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A Story of a Changed Life

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 5, 2022 7:00 am

A Story of a Changed Life

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Morning morning. How's everybody doing well and have some fun together this morning for the next few minutes, and I really appreciate you guys coming so I somebody to talk to because it's been awful lonely opportunity to talk if you were here so thanks for getting up and coming being with us you know if you're Jewish you can only grow up to be one of three things a non-Jewish Beaux-Arts, a doctor, lawyer, or failure, and an insured definitely falls into category number three. If you now have a nice Jewish boy like me end up doing what I do for a living. That's what I want to tell you all about today and I hope it is. We talk about this, maybe some little piece of my life will connect with some peace in your life and that God will use what were going to talk about today to really make a difference in your life. I was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, as was already said this morning. Both my parents were Jewish. That we were conservative Jews, you know, there are three major branches of Judaism orthodox conservative and Reform.

We were conservative Jews, mom handles every Sabbath you know if you saw the movie fiddler on the roof.

You saw the mother in that movie do that. My mom did that we would go to synagogue on Sundays. I would go to Sunday school at the synagogue. My father would usually go to the men's breakfast and men's fellowship that they had every Sunday at the synagogue I went to Hebrew school twice a week when I was in elementary school and junior high school two days a week after school we would all go to the synagogue and go to Hebrew school and I was bar mitzvahed at age 13. The way every good Jewish boy ought to be. But you know in terms of the real presence of God in our home. It really wasn't there. We didn't own a Bible.

I never read a Bible we didn't sit down and pray before meals. We never prayed at all in my home, but we were just go we were in run-of-the-mill standard Jewish people who went through the things that you're supposed to go through his Jewish people. We went to high holiday services. We went to Yom Kippur. We had a Passover Seder at our home but really the presence of God himself was just simply not a reality in our life. I can remember as a little boy praying few times I can remember laying in bed.

As a little boy talk try to talk to God.

I can even remember a few prayers that I believe he is as a young child. God answered for me and I I I kind of grew up believing that God probably existed on me. I had a sense that God was out there somewhere, but I didn't know him. I didn't know anything about them. I had no connection with them at all and that this is how I grew up when I was 13 I was bar mitzvahed and then immediately after that I would help reading the total Ron. The synagogue sometimes I would go over for daily services which happen that I would read the Tori little bit because I was pretty good at that."

When I got to high school.

My whole relationship with the synagogue began to change. I got involved and I got interested in other things girls and partying and drinking in and let's face it guys, the synagogue just didn't hold much of the candle from there.that's got you know, and so I began to trail off in terms of going to synagogue in the real coup de grace came when I was about the six teen maybe just approaching 17 I was involved in the acting group and at high school in the Thespian troop and when we would practice plays if you weren't particularly on stage and your lines were in it, you know, we would just sit and talk and so I was sitting talking one day with a girl that was also in the play and she began asking me about whether or not I knew for sure I was going to go to heaven. She began asking me about my personal relationship with God will I'd never even heard of a personal relationship with God never really talked to her all thought much about heaven or hell because you just don't talk about that synagogue in Chicago shook me up a little bit so that the very next time I was at the synagogue.

I asked the rabbi if I could talk to him and I asking the question.

I said Rabbi I need to know Jews go to heaven or hell, and he would excuse me and I will know to choose go to heaven or hell I need to know this because I got a girl at my school keeps telling me that that I'm going to hell and he said no he said I sit here and here's what I need to tell you. He said all Jewish people go to heaven.

I said really he said yeah. Hell, he said, is a Gentile problem wonderful. I said that's wonderful. But just so I can defend myself explained to me why this is so I can tell this girl. He said we are all Abraham's descendents and is Abraham's descendents we have a kind of a different arrangement with God than the rest of the world, and I think you mean to tell me that I could do all kinds of stuff you know and I could line I could be nasty and I'm still going to heaven because of Abraham's descendents and he said yeah and actually you know there is a passage that I ran into many years later while I was doing graduate work at Johns Hopkins University from the mission. From the Jewish rabbinic writings that actually says that very same thing. It's in the tractate Sanhedrin and it says that very thing that except for a couple real bombs every Jewish person's going to heaven so I was like wow this is fabulous and I thought to myself, you mean even if I never come to synagogue again.

I'm still going to heaven. And the answer is yes and so that was pretty much the end of my relationship well I took him seriously.

You know. Anyway, I went off to the University North Carolina in Chapel Hill as an 18-year-old young man confident that I was going to heaven because I was Jewish and that that was pretty much the end of the story, but I went off to the University North Carolina excited about being out from under my parents roof excited about having those constraints removed and excited now about being able to do everything I always fantasized about doing but you know when you live in and home you can pull it off, you know, so I joined Social Security when I got to a Chapel Hill and saw the movie animal house. My fraternity made animal house look like you know a Christian day school. I mean you just cannot imagine what went on and I began getting deeply involved in drinking and partying and women and the gambling we would gamble all night we'd start playing cards around for 5 o'clock in the afternoon we play all night long. Then we go, you know, about 8 o'clock not o'clock in the morning go to bed wake up and you know Ethan luncheon about three 4 o'clock start again in this. This was life and the fraternity house you say will what about classes what classes we were there for classes. We were there for fun and all you had to do was take enough classes to stay out of the Vietnam War. In those days and everything was fine and get a 2.0 and everything was was was copacetic. Well I did a couple years of that, but by the beginning of my junior year. All that was starting to get old. I don't know if any of you guys have been down that road, but you know a lot of things that start off like that, being exciting and very titillating. They wear around and after a while it's like get drunk one more time heaven one more woman I mean is you know you just is just not not all that exciting anymore. It's kind of been there done that got the T-shirt type thing you know what I'm saying in his life now, so by the time I was beginning my junior year and all that started getting stale.

