The Gathering and Singing: Take Care How You Sing


In another entry, I wrote about the importance music plays in the life of corporate worship. The importance it plays can be for good or for bad depending on your understanding of the primary or central component of a corporate gathering. One of the recoveries of the Protestant Reformation, argued by Martin Luther and John Calvin, was the preaching of the word. But not only that, but its primacy over all other aspects of a corporate gathering. Since the word is God breathed, sufficient for godliness (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and living, active and able to discern the intentions and thoughts of the heart (Heb. 4:12), the preaching must be the central event of every corporate gathering. Not only must it be central, but the Word must also govern and shape the other events of the gathering, especially the music.

My purpose here is not to argue appropriate styles of music for a corporate gathering, though I think that is a worthy conversation, but to stimulate thought about the lyrical content of the songs we sing in our corporate gatherings. I think the most helpful songs sung in corporate gatherings are those that are shaped by biblical truth and complement the theme and tone of the biblical passage that is preached. For example, can the things that are sung be found anywhere in the Bible? And concerning appropriate themes for example, overly triumphant songs seem a bit out of place if the text preached was a stern calling for the believer to take serious heed of the warnings of God’s word lest he suffer discipline. Simply put, the songs we sing ought to be rooted in Scripture complementing the sermon preached.

Recently during a time of corporate worship I was more cognizant of this and I was greatly edified again by Ada Haberson (1861-1918) and Matt Merker’s song, He Will Hold Me Fast.

When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast (John 6:37);
When the tempter would prevail,
He will hold me fast (Lk 22:31-32).
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path (Matt. 26:30-35; 69-75);
For my love is often cold (Eze. 16);
He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight (Isa. 62:5; Zeph. 3:17),
Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight (Ps. 72:14; 1 Pet. 2:4),
He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost (Ps. 16; Matt. 1:21; John 6:39-40; Eph 1:3-14; 1 Pet 1:3-5; Jude 24-25)
His promises shall last (Nu. 23:19; Isa. 46:10, 55:11);
Bought by Him at such a cost (1 Pet. 1:18-19),
He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died (Isa. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24, 3:18),
Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2, 4:10);
He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life (John 11:25-27; 1 Cor. 15),
He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight,
When He comes at last (1 John 3:2)!

Being replete with biblical doctrine was the reason why I was so edified by the song. I was singing the Bible! As I was singing, I was being instructed and reminded of the biblical truth of the assurance we have in Christ for our salvation. That is the main point of the song and it is encouraging!!! This is a song I can “Amen!!” simply because of the truth it contains, not primarily because of its melody. A song with great melody, but devoid of biblical truth is ultimately not God glorifying, soul satisfying, faith fortifying or joy intensifying. However, a song with biblical truth, though it may not be your melody of preference, is better for your soul simply because of its content. Consider the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Colossian church:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

(Colossians 3:16, ESV)

Next time you gather for corporate worship, take note of the lyrics and examine the degree of biblical fidelity. May we take care how we sing!

Grace & Peace,



Urban Praise

Today marks the release date of Lyrical Theology, Vol. 2: Doxology by shai linne. This album is the second of a trilogy and was preceded by Lyrical Theology, Vol . 1: Theology.

From Lampmode Records

“LT2: Doxology is strongly influenced by the great hymns of the Christian faith, with blended worship styles that alternately bring to mind everything from Negro spirituals to golden-era Hip-hop. Expect a musically diversified sound as LT2: Doxology not only features rap, but hymns and songs of praise. Leah Smith, Chris Lee Cobbins, Brooks Ritter, and Joint Heirs are featured on the album, with most of the production handled by Wes Pendleton.

With the recent increase of churches being planted in urban contexts around America, the question has arisen: What songs will these churches sing? While there are plenty of options in contemporary gospel, CCM, etc., Shai believes that writers from Hip-hop culture have a unique role to play in producing contextualized worship songs that are equally useful in car systems and congregations on Sundays. LT2: Doxology is an offering in this regard.”

Purchase this album on itunes,, or

Here’s the video to the album’s first released song, Be Glorified (Psalm 55).

