LJ

For fans of:Lecrae, Eshon Burgundy, KB, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole
Description

There are three components to a human being that are at the forefront of everyday life. Do for three is the expression of touching and influencing these parts; a brand of sorts but at the core a culture. This principle begins with the belief that faith, hope, and love are the quintessential virtues to understand before wishing to bring change. After that, mobilization can begin; when mankind questions what their faith is in, (head) develops an intimate, living basis for their hope, (heart) then action can be taken to practice love selflessly with what they know (hands).

Lawrence Jerome Herbert III (better known as LJ) is an artist unashamedly intent on challenging these aspects through the medium of hip hop. Having a strong affinity for poetry at a young age after hearing spoken word performed at a local open mic, hip hop grabbed his attention heavily around his early middle school years. Appreciative but naive, he soon found that the culture was riddled with destructive worldviews resulting from unanswered social ills participants faced, such as poverty, fatherlessness, drugs, gang violence, racism, and misogyny. Although having a budding insecurity of not relating at most points, an interest became inflamed to engage in understanding. Despite the support his family had showed him in life and Christian values instilled, soon certain attitudes and behaviors would be adopted. Still an avid learner and model student, the sinful nature that plagues all surfaced. Around the same time the heavy interest and exposure to hip hop occurred, a fellow classmate had introduced him to pornography in the school library. Though startled with a sense of unease, the mischievousness felt enticing and eventually led to an unquenchable lust. Click after click, time was consumed with an insatiable, biting conscience to maintain an image untainted by these desires; but who to tell, and where to begin? At a crossroads, the summer before his high school year was the resolve that a change had to happen. "I didn't want to get rid of it entirely, I just didn't want to have a baby mama in high school." However, the religious default as a behavioral pattern correction would prove to be a whole person transformation.

Themed Breakout, the first message and worship service of the camp hosted by the the Church of ACTS that he reluctantly attended convicted more than the lust he hoped to micromanage. A song entitled Holy, along with the sermon points, drew him to parallel his experience similar to Isaiah 6 - "And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!'" (ESV) Not only was the Christ of Christianity encountered, but finally beheld. Inversely, for the first time, the weight of his own sinfulness and heart's inclinations were pinpointed, to where long for death was desired due to the wretchedness revealed. Fortunately, his cabin counselor was able to reiterate the familiar gospel message, assuring that his sin was forgiven when placing faith on the life and works of Jesus Christ.

Almost immediately upon return home, the transformation was apparent to his family. However, this time could probably be described as the most tumultuous era yet known; with a family member suffering from a mental illness, divorce soon came around the horizon along with a loss of peace in the household. Instead of rising doubt causing abandonment to the fresh seed in his heart, it was more firmly grasped as the anchor during this transitional phase of education and family life. Simultaneously was a revisit of the pencil and notepad, exhaling frustrations and thoughts into lyrics. Entering high school well aware his peers had a completely different mindset, a small student-led ministry called QUEST aided his spiritual growth, along with a few fellow co-laborers that challenged him to understand the Word and reach out to classmates, even at the often costly mistakes taken in sharing the new found faith.

The obstacles did not stop there. Trying hard to get guidance for college direction while struggling with the recent remarriage of his father and new integration of family at home, he was confronted once again with leaning on God's wisdom and continuously understanding his need for a savior. Now a student at Ball State University pursuing a degree in Telecommunications, LJ is involved with an on-campus ministry IMPACT, a sister organization of Cru focused on reaching people of African descent, and also stays densely connected to others in the Navigators ministry, in which two staff members discipled him and dramatically increased his daily devotional and prayer life. Zealous to see everything "from him, through him, and to him," (Romans 11:36) LJ wishes to "put my passion for my God to music that stays true to who I am, with the intent to not only question the listeners' thought processes on what life is, but provoke them to change and deepen understanding of, or in some cases, come to know the God I boast in."

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Do for three.

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