God Stories #1 – Eric

March 16, 2013 under God Stories
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God Stories #1 - Eric*

God Stories are powerful, but only when they’re shared.  Here’s the first, in what I’m hoping will be MANY, God Stories to be shared on UnlikelyChristian.com.  I hope you enjoy!

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I was a mistake.

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Well that is how I viewed life during my early years. And when I say early years, I mean 22 years to be exact.

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Before I jump in the deep end I want to warn you. I am not a blogger, I am not a writer, and I am not good at keeping it short. So please bear with me as I tell my Unlikely Christian story.

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In 1978 my bio-parents got pregnant with me in Acuna, Mexico. Only one problem, my bio-mom got pregnant when they were going through a tough time/separation. They decided to work it out but my bio-father made a stance, my bio-mom had to either abort me or give me away because he was not going to raise another man’s baby. So my bio-mom made arrangements to give me away for adoption.

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She reached out to her cousin who lived in Texas. He had married a Fort Worth girl but she could not have children due to an illness she had since childhood. Well they jumped all over the opportunity and before they knew it, I was here. Getting over the Mexico/Texas border would take me an hour to write about and could possibly get people in trouble so I will just fast forward 10 years. 🙂

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Now between the ages of 1-10, my life was gravy! We didn’t have much but I was spoiled rotten.

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  • I had too many toys, and I didn’t pick them up.
  • I took over the TV after school everyday.
  • My dad took me fishing or hunting every weekend.
  • My mom made me my favorite meals when I wanted them.
  • I had the best dog ever and his name was Skippy.

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Now up to this point I knew I was adopted but I never felt adopted. It was just a word to me. Then it happened.

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Around 10-11 years old, I had to go back to Mexico to finalize some paper work for my citizenship. Well part of this visit included getting signatures from my bios. I will never forget this day. I remember walking up to a strange couple, both crying, reaching out their arms to hug me calling me son in Spanish. My bio-sisters were there as well which made it even weirder. Now all of this was a bit overwhelming for me at this young age. First off, who are these strange people and secondly, why does this old man resemble me?

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As you can imagine this was tough to process as a kid and no one really spoke to me about this day or even asked me how I was feeling. It was at this time I realized that I was not wanted when I was born because I was a mistake. The bright side to all of this was at least my adoptive parents wanted me.  I was just looking forward to getting home and getting thing back to normal.

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This was not the case unfortunately. A short time later my dad, left my mom and I. I won’t get into details but it was not pretty. My mom was disabled but had to go to work to put food on the table. She worked full time and also ran on dialysis. My dad was off running around so our fishing days and hunting days were no more. Now this left me home by myself with nothing but time. I remember one day listening to a Jackie Wilson tape trying to wish my dad home. It didn’t work and that feeling of unwanted came rushing back to me. So with out my dad there to guide me, who would I follow?

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The answer to this is, I chose the wrong person!

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I was 12 when I started hanging out with my neighbor who was 3 years older than me. Now I wanted to be just like him, he had the latest clothes, the cleanest fade in all of GP, the newest Jordans, an Alpine in his truck, and money in his pocket. Now he was a complete ladies man, he would bring girls home daily it seemed. He always looked after me in our neighborhood and treated me like a little brother. I remember watching him pick up girls, thinking one day I’ll have that same game. It seems harmless but this was the beginning of something bad. I wanted to be just like him. He had everything that made you popular, so I wanted to be just like him! Like I said, this was the wrong person to try and emulate. I picked up some very bad habits from him.

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Six months after turning 12 I was sexually active. But this was not my decision. My neighbor’s niece stayed the summer and flirted with me daily. She was 18 years old and most young boys dream. Looking back at this I was completely used and many would call it child abuse. At least that is what the counselor told me. 🙂 I struggled calling it that for a long time because I wanted it too and I didn’t like the idea of being a victim of sexual abuse. But it happened and this led to bad habits I battled for a long time.

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My dad eventually worked things out with my mom when I was in HS but the damage had already been done. I was going down a path that was not God’s design. I don’t blame my dad for any of what happened, he is my pops and I love him dearly. I am grateful that he adopted me and spent time with me. It is just a shame that he left when he did. I understand he had his own brokenness to deal with. Unfortunately it happened at a vulnerable age for me.

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By the time I hit 19 my life I had little going right. I got my High School girlfriend pregnant and I was a father at the age of 17. I dropped out of school with 2 days left in the year because I got in a fight. Yep that right, 2 days left in school. Not my proudest moment. I was involved in a neighborhood distribution business to make ends meet since I couldn’t get a good paying job to take care of my little one.  I helped my cousin as a bookie taking payments and bets. Not too dangerous but later found out it was illegal. I treated sex very casual like the rest of pop culture.

