Where did I begin? where does it all end? why isn't anyone interested in God, their origins or their final destination anymore?.
These questions haunted me throughout my young life. I was born and 'christened' in the Church of England. My young life in England was a series of moving about and never staying anywhere long enough to settle and make friends. My Father was a depressed and violent paratrooper who would beat my mother. But when I was seven years old my Father , who was suffering from serious depression, committed suicide. This changed my life dramatically. I was taken from England and put into Roman Catholic schools in Ireland. My Mother who was a Roman Catholic (she isn't now though, she has 'seen through all that' and knows it's nothing but control)at that time probably believed she had me 'converted' to Catholocism by having a priest wet my head and go through the 'sacraments'!. I went through Irish schooling, but eventually ended up in a very strict (and abusive) boarding school which was run by catholic 'christian' brothers (NB:There was a very revealing doccumentary made about my boarding school and others like it by the Irish National television station RTE and channel 4 called "States of Fear", if you ever get the chance to see it, it's worth watching & it's in 4, 1 hour parts). The regime there meant I had to get up early every morning and attend mass, live on a diet of porrige and batch loaf bread. I have problems eating vegetables so I nearly always missed dinner and at tea time had more bread and tea. It was hard, and having an English accent in Ireland at that time ment I got beaten up a lot in school. Many times I found my clothes dumped down the toilets or had razor blades slipped into my coat pockets and broken glass in my shoes so I would cut myself. This was because of the Northern Ireland troubles which I had nothing to do with but suffered for. The ignorance and hatred stirred up against the English in Irish Catholic national schools in them days was unbelievable. I found it particularly hard when I was singled out and told to pray the 'Hail Mary', 'Hail Holy Queen' and other prayers to (or for) dead people because of my schooling in England where they read the Bible every morning at school assembly. When I wouldn't pray to Mary, I was called a pig, a pagan, a heathen, a Paislyite (after the Rev. Ian Paisley, a Northern Ireland religious figure that appeared to stir up political hatred in the minds of Catholics) and other hurtful names. Why wouldn't I pray to Mary? well one of my prize possesions was a pencil that had a verse on it that stuck in my mind. I was given it for memorizing a Scripture verse. It was Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8 where Jesus rebuked satan for trying to get Jesus to worship him. The verse goes: "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." The words of Jesus always stuck with me, and I knew I shouldn't worship or pray to anything or anyone other than the Lord. One terrible day I remember as I was walking up the stairs to our dormotories I was grabbed by the hair on the back of my head, and forced to my knees in front of a statue of Mary resting on a hard stone floor, by a 'christian brother'. He screamed at me to pray to Mary, I refused. He then proceeded to smash my face off the floor and the statue at Mary's feet. There was blood pouring out of my nose and forehead but he didn't stop, he punched and kicked me around that floor screaming 'Pagan'. I cried and screamed the only verse I knew "Worship the lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve". This incensed him even more and I got a terrible beating from him. My blood was caked on the floor and the statue as well as on my bedsheets and I was again punched and kicked about the next morning for not cleaning it up. So I'm sure you'll understand why I have some reservations about catholic clergy, though I forgive them I also pity them.
Life at home wasn't much easy, my mother struggled to bring us up on a small English widows pension. We tried hard to rise up above the problems in the area we lived in where there was drug culture, muggings and handbag theft, stolen cars smashed up and burned every night. My mother encouraged us to keep entering competitions and developing our skills, especially art competitions. My Sister Julia won many prizes for her work and ended up producing posters and illustrations that were published in the newspapers and around Ireland. I used to win a few competitions too, but Julia was much better at art than I could ever be! Have a look at some of her work here Julia Aisbitt's Art (when you have finished admiring her work hit the back arrow to return here as this link brings you out of this site!). I somehow found native, technical and mathematical art more interesting than the usual stuff you see in art galleries, so somehow this led me to get interested in computers and synthesizers at the very start of when they became available to people on the home market. Maybe soon I'll put up some of my computer art or music on one of my sites, I'll try I promise!).
