Christmas Hymn Writing at Calvin College

Christmas Hymn Writing at Calvin College

Matt Papa will join with Calvin College and a host of distinguished songwriters in March of 2018 to work on Christmas hymns for congregational singing to give a new voice to the Incarnation.

New Song Project: Every Last Word

New Song Project: Every Last Word

Ross King and Matt Papa are excited to release a new song project entitled "Every Last Word - A Scripture Songs Project." The songs for these releases are word-for-word scripture set to music.

"Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery" Featured on a New Getty Music Album

"Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery" Featured on a New Getty Music Album

Recorded live at SING! 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee, Keith and Kristin Getty along with a feature performance by Matt Boswell included "Come Behold The...

Love ≠ Open-mindedness

We live in the “same love” culture.   The new ethic is sincerity.  If he’s into guys, cool.  If she’s into girls, ok.   If that’s his religion, then it’s true for him.  If she wants to kill it, then that’s her choice.  Don’t judge, don’t offend, don’t disrupt.

Chill out evangelicals.

Granted….and sadly…Christians haven’t been the most gracious when it comes to these topics.  However…

Love ≠ open-mindedness.

Love is intense.  We all know this.

Nearly everyday my kids sincerely don’t want to sit in their carseats.  What does love do?  “Ok, no big deal honey, sit wherever you want.”


Love does this:  “Put your bottom in your carseat right now, or I will come put it there myself.”

If you have a friend who is making decisions that are ruining their life, love doesn’t stand by and watch it.  It sits them down…it gets in their face.

As it’s been said, the opposite of love is not hate.  It is indifference.

Love gets angry when the good of it’s beloved is threatened.

“To love is will the good of another.”  (T. Aquinas)

It turns out that our culture’s view of love is self-defeating.  If to love is to will the good of another, but in a culture of “non-judgmentalism” and “tolerance” a standard of good is lost,then love is lost.

Truth without love is bigotry, and quite often, Christians have been bigots.  But love without truth is cowardice.  And we live in a culture of cowards.

Stand up.  Do something.  Say something.  For love’s sake.  Be cool or be loving.  You can’t be both.

“Drawn away from love of the thing he tells…”

Below is an excerpt from chapter 9 of C.S. Lewis’ powerful book “The Great Divorce”…brimming with insights for anyone involved in the arts or communication.

A little context….”The Great Divorce” is a story about a group of “ghosts” from purgatory or hell who take a bus trip to the foothills of heaven where they meet “spirits” who urge them to journey upward. Lewis brilliantly paints here, as he does in so many of his works, the hollowness of selfishness and the “thickness” or reality of love, beauty, and selflessness.

I was recently reminded of this section and wanted to post it, (especially) as a way to help to those who help us see…to my songwriting, preaching, painting, book-writing, instrument-strumming friends out there….who constantly strain…who continually squint…trying to further comprehend the Glory.  But why comprehend it?  Why communicate it?

That is Lewis’ question to us…..


“God!” said the Ghost, glancing round the landscape.

“God what?” asked the Spirit.

“What do you mean, ‘God what’?” asked the Ghost.

“In our grammer God is a noun.”

“Oh-I see. I only meant ‘By Gum’ or something of the sort. I meant . . . well, all this. It’s . . . it’s … I should like to paint this.”

“I shouldn’t bother about that just at present if I were you.”

“Look here; isn’t one going to be allowed to go on painting?”

“Looking comes first.” “But I’ve had my look. I’ve seen just what I want to do. God!-I wish I’d thought of bringing my things with me!”

The Spirit shook his head, scattering light from his hair as he did so. “That sort of thing’s no good here,” he said.

“What do you mean?” said the Ghost.

“When you painted on earth-at least in your earlier days-it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape. The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too. But here you are having the thing itself. It is from here that the messages came. There is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already. In fact we see it better than you do.”

“Then there’s never going to be any point in painting here?”

“I don’t say that. When you’ve grown into a Person (it’s all right, we all had to do it) there’ll be some things which you’ll see better than anyone else. One of the things you’ll want to do will be to tell us about them. But not yet. At present your business is to see. Come and see. He is endless. Come and feed.”

