Mind Blowing Magazine - Men's Edition - PJ Morton

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MEN'S EDITION mindblowing 1



72 ON THE COVER 12 Devotion: But I Don't Have What It Takes Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church shares a message about receiving God's help to overcome your limitations and insecurities.

22 Let Your Light Shine This is your modern-day, VH1's "Where Are They Now?" We spoke to the father, writer, producer and former member of the R & B group Mint Condition, Keri Lewis.

26 Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Lashawn Daniels We are grateful to honor the life and legacy of Lashawn “Big Shiz” Daniels, through the words of his wife April, his son’s Jett, Tahshon, and Omarr and a few close friends who became family, Brandon Caddell, EJ Gaines, and Eric Dawson.

48 The Man Cave: Tailoring the Truth Our Love & Relationships cover star writes his first essay for MB Magazine about being clothed in truth. 52 A Musician’s Musician: PJ Morton PJ Morton is an American, Grammy Award-winning musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, and, get this, he’s also the keys player for Maroon 5.

IN EVERY ISSUE 06 07 10 15 92

Letter from the Editor The Lord's Prayer Contributors Masthead Prayer of Salvation


FOOD & TRAVEL 76 Travel: New Orleans Our Editors recount their recent trip to New Orleans to shoot the cover of this issue. 78 Food for the Soul William "Bill" Hazel shares his story and his recipe for Grilled Pineapples, the perfect accompaniment for BBQ ribs.



Wellness Elev8ed Our Health & Wellness Contributor, Dr, LaKesha Legree met with Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, Dr. Cedric “Jamie” Rutland to discuss mental health, vulnerability and whether faith and science can coexist. Manna for the Mind Million-dollar question: What does Jesus think about therapy? Billion-dollar question: What does Jesus, being a male, think about therapy?

STYLE 81 Style & Grace Our Man of Style for our Inaugural Men's Issue is Elijah Maxey, Jr. of BRND.

FEATURES 09 God's Favor Our monthly selection of our picks in Arts & Entertainment. 16 Fearfully & Wonderfully Made We asked you answered. Our Fearfully and Wonderfully Made men of God were selected by you, our readers. 44 Miracles Still Happen Miracles are not just moments in history but modern-day blessings that can happen to anyone, no matter what the trial. 50 What I Love About Him In celebration of our Men's Issue, our readers share what they love about their guys.

VOICES 86 Through Fields and Fire This book by Author Dan Beigler speaks directly to young men in a way that captures their imagination, relates to their struggles and ignites their faith. 88 The Lost Boys Writer Steve Griffin shares how the high calling on men can be an opportunity for greatness. 90 God Fearing Man Chris Michaels opens up about his personal relationship with God and how being completely honest with God made a difference in his life.

EDITOR'S letter


force of faith ear Readers,

This issue is extremely special to me because we are honoring "The Men of God." It’s extremely important that we acknowledge and pour into not only our women but our men as well. God is so merciful! I still can't believe we have Grammy Award winning artist PJ Morton as our cover feature. We will also introduce you to his beautiful family. What a gift this has been! My eyes have been opened, and I have learned so much from all these stories and testimonies by God-fearing men. In this Special Edition issue, not only will you be blessed by PJ Morton's powerful interview, we have the pleasure of honoring the late Lashawn Daniels in our Mind Blowing Tribute. And if that’s not enough, our Let Your Light Shine feature is Keri Lewis of Mint Condition. Within this edition you will get to meet a host of strong and powerful men who will enlighten and feed your soul. I’m so very thankful for every man featured here. As you turn each page, I pray you soak up the life strategies that will enrich you, morsels of knowledge that will challenge you, poignant stories that will tug at your heart, and yes, some playful humor that I hope makes you LOL. Believe me, I laughed and cried all through these pages — completely amazed at all the love shared. More than anything though, I pray that God will gently lead you to find the best love of all — that found in His Son, Jesus Christ. And now, before I close, I couldn't have an issue about amazing men of God and not mention my amazing husband. So here’s .... What I Love About Him — to my husband, Cordell Moore Have you ever felt all alone? Have you ever felt so pained that you wanted to give up? In those perilous times, you have no choice but to fall into the loving arms of God. Well, friends, that's how it all started for me, and this beautiful discovery of unconditional love put me right into the arms of my heavenly Father. In discovering this true love, I discovered self-love, deliverance, healing and supernatural peace. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7). God has blown my mind by allowing me to witness these miracles, signs, and wonders. And what a miraculous gift you are, Cordell Moore. How blessed am I to be your wife. Your heart shines through your breathtaking smile, your patience brings me peace, and your determination leaves me inspired. Every moment we spend together is cherished, never taken for granted. It’s very clear you are heaven-sent, and I give God all the Glory. Thank you for loving all of me, making me feel safe, and being my best friend. Thank you for being an amazing father and role-model to all of our children. You are deeply loved! Now this is the true definition of Heaven on Earth, an eternal Love! Glory be to God … Thank you, Jesus! May you discover all these blessings and more. May you find joy unspeakable and Life everlasting!


From my heart to yours,

stacy sorell-moore , Editor-in-Chief mindblowing 6


THE LORD’S PRAYER Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:9-13

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17


From the same producers of God’s Not Dead, this 2015 film follows two sons who lost their fathers in the Vietnam War. Through the testimony of the life of each father, both sons discover the legacy of faith left behind.


When we face trying times, we so often can only see the struggles and the hardships. But God, being all-knowing, sees the victory, sees the mountain being moved, and sees His perfect plan.





This podcast is designed for all Christian family men. Hosts Lance and Dante discuss an array of topics — from parenting, marriage, and leadership to things like temptation and sin.

Best-selling author Dr. Tony Evans is well known in many evangelical circles. Now in his new release, he explores how Christian men are called to live the life they were created for. Dr. Evans discusses topics surrounding personal and spiritual growth — as the foundation for any ministry is a personal relationship with Christ. He continues by challenging readers to look for more than “good enough” from their spiritual lives, encouraging them to help others grow in their faith.



You can almost always count on a Kendrick Brothers’ film to simultaneously provide a thought-provoking and entertaining experience. This 2011 movie follows four friends in the police force who are navigating fatherhood. They quickly find that the cultural standard of fathers being “good enough” is not enough. Throughout this movie, each man learns how much courage it takes to raise their children in a God-honoring way.


Despite its subtitle qualifying it as an introduction to Christian faith, this book is not only for people new to the Bible and the Christian experience. Michael Reeves takes on the intimidating concept of the Trinity and breaks it down with wit and clarity.


Here’s an opportunity to get real with Christian men from all walks of life. Each weekly podcast focuses on providing clarity on how to live as a man of God in our everchanging society.



This song reminds us that talking to Jesus is a blessing in our lives and it offers others a powerful message that we can boldly approach our Creator, our heavenly Father.

Our Favorites in Arts and Entertainment


Meet our Mind-Blowing Contributors who are sharing their stories and the stories of others for our Inaugural Men's Issue





Mental Health Advocate, Author



Singer, Speaker, Storyteller

"Manna for the Mind" A Woman of God. Self Published Author. Tari helps women overcome shame, stand boldly in their identity, and emerge into their purpose. www.taricox.com

"Wellness Elev8td" Mother, Anesthesiologist, Wellness Advocate, and Medical Correspondent, Dr. LaKesha Legree is dedicated to disseminating health and wellness information to the masses. You can follower her on social media @DrLegree everywhere and her website www.drlegree.com

"The Lost Boys" Steve Griffin is a devoted husband and father of three beautiful children. He is a firm advocate for the mentorship of young men assisting them in character building and personal development.

"My Miracle Girl" Stefanie loves to share her hope in healing through Jesus Christ, and she strives to do so in all the various positions God places her. Stefanie is a skilled communicator and leads Bible studies for survivors locally in the Dallas area, where she resides with her husband, Brian. w w w. s t e f a n i e j a n e . c o m





Podcast Host, Former Radio Personality

Motivational Speaker

Writer / Editor

Writer / Editor

"The Man Cave, Tailoring the Truth " Mr. Taylor is founder and CEO of Salute1st, a Leadership & Training Academy that gears toward challenging men of all ages to shift their mindsets and perspectives regarding obstacles associated with manhood. @salute1st

"Through Fields and Fire" A former senior writer and account manager for a Christian publishing house, Karen has enjoyed freelance editing and writing for the past 10 years. Besides editing for MB Mag, she loves editing inspirational books, meeting new authors, and playing pickleball with her husband, Mark. They reside in Frisco, Texas.

"God Fearing Man " With two decades of high ratings radio success, Chris is now Unchained & Unrestricted in the world of podcasting.

"Style & Grace: Elijah Maxey, Jr" Brittany Clubine is a student a Liberty University where she intends to graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Religion in December 2021. She finds joy in reading the testimonies of God's work and writing encouragements to the readers.

