No Greater Accolade (Christian Men and their Godly Moms)

What would it be like to spend time with history’s greatest theologian? Imagine if you had access to the greatest theological mind since Christ, not just for an hour or a day, but for years. Think of all the questions you might ask. Think of all the ways you could observe and imitate a life lived full-out for the glory of God. There is one young man who had the remarkable privilege of being the protégé of none other than …

Weekend A La Carte (June 24)

Westminster Books has discounted a selection of new books from Crossway. The Success Affair “Working with such couples, I’ve found it interesting to note when the affairs happen. Often pastors get into an affair when ministry is going well, when they are achieving their ministerial career goals and dreams. Why is this so? Why would someone have an affair when everything seems to be going well?” Ecumenical vs. Evangelical This is a fantastic little overview of the history of ecumenism. …

The Attitude of Apologetics

When people first hear the word apologetics, they typically think of our modern use of the word apology. They often conclude that the task of apologetics is apologizing for the Christian faith as if to say we are sorry for our faith. However, the word …

Learn How to Be Brought Low

Learn How to Be Brought Low

You don’t need to be anyone special to know what it means to be brought low.

You don’t need to be Job to know that God gives and takes away (Job 1:21). You just need to know the heartsickness of hope deferred (Proverbs 13:12), or the bitterness of solitary pain (Proverbs 14:10), or the ache of God’s seeming silence (Psalm 13:1). In other words, anyone with a pulse knows what it means to be brought low.

But can we stand up, square our shoulders, and say with the apostle Paul, “I know how to be brought low” (Philippians 4:12)?

Can we say, “I know how to face financial disaster,” or “I know how to be betrayed,” or “I know how to endure years of chronic pain”? The words stick in my throat.

School of Faithful Suffering

There was a time when Paul didn’t know how to be brought low. We know that because he says a verse earlier, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

There was a time when Paul didn’t know how to give thanks from the dirt floor of a prison cell. But God taught him (Philippians 1:3–5). There was a time when he didn’t know how to rejoice when others in ministry stabbed him in the back. But God taught him (Philippians 1:17–18). There was a time when he didn’t know how to gaze at the blade of Caesar’s sword and say, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” But God taught him (Philippians 1:21).

And God can teach us. So, let’s take a seat in this bittersweet classroom and learn, with Philippians as our study guide, three lessons in being brought low.

1. God works wonders in the low places.

When Paul drafted his plan to evangelize the known world, he surely didn’t write at the top, “Get stuck in prison.” We can safely assume a jail cell didn’t fit neatly in his five-year personal ministry goals or church-planting strategies.

But it fit into God’s. And at some point, shackled to a Roman prison guard, Paul realized as much. “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ” (Philippians 1:12–13).

Paul’s imprisonment did not sabotage God’s plan to advance the gospel. Prison was God’s plan to advance the gospel. And the same is true for us. Being brought low may ruin our plans, but not God’s better, wiser, kinder plans for us. If we will learn how to be brought low, we will one day testify, “I want you to know, brothers, that this bankruptcy has really served to free me from money’s stranglehold.” Or, “I want you to know that this betrayal has really taught me how to forgive.” Or, “I want you to know that this sickness has fueled my hope for heaven like nothing else.”

It’s okay if you’re still too low to look back and chart the sweep of God’s good purposes over the expanse of your sorrow. But while you’re there, remember this, on the testimony of Scripture and a thousand saints: God works wonders when he brings us low.

2. Jesus knows the low places.

Perhaps the most painful part of being brought low is the loneliness. Even the most faithful comforters cannot plumb the depths of our sorrows, or always speak the right word in the right tone, or discern our ever-changing needs. But there is one who has promised, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). And he is one who knows the low places.

For us, being brought low is usually a passive experience. We’re thrown, dragged, and kicked into this pit; we don’t jump in ourselves. Who would choose this grief?

Jesus would. He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7).

Jesus traveled from the highest place to the lowest place on purpose. He left the praises of angels to face the scorn of men. He left the happiness of heaven to feel the horror of Gethsemane. He left the right hand of his Father to endure the forsakenness of the cross.

