Sunday, September 27, 2009

KRS-One: Messiah Merging Music and Mysticism for Hip Hop Religion

"Even the highest art is only a means to an end-- it ought not to be made an end in itself. The inspired artist must in the end put aside his theme, his medium; his work and turn to the Divine alone, not to its expressions down here." [1] Yet, according to Publishers Weekly writer Calvin Reid, Lawrence Parker (KRS-One)'s "The Gospel of Hip Hop will focus on the origins of Hip Hop, its signature components -break dancing, graffiti writing, rapping and deejaying-and its cultural legacy." Mr. Reid goes on to quote KRS stating, "Hip Hop is not just music but a fully functioning culture." [2]
These statements of what KRS's Hip Hop Bible is intended to do as a life-guide manual for "HipHoppas" KRS's term for members of the hip hop culture, fly directly in the face of fellow philosopher Paul Brunton as considering something transcending the human state evidenced by his use of words like spirituality and divine. In 2000 speaking of his Temple of Hip Hop and members, Lauryn Hill, Kid Capri and Busta Rhymes, he states, "We believe that not only is hip hop divine, but the temple is divinely ordained, because we accept it as that."[3]
Under this rationale we may accept anything as true and proclaim it so because we "accept it as that." The thought process here seems wanting and juvenile. However, it bears out KRS-One's further reasoning that "In 100 years, this book will be a new religion on earth." Wikipedia uses the definition utilized in religious studies as found by Clifford Geertz.[4] "A religion is a system of human thought which usually includes a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power, deity or deities, or ultimate truth.."[1]
The questions here beg, who or what is that higher power, deity and or truth. Could it possibly be the God to whom KRS made reference to on his partial album, Spiritually Minded featuring Gospel Hip Hop Minister James Edward Cooper (B.B. Jay) entitled, "God is a Spirit." The song leaves no room for doubt as to what God they were singing about quoting the Christian Bible Book of St. John 4:24. As well they make references to being "Chirstlike" and using a refrain from the book of Revelations, "Those who have ears let them hear." It is then that the 2002 release goes weird.
First, referencing Christ overturning the money changers in the temple saying, "mine will be called a house of prayer," and immediately following those lyrics with "mine is called the house of hip hop."It is here that KRS-One's merging begins to truly take the form of a gospel. His own. The book is modeled after the Christian Bible with the goal of changing the lives of its believers from whatever they are or were to lives of H-L.A.W. (Health, Love, Awareness, and Wealth).
The Temple of Hip Hop that houses this new "religion" has grown from a preservation society into a ministry, archive, School, and Society (M.A.S.S.). that will maintain hip hop as a genuine political movement and culture as it has been accepted by the United Nations (U.N.). Though the U.N. only recognized hip hop as a non government organization. Hip hop as a formal religion will likely change that status, as would a determination of hip hop as a political movement.
Thus, founder of such a prestigious organization as the Stop the Violence Movement and songwriter, producer of 18 of some of the, if not the most politically and socially conscientious music in modern times, as well the recipient of BET's Lifetime Achievement Award may have out-thought himself this time.
The very elements that make up the essence of his argument as iterated on the PowerHouse Book's website[5] as an overstanding that hip hop brings you back to humanity through the use of your five senses and absolves you from reliance on technology and reintroduces you to your own intrinsic ingenuity, fails miserably insofar as techniques, that is, intellectual technology derived over many years empowers us to be technically proficient rappers, dancers, artists, deejayer's, beatboxes, etc…
His additional argument that "The only way you can feel spiritually naturally is when all the institutions have failed," is more than likely a view he's adopted coming from an abusive home life which he fled at aged 13. After living on the streets, and in homeless shelters and serving some time for selling marijuana at 19 he encounters, ironically enough a social worker, and part time DJ, 22 year old Scott Sterling. There is no question that their relationship continues to impact his work and life as does the senseless murder of Scott while trying to break up a fight in August of 1987 as well as his 23 year old son, Randy Hubbard-Parker's suicide just days before his 24th birthday in July of 2007.
KRS-One's aggrandizement of hip hop is overblown in light of history. To mention one name in particular, Gil Scott-Heron was ground breaking in the field of politically and socially conscious rap in the 1960's and 70's. Break dancing started in the 70's during the disco period. Mini and maxi skirts, hot pants and halter tops, Converse All Star gym shoes, now called Chuck Taylor's were all available at your local K-Mart store in the 60's and 70's. Baseball jersey throwbacks have been available since at least 1921 through the 1980's. Graffiti predates hieroglyphics. And according to Socrates education is about drawing out what is already there. The word itself, education is from the Latin e-ducere meaning "to lead out."
Paul Brunton warned, "Those who find their fulfillment in any form of the arts and who look to if for their highest satisfaction may become, and often do become, attached to it in such a way that it blocks their way to the still higher level where all attachments, including this one, must vanish. For unless a man finds his higher self and values it above everything else, he has not brought his quest to completion."[6]
"... I think I have the authority to approach God directly, I don’t have to go through any religion [or] train of thought. I can approach God directly myself and so I wrote a book called The Gospel of Hip Hop to free from all this nonsense garbage right now," said KRS. The obvious question is if you do not have to go through any religion to get to God why make one up?
[1] http://wisdomsgoldenrod.org/notebooks/14/3
[2] http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6634673.html?nid=2286&source=title&rid=
[3] http://www.urbanfaith.com/2009/09/bets-dirty-laundry.html
[4]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion#cite_note-0
[5] http://powerhousebooks.com/thegospelofhiphop/
[6] http://wisdomsgoldenrod.org/notebooks/14/3

