Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Trip Lee 20/20

Ben Washer from Reach Records sent me one of Trip Lee's new CD -20/20 to review. Honestly, I think it was a mistake. I think that he had me confused with someone else, but since I got the CD I will give my thoughts.

I really have no right to critique hip hop music except for the fact that I have been listening to it off and on for about 20 years. Yes, I go all the way back to Kool Moe Dee, Boogie Down Productions, Heavy D. and the boyz, and many more.
I am still getting used to this CD, but it definately is worth purchasing. The content of the message is powerful as always with any Reach artist. The theme of clearing up our vision to see clearly according to God's Word instead of the messed up vision of culture is throughout the tracks. The album is full of guest appearances (Lecrae, Cam, Shai Linne, Flame, and the list goes on).
At some level, a critique of good music is about style. I enjoy good hip hop. I want good Christ honoring content in my music. I want artists whose life represents the message that they portray. Trip has all of this. But I also can have too much of a style. Trip Lee's style is like that to me. I like a song here and there, but have trouble listening to a whole album in one sitting. That's just me. Other styles I can listen to a whole album the whole way through. For me, this is Lecrae, Shai Linne, Flame. And of course, my guy Catalyst.
That being said, here are a few of my favorites from 20/20: Come close, Who He is, Eyes open.
If you are looking for bangin' hip hop that glorifies God and not the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, then 20/20 is for you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Leadership is influence.

John Maxwell states that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.

I have wrestled with this idea in the past, but think that I agree more and more that this is true.

What are your thoughts on this idea?


For those who have not heard, Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter, age 5, was killed yesterday in a tragic car accident. She was accidentally hit by a vehicle driven by her older brother at their family home. Family statement here

Please be in prayer for the Chapman family.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

BULLS Win ...

the draft lottery. After a very disappointing season, it is nice to see some good news for the Chicago Bulls. Now the question is "who should they pick?".

Should they take the hometown hero and maybe the next great point guard? or Should they take a big man who can score and rebound? I don't think they can go wrong with Derrick Rose or Micheal Beasley. Both seem to have potential for NBA greatness.

Who do you think the Bulls should pick?

Monday, May 19, 2008

How about them SPURS

On the sports side of life, the Spurs are at it again. Although they have not been dominant, the Spurs just find a way to win. Tonight they defeated the New Orleans Hornets to move into the Western conference finals.

It is shaping up to be an exciting NBA playoffs at this point.

Lakers vs. Spurs

Pistons vs. Celtics

What are your predictions? Who will be in the FINALS and who do you pick to win? Sound off sports fans.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What is the gospel?

The gospel means “good news”. I believe that it is a message to be told. I believe that the message is that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save sinners from the consequence of their sinful state. I believe that mankind can receive that “good news” by repenting and believing.

I believe it is a message that is powerful. I believe it is a message that changes lives. I believe that it is a relevant message for today.

It seems to me that some would want to change the gospel. It appears to me that the gospel is being redefined in many places and by many people. This is not a new trend. But it is very disturbing.

It seems to me that some are trying to distort the gospel altogether. They would say that there are many paths or belief systems that lead to God. That would say that the message has not been inclusive enough in the past.

It seems to me that others are trying to make the “fruit” of the gospel into the gospel. What I mean by this is that people are saying that the actions that result from believing the gospel are actually the message that people need to hear. An example of this would be to take the fact that God has a heart for the poor and make that mean that what makes us right with God is to care for the poor too. Now I believe that the fruit of someone who believes the gospel message should result in a greater concern for those around us, but I do not believe that having a concern for the poor will do anything to help someone be made right with God.

There are many people in the world who care a lot about people, the poor, and fighting poverty who don’t care about God and have done nothing to deal with the sin that separates them from God. This does not cut it.

This is only one example of how this idea is expressed.

When we replace the message of the gospel with the fruit of the gospel, we now have a system of being made right with God that believes that mankind is not sinful by nature, mankind is capable of working its way to God, and we deny much of the truth of the Bible. We are made right with God by grace through faith and not by works. This is the message that is being lost today.

Have you seen this to be true as well? Am I way off base on this? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shame on the Secret Service

It was reported tonight here that the secret service of the United States sent internal e-mails making jokes about Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife being killed. The e-mails make jokes of the idea of Jesse being on a plane that is hit with a missile. The e-mail states it "certainly wouldn't be a great loss and probably wouldn't be an accident either."

This is the secret service. This is the agency charged with protecting us. And some people wonder why people like Reverend Wright are skeptical of trusting the government.

