Articles

[read.] What Will You Do With Your Domino?

WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR DOMINO? “We are all inherently like dominoes. We are capable of falling for or nudging others to good or evil, blessing or curse, life or death. ” I love dominos. Back in the day I remember strategically setting all of my dominos up in a line that spanned the…

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[read.] Thank you, CHH

When I was 13, you could pretty much always catch me listening to hip-hop. I mostly listened to Wu-Tang Clan because like they say, “Wu-Tang is for the children.” I had never stepped foot into a Church. I didn’t pray. I believed in God, but I didn’t know anything about Him. I just hoped I would be good enough to get into Heaven all while living a life that was all about me. I told people I was a Christian because that’s what almost everyone says living in the Bible-Belt. I was clueless about all things relating to Christianity and honestly, I was okay with that. Life was decent enough.

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[read.] Emergency Tone

As I’m driving in my police car, our emergency tone sounded. This tone indicates that 9-1-1 Call Takers received an emergency call that is considered to be in progress. That tone was then followed by a Dispatcher who provided us, the Police Officers, with information by radio about the call they received from a citizen. 

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[read.] Do You Leave God At Home?

It has been said that there are two things we should never talk about at work: religion and politics. Since we’re never going to agree with everyone, they’re better left alone.

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[read.] Do You Want To Keep Reading Your Bible This Year?

LIFE HAPPENS 2019 is underway, and many of you have probably already started your new Bible reading plan. You’re likely working your way through Genesis and Matthew and starting to get into a groove. You’re getting up early or staying up late to read, you’re highlighting and underlining like crazy, and you’re enjoying it. But…

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[article.] “Real Marriage” Part 1

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Why is cooking in our culture considered to be a “woman’s job”? It seems as though culturally we have adopted a “Men work, Women cook” mentality. This mentality causes couples to enter marriage expecting husbands to be briefcase toting bread winner’s only, and wives to be apron wearing home maker’s only. But in reality our culture is full of two income households where both spouses have careers, aspirations, and goals that make assigning household chores like trying to master calculus with the IQ of a five year old. But in real marriage, the rules of the culture are always trumped by the grace of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.

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[article.] “Forgiveness Hurts” by KJ Golden

…I had spent my whole life without any existence of my biological father and when the unknown number appeared across my iPhone, I knew it was him. Any prior scenario that I had planned in my head was tossed out the window. I knew there had to be a God above because through all the hurt and pain I began to feel at that very second, my love for this complete stranger seemed to outweigh it all…

[Read the rest]

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[read.] When Your Man of God Steps Outside the Marriage

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To forgive or not to forgive!  That is the question.  Tina Campbell, one half of the platinum selling gospel duo, Mary, Mary, has recently opened up to audiences on the duos hit reality tv show, also entitled “Mary, Mary”, regarding infidelity on the part of her husband, Teddy Campbell.  This news was a bombshell that rocked the Christian community!  But c’mon!  Really?  Why should it have been such a shock?  Because she is part of Mary, Mary, a Christian artist with millions, a home with kids and husband?  People are people wherever you go!  Regardless as to age, race, color, creed, sex, we are all human and are prone to the same mistakes as anybody else.  However, Christians are held to a higher standard.  In fact, the highest!

[Click above to read the rest]

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[article.] Made For God

He’s fabulous, his status is immaculate; I’m lacking the vernacular to adequately capture his glory. Incomparable, unconquerable, all-powerful, unstoppable, absolutely phenomenal. No obstacle he can’t navigate, he’s God and so fascinates, with Him it’s impossible to exaggerate. – shai linne (@ShaiLinne)

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[article.] Reach Records Speaks: Art, Symbolism, and Our Mission

Reach Records put out an official statement concerning the artwork on many of their albums. They addressed what seems to be a growing concern of an occult connection.  Reach affirms their mission and sets the record straight.  Take a read.  Then leave a comment with your thoughts.

reach logoWe wanted to take the time to address some concerns that we have received on a variety of Reach Records artwork. Like many platforms in the hip-hop genre, we too have been accused of connections to shadow organizations, such as the Illuminati.  While the purpose of this letter isn’t to walk through each piece of artwork, what we did feel is necessary is to affirm our mission to all of you.

We want to be upfront and transparent when we say that the artistic directions we take are not a result of some mysterious occult group or made with ill-intentions. Many times the choices we make for a particular album design have deeper redemptive, Biblical themes. Other times, they are purely aesthetic choices. The Bible helps us think through these issues as we see how God created the world we live in. Genesis 2:9 tells us, “And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” Scripture tells us that God is intentional about making trees, not just for functional use, food, but also for aesthetic enjoyment. The drawing of an eye, a skull, etc. are all good things that God is ultimately responsible for designing and are not made evil because of their association to evil. The world’s perversion of these things does not overcome the good intent of God’s craftsmanship. They work off of borrowed capital and should not have the final say on the things God has made.

