As a preacher, Jim was hardcore theatric and funny as hell. When confronted for a citing of scripture over a highly debatable topic, Jim would always open his Bible, allow a dramatic pause, and then announce that he was reading from the bible for "DOUBLE EMPHASIS!" The crowd quickly learned these catch phrases and would yell along with Brother Jim at every opportunity. It's difficult to tell whether Brother Jim was simply a "Street Theatre Standup Comic" or a sincere believer spreading the gospel (who just happened to be using the local Bible-thumpers to lodge and feed him). Wherever Jim spoke, a local church group would foot the bill. It warms us up to believe perhaps he was simply flim-flamming the grass-roots church organizations... Here is his holy rant:
By the eighth grade, the seeds of rebellion were well rooted in my heart, as I became ""cool" by using drugs, drinking booze and listening to rock and roll music.
I spent the first 30 days of my freshman year of high school totally stoned out of my mind. I actually convinced myself that I had the advantage over everyone who was not high. I was arrested during that year for the possession of alcoholic beverages and under 30 grams of marijuana. The courts slapped my hands and handed me over to the custody of my parents.
During my sophomore year of school, my best friend and I got caught, by the dean of students, for smoking pot in the Boy's Room. That "entitled" us to two weeks of in-school suspension and a month of detention with work detail on Saturdays. Despising authority, we would get high during our work details and suspension. In fact, I would even smoke dope in Biology class and during study halls. I would do anything at least once if I thought that I could get away with it. "Be sure, your sin will find you out." (Numbers 32:23)
A month or so after the suspension, my friend sideswiped a telephone pole while doped up. A policeman saw us and we were picked up again for the same offense: possession of pot and booze. Another hand slap from the courts had us out on the street in no time flat. "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people mourn." (Provs. 29:2)
By my junior year, I had developed a five-minute ritual of downing half a pint of vodka every morning and getting high before school started. Lunch usually consisted of heading across the street to my friend's house to smoke more marijuana.
Continuing in my rebellion, I built myself a "Hot Rod" '69 GTO with a 454 Chevrolet "Rat" engine. It was the fastest car amongst all of the high school students in the city. I would strut the machine around town taunting and daring others to race me. My parents, concerned about my safety, were vehemently opposed to my 600 h.p.status symbol. But I didn't care what they said, I was just going to do "my own thing" and let dad do "his thing".
I also buift myself an $800, 10-speed racing bike. For the age of 16, I took great pride in being one of the fastest bike racers in the city. I found that bicycling helped clean my lungs out so I could smoke more marijuana. "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4-6)
So by my senior year, I had consumed almost every known drug there was. I would test out anything and everything that I could get my hands on (although I'd never stoop to the point of sticking needles in my arm). Yes that's where I drew my line and I drew many "lines."
A lot of my time was spent with my drug dealing friend who lived in the neighborhood. We'd crank up his $15,000 stereo set and spend all night getting stoned and listening to the Moody Blues. We got into the pseudo-intellectual magazine called Science of Mind. There I opened myself up to humanistic philosophy along with meditation and the occult. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, having their conscience seared with a hot iron." (I Tim. 4:1-2)
One day I found out "Oh no, my drug dealer is a Ho-Mo-Sexual," like most big drug dealers he was a queer. Being the humanist I was, I rationalized it by saying, "I have an open mind, I can accept that. You live your life your way and I'll live my life my way." "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25) "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Provs. 14:12)
In 1980, something "bizarre" happened to my brother's roommate, Dave: he became a born-again Christian. He quit partying with us and started reading the Bible. In fact, he quit associating with us entirely!
One night, about 2:30 a.m. during a three keg party in my brother's apartment, Dave came out of his room with a Bible in his hand and a sober look on his face. He sat down and started preaching about salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. The room was soon vacated.
By the time Dave got to talking about chapter 10, verse 9 and 10 of Romans, it was just he and I. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Hearing those verses of life, I immediately sobered up and started weeping as the truth of the Gospel hit me. But, being a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God, I just wasn't willing to forsake my sins at that time.I justified my selfish life by saying to myself, "I've got a job, a hot rod, and a racing bike .... I've got all the drugs, booze and friends I want. What more could a man need? Besides, I don't need to be born again .... I'm Catholic!"
