Blake and EJ
Co-Laboring In Love
(Please listen to Blake and EJ’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)
My name is Blake, I’m the owner of Hair Revival studio, co-owner of Hair Revival studio. You’ll meet my business partner EJ. We want to tell you the story of how the salon got started because Jesus loves the marketplace. And He loves being in business. It’s a co-laboring that He’s invited me into and invited EJ into. I was a 24 year old, irresponsible person that had just met Jesus, really. I mean, I grew up in a Christian household, but I didn’t know Jesus intimately. And so I hadn’t been a good steward of my finances. I hadn’t been a good steward of my relationships. I really hadn’t been a good steward in a lot of things. So here I was, 24, no money saved and God was inviting me in to start a business.
He spoke to me, out of Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always and in everything give thanks. Be in continual prayer, for this is the will for you in Christ Jesus.” And that’s my staple. That’s just where I, that’s my staple with the Lord. That’s where I came to know Him deeply. It’s when I heard His voice the first time. And so out of that place of thanksgiving and continual prayer, the Lord gave me the idea for Hair Revival and the business. He told me in prayer that if I wanted a supernatural lifestyle to cultivate it, and so I’m like, “God, what does that mean?” He said, “Pray. Be specific with your prayer and trust Me.” And so that looked like me praying with friends at the church about a space that I’d like. I prayed for a independent space, natural lighting, good parking; the impossible in downtown Dallas, Texas. Essentially, a man gave me 10 hair cutting chairs, 10 mirrors, a washer, dryer, a front desk, everything you need. He owned a salon, and he was building out a new salon. And I met him “by chance”, met him by divine appointment with the Holy Spirit. That was through another prayer with a friend who said, “Hey, you should go check out the space.” It wasn’t the space I ended up in. But it’s where I met this man. He signed the lease for a new salon and I began the journey of becoming his friend. He ended up handing me down his old salon. I still needed about $15,000 to get started.
The story is so deep, I’m trying to hit the highlights here. But, for three months I prayed and decided to not go to the bank to get that $15,000. God is the only qualification I had, Holy Spirit qualification, I had to really get into business and hard work. And “Yes,” just a “yes” for Him. The Lord had told me He wanted to provide and He wanted to provide super-naturally. So I wait three months. They delayed me three months because his new salon was being built out. They were like, “Hey, can you wait a little bit longer?” I’m like, “Yes, I can wait longer.” I have no money, but they don’t know this. I [thought], “Well, maybe God wants me to get a bank loan, small bank loan. But I walked in [to the bank] and I felt like I was cheating on God. That’s the best way to describe it. I walked in the bank, and I felt like idolatry hit my heart. Like [God was saying,] “you heard My voice. You heard My word, have faith.” So I left there (the bank) and I told him (the clerk) Jesus was going to provide. I didn’t need a bank loan. That was a Friday. Saturday, I was playing drums for a worship set at a church called The Upper Room. This is when it was a really small church. It was the healing set and Joe Newton was the guy who would lead prayer. He gave me a word. He said, I’ve got a word from God from you. And again, it’s all very new. I’m like, “Oh, a word from God. Everybody wants a word from God.? He said, “past kindnesses will pay future dividends.” And I just kind of held on to that.
Saturday was a great day. Sunday, we had church. Monday, I worked all day. The next day, my client texted me and she was like, “Can I get in? She was not really a godly lady, but she was awesome. She came in at 7:30; I stayed late at the end of my day. And she’s asks, “When you’re going to get a salon? When you’re going to do something?” And I’m totally surrendered this whole thing. Like, maybe this isn’t going to be. Essentially, the following day, a guy was going to close the door to a salon. He was going to give me the key and I was going to take over; like a turnkey situation. But I needed $15,000 to do all this and I was just going to not make it happen. She was asking me what I need. I said, “At the end of day, I need $15,000 and I can start a salon tomorrow.” She’s like, “What?” I told her the whole story. And she tells me, “Well, on the way here, God told me to bring you a check.” And she pulled out a blank check and signed it over, $15,000. She said, “Pay me back if you can. If you don’t, no worries; I’ll I’ll write it off.” And the next day I went to the bank, deposit the money, and I start writing checks and praying a lot.
So after about a year of being in business at the original location, I had a dream. I’m standing in front of two salons. One, I know the salon. It was called Halo Salon. The other was a building I’d never seen before. In the dream God said, “Time to open up a new salon. Buy Halo and redeem it (because Halo had a halo…) or build next to your church and I’ll bless it. That was a Sunday night. I woke up Monday morning; I’m off work. I got ready, got breakfast, and I went to Halo. I just went by there and walked in. There was a real estate agent coming out and I end up meeting the people (owners) right then and there. And they were like, “Yeah, we’re listing the business and salon for sale.” I remember briefly talking to them, but they were needing a lot more money than we thought it was worth and could afford because of some debt needed to be paid off. So I went to the church that I was at, The Upper Room, and start driving around. I see a building and I was like this is building! This the building from the dream. Less than half a mile away, 0.3 miles away, from the church.
