John Hardimon Testimony

I grew up in the great state of Texas, so I’m glad to call myself a native Texan.

I was adopted, born in Fort Worth but grew up in Houston. Both of my parents smoked and drank, I never went to church. I think I went to church 5 or 6 times all the way through college for weddings or funerals. I probably went to as many bar mitzvahs as I did anything else. I was really a blank slate although if you asked me if I was a Christian I probably would have said yes. I thought if there is a God, He is going to take me because I’m a heck of a good guy. So, I figured I was one of those because that’s where the good stuff is. I really had no understanding. I will tell you one story, I was ten years old, I spent the night with a southern Baptist friend, I can’t recall, I went to church with him the next day since I had spent the night. I don’t really remember the details of the incident but I was not asked to spend the night anymore and the church thought I was Jehovah Witness. They didn’t want much to do with me so I said lets just play football together. There were no believers in my family. My family was basically Catholic. I grew up the only child and got what I wanted. My dad was a doctor and my mom was a stay at home mom. We had whatever we needed.

I went to a private school in Houston and it was a great school. I was able to enter A&M as a sophomore. One thing I need to tell you about my upbringing is that I never really had to work for anything. If I wanted something, I could ask my parents to give it to me. The same thing happened with tests, I take tests well. I took the LSAT, the test to get into law school and got a perfect score. Don’t think I’m smart, I just know how to take tests. All through school, even going to a good school, I didn’t have to study as hard as the other guys. In sports and athletics, I could get on the football and basketball teams without having to go to the Saturday and Sunday practices. I could still take the extra shots on the basketball court. I could still get on the team and start. So, everything was going well for me. If I wanted to go on a date, I asked some girls, and I asked enough of them that one of them would say yes just to get me to quit asking them.

John Hardimon Testimony from Brian Gaffner on Vimeo.

After private school, my dad said he I could go to school wherever I wanted but he would pay if I went to A&M. As I enrolled in A&M and graduated a few years later, I realized I wanted to pursue the best thing I thought I could to make as much money and have as much prestige as I wanted. So, I chose law, because I was a young silly man thinking that was were it was going to go. I went to UT Law School on scholarship and graduated early. It was a stupid move. Those of you still in college, don’t graduate early, those were the days.

I came to Dallas to practice law at the largest law firm in the commercial litigation section which is a fancy way of saying big companies get mad at other big companies and they get mad about where the comma goes on page 375 subparagraph 4b. We fighting that case and we fill up a room with documents and we start going to task. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and we love that as lawyers that they’re spending so much money on this fight. I was working there and I was one of the top billers. In law it’s all about how many hours you bill that is the profitability. If you are billing hours you are making money for your firm and yourself, which means I was working 70-80 hours a week that was my normal process. I was going along that process and God interrupted. I was sitting at my desk looking north a Dallas and it was 9 pm and I was finishing up a project for a partner. I went to turn the project in to the partner’s assistant and she asked me if I was ok. I blew her off trying to get back to my next project. I thought she saw something wrong with the project. She meant, we know it affects everyone here, we were just wondering when it’s going to affect you. I went back to my office and I was looking over the North Texas Toll way seeing everyone driving home to see their families. I began thinking, when do my friends go to happy hour, about five or six, when do they go to the lake, every Saturday and Sunday. I said, “I can’t go to the lake most Saturdays because I’m working and I’m making it to happy hour about 8:30 or 9:00. My friends are already too happy to be at happy hour anymore their already done. It just kind of struck me in a weird kind of way. Here is the realization I came to, at 25-26 years old I realized the course my life was going is not where I was heading. Now, the reason I realized that was because I looked down the hall at the name on the doors. One man had been divorced a couple of times, another drinks to much, another is a jerk. I said, this is what I am going to become. I guess I was smart enough to have my mid-life crisis at 26. I looked at it and said,” I don’t want to be these men” granted they had some money, houses, and prestige. Early on I realized I wanted something different, I didn’t know what it was but I knew it didn’t want that. A few months later I’m walking out of the place and they said, take some time off, it happens to everybody. I responded, You don’t understand, you can’t change something I don’t want any part of. I stepped out into real estate investing with some entrepreneurial men I knew. I was a single man with a house that was paid for and a corvette. I didn't have a real need for money. I thought, put a bean bag in front of the big screen and eating beanie weenies was the life. I didn't need any real money. I was okay to go do that. I found myself doing marketing. A bunch of people I was working with were believers and were praying for me and I didn't know it. Several of them prayed for me even through seeing me come to Saturday business meetings with a hangover. I wasn't a bad guy though. You would want your daughter to date me. Your daughter wanted to date me, well if I asked her enough times. The external of my life looked like a man who graduated from a private school, his dad’s a doctor, he graduated early from Texas A&M with two degrees, went to law school graduated early in the top 15 percent of the class, went to one of the best law firms in Texas. Sounds like a pretty good resume doesn’t it? Here I was at 26 saying, “That’s nuts, I hate my life, I don’t like what it is going to become on paper”. The external became meaningless to me except that was what everyone was looking at, and saying, “That’s so awesome you’re a lawyer, that firm is so awesome”. I’m thinking, “I don’t hear you, you’re dead to me”.

