No matter what you have been through, God will accept you. That is why I am compelled to share my story. God will always forgive our past, our sins and any mistakes that we have made throughout our lives. That’s how much he loves us. It’s never too late and God will always redeem us if we do what he asked of us.

I started my surrender to God by writing a “Verse of the Day” from the Bible on my Average John Facebook Page. Even after finding God, I found myself focusing on the wrong things; the 24-hour News Cycle, Talk Radio, social media, and other negative distractions that surround us. The division we see going on in our country consumed me, along with all the other worldly distractions that Jesus warned us about. (And there are many.)

I was missing what is most important and that is God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the scriptures (God’s Word). I would start my day in prayer giving myself a good foundation for the day (feeling great). Then I would go directly from such a positive influence to watching the news or driving and listening to news on talk radio. I would end up getting myself all worked up, and filling myself with all the negativity surrounding us every day. So, on September 7th, 2019, I deleted the news sources from my social media and cut 90% of the news I was watching and listening to. I replaced it with Godly content like Podcasts from Chip Ingram and Dr. David Jeremiah of Turning Point, worship music, books, appropriate movies, and many other positive and Godly sources.

Since making these changes I feel like a different person, a God filled person. I know I still have so much to learn, but I now feel I am heading in the right direction.

Don’t get me wrong, I still keep up to date with current news events and I still believe those who are afraid of losing their power, influence and money are purposely dividing us. Corruption is finally starting to be exposed by those who are not blind. I pay enough attention to stay informed, but I now pray for our leaders and our President much more often.

I share my journey with the love of my life, Tina. Without her, this journey would be much harder and not nearly as fun! We attend a fantastic church here in Jupiter Florida, Christ Fellowship. I now understand how important it is to surround ourselves with other Christ minded friends and followers. I also see the importance in being part of a bible teaching church that teaches scripture and helps so many others; also being involved in small groups is crucial. We have met some amazing people that have helped us become part of a community that seeks the same goals.

I guess one of the biggest gifts I have received is learning how to be content in all situations. Just because we find our way to God, does not mean everything is going to be easy. It’s just the opposite. God tells us there will be suffering and hard times. What brings me peace is knowing God is always with me, and I can get through those tough times with that faith. John 16:33 tells us this.

Our pastor points out by telling our story about how we came to Christ and how Jesus Christ opens the door to have a personal relationship with God, could help others find their way also. I am not one that particularly likes to tell my story, but here I go. This is my testimony. If God would save me, He will also save you!

Growing up my parents did not really speak about religion. I was around a year old when my mom and dad got divorced. My mother remarried my stepfather, Tom. Tom was an atheist, so there just was no talk of God from him, but he did not stop my mother from celebrating holidays like Christmas and Easter.

My mom was raised catholic but hated all the rules. She wasn’t a practicing catholic. She left home at a very young age, and had my older brother when she was just 16 years old. She did try to follow some of the church traditions like having us receive our Holy Communion, but most likely, my grandmother was the one to orchestrate that.

We did not have a traditional upbringing. My Mom and Tom would smoke pot in the house. They would shut their bedroom door, mostly at night and I would always wonder what the smell coming from their room was.

I have a brother and sister and three stepbrothers. I was the youngest. During my pre-teenage years, I understood that my entire family smoked pot and did harder drugs. I remember a guy my sister dated who pretty much lived with us. He rode a Harley, did drugs, sold drugs and there was plenty of drinking and fighting.

My parents did not really supervise what we were doing, especially when it came to partying. I was around eleven years old when I first started smoking pot, shortly followed by drinking. My brothers would have big parties and I would just participate, thinking this was just normal.

My entire teenage years consisted of partying. I smoked pot every day, all day, starting before school. At night, I would drink, go to keg parties, smoke and do other drugs, be with girls and pretty much just be completely unsupervised. There always seemed to be some kind of fight with different towns over drugs and other issues. As time went on, the drugs got harder, the drinking got out of control, my life was just a mess.

This is just some of my background, and I’ll spare you the details, they get pretty bad. Here is where I knew I needed God and help. It was odd, sometimes while partying was going on in my first apartment, I would lay on the couch and read the bible. My roommate and his girlfriend would laugh and ask why I was reading it. I normally didn’t say much about it, and honestly, I really didn’t understand what I was even reading.