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Should Gospel Hip Hop/Rappers Be Confrontational?


video

Should Hip Hop/Rap Artist Be Confrontational

Unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything. --Peter Marshall, US Senate Chaplain We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In this day and age of the message of tolerance is it appropriate to ask if Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artists should be confrontational? We all know the politically correct answer is no. However, the scriptural answer remains a resounding yes. Taking first as foundational secular examples the quotes of Peter Marshall, U.S. Senate Chaplin in 1947, and the acknowledged singular American with the greatest impact in the Civil Rights Movement, the Late, Great, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Add to this prestigious list a young man out of Atlanta, Georgia by way of Detroit, Michigan, known as Johnny Justice, Jonathan E. McCoy. Young Mr. McCoy's Oratorical Contest winning speech and online Petition[1] to Delete the "N" word from the world's vocabulary are evidence of our need to speak out against perceived injustice at the cost of being considered intolerant, confrontational and or exclusionary.[2]

It is this intolerant, confrontational and or exclusionary impetus that drove Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist KJ-52 whose real name is Jonah Sorrentino out of Tampa, Florida, to pen a rap entitled Dear Slim[3] and Dear Slim 2 [4] Both songs directed at secular "Christian" rapper, a.k.a. Slim Shady and Eminem in turn, (Marshal Mathers) concerning what KJ-52 considered a change in Eminem's musical messages. In an exclusive interview with Betty Bowers, Eminem proclaimed that he is "down with the Bible" and attempted to justify his raps with expletive pierced answers.[5]

Unlike the former and some would argue current east coast, west coast, dirty south, up north rivalries in secular rap, Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artists do not seem so fast to throw stones. But, is really throwing stones when the truth is being raised and a question of what one member of the Christian Hip Hop/Rap community does reflects on the entire community? For these answers only God may judge. So, let us see the conclusion of the matter per Bible.

God is The OOG (Original, Original Gangster).

St. Matthew 10:28
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

The fear spoken of in this verse is not the reverential fear that is often preached about. The Greek word for fear in this passage means to put to flight by terrifying (scaring away). [6]

Intolerant of Sin and Sin Promoters

St. Matthew 23:13
But woe unto scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

The Greek word here for woe is "grief." It is grief that is promised to the scribes (writers of law) and the pharisees (preachers and teachers of law). All called hypocrites as they were saying the words but not living the life. And in some cases they were not saying the words of truth. They blocked the people's entry into the kingdom heaven. The kingdom as in the power of heaven, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.[7]

It is this promised woe exclaimed by our Savior Jesus that makes it clear he was, as we must be, intolerant of sin. This theme is woven throughout the 23rd chapter of St. Matthew's Book and it followed by such distinguished disciples as Paul, Peter, Johnny Justice, KJ-52, me and perhaps you?

