A Prodigal's Return
A Vision of Hell
Life After Death
FROM HOLLYWOOD ACTOR TO PREACHER
FROM MOTORCYCLES TO THE MINISTRY
How to Find God...
My life...changed forever by the blood of Jesus Christ
Out of the Mouth of Babes
Touched by God
LIFE AFTER DEATH
This is the story of my journey from atheism, through agnosticism to becoming a Christian, someone with a personal trust in Jesus Christ. Now I face death with total confidence!
I took this step in June 1987. Before then I thought the following:
- There is no God.
- Life on earth evolved.
- Jesus was a myth.
- The Bible was so old it could not possibly be accurate. History is unrepeatable so why should I believe it?
- Of all the religions in the world, why should the Christian faith be the only "right" one?
- Visions of heaven and hell experienced by some people close to death were biochemical changes in the brain. I had no doubt these stories were useful for controlling people! But what if these places really do exist, regardless of whether you believe in them?
Can you identify with any of this?
Even as a young child, I had no beliefs at all. It was as a teenager that I began to think that there might be a God. I attended school chapel and went through with the church ritual in the vague hope that if there were " something in it" I would be all right. I assumed that making a commitment to Christ meant accepting that he was a man with a beard, living in Israel, claiming to be the Son of God. But I had great difficulty in believing in the existence of either and found myself unable to accept anything in the Bible.
Then, in 1987 I had a strange experience! It started in February when I began to feel like I was suffocating from the inside. However, there was no clinical explanation for it.
One Friday evening at the end of April that year, I met with three Christian friends to pray (speak to God). Because Christians prayed I thought I could be a Christian by praying! That is rather like being in a garage and pretending to be a car!
Then the young woman in the group began to say things about which only I knew. She said: "You did not choose me, I chose you …Salvation* comes by faith not works… The only thing you will ever have to boast about is that it is I and I alone who have saved you…" I was overwhelmed. I gasped: " It’s true!" I concluded that there is a God and he knows exactly what I think! To him we are totally transparent and that is how he is able to know everything about each of us, including whether or not we have a relationship with him.
(* The Christian view of Salvation is the attainment of Eternal Life in the joy of heaven. It has to be secured before death. No one knows or wants to know when that will occur).
Then it happened! There was a violent rushing wind from above. It seemed to occupy all the space in the room and penetrated both my eardrums but no damage was done. My whole body was filled with this powerful but gentle wind. The suffocating stopped and I could breathe properly again. There was no wind outside. The doors and windows were closed. There was no draught within. It was like a scene out of Pentecost! Please see Acts Chapter 2 verse 2 in the Bible: " Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting."
It took a several weeks for me to get my head around what had happened and why. I had often wanted to know whether or not the stories in the Bible were true. This is particularly so of the ones about Jesus rising from the dead and making the claim:
" I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…." (John 11v25 in the Bible). Also, " I am the way, the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father except through me…" (John 14v6).
Although I did not exactly meet with this so-called " man with a beard", I did have an encounter with who Christians call the Holy Spirit. Christians believe that God exists in three "persons". Water is available to us in the form of ice, steam and the water we drink. In a similar way Christians believe that God exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father made the world and sent His Son Jesus, fully God and fully man, to die on the Cross for the sins of all Christians. Who made God is difficult to answer but someone once stated: "If God needed to be made, he wouldn’t be God!" The Holy Spirit is to us now what Jesus himself was in the flesh. He moves different people in different ways.
Pentecost only happened because Jesus lived, died and rose again. I thought. I prayed. I read into the evidence supporting the Christian faith. Since then much more has come to light. Such literature may be found in Christian bookshops. Even if you do not believe me or if you have another problem believing in what the Bible teaches, please seek this material out and read it. It is important.
My experience convinced me of the truth of Jesus Christ: his life, miracles, teachings, death and resurrection. Belief in his being raised from the dead is essential to have a relationship with the one who gives Eternal Life. " That if you confess with your mouth that ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved."(Romans 10v9)
The same applies to his visible removal from earth and, one day, his public and personal return when he will place all people into one of two categories. These are those who are going to heaven, a place of everlasting peace and beauty, and those who are going to hell, a place of everlasting pain and punishment.
Of course, each person who has died by that time will have been placed in either heaven or hell.
In the light of this, do you think you can sit on the fence?
" Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him."(John 3v36)
In June 1987, I made a conscious decision to turn away from being wrong before God. I made a commitment to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. He died for me personally.
Christians claim that this choice and belief are essential for Salvation, and the only way to escape God’s wrath. That is the Good News of Jesus Christ, also known as the Gospel. " For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."(John 3v16)
But why should anyone suffer this terrible fate? " There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…" (Romans 3v22&23 in the Bible). Are you perfect? Can you say to a holy and righteous God that you are as sinless as he is?
Since most of us are capable of making decisions, we will be accountable to God in this light.
If you feel that you are ready to receive this wonderful gift of Eternal Life would you like to make a personal commitment to repent of sin and to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ?
