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Sponsored Post – Lecrae #ANOMALY Tour

This is pretty much part 2 to my blog posts about Lecrae’s ANOMALY tour. A few months ago, Family Christian Stores gave away some tickets to see Lecrae and guests for a handful of bloggers. As my kids have grown up on his music, I felt the desire and need to be there. God shined on me that day because I was one of the bloggers selected. Family Christian Stores provided free tickets to the concert in return for a single blog post and some pictures of the concert. And before I get into the concert information, Family Christian Stores is doing a fundraiser to help end human trafficking. Look up #FCchallenge to find out more info, but they are looking to raise $150,000.  And during November 22-30, the earnings from shopping at Family Christian Stores will go to Destiny Rescue, an organization that helps fight human trafficking.

TicketI felt it very important to write a follow up post.

Lecrae has been a very ubiquitous name over the past year. He has been a feature article in many of the Christian and secular magazines. He made his acting debut in a movie. He has a new album.

He has a LOT of press out there about him.

And not all of the press is good press.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 – but test them all; hold on to what is good

I, myself, have found myself at time speaking negatively about some of the projects or lyrics that Lecrae has posted.

I read an article tonight by a very respected Christian organization that claimed that Lecrae HAS become ashamed of the Gospel.

But tonight’s concert reinforced in my mind that Lecrae is still very much sold out to Christ, although his approach to music and media has changed.

Lecrae

Let me explain.

As I read the lyrics to the songs in Lecrae’s Anomaly album, I found that in a lot of the lyrics, Christ is missing. Where once Lecrae was unashamedly Christian in his approach to music, now he is hiding that Gospel a little.   Songs like Welcome to America, Nuthin’, and Dirty Water are all missing the redemption that comes through Christ. They start with a powerful message about society, and how it is screwed up, but that is where it stays, and, in my opinion, dies.

LecraeThere is no doubt that musically Lecrae is at the top of his game. But lyrically, I believe he lost a lot since Rebel was released in 2010.

And this message has transcended to his interviews. While still being touted as a Christian rapper by the Christian community, Lecrae has started the shift away from associating himself with the Christian title on his music by claiming more than once in a recent interview that he is a “rapper who is a devout Christian.” There is a big difference between being a Christian rapper and a rapper who is a Christian. Subtle on the outside, but significant on the inside.

This change from Christian rapper to rapper who is Christian opens up the world for topics for Lecrae. It allows him to push the edge a little more. It allows him to make his music the way a mentor works with a disciple, messy.

There is nothing “clean” or “pretty” about the Christian faith.

It is very messy.

What is it that Paul says about becoming all things to all people? Oh yea,

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

But Lecrae’s controversies are not why I am writing this article. I am writing it because last night I went to his concert. And, SPOILER ALERT, the concert was great!

But I need to give a quick disclaimer, while I thought the concert was very good, the venue for the concert was not. I went in with my girlfriend and 4 kids ranging in age from 11 to 15. When we got there, the only seats we could find were on the second level behind a bunch of people the kids could not see any of the concert. I felt really bad for them because for 3 hours they had to look at the back of peoples’ heads.

But the concert itself?

Awesome!

Psalm 150:6 – Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

It started with DJ Promote (@DJPromote). He took the stage and set the scene for the rest of the night. The graphics that were flipping on the screens behind him danced in sync to the music that he was spinning. Kicking off with a rave sound, he ended his set with some high energy hip-hop.

DJ PromoteAfter about a 10 minute intermission, Andy Mineo (@AndyMineo) hit the stage. I have to admit that I really didn’t think I would enjoy his show. I’ve been listening to a lot of his music lately on Pandora and just wasn’t that impressed.

But I was sorely mistaken!

20141102_203624Andy Mineo put on a show that was hands down amazing! He played mostly songs off his new EP, Neverland. They were hard hitting, gritty, and downright awesome. He even had special guest Trip Lee show up. For those who don’t know, Trip now lives in DC and is the pastoral assistant at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

Andy Mineo and Trip Lee

My daughter looked at me after Andy’s set and said, “I need his album!” So off we went to pick up his Neverland CD and so far she has listened to it at least 3 million times.

After about a 20 minute intermission, Lecrae (@Lecrae) took the stage. He walked the audience through a movie of his life. From a teenager whose dad was gone to the drugs to abortion with his girlfriend. Just when you felt the sadness creep in of hopelessness, Lecrae ends this half of the set with a video of him under water and emerging a new creation.

