Jaysun's Journal

Independent Baptist

Jails to Jesus


MY TESTIMONY

By:  Jason W. Elder

My name is Jason Elder and on October 29th 1980 I was born right here in Gaffney South Carolina.  I know many people who blame their shortcomings on their parents but I can’t do that.  I have some of the best parents in the world.  My dad was a Highway Patrolman for 14 years and then the Chief of Police in Blacksburg for several more.  My mom worked at Hamrick’s for a number of years and currently runs her own business.

My mom brought me to church a lot when I was younger.  I went forward after service once and talked to the pastor about getting “baptized.”  We prayed a prayer and I was baptized not long afterward.  I’m sure he did everything he could to point me in the right direction but looking back, I just didn’t get it.

Yes, in the beginning I had an interest in church like never before, but it just didn’t last.  The whole experience reminds me of the parable Jesus told about the seed that fell on stony ground.  It was so quick to spring up but when the Sun was risen it withered away just as quickly because it had no root.[1]

I’ve always been an introvert and shy by nature but that was okay with me.  I didn’t really care what other people thought about me anyhow.  In fact, I didn’t even start combing my hair until seventh grade.  But as a teenager I became more and more concerned with what people thought of me.

Truth be known, that’s probably the biggest appeal drugs and alcohol had for me: they took away my inhibitions.l_16979768e35398fc887557351b43d00d

The first time I ever smoked marijuana was in the 10th grade.  And while I liked getting high, I didn’t like the smell of it.  If any of you ever been around someone smoking pot (and some of you look like you have) it has a very strong odor and knowing I had to come home to a house full of cops that always made me a little bit paranoid.  Just by walking through the door I was subjecting myself to a sobriety test.  I guess that’s why started messing around with pills: Xanax, Lortab, methadone etc. I even started selling a few here and there.  It started out being just for fun but pretty soon I was addicted not just to the pills but to the lifestyle of a drug dealer.

I kinda liked it when people would notice that my beeper was blowing up.  I was hanging out with some of the most popular kids in school.  I knew they really didn’t care a thing about me, but hey, everybody likes to feel needed.

Around my senior year in high school a young man brought me a sample of something his dad had cooked up at home called meth.

I didn’t know it at the time, but he’d just introduced me to something 10 times worse than all the pills I’d ever taken.  By the end of that summer I was using every day: smoking, snorting, and even shooting it up.  After I got in good with the cook I started selling it but unlike the pills I sold just for the heck of it, I was selling meth to support my own habit.  I can’t tell you how many hundreds of dollars worth of powder I went through but I gave Johnson & Johnson a run for their money.  That’s just what I used, God only knows how much I sold.

But all that “fun” took me to the same place most junkies find themselves…jail!  I was facing Federal and local charges and my life was in a mess.  Sometime during this process I picked up a Bible and read through it in less than 8 weeks.  I couldn’t believe it was actually interesting!  When I was released, I was placed on house arrest.  The Federal Government thought so much of me they gave me a cute little ankle bracelet to wear!  For six months I was allowed to go to church only once on Sunday morning.  I could go to all the Narcotics Anonymous meetings I wanted to, but Church only once a week.

Dec 25 2008b 005

The church my family was going to at the time was a cold, dead, liberal, Southern Baptist Church (as the picture represents).  The pastor was a Calvinist and it showed in his preaching.  I thought if this is all Church has to offer I’d be better off not going.

But then, one of my friends overdosed on painkillers.  Michael Williams laid in a coma for about week and died just after Christmas.  Still on the ankle monitor I went to the funeral home where they were receiving friends. Among the mourners I spotted a familiar older gentleman in the crowd, it was Pastor Lewis Batchelor from Open Door Baptist Church.

Several years prior, I had dated a girl that attended his church.  As two lost young teenagers, one day, we were sitting on the second pew from the front.  We were holding hands and passing little notes to each other.  We didn’t have a care in the world.  But all that would soon end!  Before I could get my thoughts together, in front of God and everybody, that old gray-haired man came out from behind the pulpit, jumped off the platform, straddled the pew in front of us, looked me dead in the eyes, and said, “Are you saved son?”  Before I could get the lump out of my throat, he looked down and saw we were holding hands.  He physically separated our hands that day and after scolding us both for being too close for his liking, he briefly lectured the young lady why she should never date anyone that’s lost.  I didn’t have enough hide left to close my eyes!  But even as a lost teenager I appreciated someone that had enough guts to tell me what was right!

Anyway, at the funeral, I talked to Pastor Batchelor briefly then spoke with Michael’s dad and step-mom.  I was doing a good job at keeping back the tears, but I couldn’t do it much longer.  I left off talking with his parents and headed for the door.  But somebody stopped me before I left!

It was Preacher Batchelor!  3295_1081054466467_1229465601_30345208_3992325_nWhen I broke down weeping he hugged me and tried to comfort me.  I don’t remember what he said to me, I just remember he was there when I needed him.  When Sunday rolled around, I started thinking about that little old church on the other side of town.  I remembered the friendly people and the plain preaching.   I literally begged my mom and dad to take me to Open Door Baptist Church.  I don’t remember whether mom or dad went with me.  All I remember is how happy everyone was that I came.

For six months I went to Church every Sunday morning but one.  I was saved, born again, on a Wednesday night in March 2001.  Not long after that, my dad got saved!  We were both baptized on Easter Sunday!    I was so overwhelmed by the grace of God that brought me salvation that I took all my ambitions, my plans, and my life and with joy placed them at the Master’s disposal.

Much has transpired since that day.  The Lord has been so good that I cannot possibly list all the blessings He has sent my way.  I only wish to encourage you not to give up hope on a loved one or friend who may be struggling with the same things I did.  There’s a God in heaven Who specializes in lost causes.  If He can save me He can save anybody.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Cor 5:17)

Jason W. Elder

Assistant Pastor

Tabernacle Baptist Church

Gaffney SC


[1] “And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.” (Mark 4:5-6)

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November 3, 2009 - Posted by | Addiction, Bible, Death, God, Guidance, Jesus, preacher, Religion, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Interesting points here Do you allow guest posts? Nicely done, Steven.

    Comment by Steve @ Blu Electronic Cigarettes | November 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks, and yes, most posts are allowed…the filter gets a lot of spam but I usually let people say what they want to so long as they keep it as G rated.

      Comment by Jason Elder | November 20, 2009 | Reply

  2. Outstanding Article , I considered it wonderful

    I look forward to more interesting postings like this one. Does This Blog have a RSS I can subscribe to for new posts?

    Comment by nupgaully | November 24, 2009 | Reply

    • I’ll have to get back to you on that

      Comment by Jason Elder | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. Great Post. I add this Post to my bookmarks.

    Comment by vemma | May 16, 2010 | Reply

  4. Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

    Comment by lcd tv reviews | May 17, 2010 | Reply


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