Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rebel Music: Matt Papa This Changes everything

You may want to read the first post if you haven't already to know where I am coming from with this series. Here it is: Rebel Music

So as we came back to the states we (like most missionaries) were clueless about any new music. Because we are out of the loop for years at a time we usually have no clue where to look for good music. When we do hear stuff it all sounds like the same old stuff. So, I will try to ask people I trust for some recommendations. Sometimes this works...but only sometimes. In interviewing a new couple to join the team I asked them about what music they like to listen to. After I made fun of them for listening to...whatever they liked, Loggins and Messina or some nonsense. They told me I should check out an artist named Matt Papa. They told me about some of his songs and I was interested in checking it out. So I downloaded the album “This changes everything” and i left it on itunes for several weeks. I was going to listen to it for the first time on the plane to Uganda. I couldn’t have chosen a better album to listen to. It has now become our theme Album while driving through the African countryside. I truly think I will associate these first experiences in Africa with this album.
Here is my take on some of my favorite songs on the album:
One Thing:  We all make choices, but our choices are usually driven by something. Our goals, our children, Our own pleasure. But for the Christian our lives should be driven and guided by one thing and one thing alone, our relationship with Jesus. The natural reaction to this close intimate relationship is that we will be compelled to proclaim his name wherever we go. We will manifest Christ in our lives, with our words and our deeds.
Favorite line: We all get one life, one chance to live for what’s gonna last in the end. Fame, power, pleasure, gold You gain the world but you lose your soul. We all live for something, Jesus or nothing. So what’s it gonna be? What’s your one thing?
This changes everything: It is sad how UNchanged Christians are. We say things like “We serve a Risen Savior” but all the outrageousness is gone from the statement. Jesus life and message has been so watered down that we also live diluted versions of the Christian life. BUT if all the things we read in the Bible are true, we should be the most driven and active people in the world. If we lived like all these things were actually true, the world would stand up and take notice. We would be telling people about our Amazing Jesus, We would be affecting poverty, violence, sickness, and injustice for the glory of his name. Sadly, that is often not how we live. This song was/is a real challenge to my personal walk and testimony.
Favorite line: “Did I miss something? or have I begun to lie? Do I really live like Jesus is alive?! ‘Cause if this is true, this changes everything! If this is real I’ve got to tell the world. If He is God, then I have a choice to make. If I believe then I must follow Him.
What are we waiting for?: It is a common belief that the work of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ is set aside for a select few Christians. Unfortunately the Bible does back up this theory. However this excuse allows us to continue to follow our own dreams and goals while ignoring the command from our Lord, to go. I would love to see more believers take this call seriously and reevaluate their lives and their commitment to  this calling. Not every individual is supposed to live in a strange land and learn a new language, etc. But we are all supposed to organize our lives and priorities around our call to take the Gospel to the world. Maybe you pray daily for some of those who left everything to go. Maybe, you give sacrificially to the work. Maybe you take the gospel to the dark areas of your city or county? Or Maybe, you pack your bags and leave your hopes and dreams behind and adopt His hopes and dreams as your own. 
Favorite Line: “He says go, take the news to all the nations. We say no, you know we just don’t feel called. But oh, the Lord of all the universe has called us all, to go. So, What are we waiting for? A message in the sky? A miracle? A sign from up above? Is not his word enough?!
Stay away from Jesus:  This is another prophetic song dealing with the tendency of this generation of Christians to take the name of Jesus, though they are not willing to live like true Christians. The basic, idea is that if you are not willing to die to yourself and give everything up just to follow him, you might as well stay away from him. Because this is what he demands of us, everything. This does not mean that we have to give everything away and live in poverty, but rather that we are willing to do just that if he told us to. Christianity is not about what we get from God, but rather taking advantage of having the privilege of following him in whatever he asks of us.
Favorite Line: He says, be either hot or cold, you can’t serve God and gold. You know indifference is the road that leads to hell. So, if you are happy in your stuff and if 10 percent is enough, stay away from Jesus!
The Lord is a warrior:  Since we live now in a culture surrounded by warriors, this song has special meaning for me. Jesus is not some pansy, milk-toast, limp wristed teacher, but rather someone who was willing to fight evil and sin itself and do it all for me. And the fact that even death could not conquer him means he alone is worthy to be praised and I will speak of him until the day I die.
Favorite Line:  “See the lamb on his cross, once exalted now despised, It is finished and he dies. Silence falls, days go past, my God did the darkness win?!  But this is not the end, no. Feel the shaking ground, oh see the stone is rolling back now!!! The Lord is a warrior, The Lord is a warrior, The Lord is his name!
I absolutely love this album. I am listening to it start to finish several times a week. The things I love about it and that make it rare in Christian music today are two things, It’s focus on obedience, this is a forgotten discipline in Christian circles today. Yet, It was absolutely essential for the early Christian. We had a motto on our last team, Obedience is life. This album exemplifies this very concept to me. The other reason I am loving this album is that there is such a heavy focus on our calling to take the good news to the nations. I appreciate an artist that is willing to say the hard things and be an advocate for Christ’s teachings and commands in a world (church) that simply likes to have their ears tickled. If Matt Papa ever reads this review Let me say thank you for expressing our hearts.
Other albums: I have only listened to this album from Matt Papa. I have not had access to any others...yet. But I look forward to listening to some of his other songs.

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