Here is an interview I did that explains why I started CoverednTheWORD Christian T-shirts and Tank Tops and also where it is heading. I wanted to re share this, because at the end I talk about the homeless ministry opportunity that I believe God is calling me to and that journey is beginning! I’m planning to use this blog to share the testimony of how the ministry gets started, so you all can see God’s hands at work in this an be inspired to pursue what ever He calls you to do!
When did you start your walk with the Lord?
This would seem like it would be a straight forward answer, but I’m sorry to say that is not the case for me. Let me try to explain what I’m talking about. I grew up going to church most of my life, but not because I wanted to be there. It was just what my family did on Sundays and part of our routine. I actually remember at a young age I also dreaded Sunday morning since I just didn’t want to go, but my parents made me. I did activities at the church including vacation Bible school which is where I prayed the salvation prayer for the first time. Thing is I really didn’t know what asking Jesus to be my Lord and savior meant, I just did it because everyone else was and it was what you were supposed to do.
Later when I was in high school I began to get a little more serious about God. I tried to read the Bible a bit, prayed more, went to youth groups, even got into Christian music and away from the Rap that I was listening to. I called myself a Christian whenever anyone would ask, but again honestly I didn’t really know what that meant and wasn’t living very differently. For the longest time I believed that following the 10 commandments was what got you into heaven. I mean I knew of Jesus, but I didn’t know Him!
So then I went to college and this is where I completely turned away from God. I was a good student and person most of the time, but I got really into drinking and partying. Also my addiction to pornography grew increasingly stronger. The whole time I was at college I only went to church one time and probably only prayed a handful of times. Mainly only when I needed something(I had that mentality that God was my personal genie and I could just call on Him to give me stuff). Living this way I believe is what led me to chase after the money and fame associated with the fitness industry. The choices I made while chasing after money and not God are what led me to the darkest times of my life.
It was going through this period of my life that ultimately led me back to God and the Bible for comfort when I was down, lost, defeated, and depressed after returning home from Florida. This is the time when God really got hold of my life! This is when I started living as a Christian and not just under the title of being called one. I started going to church, but for the first time I was going, because I actually wanted to be there. I began to study my bible often and that is when I learned that faith in Jesus Christ and what He did through the finished work of the cross is what actually saves you and gives you eternal life in heaven. I once again prayed for Jesus to be my LORD and savior, but this time I knew what I was doing! I knew that faith in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection was the key to my salvation and that it was this gift of God’s grace that actually saved me. After this my relationship with God grew stronger and stronger daily and a few short years later I would be led to start CoverednTheWORD!
So to me this is when my walk with the LORD really truly began and this is when my life was turned around forever. I made choices at this time to seek God and to be in His presence daily! I let His love overflow my life and I have not been the same since!
How has your life changed since?
I’m a much happier person now not just emotionally happy, but I have true joy in my life. I have been lifted out of depression, led away from pornography, stopped cursing, had the love of money removed from my life, and ultimately just stopped being such a selfish & greedy person. When I look at my life now I can’t even imagine that I was once living in such a different way. Now I hunger and thirst for the LORD daily! Since my life was turned around I can honestly say that I don’t remember a day that I have not spent time talking with GOD. I’m not talking about just deep prayer either, I’m talking about daily conversations with Him just the same as if I was talking to one of my friends or family. What really changed my life was the more I would fill myself up with him(through the Bible, Prayer, daily conversations, worship music, sermons, etc) the less room there was for all the negative things that had once had control over me. It really is true the more time you spend daily in His presence, the less you will desire things of the flesh(am I still tempted yes, but now Christ is my strength to resist! I no longer have to do it on my own, which always led to failure)
Since I really started my walk with the LORD CoverednTheWORD has been a major part of that change. Starting this company has been an amazing experience and it has had a big impact on my own faith. The name CoverednTheWORD came from wanting to literally and figuratively cover people in the WORD of God and it started with me wanting to cover myself. When I started the company I was pretty shy and not the kind of person that would be sharing/talking about Jesus Christ with strangers. Now because of it I’m much bolder and I get excited about opportunities to share the Gospel of grace with people and connect with other Christians. I also personally know a lot more scripture, because if you’re going to wear shirts with such important and powerful messages on them you had better be ready to explain and talk about those messages when people ask you!
