Bob Williamson

BobWilliamsonPastor: You're about to hear a story this morning that’s one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard. I only heard it in a very brief fashion in Faith Hall, and I'm standing in the back of the room. I think to myself, "You know what? I need to get to know this guy." God has changed his life. I began to get to know Bob and Teresa Williamson. They have become friends of mine and Rachel's. We've been in their home, and they’ve been so gracious to us.

Bob Williamson was a meth addict on the streets of New Orleans, homeless, turned to voodoo, became a warlock, tried everything and then one day read the Scriptures in Atlanta, Georgia on Lucky Street, everything changed and he became a follower of Christ and God poured out his blessing on this man. He went from homelessness to starting and selling thirteen companies. The last one he sold for $75,000,000. The man has been blessed, but this is what he'll tell you, "It's not in the riches. It's not in the rags. It's in knowing Jesus that changes your life."

   Bob now resides outside of Tallahassee in Greenville, Florida. He owns a place called Honey Lake Resort. It has been his desire to buy this property and developed it so that there could be ministry that happens and he has started a worldwide ministry out of that place. He speaks in prisons. He's on the board of Bill Glass prison ministry. He was at Atlanta this weekend, spoke seven times, and shared his testimony seven times. He'll tell you how many came to Christ. It was unbelievable. He's been on death row. In fact he asked to go to talk to those men on death row because Bob is a living testimony of the grace of God. So if there's anyone in this room this morning that thinks "I'm beyond hope". You picked a great day to come. If you know anyone that you think is beyond hope. You picked a great day to come hear a story and by the way his story would be very different. 

   My name is Bob Williamson and I would like to tell you my story. Hey, good morning. How are you guys? I like to see a show of hands. Is anybody in here lost hope? No? Maybe one or two. Great job pastor. Eighty-two percent of the people in the world have lost hope in something, according to surveys. When you think about it, people have lost hope on their marriage, their children, a sibling, their parents, and a friend at work, finding a job or, those guys in Washington D.C.

   It's easy to lose hope in the world. There was a time when I lost all hope and I wanted to commit suicide. My grandfather committed suicide, two of my uncles, my only sibling, and my brother Jim lost all hope. My childhood was much different than most of the people in this auditorium. It was very dark; because my father was very abusive and didn't like me. and he took it out on me. If you chained up a dog, and beat him and screamed at him every day, you'll do one or two things; you'll either break him or you'll create a monster.

   I became a monster and they noticed something was wrong with me when I was five years old. They heard a commotion in the backyard and went out there. I just nail my pet rabbit by his neck  on the side of the shed. I was standing there out there  and laughing while watching him die. I fought all the time as long as I can remember. I was in and out of jail, and  started drinking at twelve. I was an alcoholic by about fourteen. I started using drugs at seventeen. I was married and divorced with a child at nineteen. When I started fighting, I started with fists and then put on brass knuckles. I used a baseball bat, used a 357 magnum pistol and finally a shotgun. That was my progression.

   I went into the service; but it didn’t straighten me out. In six months, I ended up in prison in Buffalo, New York, awaiting a court-martial. As part of my legal proceedings, they called me over to the hospital and had five psychiatrists seated in a semi-circle, with me sitting in the center. They interviewed me for several hours. The next day, the head psychiatrist calls me over and he asked me if I knew what a sociopath was.

   I said, "No, I don't think so."

   He said, "It means you don't have a conscience and you’re incapable of love and if I had to guess; I'd say you’re well on your way to becoming a serial killer."

    I said, "Well, what do I do about it?"

   He said, "There's nothing you can do. If we could have gotten you out of your situation when you were a child, maybe." He said "It's too late. It's incurable and I'm recommending that we discharge you from the service."

   So they did, so when I got out, I became an intravenous drug user and a meth addict. It's the most dangerous drug addiction there is. I used heroin to come down after I'd been up for several days and became very violent. I committed all kinds of crimes, including armed robbery, and violent crimes. I also became a drug dealer and became known on the streets as somebody if you messed with he'd kill you.  I ended up in Parish prison. They didn't actually catch me doing anything, They just wanted me off the street so they trumped up a charge. It didn't hold up, I got out of prison on a technicality.

   When I got out, I hadn't learned anything in prison except how to be a better criminal. I became more violent and used more drugs. I OD'd twice; with too much meth, my liver quit functioning. I very nearly died and didn't learn anything from that. I started back as soon as I was out of the hospital. Then I found out the police were really looking for me. Apparently my reputation had gotten to someone’s attention and they wanted me off the street this time. When somebody tipped me off, I hitch-hiked out of town and went to Atlanta, Georgia.