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BUT I DON’T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES a devotion by Pastor Steven Furtick “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) “You don’t belong here, boy. You don’t have anything worth saying to these people.” You’d think a pastor about to preach to thousands of people eagerly awaiting his message would feel confident and courageous as he walks to the pulpit. But as I stepped out on stage, I literally had to talk to myself aloud to drown out the voice inside me telling me I didn’t have what it takes. Have you ever stopped short of God’s calling on your life because you felt almost paralyzed by your limitations and insecurities? We often excuse ourselves from God’s greater vision because we don’t believe we have enough for God to work with. Maybe it’s our insufficient experience. Lack of resources. Lackluster training. Awkward social skills. Maybe it’s a busted up marriage or a job we’re sure is meaningless. Unfortunately, one of the enemy’s most effective strategies is to fill our mind with thoughts about what we don’t have and all the ways we fall short. But when we focus on what we lack, it can keep us from realizing what we have is more than enough for God. You see, God has a history of using what little someone has in order to do great things that only He can do. When I hear that voice reminding me of my shortcomings and limitations, I’ve decided to say, “You’re right. But my greatest limitation is God’s greatest opportunity.” All throughout Scripture God has shown this to be true time and time again. When calling Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery from the Egyptians, God simply asked him, “What is in your hand?” (see Exodus 4:2). It was just a staff—a common tool used by a common worker for a common purpose. But God used it for something greater, transforming it into an extraordinary tool for the extraordinary purposes of turning the Nile into blood and parting the Red Sea. When feeding the five thousand, Jesus didn’t send the disciples to buy out McDonalds. He simply asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” Five loaves and two fish were more than enough (see Mark 6:30-44). When the prophet Elisha was approached by the desperate widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7 he simply asked her, “Tell me, what do you have in your house?” She said she had nothing at all, “except a small jar of olive oil.” It turns out, one jar of oil isn’t a bad place to start. God supernaturally multiplied that one jar of oil until she had enough to pay her debts

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and live with her sons on what was left. And how did these miracles start? They started with something that seemed to amount to nothing. These examples remind us we need to take inventory of what’s right in front of us. Use that. Be obedient right there. Start saying yes to God right where you are. Instead of focusing on your limitations and insecurities and saying, “I can’t,” start praying, “God use what I have. Take what little I have and make it overflow.” Indeed your greatest limitation is God’s greatest opportunity. Dear Lord, thank You that You are not limited to dealing with my current state and weaknesses. I want to be greater and do great things for You Lord. Use the little I have to give and make it great for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Reflect and Respond: Have you ever doubted God’s calling in your life because you believed you didn’t have what it takes? List 3 areas in your life where you can say “yes” to God right where you are. Now pray, “God use what I have. Take what little I have and make it overflow.” Pray this simple prayer any time you start to feel weak or like you aren’t good enough.


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stacy Sorrell-Moore @stacyfromchicago MANAGING EDITOR Denise L Griffin @iamdenisegriffin CREATIVE COVER DIRECTOR & COVER FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHER Robin V @mrsrobinv ART DIRECTION & DESIGN www.79WestCreative.com Bridgette West JoVanni Smoot Claudine Julien Jasmine Mines Raiven Stinson SENIOR EDITOR Karen Steimann EDITOR Brittany Clubine COLUMNISTS April Daniels @iamaprildaniels Tari Cox @xarito Dr. LaKesha Legree @drlegree LEAD WRITER Deidre Dickey @deidre.dickey SOCIAL JoVanni Smoot, @79WestCreative VIDEO / MULTIMEDIA Claudine Julien, @79WestCreative


FEARfully WONDERFULLY made I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well.

Pslams 139:1a

01 LEON STEPHERSON Master Barber/Realtor


eing a barber is not always just about cutting hair. For me, it’s been an opportunity to carry out God’s assignments and appointments. This profession has allowed me to serve beyond a cut, shave, or line up. It has allowed me to speak life and to have life spoken into me. Through school, work, sports, marriage, family, parenting, and mental and physical health matters - God has used my ordinary life experiences to connect me with people during their seasons of life, whether times of celebration or challenges. As an accomplished master barber of 20-plus years, a business owner and entrepreneur, God is now expanding my platform.


During the pandemic I had to close my a time of MANY unknowns, business. Although it was a time of many God showed me it was unknowns, God showed me it was exactly the EXACTLY the RIGHT time right time to take the next step into my calling. This vision and seed were planted shortly to take the NEXT step into after my wife and I married: To become a my calling. real estate broker and investor, and to expand my business to not only provide for but also include my family. To help people find their dream homes and investment properties. To build relationships beyond my barber chair, my comfort zone — a new, larger platform to open up more space for God to move. That was last year. Now, I am a licensed realtor in North Carolina, currently working with several clients and expanding my network daily while continuing to operate my barber business part-time. Only God could write my story, and wherever He places me in business is my platform. To Him be all the glory!

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02 F

LOU COLLIER Retired MLB Player/Mentor

rom the age of seven, Lou Collier knew he wanted to play baseball professionally. “Once I started playing Little League baseball, I fell in love with the game,” he reflects. But pursuing his dreams was not an easy road. Growing up in the inner city of Chicago, Collier had no shortage of distractions, from gangs to drugs. Yet, his love for the game kept him focused and striving through the hard times. Now he is able to share about his journey in the Major Leagues to encourage others to stay focused on their dreams. He is also able to mentor young people from inner city Chicago and help them get baseball scholarships to college. Collier is the first to admit that “my faith in God is my superpower.” He keeps God first in his life and testifies that God has been with him through everything. To everyone who is afraid to step out and pursue their dreams, Collier brings encouragement; he reminds them that they are created by God for a purpose. “If He created them, then He will provide everything they need to fulfill that purpose,” he says. When we follow God’s lead in our lives, He is also right there with us, giving us what we need to reach the destination He has for us.

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NNAMDI NWAIGWE Computer Engineer

namdi Nwaigwe is a 26-year-old computer engineer from Long Island, New York. He’s the CEO and founder of a new social media platform, aspire2inspire, or a2i for short. The goal of his app is to provide a space for people to find mental wellness through encouraging genuine transparency, connectedness, and self-growth. This is done by offering mental health resources, professionals, and a community that people can relate to easily. Nnamdi’s relationship with God has grown tremendously throughout his journey of entrepreneurship. As most business owners know, the process is far from easy, but God has been with him from the very beginning, he says. He came up with the idea for his company in one of the lowest valleys he ever experienced. A door he thought would lead to his future success closed unexpectedly, and Nnamdi was forced to pivot. Little did he know God’s plan was greater.


He is now confidently walking in the purpose God has for his life. He’s learned to not only seek Him in trying times, but everyday as well as he meditates on His Word and reflects over his life. “I know I am protected in any storm,” Nnamdi reflects as he references Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

WILLIAM DECK CEO My name is William Deck, and I am the founder of MindBusiness LLC., an educational consulting firm that specializes in mindset transformation. Over time I have realized that my business is not just a vocation; it's my ministry. I teach business leaders and their team members how to transform their company culture by identifying and removing all limiting belief systems. God is ever-present in my life because I need His power, wisdom, and soundness of mind each day in order to adequately serve my family and clients. Therefore, my goal is to consistently be the change that I want to see!

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05 ISIAH NEELY Athletic Trainer


siah Neely is a natural athlete who knows he's been blessed. As a multi-sport athlete in high school, he received a full scholarship to play football at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, where he and his team earned back to back championships in 2014 and 2015. His collegiate experience, on the field and off, helped to sharpen his leadership skills, and he's always been an individual who reaches back to help the next one up. Isiah is keenly aware that God has been the Source of all Isiah is KEENLY aware his success and never shies away from sharing that that God has been the perspective with the athletes he's been blessed SOURCE of ALL of his to serve within his business, Rise Above Sports success and never shies Training and Skill Development.

AWAY from SHARING that perspective with the ATHLTETES.

At Rise Above, Isiah trains athletes in all sports, from beginners as young as seven years old to professional athletes in the NBA and NFL. His goal is to educate and assist each athlete in developing to their full potential and achieving their personal goals. Isiah tries to convey to all his athletes that moving efficiently, improving on fundamental skill sets, and executing drills for the athlete's specific sport, along with getting top notch training, are all essential. But Isiah emphasizes even more. In order to R.I.S.E. to the next level, a core mindset is needed. Isiah personally embodies what it means to R.I.S.E. daily: Respect - Inspire - Sacrifice - Elevate. This is the core of Rise Above Sports Training and Skill Development. Notable Clientele: Dane Jackson, Cornerback, Buffalo Bills, 2020 Draft Pick; Cam Johnson, Forward, Phoenix Suns; Puff Johnson, 2020 UNC Basketball Commit

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let your


shine Career Man Spotlight featuring

Keri Lewis


his is your modern day VH1’s Where Are They Now? update featuring Keri Lewis. He’s famously known as a former member of the American R&B group Mint Condition, contributing to the group as a keyboardist, songwriter, and producer. What you may not know is that he’s a father, writer, producer, and host of 90’s R&B Alumni. These episodes are available on YouTube. Growing up in Southwest Minneapolis, this Midwest native was heavily influenced by a lot of great music from the seventies and eighties. Keri’s love for music stems from his musical family and his father introducing him to jazz. Keri was also specifically influenced by Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, and of course the Minneapolis sound that included not only the likes of Prince but of Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam, the R&B/pop songwriting and record production team who eventually signed him. Affluent with many genres, Keri masterfully blends them together to

create his signature sound. Oddly enough, having not played in church, Keri really loves the Gospel genre. The longing in his voice underscores that revelation of love. And y’all, if you haven’t recognized his mastery as a producer and writer yet, prepare to be amazed. Keri doesn’t read music. He plays by ear! Keri’s upbringing is perfectly depicted by these lyrics: “I believe the children are the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” These words are from the classic hit “Greatest Love of All,” sung with such passionate power by Whitney Houston. Keri attended a magnet arts program at St. Paul Central High School, a program that offered a hands-on-approach learning opportunity encompassing instruments, songwriting, and learning to work in a studio. That education, coupled with his talent, led to his signing at 18 years old with the group we know as Mint Condition. Their fusion of funk, jazz, R&B, dance, and hip hop would become their signature sound.

