Participants: Aaron Chancy (Host), Michael Shepperd
Series Code: TNJ
Program Code: TNJ000048
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues.
00:03 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:05 may be too candid for younger children.
00:08 Today we'll meet a young man who beat the odds of the street
00:11 and now he is serving Jesus Christ.
00:14 Be sure to tune into today's New Journey.
00:47 Thank you for tuning back into today's New Journey.
00:50 For today we have an exciting program
00:52 with a young man by the name of Michael Shepperd.
00:54 Michael, we like to thank you for being on the program.
00:57 I'm greatly privileged. Thank you.
00:59 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
01:00 For general information
01:02 how old are you and where are you from?
01:03 I'm 32 years old. I'm from Wilmington, Delaware.
01:07 What's it like growing up as a young African-American
01:09 in Wilmington, Delaware?
01:11 Well, Wilmington, Delaware is a little whole in the world.
01:15 It's small, our claim to fame is no taxes.
01:20 It's really a melting pot of all the surrounding states,
01:23 Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York.
01:26 It's a melting pot and also surrounding big states
01:28 and a lot of people come to Delaware
01:29 to get away from the kind of hustle and bustle
01:31 of the big states and come to Delaware.
01:34 It's more lay back and low key.
01:35 Okay. Okay.
01:37 Give us a little information about your family background,
01:39 your mother, father, siblings?
01:41 Give us some details on that?
01:42 I grew up in a single family home.
01:46 My father was around but he wasn't around.
01:48 If I needed to get in contact with him, I could.
01:51 And he, you know, he is a street hustler,
01:53 he ran the streets,
01:54 and I can remember vividly visiting him in jail.
01:57 I thought it was his home.
01:59 I was little, very little at the time.
02:00 I thought it was his home for vacations
02:02 but I didn't really know what it was,
02:03 I didn't think about.
02:04 I was too young to really understand the whole jail
02:06 and being locked up, that whole understanding.
02:09 So he was locked up
02:11 and then we would go visit him, me and my little brother.
02:13 I have six siblings all together.
02:15 One older brother that I grew with him in a same home,
02:17 we had the same mother and father.
02:19 And I have a three half-sisters and I have one half-brother.
02:25 So I would, I grew up with the one brother
02:27 we would go visit my father
02:29 and we will visit him periodically in jail.
02:32 As I got older, I realised we were going to jail.
02:33 Okay. Okay.
02:35 That it wasn't actually the home on a vacation.
02:36 Right. Right. I realised he was locked up.
02:38 He after a while,
02:40 he would tell me his stories and everything in, you know,
02:44 of course I understood clearly that he was locked up,
02:46 you know, as I got older.
02:47 And he would share with me stories
02:52 about his experience in the street,
02:54 which kind of kept me at bay.
02:55 You know, from going too far out there.
02:57 Get too far or caught up in the whole street life
03:00 from his experiences.
03:02 And so that, yeah, that really helped me going forward to get,
03:04 you know, to get kind of my bearing in order to wear,
03:07 you know, I didn't go too far out there.
03:09 You know, his experiences kind of help me.
03:11 So what the devil had for bad for my dad,
03:12 really the Lord had for good for me.
03:14 Yeah. Okay.
03:16 I could have really going out there
03:17 and really not even been able to be pulled out.
03:19 You know, so far really deep in the streets that.
03:22 You know, I could end up, yes, I mean, left out there,
03:25 you know, and just with no direction.
03:27 But my dad gave me direction and I appreciate it all the,
03:30 even to this day.
03:32 The point he has given me and being a man,
03:34 even though he wasn't always around there
03:36 to give me pointers and teach me how to be a man.
03:39 And so I'm greatly, and my mom's worked two jobs,
03:41 to care of me and my brother.
03:42 Okay. And I'm just.
03:44 I'm thankful for her.
03:45 I mean a real strong black woman.
03:47 You know, did all what she could do
03:48 to take care of me and my brother,
03:49 make sure we had all we needed
03:51 and some also our wants as well.
03:52 A lot of time make sure our wants were taken care of,
03:54 or more so our needs.
03:56 And I'm so...
03:57 I can't complain and say,
03:58 "I didn't have a father in my life."
04:00 He was in my life and a strong black mother...
04:02 Okay. That was there to support me.
04:04 They even to this day support me
04:05 as I could tell you in my journey now spiritually.
