2018 – Changed Lives Archives – Sept/Oct
A Changed Life
Doug Veer was born into a family of eight which eventually became fourteen, so of course poverty was part of his legacy. There were nine boys, five girls, and a mother and father that lived through the depression after WWII which made breaking free from a hard life difficult. Doug tried to free himself but he went about it in all the wrong ways.
Doug was a hard-headed young man headed for destruction. When he was fourteen, he had an argument with his father and left home. He lived on his own until he went into the Navy, four days after he turned seventeen. During the next four years, he lived on submarines, but he had somehow set a pattern of disregard for living by Navy rules. For example, he spent two months in a Marine brig in Yokosuka, Japan because he got drunk in the bars and nightclubs and returned to his boat three days late.
Even so, Doug was honorably discharged from the Navy and then went to work in the construction field. In his spare time, he continued drinking and drugging with his motorcycle and hot-rod buddies, and going against the tide of living a respectable lifestyle.
Doug was jailed for 72 hours, three consecutive times in Houston, Texas, for suspicion of armed robbery and the murder of a gas station attendant. When they let him go, he fled to Miami, Florida for several months. He then returned to Houston, where he lived on the beach in Galveston, Texas, much of the time.
Still pot smoking and doping, he was beginning to tire of his ways. He moved to Dallas, Texas in an attempt to start over and settle down. It was then that he was confronted by an eighty-year-old neighbor lady who continued inviting him to church though he was very rude and verbally abusive to her. Eventually, he went to church with her and the power of Christ overwhelmed him; he surrendered his life to Christ and committed himself to live for Him.
Fast forward to November 6, 1977. Doug was at Toccoa Falls Bible College when a dam above the school broke at 1:30 in the morning, coming over the campus at 55 feet high and 110 miles per hour. The raging waters killed 39 people; one of the lives taken was his two year old daughter, Jaimee.
At that point in his life, Doug could have given up on his God and his life in general, but he didn’t. Through God’s leading, he began to serve in a church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. While he was closer to the Lord than ever, his marriage fell apart in the years that followed.
Another adversity transpired. Doug was sentenced to major prison time for taking his daughters to Canada in an attempt to save them from what he considered an undesirable environment. He was vindicated after serving two years and eventually regained custody of his girls.
Doug soon began a prison ministry after having been released in 1983, which has continued to this day. In 1997, Doug married a Canadian Gospel singer, Kathy Frost. Together they have been active in several ministries over the years. Doug continues to speak as an Evangelist in churches and prisons. His wife, Kathy, continues to perform concerts and create CD projects.
On the night of November 6, 1977, the lives of several hundred people were changed forever when a wall of water poured over the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi river. Doug Veer was a survivor. Read the true account of what happened that stormy night in November in a small college town in North East Georgia. With God, all things are possible, even in the Valley of Death.
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Can a life be changed through a relationship with Jesus Christ? Doug and Kathy’s testimonies have proven that to be a “Yes”. And that’s why they have established their ministry catchphrase as Changed Lives Through Christ, and their publishing company as Changed Lives Publishing, LLC.
Have you related to something you have just heard about Doug’s life? Do you need someone to talk to that will understand you and care about your needs? Contact us: https://kathyveer.com/contact/ through this ministry and we will gladly do our best to help you get your life back on track and find peace through Jesus Christ, the Lord.
eBooks coming soon!
Stay tuned for more books
by R. Douglas Veer
The Duck Commander
Phil Robertson from the show, Duck Dynasty, once said, “We all go six feet deep in the ground. I think they’re digging them about four and a half feet now, to save money, but we all end up in a casket. . . . It’s called fact.” That was from an interview released by I Am Second, on YouTube back in 2013.
In that same interview, Robertson explained how he grew up in the 1950s, but he describes it like it was the 1850s. There were no luxuries like bathtubs and toilets; there were no conveniences like farm machines. His family lived off of the land in every sense of the word.
