quickie update.

what’s poppin’ blog buddies?!

i know it’s been a hot minute since i’ve blogged, but i haven’t forgotten about you and i have some new blog posts brewing. i wanted to give you a quick TONY UPDATE! as many of you may know, the whole year of 2011 was a year of learning, growing, maturing, and developing for me. i was anticipating a job or career to plop in my lap at any moment. but that wasn’t the case.

in december of 2010, my spiritual mentor (Jennifer Green – see previous blog post) pulled me aside on one sunday morning. she said, “Tony, the Lord revealed to me that you will receive a job and calling in january.” i was elated. i had been praying since graduation earlier that year for a career. i was ready for what God had in store me, professionally…or so i thought. it turns out, the Word that Jennifer gave was right…but A YEAR LATER that expected.

i tell you what, the Lord has a sense of humor. starting january of THIS YEAR, i started my job and calling – teaching. i am currently a substitute teacher and furthermore, a permanent fixture in a middle school within the school district. i have fallen in love with the ministry behind this “job”. i didn’t realize the ministerial opportunities that are associated with this profession. the interaction with some of these students are out of this world. i never realized the influential mandate that is on teachers. what’s so interesting is that i feel as if i’m learning from the students as much as they are from me.

the years of 2011 was essential for a moment like this. the Lord had to have His way before stepping into this. and i thank God He did. that’s just a short and sweet update of my happenings lately. (ps. thank you for caring). more to come soon!! stay tuned!!

just remember! your actions today alter your destiny tomorrow. are your actions today launching you forward to the GINORMOUS destiny God has for you?

– tony // @AsToldByTony

birthday shoutout: spiritual mother and mentor.

hey blog buddies! this is the day the Lord has made and i CHOOSE to rejoice and be glad in it. what a day it is. just a head’s up, incase your wondering the happenings of my life and all God is doing, check back very soon – an update to come!

in other news, i want to give a big birthday shoutout to my spiritual mother and mentor – Jennifer Green. let me tell you a little about her: this lady started coming to my church two years after i did. her praise and worship astounded me, and i believe, was a forerunner in expanding the paradigm of my church’s ways and thoughts of worship. not even a year of her family attending Hope (our church), she confronted me and my twin brother. she said, “you both are my babies. there is a deep spiritual connection between us…” not gonna lie, my nieve, immature, teenage, self thought this lady was a little off her rocker.

i remember one instance when my brother and i were getting baptized at Hope, the only people that walked up on the church’s stage to support us was Mrs. Jennifer Green and her husband. even then, i didn’t realize the seriousness behind her statement and our spirtual connection.

as time marched on, this lady spoke Words straight from God that were confirmed and came to pass in my life. her presence in my life as a spiritual mentor has carried me through the darkest of times. Mrs. Green’s ability to speak to the brokeness in one’s life is a ministry in itself. the crises that she has experienced in her life have been classrooms, and now she is the triumphant teacher!

Jennifer Green’s perspecitve is parallel to God’s perspective. she has a way to encourage a believer to push, press, and pursue the heart of God by just a simple conversation. you speak to her and say to yourself, “i want what she has!”

from her worship, to her spiritual and personal guidance, to her encouragement, to her heart for God…Jennifer Green, i honor you. i thank you for the investment into my eternity. i thank God for the kingdom connection that has occurred with ultimate transparency. i believe BIG for you, as i know you do for me. i love you and i hope your birthday is as special as you are!

thank you blog buddies for allowing me to express my gratitude toward such an important woman of God in my life. as i noted before, check back soon for more updates! have an incredible day!!

– tony // @AsToldByTony

a star-studded dream of distraction.

yo blog buddies!! how’ the new year going?? not gonna lie, these first 12 days have been rocky for me, but it’s all good! God is setting me up!! get ready! so how’s your new year’s resolutions playing out?? are they going as planned? well, i wanted to share with you a dream i had this week that i believe was loud and clear with an underlying message. stay focused. don’t get distracted. this was right on time! in recent weeks, i have been distracted by everything under the sun: health, fear, money, relationships, etc.! this silly dream woke me up. don’t miss your moment!

picture it: a beautiful, spring-like day in a park. children running around playing and laughing. families enjoying quality time. bright colors of lush green in the trees and grass. so there i was laying on a park bench. i had designer pants and an un-buttoned designer shirt on. (to some this may be a nightmare.) standing over me was tyra banks, instructing me on poses. i quickly learned that i was a model in this park. as i continued to follow instruction, i saw..get ready..tatyana ali (“ashley” from “the fresh prince of bel air”) standing in the background of tyra watching me. i quickly got up and ran to tatyana, introducing myself. then, tatyana introduced me to her friend…get ready…raven symone (“olivia” from “the cosby show” and “raven” from “that’s so raven”). i was ecstatic to meet these beautiful women. after meeting my new best friends, i turn to finish the photo shoot and tyra banks was nowhere to be found. in the midst of the beautiful park, with children and families all around, she was gone. i had become distracted and missed my moment. i then woke up.

