National Rare Disease Day: What Is Prune Belly Syndrome?

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Me and fellow Prune Belly Syndrome survivors in a conference we had a few years back.

While talking about the topics for our informative speeches in my speech class back in College, many people had ideas that, to be honest, felt cliché.

I, on the other hand, decided to stay close to home and do a topic that means a great deal to me. For my informative essay, I decided to speak on Prune Belly Syndrome. Yes, I’m sure many of you reading this right now are thinking “What are you talking about?” and that’s exactly the reaction I received from my classmates back then.

Just when I was going to reply to the comments, my teacher interrupted me and simply said “oh it’s just like wrinkled abs or something like that,” and began to laugh.

You read that right, the teacher laughed. This may have been six years ago, but remembering just how she laughed, and in turn made everyone else laugh with her, hurts me.

Little did they know, I have Prune Belly Syndrome (Not many people knew, safe to say if you’re reading this you know).

You’re most likely wondering what Prune Belly Syndrome is, well you can google it. Prune Belly Syndrome is a rare, genetic, birth defect affects about 1 in 40,000 births, in which 97 percent of those affected are male.

Prune Belly Syndrome is a congenital disorder of the urinary system, characterized by a triad of symptoms. The syndrome is given its name largely in part to the mass of wrinkled skin that is often (but not always) present on the abdomens of those with the disorder, giving the belly the look of a prune.

No one knows the origin of Prune Belly Syndrome, there are two hypotheses out there (They may bore you, but you’ve gotten this far so why not finish strong, champ?):

1) Urinary tract obstruction: A hypoplastic or dysplastic prostate causes an obstruction of the urethra, thereby creating a urinary tract obstruction leading to overdistension of the bladder and the upper urinary tract, thus stretching the abdominal wall (causing damage to the abdominal musculature)

2) Primary mesodermal developmental defect: An insult between 6 and 10 weeks’ gestation disrupts the development of the lateral plate mesoderm, from which arises both the abdominal wall and genitourinary tract (including the prostate). This is currently the dominant theory.

Let me preface by saying, I’ve been blessed beyond belief.

I don’t have it half as bad as many of the other people I know with Prune Belly Syndrome. I began defying the odds from day one in my life.

To say I’m perfect would clearly be a lie. I have back problems due to Prune Belly Syndrom, I have some kidney problems, and a few other problems as well. Nevertheless, God’s sovereign hand has been in my life from a very young age and I sometimes forget just how marvelous and glorious He truly has been to me.

Why would a college teacher make a joke about something as serious, and deadly, as Prune Belly Syndrome? Many children with Prune Belly Syndrome have a very low life expectancies due to their kidney failures, among a myriad of other issues.

My own parents were told by the doctors that they should have aborted me due to the high probability of death within a few weeks. I’m a miracle story, and every day I thank the Lord Almighty for this.

Why don’t many people know about Prune Belly Syndrome? Simple, no famous celebrity has Prune Belly Syndrome, it’s a sad but true. Parkinson’s has Michael J. Fox, and HIV/AIDS has Magic Johnson, while Prune Belly Syndrome has no one of that stature to talk about it on live television or donate big money to help raise awareness.

Yes, there are organizations out there helping like prunebelly.org, but compared to others diseases, we are very behind in support. It’s just a sad truth. I wish it wasn’t like that but that’s how our society works, we go for the trend. We go for the Ice Bucket Challenges but never look back and see other diseases that could be as serious but will never get the same amount of spotlight.

Since High School, I made it my mission to step up the plate and tell as many people as I can about it. It’s difficult since it’s not one of those conversations you just randomly have around the cooler at work, but little by little people hear about it and are amazed at my story.

I want teens that have Prune Belly Syndrome to be able to talk to me, I want to be there for them. I know how nasty kids in the world can be to someone that doesn’t look like them. In a world where looks are everything, people with Prune Belly Syndrome feel left out, for obvious reasons.

It was hard for me during elementary, middle and even sometimes, high school. Kids are so judgemental and if you don’t look like the status quo, they make fun of you. I want kids with Prune Belly Syndrome to understand they are not alone. I’ve gone through all the nastiness they may be going through and I want to be there to tell them, “It’s okay pal, you’re special.”