Amazingly, out of all that, Phil got married and completed high school in that order. While in school he got involved with the football team but also got a real taste for the “party life”. That’s when he started to change. His wife, Kay, said his drinking went from bad to worse, he was doing dope, and she also suspected he was running around on her. She said it was a very scary time.
Phil remembers running a “beer joint” back in the day. He said a guy came in one afternoon with a Bible, wanting to share Jesus with him. Phil told him to “get out of here,” as he reached for another drink. Miss Kay was in the wings. She was a bar maid at the time but she wasn’t interested in “bar life.” She had three little boys to raise and was also fighting for her marriage; something she had been doing for a long time.
One night, a brawl broke out and the law was called. Phil escaped into the woods and told Kay she would have to manage everything for the next two or three months. Then he disappeared. That was just the first incident of many to come. Over the years, Phil continued to battle with alcohol and the law. Kay would tell her boys, “That’s not your daddy. That’s the devil in your daddy.”
Phil said, “The low point is when I ran Miss Kay and the kids, off. Your all alone; no hope; miserable. That’s when I began to seriously contemplate: is there a way out of all this?” Kay encouraged him to talk to that Bible man again. She said, “Just see what he has to say.” So he did.
The man said, “Phil, what do you think the Gospel is?”
Phil answered, “I don’t know. Gospel music on the radio or something like that.”
The man began to present Phil with the Christian faith. He explained how Jesus came down in the flesh through the virgin Mary. And then how He died on the cross and was buried and then was raised from the dead. Phil responded, “How in the world did I ever miss that? . . . I was blown away when I heard Jesus died for me.”
They ended up in the church house. Miss Kay rushed down to the church after him upon finding a note he left her. She walked in with her boys and saw Phil in the baptistry. She heard him say, “I want to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I want to follow him from this day forward.” Phil got plunked down in the water and when he came back up the boys were crying and hollering, “My daddy’s saved, my daddy’s saved!” They were so happy.
Phil remarked, “I’m fixin’ to hang another gear, and I’m turning from my sinful past and I am fixin’ to make a valiant attempt to be good.” The Pastor gave him some plain instructions: “Just love God and love your neighbor, and try to be good.” Phil said, “I’m like, ‘I’ve never tried that before!’”
This no-holds-barred autobiography chronicles the remarkable life of Phil Robertson, the original Duck Commander and Duck Dynasty® star, from early childhood through the founding of a family business.
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In the weeks to follow, the rubber was about to meet the road. God began to stretch Phil’s faith by challenging him to walk this new walk. You see, Phil was a fisherman by trade, but he kept running into these thieves he called river rats that were constantly steeling his fish. He said he was “working his tail off” trying to make a living, but in the face of these hoodlums, God was saying through his Word, “If they’re hungry, feed them,” (Romans 12:20).
Phil said he had caught several of these thieves before. Usually he’d come up to them with his shotgun and say, “The next person who moves, dies.” So when the situation arose again, he protested, “They’re stealing my fish here, Lord, and you want me to do what?”
So how does a guy like Phil Robertson make this work? Tune in next week for part two.
The Duck Commander’s Wife
Last week we shared Phil Robertson’s conversion story. We were just getting to the part where Phil was about to confront some thieves who were trying to steal his livelihood. Before we continue with that, we want to bring you up to speed on Miss Kay.
In an interview with the 700 club in 2013, Miss Kay talked about her humble beginnings in a small town in Louisiana. She met Phil in high school; he was a football player and she was a cheerleader, and it was love at first sight (for her anyway). They married when she was just 16 years old but she admits, they probably weren’t ready for the responsibilities ahead. Before long, Phil started to change. He took up drinking, he had a short temper, and became somewhat abusive as well.
One night he came home liquored up and accused Kay of being unfaithful. That was a breaking point for her. She escaped into the bathroom and cried. She said she wished she could “go to sleep and never wake up.” Just then her boys came pattering into the room and one of them said, “Mom, don’t cry anymore. God is going to take care of us.” Kay thought about those three little souls. “If something happened to me,” she reasoned, “what would happen to them? . . . God . . . help me.”