Should Jesse be upset about this? Is it un-American to be skeptical of the motives and actions of our government and its institutions?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Higher Education

This morning, I read about Joshua Packwood in the Chicago Tribune. Read the article here.

Joshua is this years valedictorian of Morehouse College. Morehouse is the nation's premier institution of higher learning committed to the education and success of black men. Joshua is white.

The article tells more of the story, but Joshua had offers to Stanford, Yale, Columbia, and other prestigious schools. But he chose Morehouse specifically because he believed it would offer him a unique education and perspective. He is quoted as saying:

"I've been forced to see the world in a different perspective, that I don't think I could've gotten
anywhere else," he said. "None of the Ivies, no matter how large their enrollment is, no matter how many Nobel laureates they have on their faculty ... none of them could've provided me with
the perspective I have now."

It seems that Joshua Packford believes that the best education involves learning from and being around people who offer different backgrounds and perspectives. At Morehouse, he was looking to learn from others of a different race.

This stands out to me because this is an attitude that few white people realize. Many people of other races value learning from and with whites, but you seldom see whites looking to go and intentionally learning from people not like them.

I believe that young people need to learn from many types of people. In the PURSUE program that I lead, I believe that the young people that we support need access to education. But I also believe very strongly that colleges and universities desperately need their perspectives in the classroom. I believe that colleges should be actively and aggressively recruiting non white students specifically who come from economically challenged homes and environments.

But many colleges and universities don't truly see the value that these students can bring to their campus. If they did, they would help pave the way for them to come much like they do a star athlete or an outstanding student.

Are you glad that Joshua Packard chose Morehouse College or does it upset you? Do you think colleges truly value the perspective of the student from the inner city?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Graduation Day

Robin & Lisa
Lisa & me
Lisa with the kids

Lisa with her mom & dad

Today was graduation day!!! Lisa went back to school two years ago and today she finished her degree in elementary education. We are all so proud of her.
It made it extra special that she graduated in the same graduating class as Robin. We never would have thought when we dropped Robin off at college that she would graduate with Lisa. We are very proud of you too Robin. We knew you could do it. God is so good.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Love God = Love people

I had a friend suggest to me yesterday that your love for other people is a direct reflection of your love for God. Interesting thought.

What do you think? Can someone really love God, but not be interested in loving people?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Les Miserables

Last night, I took my wife to see the play Les Mis to celebrate her graduation. I enjoyed the time together and the play.

The story is about mercy, forgiveness, justice, the oppressed, love, etc. I am always intrigued by stories that bring out the theme of the mistreatment of the poor and their cry for justice. This story was based much around that struggle.

The classic song "Do you hear the people sing" captures much of that:

Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of
a people, who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart echoes
the beating of the drums there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Beyond
the barricade is there a world you long to see? Then join in the fight that will
give you the right to be free!

The lyrics only tell part of the story. With music in the story, they carry much more weight.

Those who are oppressed will always cry out!

Why is it that we can read stories, hear a song, see a great play and be moved, but then never do much to work to practically change the things that we are challenged with?

Les Miserables is a great story seen around the world most often by the people of the world with resources. Why doesn't it grip their (my) heart to change things?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Iron sharpens iron

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

I love to be sharpened. Tonight, I spent a couple of hours with some of the men of our church. We talked doctrine, we talked leadership, we spent some time in prayer. I am thankful to have men around me who can sharpen me and help me to grow.

We need to be willing to let people get close enough that we can be sharpened. Sharpening takes close proximity. Sharpening lets your guard down. Sharpening can be painful. Sharpening admits that you don't know it all.

I thank God for Chris, Cortez, Dave, Deshaun, and Marlone.

What sharpens you? Do you take advantage of opportunities to be sharpened? Where does this take place for you?

Monday, May 5, 2008


My water heater quit working yesterday. I realized before bed and stayed up trying to figure some things out. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well. In the morning, I asked my neighbor, Bill Curry, to come and look at it and give me advice on the next step before I called a serviceman. Bill had helped me replace a water heater before so I knew that he had some experience.

The short of the story is that 30 minutes later I was thanking Bill for fixing my water heater. No service man coming to the house. No paying a bill that I couldn't afford. Just a thank you for a neighbor with a little bit of knowledge. God is so good.

It takes time to get to know your neighbors. It takes time to be a good neighbor. But it sure is a blessing. Let's do our part to build community.

Any good stories of community at work? Any one else value your neighbors? I know I do.