Dave quickly responded to my many arguments with John 3:3, Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." He later spelled it out in John 3:7, "Ye must be born again."Filled with my own self-righteousness, I continued to resist the Holy Ghost and I "Received not the love of the truth that I might be saved." (11 Thes. 2:10) "For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (Matt. 16:26)
At a party on June 5, 1980, my graduation night, I met a wicked woman who had a silly mother. This poor deceived girl fell for the oldest lines in the book. I prompted her with, "I love you." I coaxed her with, "The only way I can truly express my true love for you is to make love to you." I fully persuaded her with, "if you love me you would." That's the one Delilah used on Samson. I might just as well have said, "I love your body and want to use it..."
Fact is, I didn't even know what true love was. "God is Love." (I John 4:8) If you don't know God, you don't know true love. You only know a humanistic love. If you're not a Christian, you are incapable of loving anybody unselfishly. The only thing we loved was a glandular experience!
Lusty, lusty, lusty!
After only two months my girlfriend's mother got her on the birth control pill. It was a free-for-all from then on. "He that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Provs. 13:24) But we couldn't "Get no satisfaction." We were insatiable!
By this time I was a full-fledged rock-n-roll freak. I would spend hours doing research into different rock groups. I was especially interested in the groups from the late '60s and early '70s. The musicians that really caught my attention were the ones that had over-dosed on drugs. I wanted to discover what their philosophy of life was so that I could benefit from it.
I learned that their philosophy was drugs, sex, booze, and rock-n-roll, and that it was this lifestyle that drove them right to their graves. I began to see that the performers led two totally different lives, one on stage and the other off stage. On stage, they were Mr. Super Personality. Off stage, they fought over their drugs, booze, women and money -- They were schizophrenic!
My ego said, "I can make it. I'll just learn their mistakes and avoid them." "Ye shall not surely die, but your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as God." (Gen. 3:4-5), Satan whispered in my ear just as he did Eve in the garden of Eden.
By living that "Free-for-all" lifestyle, I ended up as miserable as my dead "idols," Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham, Keith Moon and my all time favorite Tommy Bolin.
God began to humble and break me. By age 16, I was a service manager at a major bicycle shop. But between the drugs and the fact that I was a proud, lazy bum, my employer saw past my "clean cut" exterior and fired me. Innocently I asked Why? "Because you're not working for me, you're working for yourself."
Inside I knew he was right, but on the outside I acted as it it didn't phase me. I was doing what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted, to whom I wanted, with whom I wanted, and for my own reasons. My mottos were: "Go for it!" "Fulfill yourself!" "Be natural and if it feels good, do it!"
Three months went by without a job to be found. Now my hot rod needed gas, I needed drugs and booze and my girlfriend needed a pizza. One Tuesday, while going door to door looking for a leaf raking job, I came to the first house and knocked, but no answer. While waiting I noticed a sign on the door that said "Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." I went on to two more houses. I knocked on the doors, and still no answer, but there was that same sign upon all three of the doors.
Amazed at the "coincidence" I pondered .... three houses, three doors, three signs saying the same thing. What does it mean?
Depressed from not finding a job, I headed over to my hangout, the auto parts store. On the way, I met someone I hadn't seen for over half a year--my brother's old roommate, Dave. I stopped to talk and he invited me into his house. I walked through the doorway and Lo and Behold there was another one of those signs that read "Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve, but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."
In the state of shock, I pointed towards the sign and said, "Dave, this is the fourth time that I've seen that sign in the last hour! What does it mean?" Dave, being instant in season and out of season, replied, "Jim, God's telling you that you'd better decide today who you're going to serve, either Jesus or the Devil. Jim," he continued, "you've obviously been a very rebellious person and this may be your last chance." "For God said, My spirit shall not always strive with man." (Gen. 6:3) "Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation." (11 co'. 6:3) Convicted of sin, I agreed to go to his Bible-believing church that following Sunday.
But that Friday night, Nov. 7, 1980, there was a Van Halen rock-n-roll concert. "Now I just can't give up my rock-n-roll." I reasoned. "Not my rock-n-roll music! God doesn't want me to give up rock-n-roll music, does He? Why rock music glorifies God, doesn't it?"
