Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Useless Calculator

In grade school, taking out a calculator during an exam would be ludicrous.  It is considered cheating. The bad kids would try and hide their calculator somewhere, and anxiously press away on their tiny fingers, desperately covering up their lack of preparation.  I was occasionally jealous of their freedom.

When you are young, a calculator contains the answers to all the questions.  It is a shortcut, and an instantaneous replacement to your own brain.  It is limitless in its capacity.  It holds your answers, and you simply use it.  Then you get older - the playing field changes.  In Calculus, you are allowed to use your Calculator on all exams.  Some exams are even open book!  How simple this must be!  As we all know, the honor of holding your fancy calculator diminishes triple-fold.  What was once a holy-grail, becomes a useless technical advancement that could hardly spit out an answer if your life depended on it.  The calculator is now a tool - not a lifeline.  The calculator's use depends on you.  You become the brain, the master, and the statistician.  The calculator becomes your never-changing and static companion.  It is as useful as you make it.  It is as beautiful as your see it.

It is shocking when your default tools and strengths do not hold the same weight as before.  It is a bleak turn of events when your "method to your madness" loses its logic, its flare, and its potency.  Have you found yourself grasping for a knowledge that you knew before, only to come up bankrupt?  Have you looked to your toolkit, only to find a dull blade and a broken ruler?  This is our plight.  We are fixated on outcomes and calculations that used to get us quite far.  It used to be our compass - a consistent and predictable barometer for success.  We used to be able to effortlessly go about our day, knowing that our level of input will dictate our pleasant output.

But the ones of great light and destiny are not allowed to rely on computations, theorems, and well-proved findings.  The chosen ones are never a product of human algorithms.  They know that the thing they are to accomplish cannot be manipulated or coerced.  The Divine is not a faithful co-pilot. He is not a helper in the way that we generally define help.  He is not the Gatorade or the extra energy boost that you need to reach your destination.  He is not even your primary author.

He is not merely "in control." He in fact, is the plane itself.  He is the sky.  He is the galaxy in which your stars must align.  

The Divine is the all-consuming fire who is not interested in being your chief of staff.  In the Divine, you learn to work miracles.  Being hidden in the Divine gives you the substance to become the Calculator itself.  In a world full of A+B=C, I am on the lookout for A+B equaling far more than I could have ever imagined.  If you have come to the end of your computations, then you have arrived at the greatest adventure of your life.  If you have flat-lined in all your reasoning, mental prowess, and lifelong musings, then you are on the verge of Dreaming In Color.  If you feel like everything you once knew no longer counts for very much, then you are now becoming the person you were always meant to be.

If all our computations were so useful, then why is the most pressed button on the Calculator the "C" button - the one that clears, and brings us back to 0.  Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dreaming in Color - House of Blues, April 30, 2014

Hello.  My name is Jeevo, and I can be a hypocrite.  We will get to this later.  For now, here is everything that went wrong with my first debut at the House of Blues Los Angeles this past Wednesday night:

1) We had no real sound check
2) The sound guy played the wrong song for my intro, and my band and I completely acted out the first song on the fly :-)
3) We had pretty much no music in the monitors and I could only hear the drums, bass and some guitar to find my key
4) My volume was low in the main speakers generally, especially during the higher tempo, louder songs.
5) I asked for a wireless mic, and was told they couldn't provide one just before the show - for all performers, this is a big deal.  I was holding a wire the entire show so I wouldn't trip over it.

We all know artists care about their work.  This is nothing new.  Everybody wants to give their best presentation of what they believe is their calling.  But I am a hypocrite because I project the idea and spirit of trusting God to work everything for good, yet micromanage His game plan and critique every flaw that was not up to "my standard."  Sure I can celebrate the victory and find joy in the midst - but after every artistic show of mine, I first ponder the ills - the wrongs - the mistakes - the untidiness.  My default is not an altar of celebration and praise - it is an idol of my image - an idol that I quite frankly place above the celebration of a miracle.

This has been a flaw of mine since I have pursued music.  It does not matter how powerful or amazing the show is - I still come away in a melancholy mood, wondering if what I did was anything of value.  Wondering what I could have done better, or what flaws pricked every core of my being.  Wondering if I have any business making quality music if I can't deliver with precision and excellence.  Wondering if people were let down.  Wondering if I had made them expect too much.

