Craig Twining: Testimony to God's Grace & Discipling the Next Generation DMW#184


Greg sat down with Craig Twining in studio this week. Craig is an author, musician, andDeacon at Christ the Word Church. They discussed his personal testimony, the hills and valleys of his sanctification, and his calling to disciple the next generation. Hearing how God has saved and worked in the life of another brother in the Lord is always a blessing. Enjoy! Buy Craig's books here: Christ The Word Church: Dead Men Walking Podcast Website & Merch:


Exploring Theology, Doctrine, and all of the fascinating subjects in between. Broadcasting from an undisclosed location.
Dead Men Walking starts now. Well, hello, everyone.
Welcome back to another episode of Dead Men Walking. I'm your host, Greg. I'm in studio with Craig Twining.
How are you, Craig? I am well. Thank you for having me. Usually, I do like a little intro, but it's always a little awkward if there's a guest in studio, and they're just sitting there listening to me and, you know, talking to people, and they're going, when, you know, when are you going to introduce me?
There's some guy sitting here in the studio. So we get right to it. You're a musician, an author, an all -around good guy, and one of my buddies, and happy to have you on.
It's great to be here. This is a new experience for me. Never been interviewed before, so. Oh, really? Well, we're not going to do an interview.
We're just going to talk, you know, and we've been on plenty of church campouts together. We've been in men's breakfasts, where we just sit down and we just start talking about God, and it's pretty awesome.
It is. Absolutely. That's really what, how this podcast started, was I just really wanted to talk to other people about the
Lord, and it was kind of, I've always said, it's a little bit selfish because I get to talk to interesting, smart people.
We talk about theology and doctrine, and sometimes we stray from that. We'll go culture, politics, or comedy, or something like that.
Or RV camping. RV camping. Yeah. Yeah. We just had James White on, and that's all he talked about was his whole setup, and he's out there hitting the road, so that was pretty interesting.
But what's going on, brother? How you been? I have been well. It's a busy time in life, busy time at work, a lot of things going on in church as well, and I just try to keep looking for younger guys to encourage and exhort in the
Lord. Yeah. Amen. And those opportunities keep coming up. So that's great. What do you do again? I serve as a deacon at the, oh, you mean at church or at work?
Both. I'm an electrical engineer at work. Okay. I work for a robotic palletizing company, and I've been there for 12 years now, and I hope to ride that one out to retirement.
Right. And then it's a great company. And then you and I both attend Remembers of Christ the Word Church, and you're a deacon there.
I am a deacon there. I've been a deacon there for about eight years. Yeah. And it is a blessing to serve the
Lord in that capacity and to be a help to the body of Christ.
Yeah. You got a little theater in you though, too, because sometimes you're called upon to do some skits. Yes. I have a couple alter egos.
I've seen some of the YouTube videos. You know, and obviously musician too. Do you play guitar or bass?
I can't remember. I play bass. Ah. It's always good to know a bass player.
Yes. They're few and far between, especially when you find a good one. If you're in a band and you've got a bass player, you make sure you keep that bass player happy.
That's right. And you can always find another drummer. There's always some lead guitarist that wants to show off, but you get a good bass player that can keep time.
Yeah. That's right. You got to hold on to him. You betcha. How'd you get into playing music? I'm always curious because I play music.
It's kind of an interesting story. So, back when I was in my mid to late teens, two friends of mine had a band with a bass player, trio, power trio.
And between my junior year and my senior year in the summer, the bass player was one of my best friends, and he died in a rather freak pool accident.
Oh, wow. While me and my other best friend were there, and his parents were there, weren't there.
Oh, wow. Pretty traumatic. How old were you? I was 17.
Wow. And, yeah, it was very traumatic. But, I guess, in the aftermath of that,
I said, well, why don't I take on the bass playing responsibilities? And so,
I sat in my room for probably two months and about three hours a night, just sit there and practiced, and practiced, and practiced, and got good enough to play with those guys.
Yeah. Well, you sound good. What was some of your music that you would listen to to get inspired to play bass?
What's a good band or a good song that you just go, yeah, I really like the bass in that?
Obviously, besides ACDC, because everything's drums and bass with them. Yeah. Beatles, obviously.
Paul McCartney was just outstanding in his melody, Led Zeppelin. John Paul Jones. I mean, how do you top that?
Yeah, true. That and some Motown. There are a lot of, James Jamerson was just a great, he played on Aretha Franklin's R -E -S -P -E -C -T.
It just had a great sound about him. That's true. Yeah, Motown does have good bass lines, doesn't it? Yeah.
I was just thinking, too, like, there's some great funk out there, too. Oh, who's,
Godfather of Funk, James Brown. Have you ever seen that video on YouTube of him live in Africa? Oh, it is incredible.
When he comes out, and Michael Jackson is in the audience at one of his shows in Africa, brings him up on stage.
They do a little thing. Well, I'm sorry, that's after he comes out. But when he first comes out, it's in front of 60 ,000 people somewhere in Africa.
I can't remember. You got to watch this video. To anyone listening, it's just hilarious. He comes out, he's already dripping sweat.
He hasn't even started yet. He's in a one -piece velour, kind of like, almost like a wrestling onesie.
But, you know, with the long pants, bell -bottoms. Sure. With the one -piece, with the top, chest hair coming out, right? Already sweating.
Comes out, spins around, kicks the microphone stand over, catches it with his foot on the bass, flips it back up, pops the mic out.
And everyone just goes nuts. It's like, he was like, you know, say what you want about his music, too.
But the performance level in this guy. And, you know, he had like a little paunch. He was old at that time.
He was not in shape. You know what I mean? It was, it's just like you watch this video and you go, what is going on?
And these people are just going wild. But the bassline's in funk, too, I've always enjoyed, as a drummer. Oh, yes.
I have, you know, I have a kinship with my bass players. Because if you don't have a bass player and a drummer that are like this.