So I stumbled into this Van Halen concert with one intention, and one intention only. The drugs, the booze, the sex ... I could get them any time and any place. But that night I was going to studymy idols upon the stage. I observed how each member of the group related to each other. I studied how the group would react to the crowd and how the crowd would respond to the group. I had dreams of being a rock-n-roll lead guitarist myself. I even took a year and a half of guitar lessons and I dreamed of really going places.
The lights dimmed and with a scream the concert began. As with every concert I went to, I was fully prepared for the experience. My head was always pumped full of drugs and booze. I'd leave my friends behind in the bleacher seats and post myself five feet from the stage where I'd stand, playing my air guitar.
Right in the middle of the concert, David Lee Roth, while holding a fifth of Jack Daniels in one hand and a joint of marijuana in the other, shouted to the crowd, "NOT EVEN GOD CANSAVE YOUR SOUL AT A VAN HALEN CONCERT!!" The crowd of 13,000 people roared to their feet giving him a standing ovation and yelling for more, more blasphemy! They loved his utter defiance of God.
I was quite stunned at the remark and reaction. I contemplated, "Now why would David Lee Roth say that God can't save your soul at a Van Halen concert. Why would he even mention God at a God forsaken place like a rock-n-roll concert? Was it just part of the stage show? Now if it was, why did he have such a compelling look on his face and why did the crowd love it so much?" Just then David Lee Roth answered all my questions by singing the next song: "Running With The Devil."
I concluded, "Now I know why God can't save our souls, because we're all running with the Devil and therefore we don't want God to save our souls for we love sin more than God!" "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)
The bare facts hit me between the eyes as God turned the searchlight on in my heart and woke up my conscience. Out of his love for me, He gave me a revelation of His holiness and my wretchedness, just as he did the prophet Isaiah.God showed me the difference between light and darkness, good and evil, truth from lies, the same things Dave had told me earlier that week only magnified.
I faced the reality that there was a God and a Devil and that I was "Running With The Devil" on the "Highway to Hell" with "No stop signs or speed limits" to slow me down. I, along with 13,000 other people that night, was living my "Life in the fast lane" on the broad road to destruction.
God showed me that I had been deceived throughout my entire life into believing that Baptism, Pennance, "Holy" Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Extreme Unction were God's ways of salvation. He showed me that my car, drugs, women, bike, and rock idols were nothing more that "Dust in the wind."
Right there in the middle of the concert I cried out to God, "What must I do to be saved?" It was at that moment that God, by his grace and mercy, showed me the ONLY WAY off Hell's Highway. The alternate route from sin to him was to R-E-P-E-N-T and B-E-L-I-E-V-E the Gospel!
God told me to use David Lee Roth's own words against him to expose Roth a liar and to prove God true. While Roth screamed, "Running with the Devil," I cried unto God, "God Save my soul right here in the middle of this Van Halen concert!" Glory Hallelujah! Jesus answered my prayer, sobered me up instantly and set me free from drugs, illicit sex, booze and rock-n-roll.
Yes indeed for the first time in my life, I didn't want any more rock-n-roll music. So I laid my air-guitar down and headed back to my bleacher seat where my so-called friends were sitting. They tried to give me more drugs and booze but I said "No." I didn't want it, didn't need it, didn't even desire it.
While anxiously waiting for the end of that concert, God showed me the vast demonic control that was empowering the members of the group. That power was filtering through the group over and onto the whole crowd of 13,000 people.
Oh, The Blackness of Darkness God brought me out of when He transferred me into the Marvelous Light of the Kingdom of His Dear Son! That following Sunday, I was more than glad to go to Dave's Bible believing Church. At the end of the service, I went forward to make a public confession of my repentance towards God and to proclaim my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The elders of the church laid hands on me and I was baptized in the Holy Ghost, indued with power from on high to be a witness unto the uttermost parts of the world that Jesus Christ is Lord. As I received the gift of the Holy Ghost, I began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.
Sinner, you also can experience righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, it you would only forsake your sinful, selfish ways and turn to Jesus -- and have true saving faith which produces obedience in the finished work of Jesus Christ. All men choose to be FOR God or AGAINST Him. I had to choose .... now that you know, YOU also have to choose between good and evil, life or death, but choose life that you might live!
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Evangelist James Giles