Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae is sending another message out to his fans: significance is found not in oneself but in God.
In the latest video featured on iamsecond.com, a website devoted to sharing the powerful testimonies of lives transformed through the Gospel, Lecrae Moore tells his own story of personal struggle and hope found in Christ.
All his life, Lecrae Moore wanted to feel a sense of significance. Growing up in a single parent home without a father, whom he never met, and a mother who was constantly working, he wrestled to find a sense of worth whether through his rapping or other activities.
To him, being a “well-manicured, good, all around student and person” was not going to help him find what he was looking for. So he chose a life of criminal and gang activity, drugs, theft, and alcohol instead.
“The people I looked up to were gangsters,” he described on the site. “I wanted to be doing criminal activity so I kept rebelling and I kept doing worse.”
But pretty soon after he was arrested for stealing in high school and put on a gang list, he wondered, “What am I doing with my life?” He felt like he didn’t fit anywhere and was just a “misfit of a person.”
While his mother told him to read his Bible, his grandmother took him to church trying to help him find what he was looking for.
“I remember ripping the pages out of the Bible and throwing it on the floor. I don’t want this Bible. I couldn’t wrap my hands around this being true or real ... It’s probably not real; it’s probably something people use as a crutch.”
As time passed on, he began feeling emptier, filling the void with more drugs and more women. Moore knew he was in a really dark place and he wasn’t sure how to get out of it.
When he was 19 years old, he was invited to attend a Christian conference by a friend. Though he was more excited about going to a big city and meeting girls, what he found was what he had been looking for all of his life.
“I [saw] guys who had been shot from being in gangs, girls who were extremely promiscuous in the past. I [saw] rappers, dancers and singers; I [saw] people who came from the same background I came from, and they still embodied who they were culturally, but they were all in love with Jesus and I had never seen that before.”
During the conference, rappers also spoke about God in a way that he had never heard before. Moore had no idea who the God behind the lyrics were. Then when a speaker got up and asked, “Do you know you have been bought with a price?” he began to find what he was looking for – significance.
“[The speaker] told me the story of Jesus, and him carrying the cross and him bearing all my sin, all my lying, all of my cheating, all of my escapades, all of my drinking and drugging, and put it on his own back. He said I was bought with a price,” he recalled.
“It made me think, ‘Man, someone thinks I am significant enough to die for me. Someone thinks I am significant enough to climb up this mountain with a cross on his back and take nails in his wrists and his feet for me.’”
Moore finally started to understand that significance could not be found anywhere else but at the cross. “I remembered articulating [that day], ‘God get me out of this, don’t kill me; do whatever you have to do to get me out of this, just don’t kill me.’”
When he came out of a major car accident, shortly after, without a scratch, he understood. “I called up my friends who I knew were living for Jesus and I said, ‘We got to make this happen. I am coming home.’”
Having spent a long time searching for a father figure to replace his own, the now 32-year-old artist shared that God ultimately showed him thereafter that he was his father.
As his life began to change for the better, he started to volunteer at a juvenile detention center where he would rap songs for the children about his darkest times.
“I would just see them sitting there weeping. And time after time, they kept requesting for me to do the song again. ‘I just need to keep holding onto that, because it’s something that would keep reminding me that I need Jesus.’ And it hit me. This is what I wanted to do, to use music to offer hope and encouragement to people.”
Calling hip hop a culture and a lens by which he sees the world, Moore subsequently founded Reach Records after years of struggle, and released his first album, Real Talk, at the age of 25.
Hoping to also help train the next generation, he co-founded ReachLife Ministries in 2005, a nonprofit organization dedicated to equip local leaders with culturally relevant tools and media projects designed to strengthen communities with Scripture.
Finally able to find significance and desiring to impart it to others, Moore stated, “I’ve learned to stay close to my source of significance and to my source of worth – and that is God.”
Moore released four albums since his debut and his newest, Rehab Deluxe, hit stores on Tuesday.
A Child of God “DCM” commented on the new album, “Rehab will convict you and lead you to be converted in that particular area in your life ... Every time since I have heard this CD, when I am about to entertain my sin, I hear verses from this CD reminding me of my calling, my responsibility to walk in the light.”
“This bro checks in to reality that it’s all about Jesus, and as for us, it’s about time for a REHAB N’ CHr1sT, AMEN!” 1BodyNChrist also penned on Amazon.
The deluxe disc set will include both his 2010 Rehab and 2011 Rehab: The Overdose albums, five new songs, and a DVD featuring behind-the-scenes footage, a biography and more.