While high on LSD one night in 1972, Jeff wrote a song titled “Born Again.” The refrain went like this:
I lay in my mother’s lap,
Not knowing one wit of all that should hap’
To a world of struggle and pain
And tonight I am born again,
<p style="\"margin-left:" 1.7in;\"="">Jesus, for you.
He probably sang this song to over one hundred people at the time, but he was unaware of its true meaning. Jeff knew the song was about God, but he overlooked the significance of one word—Jesus.
It all began with Jeff’s family moving to the San Francisco Bay area in the 1960s when he was thirteen. At a very impressionable time in his life, Jeff found himself immersed in the burgeoning hippie culture. Shortly thereafter, he began using drugs. It started with marijuana, but it did not end there. He moved on to harder drugs such as LSD and cocaine. By the 1970s, Jeff found himself dabbling in the new age culture where he was introduced to occult practices. His search for spiritual meaning led him to tarot card readings and reliance on a personal spirit guide. He continued these practices into adulthood, even after getting married.
Jeff’s wife gave her life to Jesus in 1984, and she began attending church. But he wasn’t interested. This created a big struggle in their marriage. The drugs and occult practices were the only means he knew of finding God. In a hallucinogenic state, the pains of hard times were dulled. He was managing just fine, he thought.
Several months went by, and Jeff decided to start going to church—more out of intellectual curiosity than anything. He went armed with a notebook and pen to take notes that he hoped to later refute. You see, Jeff planned on being able to talk his wife out of her faith. His diligent note taking resulted in endless questions. Jeff became interested in the Bible, and thought, Hmm, it really says this in the Bible? Clouds of skepticism drifted through his mind.
Much to his amazement, Jeff found himself meeting with a pastor at a local restaurant on Tuesday mornings! Pastor Warren gave Jeff a copy of the book of John as a starting point—his first introduction to the Bible. Each week they discussed passages from John and addressed Jeff’s pressing questions. Pastor Warren was very gracious, and Jeff was continually confrontational. Nights found him reading and rereading the book of John. Nevertheless, Jeff failed to grasp what God was trying to tell him. He believed in Jesus, but he didn’t believe what He said. Jeff understood the idea of being saved from sin, but he didn’t think a man like himself could go to Jesus and ask for forgiveness.
One Tuesday morning, Jeff handed the book back to Pastor Warren saying, “Thank you, but God won’t do this for a guy like me.” He left the restaurant and headed down the road to check on a jobsite (Jeff is a general contractor). It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day without a cloud in the sky. Jeff had only driven a short way up the road when, suddenly, he saw something very unusual on the side of the road: an elevated image of light! He wondered, What could this be? He pulled over. Again and again, he glanced at the image of light and then looked away. Surely the light will be gone when I look back! Well, it wasn’t; the light remained. The minutes crept by so slowly that it seemed like hours had passed. Jeff knew in his heart that God was revealing Himself. It felt like someone’s hand had reached out and pulled his chest to the steering wheel. God’s warm grace covered Jeff, melting his cold, dark heart. God really did love him, despite his disgraceful behavior! The tears poured out. He wept and wept until no tears were left.
For the rest of the day, he couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened along the roadside that morning. Jeff found himself singing songs of praise that he had never sung before. From that day on, the drugs and the occult were gone. Period. It was as if God had reached inside of him and pulled out all of the bad stuff!
Jeff continued going to church, only now he went for the right reason—to worship and praise God. He developed a thirst for reading and studying the Bible. Like many others with unbelief who sought to disprove the teachings of the Bible, Jeff became a strong advocate of God’s Word. God has given Jeff a heart for mission work, and he has traveled to several different countries and led others to the same hope and salvation that he found in Jesus. Each day, Jeff “gets up, suits up, and shows up,” allowing God free reign to do the rest.
This is a condensed version of Jeff’s story. Read his full story along with 39 other compelling true stories in Intersected. This book is available through your local bookseller or preferred on-line retailer. Visit www.KelliKossel.com for more information and to view the Table of Contents.