Confrontational

Acts 13:10
"O full of deceit and all fraud, son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?"

A sorcerer opposed the deputy of the Country of Ephesus from hearing the word was struck blind at Paul's word immediately following this very public encounter. But it was not only with non-believers that confrontations arose. Paul and Baranabus had a sharp disagreement on the issue of who show go on a mission trip. Acts 15:39. Peter and Paul also had a very public dispute wherein Paul states "I withstood Peter to his face before them all." Galatians 2:11-14

Exclusionary

St. John 6:66
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

When Jesus began His message of communion "unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you have no life in you." This excluded many from following because they did not understand and did not stay around long enough to get an understanding. For at the meal the Lord blessed and brake the bread and said this is my body, blessed the cup of wine and likewise said this is my blood. How foolish they must have felt and perhaps this is what drew the 115 disciples to the Upper room to await his return. Acts 1:15.

So would it be such a bad thing for Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist to police themselves as well as other "leaders" in our faith and without trepidation call them out when their actions do not line up with scripture? Marshall, King, Johnny Justice, KJ-52 and me don't think so. What do you think?
[1] http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/endthenwordnow/
[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMyp8y8SkUM
[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CqLk0YWYCs
[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXzXDUamCQ
[5] http://www.bettybowers.com/eminem.html
[6] http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5399&t=KJV
[7] http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=23&v=13&t=KJV#conc/13

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Should Gospel Hip Hop/Rappers Participate in Awards Shows

video"Some men become proud and insolent because they ride a fine horse, wear a feather in their hat or are dressed in a fine suit of clothes. Who does not see the folly of this? If there be any glory in such things, the glory belongs to the horse, the bird and the tailor."
St. Francis de Sales.
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, i.e. copying someone is flattering because it shows you want to be like that person.[i] The Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist Industry seems then to be flattering the secular Hip Hop/Rap Industry in its' pursuit of awards. Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Awards ceremonies are cropping up all over the world. And, it would appear that following the world and not the word of God is what they are doing. So the question begs, is this right or wrong of them?
At first blush the answer seemed simple when viewed through the lens of this quotation of Charles Caleb Colton. [ii]But, whenever we consider a saying, wives' tale, or adage it is imperative that we also consider the character of it's' source. In this case, history records that this church abandoning Vicar Colton's "performance at church related function was erratic…. at times conscientious and brilliant while at other times cursory and indulgent. He left …church service."[iii] His pastimes included collecting wines and paintings, and partridge shooting for sport. Additionally, he gambled away his fortune and depending on his immediate family for means. Colton, in the end, committed suicide.
With this knowledge what at first appeared clear cut became murky and as usual it was incumbent to the light of scripture upon this dilemma. It was only then that the answer became understandable. What answer? The yes answer. Yes Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist should participate in gospel hip hop/rap award ceremonies and seculars as well if they were to invite them. Why? Now there is the true question that opens up the knowledge that man not only needs praise but that others should deliver it to him.
Praise
Proverbs 27:2
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
Commendable work must be commended by those who know the artist as well as those who do not. When a Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist's light shines before men and his preach and teaching are sound and seen, not to be seen per se, so that the artist may applaud himself but to praise his God then he must be praised. Thus, the awards ceremonies that seek to praise those artists/ministers who have done a praiseworthy job give adhere to this passage giving praise to which praise is due...