I had begun. You know to think a little more seriously about the issues of life. You know where was I going and what was my life all about it was one of my doing herein, and no clinical questions were beginning to plague me.

I didn't have any answers for them and so I ended up that summer up in the Porsche buildup in the Catskill Mountains. A couple friends of mine and I would hitchhike up there and we were looking for a job and we finally found a job working in one of the restaurants. One of the resort hotels up there working in the restaurant and those serving people and we met a lot of money that summer, but this was the summer of 1969 and although what I went up there. I'd never heard the word Woodstock and had no idea what the word Woodstock represented the Woodstock music Festival was happening. Not too very far from where we were working and some friends of mine that I made up there who were from New York, said hey we need to go to Woodstock and on like that's cool what what is it and explain to me at this music music Festival and I was like that's wonderful. So we all bought tickets I may be one of the very few people in the world who actually bought a ticket to Woodstock.

They did sell them honestly. They suspected 50,000 people. That was it and they sold tickets. I wish I had after I mean it would be worth a lot today. I did, but I actually bought a ticket and then 500,000 people showed up without tickets and tickets to know just didn't matter, but I want to Woodstock spent the entire weekend there and as a part of this whole New York experience began to get very deeply involved in drugs. I have dabbled with drugs in Chapel Hill before I going up to New York when I got to New York. What was the first time I ever dropped Ellis friends who said you know if you're looking for answers to questions about the universe. You need to take this stuff. This talk will enlighten you this talk will expand your mind. This talk will help put you in touch with real expanded consciousness, and I was like sounds cool. Let's do it. And so the first time I ever took LSD was up in New York that summer and I as I as I began taking LSD with a lot of grass and weed smoke a lot of hash but but this is the first time I ever did psychedelics.

I came back to North Carolina to Chapel Hill to start the next year of school convinced that I had gotten into the pathway to expand my mind into the pathway that would help me find answers to the universe and I came back is a very strong advocate of drugs as a matter of fact, about 50 or 60% of the people in my fraternity who have ended up using drugs.

I was the one who initially talk them into it initially encourage them to do it and the one who initially provided the drugs for them to get involved. I was an advocate of this and we began doing drugs all the time. I me.

We would smoke so many times a day I grew hair out to my shoulders a bingo after losing my hair done bro down to gross out and so I had this huge Afro almost out to my shoulders and and and and and I wore no bellbottoms into a tank top motorcycle boots and love beads and really look the part, and the nice thing about hair like that is I can hide joints behind my ears and pulled my hair over and not the police would never think to look behind my ears. I figure and so normal. A normal day in Chapel Hill would start off with six or eight joints for behind each year and I as the day went on we would smoke and that was a normal day in Chapel Hill. We dropped LSD three, four, five times a week, sometimes more stable.

If you're taking LSD three, four, five times a week and smoking dope every day.

How in the world did you ever maintain any presence in class.

The answer is we didn't we we we we was much more fun to sit up in a tree and smoked.

Note that it was the go to class and so we just didn't go as a matter fact I brought a copy of my yearbook of the yearbook from Chapel Hill that year, 1969, 1970, because I will.

There's a picture right in the front, a full-page picture of me in several fraternity brother sitting up in a tree, smoking dope and I'll never forget the day it happened. I remember very well the day it happened. We were sitting in the street right in the middle of campus smoking dope. I got a call my math class was happening at that moment or some some class anyway and I remember hearing the down below us about 10 feet down this click click click click and we look down and here's this guy down there looking up, take the snapping pictures of and they say we didn't ever didn't worry you did it occur to you that might be somebody with the police well yell that occurred to us, but frankly it was just too much trouble to get down and so we were just like what you doing down there, man, and he said while taking pictures for the year and we were like okay that's cool. Go ahead and then when the yearbook came out here we are in the front right on the inside front cover the yearbook. This huge picture of us sitting up industry blowing though. I bought it for you see it appear in the front you come up afterwards and see it but that that was life in Chapel Hill and and I'm not telling you this because I'm proud of those days and proud of my lifestyle.

I'm telling you this because I want you to get a sense of who I was at age 21, when Jesus Christ reached down and grabbed a hold of my life I was not some nice run-of-the-mill everyday person who just you know when went about my business and suddenly I decided I wanted to get religious. That's not what happened here. I was living a lifestyle that was about as separated from Jesus Christ and Christianity as you could possibly imagine. I may be the only person in the history of the University of North Carolina to want honors chemistry I got in the honors chemistry because my chemistry grades.

The first two years weren't too bad, but then I never went to class I took in my senior never went to class, never showed up except for the first day at the end of the semester.

The guy gave me an FI thought how dare he give me an F. I went to see him and I pleaded for D and he said are you kidding, you would never hear any front of me.

