Giving An Amazing Praise

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Praise & Worship can do wonders for the spirit! I had a chance to speak with Byron Cage who shared his thoughts on his passion for music and how he has remained true to his roots.

1.      You were blessed to begin your music career in the city of Detroit and then transitioning to New Birth Cathedral when you began college. How have some of the experiences molded you to be the artist and musician you are today?

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      BC: I actually started in Grand Rapids Michigan. I went to the same church as the Debarge family. I remember singing in the same choir where Fred Hammond was first a bass player, and I also was influenced by Donald Bell who was Minister of Music at my church. When I got a little older I had the pleasure of working with Thomas Whitfield who taught me a lot as an artist. I went to Morehouse College when I was 23 on a scholarship, and I had the chance of becoming the Minister of Music at New Birth Cathedral.  I even remember being in Tyler Perry’s first play in Atlanta when he first started out. I’ve been doing this for over 16 years, and I am very grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve had.

      You’re considered to be the pioneer of praise and worship music! What do you contribute to being the driving force that allowed you to bring this style of music out to the forefront?

BC: Praise and worship used to be called testimony service. Saints and praise started that. I learned my style from Minister Thomas Whittfield. So I owe it all to the early saints for this style of music we call praise and worship. I really enjoy the feeling that is in the atmosphere during praise and worship.  I really owe everything to what I learned growing up. But as I reflect on the song that I did that really brought praise and worship out front it was called “Shabach.”

          Why do you feel praise in worship is such a critical part of being at church and what do you think it does for the believer as a whole?

BC: I think it’s important for believers to make worship their lifestyle. I had to make it a part of my lifestyle. 

         Your last album, Faithful to Believe was recorded in Detroit with a handful of great artists. Why did you go home to record that album, and what are you going to try different with your next album?

BC: The recession was very hard in Detroit. I went back, and I wanted to bring some things back to the people.

How do you remain grounded as a gospel artist when the world celebrates secular music more than gospel? How do you not lose focus?

BC: When you’re called to do something, I learned how to be thankful and just keep walking. I’ve done all the award shows and things related, I just try to make sure that I don’t get caught up in all the hype.

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 Jasmine Guy Visits Indy

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 Every so often you will have a television show that will change the way people think, live, and how they view life. One show in particular was A Different World, which made its debut 27 years ago. A Different World would address issues that raised awareness about racism, HIV, and life at a historically Black College. One character that made her mark on the show with her signature southern accent was Whitley Gilbert who was played by Jasmine Guy. Ms. Guy was on hand as the keynote speaker at the 2014 IUPUI dinner celebrating the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Indianapolis on January 19th at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. The annual dinner has been held for the last 45 years and has featured speakers such as Bobby Seale, Maya Angelou, and Ben Carson. Ms. Guy was introduced by Gerri Black, who was one of the coordinators for the event. Black, who is a first-generation college student, was very moved by Ms. Guy’s speech. “I was inspired by Jasmine Guy growing up. She is a person that has always had the ability to touch people. Her life has been a true blessing to me,” stated BlackJasmine2.And touching the audience with her speech that night is exactly what Jasmine Guy did. IUPUI students, faculty, and the community had the chance to hear Ms. Guy’s experience growing up across the street from the King family. Her father, who is also a preacher, attended and taught at Morehouse College, which is the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King. Ms. Guy spoke a message of how Dr. Martin Luther King was just a human being like all of us. “We all have the ability to make a difference like Dr. King. He was human just like us. We don’t have to do something that will change the world. We can do something will change our homes and community,” said Ms. Guy. The very next day on Dr. Martin Luther King Day, over 500 IUPUI students volunteered at 20 different agencies around the city. The vision of Dr. Martin Luther King and the message of Jasmine Guy inspired those very students to keep his dream alive by serving. To learn more about Jasmine Guy, please visit http://www.iamjasmineguy.com.

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A Season of Creating a Love That Last

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The holiday season can be a tough time for some men. We have to walk through the mall with our spouse for longs hours. We sit and wait while they’re trying on clothes. Although this can be a difficult moment for men during the holiday season, it can easily be a time where men can truly show how much they love their spouse. Help her to make a list of the places she wants to go. This will allow the both of you to have an idea of how your time will be spent. Decide on a special place to eat after all the shopping is done. Having something to look forward to once all the shopping is done is a sure way to spice up the evening. Lastly, men should be ready to give their wives a surprise foot massage when they’re trying on shoes. This just might be a way for the evening to be cut short, so you two can have some “fellowship time” as you make your way home.

One of the best things to do with your spouse is to act like kids at least one time during the holiday season. Get a sled and go to the park together to enjoy the snow. This creates oneness, releases stress, and allows couples to try something different during Christmas. Please remember to take the kids first before you steal their sled for the day. Go ahead and make a “snow angel” or two when you’re out for the evening.

There is nothing better than to serve with your spouse at a shelter, shovel snow for the elderly, or take gifts to those in need. One of the finest memories of me and my wife was when we were on our first date together. We both served food for those in need during a Christmas event.  She later told me that date really made her like me even more.

Shopping for a Christmas tree together can be a wonderful experience. Pick a Saturday morning to have breakfast together and to buy a tree. There is nothing more fun than decorating the tree that night while playing Christmas music.

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Building Future Leaders

I wanted to share a few things about how to build a leader. I thank God for the mentors that I’ve had in my life. I’ve made it a point to inspire, motivate, and educate young people across the nation.

