In a recent radio interview, rapper Ja Rule revealed how he and his wife got saved at Hillsong NYC church and why he finds Pastor Mason "Ma$e" Betha's explicit rap lyrics "very confusing."
In an effort to promote his new memoir, Unruly: The High and Lows of Becoming a Man," Ja Rule, (real name Jeffrey Atkins) appeared on the popular morning show "The Breakfast Club" this past Saturday morning.
The rapper, who hails from Queens, New York, revealed that he was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, and was shunned by his church and his family once he left the religion.
"I found that rather odd," said the 38 year old singer. "I was living with my grandmother at the time. My mom would get me on the weekends and stuff like that. And then they were like, 'You're not gonna be able to go with your mom on the weekends anymore.'"
"I didn't understand it like that. And I was like, 'Well that's not gonna fly, and I'm leaving here and gonna live with my mother,'" the rapper continued. "We were kinda like the black sheep now. Nobody was dealing with my mother, and that was crazy."
After the ordeal, the "I'm In Love With a Church Girl" singer was left with a "sore taste" in his mouth concerning religion.
"But then ironically, when I blew up (with his rap career in the 1990s) and started making money and became Ja Rule, everybody could come and speak to my mother," said the multi-platinum recording artist.
"Instead of me being bitter about it ... I was just happy to see my mom happy again to have her family, her mother, back in her life, her brother back in her life," he continued.
Today, the "I'm Real" rapper says he is "not really" affected by the Jehovah's Witnesses teachings.
"You know, when I went to jail and came home, I kind of reconnected with God by doing the I'm in Love With a Church Girl movie. So I was going out to different churches, like a church tour. ... I kind of reconnected with God in a different way, because I was going to these churches. ... " Ja Rule explained.
The rapper revealed that he found Christ while at Hillsong NYC, which is pastored by Carl Lentz.
"They were great churches, but I didn't feel like they were talking to me. Until I went to Hillsong right here in the city, and a pastor named Carl Lentz came out on stage and he started preaching. The rapper went on to share how surprised he was to see the Irving Plaza concert ballroom transformed into a worship setting.
"You walk into the church and it's dark in there, the disco ball is still in there and you see the lights and you're like, 'This is different.' And you get in there and start to look at everybody around you, and they look just like you," he said.
"Then the pastor comes out, Carl Lentz ... tatted up. When I saw him, he had some (Jordans) on, jeans, a T-shirt. He came out and he started preaching, and I felt like he was talking to me," said Ja Rule.
"I got saved at that church, me and my wife," he continued, adding that his wife encouraged his wife to take the step with him. "We went up on stage, we got saved and it just gave me a good feeling."
Ja Rule, whose former music contained many profane and explicit lyrics, says he consulted on Lentz on how his new-found faith should impact his musical career.
"He told me, 'Ja, take baby steps, walk in your path," said the rapper.
However, the rapper does not understand why Ma$e, the rapper born Mason Betha who occasionally pastors a church, does not reflect his faith in his often sexually-suggestive lyrics.
"I'm confused. He's confusing me," said Ja Rule. "I don't know how to take it because I'm like, 'Is that allowed?' I don't know."
"I'm not sitting here saying I'm ... the great godly man. I'm not the authority to really speak on these situations," he continued, admitting that what he has been witnessing from the rapper-pastor doesn't "feel right." Ja Rule repeated that he found it confusing, and that he "wouldn't play with the Lord like that."
The rapper while he still hasn't entirely figured out how to conduct his professional career without compromising his faith, he is "trying hard" to "do the right thing."
"I'm not knowing what's cool and what's not cool," Ja Rule admitted of his new faith walk. "I just want to make sure I do the right thing. I don't want people on my Twitter being like, 'Man, I thought you were a holy roller.' I don't want people to misconstrue what I'm doing here. I'm taking baby steps and I want to get closer to God. I feel it's something that you should do in life."
He concluded, "I'm a very spiritual dude and I feel you should have your one-on-one with God."