There was a little pause. “That will be delightful,” said the Ghost presently in a rather dull voice.

“Come, then,” said the Spirit, offering it his arm.

“How soon do you think I could begin painting?” it asked.

The Spirit broke into laughter. “Don’t you see you’ll never paint at all if that’s what you’re thinking about?” he said.

“What do you mean?” asked the Ghost.

“Why, if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you’ll never learn to see the country.”

“But that’s just how a real artist is interested in the country.”

“No. You’re forgetting,” said the Spirit. “That was not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.”

“Oh, that’s ages ago,” said the Ghost. “One grows out of that. Of course, you haven’t seen my later works. One becomes more and more interested in paint for its own sake.”

“One does, indeed. I also have had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.”


That you may not be drawn away from love of the Thing you tell,


Trust (a poem)

The commandment comes,

“Do this I say,

cross not this line,

go not that way”


My fallen soul,

it writhes within,

it pouts and doubts

and seethes with sin


“I cannot do

this thing Love asks!

For shall I not

my freedom have?”


And so I choose

to disobey,

and flex my

suicidal strength


And as I fall

into a pit,

’tis not the freedom

that I meant.




A tender hand

but strong, I feel,

and to my awe

no sword it wields


It pulls me out,

it cleanses me,

it chides me not,

but gently leads


Me to the place

where feet can stand,

a rock of grace

that never ends


“Oh Father, why?

How could you be

so patient with

a worm like me?”


I cling unto

this hand of love

that ever finds me

though I run


And now a dawn

within my soul,

this goodness

shall not let me go.




The commandment comes,

“Do this I say,

cross not this line,

go not that way”


My heart of stone

is melted now,

and to this Word

I freely bow


The good hand points

and lo I see,

an altar there

prepared for me


This wooden-grace,

I cling to climb

My doubts erased

His promise mine


I lie upon it

peaceful, still,

a child who loves

his Father’s will.



In The Studio…

Hi friends-

I’m writing you today from Nashville, TN, where I am incredibly thankful and excited to be recording my 4th full-length studio album.  God is good.  I feel more grateful than ever before to be able to create art for a living, and more grateful than ever for people like you who allow me to continue to do so through your prayers and support.  I am working hard to create music that adorns God’s Name, God’s people, and God’s world, and that’s why I’m writing to you today.

Would you take 60 seconds and pray for us?  Pray that God would take joy in what He hears. Pray that the music we make would point to the beauty of Jesus Christ. Pray that through this album people would see His glory more clearly. Pray that through this album, the Church would be encouraged, the lost would be converted, and that missionaries would be created. That’s why I do what I do.

Thank you!  Your prayers infinitely matter.

The new album, entitled “LOOK & LIVE”, is set to release early fall of this year.  Producing on the album is Stu G, former guitar player of the band Delirious.  It is sounding fantastic and I am thrilled to get these songs to you, and to serve you in this way.

Please stay tuned through twitter, Facebook, etc. for updates and exclusives about the album.

Blessings to you today, in Christ-


The Story of God

Click here to watch the video. 



The Story of God

by Matt Papa


Let me tell you a story

it’s no ordinary tale

no it is the ordinary

from which every other story hails


it’s the story of God

it’s the story of history

and I’m not the author

no, the Author is a glorious mystery


see long before He would put

His pen to the paper

long before there was time

or before there was matter


He was there, all alone

Father Son Holy Sprit

1 God in 3 persons

everlasting in existence


completely satisfied

needing absolutely nothing

He was happy in Himself

and His joy was overflowing


the Son in the arms

of His holy righteous Father

the Spirit overshadowing

all glorifying one another


so why would this God

even bother to create

the fountain of all happiness

can you improve upon this state?


well the joy within Himself

welling up at such capacity

was so full it must be shared

with a glorious society


so the mighty Author, quill in hand,

to share His infinite mind,

His love His joy, sat down to write

His “once upon a time”


in the beginning God created

the Heavens and the Earth

He made all things to reflect

His beauty and His worth


mountains rivers oceans trees

all gladly testifying

endless stars and galaxies

declare His glory shining


He made it all and it was good

and to culminate His work

He fashioned man

and breathed to life

His special ball of dirt


man came to life with blinking eyes

& was welcomed by God’s face

they walked with Him every day and night

there was peace and no such thing as shame


God said

be fruitful, fill the earth

and eat from any tree

except for this one

cause if you do you’ll surely fall from Me


now why do this? and give this choice?

