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Welcome to If Not For God, stories of hopelessness that turn to hope. Here is your host, Mike Zwick. Alright, this is If Not For God with Mike Zwick. Wanted to remind you, Saturday night at five o'clock and Sunday night, well, we're going to be having the revival as well. And it's over at the Cox Toyota in Burlington, North Carolina.
So we hope to see you there. We've got an awesome, awesome guest who's coming in today. Greg Kelly was actually just on the 700 Club. He was on the 700 Club. He was on the Christian Broadcasting Network telling his story. And Greg Kelly grew up in Leander, Texas and was a high school all state football player. At the age of just 18, he was falsely accused of a sexual crime and convicted in 2014 to serve 25 years at a maximum security Texas prison.
While he fought to prove his innocence, God showed up miraculously in his case, but also delivered him from his most excruciating stronghold, unforgiveness. And all this happened in 20 and it started in 2013. Is that right, Greg? Yes, it did.
So what can you tell us about what happened back in 2013? Yeah, so, you know, I'm from Leander, Texas, which is north of Austin. I grew up, of course, with a loving mother and father and four older brothers. And, you know, I grew up playing football. I grew up kind of as the all-American kid, if you think, just kind of playing football. I figured out that I was good at football.
So I got serious with it. And around my junior year in high school, I ended up living with a friend of mine because both of my parents became medically ill. And so they couldn't take care of me. I didn't have transportation to go to school and to continue with my athletics and refining my craft and that. And so I moved in with my best friend at the time.
His mother was running in a home daycare as a business. And I was never really in the house. I was always real serious about going to the gym and going to football practice and going to school and making sure my grades were right. I was hoping to eventually start getting some football scholarships. And they started coming in the more towards the middle of my junior year.
And I had at the end of my junior year in high school, I had committed to go play for University of Texas San Antonio. And then three weeks later, I was at the time I had already moved out once I committed in three weeks, four weeks after I had moved out of that house to go live back with my mother. I was hit with the most... I guess you could say I entered a nightmare of my whole life being derailed before my eyes within a series of events that happened a year post. Me being falsely accused of sexual assaulting a child within that home.
My name being brought into the accusation. And the series of events that had happened from there was just a year of hoping that the police department would do the right thing on doing a proper investigation. As well as finding an attorney that would represent me properly because I'm an 18 year old kid getting thrown into something that I'm not normally used to. Both my parents are still medically recovering.
I am on the brink of going to go play college football and starting my senior year in high school and finishing out my senior year to go play college ball. And so there was a lot of moving parts where a lot of things that were really tough for me to handle. Still to this day, being a grown man, being almost 28 years old, I look back and I can't believe I had endured and persevered through all of that. But 2014 is when I was wrongfully convicted of that crime with absolutely no evidence pointing to me being the person. And from there, I was sent to 25 years in a massive security prison here in Texas. So that's how it started. Now, what happened when you when you wanted to prison?
What happened after that? When I went to prison, of course, I was young and I everything was against my will pretty much. I mean, if I had tried to ever explain being a wrongfully convicted person and going into a maximum security prison, a place that you you know you don't belong.
And there's a lot of answers you need. You're mad at God. You're mad at the people that's done this to you.
You actually hate them. I had no previous knowledge of who Jesus Christ was and what he had done for me, for you, for everybody in this world. I had no previous knowledge of what he can offer to people that are going through tough times that are going through adversity.
I had no idea the thing that the evil in this world that it exists, that I had no idea about that. So going into prison, I was desperately needing to survive, first and foremost. What I went to prison for is something that people don't last years in prison for.
They last day. Prison is a place full of hate. Anything can happen any day. You have to watch your back everywhere you go, as well as you've got to protect your mind and your spirit because it can become very black, very fast. And so going through all of that at a young age, you could say that I was quite susceptible to allowing that stuff to take root while I was already dealing with this natural desire to hate the people that had done this to me. And I was also battling just emotions of watching my buddies play football on TV.
Some of them went to high end colleges and they were playing on ESPN and Fox and all that. I couldn't even bear to watch football because I knew that I was supposed to be on that field, but I wasn't. And so I was mad at everybody.