Lord Jesus Christ, I am truly sorry for all of the wrong things I have said, thought and done in my life. I ask that you forgive me. I believe that you took all my sin on you when you died on the cross for me- personally. You rose again to give me Eternal Life with you. Please come into my life as my Saviour, Lord, and Friend. Thank you. Amen.
Then, if you are not already in one, please join a church where the Bible is taught and honoured and arrange to be baptised, ideally by having your body immersed in water.
" You must repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins: and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2v38)
You then need to walk with God by worshipping him and obeying his teaching. Also, you should tell others about what you have done and why, at your discretion.
If you feel you cannot follow these suggestions, then take these claims seriously. Ask God to reveal himself and his truth to you.
You are welcome to share this information with anybody by absolutely any means.
Thank you for reading this. May God bless you and bring you closer to him.
Yours in Christ,
Touched by God
by Richard Harrington
I am a 56 year old divorced man living in Florida. I became an alcoholic at the age of 13. i had a real messed up childhood starting at the age of 3 when I was adopted into the Harrington family I felt unloved and unwanted from the very beginning which resulted in a lot of trouble at school in the service and in my marriage of 12 years to my high school sweetheart who divorced me in 1979 I could not hold down a job. every job I would get I would get fired or quit for one reason or another but the real reason was drugs and alcohol
After my divorce I moved to Florida to start a new life. I stuck my thumb out and hitched hiked from northern California to south Florida worked odd jobs for awhile and eventually went to trade school and got a diploma in air-conditioning went from one company to another for 15 years and finally got fired at this point I was totally lost in drugs and alcohol i lost my apartment because I could not pay rent and ended up being on the street homeless. I stayed that way for 4 years my life was over and had contemplated on suicide many times but I didn't want to go to hell so I decided against it but I was extremely miserable and no friends. I was eaten up by staff infection and hospitalized on many occasions
I finally got out of the homeless camp and broke into a warehouse where I lived in a 12x12 room
One night i was sitting outside my warehouse on a bumper stop drunk as could be when a man came leaving the corner bar came walking down my street and as he approached I saw myself in him like looking into a mirror this part is hard to explain but I will do the best I can. as he got closer I started to weep and I cried out god! help me! I can not keep going this way just take me out of here I don't want to live any more!! and for 20 minutes or so I wept on my knees till I was exhausted then got up and flopped myself down on the old broken down couch I used for a bed and drifted off to sleep. at six o'clock in the morning, I was awakened by some one calling my name, Richard, Richard, Richard, you must stop drinking you must stop smoking and you must go back to church and as he said that a feeling of warm liquid flowed through my body starting from my head to the bottoms of my feet, and I yelled out thank you Jesus! I knew instantly that Jesus Christ had healed me and this was before I knew what any of this meant but i knew that i would never need drugs or alcohol ever again! i knew it! He put a love into me that there is no words to express it. he totally turned my whole life around
I put my trust in him and asked him to lead me to the church he wanted me to be a member of and he did i asked him to find me a home and a job and he did and the good news is i have never looked back I have the same job and go to the same church that he led me to. but that is not the best news the best news is I know where I am going now when I leave this world heaven and I know why I am here and its to serve him and I do with all my heart.
He is real! and if you don't know him I implore you to get to know him. he waits for you with open arms. he will be the best friend you will ever have and he loves you very much God bless you! and thank you for taking the time to read my testimony and if you know of any one who needs to here this, please don't wait! send it to them this might be the last chance they will have to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as there personal savior.
FROM HOLLYWOOD ACTOR TO PREACHER:
The Dino Andreadis Story
A solitary figure stood on a dark, deserted hilltop, high above the City of Angels.
Overhead, a myriad of stars twinkled in the beautiful night shy as the blazing neon lights
below beckoned intensely...
I was the lone figure on the Los Angeles hilltop. It was 1978. I was 19 and at last I stood on the threshold of my dream becoming a reality. The dream had gripped me since boyhood - that of becoming a Hollywood actor.
Grasping for the slightest chance to make a connection in the movie industry, I visited the posh Woodland Hills mansion of movie actor Telly Savalas, known especially for his TV series "Kojak". Being a Greek like myself, I was certain Telly would be my link with Tinsel Town's big league.
Every nerve ending in my body was tensed with a strange mixture of energetic excitement and fear as I knocked on the massive door of the Savalas home. In a few moments the door to fame and fortune would be opened wide.
The door swept open with expensive ease.
"Good evening. My name is Dino Andreadis. Is Mr. Savalas in?" In spite of my jolting nerves, I managed to sound cool and collected. "This is it!" I told myself. "My ticket to the stars!"
The stranger standing in the brightly lit doorway stared at me for several seconds, then he laughed. As the ornate door was slammed in my face a few moments later, all I could hear was the stranger's laugh as he looked at my shocked face, and told me that Telly hadn't lived there for at least ten years!
