In 1968 Teen Challenge of Southern California was in its 5th years. Tom was in his 22nd year. He was 6’1″ but weighed just 135 pounds. Drugs were killing him. When he got arrested again, his probation officer offered two choices: prison or Teen Challenge. “I didn’t want to go to prison, and they said if I stayed in Teen Challenge a minimum of four months the charges would be dismissed,” Tom recalled. “I looked like walking death, but I couldn’t stop using. I had maybe six months to live, so I went to Teen Challenge thinking I’d stay four months.” He had no idea that God had other plans.
The first week Tom was at Teen Challenge he accepted Jesus as his Savior. The next week he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. “I knew what the truth was. I knew when the four months were up that I wasn’t ready to go back to the streets.” Tom didn’t leave Teen Challenge for eleven years. After graduating , he joined the staff and eventually became Director of Teen Challenge in Kern County…the first Southern California graduate to be appointed a Center Director.
“God absolutely set me free. Teen Challenge is where my life in Jesus began.” And that life has seen Tom travel to more than 60 countries to share his story. He planted churches and established mission projects in foreign countries. Tom currently serves as the Lead Pastor of a multi-campus church in the Central Valley, has written several books and was involved in radio ministry for 25 years.
Now over 70, Tom has no plans for retirement. “I’ve lived a rich life, and it all started at Teen Challenge. Little did I know that God would allow me to do what I’ve seen and done.”
For 55 years, Teen Challenge has been involved in local communities, reaching out to men and women like Tom who desperately need help.
- Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
- Watch the video with Tom’s amazing story of life transformation at: teenchallenge.org/Tom
- Learn more about Teen Challenge: https://www.teenchallengeusa.com/about/faqs
- SONG: THESE INWARD TRIALS – Words by John Newton, 1779; music by Kathleen
[This life is temporary. This life is short. When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever. Where will the “real you” live? Will you live for all eternity separated from God? Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven? Learn more so you can make your most important decision: http://www.godlife.com/gospel/ and http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity
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