04:09 So what eventually lead you to gravitate towards drugs
04:12 even though on a few drugs that you're on,
04:15 even though you had a father who had been incarcerated,
04:18 who used drugs and kind of share with you
04:21 the negative aspects of the street life?
04:24 Number one, what drugs did you get involved with?
04:26 And number two, why did you kind of gravitate that way?
04:30 I got involved with marijuana and then alcohol.
04:34 Okay. I began to...
04:35 by the time I was 16, I was a full blown alcoholic
04:41 and I was because I was a weed head, you know,
04:44 I was hooked on weed and alcohol.
04:46 And I was 15, when I started smoking weed.
04:50 And then eventually transitioned
04:52 and I've taken alcohol as well
04:54 and it really was peer pressure and it really was two things
04:58 really that kind of led me into that direction.
05:00 Peer pressure and also the rap music.
05:06 And we'll talk a little bit more later on
05:07 about the influence of rap music.
05:09 Because it was very strong in my life as well.
05:11 Right. Right.
05:12 So we'll get to that.
05:15 What prevented you though?
05:16 What do you think prevented you
05:18 from using some of the harder drugs
05:19 like cocaine, ecstasy various things like that?
05:23 Well, I had seen people
05:26 who were strung out on "Harder drugs."
05:28 You know, so I figured that marijuana was a softer drug.
05:31 And alcohol, you know, it wasn't,
05:34 it didn't seem as extreme.
05:35 You know because I would see somebody high on weed
05:38 and seems like they were more laid back and at ease.
05:41 But when I would see...
05:43 I've been around various individuals
05:44 who were strung out on the hard drugs.
05:47 And they looked totally just disordered.
05:50 Yeah. They had no appeal to you.
05:51 Yeah. No, appeal to me at all. Okay.
05:53 Heroin or the cocaine, look I said,
05:54 "I won't go that far."
05:56 So I basically had this frame of mind,
05:57 I was trying to balance sin.
05:59 Yeah. And how do you do that?
06:00 Now my whole understanding or trying to balance sin,
06:03 in my frame of mind which I know wasn't right,
06:05 but I figured long as my good outweighs my wrong.
06:07 Yeah. Wow.
06:09 Long as I do more good than wrong,
06:10 you know, I'm gonna do some wrong.
06:12 But long as my good outweighs my wrong,
06:13 I'm in right relation with God.
06:14 You know, and I'm not a bad person.
06:16 Okay. Nobody is perfect.
06:19 My dad's experience he was, he shared with me
06:20 about the street life and everything.
06:23 I was in tune to that.
06:25 Now listen, there's pointers and so I was careful.
06:28 I was careful to not get too far
06:29 but I wanted to, I was curious.
06:31 I had a love of curiosity. Yeah.
06:34 You know, I was curious about the street life
06:35 to see what it really had to offer.
06:37 What was really out there?
06:38 I mean, I had to experience for myself,
06:39 my dad would tell me, now, look son,
06:41 "I'm gonna tell you what you should not do
06:43 because I was out there."
06:45 You leave it alone, you know, it's no good for you,
06:47 I'm in and out of jail, I'm in and out of jail
06:49 and just, you can caught up in all kinds of,
06:52 all kinds of issues
06:54 and all kinds of problems came his way.
06:55 And he would share with me these problems, these issues
06:57 and, you know, elaborate on them.
06:59 It's something's that he kept back from telling me.
07:01 But he shared with me,
07:03 what he thought I needed to hear.
07:04 Okay. And so I took heed to that.
07:07 But at the same time my dad was like,
07:09 "Look, you gonna have to be your own man."
07:10 Yeah. Make your own cottage. Right.
07:12 Yeah. Okay.
07:14 Why do you think that many people glorify the street life,
07:20 the drugs and being incarcerated?
07:24 I mean, your father was pretty much giving you
07:26 the reality of the streets.
07:28 But why do you think some people actually glorify it?
07:31 I think because of the just the reputation you get in.
07:35 Just to basically the...
07:39 How can I put it, in the most and the clearest way?
07:44 You get recognised. Yeah.
07:45 I mean, it's just as level.
07:47 People like that kind of popularity type thing, yeah.
07:48 Yeah. Love of recognition. Yeah.
07:49 And it's the shame how one who seeks to live right,
07:53 people look down on.
07:54 If you do all wrong it's like that, that's highly publicized.