My fascination with show biz went back to my childhood when, at the age of four, I was already a fan of the fabulous Chubby Checker. Once, during a trip on a cruise ship with my parents, I heard the dinner orchestra strike up a familiar Checker tune. Before my parents knew what had happened, I bolted onto the dance floor to a round of applause. That night I stole the show.
In my teens I lived for the dynamic night life of Montreal. Entertainment paid good money. I was earning about $400 a week and that was quite a bit of cash for a seventeen year old back in 1976.
One day my vice principal told me I should consider going to Hollywood. The idea caught hold of me with a passion. With high hopes and nearly empty pockets, I arrived in Hollywood in 1978. In a morass of eight million people I began to pound the pavement earnestly along with thousands of other hopefuls.....in search of stardom.
Each night I returned home to my tiny, humble apartment with tired swollen feet and not a break in sight. Every night as I went to sleep, I looked up at the ceiling crying out to an unknown God, "If You're up there someplace, please help me!"
As long as I can remember, I always had a longing for truth. I didn't go to church and I didn't know God, but as I cried out night after night to the lonely ceiling in my L.A. apartment, I was crying out for help, for truth, for reality. There was something missing in my life......perhaps stardom was the key that would fill the void.
Several long months passed. Still no hope of a breakthrough. I decided to sneak promotion photos under the doors of casting directors at the major film studios.
Out of the blue, my telephone rang. My hearty pounded with inexpressible excitement. It was the casting director of a major studio. he wanted to see me. At last! We met for a forty five minute interview, which is a long interview in Hollywood.
The man wanted to meet me again later that evening. I could hardly contain the thrill inside of me at this dynamic turn of events. At precisely 8:00 p.m. a white Mercedes sports coupe arrived to pick me up. The casting director took me out to a popular night spot. After fifteen minutes with him, I began to feel uneasy. I couldn't explain it. But I was not totally naive about the lifestyles of people in the entertainment world. Bluntly, I asked the man what he wanted from me. With sickening horror, I realized I was face-to-face with the Hollywood casting couch. The casting director said that he would give me part in his next film if I paid the price.......sexual compromise.
Much later, I discovered just how many are willing to pay that price of the chance at stardom. I asked the casting director to take me home immediately. What he was asking me was out of the question.
Then an acting tryout came through from NBC studios. A script arrived by messenger. What a sensational feeling! A chance to do Harvey Korman's lines on the Carol Burnett show! Arriving at the studio, I saw Tom Snyder finishing a show on my left. Further on, I saw Bob Hope finishing a Christmas special. I couldn't believe it! Suddenly my knees began to shake. I stood in front of a monstrosity of a camera and heard the director say "Action!" I froze. Not a line of my memory work came to mind. I ran out of the studio, terrified and embarrassed, a scared 20 year old kid.
Yet a windfall of calls began pouring in after that! My dream was unfolding father than I would keep up with! Experienced actors were utterly amazed when I told them about the calls I was getting.
Finally a major breakthrough. An offer came in from the casting director at 20th Century Fox for a part in a series. There was one slight hitch. The director said he wanted to hire me but he couldn't.
"What?! Why not?" I exclaimed.
"Because you are Canadian," he said.
"Canadian? What do you mean, 'I'm Canadian?' So is William Shatner. What does it matter if I am Canadian?"
The problem was simple. I was an illegal alien. I couldn't be hired for a legal job in the U.S. without a green card or working permit.
"How do I get a green card?" I practically shouted. "I'll get one! I'll do anything!"
"This has to be it!" I cried out to the ceiling and to my unknown God that night. How many hundreds of nights had I cried out like this? Not for a minute did I realize that in all of those heartrending cries, I was searching not for my dream of stardom ... I was searching
The next day I handed over $96 for a five minute appointment to a lawyer who presented me with two options for getting a green card. I could invest $65,000 in a business in the U.S. or I could marry an American girl. What could I do? I didn't have a quarter to buy a bag of candy! How could I invest in a business? There was only one option. I began to search for an American wife.
The very next day, amazing as it seemed, I met a man who introduced me to a lady who would marry me to get me my green card. The fee was $500. I paid a deposit on the five hundred and two days later, I called to check the progress of the arrangements and I discovered that I had been had. The woman and her "business manager" had
Frantic to get my green card, I began combing the L.A. night clubs in search of a woman who would marry me. A few days later, I met a beautiful young woman who told me that she had fallen instantly in love with me. When she heard about my dilemma, she said she was willing to marry me. In reality, I later realized that since she knew I was to be an actor, she just wanted to marry me to get a cut of the pie.
Elated, I headed my way home and began making plans. Things were falling into place. A wife! A green card! An acting career!
Then as I waited for the bus, a young man slipped a piece of paper into my hand. Perplexed I looked at the paper and saw words stare right up at me. "Jesus Christ is Coming Soon. Are You Ready?"
The message pierced through my cluttered thoughts like a lightning bolt. I had heard about Jesus Christ. I had gone to church only when I had to .... sometimes at Christmas or Easter when my mother pulled me by the ears to go. But something told me, "This is the truth. I believe this!"
