Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Read 2 Chronicles 4

Highlights:

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord (II Chr. 5:13).

This looks to have been an exciting praise and worship service to the Lord. There was much reason to celebrate. Their enemies were all but gone. The Temple was complete. The Ark was being brought up to be placed in the Temple. It would seem all of Israel had come out for this celebration. There were plenty of reasons for this to happen. 

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in His Tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord (Ps. 27:6).

We see in this verse the results of this tremendous session of praise. A great cloud came in and filled the Temple. The priests themselves became overwhelmed. This cloud was the glory of the Lord.

But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel (Ps. 22:3).

This scripture shows us very clearly that when we surrender ourselves in praise to God, He will show up. The nation of Israel put aside all their differences and came together for one purpose; to offer praise, worship and thanksgiving to God. Their praises brought the Spirit of God to the scene.

The same thing can and will happen today. You might say that you have been in some pretty good church services and you never saw a cloud fill the place up. That is probably true for most of us. That does not mean that we have not been in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

*A New Metal is added to Chemistry:*
Name: WIFE

Symbol: Wf

Atomic mass: Light when first found… tends to get heavier over the years with time.
*Physical Properties :*

– Boils at any time

– Can freeze at any time

– Melts if treated with love

– Very Bitter if Mishandled
*Chemical Properties :*

– Very Reactive

– Highly Unstable

– Possesses Strong Affinity towards Gold, Silver, Diamond, Platinum, Credit cards, Debit cards & Cheque books

– Money Reducing Agent
*Occurrence :*

-Mostly found in front of the Mirror.

-It’s highly flammable when mixed with in-laws.

-It has mixed properties when seated with parents. 

-Woe unto you if she sees you with any element similar to itself!
Please circulate to all scientists.

Highlights:

For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger (I Kings 14:15).

There is always a cost for being disobedient to God. Sin definitely has it’s price. It separates us from God. It’s final results, unless one repents, end in death and hell. 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23).

Israel had fallen prey to the same sin many times. It seemed they had lack of trust in the One True God which they could not see. Consequently, they found it easy to turn their backs on God and turn to false gods for which they could construct idols in which to visibly worship.

The worship of false gods is strictly forbidden throughout the Word of God. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel had heard this from God through Moses. 

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (Ex. 20:3-4).

 In the New Testament, Paul lists the worship of idols with works of the flesh that separate anyone from God. 

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).

Therefore, Israel knew that what they were doing was sin, but they continued on in their ways. The price they were to pay would be a high one. It would destroy them as a nation.

The consequences of their sin would be the downfall of these people as a country. They would be separated and scattered all over the world. This separation would last for nearly 1900 years. It began after Christ and His apostles died and lasted until 1948. That is the year Israel was established again as a nation.

One thing about the ongoing Big Brother Naija reality TV show is the fact that whether you watch it or not, it’s in your face. As such, the concern of many over it’s value to the Nigerian society cannot be pushed aside. Unfortunately, the show has thrived on catering to the naughty or vice instincts in most people, with rated and raunchy scenes being the order of the house. Not surprisingly, many had called for a government action against broadcasting such content to a Nigerian audience in the future. Expectedly, that threw up mixed reactions from the Nigerian populace. While some find the entertainment exciting, other more serious folk are concerned about how the content affects values. Either way, the show has continued.
But perhaps more compelling in the argument against the continued airing of the show is one of the housemates, Tboss’ inability to recite the Nigerian National anthem in a routine truth or dare game. Since then, social media Nigeria cannot seem to recover from the shock that a potential winner of a show which is purportedly meant to be won by representing Nigerian values cannot recite something as basic as the national anthem. Shame!
More annoying to many is the fact that rather than own up to the goof and find a more intelligent way to placate her fans, the said housemate, Tboss, went on a tirade against her fellow contestant, Debbie-Rise, who posed the harmless kindergarten question to her, blaming her for the negative blowback her failure would do her chances of winning the show! Unbelievable. But then, nature has its own ways of shaming misfits. As it is, Tboss’ goof clearly, barring any miracle or organisers scam, makes the coast clear for other show favourites Efe or Bisola, who those following the show say are more deserving.
But much more than expose Tboss’ detachment from her country’s ideals, her national anthem disaster does also expose an aspect of our general failure as a people without deeper values for what is truly important. The national anthem of any country is the soundtrack of national existence. Footballers cry out of passion for their countries when singing before a game. Soldiers too. Great political leaders world over do too. The anthem is the soul of the country. But obviously not here in Nigeria. Only last year, two ambassadorial nominees, Alhaji Ibrahim Bida from Niger State and Mrs Vivian Okeke from Anambra State couldn’t recite the anthem at a Senate screening. Still, they were screened. The message is clear, it doesn’t matter whether you are passionate about the country or not, once you’re connected you have your way!
At the end of the day, beyond all the fuss about Tboss’ national anthem fiasco, Bisola’ blowjob on Thin Tall Tony, Kemen’s violation of Tboss’ womanhood, the free kissing sessions, the boobs baring moments and all the bad drama that Nigeria has been made to see on the road to creating a Big Brother model, we must all ask ourselves Olamide’s poser: who did the show epp? Apart from the organiser making loads of money off subscribers and voters, what else? Thin Tall Tony says he can make the prize money in three months on his own, meaning he or the others don’t necessarily need the show to make it!
As a final word to Tboss and all those who are privately guilty of this crime of passion for country, go on YouTube and find American singer Beyonce to teach you how to sing the Nigerian national anthem
Comment