07:57 Like that's the coolest thing to do on earth.
07:59 That's highly publicized when you do wrong
08:00 but when you do right, you know,
08:03 people tend not to pay attention
08:05 to those who do right.
08:06 They call them squares. Yeah.
08:08 You know, and so one thing is that
08:09 I didn't wanna be a square.
08:10 Yeah. I don't want to be a square.
08:12 I want to be a part of in crowd,
08:13 I want to stand out amongst my peers,
08:14 make a name amongst myself,
08:16 amongst my peers, you know, and it was the end thing.
08:17 I mean, just being a square and doing right.
08:19 You know, I'm gonna brass it to us, said,
08:20 "I would never smoke weed."
08:21 I was like, I'd never smoke weed, that is idiotic.
08:24 I would never smoke weed,
08:25 I would never put any poison in my body,
08:28 I would never do anything like that.
08:29 That's crazy. But eventually you did it.
08:31 And eventually some years later I ended up doing it,
08:33 peer pressure caved in on me.
08:36 And then I perhaps seen it just being around a wrong crowd.
08:39 You know, I hanged around those who are...
08:41 when I was younger, I hanged...
08:42 I stayed around those because I was in the basketball.
08:44 Okay. I thought I would be in NBA.
08:46 As most young black males,
08:47 you know, basketball or football,
08:49 you know, pretty much all of us.
08:50 I had hoop dreams. Okay.
08:52 You know, I love playing basketball.
08:53 I'd travel for miles just to go play basketball.
08:56 You know, nearest court,
08:59 you know, "Hey, let's have game."
09:02 And so I thought I was going to be in NBA, that was my aim.
09:06 Now did you play basketball in high school?
09:07 No. No. Okay.
09:09 See, high schools were to down it.
09:10 Well, talk about your high school,
09:12 what was going on, you know, from before,
09:15 the troubles that you had and can you talk about that?
09:16 As soon as, I mean, when I was 15.
09:18 Started high school when I was 15
09:19 and not too long after getting in high school,
09:21 you know, you got the older kids in there
09:23 and then you, then the peer pressure
09:24 really just seemed to cave in on,
09:25 I was never big academically.
09:28 You know, I was never real good academically.
09:30 I remember daddy just say, "Look,
09:31 can you just bring home the C, son."
09:33 My attention span was just very low.
09:36 Very low when it came to school.
09:38 And then when I got to high school
09:39 it just really went downhill.
09:41 And just getting around the wrong crowd
09:43 and then it's just not too long after.
09:46 I actually, when my first semester nice I did well.
09:49 I did very well but then after that
09:51 I kind of ease back a little bit.
09:52 You know, I said, "Okay."
09:54 I was doing well and I think,
09:56 I just kind of just lost sight of staying focused
09:58 and, you know, doing what I need to do
10:00 you know, to plan for the future.
10:02 I started to living for now, you know,
10:04 instead of planning for the future
10:05 and then just getting around the wrong people.
10:06 So wrong people started to come into my life
10:08 that are spread out, that I embraced.
10:10 And they brought me down.
10:11 And then I was 15 a guy introduced me to weed.
10:16 That moved into the neighbourhood.
10:17 And so, you know, I started out smoking out with him
10:20 and I got so bad that...
10:25 I say about that time I was 16, I was full blown weed head.
10:28 Okay. You know, hooked on marijuana.
10:30 I can remember being in almost a cipher or a circle around,
10:36 I've circle of friends.
10:37 I mean, maybe 7 or 8 of us... Okay.
10:39 And we're just passing weed, I mean, blunt after blunt.
10:41 Blunt after blunt, yeah.
10:42 You know, blunt is for those who don't know
10:44 blunt is a cigar or a weed wrapped in cigar paper.
10:47 Yeah. Exactly.
10:48 And so I was just, I'll be with a circle of friends
10:51 and we'd be smoking weed blunt after blunt.
10:52 I mean, we rolled and I'm smoking,
10:54 I'm sitting like, man, what in the world am I doing.
10:56 You know, we can't get any higher.
10:57 I mean, it's like the weed was multiplying.
10:59 Oh, yeah.
11:00 And so, you know, I would cut school and I'd leave out.
11:04 I will leave out and I'm just 16 years old.
11:06 I will leave out of the house and make my mama watch to see,
11:09 make sure, you know, we're gonna school.
11:11 She peak out the window here and there.