I want parents to look at me and say “If Pedro made it, why can’t my son?”

For the longest time I wondered why me, but ever since that teacher back in College made fun of Prune Belly Syndrome, I decided to help raise as much awareness as possible. I want to help in whatever way I can with younger kids or teens that may have Prune Belly Syndrome.

*If you or your kid has Prune Belly Syndrome and want someone to talk to, go to the contact me page and shoot me an email. I’ll be glad to talk to someone.

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Jesus > Religion Book Review

BookJefferson Bethke’s book “Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough” presents a challenge to the pharisaic rule that has overshadowed much of American Christianity and comes back to the core of who Jesus really is. The book highlights how far away we’ve gotten from the true essence of what it means to be followers of Christ, and Bethke doesn’t just skim the surface of the issues; he digs into them, bringing out the parts of scripture that apply.

If I had to sum up the entire book in one sentence it would be: Your works don’t get you into heaven.

People try to hard to “earn” their way into heaven, and we as Christians have categorized ourselves separately from the world under the slot called “Christian,” where we have our own clothes, our own music, our own movies, our own books, etc.

We don’t need to mix with the world because we’ve got our little subculture, and we don’t want to be seen as the “problematic child”. This is one of the issues Bethke addresses in his book. We’ve separated ourselves, so why bother reaching out to the lost when we have our perfect little comfort zone right here? We have built up walls of perfection around ourselves and simply criticize everyone else who isn’t doing exactly what we are doing.

“Every generation has their non negotiables,” explains Bethke. “My generation’s [non negotiables] seem to be social justice. We won’t listen to someone who speaks it but doesn’t live it. Also, the internet is second nature to us so that drastically changes how we communicate.”

“My generation just wants one thing from the church,” continued Bethke. “Authenticity.”

Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice
Tend to ridicule God’s people, they did it to John The Baptist
They can’t fix their problems, and so they just mask it
Not realizing religion’s like spraying perfume on a casket
See the problem with religion, is it never gets to the core
It’s just behavior modification, like a long list of chores
Like let’s dress up the outside make it look nice and neat
But it’s funny that’s what they use to do to mummies while the corpse rots underneath

In each chapter, Bethke points out the difference between “religion” and Jesus. Religion does one thing, but Jesus does the opposite.

I think these differences are very important for Christians and non-Christians to contemplate. The differences point out hypocrisies that some religious folk carry out, the same hypocrisies that turn non-Christians away from Jesus. There is one way that some Christians act, and that is not the way that Jesus would have acted. There may be moments reading this book where you think, “Oh, I do that or I believe that” and you realize that those actions and beliefs are not bringing you any closer to God.

To non-christians, to be christian means you must not drink, not curse, hate gays, and not have tattoos. In his book, Bethke explains that Christianity is so much more than just those things, it’s about a relationship with Jesus. “Jesus > Religion” brings up the argument that we must shed the religious structure we’ve been hiding under and get back to Jesus. It’s not about what we do, it’s about what He’s already done.

Bethke’s book has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time when it comes to religion. Even if you’re not a Christian, this book is a great way to get to know more about who Jesus is and what true Christianity is.

After every chapter in the book there are “Study Questions” which can be used as lesson material for your youth group, or even just between a few friends.  I highly recommend this book.

In case you’ve been living under a rock this past year, Jeff’s Spoken word poem that inspired the book can be found below:

Just Friends

What’s wrong with that? Why is it that when a guy asks a girl to hang out they always assume we want to date them? Seriously, that’s the most arrogant way of thinking I’ve ever seen.

Not every single one of you girls out there are dateable, stop acting like every guy that says “hi” to you wants to get inside your pants…

Sometimes, guys just want to have friends that so happen to be girls. Look, I know that my gender has a track record for being complete douches when it comes to the friends thing, but not all of us are they same… (I’m sure you’ve heard that before too).

I honestly don’t see what’s wrong with a guy and a girl being friends.