For weeks now we have been following Worship Songs that are capable of transforming one into the celestial realms and I must confess it has been really revealing while being relieving. We have found a couple of Minstrels that are not after their own glory, but whose sole aim of doing music is to serve as a guiding light towards the Splendour of the Heavenly Places.

Our Friend and Brother, David Dam is one of those Heavenly Minstrels.

His exploration into the mysteries of the Kingdom has bathed several Holy Spirit inspired Songs. Today we are blessed to have one of his works as a part of the Worship Unplugged Series. Here is Hail Yahweh

Hail Yahweh (Acoustic Version) composed by David Dams is a song of alleigence and worship to Yahweh. In this song, he describes the true picture of the body of Christ.. and make it clear that in all we do.. wherever we are.. we will always.. Hail Yahweh.

Click here to DOWNLOAD

Produced by – Jakes.

CONNECT WITH HIM
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/DaveWorship
Instagram- @dayviddam
Twitter- @David_Dam321

When it comes limits, I’m one of those people my friend Nicole Unice would describe as having a “dessert-sized plate”—I can only add so much to my schedule, my ‘plate,’ before anxiety sets in and overwhelm begins.

This is hard for me because I live with and find community with a lot of ‘big plate’ people – the type who fill their time with amazing ministry endeavors and projects and events, all with a certain amount of adrenaline fuelling them—they find life in full schedule. Like my friend Cara, for instance, who admits she’s not only comfortable with a high amount of chaos; she actually thrives in it. Thrive and chaos are never used in the same sentence in my world.

So right on the outset, this isn’t intended for everyone. If you’re like my friend Cara and thrive when your big plate is filled to the brim, this isn’t necessarily going to resonate. But if you’re wondering if maybe you’re stretching yourself past the God-given limits of your personality and phase of life, read on, dear friend.

Here are a few sure signs you’re living outside your limits:

1. The relationships closest to you are suffering. Who are you closest with (husband, children, best friend, mom)? Write your top 5 people down if you need to. Now, think about your relationship with each one. How are they fairing? Are you finding the time and emotional energy to care for these people, or are they getting the dregs of your time and love? When our plates are too full, the people we love most are usually the first to suffer. Committed, intentional time with your loved ones is crucial for your flourishing. (Nicole touches on this in a Q&A I did with her on knowing your limits—I’d encourage you to check it out!)

SEE ALSO: How Taking Care of Your Body is an Act of Worship

2. You no longer make time for the things that bring you life. Think about the things that bring you joy and refresh your spirit. My list would include taking walks in sunny weather, gardening, reading a good book, sitting down to a home cooked meal with my husband, and one-on-one time with a good friend. For you, it might look like going to see a movie, listening to music, taking a car trip to a new place, etc.

When we’re living outside our limits, often the first things to go are the things that refresh us and bring us joy. For example, I’ll skip a walk at lunch because I feel pressure to reply to all the email in my various inboxes. But when we don’t take the time to refresh ourselves, we become overwhelmed and our zest for life runs low.

Related, we might be tempted to think that God would rather us give all our free time to service projects or nightly bible studies or work or whatever good ministry opportunities crop up. But when things, even good things, overwhelm our schedule to the point where we no longer have the time or energy to enjoy what God has uniquely created us to enjoy—that’s a problem.

