That I may live a life that glorifies my Savior


Hi, my name is Ryan and I am 20 years old. Before I start with my
testimony I would like to tell you a short story. I came to my parents
baptism back in September of 2002 and after it was over my Dad came up to
me and said, ďI canít wait until the day that I see you up there
getting baptized.Ē Although I didnít say anything to him at the
time, I will tell all of you that I was thinking, ďYEAH RIGHT.Ē Well
here I am, so letís praise God for drawing me close to him so I can
share my story with all of you here tonight.

Me and my family started to attend Calvary Bible Church back in 1998
when I was a freshman at John Burroughs High School. Before that we
went to a catholic church. I know my parents were a lot happier with
Calvary because the teachings were faithful to the word of God. At that
time I really didnít care what church we were going to because I
wasnít going to pay attention anyway.

Me and my parents really always got along until my life started to go
down hill my Junior year of high school when I made the Varsity
baseball team. The baseball team at Burroughs was the big party group of the
school. Every Friday night after our baseball game one of the guys
would always have a party at his house. I canít even remember the first
night that I drank because I was too drunk, but I do remember waking up
in the morning telling myself I was never going to drink again. But
the next Friday night I was right back over there and I got more drunk
then the first night. I told myself again, ďI am never going to drink
again.Ē

After this time I pretty much did stop drinking because my parents
found out and they were a little more strict with me. That is, I stopped
drinking until my senior year of high school when I realized that I
wonít go to parties anymore. I will just hang out with a few guys that
already graduated and I will just drink with them after I get out of
school. A lot of drinking went on my senior year. Iím pretty sure my
parents knew what was going on because I never spent much time at home
and my grades were dropping. During my senior year I remember John
Richards took me to lunch one day and tried to share the gospel with me
but I didnít respond.

The drinking went on that whole year and after I graduated my parents
tried to approach me about the problem but I just ran out of my house
and stayed with a friend for a week. I realized I couldnít support
myself just by working 20 hours a week at Big 5 so I went back home.
Then that summer before I started college Dave Hintze took me out to lunch
and basically told me that if I donít repent of my sins and give my
life to Christ before I start college, it would be a lot harder to do it
later in life. I didnít respond to what Dave had to tell me either.

I went through one semester at LA Valley College and then during the
2nd semester of my freshman year in college I came home drunk and I left
home again. I went and stayed with a friend for four months. At that
time I dropped out of school and just worked at Big 5.

During the four months I was gone from home, I continued to live a
rebellious life. I got a fake ID and I would either go to a bar or a
party every night of the week. In June of 2002 my dad told me that there
was a job opening up at LA Grinding where he worked that would pay well
so I filled out an application and got the job. When I got this job I
realized I couldnít continue to live my party life and work there at
the same time so I went back home. Although my party life did stop I
did keep drinking because I couldnít stop.

While working at LA Grinding I was making more money then I new what
to do with. In December of 2002 one of my older friends asked me if I
wanted to go to Las Vegas with him. I was only 19 but I just used my
fake ID and it worked. That trip I just brought 100 dollars which was
nothing to me at the time and I probably lost 50 so I thought there
wasnít that much damage done. So a few weeks later was the Super bowl so
I sent some money with a friend to Las Vegas and I put some money on
the Raiders. For all of you football fans you know I lost that bet but
it didnít matter to me because it was only 100 dollars and that game
was the most fun sports game that I ever watched because I had some
money on it.

I knew of a local sports bookie in Burbank so I called him up and he
let me start betting with him but he would only let me bet 25 dollars on
a game. I said that was fine because it really just made sports games
more interesting for me. I started to bet on one basketball game a
night at only 25 dollars a game. That NBA season I did really good and I
won a lot of money just betting 25 dollars a game. I remember thinking
to myself, ďIf he would have only let me bet 100 dollars a game I
would have made thousands in the last few months. After the NBA season
was over I asked my bookie if he would let me bet more on a game but
since we were friends he wouldnít let me bet with him but he set me up
with someone else who would take any size bet. The only problem was he
only did football.

I was so addicted to gambling by that time that I didnít know what I
would do for the few months until football started. So I started going
to Las Vegas at least twice a month. Also during this time the movie
Seabiscuit came out and it got me going to the horse races at least once
a week. I would bet on anything I could bet on.

Even though I was addicted to gambling I was able to save up enough
money to be able to buy a condo in Burbank. I bought it in August right
before the 2003 football season started where I would be able to bet
any amount on any college or pro football game. I moved into my condo
the week college football started. USC played Auburn. I remember
getting so excited for this game. I was on my own so I woke up that Saturday
morning and went to the liquor store and bought a bunch of alcohol.
All the college football experts were saying that the for sure bet would
be Auburn over USC. That day I got really drunk and right before the
football game started I called in a 1000 dollar bet on Auburn. Auburn
got killed.

I remember how depressed I got that day because I was going to have a
mortgage to pay, I just lost 1000 dollars and I only have 250 dollars
left in the bank. So what do you think I did. I went to the ATM
machine, got 200 dollars out and drove to Las Vegas. When I got to Las Vegas
I turned my 200 dollars into 1500 in about 45 minutes so I drove home
and paid off my bookie what I owed him and I was still able to pay half
of my mortgage.

You think that would have taught me a lesson but it didnít. The
next weekend came so I bet on some NFL games and did really good. I kept
doing really good until about half way through the season when I
started losing anything that I bet on. There was one weekend when I lost 7
games in a row. I grew into a big state of depression when this
happened and my drinking really took off again. I owed a few people some
money from what I borrowed from them and from the bets I had lost. I also
had my mortgage and all of my bills to pay. I was in serious debt.

I didnít know what to do. I would sit at home all day and all night
just drinking and letting my house phone and cell phone ring hoping
that the people I owed money to would just go away. They never did. Last
month on Dec. 13 I drank a whole bottle of whisky and I almost killed
myself. That night was the worst night of my life.

Although I was very drunk it suddenly came very clear to me that I
needed the Lord in my life. I knew he was the only person that could save
my life at that point. The next morning I went to church and got a
program that had DaveĎs phone number on it. Monday after I got home
from work I called Dave and left a message for him to please give me a
call because I wanted to start getting involved in the college ministry.
The next morning on Tues. Dec. 16 Dave called my cell phone when I was
at work and he told me that they were having a Christmas party that
Friday. I told him I would be there and he said he would like to talk to
me on Saturday morning so I said OK.

After I got home from work on Tues. I went to my parents house and had
the hardest conversation I ever had with them. I told them all the
problems I was having but I also told them I needed God in my life so that
night I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. They immediately called
Dave who was at an elder meeting. He immediately came over and we
talked for about 30 minutes that night and he told me he could help me with
my addiction problem because he just finished writing a study on
addictions.

Through all of my years of rebellion and greed God has watched over me
because of the love he has for me. He has given me a great job, a home
to live in and most of all a great church family. The last month and a
half has been the greatest month and a half of my life and I have
learned:


*Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died on the cross for the sins
of all men.
*Salvation is by Godís mercy, grace, repentance, and faith in Jesus
Christ as our lord and Savior.
*The Bible is the inspired Word of God. Everything is to be tested by
scripture.

Today I am here to be baptized, and to declare that Jesus is Lord, and
that I am thankful that through Godís grace and mercy, he sent his
only son, Jesus Christ, to pay this price of death that we had all
deserved, and have asked Jesus to come into my life to offer me strength and
guidance, that I may live a life that glorifies my Savior.

Testimony submitted to the Breadsite. To submit yours click here.