Steve Kerr and You!

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I have been thoroughly enjoying “The Last Dance” during quarantine. I think it has been one of the best things on TV in long while. This documentary has taking me back in time to my childhood. Wow! yes, I can still say that MJ still is the greatest basketball player of all time, and I won’t apologize to this generation LOL)

Episode 9, without giving it away, was such an inspiring episode. Many know Steve Kerr as the coach of the Golden State Warriors, but a few of us remember him as the white boy in the Bulls who could just straight up shoot. (Mad Love for John Paxon though!) Did you know that Steve Kerr is an eight-time NBA champion? It’s crazy! He won five titles as a player (three with the Bulls and two with the Spurs, and as a head coach he also won three with the Warriors. Did you know that Steve Kerr has the highest career three-point percentage (45.4%)? I say all this because Steve Kerr, wasn’t #23. He only got one college offer. He didn’t sell many jerseys. He couldn’t dunk like everybody else. Is more, Steve Kerr only averaged 6 points per game. But there are two facts that we can say about Steve:

   1.  Steve was a hard worker

       2.  Steve knew his assignment

In 7th grade I tried out for the basketball team. I barely made the team, but I made it. I wasn’t the best dribbler, or shooter, but I want to believe I was the best listener. Not Knowing a lot of English, all I could do was listen. I had to learn to listen in order to play. I learned that in order for me to be successful, I had to listen to coach V. I had to listen to him in practice, and more importantly, I had to listen to him while on the bench. While everybody played, all I was waiting for was for Coach V to call my name.

I remember when coach V called my name, I went crazy. You see, my job was to shoot free throws, I know, how inspiring! But you see, in that particular game, our team won because I was good at free throws. I practiced my free throws all the time, especially at home, by myself. I became one of the best free throw shooters in my team. (I think Jon Seaton and Jeremiah Hetzel were better LOL) But Listen, there will always be somebody faster, stronger, smarter. At times, our job is not to be Lebron James. If you made the team, is because you are good enough, and you have something to offer. When it’s your time to shoot, shoot, when it’s your time to pass, it better be the best pass ever. Be ready when your name is called! Steve’s job wasn’t to be MJ or Pippen, his job was to be Steve Kerr. What’s your assignment?

Worship Time With God

oceanWorship Time with God

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to speak in the worship conference Towdah about my routines in worship prep. What to do before you walk on a stage.

Every worship leader should have a routine,  how they prepare for worship. Some people go for walks, some leaders read books. There are gonna be many ways to prepare, but some things are a must as we prepare for leading worship. 

Two years ago I was blessed with the opportunity to open up for Kari Jobe. I got to watch her, not just as an artist, but as a wife and a mother, before and after her concert. One thing that I can say and I have always seen, is that Kari knows how to usher God’s presence into a room. That night I got the opportunity to watch her prepare before and after her concert. I was blown away. I watched her sit in a room all by herself for one hour before and after the concert. The huge lesson I learned and took with me that night  is called Worship Time With God.

I believe that every worship leader, with their own style, individual abilities, gender, culture, race, age, and gift should walk in these three routines before leading worship.

  1. Every worship leader needs to spend time in God’s presence. You need to know what it “Looks” like. Sometimes I spend hours just talking to the Holy Spirit in prayer about what he needs in our services, what he desires in our worship experiences. This is not religion. I ask him to speak to us, to visit our plans, and at times to wreck our plans too. I don’t want our services to look like a worship youtube video, but rather what he wants our services and experiences to look like. I want us, our teams to be different, unique. Wouldn’t it be boring if every house in your neighborhood looked exactly the same?
  2. Every worship leader needs to practice “Hearing” God’s voice. The Bible says that his sheep hear his voice and they follow. Sometimes, through journaling, sometimes through his word, sometimes through people, and sometimes in the quiet whispers. (Some think this is creepy, depending on your faith background and culture) but the Bible clearly speaks that God spent time seeking the father. God can speak to you before, during, and after you walk off the platform.
  3. Every worship leader needs to know what God’s presence “Feels” like. We worship him in spirit and in truth. His presence is real. God’s presence is tangible. Some worship leaders refuse to feel God’s presence, especially when it comes with power. We cannot just go through the motions. God’s presence is manifested when we are hungry, desperate for him, and when we add our faith walk, our daily faith seeking  routines to our worship experiences. It’s more than just lyrics, it’s deep longing, and his revelation in our lives. Ask yourself this question:  if we turn off the cool lights, the smoke, and the click track, what will we have left over? I pray that we can usher in his presence without these things, but when we add them, it will make our worship experience even more spectacular. 