Jesus has seen every shade of sorrow, heard every tone of grief, and tasted every flavor of pain. So, as Zach Eswine writes, “When we search for someone, anyone, to know what it means to walk in our shoes, Jesus emerges as the preeminent and truest companion to our afflictions” (Spurgeon’s Sorrows, 85).

The time will come when we’ll sit in the bright light of hindsight, and praise will cascade from our mouths in fountains. But until then, we are not walking this trackless waste alone. We have a man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3), and he leads our way.

3. God will raise you up from the low places.

But Jesus does more than comfort and console when he meets us in our pain. He also promises, with all authority in heaven and on earth, that we will not stay there.

Jesus embraced a lowly station, and he submitted to the lowliest death humans have devised — “even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8) — but he did not stay low, and he did not stay dead. He rose up from his humiliation in a blaze of resurrection glory, and took his seat in the highest place, receiving from his Father “the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).

And now this King of heaven pledges to all who are his that he will “transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20–21). Jesus’s living, glorified, death-conquering body declares that the low places do not last forever, that the grief of the tomb gives way to Easter gladness. Whereas God’s wonder-working power (lesson one above) assures us that he is doing good things right now that will bear fruit for this life, his promise to raise us up guarantees that one day we will be done with pain altogether. We will be done with being brought low.

When Jesus breathes life into your lowly body and raises it up in glory, you can be sure it’ll be the end to everything else that’s broken. Your poverty will turn to riches, your heartache to healing, your loneliness to steadfast love. You’ll finally gain Christ himself (Philippians 1:21–23; 3:8). You’ll bow and sing beneath his lordship (Philippians 2:10–11). You’ll know the power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10).

Your citizenship does not lie under this shadow of sadness, but in the bright skies of heaven, from which “we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

Grieve and Give Thanks

Those who know how to be brought low do not play the stoic, as if these lessons could shield us from the stabs of our sorrows. Instead, we move forward in faith, learning to let joy and sorrow mingle together in the same heart, learning what it means to feel, and speak, and act in a way that is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

We are not sorrowful only, as if this low valley has swallowed all that is high and lovely and good. Nor do we only rejoice, as if the valley is not really a dreadful place after all. No, we grieve and give thanks. We sob and we sing. We say with George Herbert, in his poem “Bittersweet,”

I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve;
And all my sour-sweet days
I will lament, and love.

Academic Jobs: June 19–23 2017

Full-Time Faculty in Theology/Religious Studies, Maria College, New York Professorship in the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, Denmark Lecturer in Theology and Religion, University of Wales, UK Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Culture and Ideology of Writing in the Ancient Mediterranean, Brown University, Rhode Island Research Associate, University of Cambridge, UK Tutor (part-time), Cranmer Hall, Durham, UK […]

God Loves Good Hip-Hop

God Loves Good Hip-Hop

Music is arguably the most influential art form on earth.

This influence is not only attested to by music psychology, but also by the Bible in its attention to at least two realities. First, all art forms are powerful, but those which involve words exercise extra influence.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21). God used words to create the world, and our use of words is a way we mirror him as image bearers (Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 1:27). God also uses words to save the world. “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14).

The preaching of Christians through hip-hop has been used by God to move many listeners to call on the name of the Lord.

Music and the Mind

Second, Scripture affirms the effect of music on the mind.

In 2 Kings 3, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha when a harpist played. In 1 Samuel 16, a harmful spirit from God tormented Saul until David played a lyre. God used music in these passages as a means to breed serenity.

Matthew Henry said in his commentary on 1 Samuel, “Music cannot work upon the devil, but it may shut up the passages by which he has access to the mind.” It’s no wonder why a group of harp, tambourine, flute, lyre-wielding prophets is mentioned in 1 Samuel 10.

John Piper encouraged readers of his book When I Don’t Desire God to “wield the weapon of music in the fight for joy in God” because the Bible repeatedly commands us to sing and to play instruments (Exodus 15:21; 1 Chronicles 16:23; Psalm 33:2–3; 57:8; 81:2; 96:1; 150:1–6).

“Surely God has not created music as a pointless distraction from rational apprehensions of God,” Piper said. “Surely, this too is part of the creation that is ‘declaring the glory of God.’”

A Perfect Place for Joy

The genre of Christian music that has arguably used words the most influentially since the mid-90s has been hip-hop. And Christian hip-hop has often been significantly influenced by Reformed theology, especially Christian Hedonism.