I was a good guy in the sense of the fact that if you are a lawyer at a prestigious firm in Dallas, we don’t lie, cheat or steal. It’s not because of some moral obligation but it’s just not who we are and how we work. It has nothing to do with what is going on inside it just wasn’t seen. I knew these guys, I knew what their lives were like,most of them were decent people. I also knew they said colorful words and treated people in certain ways. Here I was with this deception kind of thing going on. The only way I know how to explain it is like clothing, as long as I am presentable you are okay with me standing here talking to you but the underneath is not as nice. I knew on the inside it just wasn’t there. Yet, the external was as nice as most people thought it was. People would say, “I would love to have your life” and I would respond, “You can have it, I’d be happy to give that desk to you”.

If you had of asked me if I was a christian i would have said yes and checked the box. If you’re born in Texas you’re a christian right? That’s how it kind of works. I didn’t know what kind of christian or that there were even kinds. I remember saying, “If there is a heaven I’m going.” I had the mentality of this that i had such an impressive resume what would heaven be without me. If you would have asked me something about Jesus, I would have said he was cool or whatever. I drooped crosses every know and then but never went to church. Do you have the picture know the kind of guys I was. You know people in your community who are just like this, they have lots of potential. Remember, I could get through things easily, everything was easy for me. I didn’t have to work as hard as everyone else to make them work. So what i think i was doing was beginning to mold God into my image. God is clearly going to see things the way I do. He is going to see that I’m a pretty good guy. Yeah, you treated that person a little differently and you didn’t pay all the taxes you were supposed to but come on, I’m still a good guy. I was shaping God and what reality was really about based on what I thought it should be. The one thing that will help you with this is that you need to know how lawyers think. Lawyers are not tripped up by facts. If you have ever watched the news and wondered why these politicians say things and you know its just flat wrong. It’s because they are not tripped up by it. Let me explain how it works. As a lawyer, there is a case going on over here, the determiner of facts is the judge and jury meaning there is no truth until the gavel hits and the judge speaks. I don’t care if my guy is the one with gun that has his initials on it, the bullets have his initials on it, and the bullets that came from the victims body have his initials on them and there are six cameras showing him doing it. If the guy says it wasn’t him, then that is the fact I’m going to get established. Lawyers don’t get tripped up on facts. You just got to figure out how to get that fact moved around, well he has a twin brother, how do you know the bullet got there by a gun? There is a lot of people with initials like that. You begin just to figure stuff out. You go through different things. The difference is you logical normal people are like, wait a minute that’s not true. Wait a minute, what is truth, to a lawyer we haven’t figured that out yet. We’re going to figure it out and I’m going to argue strong enough to get you to see it how I want you to. This is how I saw all of life including spiritual matters, we’ll determine that later and I’ll argue strong enough to make it go. The difference we all know is true with logical people is that it doesn’t make sense at all. I don’t care if you’re the best negotiator or arguer 2+2 is always going to be 4. I don’t care how convinced you are that it’s 3 or 5. It will still always be 4.