I was mad at the world for the longest time. But, you know, something really happened to me one day while I was sitting in my cell and it was actually right after I was convicted of the crime. And I tell this story because this was the part, this was the spark of my Christian journey in my life is whenever I was thrown into a medical cell right after my trial. And for some reason, the jail administration thought that was suicidal just because the nature of the charge and the nature of the conviction. And so they were taking precautions and I wasn't.
It was just protocol on their end. They threw me into a medical cell and they stripped you down of everything. And you're sitting on the bed and you're wondering what's next.
You know, and they they threw me five things, which they call my bare necessities, which is a blanket, a bar of soap, some toothpaste, a toothbrush. And the first thing that they threw on my bed with all the other stuff was a Bible. And I thought that was quite interesting. I immediately caught that day.
It's so amazing that even jailers in jail and prisons, they consider the Bible part of their part of people's bare necessities. And so, you know, I had nothing else to do. So I cracked it open. I started reading it from cover to cover. And I hadn't I mean, I was in there for a week, you know, by myself.
I was alone stripped from everything. And I just it's fair to say that God had my full attention at that moment. And I just got lost, you know, in the understanding and getting who Jesus is and what he means to me and what he had done for the world and his history. And I started looking up to him and started going towards him for comfort, for peace. And I started creating this routine where if my mind started to wander towards hating people that did this to me or if I was having a bad day, I would take it to him. Just that internal relationship with him.
I think it's something special. And it was so it was one of these things that got me to the next day and to the next day and to the next day. And those days became years and I was in there for three, three and a half years down in Huntsville, Texas, which is kind of the prison capital of Texas.
I was on a maximum security prison for three years. And God continued to work on me as I continue to seek him and giving everything that that I have, which is at that point, nothing but resentment towards these people that did this to me. And I've created a routine, of course, of, you know, doing devotionals and going to him every morning and every night before I go to bed.
And I still do that to this day. And it's allowed me to move forward in life and to live a life with him first before me being a husband, being a business owner and being a friend and being a brother. I could be fair to say that I didn't know how to do any of those things before I was in prison, but not only did God deliver me from unforgiveness, but he that unforgiveness was never for the people that did this to me. That forgiveness was never for the people that did this to me. It was for me to move forward. And so that's kind of the nutshell of what I try to tell people when I minister and I give testimonials about my story is in this world, you know, it's like John 1633, you know, the word says that in this world, you will have trouble. But Jesus tells us to take heart because he has overcome the world that we can have peace in that.
And so that's that's something that I take to heart every day and I read every day because I need it to record. Wow. So it wasn't that somebody was preaching to you. It wasn't, you know, it wasn't that, you know, somebody, one of your cellmates bugged you. It was literally you had nothing but a tooth toothbrush, some toothpaste, a bar of soap, a blanket and a Bible. And because you had nothing else, you started reading the Bible and you realize that God was real.
Is that right? Yes, sir. Yeah, that's a true testament to, you know, it really separates the things we need and what we want in life. I'm a bare minimalist. I mean, I do enjoy to find the things like a nice take every once in a while and a nice truck and all that. But I can honestly live without it. I did live without it.
I live without it for three and a half years. And when you get thrown into a five by nine centi-block cell and you are forced to not have social media, you're forced not to have a laptop, you're forced not to have a cell phone, you're forced not to shop in your car and go where you want and do what you want and spend as much money as you want. When all that's taken away from you, the only thing that's left is use some boxers, a blanket, a bar of soap, a toothpaste, a toothbrush and a Bible. You kind of figure out the thing that allows you to live this life abundantly, which is understanding who Jesus is and what he's done for you. And that then makes you transform your mind and your heart into appreciating the value of freedom and living a life in freedom.
And so I've appreciated what freedom means to me. And that's why I take hold and don't take advantage of anything that I have is I figured out really quick that chasing an internal relationship with Jesus brings about all of these valuable things and how to be a husband, how to be an authentic man. You know, Jesus was the most authentic man there was. And I think every man should strive to be exactly like him. We'll never get there, of course. We'll never be as perfect as he is. But he steps, he sets apart, he sets a standard about how men should be.
And so that's where every day, as I am a business owner, a husband, a brother, I hold myself to that standard. And so I never really had anybody preaching to me or anything. I didn't have the resources at the time.