Artists like Trip Lee, KB, Shai Linne, and S.O. have each waved the banner of satisfaction in Christ alone throughout their discographies. Jackie Hill-Perry, a Desiring God contributor, dedicated an entire album called The Art of Joy to the concept.

Outsiders may condemn hip-hop entirely because secular artists wave banners of misogyny, violence, and substance abuse. But hip-hop is a perfect place to proclaim our message of joy in God for his glory, for at least two reasons.

Authenticity

At its roots, hip-hop culture demands authenticity. Pioneering hip-hop emcee KRS-One once said, “It’s not about a salary. It’s all about reality.” Where better for us to declare the reality that our highest happiness is rooted in knowing the infinitely valuable Creator and Lord of the universe?

Authentic artists who truly believe “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him” will organically express this satisfaction in their art. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Artists will write and rap so that their joy in God may be complete (1 John 1:4).

Boastfulness

An even more central characteristic of hip-hop is braggadocio. “The art of the brag has been integral to hip-hop since the very beginning,” top hip-hop website DJBooth said.

The art of the brag precedes hip-hop (by several thousand years). God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:24).

By definition, “boast” is synonymous with praise or glorify. God created humans to glorify him (Isaiah 43:7). Emcees who boast in talent, money, or women are doing what they were designed to do — only with a mistaken supreme love.

Trip Lee grasps this. The teaching pastor, rapper, and founder of a ministry named Built to Brag released a single in 2011 titled “Brag on My Lord,” which says,

We don’t wanna waste our time braggin’ on small pleasures, you know?
We wanna brag on the greatest treasure.

A Playlist of Pleasure in God

Below are some examples of Christ-exalting hip-hop found at Rapzilla’s playlist on Spotify. These songs pass a test given by Piper in When I Don’t Desire God:

“Is this joy [that music awakens in us] rooted in something good about God? Is it shaping my emotions into a Christ-exalting configuration? Is it stirring my desires to know Christ better and love him more and show him to others at the cost of my own comfort?”

Preaching to the Streets p0dez0wf

“Give My All” by KB

KB began his 100 EP with a similar heartbeat to Paul in Acts 20:24, “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Funny how I don’t want the stuff people dream of,
Rich living in a beachfront, eased up with my ease up.
So what if they think you the man?
That don’t mean nothing in the kingdom.
So what I want y’all to remember me for?
If you forget my name, please remember my Jesus.


“My Portion” by Shai Linne

Since his debut album The Solus Christus Project, Shai Linne has been a champion of lyrical theology, “The study of God within the context of hip-hop.” Shai’s study of God took him to Psalm 73 on his song “My Portion.”

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire but you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, however,
The Lord is my portion forever.


“Stronger” by Json (feat. HillaryJane)

When Paul pleaded with God to remove the thorn in his flesh, the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Json and HillaryJane capture what was likely an emotional Paul with raw deliveries on the 2 Corinthians 12-inspired “Stronger.”

We’ll boast in our shame, we’ll boast in our weakness.
When we’re dead and we’re done, the world should look only to Jesus.


“Satisfy” by S.O. (feat. Adenikè)

Shortly after Jesus fed the five thousand, he told his disciples, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). S.O. critiques people’s thirst for everything except Christ on “Satisfy,” for which Desiring God premiered the music video.

How it feel like chasing the wind homie?
Don’t we do it all the time?
We never chase God,
But think that the women or the money will forever satisfy.

Preaching to the Streets px5mdv2e

“The Art of Joy” by Jackie Hill-Perry

“Satisfaction only happens to those who are glad in you.” That is the message of Piper’s signature book Desiring God, and it’s the message of the title track of an album which the book inspired, Hill-Perry’s The Art of Joy.

Brought me back to himself, now I’m living in reverse,
Seeing good gifts as a glimpse of the giver,
Not the gifts as a giver.
Merry Christmas if the vision works.


“Instruments of Mercy” by Beautiful Eulogy (feat. Hello Abigail)

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul said God appointed him a preacher, apostle, and teacher for the reason Rome imprisoned him: the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8–12). God uses Christians who suffer for the gospel, which invokes praise, as “Instruments of Mercy” beautifully articulates.