   I ended up on a street named Lucky Street. I sold a pint of blood for seven dollars and got a job, cleaning bricks with a hatchet for $15 a day. When I got enough money; I went out to a bar, got drunk and beat a man half to death. I broke a beer bottle over his head, stabbed him in the face with it until it broke in my hand, stomped on his head and he quit moving. I got into a car and I had a head on collision and nearly died. I broke my right femur and my leg was back behind me. I broke the steering wheel off with my chest. My head went through the windshield. I knocked the door on the left off with my shoulder. I had seven blood transfusions, many different operations, was in a coma and in very critical condition for a long time.

   When I came to, I thought I had died and gone to Hell. It was quite frightening; but I didn't really think too much about it. I've been an insomniac all my life, that means I don't sleep much. I only sleep two or three hours a night, sometimes four, last night I only slept two. So to make up for all that time, I would read books. I've read thousands of books and befriended a nurse in Grady Memorial Hospital, a charity hospital in Atlanta and she would bring me books. The librarian started sending me a list of all the bestselling books in the world. You know what the bestselling book in the world is? It’s the Bible.

   I wasn't a Christian and I didn't Christians. Everybody looked down on me all my life. My parents told me I was stupid, my teachers did, the police, and the military. I had gone to nineteen different schools in nineteen different states. I didn't have any coaches or any mentors. I was by myself all my life. No one had ever told me they loved me. My only experience with Christian people, who looked down on me, and crossed the street to get away from me. Sometimes, I would cross the street and stand in front of them.

   I went down to New Orleans and was at a park called Jackson Square. A lot of street people hung out there and there was a preacher standing on a crate when I walked by. I had long hair down below my shoulders, and wore dark glasses. I was minding my own business and not bothering anybody, just walking alone. When I walked by that guy, he angrily looked at me and he said, "If you don't change your ways you're going to hell."

   I looked at him and I walked over there and I knocked him off that box.

   I pulled out a 357 magnum and said, "If you ever say that to me again I'll kill you."  

   That man was lucky to be alive, if he's still alive. Today he would have said, "Hey, you look like you have something on your mind. What do you say we get a cup of coffee here? Let me buy you some red beans and rice and let's talk about it or can I pray with you?"

   Well, he didn't do that. He just condemned me and judged me from my appearance and that's what I thought of Christian. I decided to read the Bible to disprove it. Now, I wasn't an atheist and I wasn't an agnostic. I knew something was going on, because I had practiced witchcraft in New Orleans, black magic, Satanist and I'd seen it work many times. So I knew something was going on in another world; but I thought if there was a God, he was mean and everything bad that had happened to me I blamed on Him and not on me.

   So I started reading the Bible, I started in the Old Testament and it was too boring. I almost abandoned the project, but the nurse had given me her personal Bible. Her name was Lydia and she had underlined all kinds of verses in the New Testament, so I started reading the New Testament. The Bible was nothing like I thought it was. Jesus Christ loved everybody. He was compassionate and kind. He would go eat with somebody that didn't meet the high standards of the society. All of the religious people, the Pharisees, "Why are you going to eat with all those sinners and drink?" I really liked that, I really like Him, because nobody had ever told me that they loved me and here He was all about love.

   Then I came to a book Philippians 4:13 that said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Well, that infuriated me. I slammed that Bible shut and I threw it on the floor and I rang for my nurse.

    I said, "Get it out of here, it's nothing but lie."

    She said, "What are you talking about?"

    I said, it says right here I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me. I'm a meth addict. I've worn out the vein in both my arms. I'm shooting up in my legs. I've done horrible things to people. I've never done anything good in my life. I've been an alcoholic since I was a little kid. The only way I'll change is to be buried in a pine box in a pauper’s grave like so many people I've seen.

   She was a great big African American lady and she stood there and put her hands on her hips and looked at me. She said, "Jesus is God. He can do anything he wants. He made the blind see. He cured the leper. He walked on water. He fed 5,000 people and he raised Lazarus from the dead and if he can do all that he can change your sorry tail." 

   I laid back down and I thought about it and I said, "Well, God created everything in all the world. He could change me, but why would he want to? I'm a dope fiend. I'm a criminal. I'm scum." And then I remembered Him being crucified where he was beaten beyond recognition. You couldn't even recognize Him. He was so bloody. He had been whipped 39 times on his back. He had been forced to carry a cross all the way across town and then they nailed Him on it. They took all His clothes off in front of His mother and all these people and laid him out there where his bones pulled apart.

