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Wrecked Life Given New Purpose

James grew up in a crime-ridden neighborhood, and he turned to drug abuse as an adult. But after a brush with death, James knew something had to change. Read Transcript

You look at a condemned building, you say,

that it is of no use.

You put a bulldozer, and you wreck it.

You know, that's kind of what I felt like my life was like.

NARRATOR: James Fox grew up in a drug

and crime-infested neighborhood in Greensboro, North Carolina

called The Grove.

He was six when his father abandoned

his wife and four children.

I didn't understand why he left.

You know, they-- the parents, the older people,

they could have their differences or whatever.

But what does it mean to a six or seven-year-old child,

is you really can't explain that to.

All I know is that he was gone, and it was devastating.

It was devastating.

NARRATOR: That left James on his own

to find what he needed most.


Identity is what you're looking for as a child.

Because as a young man, you want to see,

what does a man look like?

What does a man do?

What is his role?

What is his responsibility?

You're trying to find identification.

NARRATOR: So James took his cues about manhood

from the gang members and drug dealers in his neighborhood.

Now I'm going to become it.

Now I'm going to become what I'm seeing, because now.

I need somebody to identify with.

So now I'm getting a little bit more understanding

of my environment.

I began, you know, smoking marijuana.

And then, graduated to drinking alcohol and partying,

and everything else.

I mean, it just kind of went progressive from there.

Using drugs was an escape from the reality

that I was faced with every day.

NARRATOR: James grew up going to church with his mother,

so he never doubted the existence of God.

The question was, did he exist for me?

Because in my mind, if he existed for me,

then why is my condition the way that it is?

I know that he's there, but why am

I coming back to a neighborhood that's impoverished?

A neighborhood where I'm seeing people life get cut short--

that type of thing.

NARRATOR: By 13, he was dealing and using drugs.

And at 16, he was addicted to cocaine.

But James was no closer to finding out who he was.

During the 10th grade, he dropped out of school.

I was just at a place of hopelessness.

I just didn't think that there was anything else.

Not to mention the drug activity at that time, it got--

it started to get so bad that I really just lost focus.

NARRATOR: Dealing drugs became his only source of income.

One night, James tried to sell flour to one of his clients,

telling him it was cocaine.

It didn't take long for the client and his girlfriend

to realize what James had done.

He came back with a gun.

And he put the gun to my head, and he cocked back the hammer.

And he was going to shoot me.

She begged him not to shoot me--

begged him not to kill me.

But at that time I was so out of it.

I was so at a loss for life, for a zest for life,

or even living.

I was at a point there, I didn't even care.

I almost wish he would have pulled

the trigger at that time.

NARRATOR: The man let James go.

But his brush with death only made

James feel worse about himself.

I felt condemned, felt guilty, felt ashamed.

It's nothing like walking down a street of people knowing what

you did last night, or people knowing what you about

to go and do.

Or people speaking about you, like, writing you off like you

have no existence-- nothing else for you to do in life.

He'll be washed up somewhere.

His life will be over.

NARRATOR: Over the next nine years,

the drug abuse got worse, and crack cocaine nearly

killed him.

James knew something had to change,

so he started going back to church.

During one service, the pastor said something he felt

was for him.

God has been calling you.

He's been calling you a for a long time.

And I knew that it was me.

And I said, God it's going to be you and me.

I don't care what else happen.

I'm selling-- I'm giving you everything, from this point on.

And I came to that point, where I said,

God, you really can have me.

And whatever you want to do with this life you call,

for me to live, I give you full permission to do.

NARRATOR: James gave his heart to Jesus Christ that day.

And he says he finally found the identity

that he'd been searching for.

He made me new, because he wiped away everything.


I was walking around with all of his past on me,

no matter where I was.

Because, see, people move from place to place.

It doesn't matter where you move, you still going

take you with you.

So I had to have my nature truly changed.

So yes, Christ made me a new man.

He gave me a new identity.

That means that things that were in the past

could not hold me any longer.

That's how I got to.

And so Christ gave me that identity.

He gave me the identity that I so longed for, and hoped for.

NARRATOR: James has been drug free and alcohol free

for 20 years.

In 2007, James met Jackie, and they married in 2008.

He is an awesome husband.

His heart is devoted to his family.

He loves his family.

He loves his children.

He just loves the Lord.

He expresses his love for the Lord like never before.

And that's just who James is.

When you accept Christ, he is a God that lives inside of you.

So a lot of people may say that he doesn't.

But when he comes into you, it's another individual that

comes to live inside of you.

And that individual ain't addicted to drugs.

He's not promiscuous.

He doesn't steal.

He doesn't-- he is a person.

And that's why it's personal relationship.


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