Victor Saikouski turned to atheism after his father left the family and his mother moved around taking different jobs to fund the family’s needs.
“I adopted a world view of atheism and I truly believe that there’s no such thing as God,” Victor says on a Hungry Generation video. “It actually became to me almost as a sport to argue Christians and to deceive Christians out of their belief in Jesus because I was so radical for atheism.”
Victor was born in Belarus. When he was 14, Victor’s mother remarried but drank and used drugs with the stepdad, and they divorced also.
Eventually, Mom moved the family to the U.S. in search of better opportunities. She worked two jobs to make ends meet.
Years later, the stepdad moved to America and got saved. He reached out to Victor’s mom wanting a reconciliation.
Victor didn’t believe the man had really dropped drugs.
“We found it very hard to believe,” Victor says. “Me being atheist, I rejected that idea of church right away and I thought that man is a liar.”
Still as time passed, Mom broke down and got back together with Stepdad. Little by little, the family started going to church.
The circus brought Tanzanian Solomon Kuria to America. Beer brought him to Jesus.
“I wanted to stop drinking but I didn’t know how,” says Solomon, now a resident of Anaheim, CA.
Solomon Kuria was raised a strict Muslim in Tanga, a small village in Tanzania. His grandmother sent him to a madrassa school to learn Arabic and read the Koran. His cousin became a leader of the mosque.
Solomon became an acrobat. How did this happen?
At the time, China forged close ties with Tanzania, which had turned politically to socialism. As a result of its involvement and influence, China recruited and trained willing Tanzanians in the Chinese art of acrobatic performance.
A Chinese official representing a program to promote culture and the arts trained Solomon and his buddies. At the same time, he being steeped in Islam at the madrassa, and was unaware of other religions.
“Everything you see is about Islam,” he remembers. “I didn’t know anything about Christianity.”
At the time, tourists were rare in Tanzania. But a Swiss tourist happened to see Solomon and his buddies perform and asked for a video of their stunts, which he took back to Switzerland and showed to some key people.
The next thing he knew, Solomon got offered the chance to work and perform in Europe, which he did from 1985 to 1994.
The next place to call was America, where he was offered work at Las Vegas’ Circus Circus, a distinctively family-friendly destination in the City of Sin. On other weeks, he worked at Disneyland’s California Adventure in Anaheim.
Solomon didn’t go to mosque but considered himself a good man, faithful to Islam.
The one nasty habit he picked up was drinking alcohol, which is strictly forbidden in Islam.
Kat Von D, the black-lipstick-wearing Queen of Goth who seized fame as a tattoo artist, has thrown out her witchcraft books and covered her tattoos in a return to the “love and light” of her parents who were missionaries in Mexico.
“I got a lot of things wrong in my past,” Kat wrote on Instagram in July. “I’ve always found beauty in the macabre, but at this point, I just had to ask myself what is my relationship with this content? And the truth is, I just don’t want to invite any of these things into our family’s lives, even if it comes disguised in beautiful covers, collecting dust on my shelves.”
The diva of deviance came short of saying she accepted Jesus though. She has gotten married and had a child and now sees things through the lens of what is best for her child.
Katherine von Drachenberg was born in 1982 in Morelos, Mexico, to Argentinian parents who worked as missionaries in a rural community with running water and electricity. Her dad was a doctor with the Seventh Day Adventists. They lived in relative poverty with dirt floors, but Kat only has beautiful memories from that time.
“One of my favorite photos from our family album is one of me taking a bath in a plastic bucket,” she stated on the List. “In this town, you were more likely to see a horse than you would a car. They were some of the happiest times in my life.”
Her family moved to San Bernardino when she was six. In her early teens, she began to rebel against her Christian roots under the influence of punk rock culture and started getting and giving tattoos. She dropped out of high school.
When reality show Miami Ink looked to diversify its all-male tattoo artist show, producers tapped Kat, and she was launched into fame in 2005. Two years later, she returned to Los Angeles and starred in TLC’s spinoff LA Ink.
Kat became an icon, normalizing tattoos. In 2008, Sephora capitalized on her fame to launch a make-up line with her, and she became a millionaire offering eye-liner, lipstick and foundation.
Meanwhile, she got sober. “Looking back at my wild drinking days, I really never imagined that I would be excited about being sober,” she says on The Fix. “When you are on the other side of things, you have such a profoundly different perspective on life. On this side, you realize it’s something to be celebrated.”
Dropping the drink helped her work ethic. In 2008, she snatched the world record for tattoos given in a single 24-hour period when she inked 400 – a record held for six months.
After dating such flamboyant iconoclasts as Nikki Sixx, Deadmau5 and Jesse James, she finally settled down and married fellow Goth prophet Leafar Seyer (born Rafael Reyes), father of Cholo Goth music.
It may be that her marriage in 2018 has shifted her thinking from her rebellious days.
While she always said she would never have children, she gave birth to Leafar Von D Reyes later that year.
In July of 2022, Kat got rid of the books of witchcraft, magic spells and tarot cards from her library because they didn’t “align with who I am and who I want to be,” she says on IG… Read the rest: Kat von D Christian?
His dad was The Lawrence Welk Show classical jazz pianist, his mom a concert pianist, but David Smale (rhymes with snail) wanted to play heavy metal.
“Wouldn’t you just love for your daughter to date the singer of ‘Cranial Abortion’?” Dave jokes on the Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. They played backyard parties, prompting cops to come and shut it down, until they debuted at a club along with Incubus.