It’s also a great daily reminder about who I am living my life for and what my real purpose is. If you are going to wear Christian t-shirts on a daily basis then you need to make sure you are conducting yourself in a way that makes others want to know more about Jesus Christ(not run from Him). Now I’m in no way stating that I’m perfect or anywhere close to it! All I’m saying is that I want to reflect Jesus Christ’s love to everyone that I interact with. Even if we don’t directly talk about Him, I believe when they see the shirt I’m wearing they will know where the love and passion I display originates from. If I’m friendly, treat them with respect, handle situations without anger and complaining, etc then they will eventually wonder what makes me different. The shirts I wear give them the answer to that wonder, even when I don’t get to directly tell them.
Also I have met a lot of great Christian brothers and sisters as a result of starting this company! I have friendships with people in other states that I have never met face to face as a direct result of CoverednTheWORD. We call each other and just pour God’s love into one another’s lives and share what He is doing. Every time I get off the phone with one of them I just feel so energized and excited about life and what God is capable of!
Starting CoverednTheWORD has helped me refocus my life on what really matters, a relationship with God through Christ and sharing that with others. Before all of this I was very greedy, selfish, and always focused on me, me, me! The Bible says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil and I loved money. Pursuing money is what led me to Florida and all the horrible experiences and choices I made that led me farther from God. Now I look to help others and focus on what I can do to have a positive impact in their lives. I try to see how I can use what God has blessed me with to be a blessing to others. I can be completely honest with you in telling you that if I started CoverednTheWORD with a focus/goal of money the company would not have lasted 6 months! It would not exist right now I’m sure of that! My passion to spread Gods word is what keeps me going when the business is slow. Receiving messages and feedback from people’s lives that have been impacted as a result of CoverednTheWORD is what this is all about!
So how did you get started in this business? What made you start selling t-shirts with the Word on them?
Shortly after graduating college from Texas State University in late 2007 I found myself moving to Florida to pursue a dream of fitness based modeling. I got out there and found nothing but false hope, deceitful people, and lies. It was a really bad time for me and I even got back into drinking & partying almost every night. I was unfortunately really far away from the LORD during this time. Eventually everything fell through in Florida and I moved back to Texas.
When I got back to Texas I was pretty down, defeated, and depressed because of everything I had experienced. I honestly didn’t know what to do with my life at that point. Sometime later I got this idea that I would create a clothing company with my friends that would make us rich, popular, and attract women. I was desiring after all the wrong things in life and was still not on a good track. I did research on how to start a clothing company and after working on design ideas for a while, it finally came time to actually produce the products. That is when all my friends bailed on me and wanted me to put up all the money to start it. After feeling abandoned by them I quickly lost interest and gave up on the idea.
After the failed clothing company idea I got job working as a personal trainer at a local gym( my major in college was Exercise Sports Science), I enjoyed helping people with fitness but something just didn’t feel right. I knew something in my life was still missing, but couldn’t figure out what. Then I began to listen to one of Joel Osteens audio books(I know there are mixed feelings about his teachings, but there is no denying that his books promote positivity). So after listening to his book I began to feel a strong desire to get into my Bible and start reading again. This also led me back to going to church for the first time since college and this time I was attending because I wanted to be there not because I was supposed to go!
My hunger for Gods’ word just continued to grow and grow over the next few years( I had tasted again and saw that it was good!). I began to study the Bible on my own a lot more and prayer was a very regular part of my everyday life. So fast forward to about 2010 when I moved up to Round Rock Texas which is where I live now. When I moved here my relationship with God was very strong and my life’s focuses had really changed a lot. So one day after being in the new area for a few weeks I decided I wanted to go to a Christian bookstore(I had not been to one since I was in high school). I went to pick up some more books to help me get even deeper into my relationship with God and discover more about His will for my life. While I was there I saw some Christian T-shirts that I thought were pretty cool, so I bought a few of them(My first Christian T-shirts I had ever purchased).
See prior to 2008 I had called myself a Christian and believe in Jesus Christ, but if I’m honest I still didn’t really know what that meant(so there was no way I was going to wear a Christian T-shirt, because the last thing I wanted was people to ask me about it). So I bought the shirts, some, books and a few scripture based decorations to keep in my new room. By this time in my life and my walk with God I was now ready and excited to talk to people about Jesus Christ(The real Good News of life). I decided I would start wearing the newly purchased shirts to the gym where I was working out at. From the first day I wore one of the shirts I received comments about it and conversations were created. This continued to happen almost every time I wore the shirts to the gym. I had people of all ages and demographics talking to me about the messages on them. Saying things like “I love that shirt” , “That message is exactly what I needed”, and “It’s really great to see a young man carrying himself the way that you do.” That last one really shocked me and I’ll explain why.