Suddenly I felt confused. In my desperation to get home and put my thoughts in order, I jumped off at the wrong bus stop. Standing there was the same young man who had given me the tract. He mentioned he, too, had somehow landed at the wrong stop. Coincidence? Unannounced to me, it was providence.
Discussing the "coincidence" we began walking together for a short distance. The young man's name was David. I decided to invite him into my apartment for a cup of coffee. I had some questions about the tract to ask him.
David began sharing the message of the Bible with me. He told me about God's love for me, and that God has a special plan for each person's life.
Suddenly, I wanted David to get out of my apartment. I didn't want to hear anymore.
"What's the matter," David asked. "You wanted me to tell you these things!"
"Yes, David, I did. I know I can't live the way I would have to live if I gave my life to Jesus Christ as you're encouraging me to do. I know if I did that, I'd have to give it all to Him. There's too much at stake in my life right now. I can't do it. Get out! Get out!" David left.
The next morning at ten, I had an appointment with my bride-to-be. I pushed thoughts of David and his message about Jesus Christ out of my mind. It was nine o'clock and there was a knock at the door. I thought my bride-to-be was early. A kindly, tall, black lady stood at the door. She introduced herself as David's pastor, and said that he told her about him. "When he told me about you, I felt compelled to pray for you throughout the night. Dino do not do whatever you are about to do," she said, and with that she turned and left. I was flabbergasted, and for the first time a real holy fear came over me.
Somehow I felt a warning in my heart to do as she said. I did not realize it at the time, but God had led this woman to my place at the right time. If she had not come, I would have married this woman I hardly knew and God's plan for my life would have been shattered.
When my bride-to-be arrived an hour later, I told her I couldn't go through with our plans. Deep inside, I had always wanted to marry and build a life with a special person. To marry now and divorce three months later suddenly seemed like such a sham.
Hurt and angry, the young woman cried, "Dino! What about your green card! Don't throw everything away! Don't be crazy!"
"Go! Just go!" I told her.
"Dino, you have a television series in the palm of your hand!" I told her I was sorry and
asked her to leave.
However, the next day I decided I was letting go of the chance of a lifetime. It is amazing how when God does something in our lives how quickly we forget about it. All of a sudden, I had to find a wife again. All of my convictions of the day before were forgotten.
I called up an old girlfriend whom I had dated in Montreal, at the time living in Wisconsin. When I explained my situation and the need for a green card, she said she would be willing to marry me. We made our hasty plans. The day she was to arrive, I had a strange feeling she wouldn't show up. I placed a call to her home in Wisconsin. Sure enough.
"Dino, I can't explain it, but I just couldn't go through with it."
My plans were falling like a row of dominoes. In my anguish, despair and confusion, I turned to reading the Bible David had given me ... searching for answers ... any thread of direction to show me what to do.
I began to read the Word of God and something was happening inside of me. I found myself not just reading, but soaking and immersing myself in the Word. The words spoke life, and I was reading day and night, not being able to put it down. I realized that I needed more than stardom to fill the emptiness in my life. It was then that I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior. I didn't understand it, but God was breaking the walls of pride in my life so I could open my heart and draw close to Him.
One day, I sensed a quiet urging within me. "Go and preach the Gospel on the corner of Western and Wilshire." I thought I must be going crazy! Then God's Holy Spirit prompted me again.
But how could I go preach in Hollywood at 1:30 in the afternoon? Nonetheless, I followed the prompting in my heart and off I went.
"Shut up you idiot" "You're out of date!" The insults flew fast and thick as I went on the corner of Western and Wilshire and preached the Gospel. People laughed and jeered. "God, what do You have me doing this for? What's the purpose in all of this? Show me!" I cried silently.
Then it happened. A man came up to me. Humbly, he asked me to tell him more about Jesus. As I began talking about the Bible's message of salvation, hope and new life in Jesus Christ, the man got on his knees right in from of me and asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. I was so excited, that I asked him if he wanted to be baptized because I had read that in the Bible. He said yes, and so I took him home and baptized him in the bathtub
of my apartment!
Walking the streets of L.A. and the skid row areas, I began to share the Gospel, day after day. But I hadn't forgotten abut my quest to become an actor. Even though I was serving God, I still wanted to pursue my long held dream of stardom.
A call came through for a part requiring a six-foot, tow inch blonde guy with blue eyes. I'm five-foot nine, with brown eyes. I had a new agent and I quickly phoned him asking why they would be calling me when I didn't even fit the description of the part. They had torn up the script and put in my characteristics. It simply does happen for unknowns like me. You see as God does things in a person's life, you can be sure the enemy is right behind trying to trick, trap and ensnare. And so, with this new offer, the things of God began to diminish in my life. Hollywood began to consume me again.
I stopped reading the Bible and praying. It was the first sign of Christian back-sliding but I knew nothing about falling away from God. Instead of praying and seeking God I became desperate and really wanted to know if I was going to make it in Hollywood. So I decided to see a fortune teller near my home. I needed some answers again and had forgotten all that God had done for me.
