Rick grew up in the Pittsburgh area. He grew up in a Christian home, mom and dad both believers. But at the age of 14, Rick decided that the Christian life wasn’t for him. Instead the lure of drugs and the habit of marijuana quickly captured his life. By the age of 16, Rick was drinking. Then he found money to be made as a dealer. So his life became filled with dealing, drinking, and getting high. Until heroin got a hold of him. This was his life for the next 20 some years. Until he found himself, living in a vacate house with no running water, no electricity, no heat, and now no money. He lost is day job. He lost his job as a dealer. His life had spiraled to a place where he was no longer welcomed in his family home and his alternative was to live either on the streets or in this vacant house.
It was then when he heard of a place where he good find help, real help. Here with this ministry, Rick was able to clean himself up a bit. He started straightening out his life. He was beginning to see and feel the love of Jesus Christ, as the pastor and staff of the house ministered to him.
Rick was making great improvement. Until one night, with the seasons changing, Rick wanted to go to his mother’s house to get some warmer clothes. So he ask the pastor to drive him to retrieve some clothes. But what the pastor didn’t know was that stashed at the house, Rick had hidden a needle and a bag of heroin. Later that night, while the group of men, including the pastor, were meeting for study, Rick excused himself to use the bathroom. The next thing the men heard was a loud thud.
They ran to the second floor bathroom to find Rick laying on the floor. Rick shared that he was down for almost 30 minutes. Paramedics did everything they could to revive him, while pastor and the men stood by praying. After working now for almost 40 minute the one medic said, he would try one last thing. He shoved a needle into Rick’s heart, and immediately, Rick stood up in front of all of them.
Rick’s pastor tells the story that when they were at the hospital, the pastor told Rick that he couldn’t go on living the way he was. That night he almost died and he didn’t yet know the saving grace of God. He would have gone to tell. The pastor says, “I told Rick that he needed to give his life to God that night. That he had to give God his addictions. That he had to surrender his life totally to God. Rick did. And as Rick said, immediately, the addictions were gone. He was a changed man. God had captured Rick’s heart and changed everything about him.
Rick ends his story by sharing what God has done in his life. Rick is totally clean. And has been clean. God led him to a place of leadership within the ministry working along side his pastor. While ministering on the streets, Rick met who would eventually become his wife. After a couple of years, they were married. Not only are they married, but just a few months ago, they welcomed their little boy into their lives. Rick and his wife continue to minister to the lost and the broken who are just like they were.
God is in the business of changing people in radical, powerful ways.
Now, I don’t have a story as dramatic as that. But what God has done and is continuing to do in my is just as powerful. He is changing me. Making me more like his Son with every struggle, difficulty, high, low, joy, and day of my life. Because God is in the business of changing people in radical, powerful ways.
Is he changing you?
When we answer Jesus’s call to “Follow me.” he radically changes who we were to be who he created us to be.
*While the story is true, names have been changed to protect privacy.
Be sure to return tomorrow for day 3 of our series, The COST. And visit the Harvest Church website at, www.HarvestChurchToday.org