One 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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. The term benevolence is a desire to do good to other; goodwill; charitableness: to be filled with benevolence toward one's fellow creatures. 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.
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.
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.
Here is one who does not mind waiting. This person is definitely not a diva with a now or never attitude.
Excellence in character and demeanor is demonstrated in the disposition of a gentleman or gentle lady.
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. As well beneficence is the doing of good; active goodness or kindness. 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.
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.
Here we find repeated the cognizable presence of excellence in character and demeanor.
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.