I didn't have a TV or radio or anything like that. I had to go find this out for myself. And you really do not understand the power of Christ that lives in you until you are truly alone with him. Wow. Yeah. Go ahead. No, that's that's all I got.
Yeah. You know, when you were saying that I was reminded of it was Matthew, I believe it's Matthew eight and it's in verse 18. And it talks about the cost of following Jesus. He says now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.
And the scribe came up and said to him, teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. And Jesus said to him, foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests. But the son of man has nowhere to lay his head. He didn't have a bed to lay on. Another disciple said to him, Lord, let me go first go and bury my father.
And Jesus said to him, follow me and leave the dead to bury their own dead. And so I know things changed for you. Things things got better.
But I did want to mention one thing when I asked you one thing. Is there ever a time in your life now where you miss being in that cell that I miss being in the cell in the cell where you first met Jesus? Is there any part of that where you ever you remember that spiritually? Yes, spiritually.
Yes, of course. I miss, you know, nobody's really asked me that question before. And that is something that I miss. I miss just being in the presence of Jesus like I used to by myself and just being taken over by the Holy Spirit while I was reading. And I call these things. I call these things real true. I call these a spiritual roller coaster with Jesus is because whenever I was doing the Bible study and I did multiple ones while I was in prison, I did devotionals and I did Jesus calling.
And I did a couple of other things hearing at the chapel providers and I would find myself just being excited that I got to kind of just break off one of these strongholds that I was dealing with. But every man deals man deals with, you know, just to be real out there, a lot of men deal with just just spitballing. A lot of men deal with pornography. It's one of the most biggest things that men deal with. And a lot of men have a stigma not to talk about it. You know what I mean?
And so. But, you know, Jesus, he feels everything you're going through and a lot of men are afraid to not only bring that up to people that are next to them, but they're afraid to even talk about it with God like you can't hide anything from him. You know, he's the most he's the most accepting and the most come as you are person. And anything you're dealing with, I promise you, he's dealt with it before. You know, and so I some of the things I was dealing with was the biggest one was hatred for me. Another thing that I was dealing with was I was I was so worried about things that I couldn't control. I could not I could not control the judges that were going to rule over my case while I was in the smaller court. And then a lot of people don't realize that was in 2017, so I got convicted in the 14 and I got released on bond in mid 2017 on some evidence of my appeal that had proved to prove into my innocence. And through my cell phone, I could prove pinpoint day per day, minute per minute that I could not have done this crime because I wasn't even I was 100 miles away from the crime scene during the time that the police that had happened.
And so, of course, they didn't want to investigate that in the first place, but through forensic analysis of my cell phone, I could I could prove that I wasn't the guy who did it. And so it was enough after after an evidentiary hearing to release me on bond in 2017. Well, that was just getting released on an appeal bond, which rarely happens in the state of Texas because Texas doesn't want to don't want to don't want to admit to being wrong a lot of times. But I was very fortunate to be released and to have some sort of freedom. But I wasn't really free because my case is then with all the evidence that came post trial and during the appeal process would get sent to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the highest criminal court in the state of Texas.
I would ultimately judge my faith, my faith on where three, three, three things could happen. I could get sent back to prison that could tear me away from my family again after I had gotten released on bond. They could the office could retry me or I get exonerated. I get fully exonerated. My life gets restored. I get paid some money. I get free schooling.
There's this big package that comes with it and my record gets erased clean. I could have the three options. Well, my case when it got sent to the Court of Criminal Appeals after I had gotten released, it has it stood and sat in the Court of Criminal Appeals for two and a half years. So for two and a half years, day per day, I was free, but I wasn't really free.
So I had to check a list every Wednesday and refresh the list to see if I was on it for a good reason or for a bad reason. The good reason is I get exonerated and all my claims that I had brought towards the Court of Criminal Appeals were approved. Not all of them, but just one out of six claims would have to be voted on. It would be a unanimous decision of five out of nine judges that would have to vote yes to the claim to be granted relief.
And in all claims, all judges have never agreed on a claim before instead of texting. And so knowing that and knowing what type of judges were in there deciding my fate, knowing the nature of the crime and knowing that one of the biggest claims that I was doing that had fallen to my actual innocence was the denial of due process, which is the police department never did proper investigation. So I was denied due process.