As I entered the fortune teller's, I was greeting by terrible, hideous screaming. "GET
OUT OF HERE!!!"
I couldn't understand why the woman was screaming at me. I had never seen her in my life. Trying to make some sense of the situation, I drew closer. She raised her hands in front of her face, pulling away from me, unable to even look at me and screamed and bellowed even louder: "GET OUT OF HERE!!"
I high tailed it out of the fortune teller's completely baffled. I had no clue what had happened. When I got home the Lord lead me to a scripture I had never seen before in Psalm 91:11 "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." I was amazed! What the fortune teller had actually seen even though I did not see it were angels protecting me, and all the demons within her were screaming. Although I was going my own way, doing my own thing, God in His mercy was protecting me, not because of my goodness, because there was none, but because of His goodness. Something deep within me still wanted God's way and I know that He saw that and rescued me from my own follies.
About this time I had an unusual experience. Before I went to sleep one night, I saw something that I will never forget. In a vision, I saw a man preaching the Gospel, with people all around him. As he preached the Gospel, in the midst of his preaching, I heard a loud sound like a trumpet and above me in the clouds, I saw Jesus, clothed in a white robe, His face brighter than sunlight. Suddenly, we were all rising up to meet Jesus together in the air.
Shaken and startled, I opened my Bible and read these words which I had never read before: "for the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a mighty shout and with the sour stirring cry of the archangel and the great trumpet call of God. And the believers who are dead will be the first to rise to meet the Lord. Then we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with this news" (1Thessalonians
Everything began to make sense to me, as though the pieces of a puzzle were being fitted carefully into place in my mind. I recalled the tract from David and the conviction of its words when I had read it. From that point on, my desire to preach the Gospel was
Once I went to the skid row area of Hollywood. It is a sad, pathetic gathering of destitute, homeless people. Jesus had made himself so real to me. I felt that I had to preach the love of Jesus to others. I began preaching wherever I went. People were giving their lives to Christ as I shared.
Another call for a screen test. I had no green card, but the studio was willing to sponsor me. Another thing that doesn't happen for nobodys in Hollywood. The enemy was trying his best to keep me as far away from God as possible pursuing my own interests and desires. Then, in a large studio, filled with a group of attractive women, one lady spontaneously asked me: "What so you think of common law marriage - modern marriage?
Prompted by the Holy Spirit, I began preaching the Gospel to those women. I realized only later what I had done. I was preaching in a Hollywood studio! I can't remember what I had said, but within minutes, most of them had tears running down their faces as God's conviction took hold of their hearts. One woman was so convicted she ran out of the studio. Being young in God, I thought I hurt her feelings and ran after her. "You didn't hurt my feelings," she said. "You see I once served God whole heartedly, but I backslid to become an actress." That same woman I was able to lead back to the Lord and bring her to church.
The battle was strong in my life for wanting Hollywood, but I finally got down on my knees and put all of my life into God's hands. I realized that I had to give God everything. Hollywood was not fulfilling me although it looked promising. I realized that when I was after my own pursuits and out of the will of God I was the most empty.
That's when I realized I had to surrender everything to the Lord, as hard as it was to give up Hollywood. I realized that as the Bible says, I cannot serve two masters. I called my agent and asked him to tear up all of my files for acting roles. "Don't call me anymore," I said. The chapter was closed, and the quest was ended.
I felt God's direction to let go of my Hollywood quest once and for all and to return back home to Montreal. I ended up working in my mother's boutique as I took time to sort out what God wanted me to do with my life.
A terrible salesman because I was more concerned about sharing the gospel with customers than selling, I soon found out that God had other plans. Before long, it was becoming more like a church than a boutique. I had such a compulsion to share the gospel, and in the church I was attending they reserved the front row every Sunday for the people I brought off the streets. It was then that I was told by a pastor that I had a tremendous call on my life and should go to Bible College.
Bible College? How could I do it? I had cheated all my way through high school. With the help of the Lord and spending the first 2 weeks in Bible College on my knees for His help, I graduated with Honors and was chosen the Baccalaureate Speaker. I began pastoring in a church in Montreal, and later was involved in full time evangelism in
Reaching for the stars hadn't brought the fulfillment I'd been seeking so long. But finding Jesus Christ, knowing and serving Him with all my heart brought me to the fulfillment of my quest for true happiness. God has given me the greatest life there is. The wife that I sought, God so sovereignty brought her into my life in 1986, and together we serve the One who created the stars!
Dino's story can be found at: http://www.brokenhearted.org/hollywood.html
His church web site: http://www.brokenhearted.org/
Email Dino at: firstname.lastname@example.org
MOTORCYCLES TO THE MINISTRY
Pastor Jack Homesley
Walking with the Lord has been such a wonderful journey! I did not have the advantage of being raised in a Christian home. It was quite the opposite. My Dad was an alcoholic for many years and even after he quit drinking, he committed adultery and left us and our mother with minimal child-support.
At that time in my mother's life, she had wandered so far away from the Lord and suffered so much pain through the loss of her marriage that she just about let us do anything we wanted to do. I believe she could not stand the thought of losing one of her children, so she simply "gave in".
