Mike Lo, a local Chicago hip hop artist, has been writing music for a long time. But things have changed for him in recent months.
“I would write about things that were going on in my life,” Mike says, “things I was thinking about, and things I thought would win the approval of other people.”
But last fall, he found himself in a season of uncertainty. “I had kind of lost direction on where to take my music,” he says. “The fun had disappeared and the things I used to chase—the next party, the next girl—weren’t fulfilling anymore.”
Around the time, a friend invited Mike to Alpha—a nine-session gathering for those exploring faith and the big-picture questions of life. Initially, he came along because he wanted to get to know his friend better, but as he observed the authentic conversations within his group, and decided he wanted to attend again—not just to hang out with his friend, but to engage differently.
“I was a little unsure,” he recalls, “but I wanted to be more of a participant so I decided to give it a try. I figured if I didn’t like something, I didn’t have to go back the next week.”
Mike didn’t miss one meeting.
“It was fun to see Mike’s personality come out more and more each week,” says Steve Long, an Alpha leader who met Mike during that first session. “He ended up being such a dynamic part of his group that I asked him to come back and be a helper on the next run of Alpha.”
“I had always believed in God, but I didn’t really understand what it meant to have a relationship with Him,” he says. “I would pray, you know, when I was in trouble. But through Alpha and the friends I made there, my faith has grown so much. I find myself talking with God all the time. My relationship with Him is a part of my daily life now.”
“The thing I love about Alpha,” says Steve, “is it connects people from all kinds of backgrounds. People who grew up in the church can sit next to folks who want nothing to do with faith—and yet we have meaningful conversations. We learn from one another—from our differences as well as our common questions. Alpha is just such a warm, laid-back environment that no question feels out of bounds. Everyone just respects each other’s thoughts, opinions, and values.”
Mike recalls one meeting where someone made a comment that stuck out to him—and he felt free to disagree: Just because you believe in Christ, you don’t have to be unrealistic.
“I’m not sure I agree,” Mike says. “I think our lives could look completely unrealistic if we have the power of God in us.”
Today, Mike continues to do what he loves most: write music. But these days, the messages of his songs are different, something he attributes to God working in his life.
“I have new inspiration and new direction now,” he says. “I use my music as a way to share my testimony to encourage and inspire people. I just want people to understand that life is about being true to yourself and being honest and raw and real. If you are somewhere you don’t want to be, you aren’t stuck there. There is hope in Christ.”
Mike took a deeper look at his life, and it made all the difference. You can, too! Explore Alpha—and see what God might do in you. Learn more here.