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.

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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)

November 3, 2009 Posted by | Addiction, Bible, Death, God, Guidance, Jesus, preacher, Religion, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Gaffney Serial Killer


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The Gaffney Serial Killer of 1968

These are the autopsy photos of Gaffney’s most infamous serial killer; Leroy Martin.  Martin killed 4 women over a 10 day period in 1968.

On February 8, 1968, he contacted a local newspaper editor, telling him where two of his victims could be located, and then threatened to kill even more women until he was “shot down like the dog I am.”[1]


[1]AP  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2009/07/04/2009-07-04_serial_killer_on_the_loose_in_rural_south_caroline_residents_.html

When caught, Martin received four life sentences (if I’m not mistaken).  He was killed in prison and lies here in the morgue with an eerie smile upon his face.

Unfortunately recent events have resurrected memories of Martin for many residents.

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The community of Gaffney South Carolina has been rocked by a series of murders beginning Saturday with the death of local farmer Kline Cash.

Victim 1

(June 27, 2009)

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Cash’s wife is believed to have been the intended target of what Sheriff Bill Blanton calls a serial killer. The unknown perpetrator and coward took the lives of two more Cherokee County residents, reportedly during the funeral services for Mr. Cash.

Victims 2-3

(July 1, 2009)

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83-year-old Hazel Linder and her daughter 50-year-old Gina Linder Parker were found a little after 3 PM Wednesday, bound and shot to death in the mother’s home.

Victims 4-5

(July 2, 2009)

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Stephen Tyler, owner of Tyler Home Center, and his daughter 15-year-old Abby Tyler were the next victims of this man’s murderous rampage. While her father was pronounced dead at the scene, the younger Tyler was airlifted and later died in the hospital.

What kind of man does this? What kind of person could kill so seemingly indiscriminate of age or gender? “Surely the serial killer can’t be a father,” someone said to me at church.

Their point was that a person with kids of their own couldn’t possibly be so heartless as to take the life of this young girl. But these are the days in which we live. These are the “perilous times” the apostle Paul spoke of in 2Timothy 3. Men are “Without natural affection…incontinent, fierce,” and “despisers of those that are good.”

And I’d like to give you a word of encouragement at this point but there are none. This world is doomed.  “…Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse…” (2Timothy 3:13) Jesus promised, “In the world ye SHALL have tribulation…” BUT, He said, “…be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I don’t know any of the families personally but my heart goes out to them. I can’t imagine all the waves of emotion that must be sweeping over each one of them. So, I must commend them to the Master of the sea. If there’s anyone Who can calm one of life’s storms its Jesus!  Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus. If not for the Savior I would’ve lost my mind a long time ago. I don’t know how people make it without Him.

Police have released sketches of what they believe the killer looks like [As it turns out, the sketch looks nothing like the actual killer].

WANTED

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“…Their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand,

and the things that shall come upon them make haste.”

(Deuteronomy 32:35)


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If you have information regarding this person’s whereabouts please contact CRIMESTOPPERS at (864) 489-2746 or call 911.

There is a reward for his capture.

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July 5, 2009 Posted by | Bible, Death | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Drugs


Drugs

How They Affected My Life

And

The Lives of Others.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

(Rev 21:1-8)

Our text verse tonight is Rev 21:8. My pastor (Lewis Batchelor) asked me to bring a message on Drug Addiction. Notice, of the many adjectives used to describe those who have part in the Lake of Fire, one of them was “Sorcerers.” It is meant to imply not only witches and wizards but I believe drug dealers and drug addicts as well. The word the Holy Ghost chose to use here is a Greek word from which we get our English word “Pharmacist.

When I say “drug addict” some of you picture a strung-out junkie, shooting up in a back alley somewhere. And while that may be where it all leads to, that’s not where it starts. For some, drug addiction starts off innocently enough. Most of us have had to take pain medicine at one time or other. But listen to what the Encyclopedia of Medical Care has to say. “Taking a narcotic drug regularly for several weeks, or taking large doses, almost always leads to addiction.” That simply means that broken bones, migraines, and many other legitimate reasons to take certain medicines are also doors thru which Satan and all the demons of Hell try to bring addiction into your life and into the life of your family.

I’m not trying to say that you should never take prescription medication if you hurt. If you break an arm tonight, I say thank God for a Loratab. I’m just trying to tell you, saved or lost, this issue is bound to affect you or your family and some point. Illegal immigrants are not the only things making it on to American soil. Drugs are coming across our borders at an alarming rate.

The first time I ever smoked Marijuana was my 1st 10th grade year at Heritage Christian School. You might say, “See, I told you Christian schools had the same people kind of people in it.” That’s true, but don’t forget, at least they taught me the Bible and it was not until I got on drugs that I wanted to leave a Christian environment. I credit the Christian School with being a major factor in my conversion later on in life. Matter of fact, I think the only course I passed over there was Bible! Furthermore, if you have a child at Gaffney High School, I guarantee they are around illicit drugs on a daily basis. In High School, I knew people who would not come to school unless they were high. And I promise you, it’s a whole lot worse than when I graduated in 1999.