I was given a choice of what secondary school I wanted to go to by my mother when the boarding school was closed down. My heart was full of joy when I got a chance to go to a mixed denomination secondary school (ages 11-16). But before I could go there I had to attend a small Church of Ireland primary school called St. Columba's on the North Strand road in Dublin. Just 6 months in that school still brings me happy memories that wipe out the horrors of the previous school. From there I got to go to the school of my choice Mount Temple Comprehensive a place that would become famous for the Irish rock group U2. I was in school the same years they were there, and frequently had a few punch-ups with the drummer Larry Mullins who was in some of my classes (Larry sincerely apologised to me a few years later and I admit I was as much responsible for the fights we had, I was fast to talk but not think like most teenagers!). But someone impacted my life when I was there. My 'religion' teacher was actually a Born Again Christian. Her name was Sophie Shirley. She must have endured hell with me there!. I was so confused about God. My mother had delved into Mormonism for a short time and I read the Book of Mormon alongside the King James Bible the odd time when I had nothing else to do. Well Mrs Shirley played tapes of Nicky Cruz (Cross & the Switchblade, Teen Challange), chatted with me about God, gave me some tracts etc. But it all seemed to be so confusing. I was judging christianity by my family, by the way I was treated by those who espose catholocism and not by real Christianity (Please don't get me wrong here, I don't hate catholics, I believe there are some Catholics who are Christians and who do have a relationship with their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. They may not know what their church really teaches and just have a simple loving faith in Christ alone for salvation)
Well as a teenager I gave up on God and went my own stupid way down the road to ruin. I remember once in Mrs Shirley's class a girl I sort of found myself somehow comfortable talking with (She had been in the school on the North Strand too, somehow I found it hard to talk to girls when I had been in an all male boarding school for two and a half years!) called Karen Rea asked Me why I didn't believe in God. She appeared a bit shocked I didn't believe in God, I really had no answer for her except that I had been hurt badly by those who claimed to be His servants that I thought He would have interviened but He didn't. I couldn't tell her that, so I tried making excuses but failed miserably and I'm sure she must have prayed for me, because I found out years later she is a real Christian, and many people I know now, knew her before she went to live and work in London and said she and her father are an example of Christ to us all. Her question haunted me many times over the years. I had nagging questions which no-one could seem to answer though. "Where did it all start?". That was my simple question. I spent most of my spare time when not working researching theories about the Big Bang. I went through many books on astrophysics and all that kind of stuff. But I still couldn't find the answer to my question "Where did it all start, where does matter come from?" Science still hasn't answered that yet. Do you know every book on the Big Bang and Evolution is not scientific, it's philosophical, they are all based on theories, theories that crumble under close scientific scrutiny!. The philosophy of evolution crumbles under proven scientific facts like the laws of thermodynamics. Ask any scientist how life came from dead matter, they have no answer, but throw up many hypotheses like "maybe some matter like a meteor from another planet hit this one and it had living organisims on it". But that still doesn't answer how life comes from dead matter, or what the primary cause of all matter is. I eventually realised years later that belief in evolutionism is really a religion!. It's science fiction not fact!. But anyway, I didn't get the answers in so called science. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-scientific though. I believe scientific facts when they are proveable.
I got a job in a cinema. My colleague was a Moonie (Unification Church cult). He used to try to 'indoctrinate' me into the moonie mindset, but I somehow survived for three years without joining!. At the same time another friend of mine got mixed up in another cult called "The Way International" It looked christian but denied the deity of Christ and many other Biblical truths I was yet to learn. My friend got so fanatical that I took pains to avoid him and his crazy spoutings, really drove me away from real Christians.I got another good job taking care of famous people in a theatre in Dublin. It was a very disapointing lifestyle. Almost everyday for 8 years I would be drinking and partying with the rich and famous. Sometimes pop stars other times famous film stars and actors. That kind of life led me into heavy drinking and the occasional drug taking.
One day I was walking down Abbey st. in Dublin a man asked me if I was interested in taking a 'free personality test'. I complied, and soon realised that nothing is free!. I discovered that I had somehow ended up in the offices of a religious cult called "The Church of Scientology". I didn't know they were bad then, they seemed to have the answers then. (I must have been really messed up!). I kept visiting them and having long chats with them. A friend I met one day by accident warned me to keep away from them, that they were brainwashers. I had my suspicions so I did.
