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Brian Sumner is recognized as one of the best professional skaters in the world. He’s participated in the X Games and in competitions around the world. He was featured in Stephen Baldwin’s “Livin it LA” skate video and he tours regularly with Tony Hawk’s Birdhouse team.
In His Words…
I was suicidal. I was over my life. I mean, I probably – I stuck a screwdriver in my arm one time. I’d think so much about killing myself…
Skateboarding in Liverpool was…one of the greatest things in my life at the time because skating is a very individual sport. And back then there weren’t really many kids out of Liverpool who were that [well] known or sponsored, so I’d go all around the world…doing well in amateur contests.
And then I came to America, ended up switching to Birdhouse, and I became pro two years later.
It was all skating. I was just like ‘Wow, I got to come to America because of skating. I’m going to do everything to protect this.’ And so being a pile or a stoner- you’re more motivated because you’re like ‘I’m from England, I have to work for this.’
And you don’t know if you’re going to live here or not. You don’t know if you’re going to lose your sponsor. Your focus is on skating.
I was raised next to a Catholic church but I never seen, I never felt Christ’s presence there, so I didn’t have any idea, other than this guy who died.
As soon as you think about that – if I would have thought about that for more than five minutes I would’ve been like, ‘Yeah, but didn’t he die in vain if I don’t really care about it?’
No one ever stopped me and said, ‘You were created for a reason. Jesus does love you.’
Looking for Real Meaning…
I was married, we had Dakota. I’d been paying taxes for four years, and it provided for so much stuff. I’d already bought a home at the time.
But there weren’t any answers, you know?
Nothing of the world had given me answers. And I grew up fighting in Liverpool. I was really comfortable fighting. I’d done martial arts. People are in your face.
After a couple fights too many I ended up being on probation and had community service. I’m looking down this huge list…and [on the list] there’s this Christian thrift store.
And I was like, ‘Wow, that sounds funny.’ And not even in a mocking way, but, you know, what do these people think about God? Also…I can look for cool clothes to skate in while I’m there.
I went to this thrift store and I just started hassling people. Not in a rude way, but saying, ‘How can you believe this? Who is this Jesus guy? How can you know it is a book?’
I just said ‘Lord, I’m going to play devil’s advocate, and I’m going to prove this is wrong.’
Who is This Jesus Guy?
I’m at this thrift store, and there are these crazy Christians there. And I’m cooking the food for them and asking them questions. But I didn’t feel the presence of God necessarily…
I was still cursing, I still wouldn’t have been afraid to drink… And I went to this church and Jay preached on Galatians, I think it was 5:15-21. All around when you curse, when you think thoughts, even when you speak too much, the Bible says, where talk is ever present, sin is present also.
And I realized: the smallest details separate me from God. I realized God’s right here, but I’m separate because of my sin.
I sat down in my office and I prayed for 40 minutes. And I said ‘You know what? I tried to prove you wrong. I think Jesus lived. I think you’re the son of God.’
And I just called it out: If you show up right now, I will give you everything in my life. I will do this, I will…..
You know, this is the craziest part of my testimony. I’m sitting there, and it was as if someone just took a bowl of energy and just walked over to me - and I could feel it. And just put it right on top of me. And it just hit me.
To me it was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. That moment just came over me, and I broke down in tears. And I couldn’t believe it.
I was crying because I thought ‘I can’t believe people don’t know this is real.’ They don’t know this is real because Satan’s such a good job.
You know what happened in my life? Jesus showed up. And from that moment on, I mean to this day, that’s it.
When you have a relationship with God, I think you feel like everything your life has a meaning.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.