The next day Miss Kay went to see the Pastor who had visited them once. He helped her realize she needed to accept the Lord, Jesus Christ as her Savior. She did. And said, “I knew then, that I had help; that He was living in me.” So with her new-found strength, she told Phil all about it. He lashed back, calling her a holy roller and kicked her and their boys out of the house.
She could have been bitter, but instead, she stood on her faith and believed God that her husband, too, would be changed. She told her boys, “The devil is controlling him right now . . . one day the devil will be gone . . . Don’t hate your dad; hate the devil.” Together, they prayed for Phil to find Jesus. God answered their prayers because the opportunity soon came.
About three months later, Kay ran into Phil in a parking lot. He was in his truck, crying. He told Kay he wanted his family back and promised to quit drinking for good. She reminded him he had tried that before but if he really wanted the victory, he would need help. “You mean, God?” he asked. She said, “Yes,” and encouraged him to go talk to her Pastor, (the Bible man). He did, and accepted Jesus into his heart!
Phil told everyone he met, about the Savior who gave him a second chance. It was the beginning of their new life together. Phil didn’t know it, but his faith was about to be tested.
While working his hook nets one day, Phil discovered–as he had many times before–that somebody had been stealing his fish. He had just been reading in the book of Romans: “Be good to your enemies; pray for those who persecute you; do not return evil for evil,” (See Chapter 12). The Scripture echoed in his head. He thought it didn’t make any earthly sense but he said, “I’m going to be good to them but I’m carrying my gun just in case they’re not good to me. And I’m going to do what the Lord said.”
Phil roared up on the suspects just when his net was almost completely in their boat. He confronted them: “What were you boys doing with that net?”
They said, “Oh, is that what that was?”
Phil said, “Yeah. That would be a hook net and it belongs to me.” He continued, “Here’s the good news: I’m going to raise that net, and whatever’s in there, I’m gonna give ‘em to you.” When he said that they were dumbfounded. They scooped up the fish and left, looking backward at him trolling away. And all of a sudden, up and down the river, Phil said, “They quit stealing my fish!” Wow. God was right, all along.
Miss Kay reflected, “The preacher told me [one time], ‘You know what I think about when I see you? . . . You stand by your man . . . through everything you stood by your man. You told God you would and you did.’” Miss Kay had learned to walk in her faith, too.
Yes, trials and troubles can lead to blessings when we trust God in the midst of them. He always has our best interests at heart. If we will only follow Him, He will lead us to His plan; “a plan for a future and a hope,” (See Jeremiah 29:11). Are you trusting Him for your life?
Next week: Phil and Kay’s sons.
Jep & Reed Robertson
Phil and Kay Robertson raised four good boys but not without challenges. One of their sons, Jep, sort of went off the tracks for awhile. During his senior year in high school, Jep got in with the basketball crowd and because of drugs and alcohol, he began losing control. He was trying to hide it all from his parents, but his brother, Willy, discovered his chicanery and told his folks. Soon there was a family intervention.
Jep found himself at his dad’s house, eight o’clock one morning. He walked into the living room and everybody was there, all looking at him. Phil said, “Son, are you ready to change? I just want you to know that we’ve come to a decision as a family. And it’s either gonna be, you are gonna join us, [and] follow God, or you’re gonna go on your own and . . . good luck to you in this world . . . So there’s your two choices.”
Jep fell down on his knees and started crying and said, “What took y’all so long . . . Dad, I don’t deserve to come back. I’ve been horrible. Let me tell you some more.”
Phil said, “No, son. You’ve told me enough.”
Jep said he only saw his dad cry about three times in his life and that was one of them. Through tears of joy, Phil said, “I want you to know that God loves you and we love you, but you just can’t live like that.”
“I know,” Jep said. “I want to come back home.”
He and his dad and brothers all got down on their knees and cried and prayed to God. Jep was so done with his lifestyle and was so thankful for this second chance. Like the prodigal son, he said it was one of the best days of his life. But there were stipulations. Phil said, “I’m going to put you on house arrest and you can not leave this house for three months and you gotta duck hunt every single day.” Jep gratefully agreed.
As Duck Dynasty–the reality show–came to the forefront, they had an audience of twelve million people each week. Phil’s youngest son, Reed, developed a rather swelled head over it all. He thought he was really something by his own estimation because of his family’s status. He said he got cynical and looked down on people. His cocky attitude is what chased everyone away; no one wanted anything to do with him anymore. A profound loneliness set in that made him think about suicide.
Reed’s behavior became entrenched and he couldn’t stop acting the way he did. He finally confessed to his youth Pastor that he wanted to kill himself. He said, “I was going to do it. I really was. But then my parents found out about it; my mom was devastated . . . that sit down with my dad . . . that’s what turned it around . . . [Dad] said, ‘That is the most selfish thing that you can do . . . is leave this world because you can’t take it.’ . . . That really just hit me hard and that’s what turned me around. . . . I think just knowing that I was back on track with Jesus . . . [and] He was O.K. with me coming back to Him. . . . He’s gonna be there and He’s gonna love me just the same because He died for me.” Reed says he finally felt free of all his doubts and negative attitudes; it was such a relief.
God’s power has worked through the Robertson family. It started with Miss Kay. She gave her life to Christ, and then Phil and the boys followed suit in spite of struggles along the way. Everything that happened was part of God’s plan. The Lord knew they would receive Jesus and share Him with others. And that’s just what they did.
They began their enterprise with an improvement on an apparatus known as a “duck call”. In his first year of sales, his brand–The Duck Commander–brought in a meager $8000. His wife thought they would starve to death. But a few years later, in 2013, his sons said he had sold one million duck calls. They had come a long way from their paltry beginnings considering they were just good old folks from Louisiana. And Phil makes no bones about it. He gives all the credit to the Almighty and doesn’t hold back from sharing his journey with the world.
Just A Poor Indian Boy
Ravi Zacharias is considered to be one of the greatest intellectual minds in Christian thought and apologetics, yet he describes his early life as having been “punctuated by failure.” And he said one of his greatest downfalls was that he didn’t like to study! How can that be?
Growing up, Ravi did not lack in material things. His father was a well positioned senior employee of the Indian government in New Delhi. He was prominent, influential, and powerful. But like some higher class people in society, there were unspeakable things going on in Ravi’s home that bred discouragement in him. And so Ravi became poor in spirit.
It all started when Ravi was born. His father was away in England for months and didn’t see his new son until Ravi was almost a year old. In an interview with Youth For Christ, (YFC), in 2014, Ravi said his dad “. . . had very little time for us kids. It’s not that he didn’t care. It was just his personality.”
By the time Ravi became a teenager he knew he didn’t like studying and he didn’t like books. All he wanted to do was play Cricket and Tennis. But India is a very competitive society. High schools and colleges publish test scores in the newspapers for all to see. So those who have not done well academically are publicly shamed. That’s why India has the highest rate of suicide in the world
Of course Ravi’s father was very displeased, thinking Ravi would bring disgrace to the family. Because of his uncontrollable temper, Ravi was constantly being beaten and thrashed for his under-performance. His brothers and sisters would say, “Ravi, I don’t know why Dad has it ‘in for you.’” His siblings and mothered suffered under his dad’s heavy hand, too, but Ravi got the worst of it; in fact, his dad almost permanently crippled him at one point in his life.
By age of seventeen, Ravi had had enough. He pocketed some poison one day, that he had snatched from the science lab at school. The next day, his family had left the house and he found himself alone except for the household servant. He shut himself in the bathroom and blended together a potion. As the mixture frothed in the glass he gulped the whole thing down. He started vomiting almost immediately and in that moment, he let out a desperate cry that reached the ear of the servant. Ravi doesn’t remember the rest, but he says he woke up in the hospital, fighting for his life.