More to come…

Grace & Peace,


The Gathering and Singing: Gospel Music?

worship 2If you attend some type of worship service on Sunday, you’ll notice that music plays a huge part of the service. It’s so important that churches hire people as their worship leaders, worship pastors, ministers of music, etc. because singing is a huge component of worshipping God. Consider the Psalms, Moses’ songs, Mary’s Magnificat and how the angels sing about the glory of God.

Music is also so important that some people will choose which church to attend or not based on the music alone. Should it be that way? Well, yes and no. It should not be that way if the choice to attend a church or not is purely based on a preferred aesthetic quality of the music. What if said church has expositional preaching, healthy polity, a loving congregation, an evangelistic and missions emphasis, etc. Should the style or tempo of music keep us from attending and joining? On the other end of the spectrum, what if said church didn’t have all of the signs of health mentioned above, but had music to your liking? Should the style or tempo of music be the controlling variable for your attendance and joining? I hope we would say no to these questions.

However, that doesn’t mean that music isn’t important and shouldn’t be considered. So how should we think about music in the life of the corporate church? For our personal use? While this article will not answer this question in great detail, I will offer one foundational answer. Above all, we should be primarily concerned that the Christian music we sing corporately, and privately too, reflects biblical truth, especially concerning the work of redemption. In some circles it is said that churches ought to sing the gospel, pray the gospel, preach the gospel and picture the gospel in baptism and the Lord’s Supper and church discipline.

Have you ever considered if the music you sing during the corporate gathering reflects biblical fidelity? Have you ever considered how or if the music sung during your corporate gathering complements the sermon? Perhaps you might be thinking that I’m putting too much thought into this and that “worship” should be a time in the service where you’re just caught up in the spirit and enjoying the moment. I don’t believe that is commanded in Scripture. I do believe that God would have us to be intelligent worshippers as we sing about biblical truths concerning Him and His works. The mind and the heart should be affected by songs that convey biblical truth. We must be discerning about the music we sing.

In 2010, Marvin Sapp released an album titled Here I Am. Here I Am’s lead single was titled “The Best in Me”. Interestingly, the song peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 1 on Billboard’s Gospel songs chart. It charted on secular and gospel charts. How did this happen? How did a gospel song chart in the top 20 on Hit R&B/Hip-Hop chart? I won’t get into all of the red tape concerning the music industry’s charting criteria, as it is complicated. However, one criteria that directly affects music sales are the lyrics. Let’s consider a portion of the lyrics from this song.

He saw the best in me,
When everyone else around
Could only see the worst in me
(Can I tell ya’ll one more time, one more time?)

I said he saw the best in me,
When everyone else around
Could only see the worst in me,
(I wish I had a witness tonight, all I need is one)

He saw the best in me,
(When everyone else around me)
When everyone else around (OOOOh)
(Could only see)
Could only see the worst in me,
He’s mine
He’s mine
And I am his
And I’m his
It doesn’t matter what I did
It doesn’t matter what I did
He only sees me
He only sees me for who I am

While this song may have stirred the minds and hearts of many, there is a fundamental problem with it. That fundamental problem is that it isn’t biblical. While it’s labeled a gospel song, sadly the good news is noticeably absent. There’s nothing in this song about the redemptive grace of God in Christ. Perhaps what’s even worse is that it doesn’t convey the truth about the nature of man. As best as I can tell, Sapp is claiming that God continually stands by his side when others won’t because He saw the best in him.

Biblically speaking, there is nothing good in man that causes God to respond favorably to us. In fact, the very opposite is true. The Apostle Paul cites the painful indictment that all mankind is wicked and rebellious in Romans 3:11-18 and Ephesians 2:1-3. Not only are we naturally wicked, but we deserve God’s wrath. However, the good news is that despite our heinous nature and inability to please Him, God, purposing to glorify His grace, mercy, love, forgiveness and patience, sent Jesus to atone for our sins. Instead, Sapp’s song paints a better picture of man than the Bible does and minimizes God’s nature. Sapp’s song is man-centered, not God-centered. Friends, we must be discerning about the songs we hear and sing. They must be measured by the truth of Scripture.