When you have a wife like mine, you cannot get away with living under your potential.  You cannot sweep aside the things of the soul that are essential.  She gently reminded me that my mindset was beneath the calling that God truly has for me.  She gently exhorted me.  She basically grabbed me outside of my quiet hole and brought to light something that I have casually dismissed for years.  The remainder of this writing is a mix of what her words and God's conviction have forced me to wrestle with - I believe it is for you all as well - thus the transparency.  B/c transparency in of itself is not worth that much, even if it's the cool emo thing to do.

When God does a work, it is not about you.  It will involve you, but its outpouring and sheer grace is certainly not about you.  We tend to lose our way even when He has His hand upon us.  I began my set with "Dreaming in Color" - A cry of wanting to know what is right and wrong, but dealing with shades of grey while thinking in black and white.  I then sang "Lost." A song about my very struggle of mistrust and anxiety.  When Adam ate the apple, we all became susceptible to not trusting the greater works of God, whether we understand His methodology or not.

After I perform, even though I am well-equipped with the Spirit of God, I am unable to fully appreciate His glory in the midst of imperfections.  I curve into myself, as if the purpose of the show was to glorify my music - as if God opening up the House of Blues was solely for my music career.  It seems so elementary, but when people come to see you perform, you feel like you owe them your best.  But really, my audience is One.  My audience is also covered by the One.  My audience is owned by the One.  I belong to the One.

I was recently struck by the film "Heaven Is For Real."  If we were completely certain that God will greet us after our death, how would we live our life now?  How ridiculous would all our vain pursuits at ephemeral glory be?  How unfulfilled is a life that seeks momentary glory, in the light of a God where the concept of glory was designed for?

This post is my first altar of praise.  To publicly tell you all how grateful I am for the opportunity to perform at a great venue.  I am so thankful for how many of you showed up, made noise, and "turned up." :-) Your energy was amazing, and the videos suggest that the sound was really good for the most part!  Your enthusiasm suggests that it was a good show, despite how much I didn't want to write that last sentence.  Your support and feedback have been incredible, and my band was on fire!  Thank you.

Three years ago, I wrote a blog blasting everyone who didn't show up to a concert of mine.  I do not regret that at all, and I meant every word.  Three years later, I have nothing but love and excitement for all of you who could not make it to the House of Blues - b/c I know there will be more for you to all attend, and I know your time is all precious.  I know that I am not needed by the people.  My music is not necessary.  God is necessary.  I hold on to the shoes I wear to present the gospel of peace very loosely.  At any moment He may ask me to remove the shoes of music (even my Red October Air Yeezys!) - or remove the shoes of performing - but from my sense, He's just making my feet cleaner.  He is preparing you all for the exact shoe that will be fitted for your destinies.  In every pursuit, may we build our altars of worship.  May we build our remembrances of the great work He has done, and will continue to do throughout our lives.  The same hand that builds praise, can also build an idol.  Learn from my mistake.  Fight against it.  Don't be like me in this way.

Peace, and much love to you - your artist who is a work in progress - Jeevo.

Friday, January 31, 2014


Every man or woman is given a skill.  A skill that is capable of turning into something masterful.  This skill requires building.  Building requires trial and error - much error.  We build on foundations that have come before us.  Some of us are musicians.  We are inspired by those that have laid a path - we emulate and originate.  We figure out what we love and what we despise.  We utilize fragments of sounds and create.  We build.  Others of us are poets.  Others of us are lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, social workers, athletes, etc.  We all build.

Every so often, our work is required to go through fire.  Fire in the very literal sense has 2 purposes - to either refine, or burn up.  Coming into contact with fire must not be avoided - because whether you like it or not, the fire will find you.  It will run after you.  All things that are built on the foundation that came before us demands fire.  I have found that the fire is the most painful and rewarding experience of my life.  When I come into contact with fire, I am forced to let go of all my preconceived notions, ideas, and assumptions.  When the fire finds me, the more I run, the more it engulfs me - into a maze that is truly inescapable.