With rock ‘n’ roll, came drugs and sex. He smoked cigarettes at 13, smoked weed at 14 and dropped acid by 15.
In the Los Angeles Unified School system, Dave attended middle and high school with Latinos and African Americans who were bused into the San Fernando Valley as part of integration policies.
“We got bullied a lot. We were just these little heavy metal-loving white kids,” he says. “One time this guy said he was going to do a drive-by shooting on us the next day. Because of that, I noticed in my house it was ok for me to express racist things. My dad and my brother would say the N-word and other racial slurs.”
Later he joined a punk rock band “Uneducated,” until his party girl got pregnant and he took up delivering fast food and telemarketing as a high school dropout to put food on the table for his baby and the girl whom he married at 18.
“I remember times stumbling around drunk and high, and all of a sudden, the baby starts crying,” says he, and thought: “I don’t know if I can change his diaper right now. I might put it on his head.”
“It was just awful,” he says. “I was partying and my baby was right there. It was not good.”
Five weeks after his first baby was born by C-section, his wife got pregnant, and the nurse at urged her to abort: “You’re going to die,” she said.
Leaving the women’s health care center, Dave and his wife felt an eerie sensation. “Did you feel like we just murdered somebody?” she asked. “Yeah, I do,” he responded.
Unable to make ends meet, he eventually decided to join the Navy with hopes of learning a trade. “That was my only way forward,” he says. “I was going nowhere. I was lost in dead-end stuff.”
At 20, Dave looked for a new beginning in the Navy, but the same old addictions and racism didn’t let him get that new start.
“I could wear a uniform, I could stand up taller, I could march in a straight line,” he says. “But I was still fighting addiction.”
Stationed a Point Mugu, California, Dave and his wife got invited to a Baptist church. She was gung-ho, he was blasé.
Dave went anyhow, and the sermon made sense. So, he accepted Jesus into his heart on April 1, 1999 and was born again.
“When I raised my head, everything was different,” he says. “My entire perspective changed in a moment. There was no going back. The cursing went away immediately, the addictions were all gone, the racism was gone. I didn’t hate all the guys in the Navy from different races and ethnicities. I loved these guys who didn’t look like me, but I saw them as God saw me. It blew my mind.”
His wife was pregnant with twins when he got deployed for six months. He kept pursuing Jesus the whole time, but when he came home, he realized his wife had given up on God and church.
“The laundry was piled to the ceiling. Checks had bounced,” he says. “There was no food in the house.”
He coaxed her to return to church with him, but she persisted in the party life.
For months, he tried to win her over, but she left him when he got orders to Virginia Beach.
Stung by the abandonment, Dave decided to backslide. He went straight to the oceanfront and ogled every girl in a bikini.
“At that point, I was so mad, so bitter, so upset, I completely decided to backslide,” he acknowledges. “I was on the warpath to find me a girl and do something that I would have totally regretted.”
Vitalii Glopina may never know what the three Russian gangsters sent to kill him saw as one raised the knife to stab Vitalii.
“They turned white. They were shaking,” he says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. “He threw the knife down. They ran out of there. In that moment, I knew there was a God.”
Well, of course. He had just prayed that if there were a God, to rescue him.
That was the end of atheism for Vitalii, who blamed God for the death of his sister and played out his anger against the injustice done to his family by getting into drugs, alcohol, and easy money.
With his sister growing up in Ukraine, Vitalii had a peculiar hobby, looking for mushrooms. On one occasion, he asked his sister to get out of work early so they could get a headstart on their mushroom enthusiasm. “I felt responsible for her death,” Vitalii says.
On that fateful night, his sister was kidnapped. They found her injured and took her to a hospital where she lingered between life and death for two days. Young Vitalii pleaded with God for her life, and when she died, he vowed to become an atheist.
From 18 years, he pour his life into substance abuse and crime. He joined a Russian mafia gang and made good money as the key man; he was the one who broke into cars and got them started.
He was a brainiac for technology. He got straight A’s in school, but he also had keyed all the rooms and could break in at will to classrooms and offices.
When he graduated high school, he got a scholarship to Romania, where he would learn cybernetics.
He vowed that in the new place, he would turn over a new leaf. His vow to be sober and make good lasted only three days, within which time he found a dealer and the mafia and fell back into his old habits.
Vitalii would show up and get into the BMW7 series vehicles. Sometimes they would steal the car outright, sometimes they would just steal the parts. When the insurance paid for new parts, his team could fill the order through a front company and rebuild the car they themselves had disassembled.
It was lucrative work, but every night Vitalii was hobbled by crippling guilt.
“I had to be stoned to death to be able to sleep,” he admits.
His penchant for heavy substance abuse caused him to wind up with overdoses: three times on drugs, twice on alcohol. A triple dosage brought him to the hospital on Christmas Eve, where he confessed to hospital staff where the drugs were.
The cops raided, and he lost $5,000 worth of merchandise.
Never mind that driving him towards suicide were demonic voices, schizophrenic episodes, and the opposition of his family. What bothered Adrien Lamont in the Bible conference – where he had gone seeking deliverance – was that there was only one other black person.
Fortunately, she came straight over to Adrien with a prophetic word: “God sees what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been chasing after him, and he’s so proud of you and he loves you and all the people that have done you wrong and called you crazy are gonna see what God is doing in your life in the direction that he’s taking you and they’re all gonna apologize.”
