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Woman with Bible

MY TESTIMONY OF BEING BORN AGAIN

FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT

The Testimony of Jay Peters

Edited by Armand J. Azamar

  “We have a goldmine!”

It was just another day in Lockport, a warm day, of my eighth

grade summer. My friend Jared and I went out to his parent’s farm.

He had called earlier on the phone, saying there were some plants

growing at the horse farm that looked like marijuana.

 I said; let’s take a look at it, because I knew what

marijuana looked like from school.

 As we walked around, we noticed the plants behind the barn.

There stood the marijuana, growing in the manure pile.

Over fifty plants, fifteen feet tall, and a couple inches

thick---literally, garbage bags of marijuana we then hid in an

old refrigerator in the field. The stalks grew so thick; I needed

a machete to cut them.

 I pretty much figured it was marijuana so I decided to burn

it because I knew what it smelled like and after I burned it,

I knew for sure.

I grabbed one of the stalks and said to Jared, “We can sell

this! We have a goldmine”

 I was fourteen at the time. That bundle of plants behind

the barn started my drug selling in high school. My

start in the drug scene was because of the love of money. Like the Bible says, you cannot love God and money. If you are not

loving God, then you love money.

I knew others who smoked pot. The people I hung around with

were all into drugs. Who you hang around with is who you become,

and the Scriptures talk about how bad company corrupts good

morals.

 I eventually started selling drugs everyday in high school.

Amazingly, I never got caught. You’d think I would have at least

been called down once to the principal’s office, or at least been

questioned.

 I even got high between classes. I guess I didn’t care

because people got busted all the time and I really didn’t care

about myself.

It was an endless cycle of wanting to get high. Cocaine,

acid and drinking all became a way of life before, during and

after school. By the age of sixteen, I became very depressed.

I had a desire but I didn’t know what that desire was.

 I remember teasing this one Christian ironically named Joe

Pagan. He was the only believer I knew, a very conservative

Baptist. I just thought he was nuts. I joked that Joe Pagan would

read his Bible on Friday nights while my friends and I partied.

I argued with Joe over the use of pot and alcohol. My

argument was that God put these things on the earth, for us to

have fun. Life was about us enjoying it. God gave us all these things, so we should use them appropriately.

My saying was, “party till you die”. Back then, I wrote that

on all my notebooks at school. I was pretty stupid, being young

and being in the darkness of my sin. I eventually got to the point where I wanted to quit doing

drugs. I felt so burnt out and empty. I remember thinking there’s

got to be more to life.

I tried to quit smoking pot. I tried to quit drinking. They

say it’s not physically addictive. Whatever kind of addiction

it was, I knew I couldn’t stop it. I would quit for days at a

time, but then I would think about it all the time. I was

obsessed. When I wasn’t getting high during high school, I was

thinking about it. It was on my mind all the time. I didn’t care

much about girls or friends. Getting high was all I existed for.

 One night my best friend John called. It was around 10

o’clock, and my parents were out. I had just finished smoking

some weed, and I was relaxing in the kitchen. I felt depressed

and empty just as I had for sometime.

“Hey, Jay, “John said over the phone. “I just wanted to tell

you, I gave my heart to Jesus.”

“What?” I said.

It sounded so foreign to me.

To me Jesus had no meaning. John then explained to me that

he had thoughts of wanting to kill himself, so he went to see

his pastor, and his pastor told him about the Christian Youth

Center. John went to the Youth Center that night and met another

addict.

 The former addict told John he needed to accept Christ.

John then explained to me that he had done that and he would never

do drugs again, and he would go to church. I thought he was nuts.

I didn’t really know what was going on, or what he was

saying. But, I knew what he said was true, even though I didn’t

know anything about God or the Bible.

I’ll never forget the saying he told me that night, “I asked

Jesus how much he loved me, and he stretched out his arms and

he died for me.” When John told me that, it just hit me.

A few days later, I walked thru the door of the Christian

youth center, everyone wanted to shake my hand and hug me. They were smiling and friendly. I thought they were weird or gay.

 They had games and activities. However, whenever I went,

Harv would share and the message would strike me. The conviction

felt like a knife in the heart. Harv always spoke about my sin.

It was almost like someone was whispering in his ear telling him

what I did. Certain things he said were just too peculiar. Then

I realized that it had to be God.

After two weeks of going to the Youth Center, John asked

me if I wanted to accept Christ, I said yes. I had messed up my

life enough. I needed to give God a try.

 I prayed on the side of a hill. I didn’t feel angels or

lightning. I really didn’t feel anything. I just prayed a prayer

of repentance and salvation.

 But I noticed a day later when I would curse, it didn’t feel

right. Another weird thing was just reading my Bible. When I read

it in the past, it didn’t mean anything. Once I got saved, it

made so much sense.

 My uncle Bob gave me a Bible three years prior for Christmas.

I just threw in under my bed. I thought it was a joke. What was

I going to do with that?