First was because it came from a very nice elderly women, which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal right? Well you have to realize that I probably didn’t look the way you would expect for someone of her age to want to talk to, much less make that kind of comment about. I was pretty muscular back then and I have multiple tattoos that were visible. I believe a big part of that comment and just the comfort level of her approaching me was due to the message on my shirt and probably that she had seen me wearing others before.
Shortly after this experience and several more conversations it really sunk in how powerful the right message on a t-shirt was! I realized that even if you didn’t have the chance to speak a word to somebody that just by them seeing the message on your shirt you could positively impact them. Also I knew from personal experiences that the conversations that were created by them could be very important and most of the time leave people feeling great! I knew that a scripture based shirt had the potential to share with someone and/or lead to a conversation to talk about Jesus Christ’s love and salvation.
At this point I was enjoying the conversations and interactions I was having with people, because of the Christian shirts I was wearing that I wanted to wear them all the time! The problems were I only had a couple so I couldn’t wear them every day( now as you might have guessed I pretty much wear one every day) and honestly the shirt material(heavy cotton) was not what I like to wear when I was working out. That is when the idea came to me that I should make my own Christian t-shirts that had the messages I wanted to share and also were done on the type of material that I wanted to wear.
This brought me back to when I had tried to start the first clothing company with my friends when I was far away from God and wanted to do it for all the wrong reasons( Fame, Fortune , and Women). I had done so much research back then, that I knew how to do it now. I don’t believe that the research I did several years back was by accident. I really feel if I had not had that interest to start a clothing company back then, there would be no way I would have even considered that it was possible now.
So I prayed about it and talked to friends and family for a while. I knew it was what I was supposed to do I just didn’t know which route would be the best to take to make it happen. Do I buy my own equipment and print myself or do I pay someone to print for me? After a lot of careful consideration and prayer I decided to actually purchase my equipment and learn how to print the shirts myself. I borrowed some money from family and spent the next month learning the process and developing my skills to print my own t-shirts. On December 26 2011 I launched the online store and began offering CoverednTheWORD t-shirts to the public and the journey still continues today!
What message do you want to send out with your shirts?
The love that God has shown for me through the gift of His Beloved Son Jesus dying on the cross so that my sins are forgiven and I have eternal life in heaven is AMAZING! It’s really more than words can even describe and I want others to know that love too! I want to reach people anywhere and at anytime with God’s WORD and remind them how special they are. I want to show them that no matter what they are going through, God is with them and loves them more than they probably know. If more people could understand how much our Heavenly Father loves them I truly believe they would not live depressed, angry, discouraged, hurt, and broken lives anymore. God is the ultimate healer and His love conquers all things!
Also I want to encourage people to communicated and love on others more. We have become a society that doesn’t have conversation with each other anymore unless it’s someone you already know. How can you know someone if when you are out in public you A.) don’t talk or B.) don’t want people to talk with you? Sometimes all someone really needs is for someone to listen to them and show that they care. This simple act can completely turn a person’s entire day around and if that conversation ends up being about Jesus then it can change their whole life! These shirts are meant to encourage conversations to take place between people by allowing them to feel more comfortable and less withdrawn. Just like the elderly lady that talked to me at the gym, she felt comfortable approaching me and we were able to have a nice conversation. More of this needs to happen!
Where do you want this company to grow into?
I just want it to go wherever God wants to take it! Where He leads I will follow! The doors of opportunity and connections that God has made happen show me that He has big plans for CoverednTheWORD. I just want the items to help more and more people know and spread Gods love and the powerful saving message of His son Jesus Christ’s death burial and resurrection. It would be great to have our items in Christian bookstores and places like that, but I really feel they could have the biggest impact in places people would not normally expect to come across Gods word daily. Places like other retail stores, gyms, gas stations/convince stores, etc.
When somebody walks into a Christian bookstore they typically know what they will see, which is great for people wanting to buy items for their personal growth or as ministry tools for their lives(Which is what CoverenTheWORD shirts are meant to be). If someone who is not a Christian see the items in a gym or convince store they may not buy them, but they have the opportunity to plant seeds. Seeds that God can use to reach them with His love and ultimately that is what this is all about!
I also believe God is currently in the process of leading me towards starting a ministry that is focused on the homeless in my area. This ministry will help them by offering them work, so they can develop the necessary skills and have the resources to not stay stuck homelessness. It’s great to help homeless people by giving them food, blankets, and warm clothes(I encourage you to do that!), but that just helps them survive being homeless. I feel a desire to help provide an opportunity for them to move forward out of that position of their life and I want to do that by teaching them the skills of screen printing. It’s a job I know they can do and it will provide them the ability to earn an income. This steady work and being built up on a foundation of Christ’s love for them is what they will need to go forward and start truly living again! I believe I have been given the ability to provide that opportunity for them.
