[Article.] Undercover Brother

lecraeThere is a story of a group of 2nd Century Christians who demanded to be martyred by a Roman official. The official obliged and martyred some and sent the others away saying there were plenty of cliffs from which they could jump if they wanted to die. These Christians seemed to have turned the warning of scripture to expect persecution into a command to be martyred.

My family does local and international missions. We establish personal relationships by providing a professional service and have used these relationships as a springboard to share the Gospel and stay engaged for a prolonged period of time. If we were to mix our professional service with our personal, relational evangelistic efforts, we would compromise the work of thousands who are laboring to proclaim Jesus.

I tried to express to someone on twitter that Lecrae, Christian Hip Hop’s most successful and recognizable artist, was possibly using this missionary tactic to reach what would be considered an unreached people group (the Hip-Hop Industry). The Christian Hip-Hop community is currently having an intense debate about what the mission of the Christian rapper should be. Lecrae has become the focal point of this debate. For some, any rhyme which does not speak of Christ and Him crucified is tantamount to a compromise of the Gospel and of friendship with the world, thus entering into enmity with God. They call for an end to any secular associations.

This twitter conversation ended with me being accused of saying that friendship with sinners was a requirement for evangelism; of twisting the Gospel. It was even expressed that a missionary in a hostile country would be a coward and lacked faith if he didn’t simply preach the Gospel in the middle of town square. If this led to arrest or martyrdom, then so be it.

Fans of Lecrae know he began his career by ministering to kids in juvenile detention. More recently, he was featured in ESPN for his work with professional athletes. The song “Confessions” may refer to this work. His record label has launched Reach Life Ministries, the ministry arm of Reach Records. They produce curriculum designed to reach to an urban generation unfamiliar with the Bible. They also organize the Reach Life Institute, a series of conferences designed to equip believers to evangelize.

In the last year, Lecrae began deliberately making music which would appeal to a secular audience. He did so by crafting rhymes which speak of the ills of self-promoting Hip-Hop culture and the effects of depravity (gravity) pulling the world down into a sea of despair. His rhymes are laced with references to his Christian faith and morality and can in no way be accused of being dishonoring to God. They are, however, a departure from his past work which was typical Christian Hip-Hop fare; good quality music with sermon-like lyrics.

I don’t know Lecrae. I’ve never spoken to the man nor do I have any connections to anyone in CHH. The Bible commands us, however, to judge people by their fruit. With a history of ministering within difficult cultures (prison, professional sports) and of equipping the saints, why doubt his stated intentions to impact the culture and the industry?

Would we ask a missionary to not use his God-given talents and skills, or his God-given favor with people in authority to reach as deeply as possible into a totally lost culture?

Might as well jump off a cliff.

[Devo.] Doubting Into Faith

within1-41“I do believe but help me overcome my unbelief…” (Mark 9:24)

I have to say, if there is a scripture that makes me breathe a sigh of relief, it’s this one above!

I know I’ve been in those situations where I’ve come to God believing He is able to do what I’ve asked Him, yet a part of me that still had a grip on my own understanding—causing me to still have that ounce of doubt. Just like this man we find in Mark 9, who goes to Jesus in desperation because his son needed healing from being demonically possessed since he was a little child and he says to Jesus, “If you can do anything, please have mercy on us.” Then Jesus replied, “If I can? Anything is possible to those who believe.” The man responds: “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief“(Mark 9:14-24).

Such a powerful moment of transparency. Perhaps it’s something that we need to confess to God more.

Doubt isn’t looked at too fondly in this walk of faith. But could it be that doubt holds an integral part of our faith? Could it be that this walk with God is not about reaching a specific destination that guarantees to rid doubt completely, but about taking this wild adventure where doubt rides along side once in awhile yet is confronted when we choose to take it to the Father rather than having it take us away from Him?

Could it be without doubt—our faith cannot be proven?

As I get closer to the heart of God, this journey becomes so beautiful to me. Why? Because I realize that it’s not a prim and proper path that God has asked me to walk on. It’s a path that guarantees pain, discomfort, and falls while at the same time offering comfort, guidance, peace and grace pits that keep us moving forward.

That’s what this journey with Christ is about. Faith doesn’t mean we have it all together. Faith simply means you are choosing to place your doubt in something and someone more all knowing than you—God!

We are always going to have questions. We are always going to search. And I believe there in the search lies the power of our faith. The search is proof that we can never rely on ourselves. Our questions and our searching will point us to the one and true God and His infallible word. We don’t have to quench the beauty of this journey by focusing on what we don’t know. We have the opportunity to take it to someone Who does. Just like this man was honest and real with his unbelief, God calls us to the same transparency.

We can say to our God, “Father—I believe…but can you help me overcome the unbelief that is still in me? Can you keep showing yourself to me?” And God delights in answering those prayers.

I believe this quote sums it up perfectly…

“If faith never encounters doubt, if truth never struggles with error, if good never battles with evil, how can faith know its own power? In my own pilgrimage, if I have to choose between a faith that has stared doubt in the eye and made it blink, or a naive faith that has never known the firing line of doubt, I will choose the former every time.”

Peace, love, and blessings,
Yodit

Rap Fest Radio: #148 – Eric E (live) & Dre Murray on a phone call

rfr320x3202In this episode Bert and Eli interview Latin Christian Hip Hop artist and Rap Fest alumni, Eric E. Eric is one of the confirmed ministries for Rap Fest 2013 – Twentieth Anniversary. His latest ministry venture is adorandoconflow.com which he describes as a portal for all things related to Spanish Urban Worship.

Before the interview with Eric we get Dre Murray of Collision Records on the phone. Dre Murray is one of the confirmed Special Guests for this year’s Rap Fest.

Follow on twitter:
@dremurray22
@ericemusicnyc
@collisionrec
@rapfestradio
@swift215
@iamuny
@gratefulapparel
@gbimc

[audio:http://hcrpodcast.com/podcasts/rapfestradio/Rapfestradio_06242013.mp4%5D

Playlist: Song: “Problem” by: R-Swift
Promo Video: “Gold Rush: Maybe One Day – Fiend” Promo by: Dre Murray
Promo Video: “Andy is Grateful” Promo by: Grateful Apparel feat: Andy Mineo
Promo Video: “Come Together Summer Tour” by: GBIMC and In My City Records
Music Video: “De Aqui Y De Alla” by: Eric E feat: Vladimir
Music Video: “Yo Le Alabare” by: Eric E