I guarantee you you’ll be praising God before this is finished! (HT: @isickadams)
I guarantee you you’ll be praising God before this is finished! (HT: @isickadams)
My man Prop likes to get in yo face. He was in my face with this one.
And since misery loves company…
or we can dress it up and call it “accountability”…
I thought I would pass it along to you,
And ask you, “Now what you gon’ do?”
Why you ain’t flying yet.
It’s because you still lying, I’ll bet.
Chicken. You scared you ain’t an eagle.
Don’t start barkin. You just a beagle.
I love my mama, but this brother helps me see not nearly enough! Loved the way he honors moms. Enjoy!
Perhaps you’ve already seen the 1970 interview of Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Dame Joan Bakewell on the nature of man. If not, you owe it to yourself to check out this 19-minute conversation recently released by the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust.
The interview is striking for a number of reasons.
First, it’s conducted in the U.K., where most observers would guess such a fair and engaging interview would be all but impossible today.
Second, the interviewer’s familiarity with basic doctrinal Christianity and the contentions of the broader culture set her apart from the talking heads today.
Third, it seems there may be very few evangelicals today of the stature of Lloyd-Jones who could command any interest from secular television.
Fourth, most sadly, are there any evangelical pastors who would be so thoroughly convinced and unashamed of the Bible’s teaching about man, sin and salvation in Jesus Christ alone?
So, I guess you should view the interview because we’re not likely to see its like in our lifetimes.
I’ve only been to New England on two occasions. Both times I’ve come away greatly encouraged at the warmth of God’s people and steadiness of His work in the area. Some people have said gospel work in New England is like “plowing granite.” I don’t live there and I’m usually with God’s people rather than in an evangelistic situation, so I’ll have to take their word for it. But when I’m with God’s people I don’t detect any spirit of defeat or any lack of spiritual warmth. I’m greatly encouraged.
On my two trips I’ve discovered two relatively unknown gems. A couple years ago I had the privilege of being with Dave Ricard and the folks at the New England Center for Expository Preaching. If you’re anywhere near the New England area and you don’t know this conference, you need to get to know it.
This year I had the privilege of “discovering” (in the same way Columbus “discovered” the already-existing Native Americans) the Bolton Conference. Sponsored by the New England Reformed Fellowship, the conference was in its 27th year. It felt like family–warm, generous, happy and eager to be together again family.
I had the privilege of sharing speaking responsibilities with Carl Trueman. Carl delivered three talks on the importance of creeds and I had the honor of preaching three sessions on Christian love. I highly commend Carl’s talks for their articulation of the theological, historical, and practical importance of confessions of faith. You can see videos of the sessions here. You’ll also find last year’s talks from Greg Beale and Ralph Davis on the Old Testament.
This week Marc Lamont Hill of HuffPost Live interviewed rapper Ja Rule about life after a two-year prison sentence, his new movie, “I’m in Love with a Church Girl” and his newfound faith. Much of the hip hop community has been abuzz with the news of Ja’s faith. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the full 19-minute segment.
00:50 Introduction to his new movie, “I’m in Love with a Church Girl”
02:00 Parallels between the movie’s main character and his own life
04:50 How he feels about his career right now?
05:40 Perspective on his prison experience
07:30 Talks about his new music projects
09:10 Relationship with 50 Cent and obligation to be a role model
12:10 Was he ahead of his time?
13:23 His new relationship with God
15:38 First impression of Hillsong Church (NYC)
18:20 What he teaches his sons and daughter as privileged children
When a young brother at the church asked if I’d seen the interview, I quietly suspected Ja Rule’s profession might be like a long line of incredible testimonies by celebrities looking to turn over a new leaf. I confess: I’m somewhat jaded by awards shows and interviews featuring artists whose work glamorizes sin while they claim to know God. From Al Green’s on-again-off-again relationship with R&B and gospel to Kanye West’s “I’m a Christian,” I find it difficult not to be skeptical.
But as I watched Hill’s interview with Ja Rule, I found a number of things working in my heart that it’s better to confess than suppress. I kept blinking at some logs and thought I’d share a few.
1. I realized I didn’t know and wasn’t interested to know Ja Rule. More than likely I heard his music and with mild disdain or self-righteousness turned it off and blamed him for destroying the community.