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Then it happened. My mom passed away in May 1999. With no siblings to lean on and a father that completely fell apart, I was more alone than I had ever been. Between the months of May 1999 and Dec 1999, I don’t remember much. I know there was a lot of drinking with my dad and long sad nights.

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One night my boys drug me out to the club and wouldn’t you know it I met my future wife. Go figure huh.

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I met my wife in December 1999 and within 6 months we started living together. We had something special but we were living together out of wedlock, which led to all kinds of drama. She had mentioned church a few times and sometime in 2001 my Aunt invited us to church. I know invites might not seem important but this invite changed the course of our lives.

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June of 2001, we attended Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX. Ed Young Jr was on stage with his brother Ben. The message was titled “The One”. It was about finding your spouse. I don’t remember anything from it except for this line.

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“Ladies, if you are living with your boyfriend and having pre-marital sex, why will he buy the cow if he is getting the milk for free?!”

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#TruthBomb

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I remember thinking “Oh great, she is definitely leaving now.” What I didn’t know was that God had planted his seed inside her and me.

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A few days later, we had an argument and I asked her if we should try it God’s way? Well she moved back home with her mom and I thought for sure we would fail. God had something else planned for us. Three weeks after she moved back home, I accepted Jesus Christ in my heart. We were baptized together on the same day.

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When I got saved I realized something, I wasn’t a mistake. God had a plan for me the entire time. All I had to do was accept his grace and love.

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Four weeks later, I proposed to her at church at the same fountain we were baptized in. Eight months later we got married in her grandma’s house and she made me the happiest man in the world.

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It has been nearly 12 years since I accepted Jesus in my heart and it was my best decision ever. I am not proud of my past or the decisions I made but I am thankful for my lessons learned. That my story so far, but that’s not the end. I am just getting started!

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GP TexMex

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I am truly blessed to call Eric a friend.  He’s spoken so much truth into my life and helped me to grow as a Christian & spiritual leader, more than he knows.  His faith, I aspire to have.  Thanks Eric, for FINALLY sharing your story!
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Want to share your God Story?  E-mail it to me at me@unlikelychristian.com
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Live Second – Influencers

January 15, 2013 under Unlikely Christian
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So, a couple months back, I AM SECOND asked me to guest blog in their “60-Days-of-Second” campaign to promote their new book, “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First.”  I was assigned ‘Week 10’ from the book and asked to write 4 posts.

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Before you dive into post numero dos, check out this I AM SECOND video.

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Live Second – “Influencers”

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Yes, we should definitely tell influential people about Jesus!

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Yes, we, being the influential people we are, should definitely share Jesus with others!

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I couldn’t agree more.  What great truth for influential people, and people who know influential people.

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I, however, am neither.

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The end.

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Wait…..hold up…..back up…..

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Dude…..did you even watch the Stephen Baldwin – I AM SECOND video?!?!

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A self absorbed, money hungry, wealthy, Hollywood actor was influenced by a woman who was hired to clean his house.

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How absolutely fantastic is that?!?! 

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Think about that for a second.  Those are two people on totally opposite spectrums and if anybody is going to influence anybody, much less change a life in that relationship; 99.9999 times out of 100 it’s going to be the other way around. 

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Man…..I love this story because it has God’s stamp all over it.  I mean, who else but God can orchestrate a divine appointment such as that? 

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As Christians, we shouldn’t really be surprised to hear a story like this, because that’s how God rolls.  He loves to use unlikelys to do the unlikely.  Just open your Bible and see the unlikely cast of characters God uses to do amazing things. 

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Paul lived to persecute Christians, then not only became one, but went on to write a big chunk of the New Testament.

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David, the runt of the litter, almost an afterthought in his own family, went on to become a king, and a man after God’s own heart. 

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Moses was a murderer with a confidence problem when it came to public speaking, but was nevertheless handpicked by God to lead His people out of slavery. 

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A prostitute named Rahab provides refuge and an escape route for Joshua’s spies, then ends up in the genealogy of Jesus.

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Mary, a teenage virgin, gives birth to God in the flesh, in a barn.

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The list of unlikelys goes on and on, Gideon, Esther, Joseph, Sarah, etc…. 

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And since God is unchanging, He still uses unlikelys today – unlikely people & unlikely situations, e.g. Stephen Baldwin & his cleaning lady.  I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope, because I’m an unlikely. 

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It was unlikely, wait…..scratch that, it was highly unlikely that I would ever become a Christian, but I did.  And my life, since I gave it to God five years ago, can only be described as unbelievably unlikely.  It’s completely different now and because of God, I’m doing things today that I never ever thought I’d be doing…..like ever.

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You know what else is unlikely? 

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My influence reaching an influential person. 

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First off, I don’t really know any influential people, certainly no Hollywood actors, professional athletes, musicians or anybody who might one day end up sitting in the “I AM SECOND” chair.  

