This is Bradley's testimony of how God's irresistable grace took a hold of his life and brought him to Mars Hill.
I grew up in Texas, and was practically raised in church. I had a father active in ministry, often as full-time staff member in some capacity or another. Throughout those years, I’d also seen more than enough misconduct in the church, and as a result I became angry.
Here I was this thoroughly churched sixth grader who somehow, in a few short years, turned into a strung-out, drug addicted, misguided, rebellious, criminal and high-school dropout. I started going to rehabs when I was 15. By the time I was 19 I had gotten into a high-speed police chase involving a helicopter and ending with some well deserved police brutality. During the entirety of the chase I chain smoked, flicking my cigarettes at the growing fleet of police vehicles around me. I once overdosed on a Walgreens pharmacy bathroom floor on Christmas morning while my family wondered where I was, or if I was even still alive. At one point I slept on the side of a grocery store in downtown Los Angeles for weeks. I've begged for cigarettes. I've tried to kill myself.
At the time I thought of myself as an artist. When I was a kid on drugs I saw myself as this prolific songwriter, with what I thought were very cool friends. The relationship I had with drugs seemed almost romantic to me, but at some point I realized I was spinning out of control.
I moved all around the southwest. I wandered around for years, lost, in New Mexico, injecting meth and heroin. I stayed awake, weighing next-to-nothing, broke and homeless. I went to jail a bunch of times, and to prison once as well. One time I got my grandfather’s nursing home raided. I was cussing and fighting the cops as the confused elderly folk (including my grandfather) looked on. I sobered up in jail only to face an unbearable guilt that would beat me into submission over and over again every waking second of the day. I was once arrested at the Alamo with no shoes on for vagrancy. I've been extradited, beat up, robbed, and all throughout these years I was really really sad.
Then, one Sunday night, at the age of 26, I prayed to God and told him that I didn't need to be happy, if he would just help me to be OK—that would be good enough I told him. On Wednesday the following week God, in a very real way, raised me from the dead in an instant. The presence of the Holy Spirit was overwhelming. I felt God there in the room with me. Out of the blue the grace of God came in and overwhelmed me, without warning and like a flood.
That weekend, while still sick, I began looking for a church. I went to three services in the course of two days but had no idea what I was looking for. I weighed 100 lbs., still had track marks all over my body, and all I knew was that I needed to find a body of believers to help me get a grasp of this impossible thing that had happened to me—and to help me keep it going! I was so scared that I would wake up and it wouldn't be real.
That Sunday, in October of 2010, a long-lost friend instant messaged me on Facebook. He had no idea what I had been up to. He just felt strongly compelled to reach out to me that day and invite me to go with him to a church called Mars Hill. “Of course,” I said! I shared my experience with him and we laughed and rejoiced together at the uncanny timing of his invitation.
That was all years ago. Today I'm married, in school, serving on the Mars Hill worship team, working full time, and have been sober for many years. More than anything else I am thankful to God, and looking forward to what he has in store for me next! God is so good! Irresistible grace isn't just an abstract doctrine to me. It reached out, grabbed me, wrestled me down and led me to repentance. Thank you Jesus!
What's Your Story?
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