That's right. Nothing else really sounds good in the whole band. You know what I mean? We, that was, that was our goal, you know, for me to follow the bass drum, you know, and just to, whenever he did a roll on the drums, that I would try to do some kind of lick that followed him along.
So, yeah, you betcha. No, that's cool. So, what we wanted to talk about today is an idea we had a few years ago.
I say we because back when Jason Hamlin was co -hosting with me, he goes, man, we should do, actually
I think it was his idea. He said, we should do like testimony Tuesdays. Don't you love hearing testimony? This was after we had like 10 guests on that kind of gave their testimony.
And every time we would have someone on that did that, we go, man, we just, we're so edified by testimonies, by what the
Lord has done, how they, how he saved them. And I kind of wanted to start this new series.
I don't know if it'll, it'll come out on Tuesdays because I guess, you know, I like alliteration. So, testimony
Tuesday sounds better than testimony Friday. Okay. So, it'll come out on Tuesday, but I don't know yet.
For those listening, we might do it once a month. We might do it once every other week. I'm not sure, but you're our first guest for this segment.
I am honored. So, I mean, honored, right? So, I wanted to talk to you because I don't know your testimonies for all the other things that we've talked about in church.
And like I said, at camping trips and men's stuff and all that. I don't know the process of how the
Lord saved you and I'd like to hear it. And I think the listeners would like to hear it too. So, how were you saved?
Sure. And, you know, You're supposed to say by the grace of God. Nope. Sorry. That was supposed to be the answer. He surely saved me.
Just kidding. Go ahead. No. And whenever you want to ask questions, just be, you know, feel free to cut in.
Yeah. I grew up in church. We, I grew up in Perrysburg.
We attended a church. It's in Ohio. That my great grandparents built.
What? And yeah, so my great grandparents built a church. What denomination? It was Evangelical United Brethren, which merged then and became
United Methodist. Oh, okay. So, it was the family church. My great grandparents attended there.
My grandparents attended there. We attended there. Yeah. And it was the thing to do.
Every Sunday we were there. My parents sang in the choir. My mom was the children's choir director at points.
If there was some kind of fellowship going on in the evening, we were there.
Anytime the church was having something going on, we were there. And while I was there,
I mean, you know, just as a kid, heard all the Bible stories. You know, it was a very typical kind of thing.
What I don't remember, though, is us really cracking open the Bible outside of that time.
Like, church was church, and then the rest of the week was just the rest of the week. But, you know, there was always, you know, there was a definite standard of right and wrong.
You know, even the Ten Commandments and things like that. And so when we first, my first memory is, you know, we had one pastor, and we seemed to be really on fire, but I never really paid attention to the sermons as a kid.
You know, I was just kind of looking around. I mean, I sang the songs, I like to sing, but never really paid attention.
And then, so to kind of give a little background, too, I was born in 1964. So my child is late 60s, you know, and into the 70s.
And probably in the early 70s, we, there was another pastor who came, and was a nice guy, but he was liberal.
And the one sermon that I remember that he gave was about the feeding of the 5 ,000.
And it had nothing to do with Jesus' miraculous feeding. It was, his take on it was, wow, this boy gave his lunch, and look at how it spawned the generosity of the other people around to give the food that they had, so that everybody had, there was nothing miraculous about it.
That kind of sounds like a Methodist sermon. And, you know, as a kid, you're just like, oh, okay.
You know, it sounded weird, but, you know, you didn't know about being a good Berean, and going and checking the scriptures, you know, to see if these things were so.
How old do you think you were, like, when we, like, estimate, like? Probably six or seven.
Okay, so pretty young, yeah. Something like that. But still going, huh? But, yeah, it was just kind of, you know, I thought it was strange. But, you know, and that's kind of the way it was.
And then in about fourth grade, sometime probably in late fourth grade, a friend of my mom's invited her to an evening service at a
Baptist church. Okay. A Baptist church in Toledo. And she came home from that, and she sat us down.
I don't remember where my dad was, but us kids were all around. And she said, you know,
I heard something at this church that I haven't heard at our church. And I don't know really how to describe it, but these people seem to know
God. Okay. It was like, I don't know how to describe it, but do you guys want to go with me next
Sunday? We're like, sure, yeah, we'll go. We'll check it out. You know, our church didn't have an evening service that we were attending.
Did she say what it was that they had said that piqued your interest? She really couldn't describe it, but she knew it was different in it.
Okay. She just said it like these people had a personal relationship with God. Yeah.
So we went the next Sunday and to the evening service.
And it was the first time I had ever heard somebody give a testimony.
Okay. It was the first time I had heard people giving prayer requests. The first time that, you know, there were people out here that were saying that God is working in their lives and that he's personally interested in them.
And then the pastor, I don't know if it was a Romans road sermon, but it was the gospel flat out.
Right. And all I remember is when I heard it, instantly
I knew it was the truth. That's all I can explain it. It was kind of like the, what is it?
Romans 8, 16, where the spirit witnesses with your spirit that you're children of God.
Yeah. And it was kind of like that. It's like instantly I knew it was true. Yeah. And again, it was, you know, it was the whole gospel message.
You know, you're a sinner, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, you know, but that he provided the way through Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice.
And so at the very end of the sermon, they gave an altar call, which was typical.
Sure. And we were, I had this feeling like I should go up front and I should go to the altar.
And I think we all kind of did, but we were landlocked. Like we had people at each side, we were in the middle.
Right. And I remember looking at my mom, you know, she looking at me and I'm looking out there and it's, and we didn't move.
We didn't, we didn't go, but you know, we, I felt like I should. Right.
So anyways, we, the service ended and I remember it was on the car ride home.
That's all we were talking about. And we got ready for bed. And when we said -
Was dad there or just mom and the kids? Dad did not go. Okay. I don't know where my dad was at the time.
He may, he may have said no to my mom. Like he might not have been, you know, because this is going away from tradition.