Adrien stayed and received intensive prayer. The deliverance was decisive. Today Adrien is a rising star in Christian Hip Hop, though his music is oriented more to the street than the pew, a rough-edged message of salvation, not cleared for Sunday School.
Adrien Lamont’s father abused heroin and died when he was young, so Mom did her best to raise him. Grandma was the driving force behind church attendance, but Adrien never developed a personal relationship with Jesus.
He was drawn to music and wanted to make it big. As he searched for his identity, he began drinking, smoking weed and using other drugs. He also liked to wear a brand of clothing with occult symbols. Today he says those symbols opened him up to demonic interference.
“I was really involved in satanic imagery and satanic clothing,” he says on Testimony Stories, a YouTube channel that focuses on Christian rappers. “It got to a point where all these things I was surrounding myself, started to affect my spirit. I realize now in hindsight that a lot of those garments and things I was wearing actually had demonic forces on them.”
He had a ring that every time he took it off and put it back on, he felt like a different person.
Connected with the producer, he began his path to stardom in secular rap.
“I remember just getting very high and drunk one day and I remember him telling me about all these satanic rituals and blood sacrifice and sacrificing his daughter,” Adrien says. “Under the laptop we were recording on, there was a Ouija board. I felt like I was demon possessed and that demons were speaking out of me into the microphone.”
On that day, he says he felt Satan’s presence. Words were impressed into his mind.
“He asked me if I wanted to sell my soul to Satan,” Adrien relates.
“Yes, okay,” he spoke out.
The rest of the night, he felt a darkness he had never experienced.
Hours later, he was listening to his recording when his computer “glitched.” Up popped another musician who shared his testimony about how demons came out of him and how he ran to his mother, who had a shotgun in her hand. He was saved from evil.
Adrien couldn’t explain the sudden, mysterious site change on his screen. He knew he needed to leave Hollywood immediately and return to his mom, who was living in Long Beach. Early next morning, he wandered around Hollywood asking for a phone to call Mom. Eventually, he got an Uber home.
Wayne Bradley carried bitterness against his father and mother following years of abuse, turning to drug addiction to cope with the pain. By contrast, his brother, Craig, responded to the abuse by murdering both parents.
“I was strung out on all kinds of drugs and alcohol,” Wayne says on 700 Club Interactive video. “I was mad at my family. I was mad at my dad. I was mad at God for putting me in such a screwed-up family.”
Wayne was born into a physically and verbally abusive family on the south side of Chicago more than 50 years ago. The problem was mainly his father.
“You’re always guessing what kind of reaction you would receive,” he says. “There was always the fear that permeated the air more than anything else.”
He became a loner, ashamed of his home life and generally afraid.
Straight out of high school, Wayne joined the Army and served four years. For 16 years after that, he was a trucker and a security guard.
But drugs got the better of him.
“I think the main reason I was an addict and I used so many drugs is because I was trying to hide,” Wayne says. “I was trying to hide not only from the things that had happened in my life, but I didn’t want to face the me I was: a user and abuser of people. Everything that happened to me, I did to someone else.”
He dressed in all black, wore long dark hair, and had one blue contact lens – 90s Goth style. So when a church-goer saw him at the store, he freaked and thought: This guy will never get saved.
So when Genaro Nava showed up at church the following Sunday, the Christian guy felt rebuked internally for judging people: “It was like God just slapped me across the face. It blew my mind.”
Today Genaro is not just rescued from the darkness of underage clubbing across the border in Mexico, he’s a pastor in Brownsville, Texas, his third pastoral assignment.
Genaro came with his family to America to start the 1st grade. When his mom got divorced, she fell into a deep depression. Genaro and his sisters fell into drugs and partying in high school. Genaro’s room was painted black, covered with worldly posters.
One night he left a club, and there were Christian street preachers from the Door Church declaring the love of Jesus. Genaro joked to his girlfriend: “One day, I’m going to do that.”
The next night after a movie, there were the street evangelists again, passing out flyers. Genaro said he wasn’t interested but accepted the flier and pinned it to his wall (where there was a clutter of things on display).
The street evangelist said: “You can’t go to Heaven if you don’t have Jesus in your heart.” Those words haunted Genaro.
Years later, his sister got saved and invited him to church. It was, startlingly, the same Door Church whose flier was still on his wall. It seemed more than coincidental, so Genaro, then 19, agreed to go.
Bit by bit, he began attending church more and leaving his sin behind. At one point, he had to break up with his girlfriend of the time because she vowed to continue using drugs while he wanted to get clean. He left his old friends for the same reason.
“We would do drugs there in my house,” he says. “They would be there drinking and say, ‘Hey come on, join us.’ I had to make a stand.”
Eventually, he needed to read them the riot act: either come to church or stop coming over.
“I invited my friends to church,” he says. “They all went once and never came back. It’s not like you’re cutting them off; you’re just choosing different paths.”
People at church were really nice, and they threw him a small birthday party just a month after showing up at church. That made quite an impression.
“I was asking myself, how could you have a good time without drugs?… Read the rest: Goth gets saved
Alexis Hoffman found herself in a pool of blood. She had cut herself over 40 times.
“I was so ashamed,” she says on CBN. “What did I just do? That’s not me! Why did I do that?! That is not how I act! Why do I keep doing this? Who is this that is doing this?’”
Having shoved God aside in her freshman year in 2009, she ventured into a damaging relationship that introduced darkness into her mind and voices into her head. For her, high school meant she was high.