When your work is put into the fire it never feels all that good.  This is a common misconception because most people assume their work will outlast the fire.  We have to be a people that are humble enough to allow things to burn up.  We cannot be so full of pride to assume that our work is flawless.  We cannot assume that what we have built is fireproof so to speak - tested and refined.  In the end, our work will show itself to be refined, or burned up.

What is the fire?  It comes in all forms.  It comes in the form of time, opinions, self-doubt, misery, rejection, questions, memories, poor decisions, external circumstances, lost love, and the list goes on.  The fire is anything that borderline kills you - that borderline makes you feel shattered and miserable.  The fire is not meant to harm you, but it sure feels like it.  When the fire comes, it is because you are loved by the Fire-Giver in a way that doesn't want you to waste time.  In a way that wants you to have eternal impact.  In a way that wants the things you build to come out better and more permanent.  When you are in touch with fire and are not burned up, you shall receive a reward.

Most of us build things without foundations in mind.  We make faulty assumptions about the foundation.  We would rather build our own foundation and be so original that we originally fail.  We want optimal results without being in touch with the foundation.  We build lavish palaces on quicksand.  We build amusement parks in the middle of the desert.  We build in vain.  The fire comes in to test all of this - not for the fire's sake - but for our sake.  When things become visible, the Fire-Giver wants us to know whether our buildings will last.  We are given second chances.  The sooner the fire tests us out, the better our chances are at creating something that will last.

Many of us are in the midst of the fiery furnace.  We are unsure if our creations are burned up, or still in the process of being tested.  We must be very careful not to give up assuming our work is burned up.  Wait until the fire has taken its course - THEN SEE WHAT IS LEFT.  THEN FIND OUT IF IT IS REFINED, OR IF IT NEEDS TO BE REBUILT.  Your fight has something to do with the refining of your product.  Your character has plenty to do with the fire.  Your inmost thoughts and heart have to engage with this fire.  Your desires can change the result of the fire.  It is not all left to the quality of what you built - it is also up to the quality of the builder.  Put yourself in the fire with what you built - don't be afraid - don't be a passive investor.  Rise with your ship or go down with it.

A friendly reminder on your journey - Don't play with fire.

Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Great Intrusion - Immanuel

When a virgin gets pregnant, she is typically no longer a virgin.  What shame.  What labeling.  What a target for accusation and condemnation.  Why would Jesus - the God Man - do such a thing?  Why would He impose Himself, in all His wonder and splendor, on a poor virgin?  Why would He risk ruining her identity - her image - her heritage - her reputation?  Why would God be willing to ruin a girl's credibility in the midst of political and social turmoil? 

We dare not call God intrusive.  After all, the tidy manger and odor free manger is what sells.  It is what the church and society has pitched for generations.  If we keep Christmas at bay, and tame its wild and radical core, the masses can swallow a pill with its full cup of eggnog and holiday cheer.  The baby Jesus in a manger is so cute.  The night sky full of stars is glamorous.  The picture perfect Inn is a lasting Hallmark tradition.

As Cornel West likes to describe his faith - "We must wrestle with the funk of things."  Indeed.  There is a funk of disappointment and mistrust that we must be willing to go into.  The smelly manger must never be deodorized.  Sadly, most people celebrate Christmas by suppressing every mediocre and disappointing thing of the year, and overcompensating in holiday cheer, festivities, clothes, and gifts.  I would venture to say that over 95% of "strong men and women of faith" have completely missed Christmas, and have completely watered down the messiness of this baby Jesus - the Great Intruder.

Mary and Joseph were doing fine.  They were engaged.  They were in love.  They had very little means, but had each other.  The announcement of Jesus forming in Mary's womb would not only change human history, but it would change Mary's in a very intimate way.  The perceived shame of being pregnant before marriage would have to get past her own thoughts.  Then, it would have to get past her soon to be husband, Joseph.  Then, it would have to get past her family - extended community - society - the world.  There are phases to this intrusion.  Jesus plants Himself in Mary.  He then does damage control.  An angel appears to Joseph, then to shepherds, wise men, and the rest is history.  Jesus intrudes.  But He makes provision for Himself.  God violates us.  He violates our paradigms, our way of life, our expectations, and our assumptions.  He comes in and renovates our hearts, minds, and souls.