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Career Man Spotlight

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MB Mag Fam, this is a good place in my narrative to just go ahead and let you know that you should plan on checking out this interview in its entirety on our YouTube platform. Keri has such a cool, calming voice when he answers our questions. It would be a disservice to you if I tried to pen our conversation verbatim. That being said, let me hit y’all with a rapid fire synopsis. Keri Lewis is a music history buff, which is evident in his show 90’s R&B Alumni. He uses this platform to give you a deeper look into the culture of 90’s R&B, the elements that went into making these classic recordings, and the producers and songwriters who architectured these songs. It’s truly fascinating; y’all should check them out. I’m hopefully optimistic that his upcoming episode idea to delve into Lauryn Hill, a personal fav of mine, comes to fruition. In addition to being a musician, Keri is a songwriter. Mint Condition, Amerie, Jesse Powell, and Toni Braxton are recipients of some of his work. When asked whom he would have liked to write for if he had been given the chance, he quickly replied, “Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.” One of his favorite songs he wrote was “U Send Me Swingin’,” a song that gave him a feeling of accomplishment. And that sense of accomplishment lingered many years later. While we are on the topic of accomplishments, let’s talk about the pride in Keri’s voice when he speaks of sons Denim (age 19) and Diezel (age 18). His sons have grown up in the music industry, and one might think they would face challenges in achieving a balance, but when it's in your blood, it’s just the norm. Keri is brimming with unhindered joy when he shares his boys’ accomplishments and aspirations. Diezel is heavily into acting and headed to Howard University in the fall to partake in its film and fine arts program. Denim has music inside of him, but he’s also a sports enthusiast and headed into sports management.

Keri takes a minute in our conversation to give some advice to fellow fathers regarding raising their children. He says he believes that it's important to have a relationship with your kids that goes beyond just what they learn in school. Take the time to go deeper and share your knowledge with your kids, he suggests Keri, an avid reader, also drops gems of wisdom for those interested in the industry. Head to our channel on YouTube, The MB Mag to hear him share those gems. One of my favorite moments from this interview happens when it’s over. On the day of our conversation, unbeknownst to me, Stevie Wonder is also celebrating another year of his life. [Keri, did you know?!] It ends up being a really neat coincidence. I asked Keri, “If you could give a living legend their flowers, whom would it be?” And he replies with, “Yep, y’all guessed it ... Stevie Wonder!” Keri proceeds to look directly at the camera and share a brief word of honor. It’s truly a special moment and a highlight of our conversation. So what’s to come for Keri? He definitely has music to share, whether personally or with some of his wishlist collaborations such as with H.E.R., Giveon, and Lucky Daye. Their unique expressions in their artistry, coupled with Keri’s expertise and perfected sound, would certainly produce what he refers to as “gumbo.” Listen y’all, gumbo is full of the best type of love, heat, and passion, so any one of those collaborations would be beyond epic. Keri’s favorite Mint Condition song is a glimpse of the kind of gumbo he’s capable of producing. That song is the jazzy vibe “10 Million Strong.” Oh, and in case you were wondering, MB Mag Fam, right before the interview ends, I ask about a Mint Condition reunion. He answers … but you guessed it ... y’all gonna have to check out our interview posted on our YouTube channel, The MB Mag, for the answer [wink]. □

"...it's important to have a relationship with your kids that goes beyond just what they learn in school.”

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honoring the life & LEGACY of Lashawn daniels with words by Jett DANIELS, Tahshon DANIELS Omarr K. RAMBERT, EJ GAINES, Brandon CADDELL, Eric DAWKINS, Joe THOMAS and April DANIELS

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lashawn "big shiz" daniels Every generation has that once-in-a-lifetime leader.The kind of professional that everyone knows their name and their work. If that individual’s name isn’t synonymous with their work, you would be hard pressed to find anyone that didn’t know something about their body of work. Lashawn “Big Shiz” Daniels was that once-in-a-lifetime industry leader. When you talk about honoring Men of God, in particular within entertainment, who doesn’t know the work that precedes his name? Lashawn’s pen was responsible for what has come to be known as the soundtrack of a generation (www.cheatsheet. com). Responsible for multi-platinum songs like: “You Rock My World” by Michael Jackson, “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child, “The Boy is Mine” by Brandy and Monica, and “If You had My Love” by Jennifer Lopez, and the list goes on and on. More importantly than knowing the work that precedes Lashawn’s name, knowing Who was responsible for all of us knowing his name was something Lashawn was never remiss in sharing, at any time and on any platform. His love for Jesus, his wife, his children and those close to him was a part of the fabric that made Lashawn who he was. Everyone who knew him felt like he was their best friend. When in his presence, at least two things were always going to be present … laughter and Jesus! We are grateful to honor the life and legacy of Lashawn “Big Shiz” Daniels, through the words of his wife April, his son’s Jett, Tahshon, and Omarr and a few close friends who became family, Brandon Caddell, EJ Gaines, and Eric Dawson.

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words by Jett DANIELS


very day is a constant struggle, knowing I'll never see my dad walk through the doors of our home again. Although I am left with so many memories made with him, it never feels like enough. Instead, I tend to find myself under this cloud of regret — feeling like I should’ve taken advantage of the time God gave me to spend with him. Yet, the road to overcoming my dad's passing has gradually gotten easier to navigate. You see, I would constantly run away from the thought of memories we shared because I was very afraid of showcasing my emotions, especially around my mother. But as time passed, my mom became extremely vocal about me allowing my emotions to show, which has helped me with my healing process. Along with treasuring the great memories, I am able to find joy when I do reflect. One of the memories that I think about often is recording “Legacy” with my dad. This song is very special to me, considering it was the last thing we worked on together. It reminds me that I have come a long way without him, and I know that he's proud. Reminiscing about the times I made songs with my dad is truly a happy place for me. He left me and my brothers with so much of his wisdom, along with a blueprint on life and how to be a man. My father always instilled the best in us and was constantly a representation of what being a Christian man was like. He never hesitated when it came to displaying his faith around others because he loved being a vessel for God's work and taught us to take pride in our faith. My father always had this saying: “You can make mistakes but let them be calculated mistakes.” He could not stress this enough when talking to me and my two brothers as he knew our potential. And although I can make careless mistakes from time to time, I will always hear his voice whispering in the back of my head, repeating that line. I know God didn't take my dad without knowing we would be able to handle it afterward. My dad left us a guide on how to be a man that I can be proud of when I look into the mirror, and it’s our job to carry out his legacy while celebrating his life, not just on Father’s Day, but every day that I have the opportunity to be the young man he raised me to be. I love you Dad.


remember being a little kid and wanting to literally be my dad when I grew up. It didn’t matter that I was too young to even know what his profession was. In my mind, I didn’t care what he did. He could’ve been a teacher, a doctor, or a lawyer, and I still one thousand percent would be following in his footsteps. It didn’t take long for me to realize that some kids weren’t as blessed to have a dad as cool as mine. When I finally did begin to understand what he did, I made sure everyone knew exactly what songs my dad wrote. I was a proud kid. It was, and always is, such an unexplainable feeling walking into a store and hearing a song he wrote playing over the speakers or walking into class and hearing a group of people randomly singing a song he wrote. I was in awe of more than just his job though. It was him. He would never miss a moment to let me know how much he loved me and wanted me to win. Even times where he was mad or disappointed with me, I never had a doubt that it was all out of love. All that love I received from him from the moment I was born made room for me to become a loving adult. Now that I’m married and have a family of my own, I find myself trying to mimic little things he did for us. That honestly won’t ever stop. He’s the main reason for nearly all of my interests today. The songs I love, the cars I love, the way that I wear clothes, even down to the career path I’ve chosen. I’m beyond proud to be a little remix of Lashawn Daniels.

