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BurnBush_052910_02a SMALLERBy ellis j. still

People sometimes say that dogs and their owners start to look alike over time. While I certainly hope that isn’t the case, I can say that we adopt mannerisms from each other. Here are five things that I learned from our family dog, Peanut:

  1. Bacon makes everything taste better. Everything.
  2. Life is fun. Live is a vibrant canvas from which to play around with. Sure, one does face life’s challenges, but only for a short time. Joy comes with the morning.
  3. Unconditional love is beneficial. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, it does not boast, it does not become conceited, it does not behave dishonorably, it is not selfish, it does not become angry, it does not keep a record of wrongs,  it does not rejoice at unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  4.  It is important to take time to refresh and explore the great outdoors. Go camping. Visit the local park. Enjoy quiet time with nature, and with God. Revive yourself.
  5. Get some rest. Exercise. Take care of your body. If you don’t take care of you, then who will?

Bonus: It’s ok to hit the reset button. He can be mad at us for leaving the house (even if it’s just to take out the trash) but as soon as we come back in he’s already forgiven us and ready to play.

Question: Are you a dog owner? What have you learned from your pet?

© 2014, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I may have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

The King’s Men Tour: Gospel Music Concert Review

by: ellis j. still

The King’s Men Tour has got to be the best concert that I have attended in my entire life.

Ellis & Tina Still, with The King’s Men
(l-r) Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp & Israel Houghton
(click on photo to enlarge)

On Saturday, October 6th, 2012, my wife Tina and I ventured from New Jersey to Washington DC for a round of golf (me), a tour of The White House, and a concert, The King’s Men Tour. If you have not heard of the tour, it features gospel music heavyweights Israel Houghton, Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Sapp, and Kirk Franklin, spur of the moment add-ons Tye Tribbett and Byron Cage and amazing background vocalist including recording artist Isaac Caree and Sunday Best season 4 winner Amber Bullock.

I have had the opportunity to see all of the above minister at my church home with the exception of Kirk Franklin & Byron Cage, so I knew to expect a great show.

Not only was it a great show, but The King’s Men completely exceeded my expectations. Usually music artists require that they use their own personnel (musicians, background vocals, ect.) for their performance. It is rare, if ever, that they make the extra effort to create the logistics to work together with other artists.

However, for The King’s Men Tour, all of the artists used the same band and personnel, which made the entire evening seamless. There were no intermissions needed between artists’ performances, which tend to make concerts that feature multiple artists really long. The King’s Men artists and their music were interwoven in a way that seemed natural, and the band was on point when artists broke out in a spontaneous song.

The King’s Men (click on photo to enlarge)

Who says Christians are dry and do not know how to have fun. It was an enjoyable evening filled with impressive music, flawless vocals, lots of laughter, and deep seeded worship. All of the artists demonstrated all of these components, but in their own way. It is impossible to describe things in great detail, so here are a few snippets:

Byron Cage, a last minute addition, opened the evening with a men’s choir from the Washington DC area, who brought the house down with a creative mixture of new school worship, and old school gospel.

Israel Houghton (click photo to enlarge)

Israel Houghton is my all time favorite artist. In fact, when we were back stage to visit with the artists,  Tina jokingly but seriously told on me by telling Israel that I listen to his Christmas CD all year round.

On stage, Israel told his personal life story, which I had never heard before. Israel is known for his worship, playing the guitar, and for his special affinity towards live bands. What I did not know is that Israel’s  talent goes way beyond the guitar (you’ll have to go to the concert to know what I’m talking about), which was a pleasant surprise to all of the thousands of people present.

Marvin Sapp (click on photo to enlarge)

Marvin Sapp really surprised me by his vocal range. Yes – Marvin is anointed with exceptional vocals on any day, but on this evening, something got hold of him. He could barely contain himself, and the entire place was in tears.