2. I never prayed for Ja. His conversion has nothing to do with my petitions for I never petitioned for his conversion. I’m aware of how often I’ve used my lungs to complain about and criticize secular hip hop and how little I’ve used my lungs to cry to God for the men and women involved in it.
3. I was struck by the surprising reversals and cunning providence of God. Ja said when he was poor he was sure he would go to jail; then when he was successful he was sure he would never go to jail. In His rich mercy, God spared him jail when he had nothing to lose and sent him to prison when he had everything to lose. The ways of God are not my ways; His thoughts are far higher than my own. “He who observes providence will have providences to observe.” (Flavel)
4. Legalistic religion “puts a black eye” on the gospel. I was surprised to learn Ja grew up a Jehovah’s Witness. I was saddened to hear, once again, how deeply bruised and resistant legalism left him. The Law kills. Yet I suspect my inner Pharisee makes himself known more often than I’m aware.
5. I’m tempted to not celebrate the work of grace in a sinner’s life. I’m tempted to doubt their testimony and conversion. I’m like those members of the early church who heard of Paul’s conversion and responded with more than a little apprehension and doubt.
6. I’m tempted to doubt the power of the gospel to save. Even though I know and I preach the ability of the gospel to save terrorists. Why would I doubt that a man like Ja Rule (which is to say, a man like every other man in sin) would not be saved when they came under the sound of the gospel?
7. I’m tempted to judge the methods of other churches and to doubt God’s use of them. I hear “Hillsong” and I squint that suspicious disapproving squint. As if God’s hand is shortened that He can’t reach people in a service unlike the service I think is “right” or at least “more faithful.” By the way, I know nothing about Hillsong. There’s that Pharisee again.
8. I might even be mildly disappointed with God for using Hillsong rather than a “solid church.” I’ve got my own Jonah thing going on.
9. Sometimes it takes radical difference to awaken people to the power of the gospel.
10. The authenticity of the church continues to be a significant stumbling block for some outside the church. Does the church really mean “come as you are”?
11. I sometimes underestimate the ability of multi-ethnic churches to reach people steeped in mono-ethnic subcultures. There’s a little homogeneous unit principle assumption sneaking around in my thoughts, especially when it comes to cats steeped in hip hop culture. I would never have put Ja in a Hillsong church. But God did. And praise be to God that’s where He chose to work!
So Ja Rule exposed me. And I’m glad. Now I’m happy for him and I’m praying for Him. I’m praying for Hillsong and the preaching of God’s word there and the fellowship of God’s people. May they be used of the Lord to bring many sons to glory through the preaching of the cross of Christ.
I’ve been waiting for audio or video of the recent Unashamed conference to be released. Like a lot of people, I wanted to be there, and wanted to hear shai linne and Sho Baraka discuss the current thinking about faithful witness and cultural engagement in Christian hip hop circles. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the panel they shared, moderated by J’son.
As I’ve watched this debate, I’ve been moved to pray often for the brothers in this endeavor. I’ve been challenged to think and re-think some positions of my own. And I’ve been encouraged to see the manful efforts at preserving the unity of God’s people where differences of strategy exists. I think these videos go a long way in continuing that godly path set out by brothers engaged in the discussion.
If you’ve not listened in before, feel free to check it out below.
The annual 9Marks@Southeastern conference continues to be one of my favorite gatherings each year. It’s full of teaching and fellowship with zero fluff. Combine that with the beautiful staff and grounds of Southeastern Seminary and you have a wonderful weekend. This year’s conference focused on evangelism and we heard wonderful messages from Danny Akin (Pres. of Southeastern), Mark Dever (Capitol Hill Baptist Church), J.D. Greear (Summit Church), John Folmar (United Christian Church of Dubai), and Peter Williams (Warden, Tyndale). For your edificaiton, you can check the videos of each address below:
There were panel discussions after each message. I pray these talks might be encouraging in our calling to spread the Good News.
I love the newest poem from Jackie Hill, “Eyes Like Judas.” I love what God is doing with poetry and hip hop, using the forms to bring himself glory! Enjoy!
I love this video testimony from Leonce Crump, Senior Pastor at Renovation Church in Atlanta, GA. It’s part of a series of testimonies they’re filming with persons at their church. Watch, pray, and enjoy!
Here’s another video from Ethan Seifred called “I’m a Hypocrite and Jesus Loves Me”:
I’m watching these videos and I’m thinking the evangelical world could use more public confession, profession, struggle and rejoicing like this!
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria
4 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.