   You know what he said to those people that were spitting on His face, and cussing Him and making fun of Him? He said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

   Had that been me, I would have said, "Kill them all slowly. Kill their kids first and make them watch". But I didn't think like God, and I couldn't think. I didn't understand grace. I didn't understand love but I thought about the two guys being crucified with Him. One of them was making fun of Him and taunting him saying, "Look if your God, get yourself down and while you’re at it get us down." The other one said, "Shut up and leave Him alone. He hasn't done anything. He's a good man. He's innocent. He's good. We're criminals. We deserved to be executed."

   He looked at Jesus and He said, "Father remember me when you enter your kingdom." Jesus said to him, "This day you'll be in paradise with me." This day, you'll be in paradise with me and you know what that told me? Here's this criminal. It wasn't about what he had done. It's what Jesus had done on the cross. Those sins you can't be good enough to get into heaven. It took Christ to come and pay our punishment and die. Well, I wanted some of that so I asked God to come into my life and he changed me. Where before I could have shot you right between the eyes and never thought twice about it. I could have been eating an apple, not anymore. Those military shrinks were wrong. It's not incurable. You should never give up hope on anybody or yourself.

   Jesus Christ is Lord. He can do anything He wants including changing anybody in this auditorium or anybody you know, He can do it. When I got out of the hospital, I got off drugs. I didn't go to rehab. I didn't go to AA. I didn't go to NA. I read my Bible. I've read it hundreds of times, every translation. I met a girl that was nothing like me, I've been married to her for forty-three years and have three sons. They've all graduated from college. I never did graduate from college. I have seven grandkids who love me. I didn't ever have a friend in my life until I was thirty years old. Now, I have them all over the world. I got a job and it was the worse job in a paint plant. My wife made more money than me. It was embarrassing and humiliating,  but I got promoted eight times all the way into plant management. Why? Because I was the first one there, the last one to leave. I had a great attitude. I decided I start my own business. Everybody said, "You can't start a business." I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

   So I borrowed a thousand dollars on my credit card and started a business. Six months later, it's a multimillion dollar business. I started thirteen more companies. They were all a multimillion dollar business. It was the last one that sold for $75,000,000.  I've slept on the side of the road in the freezing cold. I've eaten in missions. I've hopped, raised and hitchhiked all over the United States and Canada and I've flown on private jets and I've had all the money that anybody could want and all I could tell you is money is not what it's cracked up to be.

    Everyone in here would say, "Well, I'd like to try it anyway."

   No, you wouldn't. Whitney Houston had it all. She was beautiful, she could sing, she had Grammy's, she had Academy Awards, she had fans, she had millions of records. They found her in a bathtub, drowned full of coke and alone.

   One of my friends used to live next door to her. She and Bobby Brown were out there fighting.  The police  were called on them every other night and she was miserable. She was raised in a choir, singing in a choir. But look where she ended up. Money, money, money. When you're 79.9 years, an average person, that's all they live for. Then what? God didn't create us to die. He created us to live forever. You're either going to spend that time in Heaven or you're going to spend that time in Hell. If you knew today you were going to die at five o' clock, what would you do go home and pack? What are you going to take with you? This whole world chases money and prestige. Dictionary defines success, talking about wealth and power and fame, some great achievement. Baloney, you take nothing there. Nothing with you, except what you've done in your life, the good and the bad. If you're an empire builder, build your empire in Heaven where there is no rust. There's no moss. There's nothing that can ever take it away from you. When you die and you face God, you're going to be alone and you either have the blood of Christ covering your sins or you don't. If you don't, you’re going to Hell. If you don't believe that? Read your Bible. You think, "How can a good God send all those people to Hell?" Have you ever read about the flood, one family, one righteous family. You can't be good enough to get into Heaven. If you could, Christ wouldn't have had to come do what He did.

   I went into a prison this weekend; we actually went into eight of them. We had twenty-three hundred and thirty-three decisions for Christ. Thank you, Lord. One thousand first time decisions. I spoke seven times and gave my testimony like I'm giving here. Every pod I went in to, we went in to a yard and every man there came forward, every man and every woman. We went into one women's unit. Those people knew they had sinned. It's much harder in a church because people don't think they've sinned. I've got to convince you that you're a sinner, I know I don't. God's Word will convict you, because I'm going to read something to you.

