Leonce Crump II is the pastor at Renovation Church in Atlanta Georgia
I was recently invited to participate in an event as the guest speaker, and I said these words to a group of young men there. The event was called Camp Grace, a camp specifically for under-resourced, inner-city children. Many of the kids were from right around my neighborhood here in Atlanta, so it was a privilege to get to speak to them because who they become will not only affect their lives, but it may affect mine as well.
For them, these words have meaning because in their neighborhoods it is the strong or most violent that is counted courageous. The one who "Don't take no $#!@ off of nobody." But, if I could just get them to see that true courage is not always being able to win the fight, the argument, or the conflict by force, then it could fundamentally change how they interact with each other, and the other kids in their neighborhoods.
Jesus is the perfect example of this type of courage and strength.
Last night I was in a silly mood. Maybe it was because it was my birthday and I was coming face to face with my ever shortening mortality. Maybe it was because I have some really big decisions hovering over my head and I just needed a mental retreat. Whatever the reason, the sillies were alive in my head. While I had the sillies, I came up with the idea of a Christian rap name "Crawse." It made me laugh to myself and I shared it with some people around me. We all laughed and then...it hit me. "I wonder what other people would add to the discussion of something called #badchristianrapnames."
Check out our LIVE interview with Reflection Music Group recording artist Tony Tillman. His latest project, 'The Tillman EP', is available now on iTunes or AmazonMP3, and currently stands at #2 on iTunes' Christian & Gospel Chart.
No Malice knows the easy route. He lived it for most of his life. Following the flock, keeping on his cool, while setting out on a quest for the hip-hop dream. Well, maybe the street dream came first. But after the allure had faded, the physical fulfillment dulled by excess, it was time to look in the mirror. Who did he see? A successful rapper? A celebrity? He couldn’t see anything. Forget the money, the fans and the women. No Malice needed inner peace and it was in front of his face his whole life. When the word of God finally touched his soul, the Clipse half was a changed man forever.
His voice is amazing, his style is unique, and he has been featured on several songs; yet SPZRKT never made it past the first round of The Voice, America’s Got Talent, and American Idol. Lucky for us he is using his God-given talent to make awesome music...For FREE. Listen to his testimony and hear his music now!
Adam Thomason is the Pastor of Damascus Road Church in Flint, Michigan and CEO of Collision Records.
Belle Island—literally The Most Beautiful Island—was the most enchanted place to go to in Detroit from the 70’s-90’s. The island itself was seen as perfection. It had wild animals you could show your children, a zoo (if you needed something tamer), a mini theme park, a kite flying area, a lush botanical garden and green house. Belle Island was considered by many to be practically flawless. To the average kid or adult though, no one really cared how this Garden-of-Eden-feel was accomplished. Most just thought it was magical, as if the island took care of itself. All the majority cared about was partaking in its benefits with no concern of how and why such a place got to the state of beauty that was so consistently enthralling to experience and take from.
Trillia Newbell is a freelance journalist and writer. She writes on faith and family for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God, and serves as the managing editor for Women of God Magazine. Her love and primary role is that of a wife and mother. She lives in Tennessee with her husband Thern and their two children.
Solitaire was crafted to be played alone and writing is often something done in solitude. Those things are great to do alone. But for only a period. Eventually solitaire gets boring and writing for publication is never truly done alone (editors and others contribute). There are few things that are truly completed, sustained, and enjoyed completely alone. This is most definitely true of the Christian life. We might think we can make it on our own without the care of others, but we can’t. We will crumble under the weight and pressures of this world and our own flesh. It’s also not how God intended it to be.
My favorite teacher ever was my high school chemistry teacher Mr. Cuba. He wasn't a young, hip, cool teacher. In fact it was quite the opposite. Older, slim-ish build, and an uber nerd. Every year on Halloween he wore a full out Star Trek uniform to class. I mean the whole one piece, snug fitting uniform. He wasn't cool to us inner city kids but he was a favorite for many of us. But one thing he NEVER did with us was grade on a curve. If we got all of the questions on the test right, then he never wrote "Excellent!" or "Super Job!!" He would only write "satisfactory." You'd get 100% of the questions correct and he'd only put "satisfactory." Why? Well, his philosophy was "If I spent the last few days teaching it to you, and you got them all correct what's excellent about that? I taught it, now you know it so show it. That's satisfactory." So because of this he NEVER graded us on a curve. If we all got 100% then cool. If we all got 35% then that's what we earned. The standard is the standard and there's no point in changing it just because we all fell short. Either he needed to teach it better or we needed to pay attention more but either way there were NO curves. (And for the record, this was in an honors type of program).
Brian Dye is the founder and pastor of Legacy Fellowship Church, a multiplying house church movement in the city of Chicago.
I have spent my entire life living in two inner city neighborhoods of Chicago (Humboldt Park and West Garfield Park). It is easy to believe that God has abandoned these two communities due to the poverty, crime, lack of education, absence of fathers and hopelessness.
While many would want to avoid these two communities, I have come to understand God’s sovereignty in determining the boundaries of my dwelling place. God has invited me to be His presence for those seeking Him. God has invited me into His mission for those feeling their way towards Him.
“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:26-28)
Lecrae discusses Christian labels and if they are helpful, being missional in the music industry, and role of hip hop during this special interview with guest host Eric Geiger on this episode of The Exchange with Ed Stetzer. Watch the full episode here.