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Jackson Park

Overbearing rules and punishments gave Jackson Park an orphan spirit, but after falling in love with his Heavenly Father, his relationship with his own father was healed. Read Transcript

My dad was a very strict individual, especially when

it came to spiritual matters.

I started associating bickering and frustration

with spending time with the Heavenly Father.

There was almost a checklist.

Did you do your devotions?

Did you spend time with your Heavenly Father today?

Check, OK, you're good.

That was the only way that we really related.

I really wanted to just have a friendship with my dad.

I didn't want to be his friend because I was

Christian or not a Christian.

I wanted him to like being around me

just because I'm Jackson and I came from him.

I keep saying I wanted to.

This is something that I needed.

I needed to know that I was my dad's son despite what

I believed.

I needed to know that I belonged to him.

When I was trying to do well at home

and I was still being yelled at, I eventually

decided I might as well do what I want.

What's the consequence?

I'm going to be yelled at more?

So I went for it.

I started veering away from being in my relationship

with God and finding another circle to be accepted in.

But these guys, they didn't accept me for who I was.

I had to be like these guys, and I wasn't able to be me.

I wasn't able to be Jackson.

And in the end, that was the most miserable thing ever.

At home I had to be a Christian.

And at school, I had to be a rebellious pothead.

But there was no genuineness in either of them.

It was tearing me apart.

There came a time when I was grounded

for like a month or something.

You know, you're grounded for a month.

How can you do this to me?

It's basically a lifetime.

And I remember thinking, you know what would get me out

of being grounded, is if I told my dad

I was ready to be baptized.

And I said, hey, Dad, I'm ready to be baptized.

And he says, really that's so great.

Got baptized, and he says, you're good,

you don't have to be grounded anymore.

The more that he pushed me to try to push Jesus into my life,

try to push the faith into my life,

the more I didn't want to have anything to do with it.

I started running away literally from home.

I remember the first time I ran away, I ran away for five days

and slept in my friend's shed at night.

And then the second time I ran away, I'm 15 years old,

I put on my bedroom slippers, I put on a vest,

and it's December, it's cold.

And I grabbed my guitar, and I run out the back door,

and I hear, where you going?

And I didn't talk to my parents again for three or four

more weeks.

I ran away.

I stayed in the woods.

I stayed in an abandoned house.

I stayed in my friend's attic.

I stayed in my friend's closet.

I stayed everywhere that I could as long as it wasn't home.

Yeah, I ran.

One or two years later, doing drugs and stuff like that,

I had acquired some felonies and some misdemeanors.

I was put on probation for a year.

I had to be on house arrest for two months.

It was Super Bowl Sunday, 2009.

My dad's watching football, and I'm watching

Family Guy on my computer.

And my dad's like, why are you watching this?

This is worldly.

And then eventually it just gets so heated.

I grabbed my cup of water and I just

throw the cup of water in his face.

And the next thing you know, I'm being whipped around the room,

and he's got me in a headlock.

Then he yells to my mom, Wendy get the phone.

Call the police.

He attacked me.

And my mom said, no, no, Jerry.

I've had enough.

This is over.

And it was then that my parents separated,

which led to their divorce later that year.

My mom and I were living out of her truck,

and we had a cardboard box of food,

and I would be sleeping on the floor somewhere.

So my mom says, Jackson, we're going to go to Kansas City.

Let's go hang out with Jonas for a little bit.

My mom and I flew to Kansas City.

My brother Jonas was my hero.

Gets this phone call, and it's an old roommate of his.

And so the next day my brother and I jump in the truck,

and we go pick up this guy, Benji.

Farmer Ben.

Barefoot Ben.

He comes out and he has no shoes on.

He has a big, bushy beard.

And he's got these cattywampus teeth.

He's just a funky looking dude.

But he's got the most joy on his face

that I've ever seen in anybody.

And we would stay up late in the night,

and we would make my brother pancakes

and serve him breakfast right before he

had to rush to the International House of Prayer Room.

Benji and I would walk the streets together barefooted.

And we would hitchhike, and we would meet people,

and we would invite them over to our place for food.

Or we would go swimming in the creek.

And the whole time, he just embodied Jesus to me, man.

In the most real of ways.

He was loving, he was fun, he was infectious and influential.

He was excited about life.

And he's like, man, I just love you, Jackson.

I'm like, I love you, too.

And I remember I turned over to Benji,

and I said, dude, I think I'm ready.

I know it's time.

I'm ready to fall back on Jesus, bro.

And he says, dude, that's so awesome, man.


I accepted Jesus for real this time.

And I have the biggest smile on my face.

And I know that I'm not turning back any longer.

I'm not turning back towards the world.

And I didn't.

I went home.

Slowly but surely, I started making different choices.

I stopped smoking weed.

I stopped hanging out with these different friends.

I was drinking for a little bit, but I eventually took that out

of my life.

I still didn't talk to my dad or see him

for about a year and a half.

I just wasn't ready for it.

I didn't feel like he had changed,

and my relationship with God was new and it was fragile.

And then one day, I get this email from my dad right

before I leave to go to this conference,

and the email says, hey, Jackson, just

want to let you know this weekend I'm going

to be heading out of town.

I'm going to this conference.

I'm going to be praying for you.

I hope you're doing well.

Love you.

And I email him back, I'm like, what

conference are you going to?

I put my hands on my head being like, oh, my gosh,

we're going to be in the same place.

This is going to be awful.

I went to that conference, and my dad was there,

and it was a surreal moment.

And we looked at each other and we hugged,

and we went and had a heart-to-heart conversation.

We approached each other with humility.

And we just said, hey, can we start over?

Let's just love one another and have a friendship

and a relationship not based on my spiritual works,

but based on just that I'm your son and you're my dad.

Let's do that.

We were able to talk about food, movies.

We continue to have those conversations.

A lot of things that we talk about aren't Christian things.

We just talk about life.

And a huge part of our life is the Lord.

We have a friendship, and only God made that happen.

The Bible says if you love Me, you keep my commandments.

It starts with that.

It starts with the love.

It starts with a relationship.

And it's the obedience that follows.

God's personal.

He's real.

He's not so big and far away and just controlling or just

involved in the overall big picture,

but He's involved in individual lives.

He's involved in my individual life,

and he cares about my relationship with my dad

and what that looks like that he would work it out

to where it has a good outcome.



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