My Life and Pandora Radio

I’m a music lover.

I truly can feel the presence of God when listening to David Nevue Radio or a Hillsong United Youtube Playlist. I can prepare my mind for a early morning practice or 8 am class with a bit of Colbie Caillat Radio. I can study and complete homework with Norah Jones Radio. And every day I’m listening to an album from Jon Bellion.

Music has the ability to shape your thinking about life. Music has the ability to change to color of your spirit’s auras that resonate from you. Music is a part of what makes you, you.

I’m a believer that your stations on Pandora say more about you than you could ever say. Here’s what a few of mine say about me:

2000s Pop Radio
Well, this one’s a new addition, but when my Taylor U friends and I went to TJ Maxx last week, this is what they requested. I insisted that we listen to something a bit better, but in the end, I gave in. This station says that I’m a bit accommodating.

Kid Cudi Radio
If you love music, you love Kid Cudi. Not because of his life-changing lyrics, but because of his self-proclaimed different style of music. His music sends your mind into the cosmos, even for just a few minutes. This station says that I enjoy taking a temporary mental trip to outer space (without the use of psychedelic drugs).

Drake Radio
Say what you want, Drake is leading in hip-hop right now. I know about 95% of every lyric to every Drake song ever made. What can I say, I’m a lightskin.

Colbie Caillat Radio
This is about to sound pretty un-manly on my part, but have you ever listened to Colbie Caillat Radio? Her songs make you believe that true love is possible. Their upbeat tempo and acoustic melody make me want to go out and find my soulmate right then and there. Isn’t that what everyone wants? This station says that I’m a bit soft when it comes to the idea of true love.

David Nevue Radio
This is without-a-doubt my favorite Pandora station. If you’ve never heard of David Nevue, he plays older hymns and worship songs on the piano. No lyrics. No words. Just music. My roommate and I have begun falling asleep to this station every night. There’s just something about worships songs being played just right that hits a chord deep in your soul. This is when I feel God’s presence. This is when my prayer comes the easiest. Therefore, this station says that I love to worship.

Do you love music? What do your Pandora Stations say about you?

Feel free to comment your Pandora Stations below!

My Name is Tim, and I Am an Addict

Even as I sit here and write this post, I’m surrounded. Ting. My iPad sits on my right. Ting. My iPhone lay charging on my left. Ting. My MacBook in front of me. Ting.

I’ve come to despise that stupid notification tone.

Ting.

My technology is getting out of hand.

How is it that no one texts me, yet I still feel the need to check my phone every five seconds? How is it that I need an iPhone, and an iPad, and a MacBook that all do the exact same thing? Have I been brainwashed to think that I need these things?

What makes it worse is that adults who didn’t grow up with this technology during their prime years of psychological maturation and cerebral growth, sit around and tell us just how awful we are for wanting to use our iPhones. They don’t realize that we are literally addicted.

Sure, there might be a few of you reading this who didn’t get a smartphone until their senior year in high school and don’t know the addiction, and to you I tip my hat and iterate that this post isn’t for you. But to those, like myself, who are addicted, and want so bad to stop, how can you stop?

Just Press That ‘X’, bruh.

Go to your Twitter app. Press and hold it. And click that little ‘x’. It seems like every couple weeks, I’m going through some social media rebirth and deleting every distracting app on my phone with the hopes that I’ll stop using it so much. Really though, if you’re serious about ridding yourself of your phone addiction, just delete all of those apps. (Yes, Yik Yak too)

Embrace the Awkward, Overcome the Boring.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ll whip out my phone while standing in a line to pass by the time, or in the same sense, to avoid an awkward encounter with someone. We always talk about how life is short, then proceed to participate in activities that make the time go by faster. Imagine if we used the time in a long line to get to know the person in front of us or behind us, and used an awkward encounter to fix whatever’s awkward between you and whoever, so that other encounters aren’t so awkward.

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork.

If you have friends, try to get them to join you in your quest for technological freedom. Our chapel speaker last week made a note that whenever he and his friends are out to eat, they stack their phones in the middle of the table, and the first person to touch their phone has to pay for everyone’s meal. Now, you might not do that, but you might purposely leave your phone in your car or in your dorm.