Many doctors here in Gaffney are nothing more than licensed drug dealers. And were it not second hand information I’d call them out by name. However nowadays you don’t have to a doctor, you can order drugs off the Internet. That’s another reason you shouldn’t allow your children unlimited access to the Net.

Some say that because God put Marijuana here, there’s no reason to think smoking it is wrong. A fellow in Greenville told me that one night. I said, “Hey, God made cliffs too, why don’t you go jump off one?” Some say Pot isn’t addictive, but I beg to differ. Just go ask someone at Don Foster’s and Associates in Spartanburg: every month they send several back to Prison for failing drug tests. The majority of them fail, for, you guessed it, Marijuana.

Many people use drugs as an escape from the painful realities of everyday life. Personally, I’d become an emotional escape artist of sorts. I stayed high so much, when I was sober, people would ask what was wrong with me. After high school, I started selling and then making Methamphetamine. That soon placed me where most junkies end up; jail! I was facing Federal and local charges and my life was in a mess.

It was around this time I believe that Brad Beattie took a trip down to the Hamrick’s farm along with a few other teenagers. It must have been a beautiful summer day. They of course were taking it easy doing a little fishing having a few beers. Later it came out that Jake had several different drugs in his system at the time. On the way back, apparently Jake was driving a little too fast, and Brad said, “Slow down Jake, you’re going to get somebody killed!

A few seconds later, the Tahoe they were riding in, left the roadway and struck a tree 12 feet in the air. I believe they said Brad died instantly. Mind you, I’m not trying to come down on Jake, I could have easily been in his shoes a hundred times over, but how would you like to go to bed every night for the rest of your life hearing those words: “Slow down Jake, you’re going to get somebody killed!

When I was released, I was placed on house arrest and given a little ankle monitor to wear. For six months I was allowed to go to church only once on Sunday morning. Now, I could go to all the NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings I wanted to, but Church only once a week. The church my family was going to at the time was a cold, dead, liberal, Southern Baptist Church. I thought if this is all Church has to offer I’ll be better off not going. However, around that time one of my friends overdosed on painkillers.

Drugs Bury Another Friend!

If I remember correctly it was a Friday night and he’d just gotten paid. And like many people on the weekends he felt the need to drink a beer or two. According to friends, he took a few Loratabs also. Later that night his friends found him unconscious and unresponsive. Then, instead of calling an ambulance they waited till morning. During the night he aspirated and by the time rescue workers arrived Michael had already turned a deadly shade of blue. My friend was in a coma for roughly a week.

They say some people in comas can still hear you. You talk about “Heart-Breaking”- as Michael laid there, his mama and daddy kept talking to him, begging him to just squeeze their hand or blink an eye, anything that might give them hope their baby was going to be alright. Occasionally he seemed to make small responses, but he never recovered and they sent him home to die a few days later.

I hadn’t been out of jail long when he passed away but 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.

I talked to Preacher Batchelor briefly then spoke with Michael’s dad and step-mom. I talked with them for a little while and then headed for the door. I was doing a good job at keeping the tears back, but before I made it outside somebody stopped me. It was Preacher Batchelor! When 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 they went with me or not. All I remember is how happy everyone was that I came. (Ankle-monitor and all.)

For six months I went to Church every Sunday morning but one. Then in March of 2001 I got born again. (I had made a profession of faith around eleven years old. But I finally came to realize, thru the Word of God, and now by my own experience, that saved people are changed people 2Cor 5:17. Furthermore, the life I had been living was characteristic of one headed for Hell. 1Cor 6:9.) Not long after that, my dad got saved too and we were both baptized on Easter Sunday!

You say, “What about Michael? You never said whether you thought he went to Heaven or Hell.” I don’t know, but I know my friend wasn’t the kind to pass up a good deal. If he ever heard the gospel I feel sure he would’ve wanted in on it.

But I know what you’re saying. And no, drinking and popping pills are not characteristics of a child of God. I’m not saying what he did was right. It was sin. But if anybody ever gets to Heaven its not because of what they did or didn’t do. It’s because of what Jesus did on the cross.

And the very fact he died may be the biggest thing that says he was saved. Ever heard that expression, “The good die young?” You know why that is – It’s because God chastens His children, sometimes to the point of death.

18 Years Old Is Too Young To Die!

Around June 2004 in my hometown of Gaffney S.C. an 18-year-old girl named Jessi was at a party and died of an overdose. My dad was familiar with her folks but I didn’t know her much less her parents. What got my attention was, she was around people that I knew when she died. I figured if she knew them, she probably knew some of my other friends. (Ever since my conversion, my old friends don’t treat me like they used to. But they’re still my friends and God knows I want see them get saved.) So I went to this girl’s wake at the funeral home. Sure enough, there were many people there I knew.