I’m sitting outside. I’ll never forget; I was reading in Chronicles. I was reading about David. Reading about the tabernacle. David got the tabernacle; got it back all the way and then he put a tent around it. He got four main people in charge to steward the 6,000, I think, that were in the tent, doing mostly singing and all sorts of stuff. This is where the Psalms were written and all that. So Asaph, which you don’t realize, Asaph actually wrote some of the Psalms, I believe. But, he was in charge of the worship. He was minister of the symbols, was the ESV [translation]. I remember thinking, “Man, I’m a minister the symbols. I’m a drummer. EJ is a drummer.” I’m like, “I’m a minister of the symbols. Like, sometimes you’re back there and you’re just like…it’s just a lot of symbols. So it really spoke to me. I’m walking around this building. ([I feel like] Jesus has been my real estate agent, no offense to Joe, but Jesus has been my real estate agent. I have never had to really get one. You know?) So, I remember walking around the building and this older man sees me. I’m just kind of walking around, exploring. He’s like, “Can I help you?” I’m like, “Nah, I’m just exploring.” He’s like, “Well, I’m the owner of the building, so what are you doing?” And I’m like, “Oh, my name is Blake. I’m a salon owner. I’m thinking this might be a good location for salon.” He’s like, “Well, I’m Jim Asaph.” I’m like, “Oh, you gotta be kidding me?!” He’s like, “No. Why?” I said, “because I’m reading my Bible…” And he was like, “Well, I don’t believe in that. I’m Buddhist.” I said, “Well, you don’t have to believe in it to hear this.” I said, “Asaph’s in the Bible and he’s awesome.” He’s like, “Really? There’s a guy…?” And I’m like, “Yeah!” And he’s kind of interested, a little bit. And I tell him about it. I’m like, “The biggest move of God on the earth. King David. He got what was the presence of God at the time, put it in a tent and got 6,000 people on salary to worship around it. You are in charge of that. Or, your name. You know, that guy.” He’s like, “That’s actually pretty cool.” I’m like, “Yes. Very cool.” So we have this conversation and he’s not interested in a salon being here. He’s just not interested in it. Like, “it’s not what we’re doing here.” I was like, “Okay, well, in six months, I’ll be back ready to sign a lease.” That’s just what I said. And so I gave him a card.
Me and EJ worshipped in the parking lot. We prayed over the space. We claimed it for Jesus. We just knew that it was Him doing it. And when you know it’s the Lord’s moving, that’s just it. Six months later, we come back and they’ve had a change of heart. They’ve actually came by our old location, just to see what we were up to there and check us out. They were like, “We really thought a business that would bring a lot of traffic would be good.” We signed a lease, got started on the build out, and about halfway through our build out we had a letter on our door, at the old spot, that said, we’re being rezoned. We got a couple extensions, but we ended up deciding to move everyone over to the new spot after it got built out. And that was how we ended up where we are. I’m telling you, that’s exactly how every day goes.
I hope that’s all very clear. I was trying to make it [consice]. There’s so much more. There’s so many more prayers, so many more supernatural encounters. God is in the little and He’s in the big, but what I took away from all that is, “pray specifically.” You know? I prayed specifically for $15,000. I prayed specifically for a building. I prayed specifically for husband and wife to come help me and that’s where my business partner comes into the story. It doesn’t always look like what you expect. He wasn’t my business partner at first. He just started coming into work for me, serving me, and his wife came with him. We just started our journey. One day, I woke up and I just knew that I knew, that I knew, that I needed to have a business partner and EJ was that guy. I had freely been given the salon so I gave EJ half the salon and it’s been the best business decision I’ve ever made. Here’s EJ.
The safest place is in His will for you. And, the revealed will of God is being thankful and praying always, but He has a specific will for everyone and it comes out of intimacy.
EJ: Blake said this one time, and I remember him saying it, but he said, “When you’re sensitive to what God is saying about someone, or about their situation, and you listen with intent and love, you can really impact their life. Or, the Lord can really impact their life, through you.” What I realize is that Hair Revival has been a vehicle. It’s a way to people’s hearts. For me personally, Hair Revival has been a blessing as a ministry. It’s been ministry the whole time. I mean, I’ll look down the row and see Blake praying for someone, or prophesying over someone, or laying hands on the sick or someone’s leg that’s messed up.
Blake: We mostly just pray for each other’s clients. It’s like, “Hey, come…” It’s usually, “I’m not feeling it.” So then I’m like, “EJ, pray for my client.” I asked EJ to pray for my client who was about to have double knee surgery.