11:12 So just to be on a safe side,
11:14 I made sure I went straight to the bus stop
11:15 but, not too long after I would turn the corner,
11:18 I'll cut school, I'll cut school all together
11:20 and just go hangout with my friends
11:22 and, you know, maybe try to hook up with some females.
11:24 Had some weed, get some weed, get some alcohol
11:27 and just cut school all together
11:28 or I would go in late... go to school late.
11:29 I got to a point where I could not go to school
11:31 as I was intoxicated.
11:32 Yeah. Wow.
11:34 You know, I had to be high, or I had to be drunk.
11:35 I'll be sitting in class
11:36 and like I just said I had to be high.
11:38 So I was either high, it got to point
11:39 where I was either hard drunk in the school.
11:41 Yeah. One or the two periods.
11:42 One or the two, but I get in maybe third or fourth period,
11:44 you know, not enough to get my high on
11:46 because I couldn't stand sitting at school.
11:49 That got so bad that my mom,
11:50 she had to just pop up on me in school
11:52 because she was getting reports
11:53 and report card was saying, I wasn't showing up.
11:55 Well, I'm like, I don't know what they're talking about?
11:56 I'm going to school.
11:58 You see me go down to the bus stop, you know,
11:59 and I don't what they're talking about?
12:00 And she popped up on me one time.
12:02 Oh, man, I could remember like it was yesterday.
12:03 I was 16 years old, I was, you know, 'cause...
12:07 It just all happened that I had,
12:08 I did not go to school that day high.
12:12 May be that was Lord's mercy.
12:13 'Cause mom would have my...
12:14 She would have my head. Okay.
12:16 If she caught me high on drug,
12:17 so I went to school on time too.
12:18 God made me with the class on time,
12:20 got to school on time
12:21 just that day I just skipped the weed and alcohol.
12:23 And I sat down
12:24 and a girl was in the back of me talking to me,
12:27 trying to get my attention.
12:29 I turned around to her
12:30 and my mom was all way in her back.
12:31 In the back of the school,
12:33 I mean, at the back in the classroom.
12:34 And so she came to make sure
12:36 she walk me through four periods
12:37 just to make sure I was going to school.
12:38 And that was so embarrassing, the whole boys and my friends.
12:42 They came, "Hey, man, what you're doing man?
12:44 Your mom is in school you're in class.
12:46 I told my mom, I said, look, mom, it's lunch next,
12:49 I have lunch next, you can leave now.
12:53 And so she stuck with me like four periods and left
12:55 and I said, "Wow, it's getting that bad."
12:58 So what influence you talked about her briefly
13:00 but how strong of influence do you think
13:02 your friends was on you as well as the hip-hop music?
13:06 Let's talk a little bit about that?
13:08 And how strong of a pool hip-hop music has on people,
13:14 secular hip-pop music, go into that information?
13:18 I believe firmly what the Bible said
13:20 you change by beholding or whatever you lend your ears to,
13:22 your minds to, your mind to, you ears to,
13:25 you will be affected by it.
13:28 It's a Satan.
13:29 I mean, you will be affected by it.
13:31 And I'm gonna tell our young people
13:32 you will be affected by it.
13:33 Without question, it will affect you.
13:36 I mean, I had my ears fully in tuned to the rap scene
13:39 and a host, you know, just a whole,
13:41 that whole genre of music.
13:45 And it really affected me and it really affects you
13:49 what you lend your mind and ears to
13:50 and it will come back to haunt you
13:52 even when you want to give it up.
13:53 Because even now to this day,
13:55 you know, sometimes those old rap songs, I may be...
13:56 Oh, yeah. Yeah. I may be riding the car.
13:58 And somebody pull and plays old rap music.
14:00 And you know, you start bobbing here,
14:01 oh, got to catch yourself.
14:02 No one help me, you know, I was like,
14:04 man I should never led my mind over to it
14:05 and it takes me back to where I was.
14:07 That lifestyle or that way of life
14:09 that I did not agree with that, and I was not happy in living.
14:13 Yeah. It's a very...
14:18 Has a very strong affect. Yes, it's very heavy.
14:21 And it had the same thing to me,
14:24 music was very, very strong in my life.
14:27 You know, I would see to music videos
14:29 when I was young, the hip-pop music videos
14:31 and on BET and things.
14:33 And I will want what they were showing,
14:36 you know, and I didn't realize at the time
14:39 that a lot of that money
14:40 they're throwing around isn't even real.