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Secondly, I’ll just be honest here; talking to people isn’t really my strong point.  I’m a little bit socially awkward, plus I’ve got this whole introvert thing going against me.  God has been chipping away in this area over the last 5 years, and we’ve made great strides, but He’s still got His hard hat, safety vest and work gloves on, so to describe me as an influential person would be a stretch in my mind. 

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But here’s the good news, where I say, “Unlikely!”

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God says, “Give Me those odds all day long!”

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God is setting our divine appointments, some of which are unbelievably unlikely.

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Our job:  Be open and willing to share.

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God will do the rest.

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*FootnoteTo my peeps at I AM SECOND, if you found yourself feeling sorry for me because I don’t know anybody famous, next time David Murphy, Bethany Hamilton or Lecrae drop by HQ, hook a brother up.  I’ll bring the donuts. J

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Hashtags:  #GodCanUseYou  #BeAnUnlikely  #LiveSecond

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Live Second – Your Great Story

January 15, 2013 under Unlikely Christian
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So, a couple months back, I AM SECOND asked me to guest blog in their “60-Days-of-Second” campaign to promote their new book, “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First.”  I was assigned ‘Week 10’ from the book and asked to write 4 posts which would be featured in December.  

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Well…..not sure what happened as far as the guest blogging goes, but I’m ready to share so…..  

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Here’s the first one.

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Live Second – “Your Great Story”

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“Not many of us can say God saved us from wandering naked in the hillsides, but we still have a great story to tell.”Live Second – Week 10, Day 3

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Well…..Not many of us can say that, but I……yeah, I can’t say that either, but God did cure me from a debilitating disease…..wait, no, I can’t say that either.  I had a crippling dark addiction that had my marriage on the ropes, until God swooped in and…..nope.  My bungee cord snapped and God…..The stray bullet missed my head by a fraction of…..I had the note all written out…..Nope, nope and nope. 

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“…..but we still have a great story to tell.” 

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Me?

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A great story?

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GREAT?!?

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Shortly after I became an Unlikely Christian, I noticed the word “Testimony” seemed to be a big player in the church.

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“Wow, great testimony!”

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“Have you heard her amazing testimony?”

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“His testimony brought me to tears.”

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That’s how I was used to hearing it.  It was always somebody else’s testimony, but then one day I heard somebody say, “You need to be ready to share your testimony at anytime.”

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“Oh okay…..Wait, what?!?!  My testimony?!?!  I need to be ready to share MY ‘God Story’ at any moment, like there’s going to be some Christian pop quiz or something?  Wait, is there going to be a quiz?”

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Needless to say, that really got me thinking about my testimony, and my conclusion – “I hope this pop quiz is graded on a curve because mine is severely lacking.”

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I used to think I didn’t have a good “God story.”  Certainly nothing worthy of making people say, “Wow! I soooo need to have God in MY life now!  Thanks Bill!”

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I mean, after all, I was just a regular guy who didn’t like church and didn’t really see a need for God in my life, and then, I found myself on the other side of that.  Hashtags:  #Boring  #Yawn  #Zzzzzz….. 

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Okay, I’m selling that a little short.  In a nutshell, I considered God, Church and all things religion, to be nothing more than nonsense for the weak-minded, aka Christians.  So actually, me being where I am today, is a truly miraculous story to me and to those that knew the me B.C. (Before Christ), but what about to somebody who didn’t know me before?  Would my story be even remotely compelling to them?  When I visualized sharing my story, I pictured glazed over eyes and stolen glances at watches.  So I tended not to share my story very often, and by not very often, I mean never.  

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But then, I carpooled to a men’s retreat with a couple of guys.  After the surface conversation died down, this guy I’d never met before, shared his AMAZING testimony with us.  Hashtags:  #Wow  #Inspiring  #Incredible

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I knew what was coming next…..a pop quiz.  “So how about you Bill?  What’s your story?”

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So I told him.

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He was speechless.  Obviously he’d fallen asleep in the backseat.

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But then I got an unexpected grade.  He thought my testimony was great!  And it wasn’t one of those fake compliments, like when your grandma says she likes the shading on your new face tattoo, it was completely genuine.

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The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my testimony was a great testimony.  And on top of that, it’s a testimony that a lot of people can relate to.  I didn’t fully realize that until I started sharing though.

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Hmm…..imagine that.

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Guess what?  Your testimony is great too!  True, it may not be the stuff Hollywood screenplays are written about, but the story of a transformed life, your transformed life, is so much more powerful than you can imagine, but only if you share it.

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And here’s the way God works, you start sharing it, He’ll bring the people into your life that need to hear it.  My guess, there’s a good chance He already has.

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So……what’s your great story?  Hashtags:  #SharingIsCaring  #WhatRUWaiting4?  #LiveSecond

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