After singing for Christian Hip Hop for two years, talented musician John Givez stepped away from faith and returned to smoking pot, as seen in his music video “After Hours,” filmed in 2017.
When the rhythms & blues artist from Oceanside joined with Christian rappers Ruslan and Beleaf, it was heralded as a huge catch for Christian music.
But his turning away brought the CHH world great sadness, with many praying for the return of a prodigal.
Growing up, Givez attended church five times a week. His dad was a preacher and his mom worked in the choir. But his church and home were in the rough east side of town, and he was constantly harassed about joining a gang — either Pozole or East Side Crip — inside school and even coming out of church.
Add to that the fact that his dad suffered emotional issues of PTSD as a veteran and schizophrenia, and you have the perfect storm for a trouble-prone youth who had an uneasy relationship with his father.
“The devil really tried to have his way with my family,” he remembers. “It took awhile for him to be diagnosed. That took a toll on me.” He stopped attending church during his teen years.
“I started getting into trouble with the law,” he says. “I caught a case for burglary, and I got caught with some Oxycontin. The burglary was a misdemeanor, but (the drug) took my case to the next level.”
Givez faced a three-year prison term.
His dad bailed him out of county jail in 2014. The gesture of love and compassion from his father paved the way toward reconciliation.
“I remember sitting in the holding tank with these other fools, I remember God speaking to me. That was the first time I heard Him” in a long time, Gives said.
Look around you, God impressed on his heart.
“I look around, and all of us in there hated authority, and I didn’t know why,” he remembers. “That right there was a life-altering moment for me, in my own life, having to learn, just being hard headed, being smacked by the way things go.”
When he was bailed out, his dad urged him to get a job to show the judge he was changing.
At that time, a Christian rapper named “Beleaf” started dating John’s sister. He invited John, then 19, to church and offered him a job.
“That took me off the streets to where I didn’t have so much idle time, you know, to be bored and get into something stupid,” he says. “The Lord really started working on me. I was still smoking and drinking.”
Givez started reading his Bible, which was hard because he didn’t like to read. He wound up reading the Bible for eight hours.
“I gave my life to the Lord right there,” he remembers. “This was real. I would start in Revelations. (I realized) I’m going to Hell, for sure. Then I learned that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. From that moment I was like, ‘I don’t know how my homies are going to feel about this.’”
When he finally emerged from his room, his mom looked at him quizzically and remarked: “It looks like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.” Read the rest of: Is John Givez still Christian?