“My heart became calloused after the abusive relationship because I felt like I could just never get right with God. I felt like I was too far gone. Like I had messed up too much,” she remembers. “I would hear things like ‘You should kill yourself.’ And I would hear a lot of whispers.”
Meanwhile, Alexis’ parents battled through prayer for their daughter.
“When the only thing that your daughter ever gave you was joy, and then you find out that she’s on drugs, sex, you know, alcohol, it breaks your heart,” says her father, Ted.
Robin, the mother, was also anguish-stricken.
“Lord,” she prayed, “You said, and Your Word says that she is Yours and You will not let anything happen to her. And I know that Your Word is true and I believe You.”
The voices started in her senior year.
“They told me I was useless and ugly, that I was worthless and dirty. They told me to just die. And I believed them,” Alexis says. “I remember having this obsession with stabbing. I would sneak out into the kitchen and I would start taking one knife at a time and bringing it into my room.”
When Mom found the stash of knives hidden in her room, she called 911 and had her taken to ER, from where she was transferred to the psychiatric hospital. None of the treatments — including 20 different diagnoses including schizophrenia — seemed to work.
Alexis kept threatening to take her life.
“Robin and I were preparing ourselves for her to kill herself,” Ted says grimly. “And you talk about that’s tough when you have to prepare yourself.”
Alexis also manifested fits of rage and sometimes even blacked out.
“When Alexis got mad…whooo, it was not pretty. It was scary,” Robin remembers. “I had even said to my husband, ‘We should get locks on the bedroom door.”
Then Mom took Alexis to a revival service with Pastor Todd White.
Ira Forkish spent half his life “strangled by demons of loneliness, anger peppered with resentment and fear, all augmented by the daily use of alcohol and drugs.”
As he surveyed a “lifetime of darkness” one day, Ira, then 32, ruled out religion.
“My main teacher in Hebrew School was a bully and me not being a traditional learner could not grasp God’s language,” he told God Reports. “I searched for God in places like hallucinogens for years & even dabbled in researching dark arts, (and there was) nothing. So God was out.”
Drugs were his touchstone and he imbibed as many as he could, experimenting with different mixtures in the hope he could escape the clutches of depression.
“Sometime during this time of desperation, some of my partying buddies found Jesus and so they invited me to a bible study,” he remembers. “Why not? I told myself. In one of these studies Jesus appeared to me in a very real manifestation. Finally (there was) hope.”
The vast expanse of empty meaning was suddenly filled with a real God. There was hope outside of drugs.
But just because he found Jesus doesn’t mean he immediately found a way out of drugs. He was not completely free yet, and the parties turned darker.
“Every time I used, the depression got worse, like having a one-ton grain of sand piled one by one on my heart and mind,” he remembers. “Desperation, desperation, desperation — with no road out.”
He wondered where Jesus was. Had the Son of God abandoned him like God the Father appeared to have done from his childhood?
“My life had crashed into a point where all its pieces resembled a jigsaw puzzle dumped onto a table and no matter how I looked at it there were no visible moves, not even an edge piece to make a frame,” he recalls.
Of course, God had not abandoned him. He showed up in the form of a partying buddy, who enrolled in a treatment program for drugs and alcohol. That buddy called and asked how Ira was doing.
“I guess it was apparent that for me things were 180 degrees from smooth because his reason for calling was to tell me that they were bringing the program to LA,” Ira says. Read the rest: Addiction and recovery
The day after being exposed to pornography and being molested, 3-year-old Anne Paulk started dressing like a Tomboy.
“I was no longer interested in dolls,” she says on a CBN video. “It was everything to do with throwing off the feminine because it was unsafe.”
Anne was raised in a Christian home, but the seeds for lesbianism had been planted right there.
“I felt responsible for what an older person did to me,” she says. “I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I felt unsafe.”
When she was six, a little girl “made a pass at” her and kissed her.
“What I realized right then is I felt like I had power as opposed to being powerless in the other circumstance,” she says. “And that ignited a lesbian desire later on in life. That was really the starting point of that turning of my feelings.”
Up until college, she pretty much suppressed the lesbian inclination. But when she entered the university, a libertine environment and substance abuse created the perfect cocktail to carry out her curiosities and cloud her confusion even more.
“I found myself quickly getting involved in alcohol and drugs on campus. They were everywhere. And that also gave me room to explore my sexual desires.”
She sought counseling, but her advisor told her “the Bible and homosexuality go just fine together.”
Nevertheless, “I just sensed that there was something off about that,” she admits.
Even though she had been raised in a Christian home, Anne had only heard about God; she had never known Him personally.
She began attending gay support groups and hoped to find a partner to marry and live happily ever after.
The Holy Spirit had other things in mind. One day right in the middle of the gay support meeting, he spoke to her heart: The love that you’re seeking, you’re not going to find here.
“It felt like a ray of light from heaven hit me right in the middle of this gay meeting,” says Anne. Read the rest: Anne Paulk former lesbian.
He lived fast and punished his body with riotous living. Four years ago, NBA Legend Lamar Odom nearly lost his life to a drug overdose in Las Vegas. Last month, he finally surrendered his heart and life to Jesus Christ in Atlanta.
“I had to show Jesus my appreciation for keeping me alive!” he told People magazine. “Nowadays I’m doing the best I can in walking with the Lord. Thanks to Pastor Vernon @drravernon, I got saved at @thewordchurch this weekend.”
Lamar was named Parade’s national player of the year out of high school in 1997. After playing one season at the University of Rhode Island, he signed for the LA Clippers and was named the NBA rookie of the year. He formed part of the LA Lakers’ league winning teams in 2009 and 2010.
