Marcus Gray: Living Life For God
By Jeremy Callahan
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“Every moment was intense. I was, say five--six years old. Even simple things like walking to school you were afraid.”
Growing up in the projects of St. Louis, Marcus Gray never felt safe. Even his own family couldn’t protect him. His father was a drug addict and his mother was schizophrenic.
“So I had the responsibility of really overseeing my mom. There would be times where she wouldn’t even recognize me. She could, curse me out or call me names or, you know, just start treating me as if I’m her enemy or something like that. My dad would be gone days on end, blowing time, you know, getting high. Everything was just unstable.”
Marcus spent a lot of time with his grandmother, the only safe haven from the chaos.
“She was jolly, nice, sweet, kind. She was a Christian, so she would share stories and testimonies of things God had done in her life. She always let me know God loves you, he created you, He wants a relationship with you. And being around her just felt like I was an actual kid.”
Despite his grandmother’s influence, Marcus began to rebel, and started picking fights with other students at school.
“In many different ways I feel like I got to protect myself, I liked the fear that I could put in someone’s heart just with my presence. It made me feel in control. I feel like I need to be a man, you know, just like at home I need to be a man. They’d have to call the police to the school. And that’s when they said, Marcus, you’re outta here.”
Marcus was expelled from school when he was sixteen. Later that same year, his grandmother died of a heart attack.
“When she passed away, I felt like I lost a part of my own soul, a part of my being had been cut off. Because she was my everything. I just remember trying to be strong, but not having the ability to. My natural bent was to check out and to retreat, you know, stay in the clubs, do whatever would distract me, block me, numb me from reality.”
His new girlfriend invited him to church instead.
“Eventually I decided to go because of the hopelessness. I felt like I’m trying all of these different things to bring about what I actually want, which is relief.”
The preacher’s words moved him. “What I was overwhelmed with from the Gospel message that day was Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you. And I was so overwhelmed with this love, you know, Jesus’ love, and I remember thinking like, he does love a bad person. And it sounded exactly like the things that my grandmother would tell me.”
Marcus prayed to become a Christian that day.
“My words to the Lord that day was something like, I’m tired. I can’t do this anymore. I remember saying, ‘Will you forgive me?’ It just made me feel like, I got a fresh start. And I’m cool with God. I’m cool with the person that made me.”
Today, Marcus is married to Crystal and pursuing a degree in biblical counseling. He’s also known as the hip-hop music artist “Flame.” His mission is to reach out to others through Christ-centered music.
“My heart is really to walk with people throughout the long haul, side by side, helping them process what has happened in their life, so I take my life experiences, I take my theological training, and I get to smash it all together and make it rhyme. God has truly done a work in my heart, just as far as family and how—how I love my parents and how I think about my past. His love is so big and it runs so deep that he can tolerate all of who I am, through and through--and still consistently care for me. He’s loved on me in a unique way by dying for—of course the—the world and the church, but in particular, Marcus, you know, Marcus Gray. And when I think about that and he’ll invite me to his heaven, that’s what really rocks me about the Lord.”
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