words by Tahshon DANIELS

Father, Over the past one-and-a-half years, I have seen many words used to describe your time on this earth: creative, remarkable, amazing, impactful. A talented man with an ingenious sense of purpose, you created the songs that would come to define an entire generation with the simple stroke of your pen. Yet somehow that success, while great, does not measure up to your greatest contribution to this world — the role you played as a father. I am an African American male in America, and I do not believe that I would fully know what that means without your presence. At a young age, a look in the mirror would be met by a Black boy’s reflection, but at which point does a child grow aware of the burden and implications that come pre-packaged with his Blackness? Possessing Black masculinity, you taught me at an early age that this reality would mean navigating our world in a particular way — being strong, but not too strong to the point that my existence is threatening; and being intentional about how I interact with each person I come in contact with. In fact, it is this intentionality that characterized you as a father. You selected every word, every lesson, and every act of kindness with the foresight that it would prepare me for a time when you were no longer a call away and my existence is what people would remember you by. That time arrived way too soon. Since you have been gone, it seems as if the world has focused on the words you wrote to shape the music industry; yet your greatest accomplishment, above all else, is the wisdom you left behind to guide the three men that remain in your absence. You taught me that being a father means more than simply bearing your last name, highlighting the importance of raising one’s child to be better than oneself, all in an effort to emphasize the importance of selflessness and not selfishness. You took a woman with a past and a five-year-old boy infatuated with drawing dragons and blended them with a son of your own. You created a family that would produce your youngest son, who is arguably LaShawn Daniels reincarnate. The void left in your absence is only so large because of the space you occupied in every room. You were the embodiment of protection, power, humility, sacrifice, and strength — the quintessential role- model that put God first in his every breath and provided a standard of what it means to be a man, encapsulating love, passion, and integrity. Because of you, I am able to view life with a particular clarity that allows me to be comfortable in my own skin. Through this lens I am able to better understand myself, others, and the complexity of the human condition. That was your greatest gift to me. Every moment we shared was a match used to one day light the torch that would be passed from father to sons. While everything seemed to stop on September 3, 2019, I believe — and am certain that you do, too – that is when the world started watching. What will the Daniels boys do next? My answer? I will make you proud. Yours truly, Your legacy.

words by Omarr K. RAMBERT

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IT WAS A LATE SUNDAY NIGHT in North Hollywood, and if anyone else’s name had been mentioned, I would’ve headed back to my hotel. But this was “Lashawn Daniels” I was about to meet. Sleep could wait. I watched him create music as if it were already mapped out and he was simply following instructions. Meanwhile, he joked and made each of us feel like his best friend. A year later, through divinely-orchestrated events, Lashawn offered to produce my wife’s debut album. But it became immediately apparent that our collective connection was about more than music; we blinked and we were all family. He and his wife became Uncle Shiz and Auntie April to our sons, and the same for us and their sons. For years, we got together to talk and eat, laugh and argue. Music became a by-product of relationships that God set up for us before time began. We confided in each other and talked about the things that mattered most—our marriages, our kids, and our legacies. More than anything, though, we talked about Jesus. It’s amazing how much one life can change you, especially when that life is God-sent. Now, I look for those people. I lean into those relationships, knowing that even if they pause briefly on earth, they will ripple and resume in eternity. EJ Gaines Senior Vice President, Marketing, Capitol CMG

I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN that I wanted to be a father. What I didn’t know was how important it would be to have a village of other fathers for support. As Father’s Day approaches this year, I’ve been reflecting on my village, and my friend Lashawn “Big Shiz” Daniels. As a Black father of sons in a blended family, there are challenges that no one taught me how to navigate. Lashawn was always there to help me navigate through the challenges, be my sounding board and my voice of reason when I needed that the most. He had this way of listening and sharing advice that was genuine, sincere and funny. I’ll always cherish our long work days together where creatively we made history, family, and friendship come alive. If true friends are hard to find, then friends that become family are once in a lifetime. I am forever grateful for my once in a lifetime brother. Brandon Caddell Record Producer and A&R for BNCEG

THERE ARE SO MANY STORIESI could tell of our musical adventures, but I’d rather speak on the imprint he left on me. The almost 30 years of true friendship that I shared with Lashawn were as close to perfect as they come. We didn’t talk every day, but we didn’t have to. He always remixed my name; one of my favorites was “E Double Dankinstien.” I knew he loved me, and he knew I loved him. We shared a love for cars to the point I would send him pictures of my new whips before anybody! I miss him but I still feel him in a lil bit of all the music that I do because, at some point during the process, I ask myself, “What would ‘Shiz’ do right here?” He shows up in my shuffle playlist from time to time to say “what’s up?” and I smile. I will always remember him as my older brother. Eric Dawkins Artist/Singer/Songwriter/Producer President of A&R Legacy Music Group

words by Joe THOMAS


t’s hard to put into words what Lashawn “Shiz” Daniels meant to me. He was the most genuine person I’ve ever known and a true friend. He and I sang and basically grew up together in Newark, New Jersey, at church. He was around 14 and I was around 19. He was my right hand man who went everywhere with me while I was just getting started in the music industry. I showed him the way into the industry, but he already knew that was his calling. I remember his first publishing check in the music industry. I won’t say how much it was, but it was 10 times more than my first publishing check. I was so proud of him and wanted to make sure he protected his money and got a good accountant. We were always close and respected each other. There was always something very special in how he respected and appreciated me and my work ethic. Maybe I was the example in music of where he wanted to be, but he was the example spiritually of who I wanted to be. A beautiful soul full of inspiration. He was a minister to my soul. God fearing and compassionate and a man who loved his family and friends. God knew what He was doing when he brought Shiz into my life. I remember he used to wear my clothes, believe it or not. Back in the 90’s, we wore everything oversized, so he fit everything I owned. Most likely, you can blame me for his shopping addiction. He always said to me, “I love you, my n***a.” Every time! I just hope I made him feel the same love and appreciation. Maya Angelou said, “People will always forget what you did and what you said but will never forget how you made them feel.” He was definitely a gift to me and to this world because he made you feel accepted. I wish those who never had a chance to meet him could have. I know they would’ve been affected and touched by his personality and generosity. He was an insanely funny guy. He made you laugh until you cried. I miss that the most. I wish he was still here. I don’t know if he was an avid reader of the Bible, but it certainly seemed like it. He didn't just read the Bible, but he understood it because it showed in how he lived his life. Shawn meant so much to me. He was more like a little brother, and losing him has been very difficult to deal with. I miss him dearly, and he will forever be in my heart. Shizzaleo! The best ever!

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The Way He Loved Me words by April DANIELS

In my stillness, the prayer was for God to bring me my husband. I decided to do away with my expectation of what that husband should resemble because of the ways I had failed myself prior. My request was met with what God ordered, a true reflection of His love for me. Godspeed would produce the perfect meeting of two hearts that would change my life forever. There wasn’t a long, drawn-out story to how our journey of love began. We knew almost instantly there was an undeniable attraction that would stand the test of trials and would produce an unbreakable “us” over time. With Lashawn, it felt like the safest place in the world. At first glance the catalyst of his gentle mannerisms would have most likely developed from great parenting, but I learned that while that may have been a contributing factor, it was not the thing that spoke the loudest to me. It was his love for God and the desire to live a life that God would find honorable in His eyes. Lashawn Daniels was exceptional, no ordinary man, and God had given him to me. He was my covering — a role he embodied with excellence. While he was many other amazing things, it was this role that fed my heart the most. Valuable lessons he taught challenged my adultness in ways that allowed me to reach parts of my purpose with greater understanding. You couldn’t have an encounter with my husband and not know about his Lord and Savior. Every room he entered was his pulpit. His ministry had a way of making you want a deeper relationship with God regardless of where you stood in your faith. With all intentionality you never walked away empty. My heart definitely needed him more than I had recognized, and he understood the calling when it came to me. I wasn’t just his wife but his assignment.He handled me from a place God knew he could trust him with, which made his covering that much sweeter. The way Lashawn loved God was the sexiest thing to me. I couldn’t have been blessed with a better experience as to how a man loves a woman — he gave me that. The parts of me that were damaged from the disappointment of my past recovered by the way he spoke life into me. His words were like a balm that allowed every scar to vanish. No matter the season, whether up or down, he never abandoned his assignment. I valued him because I understood he was the answer to my prayer — all God’s doing. His integrity and loyalty stood out, but him being a man after God’s own heart made him superb in my eyes. The essence of Lashawn Daniels was priceless, and his legacy remains as such. I understand some will never get an experience like the one I had with my late husband. But for me, there are not enough words to express my gratitude for experiencing such fullness with this remarkable man. He was my best friend, confidant, spiritual leader, lover, and protector who brought an enormous amount of love, joy, laughter, and peace to my life. God, I thank you. My forever angel, the chapters we shared fed me every way imaginable, and our sons continue to gift me with the sweetest treasures of you. With nothing wasted, the way you loved me will always be my favorite chapter. Your Forever Love