My older brother was into drugs and got me involved by "turning me on" to marijuana when I was in only the 5th grade. I had been sneaking to drink even before then. Needless to say, one thing led to another and before I gave my life to Christ in 1984 I had done every drug imaginable -- even "shooting up" and had not missed getting high a single day in over 7 years!
However, on August 13, 1984 my life took a MAJOR turn. One of my friends, Terry Baker had been killed riding a motorcycle. (I worked in a motorcycle and gun shop). We were on a trip in the mountains and he "flew" his bike over a cliff. Terry was pinned under the guardrail....dead....when I found him. His older brother George could only say through tears, "I never taught him to do right! All I ever taught him was to party and smoke dope and now he's gone." It was an awful day and a terribly long ride back to Charlotte, NC without Terry.
On August 13, 1984, two people (who I now love dearly) stopped by my home and told me about salvation in Christ. I had always thought that just being a "good person" would get me there. They showed me IN THE BIBLE that I had to be born again (John 3:3). Look it up...friend it's there plain as day. Jesus said, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." That one statement blew me away! A lot of "religious" people had told be about loving others, doing good, believing in God and yet NO ONE had EVER told me that Jesus Himself said, I had to be born again to get to heaven!
Tony Harper (a youth pastor) showed me from the Bible that being born again meant turning from my sins to Christ, believing that He (Christ) had died to pay for my sins and asking Him to forgive or save me. With all my heart, on my front porch, I prayed to God and asked Him to save me from my sins. I acknowledged that I had not lived for Him and prayed, "Lord Jesus, I believe you died to pay for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner and I ask you to save me. I believe that you are alive right now and that you can give me a new life. I accept you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you Jesus for saving me. Amen." My life has never been the same!
I was soon baptized and felt the call of God into the ministry. About the same time, my wife Kim and I decided it was the Lord's will that we get married. God has given me a wonderful wife (and now, 3 children!).
Feeling the call of God, I sold my motorcycles and guns and packed up everything and went to Columbia Bible College in Columbia, S.C. for four years. God provided in a marvelous way. After graduation I was called to pastor East Huntersville Baptist Church in Huntersville, N.C. God has blessed and it has grown tremendously! He is still as wonderful to me as that first day I was saved!
If your life needs direction....if you aren't sure about your relationship with Jesus Christ....why don't you scroll up on this page and pray the same prayer that changed my life in 1984. It's really the only hope you have because Jesus himself said, "I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!
How to Find God...
Until about twelve years ago, my view of religion was that it was a psychological crutch required by neurotic people to enable them better face the rigours of life.
I never accompanied my wife on her Sunday morning trips to church as I had much more important things to do with my day off work. Nevertheless, I often felt quite sorry for her, particularly on those cold, wet and windy mornings as she set off alone. One particularly cheerless Sunday morning she seemed rather dejected and as I had nothing else to do, I thought I would accompany her. When I suggested it she seemed to welcome the idea and so we set off together.
On the rare occasions I had set foot in a church it had usually been for weddings, funerals or baptisms. Churches, to me, were redolent of neglected libraries in old houses. Invariably, there were the smells of damp, decay, stale polish and musty books, and the church we visited that morning was no exception. When we entered, a middle-aged man greeted us with a smile and various books and papers were thrust into our hands. My wife guided me to a seat near the front. She seemed to know quite a few of the people, and she opened one of the books for me, pointed to the place where I assumed it was all going to begin, and then started talking to the woman who sat next to her. By this time I was seriously wondering what I was doing there. Suddenly an organ started playing and what I took to be the choir, followed by a white robed and bearded man made its way into the church. We all stood up; the bearded man bid us good morning and welcome and we began by singing a hymn I had not, unsurprisingly, heard before.
