Just Another [Jesus Freak]

Ron Shaw’s life was on the fast road to … where? After a nasty divorce, he pretty much did nothing for 14 years except grow his hair and ride a Harley-Davidson. And most of the time, he didn’t know where he was going, why he was going, and what he would do when he got there. He was a lost soul riding to nowhere — drinking, taking drugs, and partying all along the way.

Nothing could slow him down, until one night, a drunk driver hit him while he was riding his bike. If that weren’t bad enough, as he lay there severely injured, the driver got out of the car and — rather than help Ron — robbed him!

“He left me for dead,” Ron explains. “I felt like I died twice that night.”

Ron survived, but for 18 months, he suffered a lot of physical and emotional pain while being rehabilitated at the famous Mayo Clinic. He also had to face losing his leg.

Eventually, Ron limped out of the clinic, which pretty much symbolized how he was limping through life. From a hard driving biker, he was now barely able to walk.

Ron did get married again. And divorced again too. A couple of more times, actually.

Then Ron married Brenda, and together they ran a toy store. His mother-in-law gave him a Bible, but he put it under the counter and left it there long enough to collect dust. After a couple of years, mostly out of boredom, he picked up the Bible and started looking at it. Amazingly, while skimming the pages — the first time since he got it — a lady walked into the store and, seeing him with the Bible, asked, “Are you enjoying that?”

“No,” Ron shot back. “Right now, I hate God.” He was, at that time, reading Genesis. She went on to suggest other parts to read and even talked a little about her church. But when she left, Ron muttered, “Just another Jesus freak,” and forgot about her.

But a couple days later, the same lady returned to the store and handed him a book. It was The Richest Caveman by Pastor Doug Batchelor.

“I hope,” she said very sincerely, “you can find some time to read it.”

He looked at the book, but threw it under the counter. Feeling angry, he said, “Get out of here, Jesus freak!” About a month later, Ron looked down and saw the book again. There were no customers around, so he picked it up and started to read. He did something he had never done before with another book — he read it cover to cover.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I seemed to be reading about myself. I could see myself in that book!” A few days later, the “Jesus freak” returned. When she asked if he had read the book, he said, “Yes I have, and I appreciate you dropping it off.”

She then mentioned that the author, Doug Batchelor, was actually coming to the Pioneer Memorial Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan, to give a seminar. "Would you like to come,” she asked, “and be my guest?”

Ron said he would think about it. But a seminar just wasn’t for him. He didn’t like the idea at all. It seemed strange, something that he would never do. Yet as much as he tried to put it out of his mind, he couldn’t. “Something was tugging at me,” he says, “telling me to go.”

Then much to his own shock and that of his wife’s, who didn’t even know he was reading the book, Ron decided to go. “She thought that I was out of my mind,” he recalls. Together they went to hear Doug speak — and Ron loved it! On the way home, he told his wife that he wanted to go back. His wife, stunned by what was happening, was supportive.

In fact, though she had never told him about her background, the church where Doug’s meeting were being held was the church she had been raised in but had left years ago! It all seemed so providential, yet she didn’t feel ready to tell Ron her secret.

At the second meeting, Ron again loved what he heard. He wanted to go back to the church to hear more. Finally, Brenda burst into tears and said, “Ron, there’s something I have to tell you. God has led you to my church. I was raised in this church and went to school here.”

They both saw the hand of the Lord working in their lives!

Ron and Brenda attended 24 of Doug’s 26 meetings. Though each had ongoing issues in their lives, the Lord kept working in them. And eight months later, Ron was baptized in the church. Not much later, his wife, who had been raised in that same church building, was re-baptized after decades of being away!

“Today,” says Ron, “we always watch Doug on TV. When I hear his voice, I am convinced that what he is saying is true — not just because he says it, but because he shows us from the Bible. His ministry has changed our lives. We are so grateful; we truly are.”

Over the years, his family and his friends from the past have marveled at what has happened to him. “Ron,” they say, “you are a changed man!”

“They have no idea,” Ron exclaims, “about how changed I really am!”

Ron also remembers a time at church when his pastor talked about forgiveness. Right then, he knew that there was something he had to do. “I had to forgive the man who hit me with his car, robbed me, and left me for dead. I forgave him — and I want so much to go to him, shake his hand, and say, ‘Not only do I forgive you, I am praying for you.’”

Today, both Ron and Brenda are church members. Even as struggles remain, problems come and go, and wounds need healing, both have a new life in Jesus.

“I’m sure glad,” Ron shares, “that a ‘Jesus freak’ stepped into our store and introduced us to Doug Batchelor, who first taught me about Jesus. I am so thankful to her, and for Doug’s ministry. And believe me, so is Brenda!”

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