Saturday, September 17, 2005


In my last posting, I mentioned a life changing experience I had, and promised I would give details on another post. I suppose this would be as good a time as any.

Unlike almost everyone I know, I don't recall the exact day of my conversion, but it was in the late summer of my 21st year.

I was fully involved in the drug culture by this time, and had taken to hanging out at a downtown park by the river side with many other druggie friends (I use the term "friends" loosely). I would spend nearly every night there until the early hours of the morning, or until we were "asked" to leave by the police.

We spent our evenings sitting on the ground in small groups sampling the various types of illegal drugs. I was addicted, at least psychologically, to amphetamines, commonly referred to as "speed". So, when Rich Bachelor calls me a freak, he is half right. I was a speed freak. Now, I suppose I could be called a Jesus freak by some, although I am not really that devout, as I should be.

I had also done a little dealing, but it wasn't for the money. It was to help others enjoy the same euphoria I did. Once, I sold a guy, whom I only knew as "Pepper", a fist full of red capsules cheap. I made no profit.

Later, he and another guy, whom I didn't know but knew of, nicknamed "Fast Eddie", Tied another acquaintance of mine to a chair and injected him with enough barbituates to kill a horse.

They killed him. Literally. On purpose.

The killed him because they suspected him of being a narcotics informer, or "narc". He wasn't.

The acquaintance Fast Eddie and Pepper killed was nicknamed "Lucky".


Okay, I told you all that to illustrate how far I had plunged into the maelstrom. And I was still living with my parents at the time! My father was an ordained minister, though he wasn't a pastor, just a Sunday school teacher at the time, but he had pastored before and would again eventually. My mother was the associational director of the Girl's auxiliary. We were a very church oriented family. My parents made me go to church reguarly no matter how I fought them.

My one tenuous connection with reality.

I was sufficiently independent by now, so I had managed to distance myself from my family and their church while attempting to fool my Christian peers into thinking I was one of them.

I lived a double life! Forgive me the exclamation point, but I just now realized that fact.

My parents, specifically, my mother, talked me into attending services at a city wide revival meeting, known as a "Crusade". The evangelist conducting the revival was Rev. James Robison. Here is a picture of him and his wife, Betty.

He has a syndicated program on Christian TV stations now.

All that week I had attended, but paid no attention to the sermons preached. I watched hundreds of people make personal decisions of conversion and rededication. It had no effect on me.

Until the last night. I remember I was sitting a few rows behind and to the left of my brother, the same one who had introduced me to drugs. The meeting was taking place in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, where the National Baseball Congress had their annual tournament. We were outdoors.

Sometime during Rev. Robison's message that night, an ambulance went screaming by on the street outside the stadium. It interrupted Robison's discourse. Then he said the only sentence I heard that night up until then:

"Whenever I hear an ambulance siren, I wonder if some poor soul is slipping off into eternity without Jesus."

That one statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I don't know why. Call it divine intervention. To this day, when I hear an ambulance, I wonder the same thing.

That was when I was converted. The stepping out of my seat, walking down the steps to stand in front of the podium when the sermon was over and the invitation had begun, and reciting of "the sinners prayer" were merely formalities. I was convicted, converted, and forgiven by that one statement.

I have, at many times since then, regressed back to a depraved lifestyle, and as many times, upon confession, He has forgiven me.

"But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day."

Although I'm not religious, I am still a Christian.


The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

All I can say my brother is AMEN!


William said...

That's a pretty interesting story. I know that I will not ever forget it because everytime that I hear a siren, I will be compelled to think the same thing....

RJay said...

Hello Mark,
I know from where you come. I too was addicted, not so much drugs, but alcohol. Over the years of my continuous drinking I lost everything, my family, my home, my business. 13 years ago I found myself in a hospital on a gurney.
While on that gurney I arrested 3 times and each time the doctor brought me back.
After my 10 day stay in the hospital I called a friend I knew was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
This November 9 I will will have 13 years sober.
I know I shouldn't break my anonymity, but as you know Julius Sebastian isn't my real name.

On February 19, 2002 I started a web site called Sober Place Since that time the site has received nearly 72,000 hits from all over the world. The site is used by many recovery homes including the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, CA to help patients find AA and NA meetings in there home state or country.