I have been given a vision of a warehouse filled with happy employees working for the LORDS purpose while they are being uplifted daily with God’s word and truth! This is just beginning and there is still a lot to do in order to make it happen, but I know God will provide the guidance and resources needed to establish this ministry. I will be sharing the journey of creating it and running on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CoveredntheWORD) so if you haven’t liked us yet you should go do that. It’s going to be an amazing journey and I would love to have you come enjoy it with us!
So we can get to know you as a person, where are you from?
I’m from all over, no really my parents were both in the Air Force so I moved a lot. I was born in San Antonio Texas, moved to Illinois, then to California, next to Alabama, then overseas to Germany, and then when my mom finally retired back to Texas. When we moved back to Texas we lived in Harlingen, which is in the Rio Grande Valley about 10 mins from South Padre Island and near the Mexico border. I live down in the valley for the majority of my life until I moved to San Marcos for college. I attended Texas State University where I got my bachelors in Exercise Sports Science(no not fashion, graphics design, or anything like that). You see I didn’t know that starting a clothing company was a part of Gods plan at that time, I was focused on my goals of fame and fortune being in the fitness industry. I now live in Round Rock Texas which is less than 15minutes away from Austin and I have lived here for a little over 3 years.
Do you have any kids? A family?
No kids yet, not sure when that chapter of my life will begin. I’m not in a relationship and I’m just patiently waiting for God to lead me to the right woman who is pursuing Him and knows that He is her number one most important relationship. Sometimes I feel eager to get that part of my life started since I am 31 years old, but I trust Gods plan and know He is setting things up exactly how He needs it to be!
What are some other ways in your personal life you are touching lives?
I just try to live life in a way that reflects Jesus’ love with everyone I come across. I maintain a positive attitude and I’m constantly letting people know that it’s God strength that gives me this ability. I try to handle all the situations that life presents in ways that point to Jesus and give God glory. That way if someone is watching (even if I don’t know) then they can hopefully get strength to face the situation in their lives. I’m also willing to listen or talk with people who are going through rough situations and just speak Gods love into their lives. Sometimes they simple need to be reminded whose they are, what God as said about them, and how much He cares for them. The Bible is a very powerful tool and when you start speaking it into people’s lives changes take place!
I also use social media in a way that is different than most people(even myself a few years back). I made a choice a few years back to keep all social media positive and uplifting. I don’t post a lot of negative things or complaining. Don’t get me wrong my life is not perfect and I deal with situations just like everyone else, but I don’t see a point in spreading that negativity to others. Unless there is an opportunity to show Gods goodness in something I’m facing I don’t let everyone know what I’m going through. Instead I post scriptures, positive videos & pictures, or just whatever message I feel God has placed on my heart to share.
Like today for instance Gods love and goodness was just flooding me and His presence was so strong I shared this message with my facebook friends.
” I just want to tell you that when you truly know Gods love for you there is absolutely NO WAY that you can remain the same! It’s not possible! You will LOVE more! You will GIVE more! You will BE A BLESSING! You will handle situations differently than those around you. You will WORRY LESS! You will FEAR LESS! You will HURT LESS!
JESUS CHRIST did not die to condemn & judge you( that is what other people do). He died to SET YOU FREE & so you can LIVE FREE!
When you let GOD take control of your life, you will LIVE MORE!
Don’t take my word for it, turn to Him today and ask Him to show you! HE WILL! “
It was just the message that God’s love and presence was leading me to share today. I know there is someone who needed to see & be reminded of this. When you give God more and more control of your life it will completely amaze you at the things He will do. You will be talking to people that you normally wouldn’t have approached. You will make decisions that lead you to great opportunities to minister and bless others. The key is you have to be open and willing to let God move through you and you have to listen to what He is saying!
As you might have guessed I pretty much wear a CoverednTheWORD shirt every day, so where ever I go people have the opportunity to be touched by Gods word even if we don’t speak a word to each other. I don’t just tell people that wearing a scripture inspired t-shirt can have a huge impact on people I live it daily and can testify to the results. It can be a blessing to others around you, but you would be surprised by how much of a blessing it is to you as well.
Where can we find your shirts? Do you have a store?
We are not in any retail stores yet, but I feel that is coming very soon! I try to have booths at a few fitness shows in Texas every year. The events are usually around the Dallas and Houston areas.