But He always makes provisions.  He provides for His own plan.  He sets things in motion that are beyond our human senses.  When He makes a home in us, He works in dimensions that are far too great for us to even come to terms with.  He justifies Himself.  He tells the world what He is doing on our behalf.  He speaks to the people in our lives that need explaining.  He fights battles and wars that we don't even know.  The Great Intruder Intrudes - but He does so in deep Humility - in deep Compassion - in Deep love.  He intrudes because it is the nature of Immanuel.

God With Us.

God With Us changes everything.  God With Us means He will join us in our miry pit.  He will be our companion in the midst of extreme sorrow, unjustified doubt, and unforeseen poverty.  God With Us will exalt us when we are at our lowest.  God With Us will shepherd us when the pathway is so dark that we tremble at the thought of the next step.  God With Us will disrupt our way for His greater way.  Immanuel will be the Wonderful Counselor.  He will trump political fragmentation, societal evils, racial injustice, deep inequity - all for His radical work in and through us.  God With Us will form as a seed in a poor virgin - make no claim to fame - come into the world in such lowly circumstance - and make the entire world bow down.  This is our God.  This is God With Us.  This is our Great Intruder.

Merry, Funky Christmas.  Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Hope of the Older Son

In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke chapter 15), a father has 2 sons.  The younger rebellious son asks for his share of the inheritance.  He then takes it and squanders everything in temporary, wild living.  Desperate with no hope, being forced to eat with pigs, he returns home with the plan of asking his father to be one of his hired workers.  To his utter amazement, the father not only welcomes him back, but celebrates his return with a huge feast - he runs to him as he sees his lost son coming home - he is overjoyed by the son's return.  He was once lost, but now found.  He was once dead, but now alive.

The elder brother is consistent.  He remained with the father, true to their relationship, with fidelity and loyalty.  He is responsible.  He is noble.  He is not moved by the temptations of his inheritance.  But he is angered.  He is upset that his selfish brother is being celebrated for his foolishness.  He is hurt that he himself has never been celebrated for his righteousness - for his goodness - for his stability.  Where is his reward?  To what avail must he continue to be a good steward, with a good attitude and relationship with his father?  What is his motivation to continue on his course, without having to be "lost and found?"

We come in all sizes and shapes of the prodigal.  But we also come in similar dimensions of the elder brother.  We are consistent with our Father.  We try.  We persevere in the work before us, and do it tirelessly - yet our reward is ambiguous.  Our affirmation is hard to come by.  Our consistency is never condemned - yet is never applauded either.  We are the faithful servants.  We want equity, and we want justice.  We do not want much, but we want our measured allotment.  We want our fair share.

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.............
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
There must be hope for the older son.  The father loves them both - passionately, recklessly, and with the fullness of his fatherhood.  The father pleads with the older son.  He does not leave him out.  He is upset that his son is not celebrating.  The father goes out of the celebration and pursues the older son.  The father believes the celebration is for the older son also.  The celebration is not only just celebrating the younger son - but his "foundness."  The fact that he is found and alive again is worth the celebration, and the older son is welcome into this celebration.

Even more radical and compelling, is the father's first statement to the older son - "You are always with me, and everything I have is yours."  The older son is bitter while having always been with the father.  Everything the father has belongs to the older son, but he is upset.  He is entitled to everything, and has been with his father the entire time.

When our "prodigal brothers and sisters" receive their welcoming home celebrations, does it trump your inheritance?  When the lost becomes found, does it take away from our consistency?  The father reaffirms the elder son with what is true and certain.  Everything he is and owns is still for the elder son as well.  And the elder son was always with the father.

To be always with the Father is not the shorter end of the stick.  We may think so because the fuss isn't about us.  We like to be the center of the fuss don't we?  We enjoy being the one celebrated - but can we be humble enough to be a part of the other celebration? - This is the core question.  When the world is being applauded for their minimum and lackadaisical efforts, you never need to question your inheritance.  Being always with the Father is a picture of Eternity.  Everything belonging to you is a picture of the Kingdom of Heaven.  The elder son is not being underrated or put to the side - the elder son is being lifted up.  He is equipped with Divine Provision.  He is being granted the keys to the impossible.  His faithfulness is being accounted for, and his brother's return does not discount anything he has done for His father.  His brother's return in fact has something very special for him - a celebration of the lost - a celebration that things can be returned - a celebration that things can be whole again - a celebration that is inclusive - a celebration that restoration is a fiery blaze of the Father's heart.