EJ: It’s funny because I wasn’t really feeling it either, to be completely honest. I just kept going on about my haircut that I was doing, because I was really in a good conversation with someone. As I put my, actually I was in a color, as I put my color under the dryer, I see this lady sitting under one of the dryers. And she’s got her eyes closed. She’s rubbing both of her knees, and you can just tell she’s in a lot of pain. I see her, and as I passed her, my heart is just moved with compassion. But I’m still having the internal battle of like, I don’t want to pray for someone in front of people or whatever. What are people going to think of me? It was it was a packed house. There’s a lot of people shampooing their clients back there. And I just really feel like the Lord grips my heart again with compassion. Immediately I was like, I know now; I gotta go. I walk up to her and I said, (because her eyes were closed and she’s still rubbing her knees) I said, “You got that?” Just kind of making a joke. She kind of laughed and she was like, “My knees are just really hurting me really bad.” I start asking her about her knees. She starts telling me that there’s no cartilage in her knees. That she’s already had three surgeries on her knees and they still can’t fix the problem. She said that she was going to try some new thing. They were going to inject a gel in there, like temporary cartlidge and that maybe that would fix it. But there’s only like a 40% guarantee that that could even work.
I’m just listening to her. I’m looking at her right in the eyes. Internally, I’m just processing with the Lord. And I knew. I always know that the Lord wants to heal. I could see it in her eyes; she was ready to receive her healing. So I’m just looking at her and I said, “Okay, well, can I pray for your knees?” And she’s like, “Yes, please.” I get down on my knees in front of like, and again, you guys, we were packed that day. So I’m on my knees now, praying for this old lady’s knees. Well, she wasn’t that old. Sorry, I should have left that out. You can edit that out later. I’m praying for this lady’s knees and as I’m praying, I could still feel…I’m still worried about people that are watching. I’m still just kind of in my flesh and I’m kind of going through the motions, to be completely honest. And I’m just…my faith is at a one. I’m just like, “What am I doing?” You know? Then I felt like the Lord [says], I want you to blow on her knee. I had heard the scripture about dry bones coming to life and I was really wrestling with that. So then, instead of continue praying, I just stopped praying. I just go silent because I’m now hearing God’s voice telling me to blow on her knee. But I’m just really wrestling within. I look at her, and I think her name was Martha, but I say “Martha, this is gonna sound really strange. But I feel like the Lord is wanting me to blow on your knee.” She was like, “Honey, if you have to spit on my knee, you do what you need to do.” And so now I’m blowing on this lady’s knee. It was so hard to do that, I remember. And I don’t know if it was necessarily just for her, or if it was for me; because when I did that, it immediately got me out of my flesh. I was like, “Well, there’s nothing more embarrassing than me on my knees in front of my whole staff blowing on this lady’s legs.”
Immediately after that, I saw her dancing. I saw her in my mind. I saw her dancing. And I remember this church service I was in where the worship leader had everyone waltz. And it offended me, that service. I remember thinking, “This is the dumbest thing ever.” But God used that moment and a lot of people got set free from a lot of different things. I said, “Martha? When’s the last time you danced?” She just starts weeping. She starts telling me she used to be a dancer and she used to dance with her husband. Her husband passed away. And she’s like, “I haven’t danced since my husband passed away.” I said, “Oh, I see you dancing. So, may I have this dance?” So I put out my hand, she takes my hand, and I said, “I see you dancing for your healing.” I started dancing around the salon with this lady. And at this point, we’re in our own little world. I’m not even seeing people around me. We’re waltzing up and down the runway of our salon and she is just weeping. She has no pain and she’s dancing. It’s funny how when the pain goes away, people try to find it. Right when we get done dancing, I was like, “Are you still in pain?” And she’s looking for it. She’s like, “Well, maybe. Maybe there’s…” And then she just loses it. She realizes there’s no pain in her legs. I told her, I said, “If pain ever comes back, or tries to, just dance. Dance.” Because she had no pain you guys. She ended up writing Blake, I think several weeks later.
Blake: Yeah, I got an email. No knee pain. No surgery. No nothing. Doctors said there was, I think, new cartilage in her knees. We can pull that email up. I can send that to you. And there’s been a lot of these stories. It’s not just one or two, but it’s probably one of the highlights, I would say. Ha Ha. Pun. It was just a really sweet time, seeing her dance and come alive. It was just really beautiful. I never thought that hairdressing would be a ministry. But it’s the best ministry. It’s the most invasive ministry. I mean, I get 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes three hours, if it’s a big color service. But ministering or listening to somebody, hearing them, meeting them where they are and loving them. You get to lay hands on people. You have to lay hands on people. I mean, Isaiah 61 it says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me to preach good news. To preach good news to the captives.To preach good news to set free the captives, to bind up the brokenhearted.” And it says to take the ashes, their ashes, and give them a crown of glory. That’s where the crown in our logo comes from. That’s the foundation of it all for us, is taking people’s ashes and giving them a crown of glory, or at least doing our best.
You get all walks of life through your chair. You know? Essentially, you get to build this relationship with a lawyer who works in a downtown law firm, and then you get to build a relationship with a bartender. And so, I mean, in my eyes and my mind, because this is the call that God put on my life, I’m like, “Jesus is changing the world through the hair salon.” You know? That’s what I see. That’s how I see. So I’m like, “Come on!” It’s my little church. Essentially.