I’m in this networking and marketing scenario after I left law and all these people are great people. I look at them and think their lives a pretty good, they don’t drink and smoke. Their lives worked, they’re happier. They had struggles and weren’t perfect people but were different. I guess i knew they went to church but that really wasn’t relevant to my discussions. It’s interesting to me that through this they knew this one guy that they thought I really would like to know he is the most famous lawyer in the entire world. You’ve got to remember from the external, I wanted a picture with him. They gave me a signed copy of his book. It was a gentlemen by the name of Lionel Loge. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for 285 murder acquittals at the old Bailey in England. He is literally the most famous lawyer in the world. He was knighted by the Queen twice, ambassador to two countries. He had a serious encounter with the Lord himself and wrote a book called the Silent Witness. I read the book and it’s about Jesus being on trial and you’re the judge of it. I thought it was a cool book. I was asked if I wanted to meet the guy. I saw the networking potential, this guy has got to know everybody. I met him at a La Madeline and he is a short, darker complex guy. He walked up and was in his own world saying, Glory to God multiple times. It thought it was weird but he was the most famous lawyer in the world so he can be a little weird. So we sit down across the table from each other and he just looks at me and asks me, “Are you ready to receive Jesus into your life?” with no introduction. There was no confession of sin or what that meant. This is how the conversation started and how the conversation ended. So when i tell you the story all i can tell you is this, I had to say yes to whatever he was saying before i knew what he was saying. I’m affected from the inside out, weeping while I’m reciting whatever he tells me to recite. Whatever happens has already happened. I am now verbalizing this. A few pleasantries later, the meeting end and I go purchase my first bible which I’m still using. It was a compulsory move. I can’t claim any part of my salvation. I knew I had made a commitment now that had meaning. Commitment was relevant to me. Facts are what I decided to make them. When I made this decision, for some reason I knew this was something meaningful; something i was going to stick to. Commitment for the first time had covenantal implications meaning it was until death. I still didn’t understand completely what i had said yes to but I read the bible. I found out later that it was a little weird to read the bible cover to cover but if your going to tell me that this is something to base my life on, I’m going to read it. I may not agree with it it but I’m going to know what it says. It put me in a teacher role within my church in a year. I would read it for the first time the week before I taught it. I joined a church, and six months into reading the bible I realized there is an experience called baptism so I asked to be baptized. It was my decision, no one taught me, I asked for it. I joined a church, thankfully, that was very open to different expressions of the Lord and l letting you develop and grow. I came to the Lord like a blank sheet of paper. I didn’t know about denominations and didn’t focus on that. I think coming with no preconceived ideas helped me in many ways. I was in a small group with a woman who every time someone prayed with the word Father she would wince and she couldn’t handle it. It was found out that she had been abused by her father. It didn’t work well for her to identify God with anything that had to do with her earthly father. I was able to come pretty clean. I was able to read the bible and pray, I need to know who you are and what your about. A big shift that happened in my life was that instead of me arguing facts to make them be what I wanted them to be I found out that there really is a truth. My point now is not to litigate or argue facts, but to discover what they are and whether I like them or not. This created an honesty that never existed before. I was before God asking, What is going on? I need to know where I can go with you. There were immediate changes in me from the very next day. There were words I couldn’t say anymore. There were still things that needed to be worked out but that was God’s way of showing me that this truly was different. I changed one f word for another. I started to understand faith. What has happened to me? What do I do about it? I realized that if it is about truth that I got the perception of Christian men as weak men. I looked at christian guys a the weenie, huggers, singing kumbaya. As I continued reading, I realized Christianity is the hardest thing anyone could ever take on and I don’t know anyone that is looking for a crutch that this is where you want to start. I looked at the scriptures and saw real men. I started seeing real men who will love their wives more than themselves, sacrifice for their children and willing to deny himself for his fellow man even when he is wrong. I saw a very different strength that i had never seen before, men that were humble, meek. I began to see men not take extra hours at the office to get promotions because that wasn’t what they were after anymore. All of a sudden my priority changed, all I had built my life on was weak and nothing. It was all about figuring out what it meant to be a good man/woman that had nothing to do with the external and was backwards. It became more important to do for my family, and others than to have the material possessions. I began to build a resume for Christianity by starting to measure success based on things I’ve done. I was on staff a churches, trained Billy Graham small group leaders. I returned to my vomit. Somehow that looks cool how much you do for God makes you a better person. I found out it was time for me to quit making God and the Christian man into my image and live in the truth. It’s like this, you find an old dilapidated building with diamonds underneath it and you begin to sell everything you own to get the building. Everyone close to you thinks you are crazy but you know the worth of what is under the building. It is greater than anything you can put on paper. You’ve got to know that there is truth and count the cost of pursuing truth. Are we willing to take the truth and follow it? Are we allowing church to actually affect us? Is this a Savior that we are willing to leave our family and friends for? When people begin to live like this, we will be able to overfill rooms when we say we want to tell you something about Jesus. If the commitment is going to have any value in our lives, we don’t get to decide the terms of the agreement, we don’t get to read the commands and call them suggestions, we don’t get to say I’ll follow Jesus but first tell me where we’re going. I find myself wanting to know the whole plan and continuing to sit but still claiming to love Jesus. I’m asking will you get up? I can’t tell you how much it is going to cost you. I can tell you your going to gain more than you could ever imagine.