Lecrae

Once that was finished, he did a set for those out there who were with their significant others. He did an wedding party soundtrack with some remixes of those songs we all loved to dance to followed by a few of his own songs. The highlight was when he came upstairs to rap. He took a small stage that was about 20 feet from where we were standing. It gave us the best views all night and was one of the best parts of the concert.

Lecrae

Overall, musically, the sound was amazing. The crowd was engaged and everyone seemed to know all the songs and enjoy the track list.

But I want to finish this with one final piece. This has been publicized as a Christian concert. With all of the controversy surrounding Lecrae lately, I was worried that I would be walking into a theological nightmare.

But that wasn’t completely the case. Yes, not every song was a worship song, but Lecrae drove the message home that Christ is sitting on the throne of his heart. And while both DJ Promote and Andy Mineo didn’t really lead the listener to the risen Christ, Lecrae did a decent job of doing just that.

There were no deep theological points brought up in his monologues. Just simple comments about where his life was before he accepted Christ and what has happened since he accepted Christ.

I do want to challenge everyone to research the theology behind Lecrae, Andy Mineo and DJ Promote. It is important to know the message that you, or your kids in my case, will be getting when they hear the music.

But right now, I can say that I feel comfortable letting my middle and high schoolers listen to Lecrae.

Lecrae

Lecrae’s Anomaly Tour – Throwback to the Future

A few years ago I had the opportunity to take my kids to a concert. As a single dad who only has his kids part time, I can’t be sure of what they are listening to when they are not with me so I like to make sure they have some modern-day Christian equivalents of the music they hear in the halls of the public school. Enter the now defunct Purple Door festival. I packed my kids in the car and made the 3 hour journey north and got set up on a blanket not far from the stage.

One of the first musicians out that first day was Lecrae.

When that bass dropped and the music was kicking my kids looked at each other, jaws dropped, and they both rushed the stage. For the next hour they were enveloped in a human ocean of kids twice their size as they were dancing to the music. The only time I saw one of them was when my daughter came back to get my phone and take pictures of him on stage.

Lecrae Purple DoorEver since that day, one of son’s favorite Christian artists has been Lecrae. In 2010 we purchased the Rebel CD. Clearly for the next two years his favorite song was “Go Hard or Go Home.” Before every soccer game, we had to put that CD on as we drove to the game and play the song over and over again, each time getting more and more riled up before the game. It gave me some great opportunities to talk to my kids about how we are to go hard for Christ. How we don’t know just how much time we really have with people so that we need to make the most of it and ensure they hear the Gospel message.

In 2014, Lecrae’s new album is out and it is amazing! It is titled Anomaly.

Lecrae has said that an anomaly is something that deviates from what is normal or expected. He has not always fit in. His values go against the typical hip-hop culture. He feels that “success is being what God has called us to be and fighting to the death to live that out.” And if you are wondering if a Christian artist can see success in an evil world, well, just look at the simple fact that Lecrae’s Anomaly album just hit #1 in Billboard’s Top 200.

Lecrae has been very successful. I’ve seen his concerts go from about 50 people backstage waiting for him to too many to count. He went from a fairly underground hip-hop artist to one who is respected by most of the secular hip-hop industry. Lecrae is an anomaly. He doesn’t fit into any of it. But he has made an impact through the power of the Holy Spirit in all of it.

Lecrae Bringing the Worship

When Family Christian Bookstores posted the opportunity for me to go to see Lecrae’s Anomaly concert, I had to make sure I was there! Now the concert isn’t until November 2, so you can expect to see another post about the concert with some photos and video clips.

In the meantime, there are some things I want each of my readers to do. It is response time, Christians.

First, check out the tour schedule here.

See if you can get to a concert. You will not only see Lecrae, but also Andy Mineo and DJ Promote. I guarantee you will be blessed. When one hears Lecrae, they can’t help but KNOW the power of the Holy Spirit is in that man. As people who may never have heard the Gospel start singing about the risen Christ, there is no doubt in my mind that people will be getting saved!

The next thing I would like my readers to do check out The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Thursday 9/18 at 11:35 PM. He will be sharing some of the music of Anomaly, an album that is deep with emotion and hard with its beats.

Finally, I will ask all of my readers to pray for Lecrae and everyone on his team. Being a leader is tough enough. Being a leader in a very public forum is even tougher. Being a public figure in the hip-hop world and proclaiming Christ is impossible to do without the prayers of the saints. Keep Lecrae in prayer. That he will never stray from the Gospel message of the Bible. That he will keep Christ first in his songs, in his shows, and in his life. That he will be protected by the evil one during this tour and bold enough to shake the footholds Satan has put around the cities he is going to play in.

