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Avoiding a Life of Destruction

Evangelist and author Jay Lowder shares how to reach out to those who struggle and are headed towards a life of destruction. Read Transcript


NARRATOR: What happens when you hit rock bottom, when

you feel like God is not listening,

when you've lost all hope and life

just doesn't seem worth living anymore?

Evangelist and author Jay Lowder believes--

But there's hope.

It's as simple as right now, right where you're at.

NARRATOR: --there's always hope, even

in the midst of pain, hardship, and destruction.

Well, joining me now is evangelist

and author Jay Lowder.

And Jay, thanks for being with us.

It's great to have you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

You grew up in a traditional Christian home.

I hear it was a little legalistic,

and but you didn't really get it.

Why?

Well, I did grow up in a Christian home,

and made some decisions when I was a young boy.

Was baptized.

Walked an aisle on Sunday morning.

It wasn't a matter of being deceptive,

I just didn't really understand what

those decisions would mean, or what it really

meant to know Christ.

I just knew I didn't want to go to hell,

and thought that was the solution to avoid it.

So it was hell insurance.

There you go.

That's about what it was, yeah.

You had a moment where you were actually

contemplating that you were going to take your life.

And then your roommate intervened.

Did he know what he was doing?

He had no idea.

No idea.

Actually, he worked for his father.

And he worked across town, so he never

came home at lunch because he only

had a 30-minute lunch break.

So he had no idea when he walked in

that I had a gun pointed to my temple about

to blow my brains out.

Wow.

And he didn't ask what's the gun here for?

Oh, no.

Well, when I heard him pull up on the gravel driveway outside,

I disengaged the hammer and slid it underneath the sofa,

and turned on the television to make it appear

that everything was as normal.

OK.

He became an authentic Christian.

He became real.

And you saw the change in him.

What attracted you to that?

Well, it was a real catalyst, for sure,

because he grew up in Southern California.

I'd known him for years, and his home life

was a lot different than mine.

He didn't grow up in a Christian environment.

Matter of fact, his mother had committed suicide

in front of him as a young boy.

So when he came home one night and said, I found Jesus,

I got saved, I'm like, sure, yeah.

Been there, done that.

Well, I said-- actually, I told him, I said,

it won't last two weeks.

But I saw him coming in late at night

and writing notes in a little Christian workbook.

And so when he went to bed, I would sneak in,

get it off the kitchen table, and read it under my covers.

And I was just astounded at the transformation in his life.

I mean, literally he was a new guy.

And it wasn't just a religion thing or a legalistic thing,

you could see an inner transformation.

And it was a catalyst for me for sure.

What happened to you?

Well, that played a role in it,

because a short time later after this suicide attempt,

my mother had invited me to go hear

a guy who was going to be doing an evangelistic outreach

in our home city.

I told her I wouldn't go.

I told her her god was not my god.

But I decided at the last minute when a friend backed out

on some plans to go, and walked in late,

and hoping to hear his suicide story,

hoping to find some answers to some of the questions

that I had.

Not thinking of it in a religious context,

but maybe just some compatible reasons and things

that he might have discovered that

helped him avoid ending his life.

But I didn't hear any of that.

He actually went to an in-depth presentation

of the crucifixion, the death and the burial and resurrection

of Christ.

And I realized that night, even though I

thought if God was real I was probably a Christian,

I realized I was lost.

I got arrested for the murder of Jesus Christ.

And I wanted him more than anything.

So what happened to all the depression?

What happened to the suicidal thoughts?

I think a lot of people today are suffering with that.

And you know, as you've said, instead of living,

they're just existing.

Yes.

What would you say to them?

Well, I understand that God works in different ways

in different people's lives.

For me, when I met Jesus Christ, it

was such a huge transformation that, for me,

the depression and the suicide immediately left.

Now, I'm not saying that happens for everyone, because I meet

people by the multitudes every year

who that's not been their story, who love Jesus

and who are dedicated disciples of Christ

but are continuing to struggle with it.

So while I wish that could be everyone's story,

I know it's not.

What would you say to them?

How do they-- what should they do?

Well, I've been very fortunate as a result of my own story

to use it as a springboard to speak

to other people who are fighting depression and suicidal

tendencies.

And of course, it's an epidemic all across literally the world.

But I would tell those people that are continuing

to struggle to just hang on.

There's nothing wrong with getting Christian counseling.

There's nothing wrong that just because you're

continuing to struggle doesn't mean that you're not--

your faith isn't strong enough.