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girl words by Stefanie Jane


ittle did I know walking into Bible study that morning that my life would forever be altered. There sat the most frail human I had ever seen. Introducing myself to Dory, I saw a sweetness to her I could not explain, but she was literally killing herself with her anorexia. All the ladies in Bible study circled around her, begging God to deliver Dory from the bondage of anorexia, and in that moment, I joined with Jesus to start a spiritual war with Satan and all his misfits. Satan wanted Dory and thought he was winning, but God sent me in to pray for Dory like I have never prayed for anyone before. When I got home, I somehow knew that I needed to help this young lady. I talked with Nicole, who had brought her to Bible study, and she was at the end of her rope with Dory. Nicole and her husband help Christians deal with a lot of spiritual warfare, and they felt they were now out of options; her demons seemed like they would never leave her. I talked with others in my Bible study who warned me that Dory’s demonic influences were too powerful. However, there was one person, Amy, who felt in her spirit that she needed to help this young lady as much as I did. Amy and I teamed up to seek help for Dory. However, that night Satan tried to send in his demonic influences to try and scare me away from helping her. I had the most terrifying and vivid dream. I literally had to stand under the protection of Jesus to survive the attacks of Satan, but this was just the beginning of the spiritual warfare coming my way. After making many calls, we learned that most of the hospitals and local anorexia services were afraid to take her in because they were all certain she would die on their watch. But God always has a plan;

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it just sometimes takes a little longer to identify. I found out that the county hospital cannot turn anyone away, but Dory would have to check herself in. By the grace of God we were able to convince her. Once she was admitted, we found out that Dory was 5-feet 11-inches tall, yet weighed just 95 pounds and her BMI was at 10. Her organs were beginning to fail, and had we not gotten her signed in that day, I feel certain she would have starved herself to death. Parkland Hospital in Dallas was able to get her vitals stable, but they did not have an anorexia program. So, with Dory’s vital signs stable, another hospital decided to take her in. She wanted to fight; we just did not know how to equip her for the healing she needed. Over the next several months, Dory had a way of getting herself kicked out of programs that we had worked so hard to find for her. She would hide food meant for her to eat; she would work out for hours; and she had tricks I never thought of. Apparently, if you eat enough Sweet ’N Low, your metabolism speeds up. So she continued to lose weight and continued to get kicked out of programs. Finally, when I saw Dory more frail than ever before, I looked her in the eyes and asked, “Do you want to die?” I am not sure if the idea had ever crossed her mind. The look in her eyes changed. She said, “I want to live.” “Then you need to focus on who God made you. You need to accept yourself exactly the way you are, and you are perfect in the sight of Jesus.” Unfortunately, the last program she was kicked out of was the last one available to her. She had been at a halfway house and her demons were affecting everyone there, so she was asked to leave. I was


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I joined with Jesus to start a spiritual war with Satan and all his misfits. Satan wanted Dory and thought he was WINNING, but God sent me in TO PRAY for Dory like I have never PRAYED FOR anyone else.

so saddened when I found out she had moved back in with her parents. In my mind, this could be a death sentence for her; her parents saw what she was doing to herself yet refused to do anything about it. It was all up to Dory and God. Only God could give her the strength she needed to learn to take good care of herself. When all you have is God, God is all you need. Thankfully, in the days ahead Dory clung to 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, peace, and a sound mind.” Dory had a fear of gaining weight. She was a model, and models “need” to look a certain way. So over time and much prayer, she gave up her dreams of being a model and accepted who God created her to be. I continued to pray like her healing depended on me, and I knew God was strengthening her because the spiritual warfare I was dealing with began lessening. Satan’s power over Dory was diminishing. All to God’s glory, Dory found her identity in Christ. Anorexia lost its grip on her, and she began to flourish. She became healthy, spiritually and physically, and my relationship with her blossomed as well. I knew I had witnessed a miracle. Dory’s life was saved — for eternity!

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Reflecting back, here’s my takeaway: All the doctors can be wrong. Medically, everyone was certain Dory would not live. All the Christian ministers can be wrong also — for many thought her demons could not be cast out. But with God all things are possible. I refused to believe that Dory was going to die. I had no idea how God was going to give Dory the strength she needed to find her identity in Christ, but God gives generously to those who believe and seek Him earnestly. No one is too lost. God is willing to expel every influence that is sent from Satan. God has a path to freedom, and Dory was willing to accept her calling to find healing in the arms of Jesus. Dory has been completely delivered from her disease, and she has found her miracle of restoration in Christ. Miracles are still happening in Dory’s life. Due to the effects of anorexia, she was told she would never have children, but today God has blessed her with two perfectly healthy children; He has transformed her health and her future. I will never stop praying for Dory, now a vibrant young woman who has become my spiritual daughter, my miracle girl. □


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The Man Cave

tailoring the TRUTH with Kendall Taylor P H OTO G R A P HY BY D E R E K B L A N K S

I retreated in silence for a short time when I was approached by MB Magazine to write this particular message. In a society where a man’s words are first scrutinized for flaws and shortcomings before ever receiving a sincere invitation of unbiased curiosity, each verbal step toward delivering truth is nothing short of walking blindfolded through hidden landmines of social opinions. I decided to welcome the opportunity to tiptoe carefully yet boldly around the live wires of male insecurities and our hair-triggered egos. All in hopes of getting a clear shot that would kill the excuses we carry as men regarding our character. What is truth? As men, we have abused our gift of free will that was given to us by God and made the audacious move to rewrite what constitutes truth. Where truth should be the core foundation for how we govern ourselves as men, we attempt to manipulate and tailor universal and national laws in order to satisfy our insatiable appetites of lust and greed. Men have been fearfully created to be clothed in the fabric of truth. When worn, it clearly communicates the caliber of a man in a world where the uniform of choice appears to be stitched together using threads of compromise. But what exactly happens when the fabric of truth doesn’t meet the measurements that we’ve designed for our lives? Instead of embracing truth by committing to the required training and conditioning of our character in the gym of personal development, we choose to escape any pains of accountability by stretching the truth so it can fit the contours of our temptations and desires. Loose and baggy character will surely never be in season. So, this clarion call is to my brothers who have courageously taken in the seams of their weaknesses and avoided certain color choices that don’t fit the occasion of destiny. I salute every man who decided to avoid the current fashions of toxic culturalism and found his own sense of personal style that echoes his sense of self-identity. I also encourage the younger men reading this to walk pass those high-priced brands of peer-pressure and to search for labels of authenticity as a brand can’t substitute for the inscription written on your heart. For no man knows the hour of His visitation, so it’s best to have our clothes already laid out! — Salute

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Lamar & Lura Mack

Lamar was made for me. He’s kind in the most authentic and pure way. He’s intentionally thoughtful in the details of even the most average day. I’m so encouraged by him because he’s passionate about seeing me thrive and love myself. I feel challenged everyday to give my best because I know he’s doing all he can do to give his best. He’s the father of our six-month-old son. Watching Lamar become a dad was not a drastic change at all. The father in him emerged so naturally, like that man had been there all along. That’s because he’s always been a caregiver who chooses to give all of himself for those he loves. During those middle-of-the-night cluster feedings, he would simply sit with me. To keep my company. Just being with me was far greater a comfort than anything. He didn’t have to, but he did. I didn’t even ask. His servant heart is so intuitive and innocent. Lamar is my sweetest partner and teammate. He is truly my refuge in every storm. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. When I’m fearful and anxious, he’s sure and strong. We may think we’ve seen each other at our worst and best, but I know there’s so much more to come. I just feel so lucky to get to figure it out with him.


Kurt & Laura Coleman Meet my best friend, my better half, the calm to our chaos, father of four, flex on ‘em 10- year NFL veteran, Kurt. He is newly retired and freshly appointed Administrator of Scholarship and Stewardship at Charlotte Latin School located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kurt played at THE Ohio State University, four years for the Philadelphia Eagles, one year for the Kansas City Chiefs, three years for the Panthers, one year with the Saints, and finished his career in Buffalo. His most favorite season was the 2015 season in Carolina. While it was a heartbreaking loss, the specialness of that year and the friendships formed have gone far beyond the football field. Kurt now enjoys coaching and training youth in and around Charlotte. He loves helping the youth discover and reach their full purpose in life, not just on the sports field. Many know him for his play on the field or his commitment to our community, but I know and love him for a side many don’t see and know. Kurt, you are strong yet so gentle. You are tough, but you love like no other. Your cup overflows for Jesus, our children, and our family. You are the hottest gymnastics dad, the best T-ball coach, and the best life partner. You push us all to be better, challenge us to grow while being stretched, and hold our crazy family down so well.

