Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Will You Be You?

One night, my “friends” and I ‘raised hell’ in a bar. When they called the police, we fled into a back alley. I climbed a chain-link fence but was grabbed by a cop and went to jail. I thought it was my end. It was the beginning.

I was a star football player, so they let me off.  I got a scholarship from Central Michigan. I benched 405 lbs and got a reputation as a badass ”gorilla” because I got into fights and did stupid and wild things for no reason.

I grew up in a fervent catholic family of eight. My mother and I were very close. She worried, as my violent ways were not how she raised me. I got arrested again in college. That night in jail I began to think; “Who am I? There has to be more to life”. Again, football got me out of jail.

Then one day, I severed my hamstring in practice. Slowly I began to lose my fame. I was devastated as I hobbled around campus on crutches. I had no other identity. At this time, my mom sent me one of her boxes of cookies.

In the bottom of the box, she had hidden something. When I saw IT, I thought “Oh mom, no way. I’m never going to read THAT”. ... a New Testament. My friend, please, don’t get scared away. I’m not going to tell you that you have to be good, go to church and pray a sinner’s prayer.
I hid from my fears in my music and hard ass image. No one knew who I was inside. Not even me. Without football, I lost the exclusive attention and identity. I remembered a “deal” I made with God in high school; if He would let me make All City (which would lead to a scholarship to escape my small town) I would seek Him in some way.

I had forgotten all about this deal... but He did not. I was afraid I would lose my “badass” image if my friends saw me read The New Testament, so I hid it under my stereo. Slowly, I began to read the gospel of John. It was not at all what I thought. Jesus offers the power of God to make us new (2 Cor.5:17/Jn.12:25). Our self-image is shaped by the people and influences that surround us. But at any moment in life, we can choose to reach beyond ourselves to “see” what we have not seen.
I knew I was a wicked dude. I couldn’t change on my own. God was the farthest thing from my way of life. I had no idea how He works. But I began TO THINK: “What If Jesus is actually alive today? What if He really offers something more to life?  I read “Come to Me...(not a man or church) ...You must be born again .... out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” (Mt. 11:28 / Jn.3, 7:37). Wow. What is all this?

How do you “come” to an invisible God?  I discovered FAITH (Mt.18:3/Heb.11:6). God knows we can never be, or do, anything good enough to get to Him (Rm.3:10).  So He designed a plan, with His Son, not dependent on our abilities. Faith is a decision to humble yourself, admit your sin and believe; God came to earth, as a man in Jesus, to know our every pain and obstacle. He “atoned” for all sin of all men “for all time” on the cross (Heb.10:12,14).  He bore our nature of a crazy gorilla.
Jesus is a Person, not a religious system called “church”. He rose from the dead. He offers unlimited forgiveness and eternal life, here and now. This is your chance to escape the punishment of hell for sin and find His greatness for you. No hype. Faith. Speak from the heart; “Jesus, come, save me”.  I chose to follow Jesus and was born again in the football stadium at the University of Notre Dame June 14th, 1974.

Soon afterward, I watched my beloved mother die of cancer. A man came to our house and zipped her into a black bag. I wept in such pain it broke me. At times we all feel so alone. No one really cares. So many things like this can shatter you. But I chose to fight the fight of faith. In weakness, I found power (2Cor.12:9). There is nothing but depression in living for yourself.

You can change the world. Everyone told me “You need people”. What an insult to the Father. What you need is to understand the cross; to die to yourself (Rm.6:6/Gal.2:20/Jn.12:25). Today’s phony system of ‘preacher$’ for an hour on Sunday is not the church (Mk.7:6, Acts.17:24, Mt. 23, Jn.4:24, 2Tm.3:5). Don’t look to others. I got so sick of being what others expected me to be. What about you? Will you be you?

Today, I live to love. I am broken, like all men, but find true identity in the Living Jesus and His Scriptures. In over 50 countries and in many prisons I learn how to touch the suffering of others with the love of Jesus. It is not a “ministry”. It is the “living water” which God offers to a world gone mad (Jn.7:37/12:32). Don’t take this pamphlet lightly. The Father is calling YOU. He needs you.
My friend, don’t hide in your pain in bitter self-pity. Life is too short and empty. If a stupid “Gorilla” like me, named Michael, can find God’s mercy, so can you. Don’t live without God. Get Him on your side. Your moment is now. He will lead you to be extraordinary. Be still. Talk directly to Jesus. Study the Scriptures. Take a plane trip to a 3rd world country, come visit my family and I. It’ll change your mind. If you act for God, He will act for you.

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Accurate, first hand information pertaining to the message and ministry of the international evangelist and musician Michael Peter Woroniecki, his wife Rachel Woroniecki and their six children.

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