Glory
Pro 25:27
It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
Thankfully these awards ceremonies on take place once a year. However, if Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist is searching them out they will find the award not glory but vainglory [iv] Honey is good and I love it with fried chicken a biscuit or two. But, too much of that same honey that is actually good to and for me in moderation can make me sick unto death in excess. Over and again I heard and often expressed to others, everything that is good to you is not good for you. Now, I must add and everything that is good for you may not be good to you in excess. These are some of the rules of the road in this life to help us avoid some of the potholes.
Just like with the honey Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist must never be greedy for glory, seeking it; and chasing men's applause and trying to make themselves popular (so, how do you make a living if you are not popular? People who don't know you, won't book you, etc…. does that mean Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist should not promote or have a promoter for their message?) . The artist that is prayerful will be led by God to the places and people he should minister to on both sides of the production spectrum from co-laborers, rappers, producers, promoters, labels, crews, to churches, arenas, clubs, streets, stadiums. The journey must remain true to both its form and function: preaching and teaching. And, take it from an old hand, the Lord has led from boarder to boarder and coast to coast to find the truth of his truth concerning faith. With food and clothes, be content.
40 years in the wilderness the children of Israel wandered and their clothes never grew old and their feet never swelled. Yeah but they didn't get to buy anything new, and fly, and tight and straight. If a Gospel Hip Hop/Artist considers these priorities he should hit his knees until his right mind comes back to him because he has lost it. And, do you know what a tremendous blessing it is to have your health?! God will see to it that you get what is due you from men in this time now and in the future.
Honor
I Timothy 5:17
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.
The people you feed and care for that are true saints of God will give you double honor i.e. respect and remuneration (money). This verse was not written singularly to pastors or it would have said pastors. Instead the writer chose the word elders as in oldest ones among you. And, those who rule are those who are put up as the Church of God in Christ called it in my early years of preaching. When my ruling elders in the church decided I was fully ready and possessed the gifts and graces to preach and teach from the pulpit at 16 years old, knowing I would be ruling over them all as reprehensive of the Kingdom of God and would be building there faith by preaching the great stories of the Gospel and Teaching the timeless principals for living therein.
Have you ever met someone chronologically young, but far beyond intellectually? This is the sophistication we seek in the Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artists of our day. As well, this is the one we not only want to give a plaque, certificate or trophy. This is the one we want to praise, give glory and honor with respect and remuneration (money). So, unlike the secular awards programs that for the most part do not give out money to their winners let this mark our difference and it will make up for all the non-paying gigs our dedicated Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artists performed ministered.
If you would like a more personal study on paying Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist or any other Bible Study topic feel free to contact me directly at the listed email address. Also, if you would like to get a weeks worth of topics covered on my radio show, blogs, and vlogs email me for my free newsletter. Until next time, may the Lord bless and keep you, may he make his face shine upon you and gracious unto you, may the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace.

[i] http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Imitation+is+the+sincerest+form+of+flattery
[ii] http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/27484.html
[iii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Caleb_Colton
[iv] http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1T4ACEW_enUS301US302&defl=en&q=define:vainglory&ei=X7axSqGECZ-qtgedj6ylCA&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Detect a Rapping Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

videoOne day a certain old, rich man of a miserable disposition visited a rabbi, who took the rich man by the hand and led him to a window. "Loot out there," he said. The rich man looked in the street. "What do you see?" asked the rabbi. "I see men, women, and children," answered the rich man. Again the rabbi took him by the hand and this time led him to a mirror. "Now what do you see?" "Now I see myself," the rich man replied.

Then the rabbi said, "Behold, in the window there is glass, and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver, and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see other,, but you see only yourself" Source Unknown.

This short anecdote conveys the keys for those who must determine the right or wrong course to take when "booking" a Christian or Gospel Hip Hop/Rap artist or minister, (which ever terms they employ). As in the anecdote you must observe whether your potential candidate to bring the noise (message) to your young people is partial to looking through the glass to see the men, women and children on the street, or if he or she is partial to looking into the glass covered with a little silver to see their own reflection.

