I can't remember at what point my purpose was made plain to me. God directed my footsteps and took my skills, my passion, and my gifts and pretty much made plain that I would be a light in dark places. I am thankful that I allowed God to carve out his plan for my life and not vice versa. I cannot imagine waking up everyday and not being CLEAR on who I am in Christ and why I'm breathing. But I assume, there are many, who don't know. They wake up everyday, thinking themselves first. God's glory being last. Rick Warren says it best, you will never know God's will for your life beginning with you. "IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU." Serving others will lead you to why God created you.
If you don't already know, I am a born again Christian who loves Jesus and break beats. I walk the walk the best I can. But I am very unique in that I am a born again Christian in secular music. When I first surrendered, I worked for a Christian company soon after. And I was devastated when God said, "Nope, this ain't it." I was brought back to secular music, and sometimes put in the position to promote music I don't like. But I took this period and prayed with people, for people, and continued to be a light in dark places. I was able to love drug dealers, gang bangers, strippers, ex prisoners, and addicts. I was able to LOVE them and see behind the gang colors of red, blue, and green; behind the "bricks"; behind their tough exterior, and see God's original plan for their lives. Sometimes they couldn't see it. But behind closed doors, I saw amazing, gifted men/women of God...one day that is. I wasn't always patient with them because I knew God wanted more and expected more. BUT now looking back, I see God's loving patience where I wasn't. Too many of us forget God's process and timing. Forgetting that the drug dealer we hate on, could one day pastor a mega church and save thousands of people. That's how God works. And so I accepted the assignment from God. And honestly, I would much rather be with an accountable drug dealer who's attempting change than a perfect Christian anyhow. Perfect people annoy me.
I was always unique and I knew as a child that I was different and set apart. But when I think about my childhood, I LOVED all people. I'd walk to the store for my grandmother to play PICK-IT in Paterson, NJ, and get in trouble for speaking to "winos." Winos, drug dealers, all types of people I had no business talking to. Today, that free spirit is a gift that I can love people who aren't perfect. People who aren't me. But that's what ministry is. It is UNIQUE. It doesn't change your personality, but it does change your character. Ministry doesn't think they're BETTER than people. Like Jesus, you can hang with regular folk. Sinners.
And so, I am a light in dark places. I am not afraid of the dark because it's in the dark where it all started for me. For all of us. Never forget when you surrender WHERE you come from. While the Word instructs us to forget the former things, God didn't mean move forward in pride. God didn't mean for you to be so holy that regular folk can't relate to you. On occasion, I have thought maybe life would be different if I was meant to minister in the church. But no. I like the streets. I like imperfection because it's then you get to see God work and people grow. The problem with the church in many regards is people sit in pews with an "I ARRIVED" attitude. God can't work with that. God is close to the brokenhearted and that's exactly where I want to be.Jesus Eats with the Sinners, Publicans, Tax Collectors (Mark 2:13-17)
13 And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
With the recent death of Whitney Houston and a recent interview with a celeb friend of mine, a nerve has been touched with me
that I haven’t felt in a long time. I’m so disappointed in the media. I’m also disappointed in the reader and consumer who believes everything they hear. I’ve made a career in marketing and since 1996, have had to work quite closely with radio, press, TV and more. But lately, I’m almost sick. Angry by the smear campaigns. Angry that those in media aren’t involved in journalism, news, informing the people, but damaging the reputations of people. I’m tired. And while I have loved Hip
Hop, music and entertainment, I pretty much HATE the music business.
I’ve shared with some of you my recent project, Faith and Hip Hop: The Hip Hop Testimonies which is a compilation of stories
from MCS, Rappers, Producers, Engineer, Music Executives and more, sharing their journey in the music business. When I first started getting my feet wet in 1985, we didn’t have million dollar budgets. All we had was Faith and a Passion for Hip Hop.
And so, we were forced to have more respect for each other and our crafts. Today, I see little respect for Hip Hop, recording artists, our pioneers and legends, who without them, I wouldn’t even have a business to work in.
On a spiritual note, it doesn’t sit well with me because God has made clear to me, my calling is to spread love. And my calling is no more different than anyone else here on this earth. So, whenever viciousness is shared, I feel ill. The God in me is unsettled. The media is VERY wrong in thinking that because an entertainer is a public figure that they deserve to be talked about in a negative way. Report what you need to, but reporting and gossiping are very different. God loves you, but he hates that you gossip, spread lies (without any solid proof), and when you do have proof, you feel it’s necessary to kill reputations, careers, and families. And you don’t give up. You keep going and going and going. Instead of studying your craft and being creative, you ask the same questions that were asked 10-15-20 years ago. DRAMA might mean good ratings, but God isn’t feeling it. It’s bad news and I can assure you, everything that comes out of your mouth, you will stand before God and have to answer for it, particularly those of us on assignment from God. NO WEAPON CAN PROSPER. As with Whitney’s death, you dragged her through the dirt, BUT GOD made sure lives were saved due to her death. It’s wicked that people gossip way more than they pray for people. Just sad and it makes for a meaningless life.