I’ve found some of my most worshipful times are when I’m immersed in an activity that brings me joy. Whether I’m out in nature or after a conversation with a good friend – I’m just overwhelmed with thankfulness and often pray prayers of gratitude to God for those sweet times of restoration. But those moments wouldn’t happen if I was so busy that I didn’t have time for the things my soul delights in.

SEE ALSO: When God Won’t Take Away Your Anxiety

3. Things that should be effortless become taxing. Think about the things you’re naturally gifted in – this can include spiritual gifts, natural talents, or skills you’ve honed over the years through hard work and study. For me, these things include writing, ministering to other women through my gifts of listening and good question asking, and strategic/creative idea curation at work.

When you’re at your best and living inside your limits, these giftings flow freely out of you. My friend Tabitha calls this getting into “flow” – when you’re in the “flow zone,” all other thoughts, distractions and anxieties are gone and you’re delighting in and completely focused on whatever the thing is you’re doing.

But when we’re living outside our limits, these natural gifts stall out. For example, I know I’m outside my limits when I find myself sitting across from a friend and have no capacity to ask good questions or listen thoughtfully to what’s going on in her life. It might not just be that I’m tired; I might be thinking about the dozens of other things I have going on that week. I might be feeling more anxious or insecure than I normally would, more self-focused and not friend-focused. What is usually a natural skill for me becomes totally nonexistent when I’m past my limits.

These are just a few key indicators that you’re living outside of your limits. If some of what I’m saying resonates with you and you think you might be trying to stuff too much on your plate, I hope you see how much might be gained by reassessing your schedule and learning to say no. When you live within the natural limits God has set for you, the relationships that are most important to you have a chance of thriving, you can better utilize the gifts you were born with, and you’ll have more time for the things that God created you to find joy and life in.

SEE ALSO: 3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Missing Out

How do you know when you’re past your limits? How do you reclaim time for the things that matter most? Share in the comments section!

Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.

QUESTION:

I am in my early 30s. I would very much like to be married. I find, unfortunately, that I am rarely in a situation where I am interested in someone, and on an even rarer occasion that he would be interested in me. Recently I met someone that I am interested in. He is godly, we have similar interests, and a great conversationalist – things I really appreciate. Unfortunately, we don’t spend a lot of time together and aren’t in the same circle of friends. We occasionally see other at church, but asides from that we do not hang out, nor do we know each other well enough to be communicating on social media / texts.

I have been praying about this situation and asking God to lead – to show me where he wants me to trust, and where he wants me to take a step of faith as well.  To what extent is it a good idea to initiate? Should I start texting him and inviting him to group events? It would be a bit out of the blue. Should I ask him for coffee? Would it be appropriate if I just directly told him how I felt? I almost feel it’s a bit dishonest otherwise.

I know that God has created relationships where men lead. I’m also conscious that it is a rare situation I am so interested in a guy, and would like to know what would the wise next step.

HE SAID:

I fully believe and agree a guy should be the leader (especially spiritually) of a family and relationship. However, there are times at the outset when we (speaking of guys) just don’t realize when someone may be interested us, and sometimes we need a little inspiration (or kick in the pants) to open our eyes.

Whatever the situation, we should always try to be deliberate in our actions; taking advantage of every scenario open to us.

Too often we bury our chances (or gifts) before we even start for fear of what may happen or in consideration of “what if.” Opportunities are short-lived and we shouldn’t allow them to get away without at least trying. 

Although texting and private messaging has become more of the norm, I suggest you ask directly if he would like to join you for coffee, a concert, a group activity or whatever. Otherwise it becomes too easy to misread a response, non-response or delayed response.

The next time God gives you an opportunity to run into your “interest” (and if it’s of God, He will), just ask if he’d like to get together….and schedule a time. Don’t let it be left open-ended.

You mention you have similar interests, look for a chance to share in one of those activities with him. If it’s music, see if there’s something happening in your area. If it’s getting out athletically, see if he wants to join you. 

At some point during your time together you can share your feelings and see if he feels the same. With the informality communication and “hanging out” has taken, it becomes easier to press the issue without leading him on.

Several years ago a female acquaintance asked me if I ran, and even though I didn’t do it regularly it made me take notice of her. We scheduled a time and it soon began a dating relationship.

So what’s the worst thing that can happen to you?

Live without regrets.