The Hip Hop/Rap artist DMX who recorded a song entitled "Lord Give Me A Sign" included, as do most artists secular and sacred a rider (addendum) on his contract which outlines additional things required in addition to the money and other terms of the contract for performance. These are the extras or perks, if you will. In July of 2006 his rider included under the heading of hospitality, yes he set out what would be hospitable for the purchaser to do for him at their cost:

1. Towels (2 dozen black bath towels for him and 2 dozen white bath towels for his crew)
2. Breakfast (for 10 production personnel)
3. Lunch (for 10 production personnel)
4. Dinner (hot sit down catered meal [no fast food] 25 meals in served in catering area, 10 meals served hot in his dressing room)

For his dressing room hospitality he requested:

1. 2 cases o quart sized bottled drinking water
2. 1 gallon of Hennessey Cognac
3. 2 six packs of Heineken [bottles] only

DMX's list goes on to include candy, lunch meat, bread, juices, fresh fruit, nuts, potato chips, cookies, peanut butter, jelly, Tabasco sauce, carton of cigarettes case of swisher sweet cigars, three boxes of condoms, and the list goes on.[1]

And all this from a man that claims Jesus as his Lord and produced a video available on youtube under the same name mentioned above. DMX decidedly does not call himself a Gospel, Holy or Christian Hip Hop/Rapper. But, his claims to know and serve God are in alignment with the same declaration made by some who do call [1]themselves such.


Center of Focus

You will recognize a wolf in sheep's clothing when his primary concern is himself and his party, not the salvation of your group and your city. His preference is his own reflection not the window to the street where there are people in need. In Mr. John Duncan's there is much to be learned in this regard. While the chapter are not fully written, what we do know should give us pause regarding "booking" him or buying his music.[2]

After nearly ten years, and 5 secular albums he decided at his mother's behest to "try" Gospel Hip Hop. And, one of the great paradoxes in his music, much of which may be found on youtube is that he minces no bones about still being the same in his song "Still Fly." He praises the money, the cars the jewelry and features Drake the secular artist currently on tour with Lil Wayne in the America's Most Wanted Tour.

Likewise, the "Gospel" Hip Hop/Rap artist Von Won who started out doing secular rap and who in fact recorded a secular project in early 2009 just dropped a new project today for the Much Luv label. His song "To The Top" speaks volumes as he raps about how 'haters" tried to hold him down but this time he is going to the top. Jesus is going to take him to the top.[3]

Bible Knowledge

When any person stands before any group to bring the truth, which is the Word of God, that person should definitely know the Word he is speaking (rapping) about. Erroneous doctrine is the bane of a true teacher's existence for not only does he have to reteach, he has to unteach those who have been poisoned by the misinformation.

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.[4]

Love

The meaning of the word love in this passage is affection or benevolence. First the term affection means a fond attachment, devotion, or love as the affection of a parent for an only child.[5] The term benevolence is a desire to do good to other; goodwill; charitableness: to be filled with benevolence toward one's fellow creatures.[6] You must be able to see God's giving nature radiating from this individual he or she is definitely not looking into a mirror but at the men, women and children he or she has an opportunity help. They don't come with contract riders or their hands out. They come like bronco buster with a hand up, ready to give the devil his due: hell.

Joy

A calm delight should fill this person to the degree that it is contagious when one is in their presence. This delight is a high degree of pleasure and enjoyment in winning souls which is outward not in performing which is inward.[7]

Peace

Prosperity and quietness are the qualities that this fruit demonstrates. Not as in a kind of material abundance but as in abundance of restfulness. This person is not stressed, agitated or anxious they are still and content in the knowledge that the will of the Lord will be done.

Patience

Here is one who does not mind waiting. This person is definitely not a diva with a now or never attitude.

Kindness

Excellence in character and demeanor is demonstrated in the disposition of a gentleman or gentle lady.

Goodness

Virtue or beneficence marks this fruit. Firstly, virtue is the conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness and rectitude.[8] As well beneficence is the doing of good; active goodness or kindness.[9] This person does not seek to be served but instead seeks to serve. He or she is not a flirt looking for a date from a member of your flock or a phone number to take away and call later under cover of darkness.

Faithfulness

This person lives with the assurance that Jesus is who He said He is and God will do what He said He will do, without wavering.

Gentleness

Here we find repeated the cognizable presence of excellence in character and demeanor.

Self-Control

These are persons who know how to conduct themselves. A balanced personality does not allow their emotions to run roughshod over their better judgment.