  Worship leaders, If you have never felt his presence, ask him. I ask him two things every morning: 1. Holy Spirit take me deeper and 2. Take us deeper. If you struggle with this, he is such a gentleman that he will meet you in the shallow. If it’s scary, he is such a father that he will walk with you, step, by step. He’ll take you in knee deep, then shoulders deep, until you are swimming in the deepness of his ocean.

Clown

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The weirdest thing happens in the life of a child. I still don’t get it. The scariest creature is the one who we still pay for the entertainment at our kid’s birthday parties. Clowns.

Growing up I hated Clowns. Let’s be honest, who likes clowns? If this is your career or calling, I’m truly sorry, I’m not speaking about you. I’m speaking about that clown that in every picture the kid looks like he is about to get murdered. Don’t even get me started in that killer clown movie I made the mistake of watching, ironically was actually pretty good.

But what makes them so terrifying? It’s not the balloon animals, or the colored hair, or their funny outfit. It’s the smile. The big, ridiculous, exaggerated, always happy terrifying smile.

Isn’t it funny, not always, but sometimes the ones with the biggest smiles, are the ones we need to be afraid of?

People always say they love my smile, that I’m always smiling, that everything seems like it’s always great in my life. My friend, can I be honest? For so long I had the pretend smile, the fake smile. I was that clown, and I hated my job. It was that stupid smile. The “You will never know what’s happening in my life smile.” The “I will never let you in on my life” smile.  Touring, a life of airport and hotels, stadiums, pouring into people, with a fake smile. I was a horrible clown. My worship at times was balloon animals. My life was corny jokes nobody laughed at.

I want to encourage you to pause, and identify your smile. Why are you smiling? What makes you smile? Or, why aren’t you smiling? People who struggle with happiness usually have a fake smile. If this is you, where did you misplaced your real smile?

If I can tell you one thing, it would be this; you don’t need to have the church smile, the religious smile. Don’t live life pretending. Make 2019 the year were you practice a healthy relationship with God. A true and deep relationship with God will abolish a counterfeit, fabricated, and bogus smile. As cliche as it may sound, this exciting, fulfilling smile is not found in a substance, or a thing, or a person, it’s found in a relationship with God.

Today I smile because I have true joy and peace. I’m in a place where I can be myself. I smile because it’s amazing to be transparent and unique. It’s ok that I don’t need to have all the answers, I don’t have to be the biggest, the smartest, I don’t have to have a million dollars, all the accolades or the biggest title. I smile because it’s ok to have insecurities, like everybody else. 😂 And even when it’s tough in seasons, I still smile, because I’m either up, or getting up. I quit that job and I invite you to put in your notice. 

Proverbs 15:13 says, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.”

I encourage you to smile, because we always have a hope and a future. Smile because you are never alone, and never without help.

I Love this verse;

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”

The product of joy, is a real, organic, childlike smile. This is healthy, good for the soul, and good for the body. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”

-Mark Twain

Stinky Little Feet

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Our  youngest child is 4 years old, about to turn 5. We call him our last surprise. God planned him. The other day he fell asleep in our bed. He was sweaty and dirty. My wife hates when he falls asleep without him taking a bath. That night we had played so much, he was so tired, he just knocked out. As I watched him sleeping, I gently took off his shoes, and sticky socks, I anticipated the overwhelming smell that would follow. I knew nothing good would come from this. Lol. It was a mixture of salt and vinegar potato chips and buffalo sauce. LOL I’ve always done something with all my kids, I love to smell and kiss their feet. (After they have taken a bath) Lets just say I did not kiss his feet that night, but one thing I was able to realize,  his feet no longer smell like a baby. I paused and realized a sad and yet exciting truth, our little boy was growing.  Not just growing, but he is growing rapidly, he is speaking more. His vocabulary is expanding, so he is  also understanding life more and more.

His stinky little feet challenged me in one quick moment to be a better dad, for me to leave him a legacy, and to help him establish his own. I want him to love God and Live for him. I want him to respect women. I want him to always tell the truth. I wan him to honor us as parents. To trust in himself. I want him to discover his fight, and embrace his shield. I want him to discover his courage, earlier than I did.  I want him to acknowledge his weakness, but discover his drive and his passion.

I leave you with a question: Are there little feet, or hands that deserve a pause from you? That deserve a moment of your attention? If they scream, if they fight, if they stumble or when they are clumsy, enjoy it, it won’t always be that way. They will grow, and one day walk away from home. Leave a legacy that will motivate them to love walking back to home when they are older.

