Jeff Fischer thought the Sunday school teachers of his childhood mainline church resembled the spooky characters on The Addams Family TV series, so he had no desire to go to church or come to Jesus.
But when he suffered a collapsed lung and a painful air bubble between his heart and lung, he grappled with neurotic fear of death and finally relented to accompany a co-worker to a “weird” Jesus People movement church where they asked him, “Have you been washed by the blood?”
He thought it was a cult and dashed for the door.
But he started reading his Bible — and he pasted a “Jesus Lives” bumper sticker on his car. (He didn’t know what the One Way index finger pointed to Heaven sign was about, so he flipped off someone on the road who attempted to congratulate him for the bumper sticker.)
“I started with Matthew and read straight through the gospels,” Jeff says. “All I remember is seeing my sin in the pages and seeing Jesus so gracious and so accepting of sinners. My father left when I was 10 years old, so I had real issues with being accepted. I kept reading and kept seeing Jesus accepting all these people.”
Maybe he can accept me, he thought.
The next time Jeff attended a born-again function, it was a Bible study in Woodland Hills, California, taught by a bassist he had seen on The Tonight Show — a “cool guy who knows Jesus.”
What’s going on?” he thought.
“I was thinking seriously about my mortality and my fear of death. I had people talking about Jesus and how He could save me and set me free from fear and that I could know that if I die I could go to Heaven. I didn’t have to live the way I was living and I could be free,” Jeff says. “That was utterly compelling, but I was also scared to death to give up my life because I wanted to continue to sin, to do my life and not God’s.”
He was living his dream life in Manhattan Beach, California — abusing drugs and alcohol, playing in a rock band called “Tyme,” and surfing everyday — but he was miserable and hung over most of the time.
As The Tonight Show musician taught, Jeff’s fears subsided and the Spirit welled up in him. At the end of the Bible study, the leader asked for everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. “If anyone wants to receive Jesus, raise your hand,” he said.
Don’t put your hand in the air, he told himself, but his hand leaped off his lap. Read the rest: surfer druggie saved in Jesus People Movement pastors in San Fernando Valley.