SHE SAID:

I can totally relate to you and your circumstances. When you’re really young, you are attracted to a lot of people. It may be something as simple as their smile or that they paid attention to you. However, as you get older and wiser you really want it to be someone you like for spiritual reasons. Someone that God would have you date/marry. Someone that you are attracted to beyond physical reasons.

First, I want you to realize that God did reveal that there are men out there that you can be attracted to for the right reasons. And at any time God can bring them to you or you to them. So it’s not a matter of who is out there but what direction to take when you do meet someone you like. Because your circles are not the same, I would investigate where he is hanging out so that you could get to know him better. I would find out what ministries he is serving in, what Sunday school or small group he attends. Now I am not saying be a stalker but am simply encouraging you to find out more information about him. You could also ask people you know who might know him, folks who can tell you more about him. 

Now regarding whether you should pursue or chase as a woman, here is one woman’s advice. I personally prefer the man to lead/chase. However, I know the Bible speaks of women, specifically Ruth who did the initial pursuing of Boaz. We know that Boaz was interested in Ruth but due to their age difference, he felt she was more suited for a younger relative (so he didn’t initiate). But Ruth was interested and pursued Boaz. This chase doesn’t mean that Boaz was not the leader of his home, it simply means God gives women permission to let men know we are interested. The key though would be how much we initiate and for how long. While some men invite women to chase, others might find it too aggressive and be turned off. So what should you do?

Well, because this guy may not know you exist, you do need to find ways to be together so you can learn more about each other. But please do not manipulate; instead, through prayer, allow God to line up opportunities. I also encourage women to ask open-ended questions to men so they can learn more about them. In some cases, you can take it a step farther and say something like, “you are an interesting person, I’d love to get a cup of coffee with you sometime.” Or subtler, “Hey, there’s a few of us going to dinner this Friday, if you want to join us…”

Life is short so if there is someone you like, go for it. Keep each step in prayer, trusting the Lord for His will. Worse case, if he is not the one— you may end up with a great friend. And well, we can never have enough great friends.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.

SHE is … Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of four books.

DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We’re just average folk who understand what it’s like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life’s questions, and it’s where we’ll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it’s important to note that we write our answers separately.

ty-bello-jpg

Gospel Sensation and prolific photographer, TY Bello, releases a new song titled, Holy Ghost Air. It is a free flowing medley of sounds, chants and affirmations. This song features Nathaniel Bassey and his dexterity on the horns. It brings an atmosphere of sonic perfection to the composition.

This is a revelatory song of worship, with intense amplitudes, which gives access to the throne of grace at first listen.

It is a song that can make you pray and find ease in connecting to the realms of the spirit.

Its a must have and must listen kind of song. It is exactly what your need to prayerfully usher yourself into the New Year.

 

Song Credit

  • Song written by TYBello
  • Produced by MELA
  • Co-Produced by George Ade-Alao
  • Mix and Mastered by Samjazzy
  • Bass by Felix Uyime
  • Guitars by Segunfunmi Olasehinde
  • Background Vocals: Blessing Irorere, Soyemi Oluwafemi, Adejumoke Oshoboke and Mela.
  • Trumpet by Nathaniel Bassey

Click here to Download

Kai, stop bringing up such a senseless topic. How can you be raising such a sensitive political matter at a palm wine joint? And please, stop denigrating baba by likening him to your failed Jonathan. Jonathan failed all of us and that is why we all voted him out, including you. You were part of the change. Sai baba! Baba for life! Baba and Chelsea are the same. I love baba just as I love the blues. We will vote him again in 2019 if he agrees to run. Sai baba. Why are you laughing now? Does this sound funny? I have my dagger here to finish your life fa!

Sorry, I wasn’t laughing. But why are you this ferocious? Does viciousness run in your blood or is it because you are from… Where are you really from sef? Anyways, it doesn’t really matter. I hear most of your people are like this. You must not talk about their pinup even when they are being roasted by the same obsession.

Grammar…but who told you baba is roasting us? Are we chickens? Besides, your people are more violent than my people. I hear sound of bombs and grenades coming from there every now and then. They are claiming they own the entire country. Is it not only Boko boys that are troubling my people? Have you ever heard of kidnapping and militancy around my area? Take your time please! Sai baba!

I can’t just control this laughter but in a rancorous manner. Did I hear you say sai baba again? Well, I remember how it was activated. We all started with the stimulation of ‘sai baba,’ but at the middle of last year, some people started chorusing ‘why baba’. I have heard ‘chie’ baba from a few people and very soon, it will be ‘haba baba.’

