Saved From A Life Of Excess

After a life of endless searching through drugs, sex and rock and roll, Thomas was deceived into thinking this was the perfect life. He went to church to show them that they were hypocrites but the result was not what he expected.

The deception of marijuana

Around the year 1973 my cousin introduced me to the deceptive pleasures of the drug pot. I was doing the beer and wine thing but I really enjoyed smoking this exotic weed.  I place no blame on my cousin, the potential was always in me; he just introduced me to it.

Endless searching

From that time on I started to travel extensively, always restless, looking for the ‘real me’.  Looking for the ‘real you’ is a stupid ambition because ‘you are you’ no matter where you are. I became involved in anything that I thought looked like it was mind expanding or self-improving. My activities consisted of whatever would keep me high or offer me what I thought was ‘fun’. These were foolish times, so for me the saying was true; “Youth is truly wasted on the young.”

The lure of sex, drugs and Rock n Roll

For seven years I spent every night in bars or attending house parties in California. I became heavily involved in any sexual activity that particular night had to offer. I wasn’t a bum per se; I had a good job, made tons of money and had many women. In short I had all the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that any human being could ever want.

Free to live what I thought was the ‘perfect’ life

My coffee table was a packing crate with a sand top that was covered with bongs, joints and cactus plants that added a decorative flare. I would smoke pot on the way to work, during work, and my boss and I would take two different office girls to a three hour lunch. After work, my boss and I would go to a local restaurant or bar and drink heavily until about 8 pm. Sometimes I would go to his house for the rest of the evening and always drove home blind drunk on crowded freeways. I was a true idiot. I would stop at the liquor store and purchase two bottles of sherry to drink for the rest of the evening, leaving the half bottle for breakfast. From a popular world point of view, I was supposedly living the ‘perfect’ life.

Insulting Christians

I enjoyed a high position of authority in my job and got most of my drugs from my boss, who was a pot head from the word go. On Sundays I would go to the plant, which was closed for business, and work on my own projects alone and unhindered (making packing crate furniture). During the five years on that job, the born-again Christians would constantly approach me and try to talk about Jesus. I was insulting, and used to degrade them and hurt their feelings.

Starting to change

It was in January 1980 that I started to change. I first noticed it when I couldn’t say a certain phrase anymore. My favorite phrase was ‘God Damn’ and all of a sudden it started to bother me when I said it. It was no big deal, but it seemed to stick in my throat and I would think, “What if He did damn that thing, what would happen”. This was stupid reasoning, but it was a small change taking place. There were no other obvious changes, just that. I still insulted the Christians, and would say terrible things about Jesus, just like resistant worldly people do to me now. Then on Palm Sunday 1980, as was my custom then, I would call my mother for a chat. She mentioned that a mutual friend of ours had experienced a major change in her life. She said the girl was more loving and peaceful. I didn’t believe her, because that girl  was a real ‘nut case’. I called the girl and ask her what happened. She said she ‘got saved’ and was now a follower of Jesus. I wanted to but couldn’t insult her.

Going to church to show them ‘real life’

While I was talking to her I got the phone book and looked up the church she mentioned. There was one just a few miles from me and since it was after 5 pm I decided to attend the 6 o’clock service. I told the girl goodbye, hopped on my motorcycle and went to the church meeting. I had shoulder length
hair, a beard, wore leathers, had gold around my neck and I was a sight to see. I remember thinking during the ride that this would be fun. I would show those shiny pants hypocrites what real life was all about. Little did I know what I had in store for me!

The pastor ‘disarmed’ me

I arrived early for the evening service, but the greeters were already lined up to make me feel as uncomfortable as possible. There weren’t many people present that evening. They sang songs, played some instruments and stuck their hands up in the air, to which I remarked; “It must be time for the offering”, this was ignored. The pastor got up to deliver his message. He fumbled with his notes, looked in his Bible, and then asked one of the girls to sing a song. He sat on the bench behind the pulpit. I kept an eye on him. In my mind; he was the dangerous one. The others were an easy mark for me, but he had the education, so I had to watch him.

The pastor stood up and said, “I was going to talk about this tonight”, showing his notes to everyone, “but the Lord wants me to say this”. I thought, “God talks to this guy. This is going to be rich!” I could feel the old resistance rising up in me and all kinds of nifty insults were being planted in my brain. I was ready for the ‘kill’, not realising I was to be the ‘prey’ this time. The pastor proceeded to talk about my personal life. He was telling everyone what I was doing in the dark; the drugs, sex, everything. I was completely taken aback. I was thrown off guard. He spoke about my life as if he were with me every minute of the day, each day.

The pastor was talking to me!

My mind was reeling; the insults were gone. I couldn’t think of one bad thing to say about this man. He then explained that the Devil was stealing my life, my money, my hope for a future and my marriage. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. How could this man know so much about me? He never looked at me one time during that wretched 20 minute talk. He said if anyone wanted prayer to raise their hand. By this time I was so scared I would take anything. I raised my hand so fast that only God could see it. Then the pastor said everyone who raised their hand come to the front of the church. “On my God, more humiliation”, I thought.

Praying but nothing seemed to happen

My flesh was screaming “no” by this time, but something inside me drove me to the front of the church. I had to get closer to this man who was a mind reader. When he ask me what I wanted, I started to cry (another humiliation). I said; “I don’t even know what I am doing here!” His reaction surprised me because he laughed. He said, “Jesus brought you in here tonight. Don’t turn your back on Him and walk out.” I told him I didn’t know what to do. He said just say this prayer and mean it. I prayed for all of 15 seconds and couldn’t tell you today what I prayed. Then it was over. No angelic choirs, no thunder bolts, no flashes of insight or appearance of any God like creature. We exchanged the usual parting amenities and on the way out someone mentioned that they were doing a study on Revelation on Wednesday night and invited me to return for that event. I thought to myself I like ‘fortune telling’, I will be back. I got on my bike and headed for home. I didn’t think anything happened to me at all as I didn’t feel any different than on the ride to the church.

Things had changed!

When I arrived my smoking and drinking buddy was waiting for me in his truck. He demanded to know where I had been and I told him I had something to do. I never would have said I was in church as he would become abusive. We went into the house, he poured 2 glasses of wine and handed me one. I put it down declaring that I didn’t want it. He lit the bong and passed it to me and this I also refused. The desire for these things had gone. He asked me what was wrong and I told him I just didn’t want them and asked him to leave. He was quite angry with me and he went home in a huff. The next day I drank some juice and coffee and went to work. I started to tell people I was saved. My friends laughed and started to avoid me. I still didn’t think anything special had occurred until Wednesday night. I attended the meeting on Revelation at the church and I was disappointed that it didn’t live up to my ‘fortune telling’ expectations. On the way out someone again mentioned that I should read the Book of John.

A thought for Christians

Christians, if you are prompted to say something to someone then say it even if it sounds insignificant to you. Jesus is trying to use your mouth to communicate that idea and you never know what impact it may have on that person.

It was real: a personal encounter with the Savior

My wife’s grandmother had given me a Living Bible seven years before as a birthday present. I had dragged it all over the country with me. I used it as a coaster, ashtray holder, paper weight, and general catchall. I never read it, because it didn’t make sense to me. When I got home, I went straight to my closet and started to rummage through the boxes until I found that Bible. I opened it up and ‘life’ leaped off the pages at me. All of a sudden it was not a crusty old history book; it was food. I didn’t understand that, but I then knew that Jesus had made major changes in me, and that my experience of salvation was real. That was the confirmation I needed to cement my personal encounter with the Savior.

Thomas

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The Reason (music video)

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