Donnie McClurkin brought us to our knees with spontaneous worship that touched the core of our very being. Donnie, like all of the other King’s Men, in their own way, took us to church, and reminded us that we are the church every day – not just on Sunday.

Donnie McClurkin (click on photo to enlarge)

Tye Tribbett, like Kirk Franklin, is a ball of energy. Even though he was a last minute addition, he and his music fit in nicely.

Kirk Franklin was, well, Kirk Franklin. Kirk is Tina’s all time favorite gospel artist to see live in concert. She had been pleading with me over the years that in order to fully understand why, I had to go to a Kirk Franklin concert myself. Now, I totally understand.

The most important highlight if the night was the open and clear recognition of Jesus Christ. For this evening, the Verizon Center was no longer the Verizon Center. The Verizon Center was Church. Kirk said it best – saying that you believe in God is not enough. ‘God’ can mean anything. Jesus is our everything. Our Ruler. Our Redeemer. Our Provider. Our Shelter. Our Healer. Our Deliverer. Our Father. Our Protector. Our Savior. This is how Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbett, and the rest of The King’s Men honored our Lord and Savior through song.

Kirk Franklin (click on photo to enlarge)

In conclusion, there are no words to express how this concert has touched my life, and the lives of the other thousands of people at the Verizon Center. Some people think that being a Christian is dry and no fun, and instead turn to things/people that provide temporary hope. If this is you, I encourage you to get tickets to the concert (tix are cheap for the most part). Tour cities and dates are listed on Kirk Franklin’s website.

In order to live, first you have to die.

To view more pictures via Facebook, Click here.

Question: Have you given your heart to Jesus? If not, email me at estill@tinellis.com, and I will show you how.

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the event brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I do, however, have a marketing connection to the musical artists’ brand, topic or product herein. Through the use of links contained herein, my bookstore may provides access to items created by the attached artists for purchase. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Live your  life like a Heart In A Box!!!

by: ellis j. still

We are born to dream. As children, we use our imaginations to explore the visions of our mind by acting out what our future could be like. I played with fire trucks and those yellow Tonka construction trucks that were made out of metal, with the assurances that I would be a fireman or construction worker when I grew up.

My next phase was wanting to be an explorer in outer space that would one day save planet Earth. This came from repeatedly watching entire seasons of Star Blazers, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica with the one-eyed Cylons. Later came Star Wars, of which I have all six episodes even today.

From there it went to realistically figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I had great passion for drawing. I also started working in retail at age 16, so maybe I would own my own business one day. However, as I got older, and the world became more real, the creative imagination seemed to disappear and I sought practical venues for planning out my life.

You are taught to do what is proven… what everybody else is doing. To follow the status quo. Very seldom are you taught to be imaginative… to think outside the box – or in this case, inside the box.

Tina and I are avid watchers of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. While we don’t always agree with the content, it is a well written show, whose characters we often we have dialog about in our home as if they were real people.

There was an episode where one of the main characters was tasked with watching an actual beating heart that’s been placed in a box until it can be transported to its new recipient. The Heart In The box becomes the inspiration to no longer be average, but go on and do great things… that the same imagination that created the Heart In A Box is the same imagination that dreams are made of… that spawns great movements.

Anything that you do in 2012 should be more interesting

than a Heart In A Box.

Anything that you do in life should have meaning, both to yourself, and to others. Anything that you do should be exceptional, and inspire others to greatness.

Dreams are created by a combination of what we see, our imagination, and how we envision it happening… our special personal brand, based on our life experiences.

Are you stuck in a job or situation, but you have a great idea for a business inside of you? Are you doing what you need to do just to get by & merely existing, or are you following the passion that is within you? Are you listening to the voices inside your mind that gives you excuses why you can’t make things happen, or do you listen to God’s word which says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

Heart in a box is all about not living mundane, but doing extraordinary things in an extraordinary way. It is about being inspired to do something outside of the status quo. It requires creativity and courage. It’s about not just knowing and reciting the words “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-17), but owning it… knowing without a doubt in your inner core that God will do what he promised… that “every place where you set your foot will be yours” (Deut. 11:24). You have to have Faith that as you act on your dreams, God will make up the difference.