I just they go to summer school because I flunked honors chemistry. I doubt if there's another student in the history of Chapel Hill that ever flunked honors chemistry. All you do is show up any given day I got it out and I also became well-known in the city of Chapel Hill as a as a dope pusher. We would get dope from New York City. We would travel up there by large shipments of dope bring it back to Chapel Hill cut it and sell it. We had a friend who went to Amsterdam several times a year and would bring hash back sewn into the inside lining of his overcoat. Large amounts of it from Amsterdam and these were the days before the dogs and all of the modern equipment that they have now to stop these both and he generally had no problem whatsoever getting huge amounts of dope in from Europe. Then we would sell it and we would we would go. I would put myself in my last two years of school selling dope. That's how I made my money. I wanted what your regular job, you can make a lot more money and a whole lot easier work just selling dope to people and that's what we did is it will how in the world did you stay out of the grasp of the law mean, how is it that you didn't get yourself arrested well. The truth is almost did in the spring of 1971 just before I became a Christian, a matter of a couple weeks before I made a decision for Christ. There was a knock one morning at the door the house where I was staying and it was the police and there was a guy sleeping out in the living room and the police said we have a warrant. This is totally true story for the arrest of Lon Solomon on dope charges. Is he here while I was there was back in my bedroom and my friend at the front door had enough presence of mind to say, could I please see that the search warrant that a search warrant for the house and the search warrant had the wrong address and had the address of the house next door on and he picked us up and he said you can't come in here this search warrant is not for this house if the house next door you got the wrong address on here and he would let them if they come in. There was dope all over the house, not of been in jail and that they actually went next-door went in the back house. The people living next door friends of ours fraternity brothers of ours. We have sold them the dope that was in their house. They found the dope went to class arrested my fraternity brother right out of his class. Put handcuffs on him, took him to jail.

He got arrested but it what him they were looking for. It was me.

So that's how close it was like this. Back in those days.

I like to say to my friends don't get near me. I'm so hot air crinkles when I walk around because we were well-known.

I mean, the police knew who we were to get a little ahead of myself here all the time I was doing dope like this I want to tell you I actually thought that I was making spiritual progress and I actually thought that spiritually I was I was moving towards a place where I was going to get all these answers to the universe that I cared about and again I'm telling you all that because I want you to understand where I was in in 1970 when Jesus Christ began to make an impact on my life.

Not a real turning point in my life as I look back came in in the very early spring of 1971 I was sitting on a wall in downtown Chapel Hill. There's a little wall right there. If you've ever been there, right on the edge of campus is about 2 o'clock in the morning my friend and our good friend that is the threat of fraternity brother that I do a lot of dope with you and I were sitting there tricked out on LSD and we were talking and I said to him as part of this conversation, I said, you know, David. I said some really Bob is really bothering me. I said, you know, here we are we doing all these drugs and work with the flower people you know were the love children, but instead of getting better. Instead of getting more loving and more caring and and more kind you know I really I feel like I'm getting worse. I feel like I'm I'm getting better but I'm going in the other direction and and he turned to me and he said and I don't know that you he wasn't a Christian. I don't know yet. Any sense of the impact he was about to make in my life, but he turned to me and he said long. He said maybe you're not getting worse. He said maybe you're just getting more honest about what you really been all the time. I was like whoa dude as having an end to him. It was a passing comment to me. It was like a sledgehammer and hit my life because you know I am grown-up believing my own PR I grown-up believing I was a good person a nice person.

A kind person. The giving person and unselfish person to person. It was going to heaven. My rabbi told me and and all of a sudden I was faced with the fact that maybe I wasn't all that all of a sudden I was confronted with the fact that maybe the truth is that that was all a bunch of PR that I've blown out and that the real me was a very different person. And the more I thought about what he said to me, the more I began to realize that that he was right and I began coming to grips with this really taking a hard honest look at myself. I want to tell you what I saw. I didn't like I didn't like what I saw and all of a sudden my perspective on myself totally began to change. Suddenly I began to see myself as a person in need, not a person that was fine and doing all right, but a person in deep and desperate need. Suddenly I began to see myself as being selfish and self-centered and self ingratiating a person who was immoral. A person who was unethical. A person who was profane and I had to finally admit to myself you don't want to see your self. Any other way you are kidding yourself friend you are deceiving yourself and it's a big game, you are not the person you always projected you that you were this is what you really were and it was not not a pretty picture. Well, I began to realize as a result of this that I needed help I needed some change. I needed someone or something that could change me from the inside out and that that was a major turning point in my life because up to that point I didn't really feel I need any outside help.

But now I didn't began to grip me drugs began to become passť. At that point in my life because IVR I realize I've been doing them for years now. I realized they could not change me from the inside out and I decided I needed religion.

I needed God in some form or another. So the first form I got into with Eastern religions. I went out about all these books on Eastern religions. Taoism, which is filled with the T by the way Taoism are a lot of that Confucianism read a lot of back a lot of books about Zen Buddhism by Alan Watts and other writers and read a lot of those books and you know was what was it was interesting about these Eastern religions. They sounded wonderful on paper but I just couldn't make them work in real life. I me I would go out and read Zen Buddhism for the first three hours of the morning sitting in the woods with my legs crossed at all under a tree and then I would get up and say to my friend. Hey, what's for lunch and blow my holes them for the day you understand what I'm saying Zen's gone and I could make this work. I really tried. I mean, I wanted to cut my hair in a ponytail and go dance around on the street with the hairy Christmas and do all the stuff that I hated their food. If everything that food gets it's awful so you know I could be Harry Krishna because I knew I'd starve to death. I could meet so I gave up on me and I Harry Krishna because of that, but I was trying to make the rest of this work and I could so I decided I you know I'm not being used to religion person and I decided maybe what I need to do is I need to go back to Judaism, you know that, my ace in the hole. Maybe I need to go get deeply involved in Judaism and maybe I can find in Orthodox Judaism. The answers that I need for life. So there was a campus rabbi and I went to visit the campus rabbi. I walked into his office with my hair and my bellbottoms everything and I plopped down in his chair and I said to him I said rabbi yeah I said I think God wants me to be a rabbi and he looked at me and he said no I don't think so rabbi lesson I have some deep-seated needs in my life. I've got some questions I really need answers for. And I began sharing with them about the hunger my heart sharing with them about that the needs that I had and he I mean I don't even think he had a clue what I was talking about. He gave me a couple of books to read. I didn't want books I wanted somebody to come up and sit down next to me look me in the eyes and say I know the answers to the questions you're asking. I know how you can get changed on the inside and not be the ugly person that you realize you are and I can help you even do that for me.