When the Gospel Hip Hop/Rap artist you are considering does not have these spiritual fruit that are apparent to the fruit alive in you (this is trying the spirit by the Spirit to see whether it be of God) you have just detected a wolf in sheep's clothing cautiously turn away from them or them from you.

If you would like a more personal study on detecting wolves in the church or any other Bible Study topic feel free to contact me personally at any of my noted email addresses. Also, if you would like to receive a weeks worth of topics covered on my radio show, blogs, vlogs, and interviews email me for my free newsletter. Until next time May the Lord bless and keep you, may he make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, may he lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.


[1] http://www.thesmokinggun.com/backstagetour/dmx/dmx1.html
[2] http://theundergroundsite.com/index.php/2009/08/underground-music-friday-mr-john-duncan/
[3] http://www.rapzilla.com/rz/content/view/1662/1/
[4] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+5%3A22-23&version=NIV
[5] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/affection
[6] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/benevolence
[7] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/delight
[8] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/virtue
[9] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/beneficence

Monday, September 14, 2009

Are Hip Hop Artist's Declaration of Faith Alone Enough?

"In 1893, engineer George Ferris built a machine that bears his name--the Ferris wheel. When it was finished, he invited a newspaper reporter to accompany him and his wife for the inaugural ride. It was a windy July day, so a stiff breeze struck the wheel with great force as it slowly began its rotation. Despite the wind, the wheel turned flawlessly. After one revolution, Ferris called for the machine to be stopped so that he, his wife, and the reporter could step out. In braving that one revolution on the windblown Ferris wheel, each occupant demonstrated genuine faith. Mr. Ferris began with the scientific knowledge that the machine would work and that it would be safe. Mrs. Ferris and the reporter believed the machine would work on the basis of what the inventor had said. But only after the ride could it be said of all three that they had personal, experiential faith." Author Unknown

This type of "personal, experiential faith" is the only true faith the Bible speaks of. In this day and age of verbally acknowledged faith the Hip Hop community must put some D's on it and drive through the hood for real. Recently, China based, Asian Rapper Ayo Jin changed teams. He went from secular battle rapper to sacred Christian rapper. "Welcome to the Light Club", a song he newly released on his myspace and youtube sites raised more than a few eyebrows on both teams. Is he really saved? Has he really been converted? Does he really have faith?

I would agree with those who say Jin's relationship with God is none of our business except for the fact that Jin is an artist that lives his life in the limelight and whether he or we like it or not, he does in fact make an impression on us as a society and on the most impressionable minds therein, those of our children. Good or bad I will not venture to say for generalizations are not suggested as a wise course in Scripture. "...the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work." I Corinthians 3:13.

However, some lyrics from Jin's musical testimony, if you will sheds much light on what he believed his prior work was and his future work is. "...I use to battle I declared I'm the boss I couldn't be defeated... until I lost....ego crushed...it....taught me humility... no escuses for the stupid records I made would I still be sayin' this if those records had got me paid?" His honesty and candor though appreciated raises some serious red flags regarding his faith. Is it grounded in his failure or is it a faith that comports and complies with the four things Jesus said is necessary to have faith and the one thing the Apostle Paul said is also necessary to grow faith?

Enter the rapper Mace or Play of the group Kid 'n Play, or MC Hammer, Richie Rich, Jay-Z, DMX, or Kanye West, all at one point having recorded and marketed one or more songs mentioning the name of Jesus and or otherwise declaring their faith in Jesus. But, is their declaration enough to satisfy the standard God set in His word for having and growing faith?

4 Parts Necessary to Receive Faith

The Heart

The center of circulation because the Bible declares in Leviticus 17:14 "... the life of every creature is its blood..." And, therefore when one is prepared to shed their blood and die to this earth for their faith. Their God. Then they begin to ready themselves to receive faith.

The Soul

The emotional seat of consciousness determines to bear the burdens and weights attendant to their readiness to die for their faith. The fiery trials are then counted as joy for the eternal weight of glory set before them.

