I grew up in Los Angeles, California and lived there until I was 15 years old. My mother stayed at home and my father worked as a lawyer. Overall, I had a very happy childhood in California. However, I did not grow up in a Christian home and both of my parents were “functioning” alcoholics. As such, they often had large dinner parties with friends at our home and I remember it looked like they were having a great deal of fun. When it was time to have the meal everyone would move into a different room and I would go from glass to glass and finish the wine that was left behind. I was about 10 years old and honestly I liked it. This continued whenever they would have parties, and in time I figured out I could just go straight to the liquor cabinet and drink what I wanted.
My parents divorced when I was a teenager, and from 8th to 11th grade I attended a boarding school as my behavior was getting worse, and I needed more structure and discipline than they could provide. While there, my love for alcohol easily turned to drugs, and eventually I was expelled. I abused drugs even more heavily, and was in constant trouble with the police. I had no sense of direction and really didn’t care about anything except having a good time, getting high and checking out. I was always able to work things out. There were never any real consequences to my behavior, I never had to pay a penalty that counted for much, could always pick up and start over, find a new job. I thought my life was fine but in reality I was empty.
Ultimately, my actions culminated in my being incarcerated for nearly a year. I realized that I was empty and alone and had lost everything. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit I picked up a Gideon Bible and read God’s word for the first time in my life. Jesus came for me, He came for you. I called out to God for help knowing that my way had been wrong. I needed a new direction for my life and God was faithful to give it to me. God can change lives and He was doing it with me.
After accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, I soon realized that God was calling me to full time ministry. It was all or nothing for me. I was too close to the edge. I attended Southeastern Bible College, then Dallas Theological Seminary. God surrounded me with people that would lift me up, support me and pray for me. More than I will ever know.
Now, many years later, I look back and see tremendous victories in my life, and some incredible falls. I am a sinner who will struggle with temptation for the rest of my life. But God’s grace is tremendous, He loves us and forgives us. Our job is simply to keep turning back to him, over and over, because without Him we are alone.
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