But the South Jamaica Queens native followed his father, a heroin user, into addiction. While on the Clippers he was busted twice by the NBA’s anti drug rules and later he faked urine tests with the help of friends and fake body parts, he admitted.
Lamar, who no longer plays basketball, met and married Khloe Kardashian in 2009 but says he cheated on her innumerable times, and eventually the reality show star divorced him in October 2015.
“I had broken my vows with Khloé so many times it’s just impossible for me to remember them all,” he told US Weekly. “I don’t know why Khloé stayed with me.”
Lamar was a consummate team player on the court, but off the court, his life was a mess. After catching a DUI in 2013, Lamar overdosed two years later after crossing cocaine, cognac and cannabis at a Las Vegas brothel called the Love Ranch.
This was his lifestyle, when days blended into nights surrounded by beautiful women and “a mound of drugs.”
On October 13, 2015, his world came crashing down when his body finally rebelled against the excesses. “I lay on the floor in my room at the Ranch, dying,” he said later. “My body was convulsing. The women who kept me company screamed and called 911.”
Lamar was rushed to the Sunrise Hospital where he lingered between life and death.
“My heart stopped twice. I had twelve seizures and six strokes,” he said. “My lungs collapsed and my kidneys ruptured. I was on life support. Everyone I’d ever loved was looking at me through bleary eyes.”
He woke up the next day confused and disoriented. He tried to pull out the tubes from his body. He tried to speak and panicked because he couldn’t.
“That was the scariest part. And not being able to walk,” he says. “I’m a big athlete you know?” Read the rest: Lamar Odom Christian
When he made the switch from racing to daredevil trick riding, Ronnie Faisst got sponsors, pay, notoriety… and a drug habit.
“You can’t become a top professional racer if you’re a partier. Tight diets and training everyday — that’s the background I came from. Didn’t do any drugs, didn’t drink, didn’t want to,” Ronnie says on This is Me video.
“But then when you got into freestyle, all you really needed was to be willing to take some risk. So we found you could party and still do this. We all got caught up in girls, drugs, alcohol, late nights.”
For 10 years, Ronnie soared at the top the emerging Freestyle Motocross, or FMX, pioneering tricks and competing on tour. But while his motorbike flew, his soul was sinking into the depths of sin.
Ironically the thrills-seeker who thrived off of the adrenaline rush found Jesus in a very ho-hum way, watching a televangelist explain the gospel. What drove him to the arms of Jesus? His greatest obstacle in freestyle: fear.
“If you’re a free-style riders, there’s gonna be tricks that scare you a little bit. You have to push through that fear to learn the trick. Right at that time, the back flip came out which to land one you might crash five,” Ronnie says.
“This dude speaking on T.V. was talking about faith, and it spoke to me because he was speaking about fear. I experienced fear everyday,” he says. “I thought, ‘This dude has such a cool view on life. I’ve never really looked at it that way.’ I got saved in my bedroom just watching this program. It makes you feel good. God’s on your side. God starts blessing you.”
Ronnie, from Murrieta, California who now lives in Kansas, is an X Games regular since 2000, winning Moto X bronze medal four times. The 42-year-old was featured in the original Crusty Demons daredevil videos.
He was living his dream, getting paid to ride his motorcycle and perform tricks and compete — and God was on his side.
Initially he didn’t realize there was much more to the Christian life.
“In one point in my life I was in this room at my friends house and I was putting ecstasy, heroine, and coke together and I was shooting it up while smoking crack and drinking,” Ryan Ries says in a “This is Me” video. “I mean it got dark in my life, and I’m just sitting in this big mansion going, ‘Is this what my life has become?’”
Growing up in Southern California, Ryan loved skateboarding and partying. As a freshman, he was invited for rides in the cars of the senior girls at lunch. They lit up joints, so he did too.
“That was the beginning of a whole snowball effect of things that would happen,” Ryan says. “You got the hottest chicks in school. They’re seniors, you’re a freshman.”
He was introduced to electronic scene in 1990 where people did hallucinogenics and LSD for hours in the hills.
Ryan started dating a girl. Weeks later, she got an abortion. When he found out, he objected.
“I didn’t even know you were pregnant,” he told her. “Next time something like this happens, call me. I’m in love with you. The next time you get pregnant, let’s have the kid.”
Five months later, she informed him of her second pregnancy. By then, Ryan was making money, so he offered to buy a condo for her to raise the kid in.
“I’m too young to have a kid,” she informed him. “Ryan, I love you. I wanna stay with you. But I need to get the abortion.”
He responded that he would leave her if she carried out the plan.
She aborted the baby anyway.
Ryan broke up with her and got mad at God.
“How could God do this to me?” Ryan recalls. “I remember being in my room and saying, ‘God, I want nothing to do with You. I hate You, and I’m going to live for myself.’”
It was a chaotic relationship anyhow, more founded on sex than on real love, he says.
A few weeks later, he started a job as director of Skate & Music Marketing for internationally known brands such as Forum Snowboards, C1RCA Footwear, Special Blend, and Foursquare Outerwear. They traveled nine months out of the year doing skating activities and staging concerts. His party routine ramped up. He was in a feeding-the-flesh frenzy.
“Playboy mansion parties, porn stars hosting our events, taking cocaine like crazy,” he remembers. “It feels good for a while. But what happens is the hole in my heart keeps getting bigger and bigger. I keep having to fill it with more alcohol, more drugs, more girls. It’s like the dog that chases its tail. That’s what I felt my life was.”