03 Mercedes & Christina Rogers

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Mercedes Rogers is an amazing husband and father. His protective nature, thoughtfulness and generous spirit are what captured my heart. We have been together for 15 years and married 13; and I still get butterflies when he walks through the door. He is a man of very few words, but he leaves a lasting impression on everyone who encounters him. He works tirelessly for our family stability, comfort, and livelihood. God has shown me that it is through His love and grace for me that He has gifted me with such a wonderful husband. I am truly blessed to be called Mrs. Rogers!



a musician's




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hen I say that the man of God featured on our cover has had a most amazing and illustrious career, that his many Grammy Awards and epic, award-winning performances have inspired millions across the globe, those words still cannot hope to capture the height of awe we feel at the realization that THE PJ Morton has so enormously blessed us here at MB Mag. Now PJ may just be smiling at these words and shaking his head because he is so humble and down to earth. Truly, he’s so sincere and real when you talk with him, and perhaps that’s why he can influence so many and capture all of our hearts. And that’s also why we just want to give great gratitude to PJ as our cover feature for our very first "Men's Edition." His graciousness is evident throughout his testimony and interview, and I pray now that he will bless, inspire, and move you — toward a deeper faith and trust in our great God. Thank you once again, PJ! You epitomize the kind of heart toward others and toward Jesus that we all seek to have. You use your talents to touch our souls in ways that perhaps no others can do, and perhaps that’s the best way to say “thank you.” We deeply appreciate you!

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words by Deidre DICKEY P H OTO G R A P HY BY R O B I N V

It’s not uncommon in the music industry to hear that someone’s humble beginnings began in the church as a young child. What may be uncommon is for you to hear that, as an adult, that person still sees himself as that young kid who just wants to share a message of God’s love. The latter best describes the one I had the opportunity to sit down with recently to chat about his life. PJ Morton is an American, Grammy Award winning musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, and, get this, he’s also the keys player for Maroon 5. The quiet, confident swagger drippin’ of PJ may in part be indicative of being born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, but honestly, it's so innate in him, he could have been born anywhere. Since we’re talkin’ drip, let’s go ahead and acknowledge PJ’s sense of fashion. It’s stylishly eclectic, colorful, and comfortably presentable. PJ has always cared about presentation, a trait stemming from his Cathloic days of school and wearing uniforms. As a kid he would look forward to dress-down days. He went against the status quo — his fashion choices becoming one of his earliest unique signature expressions of his creativity.

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PJ credits some of his fashion sense to the fact that his mom, while he was growing up, always had the TV tuned to runway fashion shows. As he’s notoriously known for his message of love, it comes as no surprise that he spreads that love to the women closest to him in life, first to his mom and then to his wife, Kortni. When he speaks about Kortni, there’s no mistaking his love as he states, “My wife is Superfly, just a natural sense of style. I’ve always loved that.” The pride he has for his family is evident, including for the loving and amazing family he grew up in. Now, being a father is his favorite thing, he attests. His A personal favorite for PJ is “First Began.” Listeners are expecting a advice for other fathers? “Have grace,” he says. “Just like you, every beat to drop, but then have an intriguing surprise when they hear the single kid is an individual. Take it easy and understand that you are slightly outta tune sweetness. It’s intentional on PJ’s part, so much there to guide. I think love is the main thing.” so that he’s known to ask, “Who’s new in the audience?” He delights PJ and Kortni will celebrate 13 years of marriage later this year in watching the music transform the ear of the beholder. Music is a and are parents to three children. The couple’s creativity flows in language that knows no barrier. And PJ, a voice for the voiceless, excess to Jakai (age 16), Paul, whom has shown through every one of his they call P3, (age 10), and Peyton bodies of work that he’s fluent in that (age 8). Jakai’s creativity lies in sports, language. He connects every heart especially now that he stands about and ear in a way that brings perfect 6’1”. P3 is described as a future movie harmony. Almost as if the audience is a director because he’s always putting choir and he’s the director. on shows and making up characters. One would think that a masterful As for Peyton, PJ’s princess, he sees so conductor of sound waves like THE much in her, especially her ability to PJ Morton wouldn’t share his trade draw, which PJ relates to. He started secrets, but he does. I’m gonna blow out drawing as a kid himself. When he your mind when I share just a bit of does tours, he still draws out the stage those precious gems. Ya know, it’s plot and his ideas for wardrobe. kinda our thing we do here with this ne of the most fascinating magazine; it’s literally our name. ;) things I learned about PJ Anyhoo, I digressed ... allow me to during our conversation was continue. Remember when I told you that he was incredibly shy as a kid — that PJ has a quiet, confident swagger? the shaking and afraid level of shyness. I truly believe it’s because he’s taken His father knew he could sing and to heart the age-old wisdom passed would continually push him towards down from our elders, generation it. Had it not been for his father, we to generation. That advice? “Just be would not know PJ as the Live Show yourself.” Easier said than done ... trust — Kortni Morton Killa — named as such because when me, I know. he puts on a show, it’s almost as if he’s However, PJ continues our a DJ. The music never stops and no conversation with a further word of two shows are the same; they always reflect different expressions of his encouragement that we can all draw strength and confidence from, for genius artistry. The crowd favorite, “How Deep Is Your Love,” will our respective situations. He says, “Today is probably the best time in always be part of the setlist. If not, PJ would have some very angry fans. the world to be a creator. There’s an audience for you … the only thing that separates you is you being exactly who you are.” MB Mag Fam,


“Whew, where do I start? There’s so much I can say... from the way we joke on down. The thing that means the most, matters the most and stands out the most would be our family. Paul loves his family. He works extremely hard and shows up for us. GOT to love a man that’s about his family.”

I need y’all to go subscribe to our YouTube channel, The MB Mag. Why? Cause you’re not going to want to miss this interview when it goes live. I promise I didn’t even remotely touch all the gems PJ holds in the prowess of his creative mind.

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will leave you with this. PJ’s advice? It’s tried and true, by Mr. PJ Morton himself. PJ’s life, family, and body of work have shown us that if we authentically share ourselves and love without conditions, you can inspire others to be their most authentic selves. My mentor, pastor, brother, and friend who’s also an insanely talented independent musical artist is one of those people who has been inspired by PJ’s honesty to and in his craft. In a separate interview unbeknownst to PJ, I sat down with KJ Scriven. During my interview with PJ, I surprised him with my interview with KJ. Before I share what KJ said, let me just go ahead and acknowledge the irony that surrounds these two men and their two initial monikers. Haha, I know, and hope you’re still able to follow along. I know we’ve all heard, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” What we don’t hear or do often enough is to say something when we do have something nice to say. In this case, that was about to change. Because Mr. KJ Scriven had a word of encouragement for Mr. PJ Morton. KJ looked directly into the camera and told PJ to “never doubt your impact. You’ve inspired more people than you know, and your best music is still in front of you.” Off camera, I continued to show PJ more of the interview. At one point KJ shares very specifically, almost verbatim, about a certain song from one of PJ’s earliest bodies of work. I stood next to PJ, hearing him mutter to himself, “Wow … whoa … that’s why I do this … I’m honored.” Seeing the revered resolve in PJ’s eyes was riveting. I honestly feel as though I would be exploiting the moment if I were to share anymore of what I experienced while watching PJ take in the feeling of having a fellow brother express his love and appreciation for him. I will say, though, that the look in PJ’s eye has me eagerly awaiting the songs that will be born from the continued sincerity of his unwavering truth — a remarkable steadfastness and commitment to being his authentic self. You got work ahead of you, PJ ... special only, right? [wink] □

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"today is probably the best time in the world to be A creator. THERE'S AN audience for you...the only thing that seperates you is you being exactly who you are.” — PJ Morton

NEW ORLEANS The City of Many Names

D Deluxe Suite King Bed at NOPSI Luxury Hotel New Orleans

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epending on who’s telling the story, you’ll hear NOLA, The Big Easy, and my favorite, N’Awlins! That one just has a great ring to it. What is certain about this city full of culture, great architecture, and great food is that it has great people. Hands down, one of the most hospitable places I’ve traveled … and I live in the South! From strangers to service providers, everyone was so warm and welcoming. Keeping all the fabulous features of many cities in mind, you know that the place where you lay your head and find peace when the enjoyment of the city is done also proves key to your adventure. In our search to find the best place for our crew to stay during our cover shoot with PJ Morton and his family, we searched the well-known hotel chains, considered Air BNBs, and even looked at some small boutique hotels. But, where we landed was tailor-made for our needs. If you travel with a group frequently, there’s always funny and exciting stories to share. How we ended up at NOPSI Hotel New Orleans is a colorful story. Upon our frantic entrance (a story best for an IG Live possibly), we were greeted by Gregory Otanez. Gregory initiated the “warm and fuzzy” hospitality that not only NOPSI had to offer, but New Orleans provided in general.


travel Left: Henry's Gin Yard Right: Rooftop Pool


In addition to his amazing service, what also stood out was the grand view of the lobby. I mean, geesh, it was spectacular! The hotel’s interior fixtures have been restored to their original 1920s grandeur. (www.nopsihotel.com) We all know that when traveling, you take care of everything beforehand. So, with us walking into an establishment with no reservations and running behind schedule, you can imagine the mental chaos happening in our minds. Greg was patient and friendly, and explained what to expect while waiting. When we finally went to our rooms, it was like walking into a small luxury apartment, and the shower was AMAZING! It’s always the bathroom for me! LOL! After our shoot, I wanted to let someone in charge know just how gracious and accommodating the staff had been to us when we arrived. Keeping with the hospitality, I talked to Ms. Vesonda Matthews. She learned about Mind Blowing Magazine that day. She and I talked briefly, like we had known each other for years. I showed her pictures of the magazine and everything! She connected me with Jennifer Caluda, Catering & Conference Services Manager. This team passed the baton of graciousness and hospitality one to another like it had been rehearsed. Jennifer was amazing and made sure we had everything we needed. GM’s usually don’t hear it enough, but " Mr. Joseph Quilio, your team is excellent and the culture of the city resides in your staff.

