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!


Worship With Watts

Go worship at Emmanuel’s feet

A Hymn by Issac Watts


1 Go worship at Emmanuel’s feet,

See in His face what wonders meet!

Earth is too narrow to express

His worth, His glory, or His grace.


2 The whole creation can afford

But some faint shadows of my Lord;

Nature, to make His beauties known,

Must mingle colors not her own.


3 Is He compared to wine or bread?

Dear Lord! our souls would thus be fed:

That flesh, that dying blood of Thine,

Is bread of life, is heavenly wine.


4 Is He a tree? The world receives

Salvation from His healing leaves:

That righteous Branch, that fruitful bough,

Is David’s root and offspring too.


5 Is He a rose? Not Sharon yields,

Such fragrancy in all her fields:

Or if the lily He assume,

The valleys bless the rich perfume.


6 Is He a vine? His heavenly root

Supplies the boughs with life and fruit.

O let a lasting union join

My soul to Christ the living Vine!


7 Is He a head? Each member lives

And owns the vital power He gives;

The saints below and saints above,

Joined by His spirit and His love.


8 Is He a fountain? There I bathe,

And heal the plague of sin and death:

These waters all my soul renew,

And cleanse my spotted garments too.


9 Is He a fire? He’ll purge my dross:

But the true gold sustains no loss:

Like a refiner shall He sit,

And tread the refuse with His feet.


10 Is He a rock? How firm he proves!

The rock of ages never moves;

Yet the sweet streams that from him flow

Attend us all the desert through.


11 Is He a way? He leads to God,

The path is drawn in lines of blood;

There would I walk with hope and zeal,

‘Till I arrive at Zion’s hill.


12 Is He a door? I’ll enter in;

Behold the pastures large and green,

A paradise divinely fair,

None but the sheep have freedom there.


13 Is He designed the cornerstone,

For men to build their heaven upon?

I’ll make Him my foundation too,

Nor fear the plots of hell below.


14 Is He a temple? I adore

The indwelling majesty and power;

And still to His most holy place,

Whene’er I pray, I’ll turn my face.


15 Is He a star? He breaks the night,

Piercing the shades with dawning light;

I know His glories from afar,

I know the bright, the morning Star.


16 Is He a sun? His beams are grace,

His course is joy and righteousness;

Nations rejoice when he appears

To chase their clouds, and dry their tears.


17 O let me climb those higher skies,

Where storms and darkness never rise!

There He displays his powers abroad,

And shines and reigns the incarnate God.


18 Nor earth, nor seas, nor sun, nor stars,

Nor heaven His full resemblance bears;

His Beauties we can never trace,

Till we behold Him face to face.

Martyr Monday: Romanus / Turkey / 285 A.D.

The Roman prefect Asclepiades invaded the city of Antioch, intending to force the Christians to renounce their faith. But Romanus had encouraged the Christians to hold to Jesus.

As the believers saw the great grace of God working in Romanus, old men and women, fathers and mothers, young men and maidens were greatly encouraged to stand firm, ready to shed their blood for the name of their Christ. With one will and mind, they were able to fight off the armed Roman soldiers.

Ascledpiades had Romanus scourged with whips. But instead of tears, sighs, and groans, Romanus sang psalms all the time of his whipping. The more the martyr said about the Lord Jesus, the more furious the prefect became. He commanded the martyr’s sides to be slit with knives until the bones showed white.

Romanus continued to preach the living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, His well-beloved Son, and eternal life through faith in His blood. This time, the prefect ordered that his teeth be knocked out, so he couldn’t speak clearly. His face was beat, his beard pulled out, his cheeks were gashed with knives. When they were finished, Romanus said, “I thank thee, O Prefect. Look how many wounds I have, so many mouths I have whereby I may preach my Lord and Savior Christ, and praise God.”

The Roman prefect was astonished with Romanus’ unwavering commitment to Christ. He commanded the tortures to cease. He threatened to burn him. He blasphemed God saying, “Your crucified Christ is but a yesterday’s God; the gods of the Gentiles are most ancient.”

Romanus then preached on the eternity of Christ, His human nature, of His death for all mankind. Then he said, “Give me a child, O Prefect, one who is only seven years old, and not yet spoiled by malice and vice. You will hear what he has to say.”

A little boy was called out of the crowd. “Tell me, child,” said the martyr, “whether we should worship one Christ, and in Christ one Father, or should we worship many gods?”

“God is one and unique, ” the child answered. “We children cannot believe that there are many gods.”

The prefect was amazed and said, “Where did you learn this lesson?”

