When I reminisce about the past, I try to remember all the ‘good’ stuff I was involved in and forget the negative things which happened in our family.
Parents, one thing I cannot forget is the way a step-brother was treated. He got the cheap ‘stuff’ “because he asked for it” for birthdays and Christmas. Now I would ask for similar things and clothes, but I always got the better things.
He would get slapped, poked, pinched, and verbally abused. He was even threatened when he wanted to tell his parent about things. (I’m intentionally not telling you if it was my mom or his mom to protect the guilty in this story.)
He was banned from school activities for no reason. He joined football, band, or any other sport he could into just to get out of. When he got into drugs and I got into crime, everyone wondered what was happening to our family.
Actually, there was no family. I got into crime and was very pleased to get taken away
from my family. Yep, I got 4 years for my crimes of burglary, vandalism, arson (I tried to burn down the school and our house!), and I sold porno in 3rd. grade, but nothing happened.
My brother got into drugs, grew pot in the back yard and the family farm. He spent time in the county jail for drugs, but then the folks would get him out.
Yes, our family involved ‘his’, ‘hers’ and ‘ours’ children. There were 7 boys who played ‘ole billy’ as they say. If not in trouble with the legal system… let’s say this way, one thought he was God’s gift to women and another one thought he WAS God. Yes, once he took his family to the cotton fields and told his wife it was time to meet Jesus!
We had an awesome family! No one wanted their daughters marrying us. (I wonder why?)
I’ll never forget the day the Holy Spirit came to me. I didn’t know what was happening, but I did know I wanted to “join the church”. That’s all I knew to say.
Today, I know what the physical shaking and drawing in my inner soul was. It was the Lord calling out to me. He was reaching out to me to change my life into His way.
In the next year, I would have dreams about men taking me from my parents. They would ‘beat’ us with belts and make us work hard. When we acted up, there was always work to do.
One day, sitting in front of a County Judge, I knew what those dreams meant. Now they were coming to fruition.
Yes, the kind, wise judge gave me the choice of Brownwood, Texas or a Boys’ Ranch in Amarillo. I didn’t know about the ranch, but I did know about the Juvenile Correctional system of Texas. Brownwood was the intake facility. They beat boys with water hoses and abused them over and over.
Cal Farley’s Boys’ Ranch saved my life and led me to Christ. Yes, at age 15, they took me to a summer camp. I had never been to summer camp before or even heard of it. Our church didn’t have such a thing!
That summer in Ringold, Louisiana I experienced the true meaning of giving your life to the Lord. That is the place I truly experienced a salvation experience with Christ. Ringold became the place I was called to preach the Gospel.
I’ll never forget being in that chapel in Louisiana, feeling the pull (not a gentle tug) again at my heart. Suddenly I had to run to the front. Not walk, but run! I ran with tears streaming down my face.
When people say, “When did you get saved?” I don’t know except I know the realization of the true meaning of “getting saved” was when I was 15. I knew what that meant at that time.
The Ranch heard about my transformation from a sinner to a saved, excited about the Lord teen. When I got back, I wept at the goodness of God in my life for about a week. I
didn’t know about the Holy Spirit, but I did know about Jesus Christ now.
I wept every times they prayed for our meals. I would sit at the table and shake. My dorm parent took me outside finally and ask “what is the matter?” When I shared with him, he said he knew what I was talking about but life has to go on.
The next December I preached my 1st. sermon to approximately 200 people at home.
Then in February, I preached a 2nd. time to 400 boys and another 100-200 staff at Boys’ Ranch. Yes, that’s about 500-600 people for my second sermon at age 16! WOW!
If only I could find that many to preach to now.
God has been faithful even though many times I have failed Him. Yes, I have run million dollar companies, brought them out of bankruptcy. I have bought 1/2 million dollar businesses for pennies on the dollar to turn them into 3/4 million dollar businesses in 2-3 years.
Today, my wife, Beth and I not only operate Psalms 91 Ministries of Texas and Evangelistic Center, Inc., Ad4j Radio Network, and we are soon to open “Dad’s Workshop” inside “God’s Corner Mercantile” in Seagraves, Texas. That is also where we’re praying about our Ad4j Youth Group! (In case you’re wondering that stands for ‘Armed and Dangerous For Jesus!’)
My memories? Well, that’s been a side line in my life. Now I try to focus on the trip to California that took us 2 weeks to travel, summers in Ruidoso, NM at the cabin in the mountains, and also water skiing at the lake. The negative things in my life, I work to forget, forgive those involved, but more than ever, learn from my parents’ mistakes.
Hope all have a blessed day!