Monday, December 28, 2009

Only a Man

I am standing in my kitchen, repeatedly listening to this amazing song over... & over... & over... with tears in my eyes as I make Christmas goodies.  (I create lots of posts at a time & then schedule them to publish daily, so it is well before Christmas as I write this.)

Many of you may remember Johnny Lang from his days as a child prodigy.  I first saw him on the Tonight Show maybe... this baby in his early teens who could sing the blues & play the guitar as if he were possessed. He went platinum by age 15. He is incredible.

I got to see him in person last year. We went to see they guy opening for him -- I hadn't followed Johnny Lang. We listened to his CD in preparation for the concert, but it could've NEVER prepared me for the raw talent I saw.  I am telling you, it is like music boils inside of his blood, convulsing his body & shaking it's way out of him in perfection!  But wow... what amazed me more was that through this secular concert, without him saying a word, it became beyond clear to me that he was a Christian. The way he gave the spotlight to his band members, his humility... I can't explain it, but I had NO DOUBT that he was God's.  It was confirmed at the very end... as the crowd shouted for more, & as he had his chance for an encore, he gave a wordless guitar solo of "How Great Thou Art." And it was worshipful.

I came home perplexed. What was his story? What I found was an article, and this song-- his testimony.

Here is his testimony, in his words. i cut out big chunks of it, so read it on your own if you want the whole scoop..

I got involved in “adult” activities at a very  young age.  I started drinking, and smoking cigarettes.  [...]  I was on the road constantly, playing with musicians twice my age in places where they check your id at the door.  But it didn’t matter how old I was because I was the headliner.

By the time I was 17, I was an alcoholic and smoking two packs a day. I also started doing drugs.  It was mostly marijuana, but there were other drugs as well.  In my position, anything I wanted was just handed to me.  I used cocaine, ecstasy, and hallucinogens.  I really loved to be high.  It got to be such a problem, that if I wasn’t high I didn’t feel normal.   

[...]  I saw things that really burned me and turned me off to Christianity – especially hypocrisy.  However, what turned me off the most about Christianity was that I’d never seen the power of God move.  It was just a lot of going through the motions but not experiencing His power or His presence.  [...]
When I was 16 I met the most wonderful girl in Los Angeles while on tour and became great friends with her and her family.  [...]  I’m just so thankful that they loved me because I was such a mess.  They loved me through all that and God gave them a heart to stick with me.
[...]In fact, her father, Cliff, was like a second dad to me.  [...]

Cliff had become very sick – he had Hepatitis C and cancer all over his body.  [...] One night while I was there, I decided to go out with a friend of mine to get high.  We went to his apartment, but before we had a chance to do anything, the phone rang.  It was Haylie’s mom ... Cliff had just died.  I remember feeling relieved, because he had been suffering so much, struggling for every breath.  Honestly, I was more worried about interacting with Haylie and her family than I was about Cliff actually passing away.  I didn’t have very much backbone, and I wasn’t prepared to deal with the whole situation.

But I had to go back to the house.  While I was walking out in the hallway of my friend’s apartment building, I was suddenly hit in the stomach by the most incredible force. It spread from there and filled my whole body.  I had this soundness of mind and this extraordinary peace that I just couldn’t explain.  It was an incredible feeling.
[...]When I got back to the house, everybody was just beside themselves.  I was not the kind of person who could deal with those kinds of emotions.  But whatever had happened to me in that apartment hallway gave me a special wisdom to handle it.  [...]
When the morgue was coming to remove Cliff’s body, I thought it would be best if Haylie didn’t see that.  So I took her to the back yard.  [...]  All of a sudden, I got hit in the stomach again with that tremendous force.  It was almost like I had to throw up – I couldn’t keep it down any longer. Bursting out of my mouth came the word “Jesus!” right in the middle of our conversation.  The power of God hit me so hard that I started shaking in my chair.  It was like somebody grabbed my shoulders and shook me forcefully back and forth.  It didn’t hurt, but it was violent.  
Yet at the same time I felt total peace.  He didn’t say “Hey, this is Jesus” or anything, but I knew it was Him.  I heard Him say to me, “You don’t have to have this if you don’t want it.”  I was completely and utterly amazed, and I definitely wanted it.  I wanted it more than anything I’d ever wanted in my whole life.  I kept shaking and shaking until I fell to the ground.  I gave my life to Christ right there at that moment.
[...] What’s so miraculous about this whole experience is that I had not been pursuing God.  I despised Him.  I was living with total hostility toward God and He still loved and delivered me.     [...]

Read full article here.  Don't forget to check out the incredible song!


Jim and April said...

wow...what a story, what a testimony! When that guy wasn't even pursuing God or thinking about it...God still had him on His heart and had a plan for him! :0) i cant wait to go listen to him sing on youtube right now! :0)

destreebrown said...

I LOVE JONNY LANG! Adam introduced him to me a few years ago and we were at that concert too! Youre right, every time I jam out to his music I cant seem to sit still..something in my soul stirs up and its deeper than words can describe! He is redeemed and def has takin the call to RISE UP! Im lovin your latest blogs...God is def speaking through you! And Caroline and her hairrrrrr oh my goodness :) Precious!! Love and miss yall lots! xoxo
Ps one of my best friends is on the world race (11 countries in 11 months) and she is leaving for Uganda Friday. I asked her to keep yalls precious one in her prayers as well as the other children! know that your little angel is lifted up to her entire team :) xoxo