Sometimes the girl is the one that makes the huge deal over the whole thing. They think if a guy and a girl hang out it automatically means they are on date, well newsflash ladies, unless it’s said prior to the event and the guy pays, it’s not a date.

Ladies, if a guy says something like “Hey, want to hang out tonight or something?”, you don’t have to automatically say “no”. If it’s just hanging out, like bowling, mini-golfing or having food, there should not be anything wrong with that. Be worried if he asks you to “hang out” and asks if you want to see a movie… that’s sketchy territory.

If you just flat out don’t like the guy, then use my band-aide theory, and just straight up tell him you don’t want to hang out because you don’t like him. It will hurt at first, but it will all be okay in the end.

Fellas, stop being dicks. Stop taking advantage of girls who like you as friends. Stop inviting them to “see a movie”. How the hell are you hanging out with her if you’re inside a dark theater for two hours, and can’t talk. That’s not hanging out, that’s a date.

So as I was saying, there’s nothing wrong with hanging out with the opposite sex. Do you agree, or disagree? Let me know below.

 

The Band-Aid Theory

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my blog… I mean, it’s not because nothing has been going on, on the contrary… I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time.

In the lat few months, I’ve started to work whole-heartily on my website 90 Minutes Strong. A site fully devoted to soccer from the North American Soccer League, Major League Soccer, and the US Men’s and Women’s National Team.

Don’t worry basketball fans, Crank Up The Heat is still going strong but I felt it was time to devote more time to a sport in which I’ve been getting more and more opportunities to cover.

Also might have a new site in the horizon… Stay tuned.

I love the Heat, I really do. However, since becoming the hottest team in the NBA, they’ve forgotten about me, the guy who was covering them since they were not so hot.

Nevertheless, this is all besides the point.

Reason I’m posting here is simple: Why don’t people respect each other anymore and just be honest with each other?

You know, there used to be a time in which you would be able to be honest with someone and you wouldn’t be judged as a jerk.

However, nowadays people lie to each other in order to “not hurt someone’s feelings”. News flash, lying and then ignoring the person hurts much more than just being up front with the person.

If you don’t Ike someone, use the band-aid theory. Just rip it off, it will hurt like hell at first but then it will stop. Don’t slowly peel away the band-aid, that hurts much more.

I guess that’s what I wanted to know.. Leave your thoughts below letting me now what you think.

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Dear Mr. Loria,

I’ve waited a few days to even write this letter because I thought the anger and feeling of betrayal I felt would go away, I was wrong.

I don’t think you realize you are the most hated man in South Florida at the moment, maybe you do but couldn’t care less.

How arrogant can you be? As you walked out of your hotel room in Chicago during the Owners Meeting the morning after the trade, you simply looked at the reporters and said “not today boys, if you haven’t figured it out by now I won’t help you figure it out.”

How pathetic was that? Who do you think you are? How dare you treat people the way you do?

Despite winning the 2012 Gold Glove, Mark Buehrle has been shippe to the Toronto Blue Jays

Because of your greed and arrogance, baseball in South Florida has lost.

I’ve seen some of my all-time favorite players leave, not because they wanted to but because you wanted them to. Players like Carlos Delgado, Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo, Gary Sheffield, Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera, Cody Ross, and now, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle.

For years, your explanation for getting rid of these players was you had no money and that we would see what you had planned if you got your retractable-roof ballpark. You would use the money you get from increased revenue and invest them on high-profile players.

Well Mr. Loria, you got your $600-million 80-percent-publicly-funded ballpark  and for about seven months you had fooled us into thinking you had changed.

You went out and got three of the best free agents available in Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle. There was hope in Miami once again that we would finally be able to have a baseball team we can relate to. But, as you know the team under-preformed, and the fans were not coming as you had hoped, and so what did you do? You blew up the team… Here’s a list of the player you let go this year alone:

  • 3B Hanley Ramirez
  • RP Randy Choate
  • RP Edward Mujica
  • 1B Gaby Sanchez
  • SP Anibal Sanchez
  • 2B Omar Infante
  • RP Heath Bell
  • SS Jose Reyes
  • SP Josh Johnson
  • SP Mark Buehrle
  • C John Buck
  • CF Emilio Bonifacio

Since July, you have dumped over $236 million in future salaries. How did you do it? Simple. You backloaded their contracts so you didn’t have to pay a large sum of money upfront and you did not offer no-trade clauses.