During 10 years of partying, Ryan tried to go sober three times.
At exactly the moment David Fish was passing through a spiritual crisis in the Air Force in England, his neighbor’s mother — the Christian lady he looked up to — passed by his house walking the dog and remembered to pray for him.
As result, halfway around the world Jesus showed up and reassured David he could be forgiven of sin.
Never brush off the sudden urge to pray.
The incident was one of three supernatural apparitions that came to David, helping to deliver him from alcohol and the kingdom of darkness, moving him into the light of Jesus.
As a 15-year-old, David started drinking and driving the tractor on his farm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His father was an abusive alcoholic and wound up divorced, which left David reeling.
“I wondered if this was what life was all about,” he says.
David wanted to be like dad but hay fever kept him from farm work such as baling hay, so he decided he would prove his manhood by joining the Air Force, just like dad.
“I wanted to show that I could do what he could do,” David says. “I always wanted to prove to him that I could do a lot of things. I guess a lot of kids want to show their parents they can stand on their own two feet.”
In the Air Force, he did well training as a mechanic for the tank-toting C-130 Hercules aircraft. But because of a mounting problem with alcohol, he was “causing myself my own troubles,” he says.
One day, he got drunk before his shift and was faced with the quandary of missing it (going AWOL) or showing up inebriated. He risked going to the job and his superiors confronted him.
“That was the day from hell,” David says. “You’re head is pounding. You’re in trouble. They know it. You know it. Everybody else knows it. All the people milling around the office all know that you royally screwed up. You’re just sitting there out in the open. Life was not good that day.”
Instead of a court-martial, the Air Force sent David to rehab in Riverside, California, to salvage his life and career. He thought if he behaved himself and went through the program, maybe they’d give him another chance.
The program was Alcoholics Anonymous. “That was supposed to be the way to keep dry and sane and all that other stuff,” he says.
The program taught that chemical dependency disappeared at six weeks. But “that’s baloney,” he says. “The spiritual dependency does not stop at six weeks.”
He fell back into beer after three months, though he tried to maintain better control and drink less.
“It was through the Riverside program that I realized how messed up my life was because when I began to discuss things about family, I left my sister out,” he says. “I hated my sister for the things that she did and the things that we did growing up — the different fights we had.”
That’s when a fellow airman started witnessing to him.
“It was the most fascinating thing I ever heard,” he remembers. “I was glued to listening to what he had to say. A few days later, I was still thinking about the impact that he made.”
David didn’t accept Jesus that day.
He was then stationed in England in preparation for the bombing of Muammar Gaddafi in 1986. He kept drinking the “thick rich frothy beer there. I was getting wasted all the time, and drinking was picking up speed,” he says.
After binging for three weeks, David surmised his grim predicament: “My life is worth nothing. My parents got this divorce. No one loves me; no one cares. So why should I? In that moment, I felt like I put my life on the auction block. I didn’t care if God had me or if the devil had me. I was willing to give myself over to whoever would have me.”
David began asking questions of a Christian fellow airman, who handed over a book, “The Scientific Approach to Christianity,” about an unbeliever healed of terminal cancer when his believing wife prayed for him. Read the rest of power of prayer.
Harold Warner was driving back from a failed pastoral assignment when he hit a new patch of asphalt sprinkled with fresh rain, and his orange Dodge Colt spun out of control, went off the side of road and rolled down an embankment.
The car roof caved in, paralyzing him. Within nine months, the 23-year-old ex-hippie shifted into a new, dynamic pastoral assignment, this time in a wheelchair.
“Everything in my life was disrupted permanently. My world was turned upside down,” says Warner. “But my relationship with God didn’t change one bit. His grace, His presence never wavered. I had confidence that God was in control in my life.”
Today, Pastor Warner’s church, which he charged into as an idealistic young man, has grown to over 1,000. The Door Church in Tucson moved from a humble stucco and adobe building to a massive facility.
Affiliated with Christian Fellowship Ministries as a church planter, Warner and his leadership team have planted 750 churches worldwide.
How did he avoid the trap of blaming God for the inexplicable tragedy?
“A lot of things happen in life that you don’t have control over,” Warner says, as he considers the destiny he might have missed. “I kept going forward with a combination of faith, naiveté and confidence.”
When he was a young man, Warner liked hockey so much he went to the University of Connecticut specifically to play for the team. But, like so many other young people of the 1960s, alcohol and drugs beckoned, and he dropped out of school, grew his hair long, wore torn jeans and hitchhiked to Woodstock.
The way the secular media reported it, Madalyn Murray O’Hair – the famous atheist who got Bible reading kicked out of public schools – was a national hero after the Supreme Court ruled in her favor in 1963.
A year earlier, the Supreme Court prohibited government-sponsored prayer in schools. After O’Hair won her case, a 1964 Life magazine profile referred to her as “the most hated woman in America.”
But secularists went so far as to say the historic ruling placed the U.S. on the vanguard of a new morality with the “triumph of rationalism over superstition.”
Because she spouted a liberal agenda, reporters were willing to overlook murmurings about psychological abuse towards her children and her employees at the American Atheists organization.
When rumors surfaced of her skimming tens of thousands of dollars from her non-profit, investigative journalists turned their attention elsewhere. The latest gloss on the Madalyn mystique was applied last month in a Netflix movie which portrayed her as a doting mother and dedicated civil rights activist, her eldest son said.