I don't think even had a clue how to do that and I walked out of his office and said to him that's that's nothing there for me. That was pretty depressing because Judaism going back to Judaism have, always been my one ace in the hole.

You know I figure if everything else fails, I'll go back to Judaism. Now I'm going back having tried everything else I can think of women drink and party and drugs Eastern religions now Judaism and I still have no answers as to how to change myself and remember guys, the issue for me at this point was not so much that I was concerned about going to hell. I still believe what the rabbi told me that point that I was going to heaven.

That wasn't my issue. My issue was I couldn't find the resources I needed to live life. I couldn't find the answers I needed to make life makes sense and make me into the kind of person I was proud to be. I couldn't find that those were my issue. Why would sit and talk to my sturdy brothers about these things, they thought I completely lost my mind when we would sit around and smoke dope and then I would say to them, you know, guys.

Why are we here at and why did God know why why why we on the earth and and what's our purpose in life and where we going and and and and you know and and what's the meaning of life and they would all go to me all man you know you are bumming us out let you know what is wrong with you that one like it wanted to just be like a normal person you know why we just graduated college and get a job and get married and have kids and raise them up and be a grandfather in the high like normal people live, you gotta have answers to all these stupid question, but the friends begin to think I flipped out, began to wonder what I lost my mind and you know what I begin to wonder whether maybe I've lost my mind. I mean you read about all these guys a go trip out on LSD and they never come back. And I thought well maybe I'm on one of these trips and I never came. I mean, I didn't think that I'd never come back within a wounded never that never comes back things that they never came back to know that make any sense. So I'm like well maybe have never come back. And I'm just don't know. I maybe am really in some psychiatric hospital in Amman going under shock therapy and I'm thinking I'm in orange and hiding under the bed or something you know reality was really messed up for me in those days. I mean that is where I really was and I was so confused I didn't even know were reality was anymore and I begin the plan suicide. I said no this is stupid is absolutely stupid for me to grow up and live that kind of life and go through all the heartache and the pain of living life. I don't even know what I'm doing here and I don't even know what my purpose in life is and I hate the person I am on the inside. This is stupid. Why don't I just go ahead and take my life and I was really planning on it but I procrastinated so many things that I now was going to.

I just hadn't gotten around to it but I but I had every intent at every intent of doing this and and in the spring of 1971. All of that change. One spring day in Chapel Hill. I was walking on the street. The traveler travel is only about two blocks and I was walking down Chapel Hill this nice warm spring day break out a day with my daughter had a German Shepherd about a 80 pound German Shepherd 85 pound German Shepherd named know how to why name you know about the God had him since he was a pup and and he got into a fight, a little dogfight right in front of the weirdest man in the universe. Let me tell you about the weirdest man in the universe. The weirdest man in the universe was a man named Bob Eckardt, Bob Eckardt was a man in his 40s at the time who worked in durum about 8 miles away from Chapel Hill, but he would come to Chapel Hill every Saturday with his Econoline van is white Econoline van. He had Scripture verses written all over the side of his white Econoline Danny had two big megaphone speakers mounted on the roof of his van connected up to a record player, where he would play scratching all 78 humans and blasting down the street out of these two megaphone. He would stand out on the street corner of Chapel Hill handing out pamphlets about Jesus Christ and he would do that along with his wife all day every Saturday now he was not well received in Chapel Hill.

People spit awning people through the tracks back adding people got Kirsty mount people were incredibly nasty to this guy, but week after week after week. That spring I saw him down there. I avoid it if I want to get near the man he able, I mean you know this is like out of the circus or something but anyway that day. My dog got into a fight right in front of where he was standing and I pulled my dog apart from the little dog that he was mangling at the time and of and in here and and this other guy help the Bob Eckardt help me a little bit and so here I am now, eyeball to eyeball with the weirdest man in the world what you say to the weirdest man in the world I want to say something wrong.

So I said I looked at him and I said hi and he went hello will now what he said so I said to go and he said okay see you and I went okay and off I went the whole encounter could not have lasted 32nd but I have to tell you, in those 30 seconds of being eyeball to eyeball about 2 feet away from this man and looking in his eyes.

I walked away and something inside of me said to me, long this guy has what you're looking for is that you know that friends. I can't tell you how I knew it I don't have any empirical evidence I can't put into the test to what I was feeling, but I'm telling you I walked away and something inside of me said lawn disguise got what you're looking for the piece, the contentment, the wholeness, the healthiness that you're looking for. He's got man that plagued me.

I mean, that plagued me, but it also gave me some hope because I have to tell you, folks, I had begun to wonder if anybody in the whole world had what I was looking for. Never met anybody. Let answers to the questions I was asking my fraternities brother brothers didn't my drug buddies didn't. I didn't know anybody who answers I've begun to think there are no answers to these questions and suddenly I met a man who gave me some hope. Maybe there really were some answers to these well for the next few weeks I would wander by him and take his tracks. I wouldn't talk to when I was too scared to talk to him but I would take his little pamphlet that he was handing out back. I developed a muscle stack of pamphlets Homo my dress writing freedom, but I took up I felt bad for the guy. I mean I don't like is a sincere guy and people are treating nasty insincerity is at a premium and somebody ought at least be nice to them and take what is given out so I would take him go home and stack them up, but I really wanted to talk to him. I just couldn't get up enough guts to do it. Finally I decided this is stupid.