Mr. Loria, you have butchered your payroll from $118 million to about $30 million in salary commitments in 2013. That’s about a $110 million in profits next year, thanks to your fancy ballpark we are paying for.

Jose Reyes is still owed $96 Million from his 6 year $100 Million deal he signed last winter.

What’s sad about this whole situation is the fact we didn’t see it coming. We were promised change; we had hoped this era of Marlins baseball was going to be different. We have our own park so the excuse of salary-dumping to cut costs wouldn’t work anymore… But you did it anyways.

Mr. Loria, you turned your seven-month-old, $600-million 80-percent-publicly-funded park into a toxic dump where no sane player will choose to play as long as you and the present management has its hands on the throats of the team.

Looking at your past track-record (especially with the Montreal Expos), looks like you gave Miami two plans…

  • Plan A: We buy stars, we draw fans and everybody wins.
  • Plan B: We back-load contracts, see how many fans we draw, if the crowds aren’t good enough (they weren’t) or the team stinks, we’ll dump you all and to hell with everybody. Now hand over that fat revenue-sharing check.

Gee, I wonder which one you took.

You know how the saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”. This is the last time I will be fooled by you and your people.

David Sampson went on the Dan LeBatard show on Wednesday and pretty much blamed us the fans for why you guys did this. He kept saying that because the Marlins lost 93 games, it was time for a change.

Oh really? If losing 93 games is the reason you did this, why wasn’t there a change in 2007 and 2011 when we lost 91 and 90 games respectively?

You and your regime are oblivious to what the fans want. Yes, winning is great, but we want players we can associate ourselves with. We want players that we can grow up with, people like Alonzo Mourning, Dan Marino and Dwyane Wade who are not only great athletes but are part of the fabric of Miami sports.

I can go on, and on about how betrayed, heartbroken, and hurt I am, but at the end of the day, you don’t give a damn. You’re laughing your way to the bank with all the money you stole from loyal fans like myself who bought jerseys, hats, tickets, and food at your ballpark and shamefully fell for this whole “New Marlins” ponzi scheme.

Mr. Loria, it’s obvious you have no idea what sports is about, you’re an owner who betrayed your fans, deceived your players and has lost credibility for as long as you stay in the game.

Sports is about three things: Loyalty, love and family. Three of the things that I have never seen from the Marlins organization. There is no loyalty to the fanbase or to players, there is no love for the city (just for the money), and unlike the Miami Heat organization that preaches they are all family, your organization preaches the complete opposite, all the players at your clubhouse are complete  strangers.

With all this being said, have fun with your empty stadium that will only attract tourists and fans of the opposite team.

Sincerely,

The Republican Party 2.0

It’s no surprise that the Republican party needs a makeover. The once proud party of Lincoln now faces a pretty difficult rise back to prominence.

What is it that has the party of some of the greatest presidents The United States ever had in such a slump? Is it arrogance, refusal to change, or the refusal to admit some of their views are so to the right that not even some members of their own party agree with them anymore?

According to CNN, 60% of voters (ages 18-29), 55% of women, and 71% of the Latino voters all voted for the President in the 2012 election. If you are a member of the Republican party right now, these numbers should scare you deeply for the simple reason that if you never get these votes, the Democratic party will be in power at the white house for a very long time.

Look, I’m not saying for the republicans to cast aside their views and morals. All I’m saying is they need to rethink some things and get some new blood in that party.

The problem here is simple, really. Back in the day, America had morals, we knew abortion was wrong because you are killing a baby, we knew marriage was between a man and a woman; we knew God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

But times have changed, like it or not.

Look, I’m not saying the Republican Party has to be pro-choice, and believe in gay marriage. But, maybe they should be pro-life except in the case of incest, rape and health of the mother.

They should be against gay marriage, but should be for a domestic partnership in which both partners are protected by law so in the case of one of them dying, the other isn’t screwed over.

