Godfather of Gospel Jazz Advocates Full Tank Living

Ben grew up in poverty in central Florida.  “We struggled to make ends meet,” says Ben.  “We were poor.”  His parents used public assistance to feed the family.  His dad had a 4th grade education and was a migrant worker.  “He picked oranges and picked up aluminum cans,” says Ben. While his dad was away, Ben would help his mom.  “I shoveled chicken manure on a farm,” says Ben who recalls powdered milk and powdered eggs as staples in his diet. By the time he was in 6th grade, Ben grew to be 6’6”.  “We looked at it as a miracle,” says Ben.  Everyone told Ben to pursue sports if he wanted a shot at a better life.

Ben loved playing tuba in the school band.  When it came time to decide on a college education, Ben received 30 scholarships for tuba and 35 for basketball.  When he asked his dad what to do, his father said, “Son, who’s gonna call you to play tuba tracks in the studio?” So Ben chose basketball with the hopes of going pro.  “I had a musical gift on my life, but I ignored it.” After a year of college, Ben dropped out for a shot at going pro.  He was invited to an exclusive pro combine where he would demonstrate his abilities and likely be drafted by an NBA team.  On the first day of scrimmage, Ben popped his knee.  “I knew as soon as I heard that pop that my dream had just been snatched away.”

With his hopes of playing pro ball dashed, Ben found himself with no college degree and facing poverty once again.  He was on a downward spiral: smoking pot, partying and chasing women.  One night, he was sitting in a dark room in sub-zero temperatures.  “I had no job, no purpose, no life and no hope of anything changing,” says Ben.  He decided to attend a nearby revival service, hoping for some peace and a hot meal.  “I knew they had food and refreshments after!” says Ben.  This service was different: Ben went to the altar and knelt down, surrendering all of his disappointments to the Lord.  The minister prayed over him and led Ben to the keyboards behind the pulpit.  Despite his love for music and experience with the tuba, Ben had never played the piano before.  “When I placed my hands on the keys that night, something wonderful happened!” says Ben who began to play like a seasoned professional.  He’s been playing ever since.  

Ben and Jewel previously hosted a local TV show called “Tuned for Destiny.”  They paid for studio time themselves and viewed it as an outreach for their ministry.  Ben used home video and behind the scenes footage which he shot on his iPhone for the show which viewers loved.  A producer at Bravo saw their YouTube clips and contacted them about a family show concept.  The show was the network’s highest rated freshman reality show with over 14 million viewers in its first season.  “Making Thicker Than Water has taught me that being an open, transparent person is actually a good thing because it helps other people see themselves honestly,” says Ben.  

“I’m all about life after death.  We talk about it all the time when we talk about Jesus.  That message applies to every area of our life,” says Ben.  The Full Tank metaphor helps readers understand that when the fuel tank in our car is low, it becomes uncomfortable. “We don’t want our lives that way. It’s a much better ride when you have a full tank,” he says.  A good place to start to live a Full Tank Life is in your daily routine.  “Success or failure is hidden in your daily routine,” says Ben who performs a self-alignment every morning by 7:59 am.  1.  Pray and Praise.  Honor God; 2. Exercise and Eat.  Maintain the temple; 3. Read and Reflect.  Get in a quiet space for 5 -10 minutes and do not take your cell phone. No technology. “God downloads the directions for your life in that quiet time,” he says.; 4. Dream and Direct.  Get the dream beyond the present and write out what you want to accomplish in the next 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months and 5 years.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Star, Bravo TV’s Thicker Than Water

Best-selling Gospel and Jazz musician with 15 Gold Records, 6 Platinum Records and has sold over 4 million copies of his albums

Known as the “Godfather of Gospel/Jazz” Motivational speaker for the NBA

Author, The Full Tank Life, Faith Works 2016

Pastor, Destiny Center, Murphreesboro, TN


Wife: Jewel

5 children

3 grandchildren


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