You just need to go talk to discuss.

I walked up to it. One Saturday morning spring of 1971 and I said the hey I said I like to come talk to you sometime and he said well that would be wonderful.

He said how about 3 o'clock this afternoon. Now I wasn't ready for that, like when you see somebody at church and you say wanted to come over for lunch sometime and they go find out today. That's not what you meant and I seem to say today, I expected him to go okay in a month or so and give me enough courage though unit on the workups encouraged by 3 o'clock this afternoon and I'm like well know I can't do it this afternoon I got I got something else to do another appointment.

I want kind of an appointment as a hippie out at 3 o'clock on a Saturday after noon in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

I was lying through my teeth friends but I was here and and now I was totally freaked out and I said to him, look I got to go got a go. Maybe some other time will talk another time and I started walking down the street.

I got maybe 10 or 12 yards down the street with my dog Turk crowded day streets packed in his warm spring day in Chapel Hill and this guy cupped his hands around his mouth and he screams at me. I said I said to him, or maybe I'll see you next week and he screams at me. Their next way in a month.

Oh my goodness, look around front for them.

I got know is talking to either.

I want all these people knowing the weirdest man in the world yelling at me when he morning and I want talk to so I hurry down the street. I don't around the corner.

I leaned up against the brick wall and I went off. That was the worst experience of my whole life.

I can't believe I did that, but I got began walking around that day. You know, I began thinking what is right that no guarantee I'll be here next week. I already lost several high school friends wanted died in a motorcycle accident wanted died of a kidney infection and I thought well you know is right on my not be here next week I should go talk to him. So 3 o'clock. I showed up he was gone you know I was coming so he finished up and he left.

This was also because I felt like now. This guy had laid a prophecy on me that I wouldn't go to live for another week, and I know that early but it's not silly. I mean I was terrified that this guy had said they had predicted my dad in the next week was the most horrible week of my entire life up to that point, you know I a good friend of mine own a motorcycle let me ride it all the time did not at that week. I did walk on the latter that we can you know I mean God help me of a black cat walked in front of me. I look both ways before crossing the street. Deliberately I climb steps one at a time, holding on to the handrail. I was terrified and that we finally went by, and next Saturday came and I got up at the crack of dawn, which in those days about 10 o'clock in the morning and I went down I went downtown to see the sky. I don't know what would happen if he hadn't come to town that day. But you're not faithful as ever. About 1030 came put in the town.

In this way white Econoline Circus man and the and he got out of the van and I walked over to sit now waiting for him and I walked over to him and I said look, because of you. I have just lived the worst week of my entire life. Now we need to talk to and I said there's got to be a sales pitch that goes with this thing you do here. I know what to call it.

I said so give me the sales pitch. I'm willing to listen guys to drop back and tell you one quick thing during the middle of the week.

I was so scared I thought I'm in a go by Bible. You. You gotta understand friends adult pushers don't own Bibles & none of my go pushing Buddy's own Bibles.

None of my fraternity brothers own Bibles. You know the lifestyle we live did not with owning a Bible and I and so I thought what if I have a Bible, maybe I'll make it through the week, like a talisman or something. So I went down to the bookstore in town by Bible.

I did not know how expensive Bibles were. I couldn't believe it. I was like wow, that's awful lot of money for Bible only had about five dollars to my name. Then we were between dope shipments and five dollars was about all I had.

I was even scrapped out of my fraternity house kitchen I would serve both the dinner and then as as my payment they would let him eat the leftovers I lot of broccoli water cauliflower not much they understand what I'm saying and so that's how I was surviving for the cheapest Bible I could find was $3.01 20 paperback and I was standing in line to pay for it and Mike, my friend, the one with said to me you know maybe you just get more honest which CAME line saw me line came into the bookstore. There the University bookstore somebody doing a Sabina Bible usage one. Somebody Bible is important. What would you do some like that for got told little bit about the, week, I was having Enzos were standing in line. He says to me. Lonnie's is nonstop for second thing he said if this God that you're worried about is so real, he said, don't you think he could give you a Bible without you having to spend 50% of your life savings on how to stand there and I went back seven spiritual cells real spiritual went alright.

That sounds good. As I went with the Bible back that you need to know that because of what's going to happen now.

Will the next Saturday I'm talking to what to this man and so he takes out a Bible. He starts reading from it he reads from the Old Testament he reads from the New Testament. He began telling me Bible stories that most of you probably know, but I didn't know them and he read me about Elijah and the prophets available Mount Carmel. I thought that was the greatest story I've ever heard of my whole life. I would like to write Lori. The other thing we talked for about two hours. It was like water on a dry sponge and at the end of two hours he said to me okay now are you ready to receive Jesus and on like excuse me, are you ready to receive Jesus he said why didn't have a clue what that meant but even a little bit I could kind of figure out what I thought it meant I said to him, no no no North. It has been fun talking you got man and it's been wonderful but I'm Jewish Jewish people don't do this you know Jewish people. Please don't do this and was sure Jesus was Jewish. He said you realize that all the early followers of Jesus were Jewish. The whole early church was Jewish everybody who wrote the Bible. With the exception of Luke was Jewish. I said come on guys did you know Peter was Jewish.

I was like you gotta be kidding is like now.

I was like yeah I knew that the money ever told me Peter was Jewish. I figured he was you know white area and lost tala who knows nobody was. We will study Peter in the synagogue.