 One night after I got saved, I was lying in my bed thinking

I needed a Bible now. Where’s that Bible my uncle gave me, I

thought.

 I literally reached under my bed, and it was right there.

I started reading the Scripture; I realized even more how my life

was a contradiction. I thought I was a pretty good guy, I never

killed anyone, but my whole life was the opposite of what God

required of my life. I decided then I was not going to blaspheme

God as I had for these past sixteen years.

 I got saved right before my seventeenth birthday, early in

June. When I came back for my Senior year, I really surprised

people who wanted to buy drugs off me. Before it was always the

“Party Till You Die attitude”.

 When I came back, I wore this little button that said,

“Jesus First”. I’ll never forget the first day at school.

 This guy came up to me asking, “Jay, Jay, you got some pot?”

I said, “No, man I don’t do that anymore.”

 The guy just looked at me and said, “Yeah right.” He sort

of laughed because everyone knew me as a stoner.

 Then I said, “No, I am serious man, Jesus first.” And I

showed him the pin. Looking at it, the guy continued to laugh

in disbelief.

 “No, dude. I’m serious,” I replied. “I’m saved. I quit doing

that, I threw it all away, and I am living for Jesus.”

I remember our high school had two campuses. Lockport East

and Lockport West, with around 4000 kids total. In three days,

almost everyone knew I was this Christian dude. People couldn’t believe it.

 The drug situation showed how weak I was within myself. It took two weeks for me to get off drugs completely.Shortly after I got saved, John shared the Gospel with his

younger brother Jack and another friend Jeff.

 That made us the Four J’s: Jay, John, Jack and Jeff. We’d

go to different churches, and share our testimony. Back then,

church people were so amazed. Us Four J’s evangelized all along

the streets of Joliet in those days, with no outside incentive.


When I started, things were so new. I remember thinking,

what is God going to do today?

God surprised me one night.

It was around 10 pm. My friends and I, Joel and Tom, were out riding dirt bikes. We noticed teenagers having a party with

smoking, music and drinking.


My friend and I prayed, and felt God wanted us to address

the whole crowd, not just one on one. Jerry, Tom’s older brother

and the ringleader of the party, gathered some kids around the

fire, telling them we wanted to talk to them.

 I was nominated to speak. Desiring to get attention, I

looked around for some height.

I found a ladder, the perfect makeshift podium.

“Get off that ladder!” one kid shouted.

“Shut up and let him speak!” another said.


All I remember sharing that night was my testimony and the simple Gospel. Kids dropped to their knees, broken by their sin.

Kids who had cursed every other second, in five minutes repented.

Beer got dumped out. One girl admitted to having an

appointment for an abortion. Another kid yelled out, “I want to

speak to the prophet!” We didn’t plan for this; I had only been

a Christian for a year when this happened. That night proved to me that the Gospel is sufficient. Nothing more, nothing less.

Since my younger years I never looked back.

     I attended Moody Bible Institute, and graduated from

Christian Life College. I think the most essential thing about

a Christian college is not so much everything you learn, which is good, but they give you the tools, like how to study the Bible,commentaries, discernment and interpretation. Those tools help a Christian to go out into the world. It was a great time. The whole time in Bible College, you can really seek after God and

His will.


Now, I am married to a wonderful wife and three awesome

children. I spent the past 25 years as a youth minister When I think of leadership, I think of men that are willing to contend for the faith. Not those wimpy, and say, lets love everybody and everyone is okay.

In the Scriptures and Christian history, you see men of faith,

like Athanasius, Luther, and John Wesley that were willing to stand for the truth. Even though it cost some their lives, we must have the attitude of Paul “to live is Christ, and to die

is gain” Phi 1:21.


I established Alleyway Studios and Alleyway Coffeehouse.

The Coffeehouse started as a neighborhood outreach. We put the

stage drama together to get kids attention and preach the Gospel.

Then we started video because we thought if we could shoot

the drama on camera, maybe we can enhance it more with music and

effects.


That started Alleyway Studios, a ministry involving media and short films. I never thought I would be doing film or video.

God just developed that in me. The whole motive and the birth

of Alleyway Studios was to reach people and spread the Gospel

in film format.


So today, I continue to work with the youth. And teaching the Bible and Film production at Kankakee Trinity Academy.

Publicly proclaiming the Gospel is so necessary. So many Christians are influenced by our tolerant culture. Scripture that deals with Hell, judgment, repentance and truth are placed

aside. The kind of love that we need now is the love that warns people they are going to Hell. Jesus said repent or you will all

perish.


All I can say is that the grace of God kept me. As I look

at my friends who have fallen away, I would have thought I would have been the first one to go. I can not attribute anything to myself. I have leaned upon God.


What are you living for? Where are you going to be when you

die? Are you living for the things seen or unseen? That which is seen is temporary, that which is invisible is eternal. Let’s

look heavenward. Let’s keep our eyes on the treasure in heaven,

and be willing to die for what we believe.

My Testimony: About Me
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