“From my mother,” answered the child. “With her milk I sucked in this lesson, that I must believe in Christ.”

The mother was called, and she gladly appeared. The prefect commanded the child to be whipped. The crowd of people watching could not keep from crying. The mother alone stooddry-eyed, reminding her child of stories from the Scriptures of others who suffered. She called to her son, “Hold fast, my child. Soon you shall pass to Him who will give you a crown of eternal glory.”

The mother smiled her encouragement. The child was encouraged and received the stripes with a smiling face.

The prefect commanded the child’s head to be cut off. The mother kissed him, saying, “Farewell, my sweet child. When you have entered the kingdom of Christ, remember your mother.”

As the sword came down on her child’s neck, she sang:

“All laud and praise with heart and voice,

O Lord, we yield to thee:

To whom the death of this thy saint,

We know most dear to be.”

Asclepiades returned to torturing Romanus. He was cast into a mighty fire, but a great storm arose and quenched the fire. Finally, the prefect, amazed at Romanus’ courage, commanded him to be brought back into the prison and strangled.


Story from Fox’s book of martyrs.

Martyr Monday: John Denley, 1555



One day, on the way to visit some friends, John Denley was stopped and searched by the authorities, who found his written confession of faith. Denley believed the Church was built upon the apostles and prophets, with Christ as its head, and that the present state church, the Church of England, was not part of this true Church. In his time, many of its teachings were not according to the Bible.

For this he was turned over to a local government official, who turned him over to the bishop for questioning. Denley would not back down from his statement of faith, so he was condemned to die and turned over to the sheriff.

Within six weeks, he was sent to the stake to be burned. When they lit the wood beneath him, Denley showed no fear. He cheerfully sang a psalm as the flames rose around him. One of his tormentors picked up a piece of wood and threw it at him, hitting him in the face. He hoped to anger or silence Denley, but Denley only responded,

“Truly, you have spoiled a good old song.”

Then he spread his arms again and continued to sing until he died.


Story from “Jesus Freaks”, VOM (

Martyr Monday // Madagascar: Early 1800′s

Ranavalona, the queen of Madagascar, hated the Christians in her kingdom.  Her complaints against them were many: they despised her idols, they were always praying, They always went to church, and their women were chaste.  She sent officers to gather all those suspected of being Christians to bring them to trial.

About 1600 believers, when the charges were read, announced confidently, “Guilty.”  They would not deny the charges, for to do so would be to deny Christ.  The Queen offered them a second chance to deny Christ and bow to her idols, but each refused.  They were thrown into dark, dank dungeons, and many were executed.  The Queen was angered more, because for each Christian she had killed, twenty more rose up.

Later, the Queen ordered that 15 Christians be executed.  They were to be thrown over a cliff into a rocky ravine 150 feet below.  The Queen’s idols were taken to the top of the cliff, and each Christian was lowered slightly over the edge, tied with ropes.

“Will you worship the Queen’s gods?” the soldiers asked each Christian hanging over the precipice.

Each Christian answered, simply, “Christ.”




The ropes were cut, and they plunged to the rocks.

Some sang as they fell to their deaths.

One young girl was spared and declared insane.

She later started a church.



I wonder if some said “Christ” as bold as a lion, and others said “Christ” as a child crying for help.

But they said it.  They finished their race.

Run yours today.  Cling to Christ.  If the face of temptation, in the face of suffering, in the face of fear,

Answer simply,





Story from

A Martyr Monday for Mother’s Day: China

The pastor had been questioned and beaten often, but today the guard took him to a room to talk. He said, “I’m curious about your beliefs and ask you to tell me the Ten Commandments.”

Shocked, the pastor began to share the Commandments. When he got to “Honor your father and mother,” the officer interrupted him. “Stop there. You Christians believe that God chose ‘Honor your father and mother’ as a very important commandment. Please look in the corner.”

The pastor turned to see an elderly woman chained and bruised beneath a pile of rags. She was the pastor’s own mother.

The guard inquired. “Look how much your mother has suffered. If you tell the secrets of the underground church, you and your mother can go free. If she dies from our torture, you will have failed to keep the commandment to honor her, and her blood shall be on your head.”

The pastor turned to his mother who was starting to regain consciousness. “Dear Mother, what should I do?”

Lovingly she replied, “Since you were a small boy, I have taught you to love Christ and his church. Do not betray God. I am ready to die for the Holy Name.”

The pastor looked back at the guard and said with renewed courage, “You were very right, captain…a man must obey his mother.”


Praise God for Moms….especially those that cherish Christ more than their children.


story from