Heart In A Box is special because normally when you do a heart transplant, you take the heart out, put it in a cooler, and then you rush to put it into a warm body, and pray that it beats. But with Heart In A Box, it never stopped beating. It never knew that it was not supposed to be beating. The heart did not know that it was doing what it was not supposed to be doing. It just did it.

Question: What are you planning to do in 2012 that the world has told you that you cannot do? What are you planning to do in 2012 that is more awesome than a Heart In A Box?

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Heart In A Box image courtesy of http://greysanatomyfans.wordpress.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

HOW TO “SUCCEED” WRITING: Books, Blogs, Movies or Plays

by: ellis j. still

Vondell Richmond is accomplished in the world of Theatre Arts by way of directing, writing and acting. He “is a unique teaching artist that blends quality techniques with an infectious passion for the arts.”

I personally had the chance to work with Vondell as the set designer on a play that he directed. His creativity, his energy, and his style of motivation are like no other, and he brings out the best in all who are involved in the project.

Vondell Richmond decided to utilize his experience and his skill sets to help other succeed in creating.

He has put together a free four part series on writing books, blogs, movies, and plays. V has written four books, wrote, directed, produced and distributed a movie, and will draw from these and other creative theatrical experiences to provide content in a way that only Vondell can do it.

If you already have a book or two under your belt, these sessions can still provide a creative spark, new insight, or a different way of approaching things in your writing.

If you don’t believe me, you can hear it directly from him…

To register and obtain access codes for the free event, http://vondellcoaches.eventbrite.com/

For more information about Vondell see, http://about.me/vondellrichmond

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

This is why I go to church…

by: ellis j. still

Recently I gave a speech at my local Toastmasters about my ancestors. In the mid 1800’s during the height of slavery, they taught themselves to read by studying the bible. They used to sneak bibles out of the house, and meet at a predetermined place (ravines, ditches, woods, etc.) to have church. Many of the famed accomplishments by slaves of that time were not on their own accord, as  most history books tell it, but out of their faith and fellowship with fellow believers in Christ.

Fast forward to 2011. On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, Tina and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary since we met. What is interesting is that when we met, I wasn’t looking for a relationship – on purpose.

At the time, it was maybe a year after I gave my life back to Christ. My life before then had been a mess… one of chaos and uncertainty fueled by bad choices, bad relationships, and addictions, simply because I did not know who I was. So when I got serious about my faith, I was purposely not looking for a relationship because I wanted to focus on growing in (and healing through) the things of Christ.

When I joined my church, there were many opportunities to get to know people and to make new friends. Othell Miller and I used to see each other all the time at church, and so he invited me to his birthday gathering at his house. Tina and I happened to be the first people there, we started talking, and it felt like we knew each other since the 5th grade. This friendship evolved into three-plus years of marriage.

Here are three benefits that I have experienced as a result of going to church:

  • Going to church creates relationships with people who are aligned in values, principles, and faith. These relationships expand far beyond Sunday, and into professional & personal arenas.  1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)
  • Going to church helps the healing and delivering process, with the understanding that while no one is ever perfect, the goal to continually grow in faith & Christ and to be better than you were yesterday.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
  • Going to church is fun. Where else can you go that has a youthful & vibrant atmosphere, an awesome band with spirited Praise & Worship, has ministry groups where you can get involved to serve others or hang out, and to unexpectedly and unknowingly meet your future wife? Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

There are many more benefits to going to church… too many to name here. But the #1 reason is because God said so, and God doesn’t say things without it being for our benefit.  Acts 2:42 (ESV)

Question: What are some additional benefits to going to church? What are you thoughts on the subject? What is stopping you from going to church?

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

____________________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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