Another stumbling block for the Republican Party has been the whole “Illegal immigration” issue.

They believe all illegals need to leave America, even if you came here as a 2 year old baby. They believe America is full of Americans… but, unless if you are a Native American, we are all immigrants in this nation.

Republicans pride themselves in being “The Party of Lincoln” well; I hope they know Lincoln freed the slaves. Republicans speak of how Ronald Reagan was the greatest president in the history of The United States, well I hope they know that Reagan granted all illegal immigrants amnesty. 

Former President George W. Bush tried to pass a bill that would help illegal immigrants but his party quickly shot it down.

Why doesn’t the Republican Party support a bill like the DREAM Act, a bill that would grant the children of the illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship? A bill that states if you were brought to the United States before the age of 15 by your parents, who were illegal, you should not be punished for their wrongs. A bill that would not give these illegal immigrants citizenship, but would rather make these illegal immigrants earn their citizenship though going to school or serving in the Armed Forces of The United States of America.

Republicans are considered cold because of basically these three points. They should work on it.

We all need to understand this nation is growing, diversifying and getting stronger. The Republican Party has some great leadership that is still behind the scenes of people like John McCain, Mitt Romney and others. Great leaders like Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush should be the future of the party.

As Governor of Florida, Bush was popular among Cubans (winning 80 percent of the Cuban vote in 2002) and popular among non-Cuban Hispanics (56 percent in 2002, equaling the 56 percent he won statewide). Also in his re-election in 2002, Bush surprised critics by winning the white female vote in the swing-voting battleground of Central Florida’s I-4 corridor.

Rubio on the other hand would be to America in 2016 what Obama was in 2008. A young, fresh-faced minority. Rubio’s parents were Cubans who had immigrated to the United States in 1956 and were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 1975.

Rubio was elected at the age of 28 to the Florida House of Representatives, representing Miami in Florida’s 111th House District. He defeated Democrat Anastasia M. Garcia 72%-28% in a January 2000 special election.

In November 2000, he won re-election unopposed. In 2002, he won re-election to a second full term unopposed. In 2004, he won re-election to a third full term with 66% of the vote. In 2006, he won re-election to a fourth full term unopposed.

On May 5, 2009, Rubio announced on his website that he planned to run for the United States Senate seat. Then, On November 2, 2010, Rubio won the general election with 48.9 percent of the vote, former Florida Governor, Charlie Crist received 29.7% as a member of the independent party, and Democrat Kendrick Meek won 20.1% of the votes.

Are we seeing a new breed of Republicans on the horizon? Will Marco Rubio be to the Republican Party what Barack Obama was to the Democratic Party? I Firmly believe so. The Republicans need someone like Rubio to lead them back into the White House.

To me, a  Rubio/Bush ticket would seem the most logical answer for the Republicans in the 2016 election. They would get the Latino vote since both Rubio and Bush are loved by them, the women vote, and of course the youth vote. Young people will be able to relate to the young, charismatic, and well-spoken Marco Rubio.

But, none of this will matter if the Republican Party don’t rethink their strong conservative viewpoints on social issues, which as we know, will be crucial moving forward.

The Power of a Bumper Sticker…

I got this as a “Letters to the Editor” this week and I thought it was fantastic…

 

 

Dear Editor:
I attended at a political rally for the Romney campaign recently and I bought my first Romney campaign bumper sticker. It actually says Romney Believe in America and even though I support Governor Romney, I am afraid to place it on my car.
Thinking that I was being a bit too paranoid, I asked some other Romney supporters and they agreed with me; displaying a Romney bumper sticker was just too dangerous.
Maybe this is the reason why I have seen so few Romney bumper stickers displayed, not only in this hotly contested swing state where I live, but also in other swing states where I have recently traveled.
Which leads me to the question: “What has happened to our nation when voters are afraid to display their political preferences with something as traditional as a bumper sticker?”
Personally, I am concerned that my car will be “keyed” along the sides or some other damage inflicted on the vehicle.
What a sad commentary this is about political discourse in 2012.

What do you think? Has something like this happened to you?

Leave your comments below.

We Are What We Listen To

For years, I’ve been a fan of all kinds of music. Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, R&B, you name it.