Yeah. But I remember at bedtime - Well, wait a minute. Was it your dad's side of the family that built the church or your mom's side?
It was my dad's side. Oh, yeah. So you probably had a connection to the church too. I mean, it's a family church. That's right. Third generation, you guys, or whatever it was.
Exactly. Yeah. And so I remember at prayer time, I said, mom, I'm ready to accept Jesus.
I want to accept the Lord. And actually my brother and my sister, we all said at the same time.
And so we prayed, you know, basically the sinner's prayer. And I mean, it was kind of like night and day for me.
It's like, wow, I know I'm going to heaven. I know Jesus as my
Lord and Savior. Yeah. Is this when you were like seven, you said? So this was about fourth grade.
So this is 10. Okay, 10. All right. And so there must have been some discussion going on between my mom and dad at the time because we still went to the
Methodist church for probably another month. Or at least my dad did.
I have this vague recollection of, you know, maybe going to the
Baptist church a couple of times and to the Methodist church a couple of times. Right. It's kind of a transition. Transition.
Yeah. But eventually my dad went to one of the services and I just think he was convicted because we ended up leaving the
Methodist church and started going to the Baptist church. Now, the church itself was kind of far away from us.
Okay. So we ended up finding a smaller church in Maumee, a small Baptist church that was just starting up.
And that was it. We had broken ties with the Methodist church. What did all the family members at the
Methodist church say when they were like, hey, we're leaving the family church, essentially? Because sometimes that can be a little, you know, a little strange, a little hard when it's, was it a smaller church?
Was the Methodist church a smaller church? No, it was actually fairly big. And by that time, my grandparents were not in the area.
They were already like an hour and a half away. And my great grandparents had died. They had passed on.
But our friends, you know, we had a lot of friends at the Methodist church.
Sure. And I don't remember, you know, like if they called us and tried to get us to come back,
I don't really remember how that went. It just seemed like there was just a break. Yeah.
It was just a break. And we were Baptists now. All the Baptists out there listening right now are like, yeah, he went to a
Methodist church. He had to come to a Baptist church to get saved. Woohoo. No, I'm just kidding.
No. And that's the way it was. And, you know, so for the next few years, a couple of years anyways, we went to a
Baptist church. And it was good. I mean, there was, you know, there was application of the word, you know, and there was, you know, serious talk about sin and, you know, the need to repent of it.
You know, they used to have altar calls. And if there was times where I wasn't being rather well behaved, you know, on a particular week, mom would say,
I think you need to go up to the altar and confess what's been going on.
And I would. And it was interesting because they had deacons or elders that would come up and read scripture with you.
But they were gentle. You know, they dealt with me gently and it was a good experience. Yeah.
Now, see, I grew up in the 80s and early 90s and. They love the altar call.
Yes. Even in the even in the 80s, it was still going strong. It was like, hey, you were treating your siblings right.
I think it's altar call time. You know what I mean? It was almost like it was almost like the evangelical version of like a confession.
Yes. Sometimes. And I remember that, which is fine. And it, you know, it was it was it was a time to set aside to get right with the
Lord and confess. And you know what I mean? And those type of things, which which is fine. Not quite what we do now in our church, or I don't think it's it's kind of fallen out of,
I guess I would say popularity. But I don't see too many evangelical churches doing it. Maybe the maybe the
Baptist churches do the small Baptist churches. But so anyway, 10 years old, you say the sinner's prayer, the sinner's prayer, okay.
Do you feel that there was a heart change at that time at 10 years old? Do you feel there was a generation when you when you confessed to the
Lord and and and was saved? I do. Okay. I think there I think there was.
This is so this is where things get a little interesting. I felt at, you know, at that age,
I felt on fire. I mean, I started telling my friends. And it was the first time
I thought I mean, I thought everybody was gonna want to know this. Right? Why wouldn't they? And, you know, then
I got some ridicule at school and it's like, oh, I wasn't really prepared for this.
You know, and so I mean, I quieted down, I guess. Yeah. You know, but I was still, you know, convinced of the truth.
And you know, still with my closer friends, you know, would speak, you know, about God and invite them to church and things like that.
And so that went on for a couple years. And you're still at the small Baptist church?
We did end up transitioning to another Baptist church and I don't recall it was a bigger one.
Okay. And I don't recall why. But still, I started taking interest in the sermons, would start taking notes, you know,
I was really starting to get into it. So you were in a larger Baptist church, probably for your formative years there of like your pre -teens and teens, then were you guys there for a while or?
Close. Okay. So this is where things get a little interesting. At the end of my sixth grade year, so we were, we were attending, but at the end of my sixth grade year, my mom died.
And at that point, it was, that's tough in sixth grade, just went right downhill.
I mean, just, just plummeted. Like for you personally, or you and your entire family,
I'm sure your dad had your father to deal with it, your siblings, right? Yeah, it was, it was very, it was traumatic.
Like, I mean, like all are, but you know, it was just, and I don't recall exactly how it was feeling other than to say,
I was like, what now, you know, just, I don't have a mom anymore.
Yeah. And it was extremely sad and traumatic.
Probably confusing. Confusing. You know, was there any anger there? I'm sure there was, you know, somewhat, but it was just more of this confusion of what now?
What, you know, what is, what is, what, where is life going? And in the, in that summer, before seventh grade, you know, with all the sadness and stuff, my friend said, well,
I've got something that'll make you happy. And that was the first time
I smoked a joint. Yeah. And by the time eighth grade rolled around,
I was, I was using marijuana regularly. Yeah. Regularly. Yeah. Wow.
So you were what? Going into seventh. I mean, you were like 12. Yeah. That's pretty young. That's very young.
Yeah. And yeah. So, so probably from that, like confusion and hurt and pain, it was, and you're, you're so young too.
I mean, really 12 years old is not that old, especially when, you know, you think you are right at that age.