You understand I was like really is like Justin will look Peter give a Peter didn't have to go face. My parents just what I'm saying no I'm not. I don't really think so. Is it will look would you do me one favor I said maybe he said would you would you be willing to promise me that at least you will you read the Bible and let God speak to you from the Bible and here is this box a brand-new Bible stunning cellophane wrapping it all and he takes one of these Bibles and he says to me here and I said why I don't have any money I can't pay for. This is why would you pay me think this is that if you promise me you'll read it. Well, I mean this was getting too close to home now because on Wednesday I had to God, if you're really real. God you prove to me your real by giving me a Bible but folks where was I going to get a Bible from the people I hung out with did not walk around handing out Bibles on somebody given me a Bible were less 04 days later, this guy opens his truck and hands me this brand-new Bible. And I mean it was like I was like oh man this is this is too scary here so I took the Bible.

I said look I got a go and I left and as I walked away. I remember saying to myself, you know, this is freaking me. This is really freaky you really think this could be right. I mean this really be what he said it is Jesus Christ really be the Messiah of Israel. I mean, could you have have backed into the God of the universe.

Here that's what I walked away thinking what I was pretty skeptical, but I kept my promise. I took the Bible hope no one likes and I began reading it every night little bit before went to bed because I love to read for go to bed so I started reading in the Old Testament were start and who knows what the Bible is like.

So I started the Old Testament, not Adam and Eve and all is good stuff on you not heard the name I never knew what the Bible said about not, that's pretty interesting story there. But then I got to the press section were so-and-so begat so-and-so begat so-and-so begat so try to know how long that went on and I follow him anything. Get me nowhere.

Maybe I can switch to the New Testament because that's what talk about Jesus so I didn't know whether the New Testament went introduction main body, conclusion, anti-climax. I didn't know whether it was a collection of short stories. Whether it was an anthology of poetry what the thing was, so you figure, if you don't know you start at the beginning right so I turn to the gospel of Matthew and I started reading man couldn't believe some of the stuff that was in there.

I must read the sermon on the Mount seven or eight times in a row before I could go on what I could not get over the thing that impressed me the most was how Jesus used words to cut right to the heart of things I need to say more in one sentence than professors. I had had could say it all semester at sea man. He cut right to the core with one sentence. I couldn't get over it. I kept on reading. I finally got to Matthew chapter 11 were Jesus said come to me all you who are late who are heavy laden, and more burden down for overwhelmed and I will give you rest. You will find keys for your soul, and when I read that I'll never forget. I never forget looking up and saying bingo bingo. This is exactly what I'm looking for. I couldn't even put it in words that good myself. I remember thinking heavy laden burden down. That's exactly how I feel and what I'm looking for is peace and rest for my soul.

This is that this is exactly what I'm looking for in here Jesus is promising if I'll come to him to give it to me will I thought you know what I gave drugs. A fair shot my life. I gave Zen Buddhism, a fair shot my life.

I gave Judaism a fair shot my life.

I gave women and partying and drinking a fair shot. My life is only fair I give Jesus Christ a fair shot. My life, so I decided I was going to do that but I do know how I mean, this guy had said to me, received Jesus, I do not have one clue what that mean not one. I mean if the guys said to me, stand on your head and spit Nichols. I would've at least know what position to get you follow what I'm saying received Jesus means absolutely nothing to me, so I figure okay I'm almost wanting you calling Annette's phone number. I had no way to get in touch with this man some amounts. I got down on my knees because I don't know just seemed appropriate. And here's what I prayed afraid. Okay God I said, I don't even know if your real in this Jesus character. I am really confused about but got on empty on the inside and and and and I'm hurt and on the inside and I'm lonely on the inside and I'm scared. On the inside and I need some help and here's Jesus promising me that he can give me rest and he can give me joy so so God is what I want to do.

I want to give you my life for one month, one month and and and and you I'll do anything you asked me to do all go anywhere. You asked me to go. I do know how he was going to ask me or tell me, but I mean I was sincere about and I said look at it at the end of that one month God, you haven't given me this joy at this rest that you're talking about.

I reserve the right to take my life back and cancel the deal about that. But if you really give it to me this rest in this joy you could have my life for good deals of the amen is a lawn that is the worst salvation prayer I have ever heard in my entire life will become final moan here guys. I'm going to see him up and you are there to tell me how to play a salvation prayer. I know how to pray to God I'm just I just got a sincere heart and I just want to do business with God, and I think your mom thought to be long enough. If your God. You know, I'm so glad for verse of Scripture in the Bible that says this for Samuel for seven man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. I'm so glad to got up in heaven, said Solomon you that that is the most awful prayer for salvation I ever heard. But you know what I'm little past that prayer son, look at your heart and I see in your heart you mean business, forget about the prayer and I'm in a deal with your heart. I'm so glad God sees the heart, and I got up off my knees and I said okay well now we'll see what happens. I was very skeptical. I got to tell you is very skeptical. I really didn't think this was going to work, but I thought well who knows but I thought you know I need more than this, I mean just mean you know some kind of ethereal feeling the gods going to give you that's not enough. I got back on my knees and I forgot one more thing on my dog has the main that you know with the manges the mages when the hair your hair hair starts falling off the dog and I've been putting this out on it that the vet gave me the one helping. It was getting worse. I think I will more thing here. My dog has made and I said I need more than just from feeling you're going to get me to I need to know your real. So here's what I want you to do us a God I'm stop using the medicine on my dog. I want you to heal my goal and I got up and I thought well maybe that's not fair to the dog. You know, because maybe you should ask God to levitate the better something else you know, but I could not prayer the prayer and will see what happens because I figured I wanted a God who was at least powerful enough that he could handle a Taser made you understand what I'm saying.

Well all I can tell you folks is within three or four days. The manges completely cleared up on my dog.

