Are you trapped by thoughts of suicide or confused about the real purpose of life? Greg’s life story shows the powerful effect that music has and encourages you to seek answers wherever you are in your life.
Long hair, rock music and rebellion
I grew up in the sixties and seventies and this was a period of guys with long hair, the Beatles, rebellion, so-called ‘free love’, hippies and drug experimentation. ”Do your own thing” or “if it feels good, do it” were the catch cries of my generation. I had long hair, wore satin shirts and beads and loved ‘pop’ music. My father would irritate me by saying that I was only copying my friends and the fashions of today. Bob Dylan
was right when he sang, “The times they are a’changin'”!
I grew up on a 500 acre farm and my childhood was a very happy one.
I can’t understand how
my father never liked this outfit!
Satin shirt … beads
Jesus: only a fairy tale … a swear word
In my early years, I learnt little of the bible and I was in the habit of disrupting my Religious Education teacher. The only time I used the words ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ’ was when I kicked my foot on a rock or the cows would not go where I wanted them to. Jesus was not a person to me but only a fairy tale … a swear word. I was also an ‘expert’ in making comments with sexual connotations. I viewed a belief in God as a weakness and unscientific. I was a sceptic. Although I had never read the bible, I was quick to mock people who believed it to be true. A lack of knowledge never stopped me from opening my mouth!
The family farm
Ready for tennis
A sceptic’s search to make sense of the world
But I did wonder about the state of the world and whether there were any absolute rights and wrongs.
“Is there a God?
Is there a controlling energy or not?
I’m trying really hard to untangle this knot
I want to know, I want to know”
(Lyrics from one of my songs, 1979)
I couldn’t see the world in black and white. There didn’t seem to be a God, as the world appeared to be out of control. The six o’clock news was filled with war, violence and suffering. The world seemed to be dying and I felt I had lost my way in a world that had lost its way.
Unwanted suicidal thoughts
I began to have destructive thoughts. Out of the blue, the thought of “Cut your wrists!” would be planted in my mind. I was amazed and scared by these thoughts because I was satisfied and content with life. In fact, I thought I had everything I needed to be happy. I finally blocked out these thoughts. Nothing in my world of science and its controlled repeatable experiments could explain these invisible articulate evil forces that had an agenda of their own!
Unaware of ‘death’ brushing past me
One cold foggy night, I was riding my 500 cc motorbike and without looking I pulled out onto the road. I heard a noise as a car rushed past me. It was only in the morning that I saw that the noise was caused by the car scrapping paint off my crash bars and panniers! Was it just luck that I was not seriously hurt or was there a God looking after me?
My friend had gone ‘crazy’!
I visited my friend Dave. In the past, he had mocked the bible as ‘unscientific’ and argued strongly for the truth of evolution. Dave had been raised in a religious family but in his early years had rejected the bible. But he now told me that he believed in this person called ‘Jesus’ and also that the scientific evidence didn’t back up the theory of evolution. This was all a major shock!
“Oh, no”, I thought, “not a religious fanatic … anything but that!” I wanted to argue but I knew virtually nothing about the bible. But I could sense that Dave’s life had changed and much of his old restlessness was gone. Dave was ‘smarter’ than me and would annoy me by consistently beating me at chess. “Right”, I thought, “Give me a bible, I’ll prove him wrong!”
The stumbling block of evolution and the miracle of life
The theory of evolution was the major stumbling for me in believing the bible because the bible says that God (not time, mutation and natural selection) was responsible for the universe and for life (Genesis 1:1). I reasoned; “If the bible was wrong in its very first verse, why concern myself with the rest of the bible?”
I witnessed the miracle of the birth of both of my children. I was stunned by the complexity of the human body and the developmental process from a single fertilised egg to a baby over 40 weeks. Could time and chance have been responsible for all of this as the theory of evolution told me? Not likely! In the past, I thought the bible was a fairy tale but now I was starting to see the theory of evolution as the fairy tale!
In the past, I hadn’t believed evolution was true because of the strength of the scientific evidence. I was attracted to the theory of evolution because it had no moral code attached to it and thus it allowed me to do anything; all I had to do was justify the behaviour to myself and then I could “do my own thing” as they used to say in the sixties and seventies.
An intelligent Creator is required not random chance
Dave had given me some information on the scientific aspects of evolution and as I looked at the evidence for evolution (really for the first time) I saw it was very weak and unconvincing.
I had been studying a university course on the Evolution of Man and watching the television series The Making of Mankind by Richard Leakey where I was looking for the hard evidence to back up the theory of evolution. Both were both full of statements like “maybe this happened … maybe it didn’t … maybe this … maybe that?” I was thinking; “maybe evolution hasn’t occurred at all!”
I saw for the first time that the origin of life required an intelligent Creator not evolution with its random chance, time and mistakes.
Music – my true addiction
I was invited to view a video on the effect of music. I was stunned as the video laid out the nature of my beloved music … promotion of rebellion, drugs, depravity, violence, the occult, witchcraft, the devil, sexual perversion, suicide and mockery of Jesus. Listening to this music was like drinking poison. It surprised me that many of rock ‘idols’ had a deep involvement in the spiritual world. I didn’t think there was a spiritual world, so I wondered why they were delving into it. I thought Jesus was a fairy tale (irrelevant) so I wondered why musicians were spending so much time mocking him. I also wondered why so many rock musicians died young from suicide and drug overdose etc.