But then when I have kids, I, you know, I have an 11 year old and a 13 year old, I go, gosh, they're still just so young and immature and they need guidance.
And you know, when I was 16, I couldn't wait to get my license and I go, oh my gosh, I wish they'd move the age of 25 years old.
I don't want my little girl in a car at 16. They just, you know, they're, it's, it's not that old. So you go right into, from that into marijuana use, so drug use, and then was there any, was there any like anger towards God or just confusion or just,
I mean, what was the, what was the, and if I'm getting too personal, you don't have to answer, but what was the motivation for continue?
You try, you try marijuana and then continuing in it. I mean, just you like the way it made you feel or the friend group or was it covering for some pain or all the above?
I think it's, I think it's all the above. It made me happy. It made me laugh when I didn't feel like laughing.
My friends were doing it too. It's very interesting. I mean, I look at 12 year olds today and I think,
I can't believe that I tried it that young or I got into it that young. But the interesting thing is, is that I wasn't the only one.
I had friends that were that age and doing it too. And I don't know if it was just the, the era, you know, the seventies and some of the, but yeah, it wasn't the only one.
So there was a, there was a group of us who would routinely, you know, get high and most of them came from broken homes.
So I imagine that there was probably a similar type of thing where they wanted some happiness too, you know, or some laughter.
So summer into seventh and then eighth grade, you continue to use, but are you still going to church?
Is dad taking you to church or what's going on? Still going to church. I, at this time, I think my dad was clueless about what was going on.
He was, there were just, you know, he was working full time. We were latchkey kids. We really were kind of off the leash in a sense.
Yeah. Yeah. Kind of on your own. And no mom. Yeah. But we were still going to church and the belief in, in God and you know,
I was still convinced of the truth, but I just wanted to be happy. Yeah. So through eighth grade, you know, it just continued.
And then between my eighth grade and ninth grade year, my dad remarried.
Okay. Which is a whole nother set of, it could be issues. Yes. And, and there were, now this is kind of, it's interesting because, you know,
I love my step -mom to this day and my step -sister and that all my step -family there. But I don't think,
I don't recall ever meeting my step -mom more than twice before my dad remarried.
Wow. I don't know where I was. And it's like, I either I'm remembering wrong or, you know,
I just made myself scarce. Yeah. And so it was, you know, they remarried and we moved into a house altogether.
My step -sister is a couple of years younger than me. And then there's Lisa, you know, my older brother. So it was one step -sister.
The others, my other step -siblings were already out of the house. They were old enough and they were, they were on their own.
So how many kids in the house when they get married? So there was, so there was four. Okay. So my older brother, me, my step -sister,
Lori, and then my sister, Lisa. Okay. And...
How'd that go? Oh my goodness. It was rough. We...
We... Blended families are, are tough. Yeah. Mom was, step -mom was not mom. You know, that's...
Sure. She was, you know, different. She, you know, things were just too different.
And it's only been a couple of years at this point, right? Right. It's only been a couple of years. Since your mom passed. And I mean,
I just descended further and further, you know, into drugs and alcohol. And to the point that pretty much through high school,
I was high more than I wasn't, you know. So pretty much every day at school... How are you doing in school with grades and stuff?
Are you getting in trouble there or are you still being able to maintain stuff? I'm actually doing pretty good. For whatever reason, math still stuck with me and I don't know why, but I'm the engineer.
So yeah. It was hardwired India. So, but you know, through my influence, my stepsister got involved in drugs, you know, and at one point my parents, my step -mom and my dad were seriously thinking about divorcing again because things were, we just made it so rough on them.
It was just such a bad time, but they stuck it out. And now they didn't know, they, my mom was more wise, my step -mom was more wise than my dad when it came to drugs because her older daughter had gotten into it.
She was aware. And so there was one time where my parents went out on a, probably on a dinner date or something and we all got high.
And I don't, this was the Lord's doing, but for whatever reason, I left an album with all the weed out on the table and I went into my bedroom to listen to tunes on a headphones and my parents came home and it was just sitting right out for them.
Right. No hiding it. Oh my word. It was, that was a bad night, but it also was one of the most memorable punishments that my parents ever gave all of us.
We had to write the book of Proverbs out. We were all grounded for a month.
We had to write the book of Proverbs out, you know, a chapter a day and then read it at the dinner table.
Yeah. How old were you when that happened? Probably about 15. Okay. 15. Something like that.
I don't think I had my license yet. So where are you at like spiritually, like personally during this time?
So from 12 to 15, 16 or, you know, when this is going on those years, is it just, you're just, are you just clocking in at church?
Do you have any type of relationship with Christ? Any reading the Bible on your own or witnessing or Bible studies or anything like that?
Or is it, are you just playing? Are you playing the good Christian? It was all mental. It was all mental.
Mostly. I mean, if somebody asked me, I was a Christian, I would say, yes, sure. But there was no fruit, right?
There was no witnessing. You know, I thought that the kids in the youth group in church were hypocrites or that they just didn't understand.
Yeah. They, they hadn't a clue about what was going on in life. Yeah. And in the real world. And so I just distanced myself from them and just hung up with the people who, you know.
So how long did that last? The using drugs and drinking and stuff. Was it into your, into adulthood through your teens and into your adulthood?
So yeah. Like early adulthood? It, it continued on. And you know, I mean, my parents busted me so many times with, with drugs and they kept threatening me.
They threatened to send me to a Christian school. One time a Christian high school, I said, well, you know, if you do, I'm just going to smoke a joint in classroom and get kicked out.
You know? I mean, I was, I was that rebellious. And I, I mean, this is,
I'm not proud to say this when I'm saying this, you know, if, if anything, you know, my, my admonition is don't do what
I did. I was a fool. I was stupid. Yeah. But yeah, so it continued on and it got to the point where my parents really,
I mean, they prayed and prayed and prayed over us, but they pretty much left it up to the
Lord. Yeah. You know, they knew what I was doing now. So after high school,
I got a full -time job and at some point it was, it was a manual labor full -time job.