And if you don’t have friends, then you probably don’t have a smartphone problem because nobody’s trying to get in touch with you anyway (which still doesn’t make sense as to why I’m addicted to my phone).

Silence, Fam.

Seriously, put your phone on silent. One sign that you’re addicted to your phone (according to science) is that you “feel” your phone vibrate or “hear” your phone make a noise, when in fact, it doesn’t. If you put it on silent it can’t do either. Plus, that Ting gets pretty annoying. Nobody ‘tryna hear that.

Take A Stand

You really don’t have to do anything, because chances are you’re probably reading this telling yourself that you’re not addicted to your phone.

But for those of us brave enough to admit it, those of us willing to own up to our addiction, it’s time to take a stand.

Are you addicted to your phone? If so, how bad has it gotten? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Aye God, Hit My Line Fam

God Calling

 

A while ago I had a really weird dream.

I dreamt I was taking a walk down my street when I received a call. It was God. The photoshopped picture you see above was literally how my phone looked (FYI I’m getting pretty good at photoshop). Now when God calls you on your cell phone, two questions immediately pop into your head.

  1. How did God get my number? Oh wait, He’s God.
  2. When did I save God’s number in my phone? (I had no answer for this second question.)

Now, the next part creeped me out.

I answer the phone and God yells at me “Do it! Do it now!”. Do what God? What did he want me to do? I literally stopped walking and He began to tell me what He wanted me to do. While I don’t remember what exactly He said to me, it made me think. What if I hadn’t picked up the phone? What if I didn’t know God well enough to have His number saved?

If God called you today, would you answer because you recognized his “number”? Or would you let it go to voicemail because it showed up as Unknown?

God has a calling for us, but the only way to recognize his “call” is to spend time with Him. When you’re constantly talking to God, you don’t doubt the sound of His voice when He talks back. His voice could come in the form of life-changing experiences, people around you (which actually happened to me today), and the sound of His actual voice.

Give up yourself to God. Spend time with Him consistently, and there’s no doubt you’ll begin to hear His voice. I can speak from experience as of late.

I can feel God changing me, and I want you all to feel Him changing your life too.

And hopefully next time, He’ll at least shoot me a text or something first. He still fam though.

12:48 am – July 1, 2014

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I know what a lot of you are thinking:

Why the sudden God-obsession?

In the words of a very short, very black comedian, let me explain.

I felt empty. I tried to be obsessed with other things: Girls. Basketball. School. I tried being obsessed with nothing. All of it just left me feeling…empty. I always called myself a Christian but 1. Hadn’t been acting like one, and 2. Hadn’t made the decision to follow Christ.

How can you call yourself a Christian when you’re not following Christ? You can’t.

It was actually a song that I heard from my youth pastor (@yourpreacherman) when I walked into youth church that reached my spirit. It’s called No Gray by Jonathan McReynolds (I actually posted it a little while ago, you can search it at the top). Basically the song talks about you choosing to follow Christ with all your heart or choosing to not following Him at all, instead of what most Christians do today, which is tell the whole world we’re Christians,  but don’t actually act like it.

I saw myself as that person. Claiming I was a Christian and going out and doing the exactly what the Bible says not to do. It’s hypocritical. It’s wrong. It was me. But the day I heard that song, a change in me began. I started surrounding myself with people who challenged me to be better spiritually. I started physically getting on my knees and praying every night. I began looking forward to going to church. I allowed the Holy Spirit to fully enter my life, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I don’t feel empty. I’m filled with God’s love, and the assurance that out of every being in this universe, He actually cares about me. Isn’t that awesome?

The crazy thing is, He cares about you just as much. Let Him change your life. I promise you won’t regret it.

“As Soon As They Like You, Make ‘Em Unlike You”

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Kanye West. Just the mention of his name brings about mixed emotions. Many hate him for his very public arrogance and some (such as myself) see him as a creative genius.

In one of the songs on this egocentric artist’s newest album aptly named “I Am A God”, he raps the line: “As soon as they like you, make ’em unlike you.” Who would say something like that? Why wouldn’t you want to be liked?