I kept bumping into an old school friend Nigel McGowan. He told me he was a Born Again Christian also. He never tried to shove anything down my throat or indoctrinate me. One day when I was really at my wits end he bumped into me. He was on his way to an evangelistic campaign held in the Point theatre by Louis Palau, a South American Evangelist. I eventually came along with some coaxing. The message that night wasn't exactly great (sorry Louis!, but I bought one or two of your books, they are great). I wasn't exactly impressed by the message but by the people there. So many people who loved Jesus, and it showed in their faces and attitudes. I couldn't believe I didn't hear one foul word there (and that is quite common in Dublin!). Well I took some litrature home from there, but didn't read it until a week later. I read it one evening when there was nothing on the television. It was a booklet called "What is a Christian?". I would advise anyone who can get their hands on it to get a copy, it really reached me that night. I was amazed at what Jesus did, I was shocked when I realised what a real christian is, and does. The booklet ended with the verses Romans 10: 9-10
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
I suddenly knew I needed to be saved, and I knew I needed the Saviour. I prayed a simple prayer of dedication, giving my life to Jesus, then I read the verses. I finished with a triumphal cry of "Jesus is Lord, Jesus you are my Lord". With that I felt like I had a punch in the chest!. No, it wasn't negative, I knew that my heart wasn't self seeking and hedonistic anymore. That sign led me to believe without a doubt that Jesus was and is real. He has shown me many new and wonderful things since. I love Him for what He has done for me by dying for my sins. That night I cried so much because of my wickedness, my sinfulness and all the bad that I had done that my pillow was soaked!. The next day I woke up with the words in my mouth "Jesus is alive". Great!, He isn't distant anymore now, He lives in me, and those who love Him, and have a relationship with Him. If you knew me before I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, you would certainly know the diffrence!. I have a little secret that I will let you in on. If you ever come to Dublin, just go to the door of the Waxworks Museum, and look in. You will see a big big ugly mean ol giant statue inside the door. Well that was me before I knew Jesus. I am the tallest man in Ireland, see my Tall Page . That's why there is a statue of me there. If you ever meet me, having the misfortune to see that ugly statue, you will certainly know that I have gotten younger since I came to know Jesus!. Many have told me that!.
One day in June 1992 I was visiting a Christian Café / bookstore in Dublin run by Scripture Union called Footprints. Just as I was walking through the doorway a voice spoke in my ear very clearly saying "That's your wife" as I looked at a tall girl serving behind the counter. I looked around to see who had said that but there was no one anywhere near me!. To this day I know that was the Lord speaking and I heard His voice audibly. Well I went to the counter to buy a piece of pie and something to drink when this same girl served me. She had a beautiful smile and was very nice. I visited that café often after that and got to know her, often timing my visits to coincide with her lunchbreak!. In January 1993 I asked her if she'd like to go for a coffee after work (what a stupid thing to say to someone working in a coffee shop!), she agreed. That evening we started to 'go out' regularly. I proposed to her 2 months later and she agreed :-). We married in St Marks Church on Pearse St on 8th October that year, it was also her birthday.
In September 1993 I left my job as a college teacher teaching computer graphics and film animation and went to Bible college. When I left two and a half years later We were approached by a pastor from a church if we could do them a favour and look after a small church in Antwerp,Belgium. We prayed about it and agreed. We felt we wouldn't just be there for a short while so in faith we gave away all our furniture etc and went off with just our clothes!. Our hunch was right, we ended up evangelizing in and visiting over 17 countries bringing the Gospel and pastoring churches.
