From Gang to Gospel
25 years ago I sat holding my newborn in the back of my church in Greensboro listening, each night, to a former hell's angel preach the gospel. Mr. Barry Mayson traded his bike for a Bible! His visit had made the news and there were people who were afraid for his life. He had been number one on the hit list for the hell's angels. Who would think a former hell's angel could make a huge impact on my life, teaching me about the power of a praying parent?
Mr. Mayson grew up in a Christian home and at age of nine, Barry made a profession of faith in Jesus, and was baptized in water. He says he knew he had no relationship with Jesus at that time. His step father who he loved was dying of malaria and he begged God to perform a miracle and let him live. At 16 his stepfather died and he started rebelling. His mother got him into a small Baptist college where he was shortly kicked out. He went into the army for a while. At 26 he settled in Charleston, SC and worked in nightclubs and gambled. He hooked up with a motorcycle club that eventually connected him with the hell's angels. His connection to the Hell's Angels took him to California for the funeral of a fellow gang members who had been shot in the back three times. That's when he received the ultimate order - to kill. It was to be his final test.
On the surface Barry was ‘tough’ but inside he said there was a raging war taking place. He knew this was from his praying mother. Ephesians 6: 12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Barry had not been willing to carry out their orders and by their unwritten code he must die!
He went into a restaurant for temporary safety. He knew it was surrounded by those waiting on Barry to come out. He called home 4,000 miles away and talked to his wife and mother, and told them he was about to be killed. "How did he survive the restaurant encounter after refusing to kill for the Hell's Angels? "It was only because I had a praying mother," he said. From inside the restaurant, he spent three hours on the phone as his mother led him to make a Christian profession of faith, meaning he was to abandon his old lifestyle and turn his life over to Christian service. He thought he had done too many bad things that Jesus would have nothing to do with him. He felt fear and loneliness. His mother told him she had never stopped praying for him...every day. She told him of God's ability to protect and help him out of his situation if he would accept Jesus into his life. Tears began streaming down his face and in that restaurant he prayed the sinners prayer. Romans 10: 9, "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Barry said "new hope new joy, and healing power swept over me as Jesus gloriously made me a new creature. I literally felt the arms of Jesus being wrapped around me and holding me. I knew that then I, Barry Mayson, and my wife, Fran were born in the kingdom of Gods." II Corinthians 5: 17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" Barry said God was faithful and true and delivered him from the hand of the enemy that day.
Romans 3: 23, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,..." Notice it says, "ALL". Not just thieves, drug addicts, the unchurched, hell's angels, adulterers, etc. Also the gossipers, those having affairs of the heart, cheating on test, cheating hours at work, greed, hate, lust. All sin is wrong and separates us from God. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus pointed out that lusting is as bad as committing adultery, and hating is as bad as murdering.
The worst sin people can commit, the unforgivable sin, is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is the outright rejection of Christ. And as Hebrews 2:3 says, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?"
Like Barry, when we figure out that we are broken, then, God can start working His power in us. 2 Corinthians 4: 7, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." Let's look in our own hearts. What changes do we need to make? Bring those sins to Jesus and allow His forgiveness to remove the sin in our lives. And then watch what He can do with our lives!