because He is writing a Story

and He’s about to show to whole world

The fullness of His glory


conflict enters

early on in the script

with a snake in the garden

doing was he does best running his lip


flashback to when

this evil was created

he was an angel of heaven

who fell when his head got inflated


banished from God

and from His endless mercy

he came down to earth

to tempt us with the unworthy


so there in the garden

on an ordinary day

he came to the woman and said

did God really say?


that you should not eat

from every tree in the garden?

He must not want your happiness

or you would have total freedom


so pridefully they listened

and sinfully they took

and scorned their creator

and they ate the forbidden fruit


injustice. this, my friends

this is injustice

that God should be seen &

then treated as a nothing


that man should completely forfeit his joy

and dig for fleeting pleasures

in the gutters of this world


fallen now is all mankind

and sure to face His judgement

a world of pain, of toil and strain

and hell forever after


but God would make a promise to

preserve Himself a people

and through the brokenness of man

o could there shine a hero?


the plot line continues

some character development

all supporting actors

all fantastic as embellishment


Noah found great favor

in God’s holy sight

and when God sent the floods

He mercifully preserved his life


we come to Abraham

and God made him a covenant

He said “I will bless you

and make your offspring abundant”


to Isaac and to Jacob

God would come and do the same

and though many dangers

came to threaten His perfect plan


the story would go on

with the Author’s full control

and He would lead His people

everywhere that they should go


flash forward now 400 years

in Egypt there’s a pharaoh

who doesn’t like God’s people

growing numerous in freedom


so he made them slaves

but God came down and chose His servant Moses

a burning bush… a call to go

His presence was His promise


go and tell that pharaoh now to

let my people go

so they can freely worship Me

in the place that I will show


plagues.  numerous.

God would show that He is the I AM

that pharaoh’ rule is like a pawn

in His glorious hand


the waters part. the millions leave

to follow their great Savior

He guided them provided for them

though they were so ungrateful


at Sinai God gave the law

so perfect and so pure

His people soon discovered

they could not obey these rules


they tried they failed

they tried they failed

compelled to live in sin

they’d bow to worship idols

then they’d bow to God again


they said to God “give us a king”

and that will make things better

God, their rightful king, assured them

this would be a fetter


they insisted, God relented

gave to them their kings

some were good, led them to Him

some brought idolatry


God sent his prophets

“turn back to God”

sometimes the people listened

but mostly they just gave a nod

cause they all wanted to be Him


“God will not wink at your sin”

the prophets would all say

the people rose to eat and drink

and left to go and play


God finally seemed to have enough

and brought a blaring quiet

the prophets ceased, the people waited

400 years of silence.


enter our protagonist

mostly unannounced

the plot is quickly rising now


who is this guy?

nobody really knows

He meek…..He’s humble

unordinary hero


but the craziest thing

about this character is well

unlike the other characters

this is the Author himself


His name was Jesus

He was born of a virgin

fully God He was perfect

fully man He was learnin’


different from all the others

but tempted just the same

in every single way we are

without a single sin


He made the lame to jump

He caused the blind to see

and unlike the religious leaders

had some real authority


cause He came from high

and He came to redeem

not to be served but to serve

His haters and enemies


He loved, He gave

showed us the heart of the Author

claimed no glory for Himself

cause He came from His Father


and we hated Him for it

cause we wanted to be God

despised and rejected

we esteemed Him not.


conflict escalating now

it’s starts with a betrayal

Judas whores his eternal Lord

for 30 pieces of silver


a final meal a prayer and then

they head into the garden

where Jesus sweat with drops of blood

preparing for our pardon


The soldiers took the Lord away

and led him to a trail

“are you the Son of God?” they say

I AM there’s no denying


Except of course for His disciples

who left their Lord in fear

Jesus looked up to the sky

He was all alone from here


they led Him to the Pretorian

and then began to beat Him

“who hit you?” they would shout and say

“oh Father please forgive them”


they made His back a bloody mess

they whipped Him till he lost his breath

they threw the cross upon His wounds

the weight of sin 300 pounds


the great eternal Lord of all

the Author of all things

now like a lamb unto the slaughter

would this be His defeat?


they nailed Him to the rugged cross

they shouted out “where is Your God?”