It doesn't mean that you're not praying hard enough.

You know, God, again, works in different people's lives

in different ways.

And it's just staying the course.

And again, I think there are some remedies that

can be taken.

I think seeing a doctor could be a real benefit.

Again, I think going to Christian counseling

could be a benefit.

But I don't think you can put everybody in a certain box.

I just know that God wants to use every challenge

that everybody goes through eventually as a tool to help

provide hope to other people.

I agree with that one, yeah.

Yeah, I think sometimes people just

need people to walk with them through it.

No doubt.

You know, you walk through the valley of the shadow of death

and he's with you.

And sometimes, you need a Christian friend

to walk along with you and say, OK, I'm not going to leave you.

Absolutely.

I'm going to be with you.

And you know, I believe that a lot of people in the church,

especially who struggle with suicide or depression,

many of those people live on an island,

because they're afraid to share it, because they can--

there's a certain stigma that comes with it.

Again, your faith isn't strong enough, you've not prayed,

you don't believe in healing, whatever.

And again, that's not the case.

And that's where I think people who do struggle with it that

have overcome it need to be voices in the church

to help other people see that they're not alone.

There are other people that love Jesus that struggle.

And of course, one of the number one deterrents to suicide,

when we talk about that issue, is discussion, open dialogue.

But yet there's a certain fear in many Christian circles

to talk about it.

And it really needs to be talked about and addressed.

I agree.

Let's talk about your book, "Midnight in Aisle 7."

The title actually comes out of a personal experience

you had in a Walmart.

That's right.

What happened?

My wife and I, we're night owls.

And so we were at Walmart at midnight--

[INAUDIBLE].

Aisle seven.

Yeah, yeah, walking down the aisle.

And it sounds a little crazy, but I walked past a guy

that I did not know, had never met,

and just somehow sensed that he was in ministry.

And I actually stopped him and I said,

I know this is crazy, but are you in full-time ministry?

And he's like, how did you know?

And I'm like, I just had a sense that you were.

But anyway, God ended up using him.

I was in a season in my life-- this

was after I came to know Christ, but a season where I

had drifted away from the Lord.

God had not delivered on some things

that I thought he should have.

He didn't--

[INAUDIBLE] universe right.

That's right.

That's right.

And wasn't living up to my expectations.

But I did have some really real hurts

and struggles, and was away from God,

and had been away from God for quite some time.

And the Lord used this encounter as a tool

to help leapfrog me back into that intimate connection

with Christ that I had known for so long

that I needed to get back to.

You say that these encounters ought to be common,

that we ought to realize that it's happening all around us,

and are we available for it.

Would you encourage people to just go hang out in aisle seven

and look for targets?

No.

No, but what I would encourage people to do

is be aware and perceptive that God

is wanting to show up in the most unique places,

in the most unique circumstances,

and even in your most unique pains.

That's one of the things I love about Jesus.

When you look in the New Testament,

Jesus spent more time-- really the bulk of his ministry

was not in the synagogue, but outside of it.

And Jesus used modern-day parables,

and he talked about sheep and goats and farms.

And so Jesus had a vernacular and a way

to connect people on street level,

connect to people where they were.

And most of these great encounters that we read about,

again, they weren't in the church,

they were just in the process of everyday living.

And I believe if we're looking and if we're

open and available, that God wants

to show himself right here, right now, wherever we're at.

Right.

It's a matter of staying in the moment.

Yeah.

And staying in the moment with him.

Absolutely.

And just be listening.

And when you're walking by aisle seven

and there's somebody in ministry and you just

feel that nudge, just say, OK, I'm going to go with this.

Yes.

And it worked out for you.

Yes, it did,

From that encounter, some doors opened for you, right?

Yes, well, God launched me back into full-time evangelism,

which is what I had been doing prior to that.

Our ministry started literally on the streets

of downtown Wichita Falls, hanging outside of strip clubs

and bars, and just giving people the hope of the gospel.

When I met Jesus, I wanted to help other people.

When I was reached, I wanted to reach out to other people.

And so really, that's what we've been doing ever

since is doing the work of full-time evangelism,

just giving people hope.

Yeah.

Just passing it on.

JAY LOWDER: Passing it on.

The book is called "Midnight in Aisle 7."

And if you want to know more, it's available on Amazon.

And he's got a television show scheduled for "The Darkest

Hour."

That's the name of the show.

It can be seen by going to darkesthour.tv.

And Jay, thanks for joining us.

JAY LOWDER: Thank you.

Great to be here.

Great to have you.

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