If there are any Christian magazine editors, radio personalities or new media outlets out there, rethink your career. God one day will ask you HOW you blessed people. We have jobs and gifts to use for God’s glory and one day, you’ll be asked WHY you used your platform to destroy. It is possible to share news to inspire. Even these reality shows. Come on people. You’re killing our people. You’re not inspiring. This so reminds me of COINTELPRO.
When I saw Wendy Williams crying over the recent news of Whitney, I saw tears of GUILT. For the many rumors that were started because of her, not just Whitney, but people I’ve loved. I hope the death of Whitney will encourage interviewers to pick up the phone and apologize for the gossip and vicious rumors that were started. Satan lives in gossip. There’s no life there! When you speak death over people, you can’t prosper. It might appear that way, but it’s a lie concocted by Satan. Someone
will pay. If not you, your children or your children’s children. Wicked people ENJOY sharing wicked things, but death cannot
With this said, I knew when Bobby and Whitney got together it would be a struggle because back in NY, the press dogged them
out. It’s already hard to have a marriage, but everyday something was said about them negatively. Whitney needed LOVE to combat addiction, not rumors or gossip. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! As for the reader and consumer, stop believing everything you hear! Stop being so soft and digesting junk! Demand that you get the TRUTH. As long as you enjoy being fed junk, the media will make it available. Let me make this point, DIGESTING junk is just as bad as spreading it.
In closing, John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” You can’t serve God and Satan. It doesn’t work that way. I don’t care what line of work you’re in. Sure, you have free will- free will to die, or free will to live; free will to speak life or free will to speak death. Figure out who’s team you’re on. And while deciding keep in mind the TRUTH will set you free.
I’ve been to heaven. Unlike most of the other stories I’ve heard, mine is not as elaborate, but I have left earth for a few where I was met by angels in 1991. I never shared this story with anyone other than close friends because who would ever believe that I experienced heaven. Plus, again, I couldn’t write a book about it. It was short. Sweet. It was Heaven.
I was born to Sheila and William Kirkland on December 9, 1970 in Paterson, NJ. Both of my parents divorced and I was blessed with two amazing stepparents. One of those parents, Carter Jefferson Jr., was an iconic Jazz saxophonist who played for The Temptations, The Supremes, Little Richard and more. In fact, you might recall that R&B hit "You Are My Starship". But he is known as a Jazz icon. And so, I was raised by two legends really. My father BK, a radio legend, known for exposing Hip Hop to NY’s radio airwaves, via Mr. Magic and Marley Marl. And Carter, my stepfather, where my life sounded like an orchestra and surrounded with Jazz geniuses who never received the respect they deserved, the talented late Phyllis Hyman being one of them.
During one conversation with my stepfather, in approximately 1977 when I was seven years old, I learned something fascina- ting. I was in trouble for my mouth and talking back. Our conversation went as follows as I sat on my parent’s bed –
Carter –What are you going to do when you stand before God?
Me – Tell God how good I am.
Carter – That’s not going to work.
Carter – Because God sees everything you do.
I was startled and a light bulb went off. He went on to tell me God was all around me. From that moment on, my relationship with Christ began. I felt God’s eyes on me. We then became friends and he followed me everywhere. I began talking to God, real conversation, and we were more like play mates when I was a child. I read the bible, but more importantly, we spoke to each other about everything. A neighbor brought me to Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, where I immediately knew God was there and I was home. Months later, after the nudging from a friend named Janet, I walked to the front of the altar and told Rev. Napier, I wanted to get baptized. Alone. I understood, my calling early. I attended church alone Sunday after
Sunday pretty much my entire life.
For whatever reason, I chose sin. I knew God, personally, but like many Christians, sin seemed more fun, especially for a teen. While I was always different and pretty much a “good” kid according to worldly standards, I chose what I wanted to follow about Christ. And in 1991, undeservingly, I was brought to heaven.
It’s comforting to me when I hear stories about people who have been to heaven. It lets me know that I’m not alone, especially the stories where people didn’t die such as the encounter in the book “Heaven is For Real.” I didn’t die. I did not ask
to go to heaven. I might have read the Word before going to sleep, and I might have not. That part, I cannot remember. I do not recall feeling sick. I didn’t ask for anything. But somehow I wound up in heaven.
Oddly enough, I was transitioned to heaven as I was sitting in my chair at home. Somehow, I went from a bed, to my green chair. As I sat in the chair, I was raised. Flying. I was flying in a very bright light. So bright, that I imagine if we looked with a human eye it would hurt. Similar, to looking into a light bulb. Extreme light. I then, was in the presence of Angels. There were quite a few and they were very happy. Extremely happy and the joy in heaven cannot be explained on this earth. I’ve tried and I can’t. The angels knew me and they were so happy to see me. And I was just happy period. Extremely. We danced, with joined “hands” (not hands, but I was holding something), going around and around in a circle. The angels I was with did not have
bodies. Yes, they were white, with wings, but I did not see faces. And while they had a form and were touchable, I could if I wanted to it appeared, put my hand right through them if I tried. Another thing that was clear, I was in WORSHIP. I could not stop praising God. I could only continue saying, “Praise God! Praise God! Praise God.” They said nothing, but danced and enjoyed me as I praised God over and over again. We flew around and I was in pure Worship and felt pure Joy and pure love.
