I was raised in church but didn’t believe.  I mean, I believed in God and believed the stories in the Bible.  But I didn’t truly believe.  I didn’t believe the truths in the Bible.  There were a few reasons for this, mainly because I wasn’t taught all the truths – many people aren’t in the church – but also because all the people (kids, teens, etc.) were mean and I thought if this is what Christians are like, I don’t want to be one.

So, I did my own thing.  Got in trouble at school, and with the law.  After being arrested a few times, this time on graduation night, I was sitting on my bunk and thinking how I was going to make it through my upcoming sentence (for multiple felony drug charges) when I had a crazy thought – or so I thought!  I heard (not audibly, but I did hear the thought) “You need Me”.  I looked around and realized it was just a thought.  I heard it again, “You need Me”.  I thought, “Oh, that must be God – that’s weird” and “back to what I was doing”.  Then I heard it again, “You need Me”.  Then it clicked!  I needed Jesus!

That’s what I had been missing my whole life!  While I believed the stories and the history, I never knew the Truth!  I decided to follow Jesus that night in my bunk and started reading my Bible and a book called “Prison to Praise”.  When I got out, I was a changed man.  I went back to high school (had to get approval from the board) and got my diploma the correct way.  I started Bible studies in school and attended studies at church.  I went on a mission trip to Australia.  I met a woman.

That was my mistake.  For starters, during the mission trip, I was surrounded by charismatic and Pentecostal believing people who encouraged speaking in tongues.  Well, since I was raised Baptist, I didn’t know how to do this and they were pressuring my saying if I didn’t do it, I wasn’t really saved and so on and so forth.  I became discouraged.  So that’s one.  Then I met this woman, at church.  Thought it was great – dated a couple of years, got married.  It wasn’t great!  The woman sidetracked my focus off Jesus.  It wasn’t her fault, but the fact is, I was sidetracked.  This led me back into my old ways and I ended up getting arrested a few more times in the meantime.

When I was out of jail the last time, I got a job and met another woman.  We fell in love quickly and moved in together and I helped raise her 4 year old daughter.  We had a child together and everything was really going pretty good.  I had a decent job with good pay and good hours and a loving family.  During this time, 1998 – 2020, I did not live for the Lord.  I never rejected Him, but I also didn’t live for Him.  This reminds me of this verse – 2 Timothy 2:13 which reads “…If we deny Him, He will deny us.  If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.”  Praise God!  I was unfaithful, but He WAS faithful.  He continued to bless me during these years.  Yes, I made mistakes and went back to jail but that was my own fault, not His!  But He got me through safely and brought me to the place of repentance again!

In early 2021, my wife was reading and following the World Economic Forum and other world events and saw a pattern that she recognized from stories she remembered in the Bible.  She said “Josh, we need to start going back to church”.  So we did.  However, this time we started going with the real intent to follow Jesus.  Sadly, we have found the church to be lackluster, as mentioned in Hebrews 5:11-13 &1 Corinthians 3:2-6.

Today, only by the blessing of God and following His will, reading the Bible like it was actually God’s Word and written to us, personally, we have been blessed to have our own businesses which provide us enough to be able to bless those around us and seek His deeper truths and make disciples, as we’ve been commanded.  Today we read the promises in the Bible and claim those for ourselves and since we have been freely given, we are able to freely give! (Matthew 10:8)