In this message we hear Derek Hapgood's incredible story of how his life has been totally transformed by Jesus. Here is a shortened written version of his story:
I was born in London in 1950. We lived in the slums and my family were poor. In my teenage years I associated with my cousins. We were involved in minor criminal activities and I decided to join the Royal Navy to get out of the situation I was in. I spent 10 years in the navy, getting a profession in aircraft engineering and being tutored in alcoholic drinking.
In February 2000 I was celebrating my second marriage. At this time I was a very aggressive person. I was an atheist and didn't believe in God. I was a racist and believed in the Nazi way of doing things. My hero was Adolf Hitler. When I spoke swear words were very prevalent. I was an alcoholic consuming over £1500 worth of alcohol a month. One of my friends at that time was an assassin; if you paid him money, he would kill someone for you. I was planning revenge on some people and I was contemplating using his services. I was not a nice person as you can see.
My wife's aunt and uncle were staying at our house at this time. He was a pastor. I never understood why Jesus came so I asked him to explain. He told me that the earth was not the perfect earth God created and he sent Jesus to preach repentance of sins. All those who repented and turned from sin would spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus. This had no effect on me. Through Sue's uncle we got to know 2 pastor's in Bournemouth. We used to visit them and they kept repeating the same message of repentance. On one visit during their talk I felt an ache in my stomach and knew I wanted to repent and start a new life following Jesus. Sue and I both confessed our sins and repented and started our relationship with Jesus on that day.
Almost immediately, by the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus put in me, my swearing and aggression stopped, I now loved all races. My whole being just had a sense of love in it. I did nothing. It is what Jesus did on the cross. I no longer wanted revenge on the people who had wronged me, I had forgiven them. I had an issue with my back and at times was in serious pain. One day I asked Jesus to heal my back. I felt a strange sensation in my right leg and foot and when the sensation ceased so did the pain in my back. I was still drinking heavily and one night Jesus convicted my spirit that I needed to stop. I spoke to Him and said He will have to heal me as I can't stop drinking on my own. When I awoke in the morning I had no recollection of what drink tasted like and I had no desire to drink alcohol. Jesus had healed me and to Him the glory. I have had no urge for alcoholic drink in 15 years. It was the power of Jesus. I was a slave of sin and now I have been born again into a son of God by God's grace and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.