On the 21/08/01 I slipped and fell on a small hillock in Bray and broke my leg. It was duly put into a cast and all appeared ok for a short while. Then it started swelling up badly and my foot turned blue. The doctors at the hospital ignored my pleas to look into the problem. It took 3 weeks of going back and forth to hospital before they eventually decided to listen to us and investigate. By this time my leg was so swollen I had problems fitting it into baggy tracksuit trousers. They agreed on a friday afternoon to do a vascular scan on the following monday. We went there on the monday but they had messed up again and said oh! come again on Wednesday or Thursday. My wife Jackie was adamant and said "No we'll wait so they could fit me in if someone cancelled their appointment". This happened 2 hours later. When they scanned me, they discovered deep vascular thrombosis. They admitted me immediatly into hospital because this is a potentially deadly problem and I had a 1 in 4 chance of survival. Well I knew if the Lord wanted me to go, then He would have taken me, but He has other plans and my mission (His work) here isn't over. While I was in hospital "councellors" from the Legion of Mary came to my bedside to council me!. They had nothing to give me except 'miraculous medals' and rosary beads!. I shared the Word of God the Bible with them, some walked away choosing to turn their backs on the Cross of Jesus to follow cultic idolotary, others listened and I shared the love of Christ with them. They said they never heard these things about Jesus and the Gospel before, and that they could KNOW they would have salvation (1John 5:13)if they would turn to Jesus and away from their idolatory. Well I'm out of hospital now, though I'm not out of the woods yet. I'm on blood thinners for anticolagulant reasons, Somedays I'm like a zombie and you can't get much sense out of me, I can't concentrate or take anything in, I need a walking stick and the doctor has diagnosed osteoperosis. Another thrombosis is causing my leg to swell and we will see if this one needs attention. So far I have been to hospital 4 times about it and the doctors have only made 4 major mistakes giving me 2 types of wrong medication, getting my blood levels totally wrong and making an appointment for a day the clinic was closed. But I love the doctors and nurses there and I know they work very hard and long hours.
After many hospital visits and many tests a specialist has believes I have a rare condition called Ehler's Danlos syndrome a collagen and connective tissue disorder. It's something like Marfan (a tall syndrome) mixed with Fybromylgia (constant tiredness and exhaustion)my insides and skin tear easily as they are under stress, I also have gigantism which causes deadness in my feet (which continue to grow, now size 22)weakness in my legs, esp ankles and knees, blood circulation problems etc. As a result I have little balance and require crutches to walk, and i can only walk short distances on them because of the pain. I mostly use a wheelchair now. It had to be especially made as I'm now 7'3" tall (and aparently continuing to grow). The chair is motorised as I don't have the strengh to push the wheels to propel myself along.
As for the medical teams who help me, God Bless them, any mistakes are forgiven, I know the stressful conditions you work under. Praise God I'm still here, and if you want me to come give my testimony or a talk at your church please e-mail me, address below.
Here's a Gospel Message to those of you who have read the above and want to know more about being a Christian
Plan of Salvation
There is a mistake that a personal relationship with God is something only holier than thou theologians with PhD degrees, Telly - evangelists with three piece suits or clerical robes and collars, and can comprehend. When actually, God's plan of salvation is so simple everyone can understand it, and needs it.
Salvation is the free gift of eternal life God has prepared for you and me through Jesus Christ. It is given to whoever will recognise and admit their sinful condition, see their spiritual need, repent that means turn away from their sins, confess Jesus Christ as Lord and make Him Lord of their lives. Look what the Bible clearly states:
(A): "All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God" Romans 3:23; "The wages of sin is death (hell)" Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:14
(B): "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved" Acts 16:3
(C): "...Confess with thy mouth the Lord, Jesus and BELIEVE in thine heart that God hath raised HIM from the dead, thou shalt be saved" Romans 10:9
(D): God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
(E): "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever surely believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned, but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God"; John 3:16-18
(F): For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9
What is the result of sin? In Romans 6:23 we read "The wages of sin is death..." Every one of us has missed God's mark. Every one of us falls short of being perfect. We are getting only what we deserve, and we are bringing judgment upon ourselves because we have turned our backs on God and sinned.
One thing we need to remember is that neither God nor any material possession, wealth, musical taste, political party affiliation, clothing, etc sends us to hell. We send ourselves there by rejecting His truth.
We do not deserve the gift of salvation. We were still sinners when Jesus died on the cross and took upon Himself the sins of the world, and we still are sinners. Everyone that has ever lived, except Jesus, has sinned, this is a fact, no one is sinless God tells us in His Word. But, God loves us so much, that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to enter into and die in this world of sin.
We cannot earn salvation by merit of our good works or religion, for the Bible says that salvation come by grace alone. Since we can never measure up to God's standards of holiness on our own, God has reached out to man. We cannot solve the problem of sin, or pay for them here on Earth through pennance or some religious rite or good work, but God, who is perfect, can and has. He has become a bridge for us. John 3:16-17 states "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.." In Romans 5:8 we read, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
If a person acknowledges they are a sinner, and he believes in the promise that Christ is the solution, they are at a crossroads. Either the person must reject God's solution and accept the consequences, or they must accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.