Shut your ‘moronic’ and odious mouth. Buhari can never end up like Jonathan. Forget about what PDP is saying. They are trying everything possible to sabotage his government. I will continue to support baba, even if…

Even if what? Baba has failed us; he has even failed the group he used in removing Jonathan. I mean…ennnnn. What’s the name of the group again? This Oby Ezekwesili’s group, I mean that Aisha Yesufu’s group.

You mean BBOG?

Exactly! Can’t you see that they are now asking baba to be cautious, if not he will end up like Jonathan? In fact, they are like cat and dog now, and baba does not want to see them. I wonder why he is doing that, even when they staked everything for him and helped him win the election.

What did they stake for him? Are you daft? Did you ask why they formed the group? It was for appointment, but since baba only considered one of them, the rest are now angry. Could he have appointed all of them as Ministers? It’s not fair. Do they think baba is too old that he can’t decipher blue from white?

But he used them? Why is he now refusing to dine with them?

Because they are making impossible demands. They are asking baba to rescue the abducted Chibok girls. Is that not suicidal, I mean cheerless? How can you ask our President to go to the Sambisa forest to liberate those girls? I pity the security forces in the forest because it’s an awkward task. No government can rescue those girls. The forest is a noxious zone. After all, your Jonathan said the abduction was a facade’ so why troubling my baba?

Gbam! You don dey speak oyibo now. But baba said he was coming to rescue those girls or has he now agreed that there were no such girls?

Baba is also a politician. Baba is not just a military man. A politician capitalizes on every little opportunity to triumph over his challenger. At least, he got our votes with the sentiments of that abduction. Whether true or false, baba has won the election and now he is our President. He used the group wellaaaa.

Tufiakwa! He is not my President. I wish Jonathan won. I regret everything today. The sleepless night, the argument at newspapers stands, the social media campaigns and everything. I think I betrayed my people who would have preferred Jonathan to continue.

Jonathan would have killed this country.

So what has your Buhari done to this country so far? Revived it? Name one thing that your baba has done positively?

Okay wait…he has decimated Boko Haram.

How?

Don’t you read papers and press releases? Do you know why SK Usman always uses ‘remnant’ when he is issuing a press statement on Boko boys?

Talk is cheap!

Be serious my friend. The era of Boko Haram is over.

How can you say that? Where then are the abducted Chibok girls? Where is Shekau? Is he now dead for the third time?

You see, you don’t read. Shekau is a title. They have killed two title holders. One was recently wounded on the arm.

That sounds very funny. So we can say Shekau, the Emir of Sambisa. How many of the dead bodies have they recovered? How did the military know he was injured in the last raid? If they could be specific about the nature of the injury he sustained in the raid, then why didn’t they capture him or are they turning Sambisa to Boko Haram forest reserve? Very soon, the military will tell us the name of the hospital Shekau was taken to, and mention even the name of the doctor handling his case. Abeg, don’t let me derail from the topic. All I know is that baba has done nothing. He is living on his past glory.

Thunder fire you! Will you stop this nonsense?

No! The nonsense makes sense.

No sense. Jonathan finished our economy before baba took over.

But baba said he was coming to change things. Was he coming to lay blames? He studied the economy and said there was need for change. Now people are already saying we need to change the change. And I’m wondering what he has changed so far?

So many things.

Like wounding Shekau in the arm? Like promising that we will soon be out of recession? Like taking pump price of fuel to N145. Like promising that price of rice will soon fall from the current N20,000. Like completing the Abuja- Kaduna rail project Jona started? Honestly, he has tried to convince us to be a little patient with him. He may end up being worse than Jonathan. If I want to juxtapose, then I will say Jonathan was the best president we didn’t give a chance.

You are mad! You call yourself a media practitioner, yet it’s only at ‘palm wine joint’ you can claim super man in politics. How many articles have you written against the government of the day or are you afraid too?

I’m not afraid of anything. What is there to be afraid of? Is this situation not even worse than prison? What’s the difference? Didn’t you see Dasuki that day? That man don chop up. At least, he has rest of mind. Ask other journalists. People have refused to give brown envelops because they are also managing to survive. Many companies are folding up. Even Dangote is wailing, so I’m no longer afraid. Even Salkida willingly handed himself over to the security forces the other day.