ok. ok. ok. i get it, probably not a prophetic dream. but i believe that this central message of “don’t miss your moment because of distractions” is one i needed to be reminded of. the worldly possessions may look and seem fun, but don’t miss your moment. you have everything you need right in front of you. your healing, prosperity, health, security, God-given relationships, etc. is yours for the taking…through Him. don’t allow a tatyanna ali or raven symone to mess with all God has for you now!

i hope this silly, yet true example reminded you of the danger of distractions. stay focused, blog buddies. the payoff is worth it!! i hope you have a fantastic day. check back soon for more blog posts!

– tony // @AsToldByTony

hello 2012!

hello blog buddies!! i hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas filled with brand new moments of love and laughter. in a matter of days, we will be ringing in the brand new year of 2012! i welcome it with open arms. but before i greet 2012, i must throw up my deuces to 2011.

can i testify for a moment? as many may know, my employment status this past year has been not-so-stable. in the natural, many might see little, lack, and loss. but i got some news for ya! this year has been one fruitful year. i was able to give each Sunday at church, and was prospered for that. this year brought me to my knees more than once, and i learned more about myself through it all. i learned what and who is important in my life. ultimately, i am grateful for everything i learned, experienced, and gained through this year of 2011. His faithfulness is outta control!

with the new year approaching, it brings new beginnings and petitions. this final week of 2011, i have searched my life and took inventory. what do i expect for God to do in my life this coming year? what do i expect to do FOR God this coming year? in order to expect a change, we must create a change. that’s exactly what i intend on doing. this new year’s eve will be different from the way i celebrated in the past. i will be marking my first 21 days of 2012 in a daniel fast. i believe it will set the tone for the year. Jentezen Franklin’s church, Free Chapel does this each year and the testimonies are outrageous! i’m believing big things for this upcoming year, and i am doing my part to ensure this will happen!

not sure of some resolutions you could set for yourself? i came across a blog that offered “30 things to stop doing to yourself”. i thought some of these were appropriate: stop spending time with the wrong people, stop trying to be someone your not, stop trying to hold onto the past, stop berating yourself for old mistakes, stop holding grudges, stop letting others bring you down to their level, stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. those are just a few. me, myself?! well i have a list of intentions i have written down. a couple are: make my car a “no phone zone”, continue a healthy and effective lifestyle, create and maintain right thinking about myself, diminish the emotional outbursts, create opportunities to serve God in His kingdom, and see God through distractions. i encourage you to prayerfully construct a list of intentions for your betterment of 2012!

i thank you all for reading my craziness called blogs this year. as i tweeted earlier today: 2012 and i are going to be best friends!…and i think it’ll be yours too! believe it!

– tony // @AsToldByTony

#TeamSpeakOverYourself

a humble, holy day.

merry christmas and happy holy days, blog buddies! this season has been amazing. God has blessed me with so many new moments that i have captured and will carry with me forever. i took the time to enjoy every part of this season. throughout this time, i have been having conversations and reflecting on that holy moment 2000 years ago. here are some of my thoughts.

a friend of mine brought this to my attention: have you ever realized that the shepherds that visited Jesus when He was born were, at that time, considered “unclean” to enter the temple. their occupation of being a shepherd was considered lowly and dirty. yet, they were the first ones to visit the Holy King of Kings. that’s a sermon right there! Jesus was born into this chaos we call humanity – bringing holiness to an unclean world. wow. that wrecks me! i also love that the lowly shepherds were the ones to visit the Savior. that speaks to me. i can be a rotten, nasty sinner. yet, i have access to the Holy One. i’m about to shout!! ((PRAISE BREAK))

He was a gift, bringing gifts. in fact, He came that i might abundant life. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b) what a blessing. He came and wants us to receive abundant life with an abundance of anything and everything to fulfill His will in our lives. we are a blessed people.

another thing that got me thinking was a drama i saw at church a couple weeks ago. it showcased the perspective of God and His love as He allowed His ONLY Son, Jesus, to come to this chaotic mess of a world we created. i’m not gonna lie, there are times i can’t fathom that the Savior of the world existed on planet earth. the drama revealed the deep love God has for us and the separation He experienced as Jesus came to earth. it’s crazy to think about. what a God we serve.

throughout this holy day season, i’ve prayed for an ounce of the humility Jesus possessed as He came to earth. think about it: the Holy One, Jesus, was born in a feeding trough, in a manger, amongst farm animals. yet, i at times feel entitled. who am i that i “deserve” anything? i pray for holy humility to encompass me, and develop within me.

i know these thoughts were all over the place. but they are quick snapshots of my thinking this holy day season. i thank God that he allowed His son to roam in a place such as this. i thank God for the example of true humility, from the moment Jesus was born. i thank God for abundant life and that He came so that we might receive it through Him. i just thank God.

i hope you had a wonderful Christmas! check back soon for my 2012 intentions blog!!

