Drugs, Rock and Amen?

15 05 2016

I used to get invitations to speak at youth groups, mostly church affiliated, about my past Rock _nlife playing in rock bands and taking drugs. Of course the purpose wasn’t to bring accolades to these subjects; it was to talk about a dark past with no hope of a future that is until I came to know Jesus as Savior. This wasn’t an unusual method that some churches were using back in the 70s in an effort to deter the teens of the day from making mistakes. And since I also had heard ones speak on this subject, I learned it wasn’t that hard to emulate. For 45 minutes you would tell incredible stories like almost making it to the top, but drugs became the hammer that made all the dreams come crashing down, leaving life in complete desolation. I would tell stories that would keep my audience in awe with some funny tales thrown in so the mood wouldn’t get too heavy, that is, until the big crash and burn. But take heart, all would be salvaged in the last few minutes by taking about Jesus and how I was now a changed man. Afterwards people would crowd around to tell me how my story encouraged and convicted them to do right. Truthfully, it left me feeling pretty good up as I sat there on my high horse; that is until one comment from a young boy knocked me right out of the saddle.

I noticed him sitting by himself toward the back of a group I was speaking to one evening. This pimple-faced youngster kept the same blank stare on his face during the whole presentation. At the close others came forward to talk to me, but I noticed him again standing in the distance still staring with that same empty expression. When I able get away; I walked over, shook his hand and introduced myself. “Well it’s obvious you have something on your mind,” I said. “Is there anything I can help you with?” That was a question I wished I hadn’t asked soon after.  “You spoke of your wild life and of your change; everybody thinks you’re pretty cool. Well I’ve never drank, took drugs smoked or used foil language. I’ve known Jesus all my life and try to do the things the Bible says I should.” That’s awesome,” I told him. Then he continued, “So why does someone like you who lived a life doing wrong seem great to people and someone like me who’s tried to do right gets picked on and treated like I’m weird?” I put my arm around his shoulder and said, “You’re doing awesome and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” Even though I tried convince him that he wasn’t looked at as weird, truth of the matter is I knew he was.

His words rang in my ears all the way home and that night when I tried to sleep. I’d seen kids like him all my life; be it classroom, sports, recreation and yes even church youth groups, you’ll always find that one who doesn’t fit in simply because he’s different perhaps like my young friend here. Because of his convictions and ways he was seen as different than the rest, the square peg trying to fit in a round hole as some would say. Those differences made him a target for teasing and insults, an outcast from the very ones who should have been his support, his friends. Then along comes someone like me with stories of hell-raising which were alright to tell so long as I took a moment to go, “Yea God” at the end. That young man’s remark made me take a hard look at myself and ask what I was doing that was so great anyway and who was I really doing it for.  Corrie ten Boom said, “It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.”

Whenever I spoke I emphasize all “I” had done, truthfully not giving more credit to God for a changed life. That’s not saying I was faking a belief in the Lord, I just hadn’t taken the time to get to know who I was supposed to be representing, while totally missing opportunities to tell of His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

I remember opening the Bible and seeing these words for the first time – “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:2).   In other words “Man sees your action, but God sees your motive.” Here was an avenue that made me popular with many, but did little to tell about Christ who I claimed to represent. There’s a saying from my neck of the woods that goes like this, “That dog don’t hunt!” That lad’s question showed me how my testimony was nothing more than a farce, something to make me look good while forgetting to pay rightful tribute to the One who made me who I am today or to quote an old hymn, “a sinner redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.” To some that may not sound as cool as playing Rock music or having a Psychedelic drug experience, but when you look at it from a standpoint of what God offers us eternally, well it’s more awesome than your wildest dreams.

I stopped taking speaking engagements and became a little known blog writer in hopes of telling a little of my story and a whole lot of my Savior’s. Do I accomplish that? Well time will tell, I guess. As for the young “Traveler of the Rock Road” that challenged me, I hope to one day run into him in Heaven.  I have something to tell him,“You may not remember me, but you’re one of the coolest people I ever met. You are my Hero!”
See ya next time.




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