, do, offer or suggest to you, your financial situation, or seeming limitations. There are so many things happening in your favor on so many other levels. Ask God to renew His vision and thoughts toward you till they are like concrete in your heart.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun ta good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” –Philippians 1:6

He is faithful to His Word over your life. Are you faithful enough to hold on to what He’s said?

Where Were You on This Day–10 Years Ago?

Ten years ago today, we were three years into our marriage, no children, living in Huntsville, Alabama. Music was just “his thing,” and Jevon was eight months away from finishing college. It was a cool Fall morning, around 8:00 a.m. We had just arrived at our places of work: Will as a delivery driver for Coca-Cola and Jevon as a teller at AmSouth Bank. And that’s when we heard the hushed panic in our coworkers’ voices. The bank customers who entered the lobby in a rush were stopped in their tracks. Half-finished coke cans began to warm on the counter. The news was on, replaying a horrific scene that couldn’t have been conceived for any box office hit. It was as if what was being watched needed to be seen one more time to believe that it was really happening. Then the second plane…

America’s heart dropped low into its bowels. What has happened to our national security? We were exposed. Naked. Those people. Their families. Our people. Our families. This wasn’t happen to “them.” This was happening to us.

Never had so many turned to prayer. To God. To church. In search of comfort amid the ashes. What we thought we wouldn’t make it through, we look back on ten years later. Some of us are stronger, more full of hope, and holding on to the saving grace of God. Others are understandably still sifting through the debris. But here we are. Here we stand.

In memory of those lives that were lost on September 11, 2001, and their families, we light a candle of hope in their honor. We remember their heroism and their bravery.

O beautiful,

For spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain.

America!

America!

God shed His grace on thee

And crown thy good

With brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Free Music Friday

Thank God it’s FREE MUSIC FRIDAY!

Today we are offering three of our songs for free downloads on our Reverbnation website. If you’ve been hanging with us since the beginning of this journey and have logged on to get our music each time we’ve offered various free selections in the past, this may complete your collection of all the song on our CD, A Father’s Love.

The songs we are offering today mean so much to us:

The Race” – A message about never giving up and remaining in faith and high expectancy in hard times

The One” – Expresses our love and gratitude for the Spirit of God moving and staying active in our lives

Stop to Love” – Reinforces the need for all of us to stop and pay attention to the people around us who need our light–the light of Christ–to bring them out of a dark place

We hope you log on and download these songs. We pray that they minister to you in a very special way. We also hope that if they minister to you, you will share them with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, MySpace, Google +, WordPress, Blogger, or by email.

Make a special effort today to be a positive light to someone. Stop to love somebody; you never know what might come of it.

No Matter What the Weapon Is, We Win!

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26).

“If we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ” (Hebrews 3:14).

Of course with all the things you are facing and dealing with in your own life, you have been completely unable to move on without knowing what we are up to.  Not really, we sure. But for our own sakes, it’s kind of cool to keep a record of where we are on this journey toward sharing what God has given us with the world.

Everybody has a light, and our light is mutually music. We feel very strongly that God wants us to share that light with the world–or at least those in the world who will listen. Music is one of those things that just communicates directly to the heart and soul of a person. Art and food kind of do the same thing. They slip in past a person’s inhabitions and get them involved in…well, something–good or bad. Music, art, and food break through all kinds of social, cultural, ethnic, and economic barriers. It’s quite amazing what happens in a crowd of people who don’t know each other when good music and food start to be served up. Have you ever watched the transformation? It’s a little funny to see the wallflowers bloom, the crossed arms unfold, and the nervous grins turn into falling-all-over-you laughter.

We like this about the gift of music. God’s love, power, and saving grace can be communicated to even the hardest heart with little resistance. We’ve seen it with our own eyes–from the stage. Angry men soften. Distant couples draw closer and begin to worship together. But because of the world we live in, our gifts do not come to their fullness without a fight. And we have been fighting.

We had to move again earlier this year.

Will was diagnosed with a severe eye disorder called keratoconus. At this point, surgery seems to be the only option. He cannot see to do much of anything.

We’ve been rediscovering who we are as a couple and what that means for our music:

Should we continue as Will and Jevon? Or just Will? Or just Jevon?

Are we doing the right music?

How can we get the sound we feel God created us to release?

Is this the right timing?

We’re sure you know how it is. No one is immune to obstacles and roadblocks. But one thing we must all hold onto is what God said. We revisit His word to us frequently. It is our foundation. We go to Him and ask Him to remind us again what is it He wants from us. Then we ask for a plan and a strategy, and He gives it to us step by step.