14:41 Isn't even real. You know, it's not real.
14:43 A lot of the cars are rented, a lot of the jewelry is rented,
14:47 you know, but they give this
14:48 basically this false hope or this false scene.
14:52 And you think, "Man, I want that."
14:54 You know, and a lot of my life was influenced by friends,
14:58 yes, but music as well.
15:01 And it was so hard for me to let go off the music.
15:04 So very hard. Yes. Yes.
15:05 Because it's like it has a satanic pool.
15:08 And it's even interesting that,
15:09 you know, one of the things that Satan,
15:11 then Lucifer did when he was in heaven was,
15:14 he orchestrated music.
15:18 So when he was kicked out of heaven
15:19 he didn't necessarily lose his power.
15:21 Right. His name changed to Lucifer.
15:23 But he could still orchestrate music
15:25 in different things like that.
15:27 And when you hear the background stories
15:31 of a lot of music artists they say, you know,
15:33 we pray to the devil that we will have a hit record,
15:37 we got high on x amount of drugs
15:39 or these types of drugs,
15:40 so that we will have a hit record.
15:42 We made deals and pacts with the devil
15:43 to have a hit record.
15:45 And these things are seem to help with the record.
15:47 So when you're listening
15:49 it has this satanic pool upon you.
15:52 You know, what can you say to young people to,
15:56 yeah, the music is good.
15:57 You know, you're bobbing to it and things like that.
15:58 But what can you say to them to try to break them
16:02 away from that music?
16:04 I would say that young people should...
16:07 I would say, well, the way that older people
16:11 or that individuals should encourage young people
16:14 what should be helping them to understand that
16:18 at the end of the day there is no benefit in it.
16:20 I mean, there is no real positive...
16:23 You make, now the devil mingles,
16:25 you know those good things with bad.
16:27 But at the end of the day you say, "Okay.
16:29 Well, how was this making me a better person?"
16:32 Yeah. Yeah. "What this is benefiting me?"
16:35 "And how was this benefiting me?"
16:38 And so I would encourage young people
16:39 laying your minds over to that,
16:40 which will uplift and build you up.
16:42 Because at the end of the day when you get older
16:44 and you're through decades,
16:46 let me tell you, you will get tired of it.
16:48 Oh, yeah.
16:50 You will get tired of it and it will get old.
16:52 And all of that junk that you stuffed in your mind,
16:55 it comes back to haunt you.
16:57 Come back to haunt you and it irritates you
16:59 because I'm still dealing with it.
17:00 And at the end of the day, yeah, that is okay.
17:02 How is this drawing me closer to God?
17:04 How is this making a better person?
17:05 Okay. Okay. You know.
17:06 It's a down pull... Oh, yeah.
17:09 As suppose to uplifting, you know.
17:11 And I would say, encourage young people in that,
17:15 which is positive.
17:16 And we need to encourage young people to...
17:18 We need to involve the young people
17:20 in more positive things.
17:21 Community service and certain things
17:23 such as that nature.
17:24 Okay, you know, you said something very interesting
17:25 a little bit ago.
17:27 You said about by beholding we become change.
17:28 Right. That's what the Bible says.
17:31 And this is so very true because what you look at
17:35 or listen to or what you read,
17:37 you eventually become like that.
17:39 The more time you're spending with God,
17:41 the more you become like God.
17:43 The more time you spend in secular hip-hop music
17:45 or whatever, the more you'll be kind of become like that.
17:48 You'll start to say the words,
17:50 those actions, or things like that.
17:52 And you mentioned about where the things to uplift,
17:56 the music isn't necessarily uplifting that person.
17:59 And I notice with my own self
18:01 as I was getting deep in a hip-hop music,
18:03 it wasn't uplifting it sounded good, of course.
18:06 But it was actually changing my image of who I was,
18:09 you know, how I dressed, how I carried myself,
18:13 and eventually I had got a tattoo on my face.
18:16 I had a tattoo covering about a portion
18:19 on the right side of my face.
18:21 Which I have actually being getting laser removed.
18:23 But it was like the demons of music in it,
18:26 demons of life were starting
18:28 to manifest themselves on my face
18:30 because what I had was this scary face on it
18:34 and it was like my internal face,
18:36 though I have a smile on my normal face, internally,
18:39 I felt like this thing that was on my face, this tattoo.