And at that time was also when I started getting into music and playing in the band and had these delusions of grandeur that we were going to be the first Toledo band to make it like every other
Toledo band that ever did, which is none, you know, and it just, you know,
I, you know, I don't know why we thought we would be the ones, but you know, that was it. And, but three years out of high school,
I was working this job and my parents sat me down at the table and said, you know, we believe you have brains and that you're not using them.
Yeah. And you've got a choice. You can either move out and continue working what you're doing, or you can go back to school.
Okay. And I took that seriously. I said, I'm going to school. Yeah. And at that time
I, I, I knew what I wanted to do. I liked like the electronics, the engineering, the electrical side of things.
And so I went back to school, but going back to school, it was partying a little bit.
It was the college preppy type partying and not so much the, you know, the, the rock and roll type scene.
And so, but I, I did well in college.
And at the time I, this is where I think the Lord really started working in life. Like my desire to, to smoke cigarettes,
I, I got, you know, I kicked that habit and my desire to actually smoke marijuana went away.
I thought, you know, I can talk to girls much easier if I'm not hot, you know? And so all these things were starting to drop off and, but it still hadn't really.
And I ended up being, I ended up quitting the band that we tried to make it in and ended up just forming a party band.
I was in a party band and we were playing at a, a bar outside of the university of Toledo.
We were getting pretty popular and had a number of gigs going on, having a lot of fun.
And during one show on a Saturday night, we are in the middle of a song.
It was, I believe it was Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak. Okay. And song I had played hundreds of times.
Yeah. And in the middle of that song, this is about the closest
I can approximate maybe what, I didn't hear an audible voice, but a thought just so overwhelmed me.
It stopped me in my tracks and it was a thought. It just came and said, Craig, I have protected you all these years.
I have kept you from killing anybody in drunk driving. I've kept you from killing yourself.
I've kept you out of prison and jail. I've kept all these things from happening to you.
If you don't stop this now, you will reap what you sow.
And it just floored me to the point. So in the middle of playing. In the middle of the song and I stopped playing.
I just, it just struck me. I, I, I almost, I froze. And, and then
I came, I, I, I kind of came to and it's like, what, what's happening? And my band members are looking at me going, what are you doing?
You know what I mean? It's like this silent, like get with it. And I'm like, oh, where, where are we at in the song?
Where are we at in the song? You know, and I picked it up. But from that moment on, I knew I had to give it up.
I knew I had to give it up. And that Sunday, I remember going to church and at Sunday dinner afterwards, we were sitting around the table and I said, mom, dad,
I need to be done with the band. I'm done with all this stuff. It's time for me to give up all this foolishness.
And they, they were like in the middle of eating and they just kind of. It's like a record scratch.
Stop. It's like. Yeah. And it, it really, it wasn't for a couple of seconds.
My dad, all he says is he goes, well, that's good. Yeah. And, but from then on, and then it was trying to figure out how to, how to tell the guys in the band because we were popular.
But the Lord worked that out too. And, and, and then the
Lord got a hold of me and, and really in every time. So we had switched from the Baptist at this time, we were going to a
Christian and Missionary Alliance church. Okay. And it's just, and I went from going just every
Sunday morning on a marginal to every time the church door was open, I was there. Yeah. And, and how old were you when this, so you had to be like, what early mid twenties?
This was mid twenties, mid twenties. And one of the funny things I remember is there was a family there and a couple that had attended
Bible study with my parents and they, she came up to me one
Sunday, you know, after this change had started and she said, oh, we're so happy to see you in church all this time and I've seen this change, you know, we were in a
Bible study with your parents and, you know, they would constantly pray about you. And when we would leave that study, my, my husband and I, we'd go home, we'd be talking in the car and we'd praise
God that our kids weren't like you. And I, you know, it was funny.
I mean, I, I did not take offense at that because I knew exactly what she was saying. Yeah. She probably didn't mean it as offensive.
It was not meant to be offensive. Someone has said to be before too. Yeah. So, so that's kind of the, you know, just, and then
I got involved in the Friday night Bible study that Dr. Forney used to lead, which was very popular in Toledo.
Yeah. It went on for the longest time. And then
I, it says, you know, my story is just an up and down. You tell me if we're going long, it can keep going.
But I, I got married and it was, it was not a good marriage.
Yeah. And it's because of sin in my life. I was immature. I was selfish. I was irresponsible.
And so even after the Lord got a hold of my life, there was still baggage. There were still things that needed to be dealt with.
Well, that's, that's a good point that you make here too, is, you know, and most believers know that, but for any unbelievers listening, you know, the whole, and geez, even some evangelical preachers will promise you, well, you just give your life to Christ and everything's going to be okay.
No, we still have sanctification. You still struggle with sin. You still have to be purified.
There's still wisdom and discernment to grow in. There's all these things to where it's not, you know, now it is, it is something special and, and big and huge in the fact that you now understand that you need a savior and he, and he has saved you.
And that is a real realization, but it's not like the next day and you're like, oh, I never sinned.
I'm a saint now. I can walk on water and the Lord and I just hold hands and skip down the, you know, skip down the path.
It's like, no, life is life. And you, you just like a marriage or anything else, you, you work at it.
And then also the Lord sanctifies through situations in your life, through studying and meditating on the word, through bringing yourself under authority to those who have spiritual authority over you to discipling and being discipled.
Like all these things are part of the Christian walk. And I would encourage anyone listening to this too.
You say, oh, you know, and I'm still doing, it's like, no, that we, we all have those things where we do, we have to release them to the
Lord and, and they have to be purified from us. And that's just being real. You know what
I mean? And you say your life's up and down. I think most people can relate to that. You know, I don't know anyone whose life is all up or all down.
