I was raised Methodist as a young child, although I’m not sure that much of anything sunk in or stuck. I didn’t like church, didn’t want to be there and didn’t remember any of it. I’m still very grateful (now) that my mom “dragged” me to church however.
I didn’t have any association with religion, faith, or church from those early years up through college and beyond. In high school and college, I pursued science actively, and loved math, physics, astronomy and cosmology (the study of the universe and its origins), and therefore attended university for physics.
Note: I eventually lost interest in cosmology as I realized that science would never ever be able to answer where the universe came from and how it all came about with 100% certainties. It was just “theory” after “theory.” Little did I know then that I was actually right, but for very a different reason; the reason is that science is not looking in the right area – the Bible has the answers. Until scientists look there, it will simply be one “theory” of man after another “theory” of man in an endless parade of futility.
I then married and continued living without any “religion” or God for about 13 years. I just did what the world did, got married, found a good job, worked hard, etc.…and I surely considered myself to be a “good person” and not “as bad as others”. I didn’t do drugs (then) or steal (much) and was (generally) honest (I thought). I thought that religion and God and all that “spiritual” stuff was utter rubbish and nonsense. Having a scientific mind, I was all about logic and factual proofs based on evidence.
Then at about age 35 I got divorced, which was a difficult time for me. It was at this time I started drinking alcohol. Little did I know where that would lead. It was also at this time that while I was driving home from work one day, when suddenly out of the blue, I saw and felt a “desire” to turn into this church parking lot and get some information. I had no clue what the church was.
I decided to go there for a few times to “just see” and who knows, maybe meet a girl also (just being honest); the church was Scottsdale Bible Church. Through the very solid teachings of Pastor Darryl DelHousaye (a Cajun preacher with a sense of humor but also with a sincere passion for truth and the Lord), I came to understand God, the Bible and also believe in Christ. I’m very thankful to Pastor Darryl for his way of helping explain difficult topics (for me) that had prior caused me to stay far away from “religion”. After all, I was a scientist, needing facts and proof, and all this “God” stuff was just made up nonsense, so I had thought.
I got a Bible but didn’t read it much, except for a few Bible studies I went to. I do remember beginning to notice Scripture starting to reveal itself to me (I now know that was by the Spirit) but I didn’t follow through or keep at it, not at all. I was also baptized at the church, but it turns out (looking back), I never ever really turned my life over to the Lord! Was I really “saved”? Read on…
In fact, I then started working more than ever, got remarried, and just “carried on” as usual as if nothing happened. I ended up working 15+ hrs/day 7 days/week, for 10+ years straight. I didn’t realize it at this time, but I was also an alcoholic, although it wasn’t a problem at that time, so I didn’t realize it myself (we are always the last to realize that fact also). No one told me either until many years later, but even if they had, I wouldn’t have believed them nor listened to them.
Then came a move to a different city, and finally the addiction took over, and I went downhill pretty quickly actually from that point. I sunk pretty low, with depression, anxiety, another divorce, etc… Luckily for me, I never once ever touched hard drugs, or it would have been over for me for sure. Alcohol though is more insidious and sneaky/silent, but it is nonetheless just as dangerous and destructive.
So even after becoming “saved” (born again), I was thereafter prodigal/apostate/backsliding for about 13 years, because I was also trapped in an addiction that I didn’t even know about at first. It was also because after being born again, I had just continued living life as I had always done, for another 15+ years actually! I drifted away from going to church, stopped reading the Bible, stopped thinking about God, or Jesus, or anything related to it – I just focused on work, work, work, and earning money. Finally, things finally climaxed as I hit a bottom.
Those who are unsaved who are also in an addiction don’t know it, but they are doubly lost! First to the addiction, and then even to the Lord if they somehow manage to get out of their addition by themselves or the help of others (e.g. a “12-step” program). Christ can solve both (at the same time)!
In my history above, I want to note one thing of importance: I had in fact accepted Christ at one time in my life, but I then went apostate, and I had departed, “fallen away” from the faith! It IS possible to fall away; the “once saved always saved” teachings you hear commonly preached are completely false (as I’ve shown you now through Scripture in this book). I had been born-again (as best I knew how) at one time, but simply through not maturing in my faith, returning to my old ways, pursuing the things of this world, and really it was simply through sheer neglect (of seeking Christ daily) on my part that I fell away. I was what the Bible calls “rocky ground”, where I heard the Word and received it, but then the cares of this world choked it out of my life. Looking back, I fell away in (very) large part due to not reading and really studying the Word, every single day. I hope now to be fertile ground, producing a crop 30-fold for the Lord.
If you are not working your Christian faith every single day, you are in great danger. This is one reason I advise you to read the Bible every single solitary day – when you are born again, your new spirit actually “feeds” on the Word of God, just as your body feeds on food; if you are not feeing your spirit with the Word, you are literally starving it, for it is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Friends, that verse is literally true!
In His unimaginable lovingkindness, patience, slowness to anger and awesome mercy, Christ revealed Himself to me again – drawing me back to Him. Yes, He called out to me again and it was crystal clear to me! Imagine that! He chased after me in an attempt to draw me back (again), and I am ever thankful and grateful to Him. For I was indeed one of the lost sheep which had gone astray, left the fold, and He came after me to find me again.
I need to emphasize that I didn’t reach out to Him at all, it was He that came (again) to me! I had completely discarded Him after being born-again, as the world and addiction slowly dragged me back into its net of destruction. That’s how the world and Satan work!
I’ve examined myself hard to see if I was really and truly born-again at that prior confession time (13 years prior), and I have to say yes. At that time in my life, I confessed Jesus with all the heart, mind and soul I had at the time. I didn’t “pretend” to confess, it was completely genuine and real. Some will argue I wasn’t truly born-again, but how about we all just ask Jesus when we see Him, only God knows a man’s heart.
I did learn this huge lesson however, that unless you start to walk like a Christian (and bear fruit), and turn your life over to Him, then the world and sin will again seek you out, draw you back in and try to destroy you, for it is written: “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you” (Genesis 4:7). Friends, that is so true; in fact, I now see that the Holy Bible, and God, and His Christ ARE truth. Nearly everything else, including this material world, are corrupt, lies, and passing away. He is the only thing that stands solid through eternity.
I want to stress again that it wasn’t until I finally turned my life over to God, and submitted to the will of God, that things changed for me for the better – and they changed almost instantly when I really committed my life to Christ (yes, that very day things changed). The addiction was gone instantly. I had believed in God and Jesus years ago, but I had not submitted to Him. Also, no one taught me how to walk as a Christian; this is one reason I’m writing this book, to help others avoid what I did and the mistakes I made. I’m not blaming anyone, perhaps they tried to teach me, and I didn’t listen, but no matter.
As I’ve written also, the second purpose for writing this book now is to help new Christians know what to do, even day by day, each and every day, so they don’t go apostate, prodigal, backslide, or fall away like I did.
The steps are very simple really: get on your knees at least twice daily (morning and evening), submit to God, pray constantly, read the Bible, love and serve God, and love and serve others. Those are the basics.
Since that time a few years back now, I’ve gone from sitting on the floor in a closet in depression clutching a bottle, to being sent nearly around the world two times doing photography (hopefully to glorify the Lord) – all in the span of a couple years! But the key is staying close to Jesus, and seeking Him, each day, and every day, no matter what…