The Authority to Change
Updated: Aug 25, 2021
September 2021 • Newsletter
Since the time he was small, John has always had a problem with authority.
“I didn’t want people telling me what to do. If I wanted to do it, if I felt like it was right… even if it was wrong, that’s what I was gonna push myself to do.”
It’s an attitude that not only got John removed from multiple schools growing up; it got him kicked out of his own home by the time he was 15. Couchsurfing and selling drugs to get by, it wasn’t long before his attitude, again, got him in serious trouble with authority.
“A cop was trying to arrest me and I didn’t wanna get arrested, so I punched him.”
Not surprisingly, John was arrested anyway and then sent to prison. Two additional prison sentences later, he was ready to admit that “doing what he wanted to do” was getting him nowhere fast. Then this rebel did something totally out of character.
He surrendered to Jesus – the highest authority.
“I was in county (jail) and I just... I cried out to God and I said, ‘Hey look, if You’re real, You’re gonna have to change me. I obviously can’t do this on my own. Show me who you are.’ And He did.”
Prompted by the Holy Spirit, John started reading the Bible all day, every day in jail while he waited for his prison sentence to begin. A spark of hope had been lit inside this young man. When he got to prison, your support of Along Side Ministries helped fan that spark into a flame.
“I started going to [Along Side Ministries] services and there was just this fire in me and a hunger for the Word of God and to serve Him. I was able to start learning more and more and they helped me understand who He is and who I am in Him.”
Over time, the exposure and teaching of God’s Word began to have a radical effect on John.
“It was a 180-degree difference. The other times I was in prison, I was getting high, I was in fights, I was putting in work for the enemy. Really, that’s the only way to put it. This time, all I wanted to do was tell everyone I knew about Jesus. When I ran out of people I knew, I went to random people in prison and shared the Good News.”
Clearly on fire for the Lord, we paired John with Tom Timmers, one of our experienced mentors, to guide his transition from prison to self-sufficiency.
“I call him First Stringer, ‘cause he’s definitely a heavy hitter for Christ! He has a huge heart for God. He met with me twice a month, every second and fourth Friday. He taught me about forgiveness, repentance and seeking out wise counsel for big decisions. Since then, I’ve gone to him about finances, relationships, my marriage and more and it’s all been better thanks to what he’s revealed to me in the Word.”
Today, John the drug dealing, hot-headed brawler is a thing of the past. He’s a new man thanks to the prayers and support of friends like you. He’s not only a graduate of Along Side, he’s sober and level-headed, he’s employed, a good husband and father and he even has twins on the way! He and his wife are saving for a house and working on clearing up fines from old court cases with the help of Along Side Ministries’ staff.
“Alongside has continued to help me and others who have graduated. No matter what the circumstance is, if it’s within their power to help, they will help you keep moving forward. They’ve changed my life!”