We all have our highs and we have our lows and you look back on your life and you say, you could have done this differently or the
Lord brought me through that. But at the end of the day too, though, that's like one of my favorite quotes is by Charles Spurgeon that says the sovereignty of God is the soft pillow on which
I rest my head in times of trouble. So you can have a life that does this peaks and valleys, ups and downs, but we rest in the sovereignty of God.
And when we're saved, we understand, um, you know, uh, Shadrach, Neshach, and Abednego.
God can save me. He will save me. But even if he doesn't, I love that little, but even if he doesn't, that's one of my favorites.
Well, why'd they say that they said he can, they said he's going to save. But even if he doesn't King, we're still not going to bow because God is
God. That's right. And, and, and he, in Christ is King and he's ruling and reigning and I serve him.
So, uh, I love that you, uh, pointed that out to like, Hey, look at ups and downs. But, um, by no means,
I don't think anyone listening, especially to me, are we saying, oh, well, he still had things in his life even after he got, please, that's, that's all of us.
Right. Right. And so that first marriage ended in divorce tragically and, and, you know, it, and then there was more sin beyond that.
Yeah. And it just, you know, and so it really was ups and downs. Um, when, so your first marriage, were you in your twenties, were you like late twenties then at that point?
Yeah. Uh, mid twenties, mid twenties married. And it just, yeah, uh, there was just, again, sin in my life that just was not dealt with.
That should have been, you know, and, and, uh, you, I did not, I was not responsible on acting on it, you know, uh, as I should really, and, you know,
I thought I was ready for marriage and I wasn't, and, um, it, it ended in divorce and, um, then there was more sin and, but confession and, and the
Lord brought me out of that again. And, uh, it was, um, so then
I started reattending the Friday night Bible study. Okay.
Which was still going on. And, um, but I didn't want to, you know, being divorced,
I did not pursue remarriage. Uh, I thought if there's any chance of, of reconciliation,
I wasn't going to put the stumbling block in the way by doing that. And so, but after 10 years, my ex -wife remarried.
And so I thought, you know, do, you know, I, I see women at this study, one of whom is now my current wife, um, that I, that are attractive, but I didn't want to lead them on in a dating relationship, you know, and try to, uh, you know, and make them think something could happen when it couldn't.
And so I, I never dated. What I did is I talked to Pastor David and I asked him,
I said, do, from a biblical standpoint, do I have the ability to remarry knowing what you know?
And so he said, well, we'll take this to the elder board and we'll discuss it and I'll get back with you, but know that you won't be the first topic of discussion at the elder board meeting.
And so I said, okay. And then, so he goes, we're also going to have to talk with your ex -wife.
We're going to have to talk with some other people and, uh, I'm going to have you do some things.
One of which several months down the road, he had me write a 10 ,000 word paper on first Corinthian seven.
Um, and you know, there is, there is some things that he had me do, but it gets to be about eight months, which is humbling, by the way, and you talking publicly about, um, submitting to authority.
It's, it's insane. If you go out and look at just about every other, and I keep saying evangelical church, but kind of that non -denominational, even the, the 60 % of churches really now, uh, in the
United States, there is really no form of church discipline. There's no form of submitting under a spiritual authority.
There's no, uh, form of correction. And then we wonder, look at all these churches just going awry and the leaders failing morally and, and the, the congregants doing essentially whatever they want, no confession of sin, no discipleship.
And, um, so I really appreciate you even talking about this on this podcast of saying, well, yeah,
I had, I humbled myself and I knew that I had some issues in the divorce and had some, maybe had some culpability in that.
So I had to submit myself to authority and do the things that my elders and my pastor said. Right.
Um, I think probably for the majority of Christians, they would look at you and go to those non -denominational churches and go, what?
I've never had a pastor unless it's something egregious, right? Right. The guys in the congregation sleeping around and everyone knows it.
Then the pastor, they usually just kick you out, you know, but never is there like, well, do
I have biblical standing for this action that I'm going to do? I want to check with my pastor and my elders.
That doesn't go on a whole lot in churches nowadays. That's why I think it's also very, it's something special at Christ the word too, which
I really appreciate. Yes. And, you know, so this went on, so eight months into it, you know,
I'm getting a little antsy. A year into this, it's like, are they, are they talking about this?
I mean, come on, you know, it was a year. Oh, so you didn't get any answer for a year? And I'm sitting here and just waiting. It's like, do
I mention something? Do I say something? Wow. 16 months after I asked,
I finally came up to him. I said, David, do I, do I, or don't
I, you know, have this biblical ability to read verity? He goes, we have discussed it.
And we think that you are, from a biblical standpoint, you are able to read
Mary. Yeah. And, uh, I. Did he ever tell you why he made you wait 16 months?
No, that was part of the test. Well, you never know. I, you know, but, um, at that point
I already had, so my beautiful wife, Martha was already on my radar.
Yeah. And, uh, well she, she was on your radar. That's why you asked because she was kind of on your radar before.
That's correct. 16 months. Yes. That's gotta be extra hard. So it was like, but again, I mean, we had done things as friends, but I couldn't just say,
Hey, you know, I don't, you know, you don't know what the end is going to be there. So you didn't want to lead on and, you know, present something that might not happen.
Yeah, exactly. So it was shortly after that, that, um, so my sister,
Lisa was friends with her too. So I, uh, had her over for dinner with Lisa once.
And then, um, as, as dinner was ending, Lisa, you know, just made her way out of the room casually.
And, uh, Martha and I went out to her car and, and, uh, I said, Hey, I got a, I got a question for you.
And I kind of think Martha knew what was coming, but, you know, and then all of a sudden I see this scratch in her car.
She had a new car and I see the scratch. I was like, what happened here? And she goes, don't worry about the scratch. Ask me the question.
Yeah. I said, have you ever thought about dating? And she goes, yeah, that was, that was her.
That sounds like her. Yeah. Right after that, she said, but not if there's not, if there's not an intent to marry.