I made my way through the procession and finally came to a little casket where a beautiful teenage girl lay in her white dress. As I stood there with flowers arrangements everywhere and that precious little girl in front of me, all that kept coming to my mind was that song:

Loved ones gone to be with Jesus,

In their robes of white arrayed,

Now are waiting for my coming,

Where the roses never fade!

I went on through the line, talked briefly with her family and left. But all I could think of was that family! The next day I went to the funeral. The place was packed and they began directing the latecomers to the ‘Family Life Center,’ where we watched the funeral via projector. The camera would pan and scan the auditorium while Jessi’s two favorite songs were played over the P.A. system. I’ve never been a big fan of contemporary Christian music and I’m still not. But I have to admit, “My Redeemer Lives” and “I Can Only Imagine” have grown on me.

After the service I drove around a little while, I guess the whole thing got to me. I looked at the obituary column again and got the address where the family would be. There was a CD I wanted to give them, so I drove over there. These people didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. So I didn’t know what to expect when I got there.

Someone answered the door and I asked for Mr & Mrs. Humphries. They then invited me in and directed me to the living room where the father of the young girl was sitting. I went over to him and said, “I’m not sure you know me, my name’s Jason Elder and I don’t want to take up much of your time but here’s something that’s been a blessing to me, I hope it’ll be a blessing to you!” (I handed him the CD) It was a recording of “A Glimpse of Glory” by Phil Kidd. (Now, I don’t usually, give Phil Kidd tapes to just anybody. But this was one of his nicer messages, and they went to a Southern Baptist Church so I didn’t figure they’d know him anyway.)

Well, Mr. Humphries got up to get me a Pepsi, and insisted that I stay for a while. I told him how God had saved me out of a life of sin. He told me how his little baby always “insisted that she was saved,” and then he hesitated . . .I knew what he was thinking. (Saved folks don’t go out like that!)

But I said, “Hold on a second, saved folks are capable of everything lost people are, the only problem is, we can’t get by with it. If you’re saved, you’ll either live right or die young!” (And I do believe that by the way! I think a lot of young people were truly saved by God had take them on home because they wouldn’t do right!)

Anyway, he seemed to brighten up a little bit and I’m sure the whole family was tired, so after a few minutes I told him bye and that if he needed anything to call. He said, “Before you leave I want you to meet my wife!” Then he took me through the house and we met his wife as she was coming down the stairway. He told her my name and who my family was. (Typical small town introduction) Then he said to her, “He gave us this CD...”

About the time he handed her the CD and she saw the preacher’s name that was on it, her eyes lit up and her lips began to quiver. (I thought ‘Dear God she has heard of him!’)

She looked at her husband and said, “That’s who we’d always hear playing in her room!

I didn’t know it but her daughter used to go to Mountain View Christian Academy up the road. Mountain View is an Independent Baptist Church and one night she had brought her mama to a revival where brother Kidd was preaching. I left there kind of confused and wondering whether I’d done the right thing.

That lady called me about two weeks later. She said she’d had trouble with her daughter off and on for years. But every time her daughter would try to ‘straighten up’ they’d hear Phil Kidd blasting over her stereo upstairs. She told me, she was feeling about like her husband was when I came over there, she said, “I wanted to believe my baby was in Heaven!” (And what momma wouldn’t?) She said she told God, ‘I don’t want it in box car letters in the sky, but I need some help Lord!’ She said around about that time her husband; brought a guy to her she’d never seen before. And he gave me a CD of a Message, by my daughter’s favorite preachers. And of all the things in the world he could have been preaching on, he was preaching on Heaven.

I’m glad we serve the God of all comfort. Maybe you know a family that’s been ravaged by drug addiction. I don’t have all the answers, but I know a man who does. “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” (Gen 18:14.)

Now, let me ask you a question that you should know the answer to. Where are you going when you die? Heaven or Hell? Can you say “I KNOW I’M SAVED?” Are you “100% sure?” If not let me urge you to please, please, come to Christ while you can. Will people gather round your casket and say, “I hope he was saved?” Or will you leave no doubt in the minds of your friends and family that you were a child of God?

Friends, we owe a debt we cannot pay, but Jesus, bless His name, paid a debt He did not owe! “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor 5:21.) One day because our Jesus loved us so much, He slipped off the robes of glory and came down to where we were – and paid our sin debt in full!

Don’t you care enough about Him to get saved today? If so, get a King James Bible and get alone with God. Find out what God’s Word says, (don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s) then call on God the best way you know how – repent of your sins – and put your faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ! After you get saved, join a local, independent, fundamental, Bible-believing, King-James-only, soul winning, missionary supporting, Baptist Church. I highly recommend my home Church:

Tabernacle Baptist in Downtown Gaffney

Maybe there’s something in your life that seems to have control over you. It may not be a drug, but you can’t seem to quit it either way. God’s able to break those shackles. If He can do it for me, He can do it for anyone. “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

Written By:

Jason W. Elder

May 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment