It’s been said that dreams reveal our subconscious: all the stuff we don’t realize we’re thinking. As a kid (and a few times as an adult) I would experience the terror of a recurring theme in my dreams. Something would happen and I would try to speak, only to realize nothing was coming out. I would try even to scream at the top of my lungs, to no avail. This would send me into a panic, trying to get someone to listen to me, and I would wake up in a cold sweat. I really had no clue what those dreams meant, I only knew that they terrified me. (more…)

One of the greatest “selling points” of Christianity is that it has no correlating culture. Culture, as defined by clothing, music, food, or anything that gives a group of people an identity, is virtually non-existent in the Christian faith. The culture of Christians are as various as there are nations in the world, because the faith can be practiced in any cultural context. This is why Jesus’ great commission is so relevant, because He commands us to go into all the world and make disciples. You can’t accomplish this mission with the love of Christ, by assimilating the world into “our” culture; so there HAS to be some cultural tolerance as it pertains to Christian orthodoxy, or what is accepted to be correct belief. (more…)

It’s been said, time and again, that everything that has a beginning has an end; yet we tend to always be surprised when relationships end. Excluding death, people will end relationships for any variety of reasons. Some legitimate, others … not so much. As an introvert, I tend to be somewhat of a loner, but coming to grips with someone’s departure from your life, can difficult, no matter your predisposition. Here are 5 tips to help you through the transition of “moving on”:  (more…)

I’m not one to believe that this world is the product of chance. You and I are not accidents, but we are the product of divine purpose, because anything created has a reason for its existence. Simply put, purpose is the reason for which something was created or done, and even though we can’t always see it, purpose is always present. With that in mind, there has always been a creative nature to purpose, producing something that wasn’t there before. To this end, I believe purpose creates passion.   (more…)

At over 32 million units sold, Michael Jackson’s Thriller is by far the most successful recording in history. I just want that to sink in; after 35 years, no other record has sold more than this instant classic. It is the epitome of recorded music success, but at what point do we determine that it was a successful venture or not? We are talking about the critically acclaimed work, that millions of people around the world still listen to. This is the same record that catapulted Michael Jackson in to pop music royalty. When was this work a success?  (more…)

 

Have you ever heard the saying “too heavenly minded, that you’re no earthly good”? Well clichés are cliches for a reason, because this is a true statement. One of the greatest criticisms of the Christian faith is our preoccupation with heaven and what happens after we die. This fascination is particularly prevalent in the African-American church, because historically black slaves were taught that we should only expect our reward in heaven, and that teaching just remained a fundamental philosophical fixture. In fact, I can not recall a funeral, in a black church, that I did not hear the song, “Going Up Yonder”. It doesn’t stop there. The church at large sings “I’ll Fly Away”, “Sweet By And By”, and “When We All Get To Heaven” with a seemingly greater fervor than others.  (more…)

We are a few days into the new year, and like most people I entered 2017 with a sense of joy and anticipation of what this year will bring to me. Riding that high all day January 1st was fairly easy: spent the whole day with family, had a wonderful church service, ate pizza for lunch, soul food for dinner, and my favorite football team won.  But January 2nd took me back to work, and I hit a brick wall of negativity. Some was brought on by my own brain, and the rest was handed to me by others; but be the end of the day I couldn’t shake it.  (more…)

California is a unique place, and the people who live there (I believe) love to tell you where they are from. They are fully aware that there is no other place like California. California is a destination for millions of vacationers and dreamers, with bright lights and big cities in their eyes. However, those from there wear it as  badge of honor, even if they have to move somewhere else. I know people who have lived in Texas for 30 years, but still identify themselves as from California. It is just amazing to me.  (more…)

One of the funniest things about working in elementary education, is the look on a second graders face when they see you away from school. Whether walking through Target, pumping gas, taking a stroll in the park, or just mowing your own yard, it’s the same response. Their eyes light up! “Mr. Murphy! What are you doing here?” As to say, “I left you at school! No way you could’ve escaped!” The funniest part of the whole exchange, is the next school day. They walk up to you and say, “I saw you at (where ever, doing what ever).” I’m convinced, they are just testing me to see if the person they saw, where ever, doing what ever, was actually me.  (more…)

 

I can remember as a kid in middle school, we would have the book fair. One of my favorite books to buy would be from the Where’s Waldo series.  These books contained illustrations of the main character, a tall guy with a glaring red and white striped sweater, and large round specs, in various, amazing places, doing various amazing things. The purpose of the entire set up is to find Waldo. One would think that locating this tall, skinny guy, in THAT outfit would be relatively easy. However, after scanning the picture for a while you begin to realize that he is a lot less conspicuous than you thought, and can be easily overlooked.  (more…)