Nonsense! ‘Jagbajantic’ bear parlour journalism. No matter the badbelle, baba will bounce back.

I won’t take it personal with you. I will be here next week to continue the argument with you. But remember I bought a bottle for you today, so you must return same next week. This is an era of change.

Useless man! Where is the money? I’m even thinking of how to survive this weekend. I have only 500 naira left for tomorrow’s garri. You know a cup now sells for as high as 50 naira.

Call baba to epp you. After all, who him epp for this country?

Ali Adoyi is an Abuja based journalist.

trip-lee

Trip Lee is a 27-year-old rapper, husband, and father of two. He’s also planting a church in Atlanta — yes, he’s a pastor — and late last year he released his fifth studio album, Rise, which quickly hit #1 on the iTunes charts. And he’s just published his second book.

Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story, the companion book to his latest album, comes out today, January 27. I caught up with Trip to talk about Millennials leaving the church, his relationship with John Piper, and why he felt like he had to write about sex, lust, and porn.

You released an album by the same name late last year — how are the two connected? Do the two serve distinct purposes?

I thought of the concept for the book first because when I was thinking about doing a project I thought about what I wanted to communicate to the people that I have influence with, and one of the things I really wanted to communicate was the need for us to not wait until later to take our lives seriously.

With the album, what I wanted to do was introduce those things, and then with the book, that’s where I really wanted to dive deeply. A song captures emotions in unique ways, and a song helps you to celebrate things in unique ways, but at the same time, you only get three or four minutes, so you can only communicate so much. So I wanted to use the songs to do the celebrating, to connect emotionally, to really get people excited about those things, and then use the book to go really deep into those things and help people think about it further.

Trip-Lee-Rise-Release-Date

Who has inspired you as a rapper, pastor, and author?

In terms of music, I would say probably the most influential on the way I approach the art form is Jay Z. He’s a guy who is arguably the best rapper of all time. The way he uses metaphors and double entendres and the way he’s able to connect with an audience — he’s just really good at what he does. But, obviously, I do it differently than him, because I have a different worldview. I would disagree with some of the things he says, but really respect him as an artist.

In terms of as a pastor and preaching, John Piper is a pastor in Minnesota who I heard a lot of his sermons early on that really inspired me to really want to continue to preach and proclaim God’s word.

As an author, that’s really hard. I would say one: C.S. Lewis. He’s a guy whose writing doesn’t read like sermons, but they’re so engaging and he answers questions before you even ask them and he argues so well and he understands culture well and understands scripture well. He’s a guy who’s influenced me a lot as an author.

How have you been able to blend, as John Piper writes in the introduction, reverence and relevance? The two can seem almost oxymoronic.

I think the main way I do that is just by trying to be myself. So, one thing I could’ve done is I could’ve read John Piper books and I thought, “Man I need to write like him. I need to preach like him.” That’s not me. He’s a white dude in his sixties and I’m a young black dude, a rapper, in my twenties.

I think it does Christianity a disservice if we feel like, “Hey, if I’m going to be serious about my faith, I have to look like this and dress like this and talk like this,” as opposed to, “Hey, when I put my faith in Jesus, he changes me from the inside, so that who I am culturally can stay the same, but I can still talk about deep things.”

Though God is going to call us to grow and change, it’s not going to be change like you have to wear suits now and you have to speak in King James language. No, no. You can still be yourself and be young and be cool, all those things — some people ain’t cool to start with, so you don’t get cool — but God can take you where you are, you can be yourself and you can be changed in a way that matters.

Speaking of, there’s this unique relationship between veteran Reformed guys like Piper and Mark Dever and younger rappers like yourself. Can you talk about that?

I do think it’s unexpected. I think what we’re seeing there is that even though we don’t have a lot in common culturally or age-wise — and maybe these are guys I never would’ve even known or had any kind of relationship with — what we do have in common is that we believe in the same Jesus and that makes us passionate to see the same things happen in the world.

And those are guys who I think get it in a way that they want to pour into people who have influence in different realms. For instance, John Piper, he’s always been incredibly kind, he sought to understand what we do, and then he’s gone out of his way to be really kind to us and love on us.

I think that’s powerful even as we think about some of the racial issues going on. I want people to see that there can be unity, and I’ve seen that unity come in Jesus. We believe in the same Lord — there are a lot of different things that are different about us, but we believe in the same Jesus and that’s what brings us together.

You call out a lot of people — kind of the lukewarm Christians, especially — in the book. Were you nervous about that or do you think it just needed to be done?

