Jesus Would've Used Lo-Fi Hip Hop To Hear God's Voice

Jesus Would've Used Lo-Fi Hip Hop To Hear God's Voice

Technology doesn't have to be a "sin portal."

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For the first time in months, I finally re-downloaded Spotify back onto my phone.

I've had a large amount of apprehension engaging with music streaming services. I used to log thousands of hours with Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, getting lost in the digital soundscape, an endless soundtrack to my life, for me to get lost in.

Recently, I deleted all streaming apps off my phone. I found myself getting too lost in tracks that boasted noisy, distracting production and lyrics that had a negative impact on me emotionally and spiritually.

But this morning, I decided to revisit what I once perceived as a "spiritual evil" in my life. I re-downloaded Spotify (the free version, I'm not a student anymore and ain't no way am I budgeting to spend $10 more every month for music).

On my walk up to campus (I'm a part-time campus missionary, leading a small group and spiritually mentoring students as they follow Jesus) I played what the kids call lo-fi jazz hop. It's mainly instrumentals, with some sort of eclectic beat and light production layered on top. Then, during my devotional time, meditating on Scripture, I switched over to a playlist of simple recordings of rainfall.

Looking back at what I've written so far, this all seems very mundane. Very "well duh." Listening to peaceful, instrumental music is nothing new to urban, modern Bellingham culture. But maybe that's not the culture I'm writing to.

I'm writing to those who seem to be at odds with technology, with how it's currently at play in your life.

If you're a Christian, you've probably heard from pastors preaching at the pulpit that cell phones are satanic devices, with access to pornography and all sorts of sinful temptation.

OK, so I'm not going to laugh at those pastors.

But maybe I'll give a light snicker.

I get it. We should 100% distance ourselves from anything that gives way to temptation. Jesus makes that perfectly clear in His teachings. But what does that practically look like for yourself?

For me, I don't have social media on my phone. I also disabled my web browser. Honestly, I don't really feel that you should destroy your smartphone to find freedom from sin: that's God's job.

If you can't have a smartphone and see yourself being transformed from your life of sin to one of repentance and spiritual discipline, I feel like that's way more on you, not the phone.

For me, I've found something beautiful about having access to playlists and tracks that calm my attention, that provide a focused soundtrack that both quiet the noises around me while elevating my attention to the "noise" of the Spirit, aka God's voice. It helped me live out a life example Jesus led:

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed" — (Mark 1:35, NIV).

I want to encourage you, yes you the reader, this week: when you spend time alone with God, play some calming background music as you read Scripture or voice your prayers. Experiment with what it has created for me: an environment, a unique space where you can find solitude and retreat from the distractions and noises of this world to fully focus on hearing and inquiring of God. Jesus didn't necessarily need lo-fi jazz to focus on God's voice... but it might help us do just that.

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When God Says, “Not Right Now.”

“God give me faith to wait and not manipulate. To trust You fully, no matter how my circumstances may appear." — Lynn Cowell

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One of the most frustrating yet beautiful things is when God tells us “no" or “not right now."

At the time, you may have agony or desperation for this one thing to work out in your life, but it slips away from you. You may ask God why. Why does He want you to be unhappy? Why does He want to take away your dreams?

At the time, you cannot see how much God truly is working in your life, but He is. In my life, every time that I was disappointed that a plan or dream didn't work out, I was devastated. I didn't want to be in a position where I was challenged and tested. I wanted all the blessings to flow and to fulfill what I thought was my plan in life. But that's exactly what it was: my plan.

I did not see at the time that that is not what God intended for me and that He actually had far greater plans than I did for myself. He needed to mold me into who I am supposed to be today. Along the way I have met the most amazing people that have had a huge impact on my life, have gone through the most amazing experiences with God, and I wouldn't trade going through all the trials because it has truly made me into the woman I am today.

“What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for." – John Ortberg

God is continually, endlessly, working in our lives.

We may not see it, but He is. We may blame God for all the things that are going wrong in our lives, but we never see that in the end, we were supposed to go through the low valleys to get to the high, amazing, and beautiful mountains in our lives.

I truly believe that it's when you're at the bottom of the darkest pit in your life that you can actually see the light of God shining brightly upon you. During these times, pray to Him to lead you to understanding that this is all a part of His plan for you.

It hurts God to see that His child is suffering, but in order to carve out just the person that you are supposed to be, you must go through challenges. Where you are today is no accident. God is using the challenge you are in to shape you and prepare you for the place He wants you tomorrow. When it comes to God's plan, timing is absolutely everything.

Looking back on all the events that I had to endure before getting to where I am now, I know that I had to go through the trials in order to be just who I am today, which is happier than I have ever been because I know God and His plan for me. Waiting is the most difficult job of hope, but you must remain faithful and know that God is guiding you.

“When I wait, you strengthen my heart." Psalm 27:14

When you are waiting for God's righteous plan, don't lose faith in His goodness. He only wants the best for you, and in the end, you will look back and see just how much He truly was working in your life. Be patient and the blessings will flow.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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Christianity Is About Love And Forgiveness, I'm Sorry If You've Met Christians Who Act Differently

Christianity is rooted in love, but unfortunately not all "Christians" live that way.

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If you've ever been hurt by a "Christian", I'm sorry. If you've ever felt condemned, I'm sorry. If you've ever felt looked down upon, I'm sorry.

That's not Christianity, and we're not all that way. Christians are called to follow Christ, and Jesus Christ loved people. All people. Granted, we are only flesh and our flesh is not perfect, a true follower of Christ would never intentionally hurt another human being. I know that there are people who claim the same faith that I do that that are leaving scars behind in the wake of their actions and words and it deeply saddens me.

As Christians, we are called to love - no matter what color, race, gender, or sexual orientation - we are called to love people as Christ loves us. Unfortunately, in the media, we see stories of people being condemned by "Christians" for their beliefs or lifestyle choices. We are not called to condemn; it is not our place. In fact, John 3:17 explains that God sent His son Jesus into the world not to condemn the world, but to save it through Him. If Jesus wasn't sent here to condemn the world, it is not our job as followers of Christ to do so either. Being a Christian makes us no better than anyone else on this earth. We are just as broken as the next person, the only difference is we've accepted a savior.

I saw a meme on facebook essentially talking about how some of the rudest customers that come into restaurants are the ones who come in on Sunday after church. I began to read the comments because I was genuinely curious about how others felt about this topic and my heart began to break.

Words like "fake" and "stuck up" were thrown around and I'm afraid they're not wrong. There are people who go to church on Sunday and walk out of those four walls only to leave their intentions of living like Christ inside. That's not how it's supposed to be, and unfortunately, those are the people who leave a bitter taste in people's mouths in regards to the church. I'm here to say, on behalf of those of us truly trying to follow Christ, that we're not all that way, and we love you just as you are.

To those who have a misconstrued image of Christianity because of a "Christian" who treated you wrong, I would like to apologize on their behalf. I simply want you to know that you are loved deeply, not only by us but by the creator of the world.

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