Strangely, it made me think of Christianity. You could have the dopest, deepest conversations with someone. You could go for days on end about everything from good weave to bad breath, from hot wings to cold lightskins, from MacBooks to mac ‘n cheese. But the second you say something about Jesus, something changes. They become a little uncomfortable. They look at you a little different. Your conversations become a little less frequent because you just can’t stop mentioning Jesus’s name.

You have one of two choices at this point: 

1. Stop talking about Jesus so they’ll like you again, or

2. Take Kanye West’s advice and “make ’em unlike you”.

Now I’m not saying to make everyone not like you, and I’m not saying everyone will stop liking you if you talk about Jesus. I’m saying, don’t hesitate to talk about Christ and what He’s done for you just because it’ll make someone a little uncomfortable. It’s supposed to make them uncomfortable. 

People will say you’re judging them, but it’s not your judgement that’s making them uncomfortable, it’s God’s judgement. (Now if you’re judging people I recommend you ask God to help you stop. Judge not lest ye be judged.) That’s what we fear most. God’s judgement. It makes people uncomfortable with how they’re living for fear they may actually be living (gasp) wrong. 

And I’m not saying I (or other Christians for that matter) are living right, but when you’re living with God at the head of your life, you don’t have to worry about living “right” because you’ll realize there’s only one way to live, and that’s through Him.

So when you see someone’s attitude toward you change at your mention of Jesus, or God, or the Holy Spirit, don’t fret. When Jesus fed the 5,000 people, they were absolutely infatuated with him. I mean, if Jesus gives me free fish? That’s fam foreal. But when He began speaking that He was the “bread of life” and whoever “eats his flesh” and “drinks his blood” will have “eternal life”, something changed. He was no longer taking them on lunch dates to Panera, but on trips to a strange land full of metaphors of spiritual cannibalism. 

As soon as they liked him, He made them unlike Him.

Don’t stop talking about Jesus just because people may not like it. If it’s in their hearts to receive Him, it will happen. If it’s not, they will simply continue on with their lives. 

Either way, God will be just as pleased with you. Maybe not as much for heeding the advice of Kanye West, but I think you get the point.

White Castle and Christianity


If you know me at all, you know that I love White Castle. Say what you want, I have no problem slidin’ dem sliders in my mouf.

 

That might have been a little much, but the point is, I’ve been eating at White Castle basically my whole life. When you apply for a job there, they conduct what’s called a “Real Interview”. That means they don’t hide what sucks about working there. They tell you that your job duties might include cleaning filthy restrooms, sweeping inside and outside the premises, or even burning your hand or arm attempting to cook burgers. So why do they do this? They do this to weed out those who can’t handle the troubles of the job, those who say they want to work at White Castle but don’t really have what it takes.

 

For those that are able to accept the bad parts of the job, though, White Castle is known for its excellent work environment, premium pay, and promising opportunity to move up in the company. If you can persevere through the bad, the rewards are bountiful.
Not too long ago, I was thinking to myself how I could convince people to become Christians. What could I say to make Christianity seem awesome so that more people would become followers of Christ? Well there’s a reason I couldn’t think of anything.

 

You can’t draw someone to Christianity by talking about the “positives”, because on the outside-looking-in, Christianity kinda sucks. Jesus said we’d be hated by the world (John 15:19) and persecuted (John 15:21). If this were an interview, at this point, many of you would probably thank the interviewer for their time and Nae Nae right out the door.

 

While it looks like Christianity is a bunch of unnecessary trouble, Jesus also said it would be worth it. He said that whatever you wish “will be done for you” (John 15:7) and promised us eternal life (1 John 2:25).

 

So I stopped trying to make following Christ seem as cool as possible. I stopped trying to make it seem easy. Just as White Castle knows that they want people who will put up with the bad and undesirable in order to experience the rewards of being a part of their team, God only wants people who are aware that their life may actually get worse once choosing to follow Christ, because He knows those are the people that deserve the rewards He’s promised us.

 

We’ve gotta stop trying to hide the reality of being a Christian. Those who see the “bad” over the good will go another way, but those who see His rewards over the struggle it takes to receive them, will gain the eternity God’s promised.