Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Gabriel. My friends call me Gabe. And my father, well he hardly calls me at all. How's that for subtle? Please don't feel sorry for me. If there's anything you should seriously know about me, it's that I'm not very serious. I'm an outspoken introvert who found a voice in music and poetry, though admittedly I don't fit the image for either. I wrote my first lyric when I was 9 years old after realizing I had talent during my 4th grade poetry project. I spent the next few years battle rapping in school lunch rooms until God gave me a passion to minister through gospel rap. Fast forward to now and I'm a spoken word artist riding in on the coat tails of my quipping, battle rapping former self. I'm not hipster enough for poetry or gangster enough for hip hop. Instead, I find myself in a category of my own. Not a poet or a rapper, I remain an enigma. Which would explain how I was able to write a spoken word without a single rhyme because I've learned that delivery is often more important than content. Now that we're acquainted, let me begin.
I took some time recently for meditation and solitude. I didn’t think I needed it ‘cause I’m a solid dude. And in that time, I just asked that God would deal with me so He said arrogance is just ignorance spelled a little differently. How could I forget that my life was God’s property? So wrapped up in being “somebody” that I forgot about the apostrophe “s.” How could I know the Father if I don’t take time except for grace before I eat and “now I lay me” before my bedtime? If my relationship with God is lacking growth and development then I’m nothing but a sick dog feeding on my excrement. I’ve become an actor while trying to make a man of me. And since I’m on the subject, I’d like to thank the academy. And while I’m at it, I’d like to issue an apology for living for my convenience rather than living out sound theology. I’m a product of grace and subject to full submission. It’s a difficult thing to do, I’ll say by my own admission. I can admit I’ve acted in hopes of personal recognition, but I believe the past is just the beginning of every man’s expedition. I never have any trouble seeing your mercy and your provision because sometimes I lose sleep wondering how I ended in this position. I’m the result of a teen pregnancy and a single parent household, labeled a statistic before I even left the hospital, victim of stereotypes and a generational curse that said I should have been locked up or hauled away in a hearse.
But then grace came in…
Grace: God's riches at Christ's expense and yet we act like we're entitled. Worship: what was meant to be a lifestyle which we have misconstrued to mean a segment of church services during which if we raise our hands long enough we may see revival. Repentance: the act of recognizing our fallacies and turning against them so that we may be forgiven. And yet, we've deceived ourselves to believe confession is enough without transformed living. We accept mercy and grace but live sinfully because it's our decision, but could it be that I have my conservative political views and my Christian world view and yet still have no vision? Our addictions outweigh our convictions so we keep submitting and our prayers sound more like routine apologies for sins that we keep committing. Sound familiar? And I say "we" because I can admit to my occasional insensitivity to the opportunity of grace. And I'll emphasize the word opportunity because John 3:16 says I'll receive eternal life IF I believe in the one who took my place. The cross wasn't just a gift of ransom. The cross was God's formal proposition because the act of love on the cross requires that you take a position. And the beautiful thing about grace is that we never could have earned it because we have an inclination to sin and it isn't because we learned it. Not a single man in history has been blameless except for one. And that man served as a sacrifice as only He could have done. And then three days later, He overcame death and the battle for my soul was won. So I can't say I'm solar powered, but I'm empowered by the Son.
Thank you, Father, for loving me and making me your descendant. Thank you for conviction that reminds me I’m dependent. Thank you for your Son when I should be the defendant. And thank you Holy Spirit for drawing me to repentance.