The words of the service that followed were totally incomprehensible to me and I was intrigued to see my wife at one stage go with others to the front of the church, eat and drink something, and then return to her seat. To me it all looked a bit druidic and full of superstitious nonsense. During the service my mind wandered away from what was happening in church to more important things such as my work plans for the next day and at last the ordeal was over. Sensing my impatience to be about my business my wife declined an offer of coffee and biscuits and we joined the queue to leave. On our way out we had to run the gauntlet of the Rector? and shake. He stood in the doorway, the obligatory smile locked into place, and as he shook my hand I inexplicably found myself asking him if he played chess. I had glanced at the notice board on the way in and had read that the incumbent was a Cambridge MA, and subsequent idle speculation during the service made me wonder whether this undoubtedly intelligent and well educated man had any interests other than religion. He replied that he did play chess and there and then he issued an invitation to me to visit him one evening at the Rectory for a game. I must have looked a bit apprehensive for he said he would not talk to me about religion. I was a bit dubious about his offer but as I enjoyed a game of chess and hadn't played for some considerable time, I accepted. I forget what night it was that I visited him but I remember that we played our game on his computer, using the screen as a board. I also remember that I won what turned out to be quite a hard fought game and remember thinking that his God hadn't done him much good on that occasion. Afterwards his wife brought in coffee and cakes and we chatted about many inconsequential matters until I could contain myself no longer. I asked him, rather rudely I suppose, why he was wasting an intellect such as his on religion, particularly when he might be earning much better money and doing a far more worthwhile job in industry. He surprised me by gently saying that being a minister was that vocation to which he had been called by God and for the rest of the evening we left the matter there and talked of other things. I suppose I felt rather envious of his apparent certainty as to his role in life and as I took my leave I rather sarcastically asked him whether, if and how I could discover this God of his for myself. He disappeared for a few moments into his study and emerged, carrying what turned out to be a book containing some of the poems of the Victorian poet Francis Thompson. He suggested that when I arrived home I read one of them in particular, the Hound of Heaven and if I then really wanted to encounter God, I should go into a preferably quiet room, ask God to enter my life, and then to let Him take it over. He did point out that I should not make the request unless I was prepared to turn myself, and my life completely over to God. I was intrigued and rather disappointed by what seemed to me to be a rather facile and much too simplistic response. Nevertheless, when I arrived home I glanced at the poem he had given me and in particular the part that reads:
I fled Him down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him down the arches of the years;
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him.
The words caused a rather shadowy understanding to dawn in my mind, a vague notion that was like a half remembered song that had been long put aside, and I became more deeply aware of an inconsolable longing that had plagued me for many years. I then made my decision, entered the bedroom, fell to my knees because that seemed the appropriate thing to do at the time, and full of aggressive and embarrassed curiosity, challenged, for want of a better word - God, if indeed He existed - to enter my life and take it over. There was no flash or bang and the earth did not move, but from that moment until this very second I have been aware of the presence of God, all the time and in every place even when I am tired or ill, busy or idle, happy or sad. I had discovered like so many before me that Faith is simply a question of making a quantum leap into the unknown, reaching out a hand in the darkness and then discovering that someone is holding it. I am totally unable to rationalise this gift of absolute Faith as from that day to this, no matter how bad things have been; I have never once doubted the ever-present reality of God.
And so began for me what has turned out to be a continuing journey into the heart of God. Derek Holmes
You can visit my website, How I found God, at:
Out of the Mouth of Babes
When my son was in Third grade, he went on a field trip. He had to sit with a kid who didn't like him and they said 'if you bug me today I am going to put a hex on you'. My son, who loves the Lord at such a tender age, said 'go ahead and try coz I got the Holy Spirit to deflect it!'
A vision of Hell
MY NAME IS JOE ACOSTA. BACK IN JANUARY OF '99 I WAS IN A COMA WHICH LASTED TWO MONTHS. JUST PRIOR TO COMING OUT OF IT I REMEMBER WALKING DOWN A STREET AND TURNING A CORNER. I WAS IN AN ALLEY WHERE THERE WERE MANY PEOPLE PROTRUDING FROM THE ASPHALT FROM THE WAIST UP.
THERE WAS MUCH CRYING AND SCREAMING FOR HELP. SOME EVEN TUGGED AT MY LEG. I WAS DESPERATE. I COULDN'T FIND MY WAY OUT! JUST WHEN I HAD LOST ALL HOPE, I FELT SOMEONE TOUCH ME ON MY LEFT SHOULDER. I DIDN'T SEE HIS FACE, BUT HE REACHED OUT HIS HAND AND TOLD ME: "GIVE ME YOUR HAND, I'LL GET YOU OUT OF HERE, YOU DON'T BELONG HERE!"
I WOKE UP FROM THE COMA TO FIND OUT THAT MY HEART HAD STOPPED THREE TIMES AND MY LUNGS HAD ALSO COLLAPSED! I KNOW THAT I WAS WALKING THROUGH WHAT APPEARED TO BE THE PITS OF HELL! I KNOW IT WAS THE LORD WHO SNATCHED ME AWAY FROM THERE!
I LEFT THE HOSPITAL IN MAY AFTER FOUR MONTHS. ALL THE WHILE I KNEW THAT JESUS HAD SAVED MY LIFE! MY MARRIAGE, WHICH WAS IN DISARRAY BECAUSE OF MY OWN LUST, HAD ALSO BEEN RESTORED BY JESUS. MY BEAUTIFUL WIFE WHO COULD NO LONGER BEAR TO LOOK AT ME BECAUSE OF MY BETRAYAL, HAD HER HEART SOFTEN TO MY PLIGHT BY JESUS. I NOW WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT WITH HER AND MY THREE BOYS.
I ACCEPTED JESUS AS MY LORD AND SAVIOUR AND HE WAS MERCIFUL ENOUGH STILL TO HAVE A PASTOR VISITING NJ FROM FLA. MINISTER TO ME AND HEAL ME OF MY NEUROLOGICAL IMBALANCE WHICH CAUSED ME TO WALK WITH A CANE TO PREVENT ME FROM FALLING!
