The last year or so I’ve listened to a decent amount of Christian rap, so I wanted to make a ranking list & commentary as I see it.
- Shai Linne – he is #1 by a long shot at this point. His combination of catchy words and beats with theological depth put him at #1. All the lyrics in his songs are crystal clear. Some of my favorites of his: ‘The Glory of God (Not to Us)’, ‘Come Lord Jesus, Come’, ‘All-Consuming Fire’; ‘Election’; ‘The Hypostatic Union’ [Note* I listen to the original version of the albums, not the ones labeled ‘instrumentals’]
- Trip Lee – his songs have catchy choruses [‘hooks’]. Some of his songs I can’t really understand what he’s saying. But overall a reliable choice. Some of his best songs: ‘Sweet Victory’; ‘Take Me There’; ‘Lazarus’; ‘One Sixteen’
- Tedashii – he’s got some good ones, including ‘Dum, Dum’; ‘808’; ‘In My Life’
- Lecrae – he was the one who helped me get back into the rap scene last year. He’s traditionally known as the top rapper of this era. He’s got a handful of songs that aren’t really about God, but I think the reason he does that is to try to reach non-believers, which he has got some attention from. For some of his songs I can’t really understand the words well. Here are some of my favs: ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’; ‘Rebel Intro’; ‘Breathin’ to Death’; ‘Beautiful Feet’; ‘Messengers’
- Lil’ Dre – he was the one I first listened to several years ago. I gotta put him on this list because he’s from my hometown [Oklahoma City] & I’ve gone to his concert & had a meal with him. Very scripturally focused lyrics. Some top hits: ‘Fill Me Up’; ‘Who You Are’; ‘Romans 12:2’; ‘Strapped Up’
Conclusion: Sometimes listening to rap hits right on the spot. For some reason I’ve found that listening to the faster pace of rap help me lots when studying. Rap also is good backup music when we’re having a dance party at our house with my daughter.
*** Note*** I use Spotify to listen to music. It’s free and has a good selection.
Originally in my September 22, 2014 Journal [written while living in NW China]:
Yesterday morning I realized that my watch in the living room had disappeared during the night. When I saw that all my cash was taken out of my wallet, we concluded that a thief had broken in. I reported to the gate guy, who called the police, who came by around 9:15 am. We saw footprints on the window ledge & up the water pipe, [which the thief had used to climb up to our second floor apartment]. Thankful he didn’t take more.
I sought to ‘joyfully accept the confiscation of our property’, like Hebrews 10:34.
[Full verse: “You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions”]
Originally in my September 11, 2009 Journal:
I came back to the old campus and saw Jonathan [local house church leader] at his shop [a small supermarket]. From 9:40-11:40 am, I sat & talked with him. We opened the Scriptures and went back and forth, talking about the Scriptures and using verses to support our conversation. He has memorized much from both the Old Testament and New Testament. He seemed very familiar with the Scriptures overall. He knew exactly where each Bible verse we discussed was and also the verses surrounding it.
I’ve heard people say that the churches here in China put too much emphasis on knowledge of the Bible but they don’t live it out. I would disagree. I would say there’s not simply a lack of living out the faith, but more importantly a total lack of understanding or knowledge of the Bible.
They may go to church and Sunday school, but I’ve met very few “believers” here (or in the U.S.) who read their Bible daily, who have read through the Old and New Testaments a few times, or who can quote any Scripture at all. The problem is these people don’t know their Bibles. There is no emphasis on biblical knowledge, and it’s reflected in a dormant and lackadaisical faith. Too much knowledge is NOT the problem. I’m impressed with how well read local house church pastor Jonathan is.
Yesterday a great blog post titled ‘What’s Wrong with Western Missionaries?’ was written by Nik Ripken on Desiring God.
You can view the original article here: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-s-wrong-with-western-missionaries
The main thing that stuck out to me about this article was the idea that we as American missionaries have that we’re of greatest importance to the rest of the world. It’s easy for us to think that we will go and change the whole world. It’s easy for us to go into a new country with an attitude that we know everything, and that everyone there should just soak up everything from us. We have nothing to learn from the locals. They are just blessed to be able to learn from us.
But the point that Nik Ripken was making is that it should be mutually spiritually beneficial relationships with locals, not just us edifying them, and them not edifying us.
I liked the closing conclusion from Ripken:
“If I were to start my missionary life over, I would bury my pride and unpack some humility. I would become a brother, a friend, and a peer. I would care more about the names of my brothers and sisters on the “mission field” and less about the numbers of baptisms, people discipled, churches planted, and orphanages built.”
It’s about people that become your genuine brothers & sisters in that foreign land [& thus glory going to God not to us]; not about all the glory [home & abroad] that you receive through your missions accomplishments, going around with great pomp and clout.
Originally in my August 31, 2009 Journal:
Mr. Luo called around 4 pm & asked if my wife & I could meet him for dinner at 6 pm. So we met at a nice hotel near the new campus. Also present were three of his high school classmates: Mr. Gao (CEO of machinery company); Mr. Jia (government official); Mr. Ren (government official). And 3 of their high school teachers: Mr. Zhang (now an English teacher at the best high school in town); Mr. Yang (now retired); & Mr. Yu (now a middle school math teacher). When we sat down, Mr. Luo looked at me & said, “你要给他们传福音吗？” “Do you want to preach them the gospel?” Before I could respond, Mr. Zhang jumped in & introduced everyone at the table. Then again Mr. Luo said to me, “Do you want to preach the gospel?” Then he said he’d tried to preach to them before but they didn’t believe. He said I preached the gospel better than him.
So for the next 20 minutes I went through a full gospel presentation, beginning from the Creation, & going through Jesus’ death & resurrection. They sat & listened attentively. After I finished, they toasted me & that was it. The rest of the dinner was just hang out time. All of them are from Mr. Luo’s hometown, which has many believers. So I’m sure all of them have relatives who are believers. I pray that the seeds may fall on soft soil & sprout into new life. What a clear open door the Lord gave me! Praise God for Mr. Luo & his boldness in not fearing shame or losing face with his friends by asking me to share the gospel with them.
What influential people they are (teachers, government officials, CEO). If one of them believes, imagine the ripple effect it would have on the people below them. When the day began, we asked the Lord to salvage the day & have mercy on us, though we’d woken up ‘on the wrong side of the bed’. Wow, the Lord blessed us much more than we could’ve ever imagined. All glory & honor to Him!
Originally in my September 17, 2007 Journal:
I had dinner with Jo [one of my college students at that time]. With him the conversation usually moves towards the Bible & he just soaks it up with enthusiasm. He’s always like that, but he still doesn’t read the Bible much. He said he’s tried, but it’s confusing. I think the next step is for [my teammate] Eric or me to meet with him regularly & start going through Matthew or Luke together & just answering his basic questions. I think that would help him a ton. He said the verses in Matthew about worrying hit him the most deep. I told him that was what impacted me most when I first started reading in high school. He said it’s given him peace. I told him to seek & he will find. Now praying that an overwhelming curiosity would take over him to read the Word.