Supernatural Culture

the world in your hands (Earth map furnished by NASA)

I love our church, it’s made up of so many ethnicities and cultures. A few weeks back I had the privilege of leading worship. One of my favorite things to do every time I get to lead worship is that I try to make it a habit to greet and say hi to someone I don’t know before going on stage.

As I walked down the isles of our church I realized I was only greeting people of my age and complexion. It was horrible. In plain terms, I was only greeting people like me.  Right there and then I was convicted. My heart stopped. Here I am, a christian and a minister and I was bringing an innocent form of division into our family.
Aren’t we all created by the same God? A God that loves distinctions and dissimilarities?  A God who is passionate about diversity?
Was I wrong? The answer is no. You see, we are all products of our up bringing. We are wired to hug, embrace, reach out, listen, like, pay attention, read a book, go to lunch, with people who look just like us. It’s natural. We are driven to touch first the things that appeal to us, to who we are, language and nature. But the reality is that we are Supernatural beings. Humans who have encountered a supernatural God. We are not natural. This Godly love we have encountered is nothing natural, it is a supernatural love. A supernatural love chooses to do what a supernatural God does. It is the opposite of what our nature says to do. The natural says, what goes up must come down, the supernatural says what you are used to doing, or accustomed to do, you can do better, you can do greater.
I choose to walk in Supernatural Love. A Godly Love. The natural challenged the savior to let humanity perish, but the supernatural choose the cross to give them life.
 Today, engage, reach out, choose to hug, say hi to, buy a book from, go to lunch with, listen to someone who looks or sounds different from you.

The God in the Mirror

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Have you ever felt like you have no purpose, or maybe that you are evolving into someone else you really don’t intend to be. I believe I just went through a season where I literally felt like everyone was trying to create their own version of Joivan. I felt like everybody was giving me great advice about life, but instead I found myself going through many unwanted roads. I felt as if I was becoming different clones of the people around me. I’ll be completely honest, the people around me may see me as confident, secure, and like I’ve got it all together, which in part I do. I have accomplished so many goals in life, but there is still a side of me that questions my purpose or the direction I’m taking. In this last season I had to reassure exactly where I wanted to go in life and in ministry, or else, I would have been heading towards other people’s directions and expectations. Here is the lesson; “You must know where you want to go or you’ll be lead to an unwanted place.” 

In this confusing season I lost sight of who I was, I lost sight of whom I had become. I am a firm believer that we are the results of our environment. Our experiences, victories and failures have shaped us into who we are today. I reached a point where I loved who I had become, but I slowly began to fade away from that. I became bitter, confused, and insecurity was creeping in through the back window.  I believe that for every season God supplies us with uplifting verses, and here is mine:

Psalm 37:23 (KJV)

23 ” The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” 

The other day I was listening to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” song. Pretty profound if you were to ask me. As I pondered more on the lyrics I realized more and more how I had to reflect on me. Where was I standing? Who was I really? God declares to us that our steps and future are directed by him, but I questioned, “Am I really righteous?” “Am I a good person?” Everybody surely desires to be good.

Against all inner struggle I had to look at myself in the mirror and remind myself that I am a good person. So how do I know that I’m a good person? The word says in

Matthew 7:16A(NKJV)

 “You will know them by their fruits.”

So what kind of fruits are you bearing. I encourage you today to study your fruits. What are people saying about you?  Instead of listening and believing the whispers and the lie, stand on God’s word and believe the good fruit, not just the fruit.

I’m good because God my father says I’m good and because of the sacrifice that God did for me at the cross. Therefore my steps are ordered by God. And guess what? He delights in my ways. Many times the enemy will whisper the total opposite of who we are. He’ll whisper we are bad people, liars, unfair, unworthy. And here are the big ones: That we are not important and that nobody loves us. It doesn’t matter who you think you are, choose today to be the person in the mirror. And who is that? The reflection and the split image of God. When God looks at us, he sees himself. So in all truth the man in the mirror is actually the God in the mirror. Don’t misinterpret the message, we are not gods, but we are his sons and daughters.

When I look at my kids, I see how much they look like me and I also see their greatness not their weakness. When you look at yourself in the mirror remind yourself of who you are, and who you belong to. My pastor always says that the greatest privilege we have is simply knowing that we are sons and daughters of God. Today surround yourself with people who will let you be you, full of God, and not their clones. If you find yourself in this position, run away from anger, bitterness and in making yourself the victim. Choose love. You can’t ever go wrong with love and having a close circle of advisors. The Bible says in

Proverbs 15:22 (MSG)

“22 Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail;
    take good counsel and watch them succeed.” 

