stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

Archive for August, 2008

one more thing

I’ve got rap in my blood. Here I am with my brother Dan. I think we were 5 and 6, posing like Run DMC for our brother Steve. Dan clearly had a better understanding of how to do this. Still, even from a young age, I took rap seriously. Don’t tell Mom.


Bum Rap Part 1

I wish I could find some good footage of a bum rapping. Unfortunately, the only video I came across was of a drunk dude dropping f-bombs like a Lions receiver dropping passes. So you’ll have to just enjoy this nice picture of the coolest bum I’ve ever seen. I’d probably give him a few bucks. But alas, I did not start this blog to talk about panhandling bums and their mad rapping skills. This blog inspired me to talk about a group of people that gets a bum rap: Christian musicians.

I love Perry Noble. He’s one of the best preachers I’ve ever heard. But I have to take umbrage with a statement he made in a recent message: “If a Christian can only listen to Christian music, I wouldn’t listen to music because most of it is bad.” And he’s not alone. There are a number of pastors that hold this position, but since they’re on staff with me, I’m not going to throw them out there. Perry’s a big enough guy to not get upset that I disagree with him, especially since he’ll never know…

I guess I understand where this position comes from. If I was a teenager when he was, I’d probably feel the same way. At one point, DC Talk was the biggest name in Christian rap. Seriously? Give me Run DMC, Sir Mixalot, and even MC Hammer. Christian rap was certainly a joke back then, but no one’s laughing anymore…no one that knows what they’re talking about, anyway.

I’ll never forget a ride home from work in 1999. I was working at Meijer (that lasted for a whole month), and my brother Dan picked me up. A song came on the radio called, “I AM,” by the Cross Movement, off their House of Representatives CD. This song rocked my world. It’s the first song I learned by them, and it wasn’t uncommon for my brother and I to butcher it, in classic white guy style, on the way here and there. I immediately bought this CD. Growing up in Detroit, or rather having a big brother who grew up in Detroit, really turned me onto rap. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything good for me to listen to, until now.

The Cross Movement seemed to be all alone in the Christian rap field. There were other groups out there, but CM was a group of men among boys. I only had them to cling to, and I anxiously awaited every new CD (which I happen to have if you would like to hear what I’m talking about). It was cool, but it was also sad. Why couldn’t anyone else put together beats, rhymes, and solid theology like these guys? I learned more theology from CM than I did at Bible school, and I didn’t mind sharing that with my profs along the way. They minded, though.

Imagine my excitement when Cross Movement Records started, and they recruited their first solo artist from outside the fold: Da’ Truth. Holy cats! Unbelievable stuff. I can listen to his first CD for hours. They were on the verge of starting something huge: a record label with, in my opinion (which I highly value, and you should, too), the best collection of Christian rap artists. I had CDs that I could recommend. Sure, my friends were skeptical, but when they borrowed a CD, they heard what I was talking about. I’ve never lent out a CMR CD to someone that didn’t go out and buy at least one for themself, and that includes unsaved people. From teenagers to adults, blacks and whites, saved and unsaved…everybody who appreciates quality rap loves CMR.

Here’s a list of their artists. Click the link and go check them out. If you like rap, you won’t be sorry.

  • The Cross Movement (the Ambassador, the Phanatik, the Tonic, T.R.U.-L.I.F.E…all of which have their own incredible solo works, but I’m still waiting for the Tonic release)
  • Da Truth
  • Flame
  • Lecrae
  • Everyday Process
  • R Swift
  • MOD

There’s more on the site, but they’re not all rap. There’s rap/funk, r&b, and rap. Those are just the guys whose stuff I own and can vouch for. Oh, and I’ve seen them all in concert, too. Sure, I felt a little out of place, but it was worth it. It was a great show. One more thing, you should notice that I didn’t talk about any other Christian rappers, and that’s cause there’s no one out there in mainstream Christian rap that compares with these guys.

