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What it do with Lue

Uprising Music Soul Artist, Philip Michael Thomas Jr., Discusses His Musical Plans with the WSS News Team

From left to right: WSS intern Noelle Lilley; rising musician Philip Michael Jr.; WSS editor Naomi Bonman; WSS intern Mitchell Young; and WSS intern Ernest Carter

From left to right: WSS intern Noelle Lilley; rising musician Philip Michael Jr.; WSS editor Naomi Bonman; WSS intern Mitchell Young; and WSS intern Ernest Carter

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – Philip Michael Thomas Jr., son of popular 80s TV series Miami Vice actor, was coddled at birth by the likes of legends Betty Wright and the Bob Marley Family. Entertainment runs through his veins.

After perfecting his craft and recording over 10 albums worth of material with some of music’s elite Grammy Award winners which include Akon, Tank, and Shakespeare; there is little mystery why this universal artist has such a diverse sound and fan base.

The Westside Story News team had the pleasure of interviewing the rising star where he shared his successful endeavors, what he is currently working on and what he has in store for his fans in the future. To view the interview, please click here.

“It’s A Darn Shame!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

It’s a darn shame that some of us have to hit rock bottom before God can get our attention. But it is only when the bottom falls out that we finally look up and cry out to God in desperation. Years ago I heard it said this way: “You’ll never know if Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. When Jesus is all you have, then you will know that Jesus is all you need.”  Man do I know that all too well. I have hit rock bottom several times throughout my lifetime, and I am sure many of you have too. Those times when sorrow seems to overpower, or self-pity has you in its clutches. Those times when you feel the most helpless to benefit those you love, or yourself. Those periods when you sense that trying to rectify your circumstances is pointless, and you lose all hope. You understand the feeling. We all have moments when we have that devastating desire to throw in the towel and give up. That feeling that being happy is impossible, and accepting that life is too difficult seems like the solution. After striving and vowing in your own strength… then failing… after piously telling others how to act …then failing…after judging others… then failing. Times when it seem like everything goes wrong and the bottom falls out of life. I tell you, Hitting rock bottom is hard! And when you’re at the bottom, life is not quiet and peaceful, serene and orderly; life is crowded and dark, scary and disordered. 

We expect life to have a few bumps, but not constant roller-coaster rides full of pain, misery and bruises, one after another, after another and another. Suffering and sorrow are a part of life, but knowing this, however, do not make it any easier to cope with when you find yourself in the midst of the deepest, darkest trials of faith. If you are suffering to the point of despair, let these words of encouragement help you hang on to your faith. The good news is in the Scripture. God says, “I have observed the misery of my people… I have heard their cry… I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them” (Exodus 3. 7-8).

God’s word is full of examples of men and women who hit rock bottom: David, Elijah, Manasseh, Jonah, Judas, The Rich Young Ruler, Tax Collectors and Sinners, the Sinful Woman, the Prodigal Son, Job, Peter and Paul just to name a few. Elijah’s rock bottom was different from Jonah’s, which was different from the Prodigal’s Son, which was different than Paul’s. You know, when I was in a pit, I thought that if I could just get my act together I would be okay and just snap out of it and be healed. That process took over 3 years and the whole time I was too stubborn to surrender it all to God, but the moment I let go, life became so much more joyful and finally I saw the worth in living life again. In those times when your joy or abilities are stripped away and you realize that all you have left is Jesus, you’ll discover, as I have, that Jesus is all you need. When I was so far down that all I could do was look up, I always found that God was there with me. Perhaps this is the only answer I have to offer to the perplexing question of God’s presence in the tragedies of our lives. Scriptures affirm that God will always compassionately respond. But we want miracles. We want answers. We want all those things which seldom seem to come our way. Until we step back; until the emotions have been rescued from anxiety; until confusion has been transformed into calm; only then will we realize, even at the bottom of our barrel, God was, and God is, always there.

When God finally got a hold of my heart and opened my eyes I saw the situation in a whole new way and realized that although it was a hard few years, He had still protected me and I came out stronger, knowing the purpose and mission in ministry He had for me. {When a person hits rock bottom, and they reach the lowest point in their lives, they are awakened to the reality that their lives must change}. God brought beauty from ashes. And the amazing thing about God is that His power is never ending and has no limits. He will go through everything with us, so if you take a leap of faith and turn the moments of weakness into moments of total surrender, God will use you to do awesome things to further His kingdom! So rather than being discouraged, be encouraged, remembering the promise of God, that He will work all things together for good for those who love Him.

Today, if you’ve hit rock bottom, call out to God. If you have not come to Jesus, let today be your rock bottom. If you are weary, tired, discouraged, need a fresh start, if you know your life is going nowhere, if you want your sins forgiven, if you want to know God, drop what you are doing and surrender to the Lord. Don’t delay, don’t put it off, and don’t make any excuses. Drop everything and do it now!  Do it right now!  You do not have to be like the Manasseh or the Prodigal Son; you do not have to go that low before you open your eyes to Christ. You can be like Paul or the Philippians Jailer, have a crisis of conscience, and give your life to Christ today.

I want you to know that my journey contains glimpses into the most real places of my heart as it intersects with God, others, and the world around me. My paths have often taken unexpected twists and turns. As I walk those paths, I deeply long too share in such a way that will strengthen and encourage those who travel with me. Hope you’ll join me on the journey. I invite your comments and love it when you recommend www.wssnews.com to your friends.

SAN BERNARDINO CITY UNIFIED STARTS SCHOOL YEAR WITH ONE MORE NEW SCHOOL AND RENAMES ANOTHER CAMPUS IN HONOR OF FORMER MAYOR

H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School

H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School

San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) will welcome students back for classes on Monday, August 4, the same day it opens the new H. Frank Dominguez Elementary School and the renamed W. R. “Bob” Holcomb Elementary School.

Dominguez Elementary School, located at 135 S. Allen Street, will serve 408 students in grades kindergarten through six. It is named for Vanir Group of Companies founder H. Frank Dominguez, who passed away in 2004 and left a legacy of community and philanthropic service.

Dominguez Elementary will be an exploratory school, where students will begin learning about potential careers while developing 21st-Century skills, like creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and civility, said Principal Alejandro Hernandez.

“We’re not going to put limits on our students,” said Hernandez, who previously served as principal of Muscoy Elementary School. “Our job is to help them explore the world and find their passion, whether it be engineering or culinary arts.”

Dominguez Elementary will hold a weeklong open house for parents and students starting on July 28 from 9 to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday.

The former Little Mountain Elementary campus, located at 1345 West 48th Street in San Bernardino’s north end, has been renamed W. R. “Bob” Holcomb Elementary School in memory of the man who went on to become the city’s longest-serving mayor.  Holcomb, who championed civil rights and helped bring Cal State San Bernardino to the city, died in 2010.

Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden believes both schools will be a renewed source of pride and hope for San Bernardino.

“The namesakes of these two schools were great community leaders who dedicated their lives to instilling hope in our city,” Marsden said.  “Their legacy will remain alive as students learn about them and are inspired to aim for a bright future of their own.”