Being the elder son requires a desensitization of glamor.  When you do not require celebration, you are engaging with the keys of heaven.  You are being given the eyes to engage with the treasures of darkness.  Your Father has always been with you.  Everything that is His is yours.  Now walk like the elder statesman that you are. 

Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The 3 Hour Goodbye

 In the Sri Lankan culture, saying goodbye is a process.  Actually, it is an event.  There are several phases to saying goodbye.  Often times, it can include another meal or snack after saying the initial goodbye.  Other times, it can include making more plans to delay the goodbye even longer.  You begin by saying "my goodness we should make a move." - Translation - we should head home.  Everyone else will say "What nonsense!" - Translation - you can't go yet, there is plenty of time.  Then you slowly make your way out of the living room and into the doorway.  The doorway is important, because it possesses the power to absorb time, and transcend the space/time continuum.  Here, conversations arise and people linger to the point where your legs start shaking from how long you have actually been standing between the house and the car.  You finally get in the car, with a good 20 minutes with the windows down - this usually is filled up with uncles suggesting the best directions home, or food places along the way.  The kids will usually make fun of how long they are talking for, and hysteria forms - everyone decides to talk as much as they can realizing the time is closing - even the quiet family members provide their 2 cents here.

The 3 hour goodbye - Have you experienced this?  Do you have people in your life that love you enough to say bye for 3 hours?  Is there a place you can call home where nothing changes? Your uncle eats his banana every morning.  Your aunt makes the same butter cake that no one eats.  Your other aunt makes a similar butter cake that everyone eats.  Here, the jokes are the same - but the older you get, it is even funnier.  Here, people don't care how much money you make or what kind of clothes you wear.  Here, you make fun of each other - but it's more endearing than compliments anyone else can give you on your best days.  Here, you forget that the world is vying for everything you care for.  You forget that once you step out of that door, you have to "fend for yourself."  You have to go back to pleasing everyone else with 2nd rate masks, accents, make-up, and gifts.  Here, you are loved unconditionally.  Here, everyone will tell you if you gained weight, but will feed you no matter how fat you are.  Here, everyone will gossip about someone you don't know - but you will know them by the end of the conversation.  Here, you don't have to feel shy about asking for random things - like pumpkin pie with tea, or obscure Sri Lankan spices.  Here, people will challenge you, but will get mad if you inconvenience yourself in any way.  Here, they love you.  They love you.  And you love them.

I want to be in the presence of people who delay me.  I want to delay you.  I want to be God's family to those who don't have it.  Poverty is most cruel when it comes in the form of loneliness.  Poverty is most fierce when it attacks the intangibles - things that can't be fixed via material possession.  The poverty of the heart is a disaster.  When you don't feel comfortable around anyone in the world, you are navigating very dangerously.

No family is perfect.  No 3 hour goodbye is full of 100% joy.  No group of people regardless of how well intentioned they are, can display full love.  This is reserved for the Creator.  But you can become a person who is worth being delayed for.  You can become a person that demands 3 hour goodbyes.  It is not just a birthright.  It is not something that just happens overnight.  It is not just with biological families.  In fact, most biological families are broken beyond comprehension.  The 3 hour goodbye is reserved for you - regardless of culture, religion, or ideology.  You have an inheritance that involves this delay - the delay that slows time down - that brings you in touch with your destiny - that allows for mistakes while growing - that allows to want to be great - that beckons you to a calling that is your own, though it will touch the lives of many.  The 3 hour goodbye is practice - because the light that shines furthest way, shines brightest at home. 

I believe that God gives us His ravens - His angels - at the right time, to give us our bread.  And in the end, it is God that matters the most, even though it is human beings that we interacted with.  In the end, our 3 Hour Goodbyes are little miracles - to let us know that we are well beyond functional - we will be great.  Our delays.  Our victories.  He never delays.

Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Sign and A Wonder

It is taboo to want to be great.  Anyone who voices their desire to be above average is looked upon as an ego-maniac - arrogant - not humble - ungrateful - dissatisfied.  These people are the outcasts.  They are the target of deep judgement.  Children are said to be innocent enough to inherit the kingdom of God.  They are pure of heart.  If you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, they tell you outrageous things.  They want to cure cancer, they want to feed everyone who is hungry, they want to travel to space, they want to play in the NBA, they want Grammy awards, and they also want to be doctors & lawyers.  They want BIG things - but when they get older, wanting BIG things is not cute anymore. It does not bode well with mature people, because mature people decide what is appropriate. 

Mature people are the ones that control society.  They tell you what is appropriate, how much you should make, what to say in public, who to value, why well-educated people are better than everyone else, what makes money, and what your boundaries and limitations are.  Mature people tell us what type of people we can judge, how to control minority populations, how to water down anything prophetic, and what to say to destroy your Spirit.  This is our maturity.  We come into the world pure - innocent as a dove - wide-eyed as a child who wants to explore - open to adventure and love - able to put aside inhibition for the precious.  Then, in order to mature, we have to become grown - sober in everything, calm and emotionless, practical and melancholy, routine and responsible.

When did you last mature?  When did you first identify what you could not do?  When did your fire last turn into a frozen lake?

Little things can make the largest impact.  When the first person tells you that you cannot do something, you pretend that you didn't hear it - but you heard it well.  Not only did you hear it, but you enabled it to reverberate in your core.  Then your parents begin their human parenting.  They worry for you.  Then your close friends worry for you.  Then you worry for yourself.  Our communities play the largest factor in our fear - in our "maturity."  They mature us by making us like them. 

People hate the outliers - the ones that break the rules - the ones that take risks - because it makes them take a deep look at themselves and wonder if they have it in them to do the same.  When you hear someone who is arrogantly passionate about something, you direct your anger at them.  But you are not mad at them - you are mad because you wish you could be half as passionate about anything.

Sometimes we get confused with God's portion in our lives.  We know we have a trajectory - a calling - something special that we were commissioned to do since birth.  We were formed by a Maker who draws us into deep intimacy with Him.  These callings so to speak are a part of our intimacy with Him - our love - our deep learning of The Alpha and Omega.  We know God has purpose for us - but we mature too quickly to understand its depths.  This is why we are so easily satisfied.  Because how dare we want more?  How dare we get more than we deserve?

People who don't ask for more are the most entitled people - not the reverse.  They are so entitled because by not asking for more, they prove they believe they earned or worked for what they do have.  If you think asking for more is too much, then you believe you deserved what you do have - and this is incredibly entitled.  You say you are satisfied with God's portion in your life, but really - you are satisfied with that you think you earned. 

What little you have was never by your own merit in the first place.  But you think it is.  That is why you are not freed up to ask for more.  When you give a child ice cream, he/she asks for more.  A child does not care whether you gave them the dessert in the first place.  They know what's good - so they ask for more.  When you play hide and seek with a child, they never want to stop playing.  They don't have time limitations - they want more - they keep going.  They know what is precious and they have no boundaries.  And as parents, you give.  You keep giving.  It is your joy.  Of course with loving restriction.

I want to be a sign and a wonder.  And I am wondering if anyone else wants something similar.  I want to be an artist who is living proof that God loves people.  I want to be used like a lemon - squeezed until everything in me has been used up.  I want to be useless when I leave earth - where I have no more reason to exist.  I want my life to be categorized by "fine lines."  I want to walk every fine line there is - where if you look at it through another lens, you would see the opposite of what is really going on.  Like if you hear me talk, half of you will think I'm crazy/irrelevant, and the other half would feel so loved.  Like when you hear my music, half of you will hate it, and the other half would love it.  Like if you are my friend, half of you will quit, and the other half will be my loyal inner circle.  Like if you are my job, half of you will hate me, but the other half will know I'm the only one who can do it.  I want to stop maturing.  Who will ask for more cake with me?

A sign and a wonder.  For you to become greater signs and wonders.  Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo.