It's Your Flava!
Segment Five

Welcome to the fifth installment of "It's Your Flava!", where we from time to time invite opinion and comments from visitors. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of GospelFlava.com

Marcus EcbyThe words below come from Marcus Ecby, there's flava all over them.

As the youngest of Houstonís contemporary Gospel sensations Sounds of Urban Life (see album review), Ecby brings a vocal style that is at once smooth and street to the trio. Also known as Mr. Mone, a single listen to his expression indicates that he has something to sing about, with a soulful urgency that makes him hard to ignore. Not surprisingly, the same urgency you find in his music is found in what he has to say.

"With Arms Wide Open?
Does Gospel Really Receive You With Open Arms?"

Submitted by Marcus Ecby —March, 2001

The year was 1998, and I was singing in an R&B group that was about to be signed to a major record deal. We were touring with major acts such as Jon B., Public Announcement, Destinyís Child, Jody Watley and Montell Jordan and working with multi-platinum producer Crazy C. Everything was in place for us to come out swinging with our first album.

Suddenly, Jesus Christ came into our lives and shook things up for the better. I mean, one minute we were singing R&B, then the following week we rededicated our lives to Christ. It was like a domino effect. First Crazy C, then LaVance, then me. It was crazy, but a good crazy. It really donít know how else to explain it, it was just an awesome move of God!

As a group (Sounds of Urban Life), we rededicated our lives to Christ and redirected our energy to record a Gospel album. Once it was completed, we were ready to minister God's word through music.

When we went to places, although we were received with open arms, some people in the church audience would criticize us about our tattoos and earrings, or else they would talk about our music, saying it was too radical. We understood our position as far as what God had wanted us to do, but it hurt that these people were so judgmental about the divine revelation that God had given us.

How could someone have the audacity tell you that you did or didn't hear from God?

We were down but not out, so we continued with the ministry. As time progressed, we started getting airplay on local radio stations in our hometown. The more people heard on the group, the more we were called out to those that first rejected us.

Then this is what really drove the nail in. We started ministering God's word in the secular world, sharing the stage with heavy hitters in the R&B arena today (Morris Day, Avant, Keith Sweat, Musiq). The difference was that we were spreading the love of Jesus Christ at these concerts.

How ironic, the secular world received us with open arms as opposed to some of the church folk. The world accepted us for who we were, which was born again believers spreading the good news and not wavering in our faith. Some of the church folk was too busy examining our appearance, and our music but not witnessing the glory of the Lord that is on us.

I know that our ministry was created for the sick and not the well but why did it have to take the sick to make the well notice what they have?

Bottom line is this: the Gospel community is more political than others. It seems to be clique-affiliated, with people having a certain pre-defined criteria that they want other people to meet.

I say all that to say this. Why is it amongst our own "family" that we must face such harsh persecution? I feel the Gospel industry needs to step out of the"box" mentality and get out of their comfort zone. Since the beginning of time, man has gone through many drastic changes. Though man does not like change, it is a necessity we cannot run from.

We as a whole need to understand that God is doing a new thing. He is the author and the finisher of our faith, not anyone or anything else. Although we may not understand what God is doing all of the time, letís still trust God. Man has gone through multiple generations and although many are called, few are chosen.

The Moses generation was called but because they chose to look at what was set before them instead of what God had already made for them (the promise), God had to wait for the next generation to grow up and handle his business.

We are the next generation, the Joshua generation —called, chosen, and faithful. Will we choose to accept? Or will we focus on the problem and let the promise pass us by. God is using our generation in such a powerful, and tremendous way in this new day. Let's not let tradition keep us from his mission, which is spreading the Gospel....by any means necessary!

This may not be for everyone. But if you can't say amen, say Ouch!!

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