"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day."
2 Cor. 4:16
There are many moments in a persons life when they pause, reflect, and re-adjust. For Dexter (also known as Original Soul Invented), God has been pressing on his heart causing Dexter to re-think some things and truly examine his life. Dexter, like so many of us, has a colored past and didn't find himself submitting to Christ until about 4 or 5 years ago. Being gifted in the area of rap/hip-hop he quickly found himself in the CHH scene and making music for God. Dexter joined the Tentmaker Music family back in March of 2019 and he brought so much to the table as a Creative Director and Artist. It wasn't always great though, there were many challenges that we faced as a team and for Dexter this is where God began a work. After releasing "Verbal Judo" in June Dexter began feeling a heavy conviction and found himself in an internal wrestling match that would ultimately lead to where he is today. Dexter began to question his motives concerning music. I (Joe) have been blessed to be able to walk with Dexter during this time. I have been able to hear his heart, his concerns and see his desire to love and follow Jesus with all of his being. We have had some amazing conversations that have ranged from holes and gaps we see in the Christian Hip-Hop scene desperately needing filled to what it means to follow Jesus and walk in what He has called you to. From a Pastoral perspective, Dexter is the cat you want in your congregation. Following Jesus is no joke, and it can be hard at times to sort out your calling.
God is fantastic at getting our attention and working His purpose in and through our lives. I praise God that He "...who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Phil.1:6 and that "though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed daily." 2 Cor 4:16 By God's grace and His grace alone, Dexter has been taking off the masks and seeking diligently after the things of God. One of the conversations we had was concerning the moniker "Original Soul Invented". The conversation went something like this... "Joe, I think I just want to be Dexter. I am not who I once was, OSI still has elements of the old me that I don't like and God has convicted me concerning this." When you read that it may sound funny. You may thinking, isn't OSI, Dexter? "Yes" and "No" at the same time. Sometimes our artist name becomes who we are, it's how people know us, it's what we promote, it's what we want people to see. The big thing in all of this is that Dexter has been convicted by the fact that it is OSI that is promoted more than God. Sometimes, if we are honest, as artists we are more concerned with our brand than we are the things of God. Our music videos are just us rapping or performing and if we are being super honest we can come to a place where we see and realize just how "me centered" we can be. For Dexter, this all became clear, and he has been about righting the ship so to speak. Dexter was chasing success as an artist rather than seeking Jesus and getting about His business fully.
It has been clear to Dexter that he is to focus on his marriage and to bring his wife along on this ministry journey. As all of this has been going on Dexter's life his wife Vicktoria has also been feeling a call into ministry. The two of them are getting set to embark on a new journey as they focus on Jesus and their marriage and seek to help others do the same. In January we will be partnering with Dexter and Vicktoria to launch their new ministry Marriage Is Dope . This is an exciting venture for the two of them as they seek to model and discuss what a Christ-centered marriage looks like. We will be providing more information as we get closer to the launch date.
As for OSI, well, OSI will soon be put to rest and Dexter will be making music for God, and not trying to make it in the industry. The song below will be the last single released by OSI and anything you hear from this point will simply be from Dexter. I can imagine if you are reading this that you have questions, you might even be confused. I want to assure you that, that is okay. I encourage you to reach out to Dexter and ask him what has been going on. From my perspective, it is hard to encapsulate all that is happening in an article, this is just the beginning of the conversation.
All I can say is that we have a brother in Dexter that desperately longs to honor Jesus with his life and do all things for God's glory. By God's grace, Dexter is being honest with himself and examining his motives in all of this... It is my exhortation and admonishment that we all find ourselves in this place and we get about what God is calling us to do.
Article by Joe Bragg
Nothing compares to God's love. We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and oh how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! When we reflect on God's love, when we meditate on the gospel, and when realize just how much God has done in our lives, we can't help but fall on our face. God's love drives us to our knees. When we fully understand our need for Jesus every second of every day things begin to change in our life. Jesus stated in John 14:15 that "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." 1 John 4:19 states that "We love because He first loved us." When we reflect on God's love it is going to begin to drive us to deeper dependence and obedience to Him, which is going to drive a deeper love for our Lord. As our love for God grows our life is inevitably going to change, we are going to begin to look more like Jesus. As our minds are renewed and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the reading, and dwelling on God's word, we are going to fall more in love with Jesus. To quote Original Soul Invented "God's love is everything." This is no small statement, and it need not be missed, as God's love truly is everything. It was through love that God sent His only Son, and it was love that drove Jesus to the cross (a love first for the Father and His will), and that love is further expressed through those whom believe and follow Jesus. God's love is everything, in fact, God is love (1 John 4:8). God's love should drive us, it should flow from us as believers. I often share this when speaking on evangelism "God's love for us fuels our love for God, and our love for God fuels our love for others."
There is so much to unpack here as it relates to God's love but if you have taken the time to read this, first, thank you, and second, take a minute to reflect on the love of God. Meditate on what God has done for you, and allow that to motivate you, to drive you deeper into His word and seek to be more like Christ daily. I was moved by Original Soul Invented's song "God's Love", give it a listen, pay attention to the lyrics and enjoy! God bless!
An Article by Joe Bragg
"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory." Colossians 3:1-4
It is so easy for us to get wrapped up in the things of this world. We are constantly being bombarded with countless temptations and worldly desires that want nothing more than to feed our flesh. Sadly, we tend to give into these desires more often than we care to admit. I think people have this idea that when you come to Christ your life is going to be rainbows and butterflies and everything is going to be peachy. This couldn't be further from the truth. Life seems to get harder at times. We find ourselves in the midst of a battle we new nothing of before our lives were transformed by Jesus. There are so many scriptures that speak to putting our old selves to death and walking in the newness of life only found in Christ. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17 "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" We are to hold this in tension with the fact that we are in process and as Paul stated "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16
The more I grow in Jesus the more I learn that so much of this boils down to what we are focused on. If we are focused on Jesus, if we are focused on God's word and we are focused on doing what God has called us to do, things change. I can know in my mind that I am a new creation in Christ but am I working out my salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12)? Do I have a Kingdom mindset? Do I hunger and thirst after the things of God? Do I long to see people redeemed and come to know the Savior? Do I seek to flee from sin? Am I praising God for His grace and the advocate that I have in Jesus (1 John 2:1-2)? Do I learn from grace that which I would learn from discipline? Do I long to know God more? Am I fully dependent on Him or do I seek to control everything? Do I trust God with my life? These are important questions for us to meditate on and for us to answer. It is a prayer for myself but also for all of us as followers of Jesus that we take Him seriously and we take Him at His word. It is my desire to have a Kingdom mindset, and to be fully devoted to Jesus. The good news is that the more I pray this and the more I seek Him in and through His word, the more I see this change in my life and the more I get about His business.
How about you? Where's your focus at? Where do you need to grow? Are you Kingdom Minded?
This article was inspired by a song written by Old Man Xero. The song challenges us to really think about what it means to follow after Jesus and to take Him seriously. Our lives will reflect what we truly believe and our faith in Jesus should be permeating our entire lives. You really should give it a listen and pray that God do a mighty work in your heart as well as your brothers and sisters across the globe. Let's Go!
Have something to add? Leave a comment below, lets chat! As always, God bless!!