   The same thing I read to those prisoners. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23. That means that every person in this auditorium is a sinner. You have sinned and you have fallen short. Now what do you get for those sins? "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is a true life in Christ Jesus, our Lord," right? Isn't that wonderful? "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

   I live on a hill overlooking a lake and every morning a mist comes up. By about ten o' clock, it's gone. That's how our life is. It's here and it's gone, but eternity is forever. Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," that means you cannot be good enough to get into Heaven. You have to have the blood of Christ. "The only way you can get into Heaven is through Me," that's what Jesus said, not me. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteous. Just like that guy on the cross, he says, "We're criminals. We deserve what we're getting. I'm a criminal. I deserve to be in Hell," But for the grace of God, I'd be dead on death row or in an insane asylum. But God spared me. Why? I don't know. I wouldn't have done it. But, He did and He spared you. He loves you. He loves you. That's what a lot of Christian people don't understand, the compassion of God. He's about mercy. He doesn't want to condemn anybody. He doesn't want to judge anybody. He said that. He said, "I didn't come to condemn. I didn't come to judge. I came to save the world."

   Now, make no mistake about it, He will judge but we're living in a period of grace. I don't know how long it'll last, but you need to take advantage of it while you can because we're getting near the end, in my opinion. He says, "Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I'll come in." It's just like the two people on the cross. We have a free will. He didn't want robots. You have to choose. He's not going to force you. You can reject Him or you can confess your sins and ask Him to save you. "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." Romans 10:9.

   Imagine that, God will save you. Somebody like me, a sinner, somebody like you, a sinner, you have sinned and the wages of that sin is death but don't give up hope because we have Jesus Christ. Could you please bow your heads? Every eye closed please. “Father God in Heaven, thank You for Your Son, Jesus. I'm a sinner. I cannot save myself, I need a Savior. Jesus, I believe You died for my sins. I believe You rose from the grave. Please forgive me of my sins. I turn to You, Jesus. Come into my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and make me the person You want me to be. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.”

    Now, look right up here. If you prayed that prayer with me, you're going to live with Jesus Christ in Heaven forever. This little 79 years here, you'll get through it but you're going to live forever where there'll be no tears and there's going to be no sadness and no sorrow, just constant joy. I wanted some of that. I was miserable. When I walked outside, I was afraid somebody was going to shoot me, or I was going to get some bad dope, or the police were going to pick me up. I don't think about that anymore. I don't wait for them to kick my door down, and I've got to shoot it out and go down the hill with bullets like Bonnie and Clyde. My wife comes in, one of my grandkids, I'm at peace. I know joy and love. It only comes from Jesus Christ. That's what I didn't understand.

   I talked to a prisoner and he said, "Oh, it's too hard. I've got to give up all this stuff, all the women, all the drugs."

   I said, "It's too hard to be in prison? No, it's hard not to be a Christian, to know peace and joy in your life and you can have it. It's free. God loves you. He wants to take away that sorrow." I told those guys, "Try it for ninety days, if you don't like it, He'll refund your misery,"

   I'm going to ask Pastor David to come up and lead you in what we call invitation. I mean, God called everybody publicly. I don't like standing up here talking about all the bad things I did in life. It's humiliating. I had dinner with the governor the other day; he came over to my house. Can you imagine that? Somebody like me. And I sat there and I witnessed to him just like I'm witnessing to you. I consider it an honor and a privilege to think about what Jesus Christ did for me and the least I can do is stand up for Him. I'm happy to do it. I hope you are too. It's tough to walk down here and publicly profess, "Lord, I confess my sins. I'm going to turn from that life and I'm going to stick with You from now on." This is a great church and you can find your church home right here today and you should. And you just remember one thing, no matter what anybody says about you, Jesus Christ loves you. He loves you so much, we can't even comprehend it. The Bible tells us that, more than we can imagine and we ought to emulate Him and if you see somebody that's down and out, help them out. Ask them if you can pray with them. Don't put another nail in their religious coffin. Don't be some hypocrite. Think about Anthony Weiner, has everyone heard of him? I saw a news clip of him the other day and everybody was screaming at him, "You're a pervert. You're a scumbag." You know what he said? "Who are you to judge me?" He's right. I don't condone his sin. I hate sin. But we're to love the sinner. I didn't hear anybody screaming out, "Anthony, I'm praying for you." But that's what we need to do as Christians and once you accept Christ for your Savior, that's the very next thing. All four gospels, the last thing Jesus did before He ascended into Heaven was say, "Go and be a witness for me throughout the land, no matter how humiliating your story is or how uncomfortable it may be in this politically correct world." Go out and stand up for Jesus Christ, okay? 

Bob Williamson's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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