At that time, Ravi’s parents were “nominal, non-practicing Christians.” He said, “We were Christian but it didn’t mean a thing.” Now a few months before this suicide attempt, Ravi’s sisters invited him to a Youth for Christ rally. He didn’t want to go but he did because he heard there was food there.
The speaker that night, Sam Wolgemuth (President of YFC), spoke on John 3:16. Ravi said “He looked like a man I wished I were like.” His saintly qualities impressed Ravi. There were hundreds there when the invitation was given, but only Ravi went forward. He felt alone. And he felt confused even after speaking to the altar counselor. None-the-less, he knew something spiritual was stirring within him. And when asked why he came forward, Ravi said, “I want what that man (Sam) has.”
In Walking From East to West, Zacharias invites you to follow him on a journey through his life: to see and smell the neighborhood in India where he grew up, to feel a mother’s love and the consternation of a harsh father … and the lure of a rebellious soul. He has traveled from the East to the West, and then back again to answer skeptics’ penetrating questions about the meaning of life and the existence of a God who is there for his children. He explains how Jesus Christ is the one who came to give you life to the fullest.
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So now fast forward to his hospitalization. While laying in his room, a man stepped in to visit him. It was the YFC singer, Fred David, from the rally, months ago. He handed a Bible to Ravi’s mother and told her to read from John, chapter fourteen. “Jesus said, ‘Because I live, you shall live also,’” (verse 19). Ravi cried out in desperation: “Jesus, if you are who you claim to be, take me out of here. I will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of truth.” That moment changed his life. He said, “After I prayed that prayer, I walked out of that hospital room five days later, a totally different man . . . it was an eternal transaction . . . anybody who knew me said, ‘What on earth happened to that man.’ [Even] his father couldn’t explain it.”
It is wonderful to know, that during Ravi’s father’s senior years, he became dramatically changed through his profession of faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. And he also apologized to Ravi for all of the hardship he had caused him. Only Christ has the power to truly change lives. Where do you stand with Him today?
A Miraculous Conversion
(James) Berry The Hangman
The Smith Wigglesworth devotional is a book comprised of some of the greatest messages Smith preached from the 1900s to the 1940s. One of those messages is featured below just the way he wrote it. It’s the story of Berry the Hangman: he was an executioner in a small town in England. Here’s the story in Wigglesworth’s own words:
There was a notable character in the town in which I lived who was known as the worst man in town. He was so vile, and his language was so horrible, that even wicked men could not stand it.
In England, they have what is known as the public hangman who has to perform all the executions. This man held that appointment, and he told me later that he believed that when he performed the execution of men who had committed murder, the demon power that was in them would come upon him, and that, in consequence, he had been possessed by a legion of demons.
His life was so miserable that he decided to kill himself. He went down to a certain train depot and purchased a ticket. English trains are much different from American trains. In every coach there are a number of small compartments, and it is easy for anyone who wants to commit suicide to open the door of his compartment and throw himself out of the train. This man purposed to throw himself out of the train in a certain tunnel just as the train coming from the opposite direction would be about to dash past; he thought this would make a quick end to his life.
There was a young man at the depot that night who had been saved the night before. He was all on fire to get others saved, and he purposed in his heart that every day of his life, he would get someone saved. He saw this dejected hangman and began to speak to him about his soul.
He brought him down to our mission, and there he came under a mighty conviction of sin. For two-and-a-half hours he was literally sweating under conviction, and you could see a vapor rising up from him. At the end of two-and-a-half hours, he was graciously saved.
I said, “Lord, tell me what to do.” The Lord said, “Don‘t leave him. Go home with him.” I went to his house. When he saw his wife, he said, “God has saved me.” The wife broke down, and she, too, was graciously saved.