18:43 And I believe that, you know, it was the demons inside of me
18:47 beginning to manifest themselves
18:49 in all the music that I had listened to
18:52 and that was ingrained in my head.
18:55 And so it has a very powerful pool.
18:57 Now let me ask you this though,
18:58 let's switch gears a little bit.
19:00 You didn't grow up as Seventh-day Adventist?
19:01 No. No, I didn't.
19:02 How did you become a Seventh-day Adventist?
19:05 Okay, now I just fast forward in 15 by the time I was 18...
19:09 I was through with the,
19:11 I pretty much was through 19
19:12 I was done with the marijuana, alcohol.
19:14 Okay. And I had got my life together.
19:16 I actually dropped out of...
19:17 Just real quick, I dropped out of high school.
19:20 I got so better job at high school,
19:21 I went to job core, I got kicked out of job core,
19:23 I got caught with marijuana, they kicked me out.
19:25 And so, you know,
19:26 but I was able to graduate on time.
19:29 You know, I got kicked out and then I was like,
19:31 what I'm gonna do?
19:32 My dad's won't get GED but mom stepped in
19:33 and said, "No, you're going go back
19:35 and get your high school diploma.
19:36 Okay. So I got high school diploma.
19:38 And I got my high school diploma, graduated,
19:40 by the time I was 19,
19:42 I was through with this terminal body.
19:43 Now what made you wanna...
19:44 What made you wanna stop
19:46 and step away from everything at 19 years old?
19:48 Well by the time...
19:49 I think it's just coming of age.
19:52 You know, I think I just came of age.
19:53 You know, I just got to a point where I just got tired,
19:55 you get old and you say, okay, enough already.
19:56 Okay, enough.
19:58 You know, I mean, it doesn't take me long
19:59 to smart enough, that's one thing.
20:00 I mean, may be gift from God or Holly Spirit,
20:02 it didn't take me long to smart enough.
20:04 I don't needed be out there not to knock anybody.
20:05 For 10 or 15 years, I'm like, "Okay, I get the point."
20:07 Yeah. Okay.
20:09 You know, I just got old, I got tired to
20:10 where I got tired of getting high.
20:11 I'm just smoking because this is
20:13 what we do with my friends.
20:14 So what else do I do?
20:16 We get high, and try to get a woman hook up,
20:17 or woman and get drunk and messing around drugs.
20:19 So I'm like, you know, what I'm through.
20:21 And I'd be taking out to pull when I was around my friends
20:24 and they will be smoking and God was holding me though.
20:26 I will be around them in a circle,
20:28 you know, they would be smoking,
20:29 I would be one that would not smoke.
20:31 You know, and I shouldn't have myself
20:32 in that atmosphere though
20:34 and though I was through with it.
20:35 But it is like my boys we hang out,
20:37 these are my partners.
20:38 And they would say, hey, man, don't even bother passing
20:39 the weed to Michael, he won't smoke.
20:41 Okay. You know.
20:42 But after a while, I began to distance myself from them
20:43 because that would eventually brought me back down.
20:46 And so fast forwarding, flash forwarding.
20:49 Got me good job in medical field,
20:51 making good money, I finally moved out
20:52 and this is the point where transition
20:53 where I began to come into right relationship with God.
20:57 By the time I was in my early 20s I moved out,
21:01 got my own apartment, I was 25.
21:03 So at 25, I've got my own apartment,
21:04 had a good paying job and I got my apartment.
21:07 I still had trouble with the women though.
21:10 I still hadn't shaken that yet,
21:12 you know, the immoral life frame my mind.
21:15 I wouldn't put no poison in my body but hey to woman.
21:17 Okay. That's all another issue.
21:20 And so, the Lord that was the final,
21:21 really the final deliverance was that.
21:23 You know, where I could fully just have
21:24 let God have his way with me.
21:27 I was 25, and I moved out and I said, okay,
21:29 I got my own place, I got my own space,
21:30 I may have the ladies coming through
21:32 all to make up with single man.
21:34 You know, now I was going to really just had them
21:36 for just to have my fun with the ladies.
21:39 And come to find out it was God set that aside
21:43 so He can get intimate with me.
21:46 And so I was on my dad's, I was on my mom's house.
21:49 So I went to go see, go stop by her house
21:51 and my dad was over there.
21:52 I was big in physical conditioning at this time.