I COULD WRITE A BOOK ON HOW WONDERFUL, MERCIFUL, AND FAITHFUL OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS...... I JUST MIGHT DO THAT! HALLELUJAH! PRAISE BE TO HIM!
A Prodigal's Return
I (David Campbell) would like to give a testimony of the way I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. I was born April 25, 1959 and born again on April 23, 1972. I was brought up in the Church and asked the Lord to come into my life and be the Lord of my life and to save me from my sins at the age of 13, on April 23, 1972. As I became older I drifted far from the Lord. I started partying with friends at school at the age of 17. Had to move out of my parents house at the age of 18 because I was too wild. I decided to join the Army after that in hopes it would help me. WRONG - it was like throwing gas on a fire. The partying became worse. After 3 years in the service I decided to get out and moved back home. Still partying and running from God (and preachers that would come to our house) yes I would go out the back door as they came in the front door. I actually thought that the Church was full of hypocrites and did not want any part of it. I ended up spending 3 days in jail for DUI and causing my parents more and more grief. Needless to say I was living a life that was not pleasing to the Lord.
I would rather tell what the Lord has done for me then to get into more details of the bad things I have done. I have a Christian Mother who prayed for me constantly. At the age of 26 I came to the end of my rope. I knew about Jesus and some of the Bible. I really did not want to be a Christian because I did not think I could be one and thought that it would stop all the fun I thought I was having. But by the grace of God, He brought several genuine Christian men into my life and they actually were full of the love of Christ. Imagine that, it was the fruit of the spirit in others that finally got my attention. This Christian thing was real not just and act.
I was living in a one bedroom apartment at this time by myself and knew I had to do something to get my life straightened out. I knelt down by my bed and told the Lord I wanted my life to change and I needed Him to help me. I ask Him to forgive me of my sins and ask Him to help me to live a life that was pleasing to Him. I told Him I could not do this on my own and I definitely would have to have His help. In November 1985 I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ. I wanted to tell people I was saved so I went forward at Church and told the Church publicly that I had repented wanted to rededicate my life to Jesus Christ. I also wanted to be baptized again because I was not sure I did it for the right reason the first time. I was baptized again to show my faith and obedience to Jesus Christ. Since then the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit has changed my life.
LIFE IS GOOD now that I know I am saved by the grace of God and the blood of the Lamb. I have had many days that the old self has shown its ugly face but it is great to know that Jesus died for my past, present and FUTURE sins. I am so glad the Lord changed me because I know I could not have done it myself. I still have a long way to go and know that I will never be perfect until the good shepherd takes me home to be with Him. I am presently trying to spend as much time as I can seeking the Savior as I know that the more time you spend with someone the more you will start acting like them.
I was and still am very excited and enthusiastic about the fact I am going to spend forever with the Lord Jesus Christ. The one that bought and paid for me with His very own blood. I look forward to the day that God will call His Church from this earth to be with Him. This encourages me every day as I think about it.
I am married. My wife (Pauli) and I have been married since December 5, 1986. We have a daughter named Carla. I praise the Lord for blessing me with both my wife and daughter. He was good to send me such a help mate and wonderful daughter. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
A Prodigal Returned,
1 Timothy 1:12-16
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. The Apostle Paul
David Campbell - The Prodigal's Return
My life...changed forever by the blood of Jesus Christ
I was 21 before I met the Lord. My adopted parents didn't believe in church, they said it was for hypocrites. Pregnant with my second son, I knew something was missing in my life. I saw some shows on TV. People spoke about this man called Jesus...without any real church background, I wasn't sure how to 'find' Him. Little did I know He was knocking on my hearts' door then. He lead me to a special lady who led me to Him through His Word. That was 1980. For years it was beautiful...like running through fields of daisies. By the time the seeds 'we' planted together (the Lord and I) began to spring forth...I had somehow fallen' by the wayside...It was 9 years later...I turned and ran...just like Peter. I spent a few years back out there. It was so lonely (thought I was happy) Then one day I realized the only time I was ever truly happy was when I was at peace with God, The Father. Guess I had forgotten I was a child of the King. I came back 'Home" to Jesus in 1995. Jesus took the broken pieces of my life and began to make something so truly wonderful out of it. Now I can see that Jesus never left my side. He was always there...calling me to come back home before its too late. He won't make us come to Him. He wants a willing heart. Now when times get hard I say what He said, "Not my will but Thy will be done." And my God provides a way! He is so good. I am so thankful that Jesus loved even me and that He died and rose again, even for such as I.
Greetings in the Name of Lord Jesus!
Raised by Christian parents, I grew up and was active in the church. At church camp, I felt guilty as a teen and accepted faith in Jesus as the solution. But they often said that Jesus must be personal. Yet it is accepted in Christian circles to soundeth foolish around God. Since that was the case, I avoided Christian fellowship in college. Guess what? The partying crowd was ready for me. They didn't really seem immoral, but I stumbled into bad habits which almost led to my death. The reason that I returned to my faith: as my web page is entitled, "JesusLivesTODAY!"
From death he did rise and will come again.
Move on with him now to be ready for then.
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