 

I have good news, you are good, God loves you and has a great plan for you life!

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People ask me all the time:

“It’s everything you wear Vanheusen?”
The answer is Yes, just kidding.
Of course not. Even though VH is #1 for me ,there are other great inexpensive brands that you can use to put outfits together. What we will cover today, are basic issues, questions, that people have asked me in the past month. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on Instagram!
Issue #1  What are other places that men can shop and save a Buck!:
Here are the #1 places I go shopping (Keep in mind I live in Horse Capital of the World, Ocala,FL.)
Ross, Forever 21, Kohls, H&M, Rue 21, Wal-mart, and Thrift Shops. (Yes, I said it, Wal-mart)
(Advice: Find a photo of what you are looking for, and go hunting!)
Issue #2 What shoes are in, and What shoes are not?
Here are a few that you should burn! 😂
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Here are a few shoes that are in right now! Yes,Yes,Yes
(Advice: Formal Shoes- make sure the tip is not too square nor too pointy)
Cool Brands: APT.9, Cole Haans, Sonoma, Converse, Aldo.

FASHION TIPS

Here are simple Joivan Fashion Tips!
1. Fashion does not have to be expensive! (Just because it’s expensive, doesn’t mean is great.)
2Men, subscribe to a magazine, or follow fashion ideas on social media. (Find cool trending photos, ideas and copy them).
***Cool Hashtags: #MensFashion #PlusMaleFashion #BigManFashion    #InstituteOfStyle, #Dapper, #GQ
 
3Don’t be afraid to standout
 (Go beyond your norm, don’t be afraid go outside of your comfy zone)
 
4Build your closet
(Every Color shirt and pants. Build your Suits, casual shoes, & formal wear. Feel free to put away old stuff, fashion always comes back)
*** Every man needs a 2 Button Black Jacket, a White Shirt, and a Black Tie.
 
5Thrift Shop is king
(Some people think that everything in thrift shop is used.. Wrong!)
 
6. Don’t let your formal game be the only thing on point. Work on your Semi-Formal, and your Casual game.
(Anybody can do formal, but not everybody can do semi or casual, it takes work and creativity)
 
7. Stick to your age, or close enough. 😳 Enough said!
( Run away from shirts like these with designs, it’s not making you younger, or cooler)
For Example:
8. The most important part of your outfit, is your shoes. A great outfit can be destroyed by wearing the wrong shoes, and even great shoes can be overshadowed by overbagging your pants.
 
9. Slim doesn’t mean uncomfortable nor looking like a boy band in tight jeans.
(Slim fit has been around for more than 100 years, it gives life to your outfit. It shows who you are. Even XXXL men can wear fitted stuff, ask NFL players! 
 
10. Ask, Ask, Ask! (Specially ask girls)
(My boys and I are here for you.)
 
Pointers:
. Joggers can give you a slim option for formal/Semi formal pants, and they come in many colors. (It’s ok to wear joggers with a Jacket!)
 
. The watch, the belt, and the shoes no longer have to match. Fashion is taking a break. The flag is down, feel free to swim, low tide!
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. You can use Color Jeans, as a substitute for formal pants for your Formal outfit! (They are flexible, and Cheap: Rue21)

 

For Any more Info please follow us at:  Instagram.com/JoivanJimenez 

Facebook.com/Joivan.Jimenez

                                                                            #InstituteOfStyle

Feed-Back

Feedback

feed·back
ˈfēdˌbak/
noun
1. Information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement.
One of the worst feelings in the world, is to have performed a certain task, and never know if what you did was good or bad. Not knowing how we did can cause us to recreate mistakes. The only way to solve this is with a simple but powerful tool called feedback. We have all heard it. We all know it, yet we still fail to apply it in our lives.
Feedback is one of the most amazing tools a leader can give and receive.
The best leaders aren’t afraid to receive feedbackOne of the biggest areas any leader can lack in, is in his or her ability to not receive feedback. Pride is feedback blocker. Two reasons why leaders do not grow, is due to the fact that we are afraid to hear what others think about our performance. Second, the leadership we are under may not be communicating effectively our performance.
Feedback tells us there is a right and better way to accomplish our goals.
Proverbs 19:20 says,“Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.” (AMP)
 Proverbs 12:15  says,“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” (ESV)
Feedback is a leadership growth vitamin, and it does exactly that, it feeds our calling and our gifting.
If you are a leader or under a leadership, here are a few points to keep in mind about feedback:
1. Get feedback from people that you value.
2. Giving feedback tells individuals you work with, that you care.
3. Not everyone is willing to receive your feedback. Do not force yourself.
4. Feedback can cause people you don’t lead, to think that your are better than them.
5. Feedback must be given in Love, expecting nothing in return.
6. It is important to receive feedback from people that walk the talk.
7. Feedback can be positive and negative.
8. In order to give feedback, your idea and approach to success must be successful and yielding great results. One way of achieving this data, is through feedback!
Today ask someone you value, “Hey, How am I doing with …”