How had my music affected me? One thing I knew, I would be a brave person to say that music had not affected me at all!
“You know all the things they said about Rock n Roll … that it was going to subvert our youth … it was going to make them all wanna have sex … make them all go crazy, they were right!”1 (Billy Joel)
The Who sing in their song My Generation, “Hope I die before I get old”. But when faced with his friends dying before they ‘got old’, Pete Townsend, the guitarist of The Who lamented, “Look at my life. Look at my generation. How did that work? Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon … the list is … endless. They’re dead people. My life is full of dead people. My friends are dead.”1
“Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.”1 (The pain of Kurt Cobain’s mother lamenting that her son had joined the ‘club’ of rock stars who had died young.)
The effect of music
One of my cherished songs was a about a guy who said he didn’t know why suicide appealed to him. The powerful lyrics and the music had played a part in making suicide somehow appealing to me! This music plus other songs had opened up spiritual ‘doorways’ into my life.
View the video “They Sold Their Souls For Rock and Roll” (video should be viewed by adults before being shown to children)
What this man Jesus said was amazing!
As I read the bible, I found the things Jesus said amazing. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). “If anyone has seen me, they have seen the Father” (John 14.9). “Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth” (Matthew 6:19). “He who is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30). “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the path that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Jesus spoke of angels but he also spoke of the enemy of mankind (the devil) who he described as a ‘murderer’ and the ‘father of lies’ (John 8:44). Jesus spoke of heaven but he also spoke of people being thrown into ‘the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 13:42).
“Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus warned me against one of my favourite pastimes of admiring girls in bikinis! Jesus certainly didn’t have the Australian attitude of: “She’ll be right mate!”
Placing a challenge before God
One dark night, I was lying in bed thinking; “God, if you are so powerful that you made the universe by speaking, then show me evidence you exist.” I didn’t expect anything to happen because there was no way (or so I thought) that God could show me anything as I lay in bed. By the way, I was not on drugs, I was not emotionally upset nor had I worked myself up into a state of panic. I was calmly lying in bed, placing a challenge before God that I thought He had no chance of responding to.
A visitor in the night – God is supernatural!
Suddenly, a man in white clothes appeared in the doorway of the room with his right hand outstretched like a policeman. Out of his hand came a beam of light that moved half way across the room. I cried out in my mind, “Stop, stop, I believe … I believe … I’ve seen enough!” This did not stop what I was seeing as the beam of light continued across the room and through the glass into the black of the night where the light destroyed what I conceived as the evil in the world. I wanted to know that there was light somewhere in this dark world and God showed there was. My mind was reeling from the events that had just taken place!
The grace of God
The statements Jesus made were so clear-cut and radical! I either had to wipe Jesus off as a lunatic or accept what he was saying was true. I concluded that Jesus of Nazareth was the man in history that I had been looking for! I surrendered my will to Jesus and trusting in Him has had a powerful effect on my life, totally setting me free from the power behind the thoughts of self-destruction. Immediately (without being conscious of it) I stopped swearing, making comments with sexual connotations and letting my mind wander as I looked at bikini-clad girls.
1. Jesus is a real historical person.
2. The bible is the world’s best-selling book.
3. The bible is historically reliable when tested using the standards tests of historical reliability.
4. Many of the greatest scientists (Lord Kelvin, Johannes Kepler, Joule, Linnaeus, Lister, Pasteur, Boyle, Newton, and Faraday) believed in God and believed the Bible.
5. Many of the greatest composers (Handel, Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Liszt) acknowledged God as the source of their inspiration.
6. Human beings are spiritual beings. I used to think that most people would have been atheists / sceptics but a brief look at history (and my rock idols) should have shown me otherwise!
7. The evidence for the theory of evolution is very weak and unconvincing.
8. I was totally unaware of the miraculous changes experienced in the lives of people who come to believe in Jesus.
9. Science is limited in that it cannot deal with concepts like beauty, truth and morality. Einstein said that “you can talk about the ethical foundations of science, but you cannot talk about the scientific foundations of ethics.”
We have all gone astray
In Jesus, God Himself became a man. Jesus is only pathway to God. To reject the Lord Jesus is to reject God. Because Jesus is alive today He can offer you real solutions. My foolish pride and my arrogance had led me astray to think I did not need God. If only I had listened to my Religious Education teacher! The bible says that reincarnation is not true. We only die once and then face God (our Creator) and then eternity. We don’t get a second chance. This is a matter of the utmost seriousness and I urge you to think about these things.
“Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25).
Coming to know God for yourself
To come to know God and receive eternal life, you must repent of your sins which are a barrier between you and God, relinquish the control of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ (you will wonder why you waited so long) and believe He rose from dead.
In the bible, I read about a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years and who touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak and was healed. Jesus said to the woman: “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (Luke 8:43-48). I reached out and touched Jesus’ cloak (put my faith in Jesus) and I pray you do also.
After 30 years as a Christian, I still marvel at the blessings and grace that Jesus continues to shower into my life.