A good example of gospel music is “All I Have is Christ” by NA Band of Sovereign Grace Ministries. The gospel is proclaimed and the focus is on the grace and mercy of God in Christ.  This song is an example of the doctrinal faithfulness that songs should resonate with in our congregational worship and our personal listening.

Grace & Peace,


Way Back Wednesday: A Former Pharisee, A German Monk, and a Philadelphia Emcee

“I began to understand that “the justice of God” (Rom. 1:17) meant that justice by which the just man lives through God’s gift, namely by faith. This is what it means: the justice of God is revealed in the gospel, a passive justice with which the merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written: “He who through faith is just shall live.” Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.” ~ Martin Luther, Preface to the 1545 edition of Luther’s Latin writings.

How God justifies sinners and still remains holy (Ex. 34:6-7) is the heart of Christianity. To put it plainly – How can God forgive wickedness, yet not leave the guilty unpunished?

The answer to this question, the doctrine of justification, was the central issue that launched the Protestant Reformation in 1517 in Germany. By reading Psalms, Galatians and Romans, Luther was convinced that God justifies sinners by grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola fide) in Christ alone (solus christus). He, along with other reformers, believed that Scripture alone (sola scriptura) was the means by which people came to know and understand God and salvation, not through tradition, and that salvation was all by the sovereign grace of God, to whom all glory is due (soli deo gloria).

In 2005, Shai Linne released his debut album, the Solus Christus project (Lampmode Records). It featured the song, “Justified”, which gets to the essence of Christianity. When I first heard the song, my heart was so encouraged hearing ancient and eternal truth conveyed in such a modern poetic urban medium. Enjoy!

Grace & Peace,


Shai Linne is currently an artist on Lampmode Records and is set to release Lyrical Theology, Vol. 2 in the near future.

The Actual Factual

Christians are a people of truth. Our faith is based on the truth of God. One of the most important and characteristic truths about Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity. Though you won’t find the word “trinity” in the Scriptures, you will see the attributes of deity ascribed and described of the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. In other words, God is one, but exists in three persons. Much controversy has come as a result of  this teaching, but the Scriptures are clear in its proclamation of the deity of all three members of the Godhead.

Perhaps the most controversial teaching of the Godhead is the teaching about the nature of Jesus Christ. In the Scriptures, we find that Jesus was an actual human being 100% and that He was also 100% God. This is known as the doctrine of the hypostatic union.

Notice what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 2:5-11 & Colossians 1:15-19

  • 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11) 
  • 15 He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… (Colossians 1:15-19)

This is hugely significant as we consider the work of the gospel. For anyone to be saved, they must have the righteousness required by God that comes from obedience to the law. However, the Bible teaches that no one can perfectly obey the law of God because of his sinful nature. We’re all born rebels incapable of obeying the Lord, nor do we naturally have the desire to. This is why the doctrine of Christ or Christology is an essential doctrine.

As a man, Jesus perfectly obeyed the will/law of the Father (Matthew 5:17 & John 4:34). The law requires perfect obedience and it also demands death for disobedience.  Jesus lived as a human being, with its limitations, for 33 years perfectly submitted to the will of the Father, including dying on a cross as a ransom and a substitution for sinners. (Isaiah 53)

As God, Jesus exhibited the attributes of deity – authority over creation, received worship, immortality, His titles as Lord, and His claim to being I AM (John 8:58). What’s key is that only God can fulfill His own law and in this Jesus proved His deity as well.

The rejection of the nature and work of Jesus Christ is the birth of false religions. (i.e. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, etc.)

The nature and work of Jesus is one we must get right if we will fully appreciate the uniqueness, grace and mercy of the gospel and its security.

Check out the song, Hypostatic Union, by shai linne from his forthcoming album, Lyrical Theology Volume 1.

(see if you can decipher what the logo says)

Grace & Peace,




I vividly recall the first time my ears were exposed to hip hop. It was in Houston in the summer of 1982 and a cousin turned me on to the Fat Boys, Run DMC and Whodini. Prior to that, I had been a resident of Louisville, KY and my closest exposure to hip hop was disco music on contemporary radio.  I was hooked on hip hop the first time I heard it, not to mention the image of the emcees and DJ’s. Kangol hats, Cazal glasses, big rope chains, Adidas sneakers, and leather pants or jeans caught my eye. These were young black men communicating the commonalities of the urban culture in simple rhyme schemes using language I understood. I was 7 then.