– tony // @AsToldByTony 

#TeamThankful

boxing God.

Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

that’s been my prayer the past couple weeks. Lord, pick me. choose me. send me. i have been desperately longing to be used by God. as you may know, ministering in music is a passion of mine. i love the opportunity to worship God and witnessing the presence of God move and transform other’s lives through their worship and His presence!

but a couple weeks ago, i was clocked real quick. an incredible woman of God that i attend church with  pulled me aside during fellowship of a recent service. immediately following choir, she said, “i have a word for you. as i worshipped with you in the choir this morning, the Lord told me that you have more gifts and talents than your voice and music. be open to the birthing of new gifts.” i was floored.

i thought and meditated on that Word from God. how often do we box God in? in this case, i was boxing Him in saying, “Lord, use me. choose me. pick me. to lead people in Your presence through praise, worship, and music! that’s my desire.” and that’s where i went wrong. it’s not MY desires i should be concerned with, but HIS! what a wake up call that was. i want to be open to anything and everything God has for me. i want to be a willing vessel and be utilized in maximum capacity – HIS way. despite me and my inconsistencies, He can still use me. PRAISE BE TO GOD!

“God’s purpose is not to perfect me to make me a trophy in His showcase; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He wants.” – Oswald Chambers

today, i want to encourage you to be open to all God is wanting to do through you. don’t be like me, and box God in with your desires. this is just a friendly reminder. have an incredible day, blog buddies!

– tony // @AsToldByTony

#TeamPositivity #TeamSpeakOverYourself #TeamWilling

overflowing gratitude.

happy thanksgiving blog buddies!

typically, thanksgiving isn’t my favorite holiday (not a huge fan of turkey) but this year i have been feeling extra thankful. i have been so blessed by God. i do not deserve what i’ve been given. i am humbled by His grace, mercy, and love. it’s constant! this blog post, i will be sharing some things i am thankful for in my life. although i won’t be able to cover every blessing, my heart is overflowing in gratitude.

Jesus: He has changed my life. each and every day i pray that my faith grows more today than it did the day before. He has molded me, crafted me, and created me into the person i am today: flaws and all. His undeserving loves reaches to the inner most part of me, those deep and dark crevices filled with fear and insecurity. He has revealed truth that has rocked my world and given me a compass to live by. Jesus is my life. i am nothing without Him, but everything with Him. i am thankful.

family: when it comes down to it, family is all you have. they are my tangible foundation when the world crumbles around me. yes, some of these people with my last name carry a crazy gene, but that’s what makes them more special. knowing everything about me, my family continues to love me. i am thankful.

friends: a friend is the first person to come in when the whole world walks out. i have to say, my definition of friend has changed over the years. i have learned that quality trumps quantity. there are a handful of people in my life i consider a friend. i am able to call them up in the middle of the night when fear has rattled my mind. it’s those friends that love me and do not judge me, despite me being me. i love those discerning friends that speak Godly counsel in my life when i need it most. i am thankful.

haters: we all have those people in our lives that seek to tear us down, lie, gossip, and backstab us. it’s the haters that are quick to point out our sin, rather than our salvation and all God is doing. i want to give them their proper shoutout! thank you for showing me how not act. i am thankful.

Hope: this year will be my 10th year as a covenant member of hope community church. many times, this special place has been a refuge for me. singing His praises at Hope has helped me gain confidence and discern my calling. ingesting-digesting-investing the Word of God preached from the pulpit these many years has pushed me into realms of reality in God i didn’t know existed. there are people at hope that have been with me in every step of growth and maturity. to this international beacon of light, i am thankful.

some other things i am thankful for (in no particular order): the Holy Word. shelter. food. clothing. heat. air. laughter. my gym membership. car. memories. my cell phone. internet. connecting. education. intelligence. victory. verbal communication. healing. hope. love. peace. the mind of Christ. my arms. my legs. my body. bed. this blog.

what are you thankful for, blog buddies? i am thankful for YOU who read this faithfully and the encouraging messages i receive. have a Happy Thanksgiving.

– tony // @AsToldByTony

#TeamThankful

Psalm 95:1-2 “come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! let’s march into His presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns.”