It’s the strumming and pressing of strings that momentarily stings.
But in the end, it ultimately brings us to a place that causes hearts to sing.


“Lose (Jim Elliot)” by God’s Servant

Missionary Jim Elliot reasoned that his life was not too valuable to risk for the sake of spreading the gospel when he said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” These powerful words inspired an anthem by God’s Servant, who listeners will be able to tell is a pastor.

Ride with Jim Elliot, yeah, ‘cause Christ is all that our lives are for.
If we got to lose our lives, so be it, ‘cause Christ is our soul’s reward.


“Certified Gold” by Eshon Burgundy

David was as wealthy as anyone would aspire to be, yet he wrote in Psalm 19:9–10, “The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold.” Like David, Eshon Burgundy declares that “the One that’s risen” is more valuable than riches.

I feel like we spend time prayin’ for more distractions,
Things that keep us from the glory of the main attraction.


“Amen” by Reconcile

Reconcile declares his allegiance to the Lord and proceeds to explain why on “Amen,” an open letter reminiscent of Ephesians 2. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4–5).

Courtrooms, probation, got kicked up out the home.
I wanted to change, couldn’t change on my own.
But you took my sin, I should’ve died all alone.
That night I cried, till all them tears was gone.
Grace brought us this far, grace gon’ bring us home.
Jesus I love you, you all I’m living for.

Preaching to the Streets xwib7d1p

“Tell the World” by Lecrae (feat. Mali Music)

Fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ left John joyful, but he needed to tell others about it so his “joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4). Lecrae and Mali Music vow to “Tell the World” how God graciously saved and changed them.

I was so dead, I couldn’t hear you,
Too deep in sin to come near you.
But you drew me in, you cleaned me up.
So take me home, beam me up.
Before you do, just let me tell the truth,
And let these folks know that I done seen your love.


“The Daily Gospel” by Timothy Brindle

When Paul said, “I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome,” he was writing to Christians (Romans 1:15). Celebration of the gospel does not cease after you become a Christian, and Timothy Brindle explains why it’s the Christian’s source of joy daily.

And when I see my beautiful Savior who suffered
For all of the numerous ways I have blundered,
I’m then moved to be truly gracious to others
And exhibit the Spirit’s fruit of patience to brothers.
But most of all, the gospel brings me close to my Father,
So in the warmth of his love I can soak like a sauna.
So now I want to obey him and show him my honor,
Not to earn his love, but as a chosen responder.

Preaching to the Streets vosqfh67

“Take Me There” by Trip Lee (feat. Jimmy Needham)

Paul saw death as gain because death meant fellowship with Jesus, which he said is “far better” than life on earth (Philippians 1:21–23). Trip Lee and Jimmy Needham also long for a better country on “Take Me There.”

Hey, I ain’t know about you, but I can’t wait till the day
When I’ll be with my Lord and everything is okay.
And I’ll be just like him, so my sin ain’t in the way.
Baskin’ in his glory, that’s where I wanna stay.

The Missing Link Between Bible and Prayer

The Missing Link Between Bible and Prayer

The Christian discipline of Bible meditation is the most important, underrated, and misunderstood of all the ways of receiving God’s word.

Watch Now

Signposts: Why is church attendance declining? A conversation with Skye Jethani

In this episode of Signposts, I sat down with Skye Jethani to talk about why church attendance is declining. From a conversation that began on Twitter, we explore changes in culture, supply and demand, and the state of the local church…. Read More

The post Signposts: Why is church attendance declining? A conversation with Skye Jethani appeared first on Russell Moore.

2018 National Conference: Space Is Filling Fast

Join us March 8-10, 2018, in Orlando for our 31st annual National Conference. Together we will consider the way the Lord brings about awakening so that we might be used by God to be the means of a new awakening today.
R.C. Sproul will be joined b…

God Loves Good Hip-Hop

God Loves Good Hip-Hop

Music is arguably the most influential art form on earth.

This influence is not only attested to by music psychology, but also by the Bible in its attention to at least two realities. First, all art forms are powerful, but those which involve words exercise extra influence.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21). God used words to create the world, and our use of words is a way we mirror him as image bearers (Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 1:27). God also uses words to save the world. “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14).