That was, that was right away her. And I said, yep, that's my intent. And then
I explained, you know, that I had gone to the process, the process that I had gone through.
Interesting. And that, you know, she, she knew about the divorce. She, she knew a lot of what had happened and that just went a long way in calming her fears about, you know, is she doing something wrong by marrying a divorced man?
Yeah. You know, it's fun. I keep going back to this, but just by you talking that way,
I know so many, so many believers that wouldn't even think twice about any of this.
I got divorced. I'll go, I need to get remarried. Makes me feel good. I need a partner. I need someone to help me with life.
I mean, that's really how the majority of Christians view marriage. They don't view it as a covenant before God and man, more importantly before God.
And it's just a very sad state of affairs. I mean, I'm really blessed to hear your testimony.
And even in that part of your life, how carefully you treated that. Samantha and I are both results of divorce.
Her, her parents are divorced and mine are divorced and we would wish that on no, and I'm, and I also have step sisters as well, blended family.
I'll actually, a lot of our testimony is very similar. I was here hearing you say it. I go, geez, man, we can be twins on some of this stuff.
I said the sinner's prayer at seven. I say I got saved at 24. That's my kind of, by saying, you know, rebelled and parents divorce, none of, neither of them passed away, but rebelled and, you know, was in a band and traveled and did all that stuff and really didn't care if I lived or died.
I mean, I put every type of drug I could find in my body. When I look back on it,
I probably was just saying, well, if I die, I die, whatever. I don't, you know, that was whether you call that depression or anarchy or,
I mean, but I mean, sin does lead to death in all forms, spiritual death, physical death.
It almost sin and death embrace each other. Many times they, they like each other.
And even though it seems like fun when we do some of these sinful acts, it's death right next to sin going, yep, just take it a little farther, keep going because at the, at the foundation of all sin is death.
And it, and you don't really, you almost, if you get deep enough in, you don't really care. That's how, that's how
I was. I didn't care if I lived or died. It was like, almost like a really weird, like I said, like anarchist kind of attitude, like live for today.
Like, you know what I mean? That's exactly how I felt. And it was, but anyway, so listening to your testimony, um, it's just in being a product of divorce too.
And I, you know, and I have a great relationship with my father and my mother and even my stepdad as well. But it's just, and it's, it's just, it's tough on children.
And then in your, your story compacted with the death of a mother at a young age,
I could only imagine the turmoil and the hurt. And, you know, on this podcast,
I always say we, sometimes we give the devil way too much credit. You know that who was the famous comedian that had the, the devil made me do it.
Flip Wilson, flip Wilson. Thank you. Uh, and I go, no, sometimes you just have fleshly and sinful desires and you act upon them, right?
The devil does, but I believe, you know, metaphorically speaking, the devil's down there rubbing his hands together every time he sees a divorce, because he goes, all right, boys, we've got opportunities here.
Let's go make it happen. We, we don't, we don't necessarily need to, you know, uh, kill that young man, but we, we can maim him for a good long while.
We can, um, you know, drown him in all kinds of doubt and depression and drugs and addiction and, and all these things and, and, uh, make them think that God is far from him when in fact we know, um,
God is close to the brokenhearted. That's right. The Bible says, um, and that that's part of my testimony is not having a job, a girlfriend, a house, money, a car, a band, a place to live.
Uh, but I still had Christ. And I went, oh, that's the only thing that will never change
Christ alone. And that was the night that I look at, I actually had a heart, uh, you know, heart transplant, as they say, a regeneration of the spirit.
Um, but so, yeah, so you, you had the full, the full gambit. So grew up in church, but then, you know, man with life comes at you.
And I think it's for anyone listening to, um, we should emphasize that one, um, the goodness of God, even throughout periods of periods in our life when we are not serving, loving him and, and raging against him.
Cause that was my experience too. I don't know if that was yours, but I would see time and time again, the goodness of God, even though I was his enemy.
Right. And the Bible says that he loved us when we were still his enemy. That's right. I had a preacher tell me once, man,
I was probably, I don't know, 18, 19, and I was going through the motions of every once in a while I'd go to church to appease my parents, even though I was kicked out, you know, put on the facade, like,
Oh, maybe I'm doing something with my life, going to church high or, you know, stoned or whatever. And the preacher said, you know, um, you don't, you don't do something good and then go,
Oh, well I did something good. So now God's going to bless me. And it's, it's like a balance sheet. He goes, God saved you when you still hated him, right?
He's already been in your next week. He already knows the sin you're going to commit next week. He's all knowing he sits outside of time.
He's right next to you in that atrocious sin that you're going to commit yet. He still blesses you and loves you today on Tuesday, even though on Thursday, you're going to be a real butthole.
Right. You know what I mean? Really? Absolutely. He said, yeah. And it, and it just, and it made me think I went, Oh yeah,
I, I serve a omni, you that time is not relative to him.
He knows everything that I've done. Um, everything I'm going to do and still chooses to show me grace and mercy, even when
I hate him. And I think that's really, that's a point that you can't, you just can't make fine enough because I look at all of my rebelliousness and sin and all the grace and the mercy he's shown me.
Yeah. I mean, it is, you know, you think about the definitions of grace and mercy and they're undeserved and I'm certainly undeserving of all that he's blessed me with, you know,
Martha and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary back in May and just the daily blessing of being married to her.
I've had 15 years of happiness. I just can't, you know, none drug related happiness.
I mean, just absolute genuine and happiness, you know, in the Lord, you know, with her and, um, you know, it's all because of God's grace and mercy.
Yeah. All right. So let's put bookends on this. If someone's listening and let's say, cause, um, we're, we're two older dudes with a little bit of experience underneath our belt, but let's say someone who's listening a little bit younger, maybe going through this right now, or even experienced a divorce in their family or wrestling with, um, you know, sin in their life or, or just not, um, serving the
Lord the way they should be. Well, what would be some advice that you would give them as someone, uh, who is older and wiser and I say wiser through the experiences and through, um, you know, the goodness of God, what kind of advice would you give to them?