Lil’ Wayne has probably destroyed music as we know it with songs about getting high, sleeping with every girl in world, and drinking your life away because “you only live once”.

When you’re younger you think that the music of your generation is the greatest thing to hit the radio waves, but after further consideration, I have come to the conclusion that my generation has by far the worst music I’ve ever listened to.

Look, not all rap is bad, but the majority of artists (can you even call them that?) are nothing but a thug from the street that samples great music from the past and puts it in their own crappy music.

Artists like B.O.B, and Lupe Fiasco at least have meaning behind their lyrics whereas artists like Lil’ Wayne, Tyga, and others have probably destroyed music.

Sure, Wayne has a good song here and there… but for me, the only good one I can think of is How To Love.

Drake is a tricky one. He has so much emotion in his music, but then he comes out with a song like HYFR and The Motto and it just makes me scratch my head.

There used to be a time in which music meant something, it had meaning, had a story behind the lyrics. Some still go by this, but for the most part, music is now used as a way to call out someone, degrade women, talk about smoking weed, sleeping with as many women as you can. (As I said before, there are exceptions to this rule but the most of the “hits” today are all about that)

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned and enjoy a good original song that someone wrote to their girlfriend or something like that.

Michael Bublé is the ultimate baller. All his hit songs are written for a girlfriend he had at that time.

For example, Michael Bublé is the ultimate baller. All his hit songs are written for a girlfriend he had at that time.

When Bublé was engaged to long-time girlfriend Debbie Timuss, he co-wrote the hit single “Home” for Timuss when he was away in Italy. When their engagement ended in November 2005, the breakup inspired Bublé to co-write the hit original song “Lost”.

The hit original song “Everything” was written by Bublé to his then-girlfriend Emily Blunt.

When Bublé became engaged to girlfriend Luisana Lopilato in November 2009, he co-wrote the hit single “Haven’t Met You Yet” for Lopilato.

Another example is Adele and her song “Someone Like You” which is about her broken relationship, and lyrically it speaks of Adele coming to terms with it.

Still don’t believe me? Well, here are a few lyrics from our “amazing” artists:

“Drop it to the floor
Make that a** shake
Woah make the ground move, that’s an a** quake
Built a house up on that a**, that’s an ass state
Roll my weed on it, that’s an a** tray
Say Ye, say Ye, don’t we do this err’ day-day?
I work them long nights, long nights to get a pay day
Finally got paid, now I need shade and a vacay
And n***** still hatin’, so much hate I need an AK
Now we out in Paris, yeah I’m Perrierin’
White girls politicin’ that’s that Sarah Palin
Gettin’ high, Californicatin’
I give her that D, cause that’s where I was born and raised in”

– Mercy by Kanye West

“So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
So what we go out?
That’s how it’s supposed to be
Living young and wild and free”

– Young, Wild, and Free by Wiz Khalifa

“Now she want a photo
You already know though
You only live once: that’s the motto n**** YOLO
We bout it every day, every day, every day
Like we sittin’ on the bench, n**** we don’t really play
Every day, every day, f*** what anybody say
Can’t see ’em ’cause the money in the way
Real n**** what’s up?”

– The Motto by Drake (feat. Lil Wayne)

Those are just a few… Now, when you look as some lyrics from some actual musicians you’ll realize “wow, how can I possible like this music?”

“Some day, when I’m awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight.”

– The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra

“I might have to wait, I’ll never give up
I guess it’s half timing and the other half’s luck
Wherever you are, whenever it’s right
You’ll come outta nowhere and into my life

And I know that we can be so amazing
And baby your love is gonna change me
And now I can see every possibility

Somehow I know that it’ll all turn out
You’ll make me work so we can work to work it out
And promise you kid I’ll give so much more than I get
I just haven’t met you yet”

– Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Bublé

“I heard that you’re settled down
That you found a girl and you’re married now.
I heard that your dreams came true.
Guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you.

Old friend, why are you so shy?
Ain’t like you to hold back or hide from the light.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it.
I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
That for me it isn’t over.”