And to Lecrae, thank you for repping the kingdom of Christ. Every time I hear your music, I hear you valuing Jesus and in your videos I see you valuing Jesus in the way you rep His name. God be with you Lecrae as you head on tour.

Family Christian has sponsored me to write this through sending me to the concert. But even if I didn’t get free tickets to go, I would still be heading to the concert anyway because my family loves Lecrae’s music and message.

The Importance of God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

A few days ago, a friend of mine sent me an article about a church in New Jersey which challenged every one of their congregants to read the entire New Testament in 40 days.  In response, over 3,300 adults and children signed up for it.  The article went on to say that every day, over 700 people in America give up on reading their Bibles.

Matthew 4:4 – But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

What is it about Americans?  USA Today poll said that Only 11%,” of Americans read the Bible every day. More than half read it less than once a month or never at all. 18% of born-again Christians read their Bibles once a day, while 23% who professed to be Christians said they never read their bibles at all.

Romans 15:4 – “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Christianity on the world stage is exploding in growth!  The American church is declining!  According to the Hartsford Institute for Religion Research, the average size of a church in America is 75 people.  Churches that have attendance between 7-99 people are in 59% of all of the churches in America!  The church I go to is in the minority.  I attend Chesapeake Christian Fellowship which has between 1,000 and 1,999 attenders every week.  According to the Hartsford Institute stats, that puts CCF in the top 2% of all of the churches in America!

Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

What is going on in America that is causing the church to decline?

Joshua 1:8 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Look at Joshua 1:8.  In reading that Scripture above, if we are to meditate on the Word day and night and not let it depart from our mouths, then God will give us good success.  The world defines success in attaining money, clothes, houses, boats, etc….  God is looking at this from a different way.  How many souls will go to heaven when their time comes.  THAT, church, is what success is based on in the Christian’s life.  THAT, church, is what we need to have in our churches today.  Not fiscal success.  Not even success in having the most attenders.  BUT SUCCESS THAT COMES THROUGH TURNING THE GREAT COMMISSION INTO THE GREAT COMPLETION!  We need to be winning SOULS for Christ.

Churches have gotten away from the Bible.  People have been waiting for me to stand on my soapbox on this blog and tell you what I believe with regard to hot button issues, but I have not truly done that because it is important to know that the Word of God is for ALL, not just a group who reads Christian apologetic blogs.  But I believe homosexuality is a sin.  I believe abortion is murder.  I believe that this world, including many churches, has been attracted to all sorts of false idols that take away from the TRUE nature of God.

When the Bible gets changed or watered down by the Christian community, God will take away the successes in soul-winning that was so prevalent in years past.

CHURCH, WE NEED TO GET BACK TO THE BASICS OF THE BIBLE!  STOP CHANGING IT TO FIT THE WORLD’S MOLD!  WE NEED TO BE COUNTER-CULTURAL!

Everyone thinks you are a rebel if you are going out getting drunk every night, doing drugs, getting pregnant out of wedlock, or smoking or whatever else the world has to offer.  I will tell you today, there is only ONE true rebellion left in this world and that is reading your Bible.  NO ONE IS DOING IT!  That is the last true rebellious nature is reading and adhering to a Biblical standard.  You want to be a rebel?  Read your Bible!

Psalm 119:105 – “His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my way.”

As we navigate this world, we need a compass (ok, you have to listen to the lyrics of this song for those of you who aren’t into the punk scene, but really, this song fits and this band is a friend to my family after meeting them at Purple Door).  There are moral absolutes in this world.  The Bible is printed form of God’s moral absolutes.  It is our compass to lead us to where we need to be.  It is our lamp that leads us through the dark night of this fallen world and into a promised land.

If we neglect to read the Bible, then we will get lost.  Caught up in a world that only looks out for itself.  Understand that God is not a malicious God, only desiring to please Himself.  If He was, Christianity would not have flourished since the crucifixion of Christ.  But God came to earth to be a sacrifice for us.  He took a bitterly dark world and added a little bit of light, a little bit of color.  He gave us a hope.

If you are reading this and realize that you do not have the hope that comes through Christ, then I urge you today to reach out to me.  Send me a message to frednoble11@comcast.net and I will reply with my phone number.  We can talk on the phone and pray together.  Through God, we’ll get you on the right path to life everlasting and love eternal.

Amen.

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