My testimony is probably similar to most in that we all serve a forgiving, loving, redeeming God who was willing to give Himself for us! For those that have fallen deep into sin, this grace means the promise of freedom. God loves us so much that He gave His life for us.
God brought me out of a drug addiction and watched over me while I served time in prison. I was a meth addict, drug manufacturer, and had given up my family, my career, my everything for the opportunity to do drugs. I desired to spend every waking hour making and doing drugs. As time went on, I was drifting farther and farther away from what I knew was right. Even still, I didn’t care—I was lost in my life of sin. I turned away from everything I believed in and had been taught.
After 12 years of drug use and being involved with some pretty nasty drug cartels, I was arrested in September of 2000. I was charged with eight felonies and placed in the Vanderburgh County Jail in Evansville, Indiana, facing 67 years in prison. I posted bond and got out, only to immediately dive right back into the life I had been living—doing drugs and making meth for the same people. Not long after, in December of 2000, I was arrested again—this time charged with four felonies. Now, getting out was not an option as I faced a $1,000,000 cash-only bond. I was crushed. My sin had taken me further than I wanted to go, was keeping me longer than I wanted to stay, and costing me way more that I had thought possible.
I was lost, broken, and without the support of my family.
The day after Christmas, I tried to call home to speak with my family, but no one would speak with me. I then began to look for a way to take my life, determined that I needed to end it all. Satan’s voice was so strong in the jail cell, and I could practically hear him telling me lies about my life: “You’ll never amount to anything. The best thing you can do is end your life, then it will all be over!” As I began to prepare to commit suicide, I started to remember things I’d learned in my childhood. Suddenly, I heard a voice like nothing I can explain—it was as if God’s presence was in the cell with me. The best way I can describe it is that a warmth had filled the room. I fell to my knees, knowing without asking that this was Jesus.
I heard God’s voice clearly say, “What about Me, Brad?” Those four words changed my life. That day, I made a forever commitment to do what God would have me do. I asked Jesus to forgive me, saying, “Jesus, this is my life, and I give it to you. If you can take this life and do anything with it, I give it to you completely. Please forgive me!” As soon as I spoke those words, any darkness that remained left immediately.
Over the next four years, I would have the privilege of hearing the audible voice of Jesus three more times.
Despite my multiple sentences of many years, I ended up serving just 41 months in prison. My relationship with my wife was reconciled, and we’ve been together now for 30 years. We have two wonderful daughters and two grandchildren. While God rescued me from a life of sin, my testimony is not only about what God brought me from—it’s about what God saved me to.
God called me into ministry. I finished my degree in May of 2011 and was ordained in the Church of the Nazarene. I served as a youth minister for seven years in the very neighborhoods where I used to sell drugs. Eventually, I was asked by the state of Indiana to help develop a drug program called RARE: Resisting Addiction with Recovery and Education. I then became a senior pastor in Owensville, Indiana, for four and a half years, after which I followed God’s call to the church where I am serving now.
God has done some amazing things at this church. He has allowed us to achieve the growth award from the Global Ministry Center. Our church has also seen, to date, 564 lives saved, 312 baptisms, and I have personally prayed with over 260 of those people to receive entire sanctification. I also felt led to open a recovery church that had its first service just a few months ago. On the opening Sunday, we had two people accept Christ into their lives, three people get baptized, and several since that service come to know Christ. When I accepted the call to my current church, I was unsure of God’s plan. Now, after being here for a year, I have no doubt that God has something special planned for this congregation.
It all started with those four words I heard in my jail cell: “What about Me, Brad?” It is humbling to think that Jesus would take the time to speak to someone like me!
We serve an awesome God. There is so much more to God’s story in my life than I could ever write God has continually worked in every part of my life—even when I was in prison, God had His hand on me! Maybe Jesus is asking you the same thing: “What about Me?”
Brad Delp is lead pastor of Bicknell Church of the Nazarene in Bicknell, Indiana, USA.
Please note: This article was originally published in 2021. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.