When we finally went to our rooms, it was like walking into a luxury apartment, and the shower was amazing.It’s always the bathroom for me!"

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If you’re looking for an amazing experience, beautiful rooms, restaurants, rooftop pool, amazing customer service, and more, please reserve a room or book conference space at NOPSI Hotel New Orleans. You will not be disappointed. We cannot wait to return.


FOOD FOR THE SOUL with William "Bill" Hazel

My name is William (Bill) Hazel, Chicago born and raised on the city’s South Side. As a way to relax, I began grilling on weekends after coming home off the road as a truck driver. Then, after I experienced a career-ending accident, my wife (Jorie Henton-Hazel) and I decided to start a business cooking full-time. To our amazement, it was a success and still is. So much so that we have a barbecue sauce my wife created called 2am (because that’s when it was finished), which is sold in select Whole Foods markets.

Ephesians 3:10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. As a husband, father, and musician, I find that having God as my Source and Guide is very key. There are times when I have no clue as to what to do, so at those moments I get very quiet and still so I can hear what God is saying. He gets me focused and keeps me excited about the work of blessing his people with great food and service. There is absolutely no way to make this happen without Him. I am often referred to as “Mr. No Sauce At All” because when it’s done right, you don’t actually need any sauce. From a young age, I have been in the food service industry in one capacity or another, so what was once a hobby and Zen moment has become a passion. When you eat Bill's grill, you eat a piece of my happiness because it provides people with what I love to do, which is grilling. I get a natural high when people enjoy what I have prepared. It is truly a labor of love!

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“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9


ELIJAH MAXEY Every brand symbolizes something. Something that identifies it as distinct from others, and everyone wants to align with one brand or another. In today’s society what’s needed is a sense of belonging and inclusion and that is just what ELIJAH MAXEY created through his clothing line. by Brittany Clubine


very brand symbolizes something. Something that identifies it as distinct from others, and everyone wants to align with one brand or another ... the rich, the poor, even the blind, hence the two dots. In today’s society what’s needed is a sense of belonging and inclusion. Elijah Maxey Jr., or “Jobba'' as he is affectionately called, has always had a passion for fashion. He believes style should be an expression and a reflection of a person. His personal style is one that always “wants to throw on something super fly and different that makes heads turn.” Maxey notes that every brand symbolizes something. His own clothing line, BRND, stands for the company motto, “Be Real and Different.” As a God-fearing man, Maxey puts God first in everything and knows that the creation of BRND is only from the highest God. Maxey leans heavily on John 15:4-5,7, where Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing … If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Maxey strives to abide in God by staying faithful to the Word of God. He seeks to be a better man each day and to always be a positive influence for young black men. With his clothing brand BRND, Maxey wants to continue to grow in creativity and continue to push the envelope of today’s fashion industry. For those needing fashion advice, he encourages everyone to keep it simple but different, and above all, to be confident with what they are wearing. His go-to ‘fit for a summer night out is a good pair of fitted denim jeans with his “big brim hat” from Agriculture Custom Clothier; of course, he includes a fresh BRND black tee paired with some “funky dope woven loafers.” He finishes off his look with his Rolex and some custom-made bracelets by Nic n’ Bella.

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Wellness Elev8ed: Mental Health & Healing Our Health & Wellness Contributor, Dr. LaKesha Legree met with Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, Dr. Cedric “Jamie” Rutland to discuss mental health, vulnerability and whether faith and science can coexist. Dr. Rutland will also star in a new series called “Barbershop Medicine”

Dr. Legree: How can men stay on top of their health mentally and physically? Dr. Jamie Rutland: Exercise - whether you're playing hoops, running, lifting- communication, friendship, and love. Those are the things that I think are very important to have in your life. They're going to keep you as healthy and on top of things as you need to be. The rest is going to be up to you. Effort, determination, and figuring out ways to do things that are appropriate for you. Dr. L: How can we open the dialogue with men about depression and mood changes? How can we let them know it’s okay to not be okay? Dr. R: We want to be able to provide for our family. It doesn't matter what we’re doing to provide. You just want to provide for your family and put food on the table. When you can’t do that, it affects your mind. As a physician I can support my family but there are times where the month is slow and it really starts to affect my mood. You shouldn't be above asking your physician for a little bit of help. Dr. L: How can men recognize signs of depression in themselves, even if it’s just a hint of a mood change that they need to recognize? Dr. R: One of the questions that I ask my patients during visits is “what are you doing on Friday or Saturday night? Are you out with your friends? Are you having a good time? For me, that's a sign of someone who’s not quite enjoying life. Dr. L: How advantageous is it to display your emotions and to be vulnerable for the sake of your mental health? Dr. R: Vulnerability does not mean weakness. I don't look at it as an insult, I look at it as an opportunity. An opportunity to be better. I think that when you communicate your emotions and your feelings it

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gives your mind a sense of relief and it also offers the opportunity for others to intervene where you need them to. I literally just told my wife an hour ago that I've had three tough weekends in a row in the ICU, I need some more affection. I’m not saying I need sex, I’m saying I just need affection. It just offers a little bit of relief and it makes your mind feel at ease. Dr. L: In general, how can men advocate for themselves to help their medical provider give them the best care possible? Dr. R: Listen, it's no secret that every single year, insurance companies pay [doctors] less and less for reimbursement. And it's no secret that we’re trying to get through the day and see as many patients as possible to recoup the amount of money that we’ve lost every single year. But at the same time, it doesn't mean we’re trying to go fast because we don't care about you. So what you have to do is develop strategies to slow down the visit such as asking questions. Why am I taking this medicine? Why do you suggest this [procedure]? Slow down that visit and allow the physician to get to know you a little bit. Dr. L: How does faith play a role in your position as a physician? Do you believe faith and medicine can co-exist? Dr. R: We've all had Mama in the room and mama says “I put my medicine in the hands of the Lord” and then I always say “well, the hands of the Lord put me right here to offer this to you.” So I think that faith has a serious position in medicine and you have to be able to understand a person’s culture. Science is possible because of faith in God and faith in the Lord. So yes, I do agree that they coexist. □


If He’ll Use the Rocks to Cry Out

He’ll USE a therapist by: Tari Cox MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: what does Jesus think about therapy? Billion dollar question: what does Jesus, being a male, think about therapy? As Scripture describes Jesus as our Counselor, an attribute of His character, one can assume that Jesus would be an advocate for a resource that reflects who He is.

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NIV) However, three factors stand out. First, in the body of Christ there remains discomfort in conversations pertaining to seeking, maintaining, and sharing testimonies of therapy. Further, the world’s perception of men and emotions places a societal stigma on initiating and regularly seeking therapy. In addition, there’s the strain of the Black male experience not only to withstand the racial tension of the world, but also to war against the appearance of weakness. All in all, the likelihood of hearing conversations about therapy, especially in regard to these three factors, is certainly uncommon. But, these conversations do exist. Minister Carlton Burt shared his thoughts on therapy as a black male, husband, and Christian in today’s modern view of Christianity. He discussed his experience across various stages of life, from the lack of education about therapy in the church during his youth, to seeking counseling and its benefits in adulthood. “Growing up, I never heard anything about therapy. It was looked down upon and wasn’t even talked about. It just wasn’t something you did as a Christian because you had God,” he shared. Therapy also wasn’t discussed “as a man because you’re strong. Nor as a black man because you’re doubly strong because that’s how our culture has taught us to be.” Minister Carlton shared the challenges that he believes men face in seeking therapy. He stated that men are “fixers” and crave “respect,” also mentioning that a personal challenge he faced was knowing that deep down inside, he couldn’t fix what needed to be fixed on his own. Minister Carlton also expressed several reasons that he believes there are challenges in Christians pursuing mental health resources. “I’d say the fear of having something wrong with you and being inadequate” proves an obstacle, he said. “But therapy is like an oil change. You have to have routine maintenance before there’s a big problem and the engine blows up. We use terms like ‘unbothered,’ and ‘never pressed,’ and it’s giving us a false sense of strength. Nowhere in the Bible does it say for YOU to be strong. He says come to ME. If I’m never pressed and unbothered, then that’s like me saying I don’t need a Savior because I got it.”

