Lecrae Concert

This past Friday I went with a bunch of friends to a concert at a church in Lancaster, PA that was the final act of a missions conference.  The artists performing were Reily and Lecare, which I was really excited for!  I have seen a bunch of Christian rap artists live but I have never seen Lecrae and he is definitely one of my favorite artists.  Besides the music being awesome (and the DJ!), the messages he shared between songs were equally great.  It’s awesome how these Christian rappers have such a passion for the Lord and have such a great knowledge of Scripture because they pour hours of study of the Word when they write their rhymes.  Their devotion to their faith is always so evident when they pour out their souls into their music and it causes myself and others to be drawn deeper into love and appreciation for Jesus as well.

But it is always a struggle during concerts to not fall into the trap of idolizing the performer and elevating them to a position of importance higher than the God they’re singing about.  The rhymes and music point to Jesus, not to the artist.  I like taking pictures and movies of the concert so that I’ll remember it in the future, but it’s sometimes a battle to want to take a picture of the guy on stage so that I can make him my god and worship him instead of Jesus.  I trust that they have a right attitude while on stage to not want people to worship themselves, but fall back and point to Christ, but sometimes the people in the crowd forget that.  That’s why stopping the music every now and then and reflecting on the message of the music is always so helpful.  It helps to deter the temptation to make it all about the music or the performer, and to keep the focus on the One who really deserves all the attention.

That being said, I really enjoyed the concert and appreciate what Lecrae does with his musical talent and how he serves God with it.  I would upload a short video I took of the concert, but unless I’m an idiot I don’t think WordPress can upload .MOV files from iPhones…oh well.

The power of rap

Since becoming a Christian three years ago I’ve been deeply affected by Christian music of all genres.  But the genre that has had the greatest impact on my life has been rap.  I was never really into rap before my conversion.  Like everyone else in my high school and college I knew the most popular songs and could appreciate them for their lyricism and production skill, which probably comes from my musical education and appreciation for musicians in general.  But after my conversion I was introduced by my friend Dan to Christian rap from a CD he gave me of his favorite tracks (big ups to Dan on that one!).  I was instantly hooked by not only the track production, but by each emcee’s passion for putting the Word of God into rap form to reach young people, especially those in the city.  They do such a great job of redeeming a genre that has always been used to openly oppose the advancement of the gospel.  In many ways, each song is a mini sermon as each emcee is conveying a specific message about Jesus and the gospel.  The genre has always been criticized for lack of quality in production, for being outdated and unable to match the quality of their secular counterparts.  But this has changed and can no longer be said of Christian rap.  Over the past three years I’ve been able to follow the careers of several emcees and it’s been amazing to see how they’ve grown as artists, not only lyrically, but musically as well.  Recently released Christian albums have made their way to #5 on the secular charts!  Lecrae’s “Rehab” album is a prime example of this phenomenon.  The genre has really grown a lot in the past three years and it is clearly evident that God is using it to influence people’s lives and lead them to Christ!  In short, Christian rap has had a great and profound influence on my life and I am extremely grateful to God that I was exposed to it!  I’ve recently taken up my pen and begun to write my own content.  I don’t think it’s very good but I am proud of it nonetheless.  So far I’m only writing lyrics because I don’t know enough about music production to make tracks, but I’m learning, albeit slowly.  Here’s one verse I just finished writing a minute ago.  Even if it never gets put to a track it is still inspiring to me and helps me in my daily walk with Christ and the process spurs me on to godliness and a greater love for my Savior!  Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or suggestions!  Grace and peace!

Life in a fallen world ‘aint easy, but it’s very easy for me to get queasy in a world that’s sleazy & wants to tease me/Believe me I walk each day tryin’ not to slip, I know my team but sometimes I wanna flip/All the things that I used to do would ravage my body like a bad flu/I was sick from my sin, Achoo! until I met the Great Physician, You/Sin had me dead on site, death was my mortician ’til I learned there was a resurrection/Upon Your volition You cured my condition, gave me salvation, granted conviction, sanctification, & glorification!/Now I walk in the steps of Christ my example.  If life is a constitution new birth is the preamble/The journey doesn’t end, there’s a battle to be fought.  The only way to win is the way that Christ taught/Call upon God in your moment of weakness.  He will deliver you & you will certainly defeat this!/

*If you want to hear the beat I was writing to go to http://www.shadowville.com and search for “All 4 You”

Hero

So I’m officially in love with the song from Trip Lee’s new album called “The Invasion (Hero) Remix!  If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of this CD I would strongly recommend that you do!  This song in specific if my favorite.  Not just because the track is off the wall, the lyrics are totally banging!  The song presents Jesus in a light that I’m sure not many people think of Him everyday, as our Hero.  The word hero usually makes us think of a guy in a tight spandex outfit who can fly or has super powers like Batman or Superman.  They are acutely aware of the needs of others and use their special powers to save people from dangerous situations and receive praise from the city for their heroic acts.  It is very easy to see Jesus fulfilling this role in our lives as well, minus the spandex outfit lol.

If you think about it, Jesus is the ultimate hero.  Jesus saw us in our sin and came to our rescue because He loves us.  He saw us drowning in the boiling flames of hell’s ocean, we were hanging on by a plank of wood barely keeping us afloat.  We were inches away from the teeth that are gnashing and the flame that is never extinguished.  But right before we were submerged and lost forever He came down from heaven and swooped low into the flames and pulled us out by the hand.

While human heroes are motivated by service to others and society, or even fame, Jesus is motivated by love and a passion for His Father’s glory to be spread throughout the universe!  He loves us by rescuing us so that we can have eternal access to the Father, which is the best gift any sinful human can ever receive!  Christ paid a great price for our rescue, it cost Him His life.  Eternal, immortal, God, He couldn’t die, yet He wanted to die for us.  So He wrapped Himself in a body of flesh and took upon Himself the punishment that our sins deserved.  This ultimate display of divine love is shown only in the cross where God’s rescue mission is completed.  And one day He will come back to lead us all to heaven where we will forever praise Him for His glory, love, mercy, justice, and holiness.

Jesus is the hero of heroes!  Listen to the lyrics of the hook in the song:

“Like a G5 yeah You rushed to rescue me/took the cross in exchange for a throne to save me/You began a work and I know You’ll finish and make all things right when You come back/Cuz you’re my hero, already saved the day/Cuz you’re my hero and I know you’re coming back for me!”

I’ll close with the last little section of words from the song:

“I once was lost, You came and found me/Gave me Your life now Your grace surrounds me/There is no greater love than that which is found in Jesus!/Oh precious is that flow that makes me white as snow!”

Lord, it belongs not to my care

A great hymn by Richard Baxter (1681) that really puts life and God and Christ into a glorious perspective!

Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.

If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.

Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessèd face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will Thy glory be!

Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.

My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.

Grassroots Vol. 2

Over the last year or so I have been a huge fan of Lamp Mode Recordings.  For those of you who don’t know about Lamp Mode, it is an independent Christian rap label.  Their mission is to bring the gospel to the world through the medium of hip-hop in a manner that is God glorifying.  Lamp Mode releases all of their music independently so that it can stay intact and not be subject change based on someone’s desire to make money and dilute the message of God.  Just a couple weeks ago they released their newest album called Grassroots Vol. 2.  I would strongly recommend downloading it from their website!  It’s a free download and they want everyone to pass it along to their friends!  Here’s the link to the download if you’re interested, http://www.lampmode.com/resources/free-music/grass-roots-2/ check it out and pass it along!  Grassroots Vol. 1 is also available for free download on their website too!