What must a person do to accept this gift? Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28-30 states "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me...for My yoke is easy and My burden is light. His invitation is clear. We must come to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.
The confusing darkened roads of Religion, Communisim, Marxism, Good works in the vain hope of earning merit with God, Islam, Buddhism, Confucinism, Shintoism, Yoga, Karmic regeneration, Humanism, Odinism, Paganism, Mythriasim, Vishnu, Gaia, Zoroasterianism, L.Ron Hubbard's Scientology and Dianetics, Rev. Moon's Unification church, Hare Krisna's, Ufo's and Flying Saucers, Joseph Smith and Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watchtower, obeying The Pope and Catholocism, Mary worship, Mythological characters, Psychics, Spiritualists, Reincarnation, Taoism, Trancendental Meditation, Mystics, Fortune tellers, Gnostics, Atheiesm, Unitarianism, Universalism, Agnosticism, the false and unscientific philosophy of evolutionism, Claiming you belong to the "one True Church" (any church that says that is a cult), Wicca and Witchcraft, Hedonism, Material wealth, Postmodernism, or what other false gods you may serve will never take your sins away or lead to eternal life in Jesus Christ via the straight and narrow road. They are human ideas from humankind's corrupt and darkened thinking inspired by the prince of darkness, satan himself who wants to draw people away from God and straight into the pit of hell
All that remains is your response. If you have never asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your life, why not open the door now? You really have nothing to lose, except your Worries, Fears, Sins and Guilt. Jesus says that he is standing at the door of your heart right now, knocking to be allowed in. If YOU will open the door to Him, He will come in, (Revelation 3:20). Because Jesus Christ has already paid the price for our sins, all we have to do is admit personal responsibility for sin and be truly sorry for it, confess Jesus Christ as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead. Then follow Him in a personal growing relationship daily as He leads and guides us by the Holy Spirit and His Word, the Bible.
Are you ready to receive this free gift God has made possible for us? Do you believe in Jesus Christ? are you truly sorry for your sin? If you are sincere about this, and you are ready to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, Please say this prayer out loud as follows:
Dear Lord Jesus Christ: Have mercy on me, a sinner, I confess my sins. I am not proud of them, but I acknowledge them as sin. I thank You for dying once for all and arising from the dead for me. I am a person in need of forgiveness. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me from my unrighteousness. Make me the person You want me to be, the person You have purposed me to be from the beginning of time. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. Lord Jesus, I accept you as my personal Savior. Thank You for saving every personal area of struggle in my life. I rejoice that Your blood cleanses me from my sins, and I am filled with the strength of Your Holy Spirit. I dedicate my life to You and vow to live everyday according to Your Word. Thank You for giving me a second chance. As your Spirit and Word reign in my life, I rise up above the past, I rise up above my dilemmas, and I rise up to serve You the rest of my life, in Jesus mighty name. AMEN
If you just prayed that prayer and really meant it, Jesus Christ has now taken residence in your heart! Not only that, but he has forgiven you of all your sin. The Bible tells us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)
God also promises, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12). Your decision to receive Christ also means that you are now going to Heaven one day. That's a lot to be thankful for! You need to take some practical steps to grow strong spiritually: get a good Bible, read the Bible, pray, and go to a good Bible believing and following church. Please let someone who is a Christian know about your decision to accept Jesus as your personal Saviour. I encourage you to obtain a Bible, and read it (God's holy word) everyday!. Repent, turn away from sin! Pray to Jesus everyday. Find a Bible believing, teaching, and preaching church, and get involved with the activities, meet the people, find a close friend in that church that can hold you accountable for the actions in your life, support that church through your tithes / offerings, prayer, and fellowship with the believers. If you do not belong to a church, do not wait to be invited. You need to take the initiative; call to a church where Christ is honored and His Word is preached. Start this week, and make plans to attend church regularly.
NOTE: If you decide not to become a Christian at this time, I politely ask you to please reconsider giving your life to Jesus and surrender to God. If you still decide not to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior at this time, I pray that one day you will decide to experience salvation in Christ and come to a walk with Jesus.
God Bless you <><
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