One of hip hop’s classic songs is “I Used to Love H.E.R.” by Common, then known as Common Sense. It was a song that personified hip hop as a beautiful, yet unfaithful, forever changing, man pleasing woman that he loved. Common vividly painted the picture of how this woman (hip hop) went through many phases and lovers just to get a reputation, yet he longed for the day when she was in her purest form. He was hoping “she” would return to her better days.

“Slim was fresh, yo, when “she” was underground / Original, pure, untampered and down “sister” / Boy, I tell you, I miss “her”!”

Language is a unique phenomenon.  As a global medium of communication, it has many voices and creative faces of expression such as poetry and all of its devices, such as the one above.  It can be used to communicate complex or simple ideas or thoughts.  By the use of certain words and inflections, language can communicate emotion or feelings.  Also, language can communicate praise, honor, glory or abhorrence.  As an example of praise, consider the Psalmist in the 34th Psalm verses 1-3.

1I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

See the beauty of language?!?

Upon my conversion in 1998, one of the first things I was convicted of was the music I was listening to. I was convinced the lyrics of Tupac, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, etc. were incongruent with the commands of Scripture and weren’t going to aid in any renewal of my mind. In fact, that music stimulated the “old man” that was already put to death, since “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14) Simply put, the Lord took away my desire to flood my mind with those godless songs.  Yet, I still craved a hip hop expression, but with a different focus.  Providentially, I stumbled upon Crossmovement and was ecstatic about what I was listening to. You can read more about it here.  What was so beautiful about this blend was the authentic expression of the urban culture submitting itself to the majesty of Jesus Christ.  Timberlands and theology!  The Lord is magnificent!

As Christian Hip Hop (CHH) gained wider acceptance in the church and being used as an evangelistic tool, there came an increase in production quality, business savvy, and marketability.  Not to mention, there was a sense of competition in being relevant to its secular counterpart.  Here’s where I think CHH began to decrease in its effectiveness.  It seemed to be more consumed with secular acceptance than with honoring the Lord. Certain emcees started rapping like secular rappers (not in content, but in inflection), incorporating production effects that were trendy for a season in the secular environment, watering down of the gospel and what I’ve noticed recently is a lack of reverent communication about God.  Like Common missed hip hop in her purest form, I miss CHH when it was primarily about the glory of Christ.

So what do I mean?  Here’s what I mean – hip hop has a list of demands.  More importantly, for the emcee there are “rules to the game”. To be considered a “dope emcee who kills it on the regular” one must be witty, clever, boastful, have multi-syllabic rhyme schemes, and communicate a point in a space of 3 verses or 48 bars.

But what should be the mark of a Christian emcee?  Aside from the fact that the first obligation is a credible Christian witness, a Christian emcee can be as “dope” as any emcee.  He/She can be creative, witty, clever, have multi-syllabic rhyme schemes and communicate a point in a limited space.  Obviously, what’s missing is that the Christian emcee shouldn’t be boastful, since his/her boast is in the Lord and his/her rhymes are supposed to be Christ glorifying.  But what should always be present is a sense of reverence, not only in the rhymes but in the delivery as well. This is what truly redeemed emceeing looks like.

Despite the great amount of truth in many songs, I’m afraid for the sake or pressure of having clever rhyme schemes or hooks, reverence appears to be on the decline for our God.  When God is referred to as some slang term for the sake of the rhyme scheme, reverence for God is lost.  When the emcee desires praise from men, reverence for God is lost.

Thankfully, all is not lost. Though not perfect, great examples still exist. Consider Timothy Brindle’s lyrics from “The Preciousness of Time” from his album Killing Sin.