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[article.] 5 Ways Christian Hip Hop Can Serve the Church

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“I’ve been thrown out some of the best churches in America.” Guess who said that? No, it was not Lecrae, Da’ Truth, Trip Lee or some other “rambunctious” rap artist. Actually, the man who uttered these words has also written monumental songs that can be found in those weird little red books called “Hymnals”. Need another hint? OK, he wrote a little song called “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”. Are you with me yet? That’s right, Thomas A. Dorsey; the so-called “creator” of gospel music as we know it. Former blues musician, gospel legend, and American treasure Thomas A. Dorsey was not always appreciated. He was hated, criticized, and ostracized for his seamless blending of “secular” chords, worldly rhythms, and demonic phrasing with sacred lyrics. Such critiques sound queer today. However, what was once held as the sinful product of culture eventually became a holy pillar in the Christian community.

The debates around the purity, usefulness, and integrity of Christian Hip Hop have been circulating since its conception. Interestingly, many of these public debates happen within the blogospheres of “white” evangelicalism. Still, tension over this genre remains amongst the Black Church as well. For some in this context, the aggressive style, sinful origin, and boastful presentation are reasons many offer to reject the upcoming genre. For others, the promotion of Calvinistic doctrines in the lyrics are more offensive than the beats.

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Not Much for New Year Resolutions

Joe Romeo Okay, I’ll be honest: I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I have some insane hatred for them. It’s just that I don’t really make them. I don’t care to do so. That being said, throughout the year I do try to commit myself to achieving certain goals. For example, each year I read through the Bible: the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice. As a new pastor, when I read through a book I know I’m going to preach on, I outline the book as I read through it. Additionally, each day when I do my readings, I write down certain verses that catch my attention. I may even write down some observations about the surrounding context and make some application as well. Finally, I try to turn those points of application into a prayer to help me focus throughout the day.

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[article.] The Best CHH Albums & Artists of 2013

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2013 will always be remembered as one of the best years for Christian Hip-Hop. For the first time we really got the recognition we have worked hard to earn, our genre is being honored correctly on award shows and mainstream media. This year was also the worst year to drop your music project as an artists, why? Well every artist gave their absolute best therefore making it easy to eclipse other brilliant projects. We have had to compile a very difficult list, we had to consider many factors surrounding each project. We literally went through over 100 projects.  Our personal preferences were put aside. Special thanks to @Teacher_claude and @activefm for bumping heads with me while compiling this very hard and almost impossible list. Enjoy.  Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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[article.] Classic collaborations in Holy Hip Hop

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I grew up in a generation when we all had a note book where we wrote the lyrics to our favorite songs and cut up pictures from magazines to paste on our bedroom walls. We (our generation) didn’t have internet, Facebook nor Google but we got to know many artists mainly through collaborations. I remember DMX and Sisqo doing “what they want” and us just bugging out because Mr Thong Song himself and X the Ruff Ryder were coming together on one track. Though things have changed today, the principle of great collaborations still applies in my world. In Christian rap there are a couple of collaborations that have kept fans begging to see their favorite artists coming together over and over again. Lets dig into our list of 10 collaborations that will have you indulging in good music.

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[blog.] Exploring a Quote from John Piper

“[S]aving grace . . . is God’s giving us a sovereign joy in God that triumphs over all other joys and therefore sways Joe Romeothe will.  The will is free to move toward whatever it delights in most fully.  But it is not within the power of our will to determine what that sovereign joy will be.” [1]

Some Background Info

Before I dive right into this topic, perhaps some background would be helpful. The quote above comes from John Piper’s book God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards.  In the first part of the book, Piper gives a brief biography of Edwards; included in this section is Piper’s own personal story of how he encountered Edwards’s writings and the impact they have had on his life and ministry.  The quote comes from the section in which Piper talks about his experience of reading Edwards’s book The Freedom of the Will.  This book is Edwards’s most influential philosophical treatise ever written.  In context, the quote above comes from Piper summarizing Edwards’s own view of free will.  Speaking personally, I have enjoyed the first part of this book so much that this was my second time reading through it.

Explaining the Quote

I mentioned a few days ago on Facebook that I hoped to offer some thoughts on this quote from Piper.  As I’ve reflected on how to begin, I think the best place to start is with the latter part of the quote and then work my way back to the beginning of the sentence.  With that said, here goes nothing: In the second and third sentences Piper writes, “The will is free to move toward whatever it delights in most fully.  But it is not within the power of our will to determine what that sovereign joy will be.”

