On November 1, 1971, I met Jesus Christ. It was, far above any other day, the greatest day of my life.
I ran away from home when I was 15, but, like the Prodigal, soon found myself with the pigs. I found sloppy friends and a sloppy lifestyle. I became a great advocate of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and grass, but found no satisfaction. I practiced and taught Hatha Yoga and Transcendental Meditation, but neither could fill the God-sized hole in my heart – that only God could ever fill. I attempted a career as a motorcycle mechanic, but my love for amphetamines would not allow me to keep a steady job.
Disappointed with life, I attempted suicide, but failed—even at that.
However, late on Halloween night in 1971 as I was dealing speed on the streets of Memphis, Marvin Cavanaugh, the new director of Memphis Teen Challenge, told me of the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. He shared with me II Corinthians 5:17. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things will pass away; behold, all things are become new.”
I went back to my house, heavily under conviction. My life was in shambles. I had a $20 bill, a few clothes and a stolen bicycle. Life was passing me by and I did not have the answers I sought.
I paced the floor during the early morning hours and finally challenged Jesus—yes challenged Him—to come into my life and forgive my sins. I knew that if He could change John Knoles, He could do anything. And He did! He forgave me and instantly set me free from drugs and alcohol. Thirty three years later, I am still free. I am 55 years old now and life just gets better and better!
Later that day, I entered the Teen Challenge program and became the first graduate of the Memphis center in 1972. Later that year, I met the love of my life. God sent me an angel named Doris Marie. We recently celebrated our 31st anniversary.
Have I had my share of trials? Yes. But because of the precious Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I have overcome them all. Life with Jesus is dynamic. He is the answer to all our questions about life.
I cannot end this testimony without giving honor to Marvin, who led me to the Lord, and my Pastor, mentor and friend these past fifteen years—Tommy Barnett. My family continues to be taught, strengthened and encouraged by him. Because of His visionary leadership, our entire family is serving the Lord with all their hearts.
Thank you, Marvin and Pastor Tommy—and thank you Jesus—for everything!