I tell you, there was a difference in that home. Even the cat knew the difference. Previous to this, the cat would always run away when that hangman came through the door. But the night that he was saved, the cat jumped onto his knee and went to sleep.
There were two sons in that house, and one of them said to his mother, “Mother, what is up in our house? It was never like this before. It is so peaceful. What is it?” She told him, “Father has gotten saved.” The other son was also struck by the change.
I took this man to many special services, and the power of God was on him for many days. He would give his testimony, and as he grew in grace, he desired to preach the Gospel. He became an evangelist, and hundreds and hundreds were brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through his ministry.
God saved Saul of Tarsus at the very time he was breathing out threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, and He [had now] redeemed Berry the hangman. He will do it for hundreds more in response to our cries.
Thought for today: The grace of God is sufficient for the vilest, and He can take the most wicked men and make them monuments of His grace. (Devotional: September 9th.)
Born in the 1850s, Smith Wigglesworth started his preaching career around the turn of the century in Britain. He became Americanized in the 1920s and continued his pursuits as an ordained Assemblies of God minister. He is considered as one of the pioneers of the Pentecostal movement.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Fred Rogers was the man behind Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, a 1960s children’s program. Although Rogers was an ordained minister, he didn’t want to be a preacher. He had a steadfast love for young children and once said, “One of my main jobs is to help children through some of the difficult modulations of life.” That was his motivation and he believed children deserved more from television than was available at the time. He felt strongly called to minister to them.
Growing up, Rogers had every childhood disease on the planet. That resulted in many lonely hours spent in his bed, recovering. He was lonely for other reasons, too. He grew up in a home where showing one’s emotion or true self was frowned upon. He had to hide his fears, anxiety, and anger. So he turned to music as his first language. He learned to express his feelings through “piano fingers”.
Later, Rogers attended seminary. He had come home from school at one point, before beginning his senior year. That’s when television had just come out. It was new and it impressed him so much that he paused his education for awhile and went into show business. He started a show called The Children’s Corner. After a season, he became dissatisfied with it and headed back to finish school and get his ordination.
Rogers then began the program, Mister Rogers, on CBC Canada in 1962. And by 1968, he moved his program to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and called it Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
The “neighborhood” Fred created was a place of safety, acceptance, and understanding for children. And out of that came a true sense of relationship and community for children everywhere. But the program did not reflect a fantasy world of “happily-ever-afters.” Rogers introduced current day conflicts into his scripts like the Viet Nam war, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, and the segregation of blacks. These were very real and scary subjects but Rogers brought them to light to help children deal with these issues in positive ways. His message was always peace, love, kindness, or triumph.
As Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was up and coming, so was the Public Broadcasting Network, (PBS), who’s mission was dedicated to “enriching man’s spirit”. But in 1969, Nixon took office and wanted to cut PBS funding in order to pay for the Nam war. He also threatened television stations with contrary political views. So Rogers went before Congress to fight for twenty million dollars for educational television. Instead of lobbying with boring statistics and philosophical speech, he shared the lyrics from one of the children’s songs he wrote. When he had finished, Senator Pastore said, “That is wonderful . . . you got your twenty million dollars.”
Rev. George Wirth said of Fred Rogers that he communicated love right into children’s hearts without ever preaching a sermon or announcing that he was a minister. He practiced a “living Christianity” and modeled the idea of loving your neighbor and loving yourself.
Released June 2018
Runtime: 94 minutes
For over 30 years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, musician, composer, puppeteer, writer and producer, was beamed into homes across America in his beloved show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Watch this fascinating account of his career.
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I Rogers said this about love: “Everyone has inherent value . . . I think those who make you feel less than who you are: I think that’s the greatest evil . . . Love is at the root of everything. All learning, all parenting, all relationships. Love or the lack of it. And I don’t think children can grow unless they’re accepted exactly as they are.” He felt this was the most deeply spiritual assignment he could have because he was shaping the minds of young children to accept values–biblical values–that would establish them for life. That was Rogers’ core message throughout the 1765 shows that he wrote and produced.