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[article.] From the NFL to Ministry; the journey to my purpose

These were the words God spoke to me in 2010, after I had been released from my fourth NFL team in two years.  I was frustrated, hurt, and disappointed that despite all the obstacles and adversity I overcame in my five years in college, I was finally living my childhood dream of playing in the…

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Unwittingly Allowing Unbelievers in the Church

Since most churches are desperate to boost their numbers and give the appearance of growth, they oftentimes end up with unbelievers on their rolls. This is unhealthy and it reflects poorly on the church. While we certainly welcome unbelievers into our churches on Sunday morning, we do not want unbelievers to become members of our congregations.

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[article.] Scaring the “Hell” Out of People – Literally!

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Editor’s Note: We posted this article this time last year, but I believe it needs to be posted again. Should we be “scaring the hell” out of people so they can enter the gates of Heaven? We’d love to hear your thoughts! — Godside

One can always tell when fall is preparing to make its grand entrance.  The most obvious clues are when the ground is covered with reddish brown leaves and the temperature outside is suddenly cooler.  Fall sets off a trigger in my mind and I immediately begin to ponder about upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and…Halloween.

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[article.] Big Changes made by Small Concert featuring Bizzle

I took my Girl’s little sister to a Bizzle concert in Johannesburg – South Africa a month or so back. I never doubted this would have an impact on her Christian life, yet I didn’t realize just how deep this change would run in her world view.

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Recently while spending some family time, a bunch of African Americans were acting a fool on tv like they’re always portrayed. To my absolute amazement Sophia suddenly said, “I use to think all African American men were like that, but after hearing Bizzle speak I had a total mind change”. I looked in her eyes and there was a glow, a high regard for black men was planted in her soul. She now knew better and saw better.

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Kingdom Choice Awards Rocks NYC

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On Saturday September 28, 2013, Indie Christian Hip-Hop artists and Urban Gospel singers from around the country converged at L.I.U Brooklyn for the 5th Annual Kingdom Choice Awards. Kingdom Time Entertainment are the visionaries behind the Kingdom Choice Awards, headed by CEO, Marcus Hall. The ceremony honors independent ministers in music taking the message of the gospel outside the walls of the church. A total of 15 categories were presented, along with a few Kingdom Choice Honorary Awards.
The Kumble Theater, where it was held was packed out and the energy was exuberant in the room. As with most award shows, the live performances for the night were highly anticipated. The Kingdom Choice Awards stayed true to the artistry of hip hop with two in house DJs on hand, Dj YNOT and DJ Press Play. The host for the night was Wordsmith from California, who in true servant hood, paid for his way to be a part of the awards show. He kept the crowd going with witty wordplay and mini sermons he called “nuggets”.

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Putting Grace on Display: Leading Others to the Cross

This is my first article for Holy Culture (but you’ll be seeing more of me, I promise), and I have been asked by my superiors to jump into the middle of a crazy little battle going on in Christian hip-hop today.
It centers around Lecrae’s latest song “Rebel vs. Gravity,” and Evangel’s response track, and all of the controversy that has come about because of it.

I want to begin by dissecting the actual question posed. In the midst of the controversy and all of the talk of “methodologies,” it can be a little bit challenging to pinpoint exactly what both Lecrae and Evangel are getting at.

At first glance, the question would seem to be “how do you reach the lost,” but I think that’s tangential to the real question posed by each of these artists: “what is the point of your art?”

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[Devo.] Adapting Without Adopting

Paul, empowered by the Holy Spirit, adapted to those he wanted to reach without adopting their beliefs and won many people for Jesus. If this concept benefited Paul’s gospel witness thousands of years ago when Christianity was first being established, how much more can it benefit us today?

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[Devo.] Be Still And Know

For the first time in this journey, I doubted if this was really the will of God. I could no longer say, “it will be alright.” I could no longer deceive myself and others by calling my own effort an act of faith.

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[Devo.] Am I OK With It?

It was a question that was asked to me that made me think….hmm…am I truly OK with God’s will for my life if I never got what I desired? Have I resolved the true statement of a surrendered life, “Not my will but yours be done God?”

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[article.] What Happened to the Boom-Bap?

First and foremost, let me provide all the disclosures and caveats up front – I am not a writer, I don’t dislike anyone in CHH, nor any style, camp, association, label, region, producer, specific MCs, etc.  And this not about theological positions, etc.  This is purely about how I miss what I would call the…

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[news.] DROP CD Roster Announced

May 22, 2013 – Holy Culture is proud to announce its topic and artist roster for the sophomore version of the DROP CD. TOPIC ARTIST Creation & Separation Levi the Poet Sinful Humanity Anthony Rose People of God Sean Slaughter Exodus & Law KamBINO Person of Jesus Social Club Works of Jesus Princeton Marcellis Death…

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[article.] Am I Too Old for Hip Hop?