The preaching of Christians through hip-hop has been used by God to move many listeners to call on the name of the Lord.

Music and the Mind

Second, Scripture affirms the effect of music on the mind.

In 2 Kings 3, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha when a harpist played. In 1 Samuel 16, a harmful spirit from God tormented Saul until David played a lyre. God used music in these passages as a means to breed serenity.

Matthew Henry said in his commentary on 1 Samuel, “Music cannot work upon the devil, but it may shut up the passages by which he has access to the mind.” It’s no wonder why a group of harp, tambourine, flute, lyre-wielding prophets is mentioned in 1 Samuel 10.

John Piper encouraged readers of his book When I Don’t Desire God to “wield the weapon of music in the fight for joy in God” because the Bible repeatedly commands us to sing and to play instruments (Exodus 15:21; 1 Chronicles 16:23; Psalm 33:2–3; 57:8; 81:2; 96:1; 150:1–6).

“Surely God has not created music as a pointless distraction from rational apprehensions of God,” Piper said. “Surely, this too is part of the creation that is ‘declaring the glory of God.’”

A Perfect Place for Joy

The genre of Christian music that has arguably used words the most influentially since the mid-90s has been hip-hop. And Christian hip-hop has often been significantly influenced by Reformed theology, especially Christian Hedonism.

Artists like Trip Lee, KB, Shai Linne, and S.O. have each waved the banner of satisfaction in Christ alone throughout their discographies. Jackie Hill-Perry, a Desiring God contributor, dedicated an entire album called The Art of Joy to the concept.

Outsiders may condemn hip-hop entirely because secular artists wave banners of misogyny, violence, and substance abuse. But hip-hop is a perfect place to proclaim our message of joy in God for his glory, for at least two reasons.

Authenticity

At its roots, hip-hop culture demands authenticity. Pioneering hip-hop emcee KRS-One once said, “It’s not about a salary. It’s all about reality.” Where better for us to declare the reality that our highest happiness is rooted in knowing the infinitely valuable Creator and Lord of the universe?

Authentic artists who truly believe “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him” will organically express this satisfaction in their art. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Artists will write and rap so that their joy in God may be complete (1 John 1:4).

Boastfulness

An even more central characteristic of hip-hop is braggadocio. “The art of the brag has been integral to hip-hop since the very beginning,” top hip-hop website DJBooth said.

The art of the brag precedes hip-hop (by several thousand years). God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:24).

By definition, “boast” is synonymous with praise or glorify. God created humans to glorify him (Isaiah 43:7). Emcees who boast in talent, money, or women are doing what they were designed to do — only with a mistaken supreme love.

Trip Lee grasps this. The teaching pastor, rapper, and founder of a ministry named Built to Brag released a single in 2011 titled “Brag on My Lord,” which says,

We don’t wanna waste our time braggin’ on small pleasures, you know?
We wanna brag on the greatest treasure.

A Playlist of Pleasure in God

Below are some examples of Christ-exalting hip-hop found at Rapzilla’s playlist on Spotify. These songs pass a test given by Piper in When I Don’t Desire God:

“Is this joy [that music awakens in us] rooted in something good about God? Is it shaping my emotions into a Christ-exalting configuration? Is it stirring my desires to know Christ better and love him more and show him to others at the cost of my own comfort?”

Preaching to the Streets p0dez0wf

“Give My All” by KB

KB began his 100 EP with a similar heartbeat to Paul in Acts 20:24, “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Funny how I don’t want the stuff people dream of,
Rich living in a beachfront, eased up with my ease up.
So what if they think you the man?
That don’t mean nothing in the kingdom.
So what I want y’all to remember me for?
If you forget my name, please remember my Jesus.


“My Portion” by Shai Linne

Since his debut album The Solus Christus Project, Shai Linne has been a champion of lyrical theology, “The study of God within the context of hip-hop.” Shai’s study of God took him to Psalm 73 on his song “My Portion.”

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire but you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, however,
The Lord is my portion forever.


“Stronger” by Json (feat. HillaryJane)

When Paul pleaded with God to remove the thorn in his flesh, the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Json and HillaryJane capture what was likely an emotional Paul with raw deliveries on the 2 Corinthians 12-inspired “Stronger.”