William Murray III knew the real Madalyn, the churl who bullied her children and bragged to them when they were very young about watching X-rated movies. She was an ardent feminist who resented men, Bill says.
“One of her favorite stories — I’ve heard her repeat it many times — is that when I was born and the doctor told her, ‘It’s a boy,’ she asked him if there wasn’t some way he could put it back,” Bill told People magazine.
She bit him, smashed his model airplane to pieces in a fit of rage, and ridiculed his attempts to play baseball. She kept a liquor closet full and the refrigerator stocked with fattening, unhealthy foods. She extolled the virtues of sexual liberty and wrote for Hustler magazine. She even tried to defect to the Soviet Union with her entire family and supported communist causes, Bill says.
As a middle school child in Baltimore, Bill became an unwitting pawn in her 1963 Supreme Court battle against school prayer. Madalyn sued the school district and rode a movement to strike down prayer and Bible reading.
With a petulant eloquence, she tirelessly voiced the acrimonious atheism, and the media lapped up pretty much everything she served. “We find the Bible to be nauseating, historically inaccurate and replete with the ravings of madmen,” she said. “We find God to be sadistic, brutal and a representation of hatred.”
Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and Phil Donahue all hosted her on their evening TV programs. Madalyn reveled in the attention. Every misfit in the country wrote her letters of praise that included generous checks of her non-profit, American Atheists, Bill says.
“My mother was an evil person, not for removing prayer from America’s schools, no, she was just evil,” Bill wrote online in 2011. “She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents’ inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations.”
While Madalyn busied herself with “rhetoric, newsletters, fund-raising and publicity,” Bill grew increasingly disaffected. He eloped and divorced, was drafted in the military and worked for an airline. He left his daughter Robin under the care of his mother. His second marriage was unraveling and he had run-ins with the police.
While he drifted through struggles and failures, he began to harbor doubts about the atheist manifesto. Why was his mother spending the non-profit’s money on a new Cadillac and mobile home? Why would she sue to keep NASA from airing Astronaut Buzz Aldrin taking communion on the moon? Why not instead spend on new X-ray machine for a hospital? If atheism was the savior of modernity, why did it focus mostly on the antagonistic roll of shutting down others? Why not do something in favor of humanity?
“I started to think it was because my mother was basically negative and destructive,” he said.
Bill turned increasingly to alcohol to quash his anxieties and misgivings.
Once when police arrived after he had a dispute with his wife, he accidentally fired a rifle through the door. Bill was charged with aggravated assault and sentenced to five years probation.
Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu sought to shield himself from any and all pain after his parents divorced.
“I was like, this is not going to hurt me,” he said. “That’s what I told my dad, ‘I’m moving in with you. Let’s get a keg, and let’s throw a party and make music.’ And I put a wall up to not feel the emotions. That’s when it became full-on drinking and a way that nobody’s going to hurt me. From that moment on, I never had a sober day.”
He became an accomplished bassist and rose to stardom with the nu rock sensation group Korn that sold out arenas.
He cycled through two marriages riddled by infidelities. He used speed to stay thin for the glam metal look which required a stick-thin physique for tight pants. More than once his wild partying landed him in jail.
“I had my nights of being in hotel rooms and destroying them by myself, crying because I’d wake up in the morning feeling so bad from partying. I’d be shaking,” said Arvizu, who’s known by the stage name “Fieldy.”
“I’d wake up and throw up in the morning. I’m like, ‘Man, I can’t handle this.’ So I would just take some Xanax or Adavan and let that kick in and I’d just be wasted again. It’d bring you so down, then smoke weed after that. Then night would come, and I could start drinking.”
The nu metal bassist wasn’t very kind to women in his effort to build walls around his heart.
“I would bash on them, say women are just sluts, no good. I was really mean to women to where I could make almost any woman cry, any time,” he admitted. “I guess that’s what I did to keep from getting hurt.”
He fully accepted the responsibility for his first divorce due to his incessant cheating that drove his wife berserk, according to Contact Music.
“She ran into the kitchen, grabbed a butcher knife, and came toward me like a crazed animal, wildly swinging at me. She cut open my shirt and made four shallow gashes in my chest,” Arvizu confessed. Read the rest of the article.
Brian “Head” Welch shocked the rock world in 2005 when he left the band, Korn, and jettisoned his adoring fans, along with a lifestyle that included girls, drugs and an embarrassment of riches.
“All I know is that I was chasing all that stuff and it left me empty,” Welch told the Christian Post. “And I was a complete empty shell – just totally like nothing inside. I had everything. I had the money; there was girls everywhere, all the drugs – pills, doctors’ prescriptions, illegal drugs, everything. And it was just empty, so empty.”
God surprised Welch when he ventured into a church. “And as soon as I went to church, I felt the love from Jesus. That’s when I was fully satisfied. And I was totally done with everything in the world because I was satisfied inside, and I got filled up.”
Welch, a talented guitarist who enthralled fans with his “nu rock” licks, needed to break his drug addiction and wanted to nurture his newfound faith in Christ, as well as dedicate more time to his family.
He cleaned up his act and launched a solo career with his debut album Save Me from Myself.
Korn was formed when the group “L.A.P.D.” broke up after they lost their lead singer. The remaining musicians Reginald Arvizu, James Shaffer, and David Silveria recruited Welch and Sexart vocalist Jonathan Davis, who acceded to join only after he consulted with a psychic. With the new members, they re-branded themselves “Korn.”