Fred Rogers was asked to address the events of 911 to help people grieve through what had just occurred. He said, “No matter what our particular job [is] . . . we all are called to be . . . repairers of creation. Thank you for what ever you do, where ever you are, to bring joy, and light, and hope, and faith, and pardon, and love to your neighbor and to yourself.”
Jesus said there are only two commandments we should follow. First, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’,” (Mark 12:30, 31; NIV). Fred Rogers lived that love every day of his life. What about you?
You Might Be A Red Neck!
We’ve all heard Jeff Foxworthy’s “red neck jokes” but did you know he volunteers at a downtown mission every week? Actually, he’s given his time to several charities over the years like volunteering his time to kids with cancer and Wounded Warrior. That’s because Jeff cares and he also knows when he’s serving others, he’s serving Jesus.
In a 2013 YouTube presentation, Jeff shared a story about how he came to serve in a homeless mission. A young man, Joshua invited him to a lunch there one day. The young man was only 22, so Jeff wondered how he came to be homeless at such a young age. Joshua described his life growing up. His mother killed herself when he was 10. The following year he lost his brother to suicide. That left him and his dad. Things were O.K. for awhile, but when Joshua entered his second year of college, his dad killed himself. By this time, Joshua got tired of hurting so he soothed himself with a crack addiction and that’s how he ended up on the street.
This story really had an impact on Jeff. He said, “But for the grace of God, I could be him.” Before he knew it, Joshua asked him, “Jeff, would you be willing to bring a weekly group Bible study to some of these guys?” He wondered, “Why me?” But he agreed. After a couple of weeks, he realized these men didn’t really want to participate, so he had to come up with a way to draw them out.
Jeff asked them, “What is the Bible?” One man said it was just a book of rules. So another decided if that was the case, let’s just throw the book in the garbage. So they slid the trash can over and tossed in the book. But no one was comfortable with that as a hush settled in the room. Then a big burly guy named Wayne, stood up and fetched it back out. He said, “Man, don’t do that.” But the first guy said, “Well if it’s just a book of rules, why should that bother you?”
Wayne replied that his mom had passed away a few years ago and left him $70,000. He never had that much money before and said he lost his mind. So he got two girlfriends and blew through it all. The short of it is that he became homeless and was only able to hang on to a few of his possessions. One of those was a Bible his mother had given him. It was very special because of the personalized letter she had written on the inside flap. So of course he was devastated when he discovered it was lost. Here he was now with no money, no job, no girlfriend, no home, and addicted to crack . . . and the Bible was gone.
A year and a half later, Wayne gets a temp job cleaning out an apartment building, one hundred miles away. He and another fellow were removing trash by the bagful and at the end of the day, there was just a little pile left on the second floor. He started sifting through it when he found a book near the bottom. He opened it and there was the letter from his mom, just the way she wrote it in his childhood Bible.
Wayne said, “I fell down to my knees and I just started sobbing. I said, if God is chasing me this hard, I’m going to stop running. And that’s why you can’t throw [this book] in the trash can.”
Wayne has been “clean” for three years now and he’s helping other guys transition off of the streets. About the Bible, Jeff says, “It is more than a book. There really is life in there for people.” And it’s a book that Jeff Foxworthy lives by, every day of his life. That includes advice about how to spend money. He says, “It’s not my money anyway. It belongs to God.”
A fun and challenging way to dig into the Bible. In fall 2012, The American Bible Challenge, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy aired and built up an audience of 2.3 million viewers in just nine weeks! By taking on unique questions spanning all of Scripture, a daily reader was released. Using many of the questions from the first season as a guide, each day features an inspiring lesson along with five challenging Bible questions to take you deeper into Scripture. Are you ready to jump in and take the challenge?
