Perfect Peace: How a cynical man became a fanatical believer

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Hector grew up going to church but he never really took it seriously. He constantly rebelled and lived life his own way until he felt there was something missing in his life.

Watch the video to see how he decided that God needed to be the center of his life.

Below is a transcript of the video edited for readability.

Hector: I think I was maybe one of the most cynical people about church and church people and maybe even God. I had a stepfather who required us to go to church and we go to Mass and do the whole thing. I say this person was my stepfather, but I really just saw him as my father, who was the only father figure that I knew.

So, that just added to the confusion because that person was the most abusive person in my life. You know, physical, emotional, mental. The person who is supposed to be your greatest advocate, your protector…when that person turns out to be the one that’s hurting you the most, it creates all kinds of confusion.

I got in a lot of fights. I got kicked out of a lot of places because I just couldn’t behave or couldn’t conform to whatever the structure was… [I would] cuss like a sailor, chased the girls, try to prove my manhood and my toughness in the street. I feel like I had a lot of anger in my heart, a lot of chaos maybe inside.

I managed to get myself kicked out of the LA Unified School District. So, I contacted my biological father and I begged him to let me come live with him. He was attending to church and he was, I think, trying to get some stuff figured out for himself. And so, because he was attending a church I had to be attending the church. But, I didn’t go easy and there was a youth leader there. He would call me at every event and he would offer to come pick me up at every event and I got to say if he didn’t call, I wouldn’t have gone.

I started to form a bond with the kids that were in this youth group and what I started to see from them was that there was something genuine about the relationship that these kids had with God and they behaved as if God wanted to be involved in their lives and they would go out and tell people about God and I didn’t understand it but I was sure that I wanted to know God. And so my prayer was like “if you’re real I want to know you” and if I could, if I could establish that in my life then I felt like maybe I can deal with the rest of it. 

It been about three or four months that I was praying this and all of a sudden I felt this strange, this warmth and the most notable thing about it was it for the first time as long as I could remember there was a quiet peace. A peace that I’d never known and in that God will say “Here I am.” 

And even though I grew up hearing about Jesus and I grew up hearing about Christmas and about Easter and on the third day he rose… All of a sudden, it made sense to me. The reality of that one of the most cynical people all of a sudden became a fanatical believer. I think that you could invite God to show himself how you need him in your life and I didn’t even know what that was when I asked. I would have never thought to ask for peace. I didn’t know I needed it. I didn’t know I craved it. 

Now, I’m a pastor. I spend my life creating environments and opportunities for people to encounter God and to ultimately find their purpose in life. You know, sometimes I’m sitting in my living room and I’m just reflecting

about how my life is right now. Today.  I have the best job in the world.  I have an amazing wife. I’ve got a 20-year-old son and a 16-year-old son and they both have their own relationship with God. 

If you’re experiencing that you are missing something you can’t quite put your finger on what it is I’d say you don’t need to look to God, talk to him in spite of what you see in the church because maybe you’ve experienced some of that craziness. 

If I hadn’t invited God into the process, well then I think I’d just be like everybody else in my family, in the pattern, they married whoever came along, there’s this kind of pattern of brokenness and broken relationships right?

Crying out to God and inviting him to reveal himself to me. What I was doing was, I was confessing with my mouth and I was believing with my heart that Christ gave himself for me. There was a price paid for me and that was in Jesus he paid his life and because he conquered death, I get to live. 

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