“It sounded kinda creepy because it reminded us of that horror movie Children of the Corn,” the Stephen King horror story, Welch said.
Starting with Korn’s self-titled debut, and preceding albums such as Life Is Peachy and Follow The Leader, the band became one of the best-selling nu metal groups of all time, selling out arenas and earning $25 million in royalty payments.
But as they ascended charts and the finances flowed, each of the members suffered personal battles with addiction, according to Welch.
“We were only sober for just a couple of hours a day in Korn — every day,” Welch recounted. “And then when you come home and you’ve got to deal with real life and your wife isn’t having that, crap goes down.”
By 2003, Welch was addicted to meth, Xanax, sleeping pills and alcohol. He would prep for tours by stashing as much meth as he could in vitamin capsules, deodorant containers, and his clothes. His dreams of stardom had come true, but he no longer enjoyed touring.
“I got hooked on methamphetamines the last two years I was in Korn, and I did meth everyday,” he wrote later in his book Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story. “I wanted to quit, but I couldn’t quit. I tried to quit. I went to rehab, and I just couldn’t quit.”
Both he and his wife, Rebekah Landis, were drug addicts. They had violent fights. The night after he rocked 200,000 fans at Woodstock in 1999, he punched his wife in the face. Blood sprayed out, and she passed out on the bathroom floor.
As he looked at blood running down his knuckles, Welch questioned why his vaunted stardom had failed to bring happiness. Read the rest of Brian’s testimony.
My 88-year-old dad finally got back to painting. He fell and broke his hip in April and hasn’t felt like he could concentrate on his creative efforts. He has a fantastic rehab coach and a 24-hour caregiver. He has good doctors and a couple of good sons. His taste buds finally reactivated, so he’s getting back to his ideal weight.
Last but not least, he’s started painting — and with it hope is reborn in his heart.
Except for the smallest of children, we’re all in some sort of recovery. Sin — life — tends to damage. Recovery is not just for the alcoholic. It’s for marriage that you want to last. It’s for forgiveness you’re struggling to work out. It’s for the person at the gym. It’s for slip-ups and backslidings.
Recovery is for humans.
Pride would have you believe you don’t need any recovery, that you’re completely successful with every area of your life under control. You know why I’m a Christian? Because I’m more honest and real than that. I fully acknowledge my need for a Savior and my need for his ongoing recovery process ministered continually by His Word and His Spirit. Recovery is a good thing, so I embrace it whole-heartedly.
Once drunk with co-workers in a cantina after hours, former Christian leader Otoniel Rodriguez began to defend the gospel against their trash talk.
“Don’t mess with the gospel,” growled Oto, who, despite being backslidden himself, respected the truth profoundly. “Men make mistakes. But the gospel is something that God has given and is perfect.”
The argument grew heated, and he and his boss fell to blows. The police came, and Oto punched a cop. They wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him. If it weren’t for a friend who just happened to be a friend of the cop, he would have been carted off to jail.
Whew! What a way to come back to Jesus – by way of a beer brawl!
The next day he woke up hung-over and spied a dirty Bible in the corner of his ramshackle sheet metal and wooden post house in the poorest neighborhood of Guatemala, only four blocks away from the city’s dump. Over time, he managed to block out the repulsive stench wafting from the dump, he says.
All he got out of the Bible that day was more condemnation for his sin. He cried out to God. For two and a half years, he’d gone from being a respected church leader to a heavy drinker and womanizer.
“God, I don’t want to go to Hell,” he cried. “If You can give me a chance, do it.” Read the rest of the amazing testimony.
His dad was a philandering dentist, who plied a young woman with alcohol to take advantage of her.
From that unholy union, Douglas Barillas was born. He can’t remember a time when he wasn’t hungry as a child. He grew up with his grandparents in the poorest neighborhood in Guatemala City, El Gallito.
Neighbors paid him five cents to carry the trash to the public dumpster. It was enough for him to buy a hot, thick drink made of grains, a chuchito (similar to a tamale), and a couple bananas.
When there was nothing to eat, he would walk a few miles with his grandmother to his dad’s dentistry office to ask for five or 10 quetzals (Guatemalan currency). His dad, with a look of disgust and sometimes an insult, would give it to him.
Pain piled up in his heart.
When he was 12, his dad had a client come out and look at him. “Don Guillermo, this boy is not your son. Look at his eyes. They’re different,” she said. It was a greater humiliation than ever.
“I threw the five quetzals in his face,” Douglas remembers. “I needed the five quetzals to eat. But I had my pride. I told him, ‘I’m sorry, but never again will I come here to look for you.’” Find out how Douglas got saved and changed his life here.
Walls are for bad people. They either KEEP OUT wrongdoers (such as thieves from your house) or they KEEP IN wrongdoers (such as prison convicts). But the good person is free to go in or out as he pleases.
When we look at God’s law as walls, we need to keep this in mind. God’s walls are not restrictions on our fun, to keep us pinned in to His boring Kingdom, as some see it. They are protections against all the harm the devil wants to bring on us.
Ask the hopeless drug addict if he could have done it all over would he never touch drugs. Ask the alcoholic if it would have been preferable to never taste liquor. Ask a million and one people destroyed by sin if God’s walls were arbitrary morals imposed upon them by cruel religious people who had no right to tell others what to do. Go ahead, ask them.
Ask the people in Hell.
Don’t chaff at Christianity’s “limitations,” viewing them as a horrible prison to suppress your freedoms. No, you are free to go. You are a good person. Walls are NOT for the good person. They are for the bad person.