I do not remember my actual body, but I recall when I was brought back to the chair, I saw my body and I continued to Praise God! Praise God! Praise God! My hand movements looked like I was doing the wave at a football game and I couldn’t stop worshipping. I BEGGED not to come back to earth. “No!! No!!” I said as I was descending back to earth. Not sobbing, but teary eyed. Very sad and I wasn’t even given the option. I had no desire to come back here to earth. And while in heaven, I also had no clue about earth. Not my relatives. Nothing. I just wanted to stay in heaven and praise God. I never saw Jesus. Not God. I just hung out with a few angels that loved me a lot and was in God’s precence. And we worshiped in bright light. They are very happy up there. Words can’t explain. If you have any relatives up there, trust me, they are ELATED. The way we love here is really nothing. Love there is unexplainable.
When I realized that I had been to heaven, I shared with my mother, hesitantly because while my mother was a Christian, she
didn’t really attend church. But the joy in my heart, had me elated and I said to my mother, “I’m not afraid to die! I went to heaven! I explained.” My mother was in shock and asked that I stop because it was too much. I know she remembers, but I never brought it up again, because well, it was unbelievable and just that good.
My stepfather and I didn’t always get along. Like Bobbi Kristina (Whitney Houston's daughter), my stepfather did drugs and was an alcoholic. While he was loving to me, taught me all I needed to know about music and my relationship with God, like Bobbi I loved a parent who got high and no matter how many times he went to rehab; no matter how many people praised him for his art; he struggled. After years of wear and tear on the body, my stepfather while on tour in Poland, his stomach erupted on stage. On my birthday a few days later, he went to that place I visited called heaven. He was 47 years old. Due to them not embalming him in Poland, I never had the chance to see him again and we received his body back 25 days later where we had his friends, the industry and family celebrate his life with one more concert. Today, it still hurts.
I cannot explain the depth of the pain of not only losing a parent tragically, without warning, but what it’s like to love a parent who is an addict. It’s very complex, but I can say it is possible for that addict to be a good parent and to be loving. Carter was and while he wasn’t perfect, he taught me love and to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, which is why I am sure I had the opportunity to see heaven because of relationship.
I know from visiting heaven, God is not anal. God is quite simple. And all he asks all of us down here is that we humble ourselves and master LOVE. We are so fixated on sin, ugliness, righteousness, that we’re missing God. God doesn't focus on your sin as much as you think he does, that’s why he sent his son. But what he does care about is how big your heart is and that you love like a child loves. He wants you to love BIG and sometimes sin stops you from loving they way we're supposed to. That’s where sin becomes sticky. But I will say never allow the guilt of sin to keep you from having a relationship with Christ. Repent. Do better the next time. Go and love on somebody. And keep it moving.
I decided to share my story on heaven because when I went to heaven I was a sinner. A good one and still can say the same today. In fact, I wasn’t brought back to being in God’s presence until over 15 years later. So, if you don't get anything from my story today, know that Love is your calling, just as it is mine. Master love and don’t give up until you get there. In fact, Carter's last words, I learned years later, was THINK POSITIVE.
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind. This is the first and great
commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38 KJV)
"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang
all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:39-40 KJV)
Check out some of Carter's work below.
Whatever will tempt you today to go outside of God's will is a SET UP. Temptations are really false promises. Don't believe the hype and lose God's favor in the process. Remember that temptations are lies that FEEL good, but the consequences hurt so bad. Part of growing up is not taking a bite of every apple that looks good and feels good. Ask Adam and Eve. At some point, you have to know that not everything you desire will lead to abundant living, but abundant hell, even if that hell exists inside that head of yours for a lifetime. Let me share more.
My only regret in life was having sex outside of marriage. There’s the temptation to have sex and then there’s the temptation to be loved. For men, sex is pretty much just one bite of the apple and they can discard the cork. For women, however, it’s rare
we can discard anything. That shiny red apple is simply our heart; we’re looking for LOVE. In a matter of minutes, you give into a temptation for LOVE or SEX and then, many of us find out it’s a false promise. That false promise turns into a soul
tie or a child out of wedlock. You really thought he’d commit or marry you and then you realize, it was a LIE. I’ve seen this over and over again. And false promises play out in so many ways. Whether it’s sex, drugs, or money, so many people answer the temptation instead of answering God. God’s plan ALWAYS makes more sense, but initially it might not FEEL good to walk away from sex, some quick money, or a hit of cocaine. It takes courage to walk away, but to do so otherwise is dangerous.
Turning God’s no into a maybe can change your life in a matter of seconds.
With this said, when you ask the Lord in the Lord’s Prayer to “lead you not unto temptation and to deliver you from evil,” MEAN IT. A craving will kill you and that “thing”you want so badly at that moment is a promise from Satan and not from God. Lust feels good and answers immediately, but the pain of a false promise can last a lifetime.