21:56 Because I have put my body and I really got into
21:58 my physical workout plan, very routine with it.
22:02 Where I hit the cardio, lift the weights up,
22:04 I mean, I got about 180 pounds solid muscle.
22:07 I was really in to my workout routine
22:09 and on it every consistently on a regular basis.
22:12 And I was on my dad's house, I mean, my mom's house,
22:14 my dad came to stop by and the Lord spoke to my dad
22:17 and I was using my testimony.
22:19 Now, look, the Lord spoke to my dad that night,
22:21 we're watching basketball.
22:24 He knew I was in my workout routine
22:25 and I would go with my mom to workout at time
22:27 she had a basement bench.
22:30 So, actually I took the bench over my house though.
22:33 I was still working out in... I had it in my own apartment.
22:35 But I used to workout on in her basement
22:37 and I just went over to visit her
22:39 and my dad happened to be there and we were watching basketball
22:41 and he just turned to me and said, "Man, you know,
22:46 you're big on your physical condition,
22:47 you workout routine."
22:49 I forgot exactly how he phrased it
22:50 but it was on that level and I said,
22:52 and he said, he says, "Son, you know,
22:54 you need to study the Bible."
22:55 Yeah. Wow. Out of nowhere.
22:57 Was he into the Bible at that time?
22:58 That's the amazing thing. Yeah.
23:00 He wasn't into Bible himself at that time, now he is,
23:03 but then he wasn't.
23:05 And, you know, as far as,
23:06 you know, giving me that kind of advice.
23:09 You wouldn't expect that from him.
23:10 Yeah, and he just turned out, I was in the kitchen.
23:12 I can almost see it like it was yesterday,
23:13 May 2006 when his spiritual journey began.
23:16 May 2006, he turned to me and says...
23:18 We're watching basketball,
23:19 I think it was LeBron James playing
23:20 and he turned to me and he says,
23:22 "Son, you need to study the Bible."
23:25 "Son, you need to study the Bible."
23:27 And I said, "Wow."
23:28 And a couple of years ago a girl I was dating, she tried,
23:30 she laid out a plan for me and say,
23:31 "We need to start studying the Bible together."
23:32 Let me have it, and so I said, "I can't get into it."
23:37 I couldn't even quote John 3:16.
23:39 If you told what does John 3:16 say.
23:41 I'm like, "I don't know." Yeah.
23:42 I didn't know that it meant be the Christian.
23:44 You know, my mom she raises up, me and my brother
23:46 were Christian morals and principles.
23:48 I remember Sunday school bus used to come to the hood
23:49 and pick me and my brother.
23:52 But it wasn't nothing in that, she wasn't dogmatic about it.
23:54 Yeah. Okay. You know.
23:55 And I wasn't real serious about God.
23:57 Just figured as along as I'm a good person, I'm good.
23:59 Yeah. You're right. Okay.
24:00 I'm not out trying to kill anybody.
24:03 And so I began to, "Oh, my dad."
24:06 Yeah, so I'll be just going back
24:08 what I said about my girl friend
24:10 at couple years prior they tried to get me
24:11 into the studying the Bible.
24:13 I couldn't get into it, I opened it up,
24:15 just fasten open up, I close and said,
24:16 "I can't do, I can't do this."
24:17 Put away the planner
24:19 and said, "I'm just not in to, I can't understand."
24:20 Okay. You know.
24:21 But God didn't stop then He said,
24:23 "Let's try it again."
24:24 Couple of years later He came back with my dad.
24:27 And my dad say, "You need to study the Bible,
24:28 with the Holy Spirit and hindsight I see
24:30 what the Holy Spirit get through him.
24:31 And so I couldn't shake that voice man, I couldn't shake it.
24:34 "You study the Bible, you're on your physical routine
24:36 and you don't really have a purpose in life.
24:38 Well, what is your purpose in the life?"
24:40 And that's the thing that hit me out.
24:41 What is my purpose, I'm like, what is my purpose
24:43 filled is like, you know?
24:44 And I just, I want to understand
24:46 why am I here and who better to turn to.
24:48 I believe that there is a God, who better to turn
24:50 to one I believe created all things
24:51 called me to existence.
24:53 So if you're real, I couldn't even testify God was even real.
24:55 I believe he was real but I had no experience
24:56 to express of His reality.
25:00 So I began to study that night, it was a Saturday night
25:05 and that Sunday morning I said, "Okay.