Texas doesn't like admitting that their cops did bad. So I I was two and a half years I was waiting every Tuesday night. I could barely get to sleep because Wednesday morning at nine a.m., I'd have a camera on my face, which is my documentary crew. And I would have to refresh this page and it would be no news, no news, no news, no news for over 100 weeks. And it came down to a day in December, November 6th, two thousand and nineteen. We were in New York at the time of the studio apartment and it had already been about two and a half years that I was waiting.
And I refreshed that page on November 6th, two thousand and nineteen. And I was at the top of the list and they had relief granted. And I checked all the I checked the claims that were relief granted.
Of course, I'm emotional. I'm I'm I'm on top of the world. I'm big relief has been granted.
I mean, just just just the star cloud is starting to dissolve above me. Has been over me for so long that I go and check all the claims and every single claim was granted relief and every single judge in the state of Texas in the Court of Criminal Appeals granted relief on every claim. Wow. So on that day, I was my case was overturning the Court of Criminal Appeals. And on November 26th, two thousand and nineteen, I was fully exonerated in the same courtroom that I was convicted in in two thousand and thirteen seven years prior.
Wow. So how did you you knew that the police officers in the police department did not do a thorough job investigating you? You knew that you had been to prison for a good amount of time.
I think over three years. How did you how did you forgive these people? So as the case unfolded, of course, this this hatred, I mean, there's this news that continue to come out about these police officers, this detective, really, who should never have been an effective him. He wasn't trained enough. He's huge ego, very incompetent on on on running into that.
And he got promoted to after I was convicted to to oversee 12 different detectives in his department. And so that's that. And then as I'm hearing all of this news, it's just getting worse, it's getting worse. I'm battling with this this this sin inside of me that I don't want inside of me because indicating how I treat others, how how I go about, you know, my day. I mean, I look at like this and everybody can agree, I think, is that when people have insecurities, have issues, have sin that they're dealing with, it rubs off on the people that they love. Sometimes they start lashing out and becoming somebody else that they're not supposed to. And they realize it. They don't know how to resolve it. They don't know who to go to.
They don't know how to fix it. And so I think the biggest thing that we need when we're dealing with things, these strongholds inside of us, is to give it to the cross because everything was paid for on that cross. And Jesus allows us to go to the cross daily, every day, not only to pick it up, but also to find refuge in it.
He says to keep our eyes on it at all costs, at all times. And so when I would get those urges to be mad, when I would feel like I'm in a rut, I feel like I'm in a funk because this this evil is taking over me. And I would have a bad day. I would immediately open up the Bible and start reading.
And guess what? Boom, poof, it's gone. Because no matter what, when you're in the presence of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father, evil and sin and the devil, it flees. It's gone.
It can't exist in the presence of the Holy Spirit. And so it was kind of like my antidote for this desire to be bitter. And so it was my daily medicine.
And I feel like I've been fully delivered. I mean, I can think about the DA that did this to me and I can think about the police officers that did this to me. And I could think about my once best friend who allowed me to go down to prison on a crime that I believe he did. I could think about all these people. And this is how you know you truly forgiven them is when you can boldly and comfortably and fearfully and confidently pray for them.
And that's what I do. I pray for them every day. In Romans eight twenty eight, that we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and for them who are called according to his purpose. But the word of God also says it says if you forgive other people of their sins against you, that God will forgive you of your sins. It says if you do not forgive others of their sins against you, that God will not forgive you of your sins. And so we just heard a man who was wrong wrongfully convicted of molesting a child.
Let me ask you something. If you're listening right now, is there anything that you need to forgive somebody else of? And if you if you need to forgive somebody of that, let me just ask you right now, just go ahead and let it go.
Just go ahead and forgive them. And Greg Kelly, we're so glad to have you on today. We're looking forward to you doing big and better things. God bless you, man. Appreciate you. Not for good. All right. For my YouTube channel, if not for God with Mike Zwick, just like subscribe and hit that notification bell. So you'll be alerted when we have our next video. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-08 19:52:04 / 2022-11-08 19:57:53 / 6