I’ve been raised in church since I was 5 years old. I had a typical childhood growing up, school, sports, etc. My parents are Christians so I was always in church. In high school, I began to really excel in baseball. I started hanging with the wrong crowd and started smoking pot, having sex, drinking a lot, and getting in fights. But still playing church. Graduated high school and went to the east coast to play baseball. I started partying heavily and only went to church occasionally, to make my mom happy. Got married to my beautiful best friend in 1986, an awesome southern bell moved back to California in 1988, stopped drinking, pulled my crap together, and had 2 beautiful sons. Still played church (never sold out). I was still dancing with the devil. Everything was going great. I was married for 28 years. I was making great money had a great wife and kids when I did the unthinkable, I had a couple of affairs leading to my divorce. I lost everything, wife, kids, house, toys, dog, job, everything. Again started hanging with the wrong crowd. Took a job collecting for a loan shark out of Oakland. I did some unthinkable things. Started hanging with a club there which was all bad news. I was not even thinking of church or God at all just running blind. A whole lot of things happened between then and now. I kind I knew my whole life, that God had a calling for me. I was just turning my back and running from God. But God was not done with me. One night, in Oakland, in a bar I should not have been in, with a club I had no business hanging with, a fight I was involved in spilled into the street. The police showed up and there I was. What had my life come to? The club members I was with were all getting arrested when an officer took me over to his cruiser. He started naming off all the charges he had on me and told me the men I was with were in and out of jail all the time and would be out by morning, but I didn’t look like them. He asked me if I had any weapons, to put them on the hood of his car. I gave him my 45 (no serial number), brass knuckles, and a switchblade. He looked at me and said this is your get out of jail free card son. Get on your bike and don’t come back to Oakland. Something in my heartfelt funny so I got on my bike, looked over my shoulder and he was gone, just gone. I knew God was in this. On my way home to Turlock I passed a church on 99 with a giant cross out front, and I yelled. “God where are you” and a still small voice said in my ear. I’ve always been here Phil. I pulled my bike over at that church and got on my knees in front of that cross and gave my heart to Jesus, sold out, no more playing Church. Living with guilt for things I have done is over. I am forgiven. Hebrews 13:1-5; 1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. 4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.” God is great and he will never leave or forsake us. All we have to do is call on his name because he is already there.

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