We’ll boast in our shame, we’ll boast in our weakness.
When we’re dead and we’re done, the world should look only to Jesus.


“Satisfy” by S.O. (feat. Adenikè)

Shortly after Jesus fed the five thousand, he told his disciples, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). S.O. critiques people’s thirst for everything except Christ on “Satisfy,” for which Desiring God premiered the music video.

How it feel like chasing the wind homie?
Don’t we do it all the time?
We never chase God,
But think that the women or the money will forever satisfy.

Preaching to the Streets px5mdv2e

“The Art of Joy” by Jackie Hill-Perry

“Satisfaction only happens to those who are glad in you.” That is the message of Piper’s signature book Desiring God, and it’s the message of the title track of an album which the book inspired, Hill-Perry’s The Art of Joy.

Brought me back to himself, now I’m living in reverse,
Seeing good gifts as a glimpse of the giver,
Not the gifts as a giver.
Merry Christmas if the vision works.


“Instruments of Mercy” by Beautiful Eulogy (feat. Hello Abigail)

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul said God appointed him a preacher, apostle, and teacher for the reason Rome imprisoned him: the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8–12). God uses Christians who suffer for the gospel, which invokes praise, as “Instruments of Mercy” beautifully articulates.

It’s the strumming and pressing of strings that momentarily stings.
But in the end, it ultimately brings us to a place that causes hearts to sing.


“Lose (Jim Elliot)” by God’s Servant

Missionary Jim Elliot reasoned that his life was not too valuable to risk for the sake of spreading the gospel when he said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” These powerful words inspired an anthem by God’s Servant, who listeners will be able to tell is a pastor.

Ride with Jim Elliot, yeah, ‘cause Christ is all that our lives are for.
If we got to lose our lives, so be it, ‘cause Christ is our soul’s reward.


“Certified Gold” by Eshon Burgundy

David was as wealthy as anyone would aspire to be, yet he wrote in Psalm 19:9–10, “The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold.” Like David, Eshon Burgundy declares that “the One that’s risen” is more valuable than riches.

I feel like we spend time prayin’ for more distractions,
Things that keep us from the glory of the main attraction.


“Amen” by Reconcile

Reconcile declares his allegiance to the Lord and proceeds to explain why on “Amen,” an open letter reminiscent of Ephesians 2. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4–5).

Courtrooms, probation, got kicked up out the home.
I wanted to change, couldn’t change on my own.
But you took my sin, I should’ve died all alone.
That night I cried, till all them tears was gone.
Grace brought us this far, grace gon’ bring us home.
Jesus I love you, you all I’m living for.

Preaching to the Streets xwib7d1p

“Tell the World” by Lecrae (feat. Mali Music)

Fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ left John joyful, but he needed to tell others about it so his “joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4). Lecrae and Mali Music vow to “Tell the World” how God graciously saved and changed them.

I was so dead, I couldn’t hear you,
Too deep in sin to come near you.
But you drew me in, you cleaned me up.
So take me home, beam me up.
Before you do, just let me tell the truth,
And let these folks know that I done seen your love.


“The Daily Gospel” by Timothy Brindle

When Paul said, “I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome,” he was writing to Christians (Romans 1:15). Celebration of the gospel does not cease after you become a Christian, and Timothy Brindle explains why it’s the Christian’s source of joy daily.

And when I see my beautiful Savior who suffered
For all of the numerous ways I have blundered,
I’m then moved to be truly gracious to others
And exhibit the Spirit’s fruit of patience to brothers.
But most of all, the gospel brings me close to my Father,
So in the warmth of his love I can soak like a sauna.
So now I want to obey him and show him my honor,
Not to earn his love, but as a chosen responder.

Preaching to the Streets vosqfh67

“Take Me There” by Trip Lee (feat. Jimmy Needham)

Paul saw death as gain because death meant fellowship with Jesus, which he said is “far better” than life on earth (Philippians 1:21–23). Trip Lee and Jimmy Needham also long for a better country on “Take Me There.”

Hey, I ain’t know about you, but I can’t wait till the day
When I’ll be with my Lord and everything is okay.
And I’ll be just like him, so my sin ain’t in the way.
Baskin’ in his glory, that’s where I wanna stay.