25:07 I'll give you a half hour everyday."
25:10 I'm gonna give half hour everyday God
25:11 and I'm gonna start
25:13 and we'll see where it is going.
25:14 Half hour and I was on a clock to.
25:16 I get up in the beginning,
25:17 God, I started studying Genesis 1:1
25:18 and from there I've been studying ever since.
25:20 I haven't missed a day ever since.
25:21 Great. And so May of 2006.
25:22 So I got up and started reading,
25:24 started reading, started reading.
25:25 And I'm getting into that Adventists
25:26 when I got transition
25:28 but God brought me to the Bible first.
25:29 Yeah. Yeah.
25:31 And so I began to read and just learn of Him, read
25:33 and at certain point I don't know
25:34 when it hit and triggered, it became the living word.
25:38 It became the living word and at certain point that word
25:40 is more than just acorn paper to me.
25:41 Yeah. It became the living word.
25:43 I don't know what it is. Oh, yeah.
25:45 I started wrestling, wow,
25:46 and it just started with just reading.
25:48 I was on a clock half hour I'm done, half hour I'm done.
25:50 And so, you know, and I began to study
25:53 and then I learned about the state of the dead.
25:56 Okay. Is what brought me in.
25:58 I learned about the state of dead
25:59 and watching Doug Batchelor,
26:00 I call him a burning bush experience.
26:02 And I watch Doug Batchelor he was on BET.
26:03 I call him on burning bush experience,
26:05 I was flipping through BET,
26:06 Black Entertainment Television channel.
26:08 And I was flipping through and I saw the Doug Batchelor
26:10 and he was talking about state of the dead,
26:12 and that brought me in, that really got my attention.
26:14 He said the dead don't go straight to heaven.
26:16 And then he broke it down
26:17 and showed it from scriptures John 5
26:19 where you hear my voice come from the grave,
26:20 they'll come from the grave.
26:22 "Oh, when you die you go to the grave."
26:23 That makes sense when Christ is coming back to resurrect us.
26:25 Then the Sabbath truth I learned about.
26:27 You know, through the course of my study
26:28 and then came...
26:31 I thought Sabbath was Sunday. Okay.
26:34 But I learned that it was the seventh day of the week.
26:35 I'm just doing my biblical study
26:37 and talking to people and research online.
26:39 And then my mom said that
26:42 the Seventh-day Adventists keep the Sabbath.
26:45 And so I began to look into the Seventh-day Adventists.
26:46 And everything checked out.
26:48 I never heard them before. Okay.
26:49 I said, "What is this Seventh-day Adventist.
26:51 Can you spell it?" Sound like occult.
26:53 You know, so I started looking into it
26:55 and I said, "Man, everything
26:56 that they believe and checked out."
26:57 And then I found a local church and I joined.
27:00 Okay. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
27:02 So you got into the Seventh-day Adventist church
27:04 and now you're actually a theology major
27:06 at Oakwood University.
27:08 Yes, yes, yes. Which is a great blessing.
27:10 What I want you to do
27:11 for these last couple of seconds.
27:13 I want you to look into the camera
27:15 and I want you to appeal to the young people
27:17 that have been in or have been in your situation
27:20 and need that hope, that encouraging words.
27:22 Speak to them.
27:24 Well, what I would say to all my young people out there
27:26 the Lord has inspected in,
27:28 Jeremiah 29:11 He has inspected in for us all.
27:31 And the younger you are,
27:33 when you surrender you heart to God,
27:34 your staying power is much greater.
27:36 Your staying power is much greater
27:37 because when that concrete sets in,
27:38 it's hard to break it up.
27:40 You know, many older folk can tell you
27:42 and testify who've been out there in the world
27:44 for so many years
27:46 and then they want to give their heart to God,
27:47 or when they getting to old age.
27:49 You pick up so many habits out there in the world.
27:50 It's hard to break when you want to get serious about God.
27:52 And so I'll say surrender your heart.
27:54 The Bible says,
27:55 "It's good for the youth to bear the yoke,
27:57 to bear a yoke when they are young."
27:59 And I would say just surrender your heart to God
28:01 and allow God to have His way with you.
28:03 And He we will work through you
28:04 and you will fulfill your divine purpose in God.
28:07 Thank you, Michael, for being on the program.
28:10 Thank you, viewers,
28:11 for tuning into the New Journey.
28:12 Be sure to tune in next time.