You can explain it anyway you want to explain it but I'm telling you I knew it wasn't that medicine could I've been using the medicine on the dog and the dog been getting worse. I stopped using the medicine and the dog got better and the mange went away and I knew you get you contributed anything you want, but I knew what I prayed and I knew got it done some for me and God begin doing some other things for me on the inside that that I could outwardly prove to anybody, but I knew things are beginning to happen on the inside of me that had never happened before and about a week later about a week later I got back down on my knees and I said God, I'm convinced. I mean, you have changed not only knowledge you do that thing from a dog but on the inside man. There are things happening inside of me. There's a joy and a peace and contentment.

I have never felt and frankly there's also a sensitivity to sin that I've never experienced before my life things I used to be able to do without the slightest pang of conscience. Suddenly they were bothering me and suddenly the only way I can deal with them was when it was when I asked God to forgive me.

I would feel fine but but I never been to that before bothered me before, so all of this was happening on the inside of me. I knew I didn't created and I knew I didn't generated and I no explanation for all for all of this except that some supernatural was going on.

I got back down on my knees. A week later and I said God, I'm convinced I made a deal with you and a deal's a deal. I told you I would give you my life for good.

And I don't know what you can do with a hippie would air out to his shoulders and love beads bellbottoms on the blows don't but whatever you can do with me deals deal God I give you my life sure and I was in the spring of 1971 well with the next time this man came to town I went up to him and told him this whole story just lay this whole story on Bob Eckardt, Bob Eckardt grabbed me. He called his wife out the back of the van. He said Amy Amy come here quick.

You got here. This he said tell her tell her I told her the whole story. She said, praying the largest dance around and I'm looking at these people and their hugging each other and I'm like what in the world have I gotten myself into. Obama can act like this but you know what, I'm a Christian for a while. They were so excited you know what I Bob Eckardt still living today as I record this and we talk on the phone every once in a while and he is said to be in all the time he came to Chapel Hill all that some of the spring and summer 1971. Every single Saturday and as far as we know, I'm the only person that came to Jesus Christ as a direct result of him being another may have been others that we don't know about but you know I like to think that God sent Bob Eckardt to Chapel Hill just for me just for me will couple other things and and and were done. The next thing he said to me said you need Lonnie to go get baptized. I said what baptized Jewish men Jewish people don't get baptized if it were Jewish people don't believe in Jesus. Either you said you do that unlike the point okay so I went home and began thinking about and I thought well you know I mean business here on that I need to mean business here.

I mean you don't you know you don't get half pregnant and you don't become half a Christian. So if I'm serious about my relationship with Jesus Christ and I read in the Bible where Jesus said you need to be baptized, and I said okay let's do it. He baptized me upon the down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and then I decided it was time to go tell my relatives well that was a very interesting experience. I don't have the time to go deeply into it right now but just let me say I was not.

Everybody was not excited when I came home, telling them that I give my life to Jesus Christ, they would've rather had me come home and say you have been using LSB five times with smuggling open from Amsterdam and almost got arrested. Okay long, no problem.

I believe in Jesus Christ you want, how the reaction with but you know over the years since then I've had the privilege of leading my dad to Christ. My, my mother came to Jesus Christ before she passed away and my only brother. My only sibling is now an active Christian living for Jesus Christ today so my entire nuclear family came to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Although it took 22 years of praying and and sharing to see that happen. It was 22 years before my mom the last of the group came to know Jesus Christ. I wanted to say to quick vignettes and then I'm done. The first is about my my housekeeper back in the political there was no politically correct language we call to remain. She was an African-American lady, wonderful woman. Her name was Corley Goodman and that she should look if you want a visual of Corley Goodman think of mammy on gone with the wind and that's what she looked like, and she was just one of the most precious women in my whole life. She came to work for my family when I was two months old and worked for my family all the way through the time I went to away to college that Corley Goodman was not an educated woman. She could not write her own name. She could not read. She could not drive a car. She was not an educated woman but this woman when I was a brand-new Christian and I began hearing Christian songs you know like blessed assurance, Jesus is mine and some of these virtually songs. I remember thinking how you know I've heard that song somewhere before where that's all I mean I knew they didn't sing in the synagogue cycle where have I heard that so I can remember when I was just a little thing, as Cora would be ironing or she would be fixing meals and that I would be tooling around her. I could hear her humming these melodies. So I said that she's a Christian so I hitchhiked up to Portsmouth, Virginia to find her and I found her house never got hair bingo Afro out to my solution seeming three or four years I knocked on her door pull back the curtain."

My backup and I knocked on the door did she pull the curtain back and I think it's Lonnie that's what they call me back then and she opened the door so I little change on you know how they do and looking out and and she said what are you doing here I Socorro I came up here to tell you that I've given my life to Jesus Christ and she said all she could come on in here. So I went on in and we sat down and I told her the whole story about how I'd come to Christ and the and it was just a wonderful time she's with the Lord now and has been for many years but she said this to me she's a lot I want to know some. She said I have been praying for you and your family since I came to work for you when you were two months old.

I'm 21 now as were sitting having this conversation.

She said I've been praying for you and your family for now 21 years. She said but honey I thought I ceded that you become a Christian. I still here I am.

We had such a wonderful time together. You know, Cora went went on to be with the Lord in 1975 my mother, my father and my brother all became Christians and I'm convinced the reason my entire family came to Jesus Christ is because of this woman, this godly woman who took us under her prayer wing and pray for us faithfully until she died, which would then have been 25 years and and all of my nuclear family. As a result came to Jesus Christ as far as I know this is the only Christian who was praying for me all those years and friends. I don't believe that anybody becomes a Christian, but somebody's not praying for you and I attribute my being a Christian today and my family being a Christian today to the prayer life of this dear African-American woman could read could write could drive a car, but she could pray and God bless her for that one more story cannot tell you enclosing about how my dad came to Christ. I had the privilege of leading my dad to Christ.