He said “have You forsaken me?”

He takes a breath, His final three:


“It is finished”  the Savior’s cry

and then He bowed His head

the Author of life the Lord of all

the Son of God is dead


they laid His body in a tomb

then everything was quiet

as God’s people find themselves again

in everlasting silence


2 days pass.


on the second morning after Jesus died

Mary went to the tomb to take a look inside


and when she arrived she was

met by an angel

she fell to the ground but he said

there’s no danger


this Jesus, Jesus

is He the one that you seek?

Mary He is not here

He is risen indeed!


Climax, its true

every good story has one

the part where you feel

a slight shift of momentum


Mary sprints to go

tell the disciples

the Lord, He’s alive!

He’s alive like he promised


Peter and john go

and see for themselves

but there’s nothing there

they said “perhaps He truly lives?”


then Jesus’ words

came flashing to mind

they will kill the Son of man

but after three days He will rise


momentum is surely building now

the enemy is limpin’

Jesus finds the 12 and then

He gives to them the mission


all authority is mine

all in Heaven and on Earth

go and tell them I’m alive

go and tell the whole wide world


and don’t get slack

I’m coming back


Acts now the church is born

the Holy Spirit given

the news of Jesus

like the most contagious sickness spreadin’


thousands saved. A mighty wind

is blowing through the region

the promise God gave to Abraham

we’re finally starting to see it


Repentance and forgiveness preached

All in the name of Jesus

Sinners and saints alike proclaim

Our God has come to save us!


the Gentiles hear the story and

the news is blowing up

the plan is working, the gospel spreading

from Asia to Africa


martyrs laying down their lives

cause they know this story’s true

it’s a story like no other

it’s a movement you cannot undo.


Constantine tried to slow it down

and turn it into steeples

but an angry monk from Germany

wrote some holy gospel thesis


it’s spread like fire, then it came

to America by sail

and here we are the twenty-first century

the gospel cannot fail


It’s the greatest story

that’s ever been told

by the greatest Author the world has ever known


but there is some still left to go

yes there is some still left to go


see GO was the command

to every tribe and nation

and carry this great story to

this dying generation


cause when this gospel finally spreads

across the whole of earth

we’re gonna hear a trumpet sound

and Jesus will return


Heaven will be opened

and a white horse shall appear

and the One who sits upon it

all His enemies shall fear


His eyes will be like fire

and His purpose will be glory

justice for all evil

life for all who love this story


He’ll come to judge the quick, the dead

and all who’ve trod this world….every

knee will bow

and tongue confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord


death and hades He will throw

into the Lake of Fire

and Satan too that serpent foe

that coward that old liar


the church will rise

surround the throne

and clothed in glory His

with every nation tribe and tongue

we will worship Him


singing Worthy Worthy

is the Lamb

The Lamb who has been slain

blessings honor glory and power

forever to His name


and for ages and ages

we will sing

the praises of

our God and King


it’s the greatest story

that ever been told

by the greatest Author

the world has known


yeah the bad guys lose

the good guys win

Jesus is Lord of all

The End.


Hi Friends!

I’ll be heading into the studio VERY soon, and I want your help.  This saturday night I’ll be singing my new songs at Sola Coffee in Raleigh, and we’re asking you to come and vote on them!  That’s right.  Tell us what what you like and what you don’t like.  You can be nice like Paula or mean like Simon.  Come for a night of hanging out with friends, listening to music, enjoying coffee and a free dessert, and come ready to help us choose what songs will be going on my next album!  Here’s the pertinent info:

Where:  Sola Coffee

When:  8:30 PM

How Much:  $10 at door

What Do I Get:  A free dessert and a free digital download of My album “Scripture Songs & Hymns 2″

Anything Else:   Seating capacity is around 75.  First come first serve.


Hope to see you there!