The Mind/Spirit

The intellect and understanding that accepts the reality that it is appointed unto a man once to die and after that the judgment, embraces death to selfishness, as well as ostracism by family and friends, and regualrly engages the Scriptures and prays to God for continued guidance in the receipt of an ever growing faith.

The Strength

The ability and might or force to trust God in all circumstances and matters must be increased over time and experience at the point of recieving faith.

After these four parts of a person are actively engaged in believing God and His Word there is one last essentail part necessary, that must continually be used to add or grow your faith.

1 Part to Grow Faith

The Hearing

The hearing of the spoken Word of God through the ear, by way of oral instruction, preaching and testimony will serve to demonstrate that the same God who performed great and wonderful things yesterday is the same today and tomorrow.

Augusberg Fortress Sunday School Curriculum the ministry of publishing within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America notes four areas of manifestation wherein Faith traits exhibit themselves.

Love

Manifest Faith traits of generosity, kindness, humility, compassion, empathy, respect and thankfulness

Trust

Manifest Faith traits of cooperation, loyalty, obedience, boldness, and reverence

Courage

Manifest faith traits of responsibility, self-dsicipline, perseverance, forgiveness, justice, honesty, and wisdom

Hope

Manifest Faith traits of harmony, stewardship, patience, peace and joy

Is a mere declaration of faith enough by these Hip Hop/Rap artists? Have they dedicated the 4 parts to receive Faith and the 1 part to grow Faith? Many Bible verses have been used to debate both sides of this argument. Yet, the main line of Scriptures lean toward the fact that more than a declaration of faith is necessary. A decision of faith is the mandate.

People with Faith Have Made a Decision

Acts 2:21
"...whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

The key word in this verse is the English word call. The meaning of this word call in Greek is "to invoke for decision." Therefore, it is not merely a saying of the name it is a decision to trust or rather have faith in the name in alignment with the above discussed requisites to receive and expand your faith.

People with Faith Have Made a Promise

Romans 10:9
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

Of note here are the two words confess and believe. The Greek meanings for these two words in turn are assent, promise, and put in trust with. So, the Word again is not suggesting that merely speaking words brings faith but, agreeing with and promising your allegiance and loyalties to God through Jesus Christ.

People with Faith are Law-Abiding Citizens

St. John 14:15
"If ye love me, keep my commandments."

A commandment is a law such as those of the decalogue which Jesus (Yeshua) repeated to the rich young ruler. Or even the new commandment Jesus gave in St. John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you. Love one another as I have loved you."

People With Faith Love Sacrificially

St. John 15.10
"Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends."

It is said among the Jews in the Talmud that any commandment may be broken in order to save a life, for life is the most sacred thing God has given us.

People with Faith do not Practice Sin (Crime)

Romans 6:1,2
"What shall we say then, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"

The significant term here is the word continue which means in Greek "to stay over, remain." The old way of life without faith is clearly not a reflection of what the new life is intended to be with faith.

People with Faith do not Hate Their Brother

I John 4:20
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother he is a liar: For he who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen."

Disagreeing agreeably is the true sign of a person of faith not allowing differences large or small to effect the love that you have been charged to demonstrate from a sincere heart toward your brother.

People of Faith Walk Softly

Ephesians 4:1
"I therefore, the prisoner of our Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."

The faith filled person believes the Lord is ordering their steps and whatever job, occupation or profession they find themselves in, from lowly to esteemed in our society, they walk in humility and meekness knowing that the Lord is ordering their steps and giving them opportunity to walk or rather live their faith out loud. Sometimes without saying many if any words.

All being well, these 4 things necessary to recieve faith and this 1 thing necessary to grow your faith has revealed some potential gaps or pitfalls you may have been prey to and shown where and how you may close the gaps and climb safely out of the pitfalls. In any event the best of us falter because we are still human. But, we must continue to get up determined to do better. Always remember faith is also an action word so put some D's on it and put it on the road.

If you would like a more personal study on faith or any other Bible Study topic feel free to contact me directly at the listed email address. Also, if you would like to get a weeks worth of topics covered on my radio show, blogs and vlogs email me for my free newsletter. Until next time May the Lord bless and keep you, May the Lord Make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you, May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
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