On Wall Street a rich dude snorts lines/
His morning devotion is the New York Times/
And Time magazine at times it seems/
Time flies as if time had some wings/
But this is irony right/
While most spend the time of their life trying to have the time of their life/
Thinking lies are really true/
If you’re busy killing time the truth is time is killing you/
But you’re too cool- you love to take your time/
You fool- God can come and take your time/
Then He’ll search your mind and surely find your works are slime/
One sin’s an eternal prime it takes eternity to serve the time/
Reject Him and regret how your spurned this rhyme/
You offended the Divine/
In hell, like Michael Jackson, you’ll remember the time/
Once your time is up you blasphemer/
You can’t travel back with a flux capacitor/
It’s such a massacre when Christ is parting the sky/
You’ll want to go back in time like Marty McFly/
But you sharply despised Christ kindness my friend/
And He gave you a whole  lifetime to repent/
So next time you’re asking what time is it/
Know Christ can come to give times final tick/

Hear the whole song here: The Preciousness of Time

Did you notice the reverence of Christ in these lines? Did you notice man’s place in these lines? This song is flooded with the supremacy of Christ as the governor of time and how man is ultimately bound to God’s “timeclock”.

Also,  consider shai linne.  Here’s  his song “The Glory of God” from his upcoming album, The Attributes of God on Lampmode Records. This album  was influenced by A.W. Tozer’s classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy.  Nothing is more reverential than focusing on the multifaceted attributes of God. Truly, this is lyrical theology. It is my estimation that the more we are in awe of God, the less we’ll focus on ourselves and more on Him.  In other words, our praise and reverence will be on display, not only in our words, but the very flow of our lives.   May we be a people who display reverent redemption!

The Glory of God – Shai Linne

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,…

(Hebrews 12:28)

Soli Deo Gloria!


Lyrical Ecclesiology

If you’ve followed hip-hop to some degree, you will remember “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. This single, released in 1982, was the first rap song to go platinum and it did so in about a month. Remember the hook,“Don’t push me ‘cuz I’m close to the edge. I’m tryin’ not to lose my head. It’s like a jungle; sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under”?

What was unique about this song is that, though in its infancy, hip-hop was being used to call awareness to depravity and its pervasive effect on social structures.  Quickly, America saw that hip-hop was not only about  juvenile rebellion, but a platform to voice concerns about serious issues.

It is still being used that way, only this time it’s being used to address some all too important truths concerning the Christian faith, particularly the ecclesiological aspects or the study of the church. For some, church is nothing more than a chance to leverage business opportunities. For others, it is a place to widen social circles without any true desire to function as God’s redeemed community. Still others really don’t have a biblical understanding of what church or other essential truths of Christianity are.  Scripture tells us in Ephesians 3:10 that through the church, God makes His wisdom known!!! Selah !  Enter Lampmode Recordings and their latest release, The Church: Called & Collected to remind us of this unchanging truth.

Taking its cue from Mark Dever’s book, “What Is A Healthy Church?”, Lampmode and other artists address topics such as biblical theology, evangelism, church discipline, conversion and expositional preaching.

I highly encourage you to pick this album up at Lampmode Recordings or iTunes.

You never thought that hip hop would take it this far!

Grace & Peace,


The Redemption of Hip-Hop : My Introduction


Life is filled with memorable moments. You know, those moments which you’ll never forget where you were, who you were with, how old you were and certain feelings associated with that moment. Well, my hip-hop world was blown away as a believer when I first heard House of Representatives by The Crossmovement in 1999. It actually was released in 1998.  I came to find out later their first release was in 1997 titled Heaven’s Mentality, which I recommend.  Classic Christian hip-hop, yo!

I grew up in Houston, TX, but I always had what one fellow emcee told me was the east coast virus. He had it too and he’s originally from California.  The east coast virus is simply an affection for east coast music and style without having any roots or prior associations with that part of the country.  Funny, right?  I remember as a kid preferring Run DMC, LL Cool J, KRS-ONE, Whodini, Slick Rick, Eric B. and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Public Enemy over hometown emcees like the Geto Boys and The Convicts.

In the mid-late 90’s, as a radio DJ in college in San Marcos, TX, I was nicknamed “East Coast” by some of my peers because of the large amount of east coast hip-hop I played on my show.   So naturally, after I got saved, though I no longer desired the lyrics of secular hip-hop, I still longed for intricate lyricism, certain drum patterns, break beats and scratching.