I’ll talk about Christian rock when I get back from Jacksonville. In the words of Kip Dynamite…peace out!

pursuing irrelevance

Josh Polderman is a great friend to me. In fact, he’s my nominal best friend. He gave me a great gift when he introduced me to my wife. They worked at Arby’s together, by the way. I think everyone should have a fast food job at some point in life. So what did Josh do? Essentially, he made himself irrelevant…or at least he made it possible for himself to be irrelevant. He replaced himself by introducing me to my new best friend. So now Sarah is truly my best friend in the world, but Josh still gets to be called best friend…and I call Sarah a variety of other names, like wife, honey, sweetie, buttface, etc. I can’t tell you what she calls me. This is a Christian blog.

A great leader will also make himselph irrelevant. He will identify another leader that he can bring by his side and train. This person may even be a better leader than him. It takes a lot of courage to do that. After all, if the person you mentor/train turns out to be better than you, he very well could take your job. The question you’d have to ask yourselph before making the decision to do this is this: am I more important than the company I work for? If the answer is yes, you should probably quit and find something else. The answer is easy for me: ABSOLUTELY NOT! Of course, I work for the church, whose goal is to reach people for Christ, so it should be a no brainer. Too bad there are a lot of people who do have brains that still can’t figure this out.

I’ll put this out there: I hope I can make myselph irrelevant within one year. That’s my goal. That doesn’t mean I want to be fired, cause I seriously love my job. Seriously. I’m being serious. It doesn’t happen often, so take note. I just want to train someone else to do what I do. That would come in handy if I die, or if God moves me somewhere else, or if God directs me to another position in the church, or if I get fired. Then again, if I get fired, maybe the person that has been trained by me may not be the best choice for a replacement.

some things never change

Did you know that not ALL change is good? It’s good to change your approach, change your style, change your hair…it’s especially good to change your underwear. Seriously it is. If you haven’t done that yet this morning, please stop reading my blog and go do that. I don’t want to get between you and good hygiene.

Okay, back to not all change being good. There have been a few constants in my life that have never changed, never will change, and I wouldn’t want them to. I’ll tell you all of them, but I’ll only elaborate on one, cause it’s a special day. The first thing that has never changed is God’s love for me. If His love for me was based on my obedience and faithfulness to Him, I’d be in big trouble. So it’s good that that doesn’t change. The second thing is how good my family is to me. They’ve always been there for me, and they always will be. If there’s a fight, they’ve got my back, and now that my nephew has his black belt, my back is feeling quite safe.

The third thing that has never changed, and the topic of today’s show (brought to you by the letter 4) is the greatness of my wife, Sarah. Greatness? Yes, greatness. What’s so great about her anyway? I’d be glad to fill you in, although if you know her, I don’t even have to tell you. But here’s a gratuitous list, just because I want to…

  • She’s beautiful
  • She loves me, in spite of me (that takes a lot of love sometimes)
  • She’s Korean. I know, you thought she was part Chinese, part Japanese, part Laotian, part Thai, part Vietnamese, etc. Nope, she is, in fact, Korean.
  • She’s passionate about serving God, and she’s never held me back from serving
  • Did I mention how pretty she is?
  • She sings like a bird…not a vulture, by the way
  • She’s hilarious
  • She’s entirely faithful to me
  • She’s a big sports fan, which only matters cause she likes Michigan, the Red Wings, the Pistons, and even the Lions
  • AND…she likes me a lot more than she likes you. I just love that

I may have fooled her when I was dating her. I pretended to be grown up, mature, and sensitive. Ha! She hasn’t changed, though. She’s still just as sweet as the day I met her, and of course, she’s every bit as gorgeous. Maybe more. Would that be considered a change? I’ll let it slide.

So you can imagine how happy I am to have been married to her for 7 years today. It’s been the best time of my life. No matter how bad some things get, at the end of the day, I’ve still got Sarah, and that’s more than enough for me.

Happy Anniversary, Sarah! I love you.