So returning to what He told us almost two years ago, we are working on developing a five-song demo to present to a few small record labels. The style is one that mixes together all of what we were raised on–and it wasn’t black gospel. Sorry, folks. It’s that good-to-the-soul-and-spirit kind of music. It’s a blend of soul, jazz, and gospel. Deep, intimate lyrics about the nature of God and His power in our lives will bring substance to the rhythm and beat. Maybe we’ll give you a little taste of it this weekend. Check back with us.

We are asking for your prayers. Husband and wife united in a joint effort to share God’s light and love with the world is certainly NOT what the enemy wants to see be successful. Nevertheless, we are excited and hopeful. We remain that way. We remain in hope and optimism. We remain in Christ.

With love and great expectancy for an exceptional future,

Will and Jevon

Less Talking, More Walking

Many of us saw the year 2010 just like the parable of the talents. Those of you who don’t know the parable should really consider checking it out in Matthew 25:14–30. It’s one of my favorite pieces of Scripture to read. There is so much wisdom to chew on, I’m like, “Serve me up anotha’ bowl of that, Holy Spirit!” Hahaha!

The Master (our Father who created us) left us with gifts. In the parable of the talents to one He gave five, to another He gave two, and to a third He gave one. The point is we have all been given talent. Just like in the parable, there is a time where the Master releases us fully to increase our gifts.

To be practical, our system is set up to educate and discover the natural talents in children at an early age. They are told they can be anything they want to be in life—preschool, elementary, middle school, high school, and finally college. Graduating from college can be compared to a releasing—releasing into your gifting or talent, if you will. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, KJV).

That was 2010 for a lot of people…

2011 is the year of executing the plans God has for you and for me. It is full of release parties and graduations. In this season there will be less talking and more walking. And if you have not made a plan for how you will increase your gifts, do it now. God has given you the power. In Joshua 1:8, He says that when you follow His ordained plan for your life, you will be able to make your way prosperous.

OK, really when you stop reading this, do not pass go or collect $200 dollars. Grab your most high-tech device—your computer, iPhone, or Blackberry—and write the vision and make it plain.

What We Do for Our Dreams

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do for what you know you are destined for. You can’t live life the way other people live their lives and expect to be extraordinary. Then the other thing is why the heck do you want to be extraordinary? For your own good? To leave a legacy in your own name? Or is there an eternity built in to your desire to be extraordinary? Something that goes beyond you and speaks of God, the Creator who gave you life.

We honor God in our lives and we are so incredibly indebted to Him for all His generosity and favor toward us. How could we not seek to be extraordinary for Him? Living our lives to the full is like living an open invitation to those who are orphaned and inviting them to come and join us as we dine at the Father’s banquet table.

Living this life sometimes calls for breaking religious and cultural mores. Didn’t Jesus do that? Yet, He only did what His Father in heaven commanded Him to do.

This time last year, Jevon was interviewed by Essence Magazine about how our family is organized–you know, division of labor. At the time, Jevon had been working consistently full-time for a few years, while Will was the primary caregiver for our two children. Well, in any good relationship there are shifts and changes. “Seasons change; mad things rearrange…” (Sorry we just digressed into a Lauryn Hill lyric.) And then if love is really there, each person gives whatever opportunity they can to make room for each other to thrive and grow. We believe that sincerely. His call may not be her sole call, and her call may not be his sole call, but jointly we can be full in our giftings and talents and bless people by the love, joy, and peace that comes from being truly nurtured and supported by the one you love.

Since the article, we’ve adjusted our roles. We knew this would happen even as the article went live before millions. We were right in the midst of transition. Aren’t we all? Our children are older and both are in school–doing quite well actually. Will has since stepped further out into his calling by becoming a worship leader for Way of Grace Ministries in Orlando, and he is back at writing a second album called Illuminate–destined to enlighten your soul and spirit.

We will do whatever it takes to be in the place of God’s favor and blessing. No matter what it looks like to others. There are times of struggle as we seek to stay grounded in God as attacks on every side try to shake us off course. Then there are times of sheer victory, where we really can’t even remember how hard things were the week before.

We are thankful to God for His constant guidance, His love, and His rhema word that never cease to amaze us.

So just for kicks, take a look back one year ago at where we were at the time of the Essence interview (the discussion in the comments were really lively): “I Work, He Stays At Home, We’re Happy.”

I Work, He Stays At Home, We’re Happy