1. Teach the importance of being assertive

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2. Set the example of dressing for success

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3. Show young people the importance of serving

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4. Give a word of encouragement

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5. Teach the importance of leading

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Learning How To Endure

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         Don’t you enjoy seeing the happiness among couple when they first start dating? You always see them together, every free moment they’re always on the phone talking to each other, and you see a certain glow about them when they talk about each other. It’s no secret that one of the best times when you first meet that special someone there is some amazing taking place.  A person could possibly have found their soul mate, friend, and possibly the person that they’re going to marry. The question that I always love to ask is what happens when things get tough and what you had in the beginning of when you met each other is somehow lost. Most people would say we would work it out! We would fight until the end! The next questions I would ask is do you know how to work through conflict with the person who you profess to love and care for with all your heart? Ultimately most people would find someone new in hopes of finding what they had with the last person that they were in relationship with. Most people try to avoid conflict at all cost so they do this by finding the happiness that they once had. Although there is nothing wrong with following your heart, I would caution the person in this situation to check with their “heart” to see if they want to start something new or just work on creating the happiness with what they already have. The first thing that would be important to do before you start searching for something better is first communicate with the person you are in relationship with. Communication can be very difficult if the atmosphere in the relationship is conducive to the people who are in the relationship. What this simply means is that there have to be clear expectations set up front from both partners so that there can be something accomplished after the conversation. For example, there will be no put downs, no cursing, no yelling, and each person will have their chance to speak. It would also be helpful to set a time limit on the conversation. If the issue is not resolved after the end of the discussion, then set another time to speak again. The purpose for doing so is to have an understanding of why there are some issues in the relationship. Secondly, realizing from the beginning that there might be conflict down the road is very important. That is why it is so important for couples to understand how to work through difficult issues. When two people can work through hard times, it actually makes the relationship or marriage even strong. One thing that is very helpful for understanding how to work through conflict is doing a daily devotional together. I believe that having a spiritual foundation is very important. Sometimes couples have to go beyond themselves to work through difficult situations. Once people learn how to connect on a spiritual level then working through things such as problems in the relationship will more than likely have better results. I always encourage couples to pray with each other as a way of becoming close with each other. Lastly, remember that the relationship or marriage you have with a person can become what you want it to become. If you want the best relationship or marriage, then you have to pour your best into your relationship or marriage. What happens sometimes is that people fail to do this only to discover after the break-up 3 years later that a new person is giving them what you could have gave them while you both were together. I will admit that there have been times where I haven’t always given my best in my marriage, it was through communicating with my wife and praying to God that I started to grow as a husband and give my wife more than what I gave her when we first met. The beauty of when you fight for the person you are with they will start to see the strength that you poses and love you even more. Don’t put off today what you can start doing now to, in order to the happiness that your heart desire.

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Baggage Claim Review: Finding True Happiness

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         Now I know why it’s hard to find the perfect person. “They don’t exist.” These were lines stated by the character played by Paula Patton in the movie “Baggage Claim.” From the beginning I knew that the movie would be your typical love story. A woman has a desire to meet the perfect guy after being lonely for a long time. She takes it upon herself to discover her true love, only to find out in the end that what she was searching for was right in front of her. This basically sums up the movie. But as simple as all of that sounded, there were some principles in the movie that really stood out for me. There were things in the movie that I’ve talked about in my own discussions and counseling sessions. There were issues that I’ve heard other people discuss. The important thing that I took from the movie was that you have to know you and be comfortable with you even before you step out to try to find that person who you hope to spend the rest of your life with.The main character Montana Moore was on a mission to find a mate in 30 days. She went through a number of obstacles trying to find the perfect guy. Without giving the movie away, she realized that what she truly valued and wanted was something that she had all along. The thing that I thought about as I watched the movie was that anytime you have a desire to be in a relationship or marriage one day, you can’t rush it. Sometimes people think that because everyone else has a mate and are happy, that means they have to go out and find the same thing that everybody else has. Although there is nothing wrong with meeting people, the question that must always be asked is, “what is my reason for wanting to meet this person?” If that question can’t be answered, then what a person is searching for may not be what they really want. Not rushing simply means “taking time to prepare yourself for the mate that God has for you.” As a woman is preparing herself a man may come along and see her beauty. His only choice will be to speak to you and the rest is history. Once two people connect and discover there is chemistry, this is a great time for a wonderful relationship to begin. I think along the way two people in a relationship should grow together, learn from each other, and allow what they have established to be a basis for their marriage. One of the things that I thought about when watching the movie is what are people’s reaction when they find out the true colors of the people they’re dating? The character Montana had a few run-ins with her exes that started out good, but turned bad. I always say that when you meet a person you’re getting the representation of that person. What happens when they show you who they really are? That’s why I always stress the importance of two people getting to know each other. This could save a lot of heartache and pain in the end. The last thing that I wanted to discuss is that sometimes what people are looking for is right in front of them. I can remember a time in my life where I was searching for perfection. I thought that being with a certain person would bring me happiness. In the end I discovered that my happiness comes from God and within. I realized that all I had to do was trust God with that mate that I dreamed about. It was in the end that Montana discovered her true love. It was when she let go and allowed God to bring to her what was there all along. Once we view love as something beyond the physical, then we will understand it can only be brought to our lives in the spiritual.

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Having Fun In The Lab

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My Love For Hip Hop Will Always Live

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