christmas concert ’15 {rap}

This past weekend, i got to perform with The Ramparts (punk band) at our church’s annual Christmas concert. It was crazy fun playing with these guys! My lyrics here, video below:

we the people livin in darkness given to sin and hardened
drippin in tar have been delivered – gripped by the infant who bought us
Infinite God as man, innocent spotless lamb!
nothing can stop his hand from fulfillin the Father’s plan //
since the inception of the menace in Genesis
men and women have been kept in this systemic deception, now listen
in our perversion, we’ve earned the verdict
workin at the dirt of the earth ’til it’s our turn to return to it //
the curse is permanent –
but mercy reverses it
referrin to the birth of the Servant who nerfed the serpent(head )
I was blind to the light of the Messiah the Christ
til he opened up my eyes, and i came to life
so where sin abounded, grace abounded the more
no more counting the score when you are found in the Lord
he is more and more glorious,
ever victorious
come and let us adore him,
people kneelin before him, hear us roar the chorus //

the audience

Someone is always watching. Even when nobody else is.

And i think it is possible to make him smile even when nobody else knows what you’ve done. Even if you never get credit for it or have it memorialized in newspapers or articles. Even if you don’t have a “legacy”. He knows how i think and my heart motivations (sometimes i tell him) and he cannot be fooled. He knows a true performance from a sham.

The number of people watching does not determine the inherent heart-authenticity of an action. Sometimes it’s just the Lord.

Well, then i think that even the littlest things matter.

speaking with authority

When we quote the Scripture, why would we not attempt to give it the authoritative voice that it inherently deserves?
When we speak of our Lord and Savior, why would we not be as reverent, awe-filled, and grateful as those who have been redeemed to serve and glorify their Master?

Speaking of a “cool Jesus” or casual reference to spiritual things might show a lack of understanding for the mighty works of the Lord and how mighty they actually are.

If we are too afraid to speak the truth of God, perhaps we need to examine ourselves to see if we truly believe it. It might be because i’m afraid of what people will think more than i am concerned with the Word being proclaimed rightly and in a manner that befits its authority.

I’ve been thinking about the way i talk about God. Particularly in my rapping – i want people to feel the authority of the truth that Christ died for sinners. But also in the way i talk about the gospel and how it affects me. Do i speak passionately and in a way that demonstrates that these truths affect me? (Do they affect me?) Or are my exhortations lifeless and unhelpful?

not to us

The uncelebrated believer is no less Christian than the believer who receives applause and accolades.

Perhaps he does not need them as much.


Last year i compiled a list of Things Nathan Did In 2013 (In Ministry And Otherwise). Looking back, i wonder if that was just an attempt at convincing myself that i did something that mattered. Because i can tend to care about that.

The truth is that my significance does not depend on what i do. It does not depend on the number of people i have coffee or breakfast with or the number of times i say the right thing that convicts people or the number of books i read (tried to go for 50 but fell far short) or the projects i take part in or the things i perform (and the praise i get for them) or the ministry teams i lead. My value is not determined by my relationship status or how bold/confident/suave i am. My worth is not based on how long i’ve avoided sinning in a particular area or how good i am at putting sin to death.

Who i am is determined by events and factors beyond my control.

  • I’m defined by the death of Jesus Christ on my behalf.
  • My acceptance before a holy God is based on his rejection.
  • My identity is royal.
  • The Spirit of the Living God indwells me.
  • I am called, loved, kept.
  • His divine power has given me everything pertaining to life and godliness.

What shall we say then? Whom shall i fear? What can man do to me?

2014 was a good year.

chasing after the wind [seven thoughts on social media]

  1. On social media, you’re only as good as your last update.
  2. Who would have thought that notifications could be so addicting? Every Like comes with a mini affirmation: “I am not forgotten.” “I have the approval of others.” “I am accepted.” But this good feeling doesn’t last. The Favorites i got yesterday don’t mean as much to me today. All a notification means is just that somebody was scrolling through their feed and saw my post and appreciated it enough to TAP THEIR SCREEN. Maybe by accident. I should post again to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.
  3. When it comes to Christians using social media, it seems like the fastest way to get positive feedback is to post a Bible verse, or to share what a #blessed time of fellowship i had with Sandy and Elmer, and how encouraged i am by their growth in the Lord! (The second fastest is to post a picture of a steaming mug of coffee next to a well-worn Bible.)
  4. I’m not knocking aforementioned activities (namely, reading Scripture or having fellowship. or drinking coffee). I’m just making an observation that for some reason we really want to Let Other People Know that we are doing them.
  5. Are Likes, Favorites, +1s, RTs, and repins part of what Jesus is referring to when he says “They have already received their reward”?
  6. I could definitely be persuaded that there is a way to bring praise to Christ on social media without being performative or pejorative. I think it requires an honest desire to serve and a lack of self-interest. I also think that i am not very good at it.
  7. What if we could hide Likes/Favorites? How would that affect what we post? I submit that it would lead to a reduction in posting. Thoughts?

peace in decision-making

I don’t really understand what people mean when they say that they are “completely at peace” with a decision they have made. Is that supposed to be some sort of reliable indicator that you’ve made the right call?

Personally, i have little to no category for being “completely at peace” with any decision. I second-guess myself ALL THE TIME (my motives aren’t perfect, I didn’t get enough sleep, I probably wasn’t thinking straight, I had no idea what i was getting myself into). I usually make a decision and just go with it until i hit a wall, i guess.

It seems like telling me that you are “completely at peace” with your decision is more of a way to save face than anything else.

Now i could be wrong. Perhaps being at peace with a decision is one way that God shows favor. But i can imagine plenty of people being “completely at peace” with decisions to rebel against God. It would seem to me that it would be easy to come up with a handful of counterexamples.