At any given time I have any number of songs playing in my head. Over the years I have listened to a large variety of music.
I was raised on Country (Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Oak Ridge Boys, etc.), but I grew up in Southern California in the 80s, and that means rap/hip hop to go with some rock and roll. I am a white kid from the suburbs, actually I grew up in the countryside outside the suburbs. But I love me some good rap/ hip hop. And am so excited that the Christian music scene is now filled with artists like Lecrae and TobyMac who can deliver God’s word in a whole different light.
I always love it when I hear someone talking, and memories and music pop into my head that goes along with the conversation.
Last week Pastor Tom Lance was giving his message at The Grove on the meaning of the Cross, and it being much more than a symbol.
As I was listening and taking notes, some song lyrics popped into my head. He was talking about how Jesus dying on the Cross was the plan the entire time. And Lecrae popped into my head.
“Without the Cross there’s only condemnation; If Jesus wasn’t executed, there’s no celebration.” — from ‘Boasting’
I simple, true statement if there ever was one.
Tom went on to talk about how the Cross was God’s Plan A. Jesus suffering a slow, agonizing death was the whole point. He took the weight of the world on his shoulder and paid the price for all mankind.
Over the years I have heard people talk about how it went down, saying that if only Judas had remained loyal, if only Pilate had stood up to the crowds, things wold have been different.
But if those things play out differently then we miss the whole point. Those people played the role God needed them to, in order for his plan to come to fruition. Max Lucado wrote, “When Eve took a bite of the apple, the Cross was on the horizon.”
Tom went on to talk about how the real message of the Cross should rock us to our core. What Jesus did for us, the brutality of it all. The plan was executed, the points carried out … eliminate sin, overcome Hell, make Heaven possible.
And that we should respond to that with thanksgiving and gratitude. Strive to put others first, Love unconditionally, make a bold commitment.
After listening to the message, some other Lecrae lyrics came to mind.
“God has never been obligated to give us life; if we fought for our rights, we would be in Hell tonight” — Boasting
“When it gets hot, it boils down to sin, if Heaven ain’t a gift, then I ain’t getting in” — Gotta Know
After listening to these songs over and over again, you get to know the lyrics and can sing along, if you will. But when you take a closer look, you can see the depth of these words.
As a writer and general lover of the written word, I have a great appreciation for the ability to put the right words together to say exactly what you want to say. Which is why I feel a drawing to rap and hip hop music.
Even if I don’t agree with the message of someone like Eminem, I can certainly appreciate the craft and his ability to arrange words together.
Which is why my love for Christian artists like Lecrae and TobyMac is so deep. They can take God’s word and lay it out for you in new way.
“Every day that I lie, every moment I covet
I’m deserving to die, I’m just earning your judgment.
I, without the cross there’s only condemnation.
If Jesus wasn’t executed there’s no celebration.
So in times that are good, in times that are bad
For any times that I’ve had it all I will be glad.
And I will boast in the cross. I’ll boast in my pains.
I will boast in the sunshine, boast in his reign.”
Take a listen and read the words on the screen, let God’s Word wash over you.