Just before he died.

He was in the hospital down in Charlottesville, Virginia on my bed a very serious heart condition he'd already had three heart attacks the fourth 20 children and I'm already older to date today that my father was when he had his first heart attack my mother called me and said today is in the hospital.

He has hepatitis. He's very ill.

You need to come see him and she made it sound very serious, are rushed down to see my dad praying all the way I've been a Christian about seven years and I walked in the hospital room and my dad was sitting up eating a banana in this in the bed and my first response was anger.

My mom did it to me again. You know, but I do Jewish mom and you know how that goes. And so anyway. Then we started talking about death and how's the weather fine. How is your wife fine house is fine and I knew someone was on his mind you, I just knew.

So we went weeks exchanged a few pleasantries and then he said you know Lon, he said I did a lot of thinking lately and I said well dad I said them all think is good. It's good to think he said he been thinking a lot about all the stuff you been telling me about Jesus Christ and I'm like oh my goodness, you know, when I'm holding my breath, and he said you know and I'm beginning to wonder if maybe everything you're telling me isn't right, like all God I don't believe this I mean you know how you pray for something pray for something pray for some. I was praying for my dad every day, sometimes twice a day because I knew how sick he wasn't talking to call any minute that he died unexpectedly from heart trouble and suddenly here he is saying that I felt like call the nurse is a nurse. No clear. The next bed here in the room I needed but I you know, I said, oh Lord, please only send someone down.

I said that there is no doubt in my mind that I'm right I said but I'm, what, why, why would I mean you'd never been interested you never wanted to talk about this. You've always ignored all my conversations while the sudden are you saying you think I'm writing through a lot.

I gotta tell you, I know I'm a sick man he said and I decided that I could find in Orthodox Judaism. Everything you found that you said you found in Jesus we thought was started going back to synagogue.

So I started going back religiously. So I went to the hollies holy day services. I went to Rosh Hashanah. I fasted all of Yom Kippur looking to find some assurance about what was going to happen to me after I dicey for him. The issue was death. He was terrified.and he said I finally walked out of the synagogue after Yom Kippur services the day of atonement. He said Arthur on the front steps of the synagogue. He said that he said I said to myself, you know, he said I don't have any more assurance of what's gonna happen to me after I die. Now that I did before I went to all that ritual. The rituals nice but I don't have any assurance whatsoever. Maybe lawns right and I said that I am so sure I'm right. It's not even funny. And the next morning I had the privilege of getting out on my knees next to my father's bed in the hospital.

He got out of his hospital bed and got down on his knees and the two of us pray to CS Jesus Christ and his life. He died one week later the day never left the hospital had a heart attack in the hospital and died in the hospital and the last time I saw and I went down so I will more time before he passed and he was hooked up to a trach and everything in intensive care. He couldn't talk, but he frantically wanted me to give him the little distal piece of paper and plastic over where you can spell words out when you're in intensive care has also been wanted and I gave it to him and he spelled this out because he his number one issue was he wanted assurance, Jesus gave but he didn't want to stop being Jewish and we had to talk about that and I do think that you don't become a Gentile.

When you believe in Jesus you always Jewish you complete everything that being Jewish is all about. So he got the sheet and here he was the last time I dad and I ever saw each other on the earth got fishy and he spelled out to me LORD Lord ANB, and JE W to and I knew exactly what he was telling me he was selling the lawn. I've got the Lord of my life, but I'm still with you and what a wonderful confirmation that even under the sedatives, and even in intensive care.

He still had enough presence of mind to spell that out to me and say I know exactly where I am lawn and I've got Jesus Christ as part of my life will focus that's really about all I got time to talk to you about, but let me just close by saying this, I'm convinced that the only solution to life's mysteries and the only way to have the assurance of eternal life and the only way to have the deep-seated joy and peace and contentment were all looking for life and and I'm not saying that we don't have problem you know Christians have problem but we have a joy and a peace that it supersedes the problems and the only way to live a life that's full of meaning and purpose. I am convinced is to have a personal relationship with the God of Israel, and the only way to get a personal relationship with the God of Israel is through Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel. Jesus himself said John chapter 14 verse six I am the way the truth and the life.

Nobody comes to God unless they come by way of me. Jesus said that if he is right and I believe that he is, then the only way to get that personal connectedness with God is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the only way to get answers to the universe and that deep-seated peace in the assurance of eternal life is through personal relationship with Jesus Christ folks. I tried everything else.

I tried them with people equal commitment equal passion and equal openness to the idea that they were going to work and and if you go try tomorrow if you want to try them all and I'm here to tell you that the reason those things didn't work is because none of them were the true way to God.

I found the true way of God, and I found it in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and I believe from my experience and from the truth of the Bible that this is right.

Any person who will give Jesus Christ a sincere chance to prove himself to them. Jesus will do it.

I mean, as we mentioned earlier, my salvation prayer one the greatest. My whole approach to God making this deal for month. You know John you know God didn't take kindly to making deals with them. But you know my heart was right.

And if your hearts right God will deal with you because man looks on the outward appearance, but thank God.

God looks on the heart. If you're here today and in your heart you have been able to find the things that I talked about that I was looking for a new look and many of the places I've looked my invitation to you is to give Jesus Christ a sincere chance to prove himself to just give them a chance and if you are sincere. He will take you up on the opportunity and he will prove himself to you, just like you did

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