January 25, 2008
Dead Man Walking…a man after God’s own heart
I asked Chad, a good friend and committed volunteer at, Lifechurch.tv in Hendersonville, if I could share his story with you. One year ago he died, and now he stands before us a new creation. He is a walking testament of what God can, and will do in a person’s life. God is good… Here it is in his own words… One year today, I was dead. After eight hours of exposure to carbon monoxide in my bedroom, I was discovered by two of God’s angels, Ashley and Brandon . From there I spent three days in a coma, during which time my family was told I would not live, then if I did live I would be a vegetable for the rest of my life–needing to be fed and my diapers changed. My condition then upgraded to I would live but would have to relearn all motor and cognitive functions (walking, reading, writing, etc). Five days after entering Erlanger in Chattanooga, I walked out under my own strength with no permanent damage except some hearing loss and a constant high-pitched ringing in my left ear, which I now consider a blessing as it is a reminder of the fact that my life was spared. All praise be to God!What a difference a year makes. Funny how that ultimate act of cowardice is what gave me the strength to confront who it was that I had become: a liar, a thief, and a drunk. After spending almost four months in intensive outpatient therapy dealing with what led me to my suicide attempt, I was able to put together a solid picture of why I did what I did and learn how to avoid ever doing it again. Still though, my life was in ruins. The best thing about your life being in a million pieces at your feet, though, is you get to decide which pieces you want to keep to put yourself back together.God has done much for me in the past year: bringing me back to Him (after one very dark night spent with my face in the carpet giving my life completely to Him), giving me a place of ministry (middle school boys at LifeChurch in Hendersonville), giving me a place where I can use what happened to me for good (a counselor on the Crisis phone lines at Family and Children’s Services in Nashville), and two jobs to enable faster restitution. He turned my anger at being prosecuted by the US Attorney for what I have done into gratitude–for it brought me to a place close enough to Him to hear His call into full-time ministry. He has let me know that He is the one who has gone ahead of me, He is with me, He will not fail or forsake me. Therefore, do not be afraid (Deuteronomy31:8). The lesson of Christ in Mark (8:36), “what does it profit a man to gain a whole world if it costs him his soul?” has hit home hard. In a word, nothing.>From here I wait to pay the price for what I have done, which could very likely put me in a Federal Prison Camp. I am prepared for that, though as it will be a time to grow closer to God as He continues to prepare me for service to Him. Further, if I am sentenced to prison, there will be men in there who will need to know of the Good News of what God has done for them. Who better to tell it than one of them?! I can envision delivering my first sermons there which later will be delivered at the church I pastor as “The Prison Series”. God has given me a vision for the church he will have me start: one where the unchurched and those considered outcast by mainstream fundamentalists are welcome. Prostitutes, junkies, addicts, alcoholics, gays and lesbians, single moms, the divorced, cheaters, liars, thieves, porn-addicts, doubters, those stricken with HIV/AIDS–those Jesus himself hung out with. And, at their head, an expert on the consequences of compromise, a convicted felon with a 1.19 million dollar restitution order. So, after divinity school (most likely at Vanderbilt) I will get started! It is now clear why God spared my life–He has work for me to do.