I think one of our core values as a culture right now is not ever making any comment on anything anybody else does. The only scripture passage that a lot of people know is that Jesus says, “Don’t judge lest ye be judged,” though of course we know from the context of that passage and other passages, he’s not saying never make any judgment. Scripture commands us to help each other along. I don’t think it does anybody any good if we are afraid to help each other grow.

That’s part of what it means to be a Christian, is to let other people in your life in such a way that you can help each other to grow. I think the problem comes when we’re very self-righteous about it. What in the book I always try to be very open about the fact that, even from the introduction, I do not have it all together. I have issues. I am a Christian not because I have it all together but because I need Jesus desperately.

You write about sex and porn and lust — you don’t really hold back. Were there parts you struggled to write or that were particularly uncomfortable?

Yeah, I mean, I know I’m going to get some emails this week saying, “Hey this may have been a little too real for my teenager,” but these are issues that, especially when you begin to talk about porn, plague us as a culture. It is very rare for me to meet a young man, Christian or not, who hasn’t at some point or is presently looking at porn regularly. And I thought, if I’m writing a book for young people, I cannot not address this particular issue because it’s such an epidemic for us, and something that so many of us struggle with, something that I struggled with in the past.

And then thinking of sex and temptation, I mean that’s such a huge thing for us while we’re young, even more than when we get older. So I just didn’t see a way that I could write an honest book that tried to speak to the unique challenges of following Jesus while we’re young without touching on those topics. And I think, because we don’t have a lot of honest discussion about those things, I think those will end up being some of the chapters that help people the most, because we try to ignore it like it doesn’t exist sometimes, and I don’t think that’s a helpful way to move forward.

Trip

I saw you perform at BET Music Matters in New York. What’s it like when a guy on stage before you is rapping about strip clubs and then you come on and rap about Jesus?

I love that stuff, man, I love that. I love when I get to do at a church and everybody there’s a professing Christian, but I love doing stuff like BET Music Matters because it’s an opportunity for people who normally wouldn’t be exposed to it. I love that, because one, their brain explodes for a second. Because they think Christians could not possibly be good rappers. They’re assuming that I’m about to come up there in choir robes and my rap name is going to be Kanye Blessed and it’s going to be something real corny.

Then I love the fact that they’re getting exposed to something different even if they weren’t expecting it. It’s an opportunity for me to be a light in places where there’s often not a lot of light.

There’s much written about Millennials leaving the church. Why do you think that is — and what do you think the church can do there?

There is one chapter where I talk about this very briefly in the book. It’s a chapter about going deep with God. I think one of the reasons so many people leave is because they’ve only been given really shallow ideas of the faith. When the only thing you know is “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so,” and when you’re only around people who also believe that, it’s not really challenged. But then people go off to college and then they’re getting challenged in class and they’re being exposed to other things, and because no one’s ever helped them to dive deep into scripture, they’re not firmly rooted. Some don’t really even understand what the gospel is, so it’s very easy to be knocked over. It’s nice to give folks pizza and high fives, but that’s not going to be enough if we want to give them the kind of faith that will be sustained.

We’re also just at a time in culture where it’s not respectable as much to be a serious Christian anymore. So, I think what it’s going to take is just the regular thing that God calls Christians to do in the Word: to love people and to tell them the good news about Jesus.

Can you talk about the Christian rapper label?

It’s so funny to me this has become such a huge conversation because normally this is almost always a question that we’re asked, not that we bring up most of the time. I want people to see me as a rapper. It’s very clear I’m a Christian from the way that I live my life and the music that I do — you hear it in my music. I just don’t want people to think of Christian hip-hop as its own genre, like there’s regular hip-hop and then there’s this hip-hop over here for church people.

Instead, I want people to say, ok, here’s a rapper. Is his music dope? Ok, I’ll check it out. And he’s coming from a particular perspective in his worldview. I just don’t want people to put it in a corner somewhere like it’s its own genre. I do hip-hop. I’m a Christian man. So that’s going to be clear in my music. So I think it gives people an idea about the music that’s not true. That’s why I don’t prefer it.

Rappers don’t know what to make of you guys and some Christians don’t know what to make of you guys. You’re kind of stuck in the middle.

Exactly. I think it’s ok to be kind of stuck in the middle. That means we get to carve out our own trail, which in some ways is cool, because there’s nobody who does it quite like we have.