It was quite a frustrating search and I thought I’d never find what I greatly desired – Christocentric lyricism packaged in east coast beats.  It’s not that it didn’t exist.  The problem was the lack of marketing and advertising.  While mainstream hip hop was the 2nd most popular music genre and the fastest growing genre in music in terms of annual sales increases, the Christian music community saw hip-hop as a sub-genre of the contemporary scene.  From a bottom-line dollar standpoint, there was no need to invest in the Christian hip hop market because there was no perceived audience.  Music history proves that notion wrong, especially hip-hop history.  Hip-hop evolved and existed for 5-6 years in the boroughs of New York City before it caught the attention of music executives. Once the street buzz was boomin’, music executives couldn’t help but to see this as a lucrative machine to wrap their hands around.  Remember Rapper’s Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang??

Aside from the business aspects, other tensions were prevalent. The Christian community was slow to receive Christian hip-hop because of hip-hop’s secular reputation. Likewise, the secular hip-hop community shunned Christian hip-hop because of its content.  Literally, it had no place and I identified with this problem and was often misunderstood. How can one love hip hop and Christ? In some people’s minds, these were the antithesis of each other.

Music in and of itself is not inherently evil. The intent and content of music’s lyrics draws the line of distinction between sacred and secular.

That memorable moment?  In 1999, there I was walking around in the Christian bookstore in San Marcos, TX looking for some good reading material and I decided to walk over to the music listening posts. Surprisingly, they had a hip-hop section and I immediately thought to myself, “I wonder how corny this is going to be?” But this album grabbed my attention. I saw 7 guys sitting at a semi-round table dressed up on their upper torsos, and dressed down on their lower torsos.  I saw sneakers, Timbs, and a slogan that said “Advocates Of The Theocratic Rule”. I was intrigued by the cover alone. Then I read the titles of the songs and I played the demo.


We brings the ruckus when we uplift the gift of salvation // It was He who came through forty-two generations // Logos invasion to planet Earth through virgin birth // The last Adam had come to reverse the works of the first // He became a curse to become a cure // The blood poured made sure // That he who enters by the door  will be eternally secured //  What shall I render? // Surrendered lives are due to Him // In due time the True Vine reconciled humans to the divine union of the Father // Hearts are altered to the altar // He died for all walks of life,  He’s the Lord of all cultures // Perfector, resurrector, all life is His //  Sin-disconnector,  eternal-holder of the sceptor of righteousness // Thunderous praise comes from his numberless fleet // The sovereign King all things are placed under His feet // The uncreated, incarnated creator of all creation  is to be celebrated in all occasions // ‘Cause He’s the glorious, victorious victor with the greatest victory of all history// Peep the unveiling mystery // Of the Chief Corner-stoner, The Atoner // May we present to this world the most generous blood donor  (Lyrics written by Juan “Enock” James)

I was rocked! This was it! This was what my heart and mind were looking for! These men looked like me, talked like me and yet it was undeniable that they were students of the Scriptures. You can’t write those kind of rhymes without having been soaked and saturated in Scripture. There is so much doctrine in that one verse.  The Lord used Christian hip-hop to whet my appetite for sound and weighty doctrine.  I wasn’t getting this in urban contemporary gospel music. Christian hip-hop at that point was for me the theological depth of hymns intertwined in urban musical ruggedness. Ah, what a dope blend!!!

Crossmovement, in many respects, has been graciously used to minister to and educate, primarily the hip-hop culture, as well as opened doors for this genre of music to be expanded and marketed better. There is still much work to be done in that aspect and the Lord will move in His time.

What I am blessed by the most is seeing the multifacetedness of redemption. Redemption not only involves people, but the things people do and create, even hip-hop. Hip-hop is not outside of the scope of Christ’s redemption! The beauty of Christ is displayed in array of ways, especially through the arts. And for now, we are only seeing a glimpse of His redemption. It is still unfolding and the culmination is forthcoming!

In future posts, I will highlight the artists that have been a blessing to me as they have endeavored to use hip-hop as their soapbox to magnify the excellencies of Jesus Christ.

Grace & Peace,