– Someone Like You by Adele

I am a strong believer that “we are what we listen to”.

If all you listen to is junk like Lil’ Wayne, and Kayne West you’ll start to actually act like the music. You’ll be disrespectful towards women, you’ll only party and smoke all the time because, according to Drake, You Only Live Once.

I think this is why the divorce rate is up, why people aren’t committing to eachother, why there is unfaithful spouses, and so much hate in this world.

This generation is all about the now, they want pleasure the fastest way possible, they can’t stay with one person for more than 2 months because they’ll be bored and want something new (Like artists, there are exceptions to all of this).

The music we listen to truly affects our daily lives, I wasn’t a believer in this a few months ago but now I completely get it.

If you are reading and still are thinking “Wow Pedro it’s 2012, bro. We aren’t losers like back then. Our music is the best.”

Just remember this, it might be cool right now, but would you really let your children listen to the music you listen to? You would like to let your daughter listen to music that says all she’s good for is sex? Do you really want to let you son grow up thinking women are an object that is only good for sex and then you leave them?

Dear generation, please move past this music we listen to. This doesn’t help anyone, it just hurts us all in the long run.

Why I Hate Religion (But Love Jesus)

What if I told you, Jesus came to abolish religion?

What if I told you getting you to vote republican, really wasn’t his mission?

Because republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian,

And just because you call some people blind, doesn’t automatically give you vision.

If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?

Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?

Tells single moms God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever been divorced

Yet God in the Old Testament actually calls the religious people whores

Religion preaches grace, but another thing they practice,

Tend to ridicule Gods people, they did it to John the Baptist,

Cant fix their problems, so they try to mask it,

Not realizing that’s just like sprayin perfume on a casket

Because the problem with religion is that it never gets to the core,

It’s just behavior modification, like a long list of chores.

Let’s dress up the outside, make things look nice and neat,

Its funny that’s what they do to mummies, while the corpse rots underneath,

Now I ain’t judging I’m just saying be careful of putting on a fake look,

Because there’s a problem if people only know that you’re a Christian by that little section on your facebook

In every other aspect of life you know that logics unworthy

Its like saying you play for the lakers just because you bought a jersey

But see I played this game too; no one seemed to be on to me,

I was acting like church kid, while addicted to pornography.

I’d go to church on Sunday, but on saturday getting faded,

Acting as if I was simply created to have sex and get wasted.

Spend my whole life putting on this façade of neatness,

But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness.

If grace is water, then the church should be an ocean,

Cuz its not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken

I no longer have to hide my failures I don’t have to hide my sin,

Because my salvation doesn’t depend on me, it depends on him.

because when I was Gods enemy and certainly not a fan,

God looked down on me and said, “I want that man!”

Which is so different from religious people, and why Jesus called em fools

Don’t you see hes so much better than just following some rules?

Now let me clarify, I love the church, I love the bible, and I believe in sin

But my question, is if Jesus were here today, would your church let Him in?

Remember He was called a drunkard and a glutton by “religious men”

The Son of God not supported self-righteousness, not now, not then.

Now back to the topic, one thing I think is vital to mention,

How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums,

One is the work of God one is a man made invention,

One is the cure and one is the infection.

Because Religion says do, Jesus says done.

Religion says slave, Jesus says son,

Religion puts you in shackles but Jesus sets you free.

Religion makes you blind, but Jesus lets you see.

This is what makes religion and Jesus two different clans,

Religion is man searching for God, but Christianity is God searching for man.

Which is why salvation is freely mine, forgiveness is my own,

Not based on my efforts, but Christ’s obedience alone.

Because he took the crown of thorns, and blood that dripped down his face

He took what we all deserved, that’s why we call it grace.

While being murdered he yelled “father forgive them, they know not what they do”,

Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of you

He paid for all your sin, and then buried it in the tomb,

Which is why im kneeling at the cross now saying come on there’s room

So know I hate religion, in fact I literally resent it,

Because when Jesus cried It is finished, I believe He meant it.