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As for his ministry, Foxworthy revealed in a 2012 interview that “rather than going and sitting in a service for an hour every Sunday and that being the extent of my faith, it’s more important that I live it out. I lead a Bible study with homeless guys on Tuesday mornings . . . I have done it for years.”
According to Foxworthy, if addicts among the group successfully complete treatment, the organization will house them for a year, and offer counseling and support in reuniting them with their estranged families.
What would Jesus do, you ask? I think Jeff Foxworthy knows the answer to that question. So as a Christian, how are you serving the Lord?
A Messianic Jewish Rabbi
Jonathan Cahn was raised in the synagogue. But when he was just eight years old he became an atheist. He said, “I looked and I saw the film strips about God moving and talking in the Bible, but I never saw the reality in the synagogue. The Rabbi never got up and said, ‘Hey, God spoke to me today.’ So I became an atheist. I said, ‘There is no God.’”
Born in New York State, Cahn was raised in a reform Jewish home and attended the synagogue frequently. But his religious life did not satisfy his soul. His young mind apparently found no rest because four years after becoming an atheist, he had lost all faith in Atheism. He started seeking and said, “There’s got to be more; there’s got to be a reason.” He began to devour books of every kind from religion to science.
One day he picked up what he thought was a UFO book, but it turned out to be one of Hal Lindsey’s books: The Late, Great Planet Earth. When he realized it he said, “God tricked me!” Even so, he read it through and learned about all the prophecies of the Bible that had come true, like how God had brought Israel back to their homeland.
Jonathan was inspired and turned to the Old Testament, the only Bible in his household. He read the prophecies about the Messiah, born in Bethlehem, and dying for our sins. By the way, he thought all that was of the Catholic religion, but there it was in his Bible.
The God of heaven was revealing the truths of His word to young Jonathan and he started believing and telling his friends. He explains in his testimony that he wasn’t yet “saved”. He hadn’t taken that step. But he believed! In fact, during one of his speech classes in high school, he got up and started preaching the Gospel–as a Jew. He was even leading people to the Lord!
Then Jonathan thought to himself, “I can’t just do this. If the Lord comes again, I have to be right with God. I’m not right.” He deduced that to be right though, he would have to surrender everything and go live in a monastery or something, and that would be the end of his life. That was kind of shocking to him so he said, “God, I don’t want to do that . . . I’ll make a deal with you. If you give me a long life, I’ll accept you when I’m about to die on my death bed.”
Shortly after that, Cahn almost got killed, twice! The second incident was more amazing than the first. He was in his car, waiting for a train by the railroad tracks. It was in the dark of night, so he didn’t realize he was actually on the tracks when the train hit him. In that moment he said, “All I could do was cry out to God.” The car was destroyed but Jonathan walked away without a scratch.
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Jonathan said, “O.K. God . . . can we renegotiate that deal I made? I’ll accept you now when I’m 20.” He further explains that when he turned 20, he went up into the mountains, (because that’s how you’re supposed to do it, he thought), he found a rock and knelt down upon it, and gave his life to the Lord. Thus he became a Messianic Jew!
This would be a good place to end the story, but there’s one more twist that shows just how amazing God is. Jonathan returned with his “shofar” (horn) to this same spot, years later after he had been in ministry. He found the same rock where he was saved and celebrated that decision as he spent time with the Lord. Later, he was telling his congregants about it and they informed him that this particular spot had been dedicated to Satan and was a meeting place for witches. The rock was their altar! Suddenly, Jonathan remembered some graffiti he saw there that said, “No Jew shall enter these sacred grounds.” Jonathan said, “For 2000 years, you [Satan] haven’t wanted Jews to come to Jesus, (because he knows when that happens, that’s it for him) . . . Too late Satan. It’s already happening. After 2000 years, the Jewish people are returning . . . returning to their land and they’re returning to their Messiah, Yeshua-Jesus: the hope of Israel!’”
Can you say “Amen, hallelujah?!”
Matthew 16: 26, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but
lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”