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CBN.com “I remember one particular Christmas, [I was] staring at the nativity scene and seeing baby Jesus there and thinking: I know Jesus came into the world for something but I don’t know if I really understood what he came into the world for.
Bob Coy was growing up in a middle class home near Detroit, Michigan. Working for an automobile manufacturer seemed to be his likely future job prospect but observing people who were successful outside of factory work made Bob eager to break out of the typical hometown mold.
He recalls, “Now the pursuit begins: how can I find happiness? How can I find security? How can I find peace?”
Bob and his younger brother Jim decided that a career in music might be their way to success.
“We were both in little rock and roll basement bands [with] people that at that time were experimenting with drugs early on. As a teenager, I knew I was doing things I wasn’t supposed to do.
“As I was playing in the band, there was an element of success. The managers and those people who talked to us about what they wanted to do for our band, it looked like those guys had a little bit more together and certainly they wouldn’t be as faddish as we might be.”
Bob landed a job in sales with Capitol Records. He was finally going in the direction he wanted: becoming a success around successful people.
“The rub to that success is a lot of them are really questioning this ‘ladder-top’ experience.”
Bob left Capitol Records and ended up in Las Vegas.
“Getting involved in the casino life, I have now gone from rock and roll to sex and drugs and gambling. I remember on more than one occasion [that I was] not happy with who I was. Thus, enter my brother. ‘Hey, Bob, guess what? I gave my life to Christ.’ I said, ‘What did you do? Oh, you mean you got religion. You can’t drink, can’t smoke, can’t party. How sad.’ I actually pitied him.
“He had a reputation for a real rebel heart. To see him change and to see him have a love for his wife that was so genuine and so sincere without a wandering eye... Keep in mind, there are things I believe he can’t do but he’s giving me the impression he doesn’t want to do them. That was where there was a real struggle for me: why is it that he doesn’t need to do what I feel bound to do?”
He was going deeper into the Vegas lifestyle. Bob’s boss came up with a new job for him: managing an all nude girls revue for the casino.
“I was probably living in the worst way I ever had.”
It was Christmas of 1980. Bob’s brother Jim and his wife Theresa invited him over to spend the holiday with them. Instead, Bob went to a wild party at work. He showed up the next day for dinner.
“So, with a serious hangover, I drive across town to his place, and I’ll never forget it because his wife met me at the door. She said, ‘Bobby, I believe that God’s got something so much more for you.’ There was a literal tear of emotion in her eye.
“It gets toward the end of the night and Jim says, ‘Hey, why don’t you spend the night on the sofa?’ I said okay.
“He tosses me a New Testament. I toss it back. I said, ‘No, Jim, I don’t want your religion. Come on. Leave me alone.’ He says okay, and he and his wife head for bed.
“I pick up the Bible, and I started reading the Gospel of John. I get to John 3:16, and at that very moment, something begins to break inside my heart. That breaking inside of my heart is so genuine and so true that I just begin to weep.
“My brother walks out of the bedroom with his wife in tow and turns to me and says, ‘God just woke me up and told me to come and pray for you.’ I looked up at him and said, ‘Jim, I want to be prayed for.’ He came around the living room floor, and I got on my knees. He said, ‘I’m gonna lead you in a prayer.’
“At that very point God reached down from heaven, and He saved me. I prayed that prayer, and I’ve never been the same. It’s like, Wow. The next morning I wake up and everything’s changed in my life and in my heart.
“I drove back to the casino, and I walked in. I looked around, and I saw naked girls. It was like, Oh, I work here? Oh, boy. God began to convict me in such a gentle and lovely way that I don’t belong here. It’s time to make a change in my life.”
Bob got involved in a church. He devoted himself to learning how to live his new life.
“I would just go home, saturate myself in the Word as much as I could, get Bible tapes from men I respect,” he says. “You know, study books from men I respect and just continue to grow within that church atmosphere with real oversight and real supervision.
“I got back in the record business but in the sales side, not the promo side after I got saved.
“I’m in a meeting in Phoenix, and I see my boss. He’s kind of explaining sales, but I know he’s struggling with alcohol. Even though I’m being applauded in a sense for my success in selling records, I care more about his condition than I do my condition. That’s when God put this pastor’s heart in me.
Bob fell in love and married Diane. They were asked to plant a church in Florida. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, which started with just the Coys and another couple, has grown into the eighth largest church in the United States. Pastor Bob still hasn’t forgotten that the church’s success is about more than numbers.
“There are things that have earthly value then there are things that have eternal value. You can be building an empire right now on planet earth and have a lot of monetary success and have a great title. When you get to the kingdom, if it wasn’t for a heavenly cause, it doesn’t have any eternal value.
Bob also will never forget the saving grace God showed him that Christmas when he was at the lowest point of is life.
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