One night after doing some very hard drugs, I just had enough. I left the apartment and just started walking. I remember it was snowing hard, and I was just out of my mind. I lived maybe a mile or two from my grandmother’s little church and found myself standing out in front of it.

Something made me go in, (I now know what) but I just sat in the back row and just prayed. I remember telling God I need him and vaguely remember accepting Jesus and asking for his help.

Things actually changed quickly in my life after that night. My life began to change. At the time I didn’t even realize that it was because I had asked Jesus to come into my life, but now looking back I understand exactly the blessing I received. I don’t remember the time frame, but very soon after that, I changed. Days later, I went down to the recruiter’s office and joined the military! This was something I would have never done in the past. I was kicked out of school with about a semester remaining until graduation. I had long hair, wore a black leather jacket and pretty much a mess, but the recruiters were great. They put me in a delayed entry program and set me up to get my diploma at night school. They let me know, once I completed my schooling, that I would be off to boot camp.

The next day I walked up to a picnic bench where some of my friends were hanging out. I remember I was wearing that black biker leather jacket, the one with all the zipper pockets. I knew I needed a change, so I just started emptying my pockets, giving them all the drugs in each pocket. I told them, I’m done. I quit and I am joining the military. My friends pretty much laughed and tried to pass me a joint they were smoking. I walked away, and never did drugs again. I am sad to say a high percentage of the guys I grew up with either have died young or are so messed up from all the drugs we did, and they continued to do. However, I am happy to also say that several others that I see on Facebook have mostly all found God and straightened out their lives.

The next 30 years, my life was much better. After getting out of the military I got married. A few years later we had two children Deanna and Michael. They changed how I could love another human being. But I never lost my drinking problem, nor did I surrender myself to God or even bother learning the teachings of Jesus. I never saw that it was God that brought me out of the life I was living.

I always knew God was with me, but I took what he did for me for granted. Throughout those thirty years, I had some very tough times, also some of the most amazing times. The tough times were mostly because I was still an alcoholic, and still falling to the sins of this world that the bible so clearly explains. I never committed myself to God. I see that now!

My Story (Part 2)

Now in my 50’s, married to Tina, my second wife. Tina is the love of my life, and truly a Godsend. At this point life was pretty good, but I was still an alcoholic. I like to think a controlled alcoholic. Looking back, I was anything but.

Tina and I knew there was something missing. We often spoke about finding a church. This was God tugging at our heart strings. I never wanted to invest the time or put enough effort into what I now see is the most important decision and investment we can make in our lifetime.

One day when I was traveling for work, Tina called me. She was so excited. She began to tell me that she had found the church we needed to join. She was just going through the channels and landed on a sermon from Pastor Todd Mullins at Christ Fellowship. She knew immediately this was the church we should start watching on TV until she found out at the end of the service, it was right in the town we live in. We would be able to attend instead of just watching it on TV.

Since joining Christ Fellowship, I finally truly surrendered my life to God, and made Jesus my Lord and savior. God has answered so many of my prayers; I still drink, but only on social occasions, and normally don’t have more than 2 beers or a glass of wine. We were both baptized in the ocean. I now truly understand the meaning of being Born Again, along with the feeling of the Holy Spirit coming into my life. God has opened my brain to understanding the scriptures; Here is a saying that I like, “I now feel like I’m awake in a world that is sleeping” I see things in an entirely different light. God helped me and fixed things in my family life that I prayed for. He has taken my alcoholism away and has shown me what it is to be content in all situations.

God is in my life every day. I start my day in prayer, giving the first of myself always. But I don’t stop there. I make sure to exercise my spiritual life more than my physical life, work life or personal life. God is the biggest part of my life, not just a box to check that makes me feel like I completed a task.

I just want to first thank Tina, my wife! I love you, Honey. I want to thank my grandmother for laying a foundation during a time that no one else thought to. I want to thank my mother for always showing me so much love, and finally I want to thank Jesus Christ for waiting for me to understand. I drew near to God, and He drew near to me, just as He promised. I now have found my way to that narrow path.

God Bless us all!

I want to finish with one of my favorite verses. This verse really helped when I was just starting my spiritual journey, and still does today.

PHILIPPIANS 4:13 For I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.