  If you have read any of my previous articles, you know that I was once in a Christian Hip Hop group some years ago. Prior to that, I had been involved in secular Hip Hop in one form or another since my teenage years. I was in my early to mid-thirties when my group…

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[devo.] The Hurricane Is Coming (Sandy Relief Project)

When I lived in Brooklyn, NY, the term “grocery store” was always confusing for me. I am originally from the south and after moving to NY, I immediately noticed that grocery stores are more like tiny convenient stores that are extremely under-stocked. Every time I would go to Target the shelves would be empty like there was a zombie apocalypse coming. Only in Brooklyn would it be incredibly uncommon to go to the same store and find the same kind of cinnamon rolls that you bought the week before. Now try to imagine the desolate aisles of these grocery stores in the days leading up to hurricane Sandy! My wife and I were lucky enough grab some canned goods and several bottles of water before the grocery stores were completely sold out.

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[article.] Restaurant Tips: Bless or Bust?

Pastor Alois claims that although she both wrote the snide remark and marked “$0” in the space for a tip, her group left at least $6.29 in cash on the table. Exactly six dollars and twenty-nine cents. Not a convenient quarter and nickel, making an even $6.30. Not possibly just rounding up to $7, foregoing the disrespect of coins.

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Three Things I’ve Learned Fasting from Christian Music

I came to a realization that while Christian music carries colossal benefits of education, encouragement and enjoyment, it has also become a distraction to me. There have been times where I feel God leading me to pray about something and I would respond in my heart, “After this song, Lord!”

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[article.] Over-Saved: Is It Possible?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone whose every word revolved around religion? Even an innocuous question like, “Hey, did you see the football game last night?” gets an overreaching answer like, “No, but I talked to the Lord last night!”

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[devo.] Just a Pair of Shoes (Bobby Bishop)

I love breakfast. I’ll eat eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, hash browns, juice, and coffee any time of the day. I’m down for brunch and “brinner” if the opportunity presents itself; it’s delicious. This past Saturday morning I awoke ready for breakfast, so I headed over to the supermarket early to grab my supplies. I was…

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New Year’s Resolutions…Blah!

It’s a new year. Refreshing isn’t it. Some of us will reflect on the last twelve months and take this time to adjust, realign and restart anew with resolutions. Maybe you’ve made a few of them already…to loose those adorable love handles, start and actually finish a devotional plan, maybe this year you’ll listen to Dave Ramsey and manage your finances better, spend quality time with your parents, spouse, kids, and maybe even love your neighbor…love your neighbor LIKE Christ…geez, I know what some of you were thinking!

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[article.] Watch, Wait, & Live

According to a 2010 survey conducted by the Center of Disease Control one in 3 women (32.9%) has experienced physical violence by an intimate partner and nearly 1 in 10 (9.4%) has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime.

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[devo.] More than Love

Love is powerful, but it is something entirely different when someone tells you that they actually like you. . . It changes everything.

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[devo.] Power of Remembering

How quickly we forget when obstacles arise. We go back to square one. We lose our confidence. We make it about ourselves. We allow our circumstances to get the best of us.

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[article.] The Christian Faith on the Brinks of Death

On the statistical surface it is evident that the “Jesus is LORD—I heart and follow Jesus—Christian faith” is not only declining but on the brinks of death. Death? No, I’m not using shock value to get you to continue reading. I’m not a drama queen in fact I’m not sure I even have the experience to sound credible.

Look, I’m not even a “real” pastor. Nope. I’m simply a student guy. You know the overworked, underpaid, understaffed, underfunded, least respected guy in “BIG” church—that guy—the one with little voice in senior leadership meetings, if I get invited, and even then my opinion carries little weight. Yeah, so, I’m that guy and take this post with a grain of salt.

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[interview.] DJ Maj

A big contributor to both the CHH and CCM arenas, DJ Maj has been on the scene since 1997, producing holy hip hop and redeemed remixes. He’s known for his work with dc Talk, TobyMac, and recordings Boogiroot and Speckled Goats II. We thank him for the opportunity to talk! Without further ado…

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[interview.] Propaganda on “Excellent” and gospel culture

As his lyrics echo, Propaganda raises the banner in the CHH scene for genuine boldness, godly character and commitment to excellent art- and nothing less. We’re thankful for the opportunity to speak with him recently. He took some time off his busy schedule with the Unashamed Tour 2012 to talk Excellent, good art, manhood and…

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