The Tebow Effect

By: Pedro Heizer

If you have a television at home then you have heard of Tim Tebow. Tebow is the electrifying, goodwill quarterback of the Denver Broncos. In the beginning of the season he was the fourth string quarterback and is now the starter, and taking his team to a showdown versus the heavily favored New England Patriots this weekend in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.

Tebow is the story Americans love, the underdog coming up from nothing and making a name for himself. So why are so many rooting for him to fail?

Just last season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Michael Vick had a second chance in life when he started for the Eagles after serving two years in jail. Many believed his career was over, but the renaissance of his electrifying plays brought many Americans to cheer for him because he was the person people counted out and they wanted to see the “feel good” story of the year.

Since the beginning of time, people have always needed to have people they look up to, role models that serve as an example of what you should be like. For years, people have looked to athletes as their role models. In the 90’s it was Michael Jordan, everyone wanted to “Be Like Mike”. In the early part of the 2000’s it was Allen Iverson, and later people like  LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Michael Vick became what people would look to as role models.

How about a new one? Tim Tebow. No one wants to admit it, but Tebow would wash the floor with any of the other sports role models you have looked up to. Tebow goes above and beyond the call of duty as a pro athlete. Tebow builds orphanages in his home country of the Philippines, he invites fans with serious diseases to come to games, meet him before and after the game, sit with his parents in the stands, and after the game, the child leaves with a signed football and a bible personalized with their name. Tell me when was the last time your role model did that?

Tim Tebow is the role model Americans need, but not the one we deserve.

Unlike most of the athletes that are role models, Tebow practices what he preaches. After a game, he praises God for his opportunity to play, he kneels down and prays before and after the game, and he’s not afraid to say, “First and foremost I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” before he begins talking to the media. Unlike many, he means it.

Tebow is a different breed of role model; a friend of mine told me a story he had about Tebow from his days at the University of Florida that left a great impression on me. My friend owned a sports bar which was just like hooters when it came to the waitresses. One day he decided to take his waitresses to a Tim Tebow signing in West Palm Beach. He had paid to have Tebow pose with all his beautiful waitresses for a photo for his restaurant. Tebow took the photo but upon my friend receiving the photo from Tebow, he received the check for the money he paid and a note that said: “After Tim saw how the picture came out, he decided that it was bad for his image to be seen with all those girls the way they were dressed”.

That takes guts. Who else would say something like that? Who would not want to take a picture with beautiful women?

Tebow is everything that is right about the world; he’s that shining light in the midst of all the darkness that surrounds pro-athletes.

Tebow lives Matthew 5:13-16 to the fullest: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

And this is exactly why people want to see him fail.

It’s not that people can’t stand Tim Tebow, it’s because they can’t stand what he believes in. In the bible, Jesus says in Matthew 10:22: “All nations will hate you because you are my followers.”

People want to see Tebow trip and stumble on himself, they want to see Tebow is full of hot air when it comes to “this Jesus stuff” and that he is just like every other athlete in the game today.

Not only is Tebow hearing it from fans of the sport, but NFL players themselves have been very vocal about Tebow and his faith. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had this to say about Tebow and his faith, “We don’t need God on our sidelines”.

“People will celebrate guys who rape girls in night clubs, kill dogs, or shoot themselves in the leg, but a guy who prays and builds a hospital for orphans, no one wants to hear about him” said a fervent Tebow fan, Adam Harding.

ESPN has said nothing but negative things about Tebow since his promotion to starting quarterback. “He can’t throw”, “he can’t play the pro-style offense” just to name a few of the things the so-called analysts are saying. But if all this is true, and Tebow truly can’t throw the football, or play in a pro-style offense then there’s something bigger at work. This is too great to simply be called a Cinderella run by a team that started 1-4 and won eight of its last 12 games.

In the back of everyone’s mind, people are wondering “Is God’s hand at work at a football game?” who knows? Personally, I believe it is. I believe God is using Tebow to witness to people; He’s using Tebow to spread the gospel in a way that I’ve personally never seen before but is effective nonetheless.

Like I said before, Tebow is everything that is right about the world; he’s that shining light in the midst of all the darkness that surrounds pro-athletes so if you are cheering against Tim Tebow, then you are cheering against the little good we have left in this world.