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He expressed that, initially, therapy wasn’t something he thought was a necessity. He noted that he was blessed to have been surrounded by other male role-models who aided in his growth and development. However, after marrying his lovely wife, Taylor Burt, prayer led them to seek a therapist to maintain a healthy marriage. At the beginning of his therapy journey, Minister Carlton faced challenges such as seeing past his original preference for an African American therapist and his reluctance to be vulnerable in session. “At first I wanted my therapist to look like me. But then I learned that just because she doesn’t look like me doesn’t mean her life stories can’t relate to mine. It was hard to articulate the thoughts and feelings I had. I knew it was a safe space but didn’t feel like it was completely safe.” But after the necessary barriers were broken, he found therapy to be enlightening as it exposes the roots of conflict areas and offers other monumental benefits. Therapy has been an asset to his life by providing a different perspective, giving language to what he couldn’t identify, and guiding him to relate to his therapist through the Word of God. It has aided in the development of healthy communication and understanding between him and his wife. Minister Carlton shared his optimistic perspective and theory on how introducing youth to therapy at a young age could even prevent the development of a later diagnosis. He also considers therapy to be an investment in his future. “I don’t do this for me right now, I do this for future me,” he says. “What happens if we start talking before we identify with it? In the silence of us not talking, the enemy can speak his loudest. My future son and/or daughter will know that it’s okay to express their feelings with a professional.” Minister Carlton empathizes with the reluctance of many to seek therapy, more specifically those that cross-sectionally identify as he does. He shared several points of advice for those considering seeking a therapist. First, seek God on who you should go to as a counselor. Secondly, don’t allow your thoughts to hinder you from making the step.Give it a try. Next, the struggle plus the strategy equals the sustainability that you’re looking for. Therapy will help you renounce the lies. Finally, it’s a process, but there is always progression. He concluded by stating that he simply desires “for Black men, all men, and all Christians to know that it’s okay to seek professional help and to receive help.” He also noted the following: “Even in therapy, I’m reminded who God is.”


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Through Fields and Fire


of Story

faith WON on the battlefield words by Karen Steinmann


ere it is: a book that speaks directly to young men in a way that captures their imagination, relates to their struggles to navigate the social landscape, and ignites their faith in an emotionally raw, transformative way. Author Dan Biegler candidly relates not a hero story but a human one — from his younger days when the labels of “bully magnet” and “underachiever” dogged his trail ... to the in-your-face trials-by-fire of boot camp as a US Marine ... to his soul-searing deployment across the globe to serve on the battlefields of Operation Desert Storm ... to the realization he could dare to step out, trust God, and grow into his best strength. Through it all, Dan inspires readers who see themselves on a similar journey, those who hope against all hope to overcome their biggest obstacles. He spurs on those who wish to learn, as he did, that chasing life with persistence and faith can make all the difference — and lead to life’s most amazing discoveries. Dan served in the US Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992 as a 0311 Infantry Rifleman and 8151 Marine Security Guard, including deployment in Operation Desert Storm. After the war, Dan hit the road for Chicago, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute, and married his wife, Debbie. Over the years Dan, Debbie, and their son Kevin have served several local churches from both the pews and the pulpits. Through trial and error, Dan has come many miles, and today he wants people to know that no matter how difficult our journeys may become, God will help us win through the resilience and persistence we discover through faith in Him. You can find Through Fields and Fire by Dan Biegler on Facebook, Amazon, and at outskirtspress.com/ throughfieldsandfire.

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THE LOST BOYS words by Steve Griffin


ith heat rising off the school playground’s blacktop, five of us, ages 10 to 15, lined up on third down with the intensity of a Super Bowl team. The plan was simple: go deep, all of us. The quarterback dropped back and threw the ball as far as he could, high and deep, and like slow motion, we all could see the ball spiraling toward Dougie. The fastest person on our team, he was now streaking down the sideline, launching his whole body forward with outstretched hands. I’ll never forget how his body skipped off the blacktop like a rock skimming a pond; he never let the football touch the ground. We won, but he laid on the ground for what seemed like minutes, both forearms scraped and bloodied, scraped knees embedded with particles of rock and dirt. We had just witnessed the greatest catch we’d ever seen in real life! He got up slowly, visibly in pain but not saying a word. No tears, and the truth is, none of us would have blamed him if he cried, but he wouldn’t give the other team the satisfaction of knowing how bad he was hurt. This moment was a microcosm of how many men have been raised. Never let them see you sweat, never let them see you cry, and push through the pain no matter what without saying a word. These are the lessons that taught us, as young boys, how to counter the hardness of other males whom we encountered in our lives. No one will ever have the satisfaction of saying they saw us or made us cry; that story will never be told. When we did cry, particularly when in trouble with our parents, we were told to stop at the first tear that dropped. So now we’ve mastered a permanent pause on our emotions. To admit hurt, physically, emotionally, or mentally, is to reveal weakness. When the lions hunt, they look for the weak or hurt among the herd, so we learn to move with counterfeit confidence masking the pain. We’ve had the blessing and burden of ultimate masculinity placed on our shoulders, with expectations from all those around us to provide and protect. Our children believe we are Superman, our women want us to be super men, and the country demands that we be willing and able to fight and die to protect our borders. This marks a high calling in life, a pressure that some run from and others are driven by. In the midst of it all, the young boy, now a man, leaves no room for the vulnerability or interpretation of emotions.

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Today, we see the unravelling of these false teachings through reports of daily violence throughout our country. With more guns than people in the U.S., we are witnessing the error in real time. Young men have not been taught how to express themselves in a safe, healthy way, so their coping skills are nonexistent, and because of this deficit some are paying with their lives. According to The Violence Project and FBI Crime Data Explorer, 98 percent of mass shootings and 80 percent of all violent crimes are carried out by men. An article posted on www.save.org states, although suicidal thoughts and depression are more prevalent among women, 79 percent of all suicides are committed by men. How are women able to find their way out of these dark places but most men can never find the light? I believe that from a very young age many women are given the freedom to express themselves creatively and emotionally. Complimenting and confiding in one another are just a few of the emotionally healthy trademarks we see among women. For men, this freedom to fully express ourselves emotionally is a gift and allows us to talk to others without the fear of appearing inadequate within our gender.


hroughout Scripture we are encouraged to talk to our Creator and one another. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed (James 5:16). Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Each Scripture is imploring us to openly communicate with God and one another to find peace in our lives. We must break the stronghold of silence among our men and allow them the freedom to release the ills in their lives without judgment but with compassion. We must equip our boys with the necessary tools to cope with difficulty without retreating to lonesome secrecy, which then leads to unexplained, volatile eruptions. While not an easy task, it’s a necessary one we must all take on to help break the shackles of pride and whispered pain. We need to exchange hurt with joy, silence with laughter, and darkness with light. Whom the son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). It’s time to tear down the wall of hidden anguish and shame and lead those lost to newfound freedom. □


Reader's Choice: God Fearing Man

trusting where

god leads words by: Chris Michaels P H OTO G R A P HY BY E R I C K A G O R D O N

My testimonies have been both consistent and new. God has had no problem with showing me who He truly is in my own life. As much as I’ve felt worthless at times throughout my life, He still is the same God. Areas where I offered life commitments, with loyalty being my most notable attribute, those same areas only ended up breaking my heart. Unbeknownst to me, God was already preparing my steps. When I hear His voice I have two choices: to harken or not, to listen or not. There’s an abundance of blessings in doing so. My life changed in so many ways after being fired from a 20-year broadcast career. God told me to clear out my things from that space one year prior to that event; I harkened. God told me to form alliances with new people, some who may even seem odd; I harkened. God told me I was sitting on the gift He gave me, so put it to work; I harkened. He told me to invest; I had no idea how, where or why, but I harkened. He told me I think too small, Go Bigger; I harkened. Wow! He’s still telling me now, go bigger!

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What I came to understand was that what I Ioved was simply in place to obstruct my view from what God had already ordered in my steps. God changed my own perception of me. The trick of not knowing worked briefly, until I regained sight of God! When I say I have been flooded with options of one opportunity after the next, it’s nothing but God. As a believer, I learned not to measure myself according to man’s standards. God is only doing in me what He has always done for His children, who believe He will. The best thing I have ever done is become completely honest with God. Not that He doesn’t know and see all, but I believe He wants us to freely give Him the opportunity to be a vessel for a testimony. In all my life, I’ve known he was there, yet I was afraid to speak to Him in all my brokenness. I believe it’s the only way He wants me to come to Him. Give Him your pure self, always! □


“When I hear His voice I have two choices: to harken or not, to listen or not. There's an ABUNDANCE of blessings in doing so.”

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PRAYER OF SALVATION Beloved readers, Thank you for allowing us to share these mind blowing testimonies with you. Our prayer is that it leads to your salvation and healing. We would be remiss to end this magazine without offering the best gift you will ever receive in your life. The gift of salvation. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior and desire to surrender your life to Him, or if you are born again and would like to rededicate your life, repeat this prayer out loud and believe it in your heart and you will be saved or restored. “Father, I admit that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe He died for my sins and that You raised Him to life. I turn from my former life and believe that inviting Jesus Christ into my heart and my life that I am now born again. I want to trust Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” If you said this prayer and believed it in your heart, you are now saved … Born Again! The former you is now in the past, and you are a new creature free from guilt and shame of your former self. Please find a Bible-based church to learn how to walk with Jesus and to enjoy the abundant life He has planned for you.

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