Um, as, as, uh, as their older mentor, let's say. Find a godly man that you can talk to and, and relate to, um, you know, stay away from sin, sin is stupid, sin is insanity, you know, quite honestly, but you know, there are guys out there, you know, who, who have dealt with things, look, you know, that's why
I look for the young guys at church and, you know, I want to speak truth to them and exhort them to, you know, don't go down a bad path.
And if you're hurting, if something's going on, you know, tell me, we'll pray about it, be in the word.
I will pray for you. I'll encourage you, you know, and so that would be, you know, probably the major thing is look for a godly man, a godly older man who can mentor you and guide you, counsel you, counsel you.
Yeah. Proverbs talks about, um, you know, a good friend is closer than a brother and how diversity brings that bond together too.
Um, but it is, it's discipleship. I know the world calls it mentorship. We just had a conversation about that on another episode, but, um, the discipleship accountability, and I think, tell me what you think about this, but I'm the same way and I can probably count the two or three men in my life throughout my walk that have truly impacted my life just by being someone that could counsel me.
Yes. And, and sometimes the Lord would just bring them into my life for a season. There's, there's like few guys that I talked to.
I've only talked to maybe six or seven times, but they were at that specific time, but now when
I say six or seven times, maybe, you know, over a period of six months or something through, you know what I mean? Like, like almost periods in my life, it's not like we're out golfing together or, you know, eating dinner or having the families over, but the
Lord has moved them into my life at a time when I needed counsel. Um, we'll maybe move them back out for a while.
And they're very important to me and they've impacted my life greatly. So it's like, what you said is, is so true for those listening to like find someone that can not only hold you accountable, but that can also counsel and disciple you as well.
I think that's, that's really good. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. All right. So that takes us through almost, um, to right to this moment.
No. Uh, so married for 15 years, life is good. You're serving the Lord. You look back on your life and you're just grateful, right?
That the Lord chose to save you. I am so grateful. Which is funny because I, on a side note, and we'll end this here, but, uh, on a side note,
I always meet people when, when I tell them about like reformed theology and doctrines of grace. And we get talking about Calvinism, like,
Oh, you guys, you guys are just so, they're just so prideful. Like, Oh, the Lord chose me.
And it's like, I don't think I've met one person who subscribes to reform tradition that talks that way.
It's the exact opposite. They understand how sinful I'm a wretched, depraved, horrible person without Christ.
I would choose everything bad and sinful because I want it. Cause that's my nature. I go after it.
If I can cheat someone, even if it's a little bit, I'll do it and not think twice about it. Steal, you know, gossip, all these things.
I know the wretch that I am, you know, much like John Newton said, the, the famous shipmaster and writer of amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.
I mean, he used to, he used to take clubs when he ran slave ships and he would just beat him at the knees and laugh about it.
He would, he would take out their knees and bust their kneecaps and then he becomes saved and then he becomes an abolitionist, which is a beautiful story.
But when you sing saved a wretch like me, John Newton reform, by the way, for those you listening, that's what he's saying, right?
Like this, that's, what's amazing about this grace, because I know the wretch I was. So just a little side note there.
I don't like you. I don't think I've ever met someone in the reform faith that goes, Oh yes, God chose me because of my, uh, you know, because of all my personality and my character traits and my work ethic.
It's like, no, no, we live a life of gratefulness because we go, there's no reason why we should have been chosen.
Absolutely. You know, absolutely. Yeah. Total agreement. Cool. Anything else before we go? Oh, no, just like to say hi to my wife,
Martha, and, uh, I'll see you in a little bit. And we, yeah, we, uh, we love
Martha too. When we get to hang out with you guys. Um, she's such a wonderful lady and I know my wife just loves her too.
They got some stuff in common with their plants and other things too. And she did tell you that she gets most of her current events news from you anyways, right?
She told me that in church. I was like, Martha, if you're getting current events for me, you need to get at least another source.
I appreciate it. Uh, that's very kind of you, but yeah, no, she, she loves, she loves listening.
So cool. Um, all right, guys, thanks so much for listening to another episode. So Craig, thanks for sitting down with us and taking time and just talking about the
Lord and glorifying him through testimony and, and telling other people what the Lord has done for you.
I really appreciate you as a friend. Um, and, uh, I know we're going to have a lot of fun together in the future and come back on anytime.
Maybe we can talk about something else. I, I'm a, your next, your book is next up. So I had 12 going and they keep moving up, so I'm going to get to it and maybe we even talk about that next time or something.
I wrote another book. No, I don't. I only have the one you gave me. No, the other book was just about the memoirs of my childhood because Martha could never believe that I actually survived.
What's it? What's it called? I survived. It's actually called I'm telling. I'm telling. That's funny.
Wait, what, what order and birth order were you? Were you, I was middle. You're middle. Oh, so of course you're telling your middle. You bet.
Yeah. The Lord always battles. All right, guys. Thanks so much for listening to another episode of dead men walking podcast.
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We're going to have conferences coming up in October where we're going to be down in, uh,
Kentucky at the fight. Laugh feast. I've got one coming up with Jeffrey rice in February.
So it's a little farther out. Um, we're going to, and I'm going to be moderating the documentary, why
Calvinism, so you guys can catch me there and moderating that, um, debate and then, or the,
I'm sorry, the event, and there will be a debate there with James White, and then we got our men's conference coming up, um, which
I was fortunate enough to be on the panel. So I'm going to bring some of that information back to you guys too.
And hopefully we'll have some video clips and stuff and some audio we can share of, um, Christ, the words, uh, men's conference.
So guys, we've got a lot of stuff coming up, a lot of stuff going on. Thanks for listening. Share with a friend, all glory to God. And remember the chief end of man is to glorify
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