Guys we are living in a video game when the xbox shuts down, and your done for the night how well you played in the video game does not mean anything. Could you imagine someone who is going to loose their family, employment, life, even their own soul for a video game? That’s the analogy for us, we’ve got to see that this is just something we’re going through. We will play the game well but that is not the purpose. It is to get us to a higher purpose. You and I both know people in this room who could testify far greater than me that you probably know that can tell you how you can be changed. His truth trumps our perceptions, ideas, as big of things as we think they are in our minds, they’re nothing to Him. The invitation is simply this your in one of two places; you’ve never came to the place where you realize there is only one way, one truth. The truth is the truth whether or not you agree with it or not. 2 +2=4. If you have questions there are great leaders here today. That maybe for some of us, I question my own salvation almost everyday. How can I love the Lord and do this or that? or be this way with that person, how can we sit here with 26,000 people dying of starvation and we leave food on the table. I’m not saying it from a guilty standpoint, I saying, “What would Jesus do about it or have us do about it?” You see what this group is doing, we’re going to do something about it. It’s not just about a belief, feeling right with God so I can’t wait to go to heaven, it’s not just there. You have to show people the truth. My friends look at me, and say, “What are you doing? You’re nuts!” In their world I am. A place we all find ourselves at one point or another is asking ourselves, “Where have I made the kingdom I am called to so limited.” “Well, God couldn’t do that through me.” “I’m not called to that ministry”. The word just says go make disciples, not that some are called and some aren’t, just to go do it. Above all, the Lord is the Way, The Truth and the Life.

Father, my prayer is today, that the life you changed in me, and the lives you have changed in this room by revealing us your truth. Lord, strengthen us, put a deeper resolve in us, a commitment in us. Your commands are simply that, not suggestions, we’re not supposed to take the blessings but remove the responsibility. Lord, you don’t do that because you want less from us but you want more. You want more, you want to reveal to us the diamond mine that is yours. You give so much more peace, joy, happiness than we could ever achieve through our own efforts. Lord, I pray that we would just cease our own efforts. Allow You to move through us, we don’t need a special calling from You, Your word tells us what we are to do. We are to love others as we love ourselves. We are to care about widows, orphans and their distress. Lord, above all let us be salt and light to this world that has no taste and is dark and getting darker. Father, for those who find themselves a step or two away from You, they fell today that if you’ll save an aggie lawyer, holy cow, how much more you love them and care for them. There are no mistakes they can make that I haven’t made myself. Yet, Lord You are faithful, and You are truth. So, I pray you speak to our hearts right now, in the same way you drug me to you, that I had no choice but to come to truth. Let us not have another choice. Jesus’ arms are wide open. Take us to that next step. Remove the scales from our eyes. Let us stop making You in our image. Lord, may You receive the glory and we be with you forever and ever. In Jesus name, Amen


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