How Do You Leave A Church? – “The Art of Giving Away Jewelry”

jewelry box

Genesis 13:8-9
 So Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are close relatives.  Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.’
Lucianne and I have always believed in planting roots in a place. Church hopping is not an option. Celebrating 35 years in this planet, we can proudly say that we have only been members of 3 churches in our lifetime. The first time God took us out of one, was due to immigration purposes, and we had to leave the country. The second time was because God had called us to. We had served our church for 25 years, and God said it was time. We fought, but he kept on giving us confirmations. Here are a few questions: What do we do when God calls us to a new season, a new city, a new job or a new church? Is it really God or is it us? Did we hear God’s voice or our own desires? God doesn’t make mistakes we do. Here is another question: Have we stayed at a specific place and planted deep roots that give fruits? We find ourselves in times in which people lack, commitment and faithfulness. After a year of being in one place, they call it quits using the “Godly excuse” that “God called me to”. The result of this unethical behavior is dividing the body of Christ, and creating many broken bridges and bitter situations. But, How do we mend them? How do we leave a church, in God’s time, without destroying people and causing drama and gossip? The answer to this is found in giving away jewelry.

The Bible says in

 Zechariah 9:16  (ESV)

On that day the LORD their God will save them, as the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land”

We must understand that God sees his children as Jewels. We all have been called to shine, not just you. We are expensive in God’s eyes. Giving away his only son, to pay for us, was a pretty high price to pay. The same way God is passionate about you, he is passionate about all his children. In the past years my wife and I have practiced the discipline of simplicity. I recommend you reading Richard Foster’s CELEBRATION OF DICIPLINE. A masterpiece! Simplicity at times means, “It’s time to let go”. To let go of possessions, that give us pride, or that steal our focus. We don’t have much, but for us it means giving away clothes, watches, and jewelry.
When God calls us into a new season, is pretty much like giving away expensive jewelry. Lets think about that for a moment. What did that jewelry you had, did for you in the past? Didn’t it made you look good, look better? Didn’t it give you value?
When getting rid of jewelry you always have two options:
 Option 1: You either give it away or
 Option 2: You sell it.

You never throw expensive jewelry away, unless it’s broken. If you can fix it you do, and you keep it, but you never give away something broken.

My pastor always says, “How you exit a season, determines how you enter your next one.” My wife and I choose to give away jewelry. We choose to sow and not sell. Sowing expensive jewelry to someone at times it hurts, because you’ve worn that jewelry for a long time. In the same manner when we are leaving a season we are literally handing our pastors, managers, leaders to other people. We are sowing people to other people. If you can, don’t sell that thing that made you look great in the past, don’t sell that person that gave you value. Bless someone else with them. Honor those people, honor those past jewels. We don’t sell out. We honor the great years of service, of life and ministry together, and those people will continue to shine. If relationships are broken, you must do everything in your power to fix it. If you can’t, it’s ok to throw it away. But before you throw it away, consider giving it to a jeweler. God represents the jeweler. He has more resources to make that piece of jewelry brand new.
When you leave a season, a church, try everything you can to leave through the front door, with your Pastor’s and Leader’s blessing. The only way expensive jewelry leaves your house without your consent, is through an open backdoor or through a window in a thief’s hand.
7 Things to keep in mind:
1. Pray for them
2. It’s a new season, so there is a lot of new things to learn. Be open.
3. Seasons change but Principles don’t. Do not let go of the principles that brought you success.
4. Don’t sell out. Don’t speak negative, murmur, gossip or post on Social Media.
5. Check in once in a while. (If you have not thrown it away)
6. It’s Transition. If there is sin involved, run, otherwise don’t rush. The people of God walked the desert. Running in a desert will kill you.
7. Operate in Peace.
1 Samuel 24:5-6
But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.”