John James

John JamesMy name is John James, and I was an original member and lead singer of the Newsboys, a famous Christian band out of Australia. I have been called by God to work with students across America and proclaim the message of hope. I would like to tell you my story. 


I was born into a dysfunctional, toxic, abusive family. I have five sisters and a brother. After the beatings and abuse, my dad walked out and left us. Unfortunately my mom was a battered, emotional wreck, and never had the capacity to take care of us either, and she also walked out. We were all separated and torn apart and sent to live in different homes.

I was a total failure and was kicked out of almost every school. I can remember as a teenager hearing these words: “You are such a loser and hopeless. John James you will never amount to anything in your life. There is no hope for you.” These words were spoken over me every day, and I started to believe them. They began to shape me in who I was. I had no sense of value or worth; no sense of a future or destiny to do something with my life. I thought if I died tomorrow who would care. I would not even be missed.

Then something incredible happened at the age of fifteen in a little town in the middle of nowhere in the outback of Australia. I was walking home from school when I met this guy on the street, and a conversation was struck up. And through that young man, my life was on a collision course with the kingdom of God. It was about to change this dysfunctional, abandoned, abused, messed up kid. As this youth worker opened up the message of the cross: the shed blood of Jesus Christ, that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.

Up until then, all I ever heard was you are hopeless, worthless, nothing, and now I heard about this man Jesus Christ that loved me, and I could have a future and hope. I had no idea where this would take me, but I know God had a plan and purpose for my life. I started following Jesus and moved away from that small outback town to another town called Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia.

One day in church, I met another young man, a new believer like myself, and a friendship was struck up. Through the course of that friendship, we decided to start a band, and I instantly elected myself to be the lead singer. So we started a band with a bunch of passionate, uneducated, barbaric boys in a garage annoying the neighbors.  

One day we decided to go to America. Many people tried to talk us out of it. We asked why and they said, “Because you are terrible,” and the list went on. So you are going to America, “Oh yeh.” When you try to step out in faith for God, many will try to plant doubt and keep you from your destiny. We trusted God and said, “Just have a go, just have a go.” All we had was a dream.

When we started the band, we were bad, but through hard work, much practice, and with God’s blessing and anointing, we improved. We found mentors that could teach and help us, and after many years of hard work, discipline, commitment, prayer, passion, and God’s anointing and blessing, success began knocking at our door. Eventually, the record contracts came, and eventually the number one songs came, the awards, and the nominations enabled us to fill the biggest arenas in the nation. Night after night I would look out from the edge of the stage during the praise and worship; I saw thousands come to Christ. How was this possible? I was voted the least likely to succeed, and God reminded me how He can use ordinary people who were willing to step out and “just have a go.” I realized whether we have a lot or a little, it comes from God.

Somewhere during the heights of success, I lost my prospective of the foundation of my life. I began to make little compromises that started to erode the foundation of my life. I began to cut anchors from my life. The most important anchor that I started cutting was my daily devotion to God. I just got so busy.

The next anchor I cut from my life was the importance of my family. I was not there for my family because I was out saving the world.

The final anchor was staying connected and serving in a local church. It is through the local church that we are equipped, empowered, and released. The church grounds us, and we need to rub shoulders with the local believers.

I hid what was happening to me from the band members. I put on a mask. Eventually, I told the band what was happening to me. My wife was leaving me. After a few days the band came back and said, “John, we are releasing you.” Your family and God are much more important. You need to find your way back to God. After eighteen years with the Newsboys, my sense of worth was in my ministry. My wife left and took the kids back to Australia, and my marriage was over.

The kingdom of John James was going down. I was like the Titanic and couldn’t stop the leak. I turned to alcohol to escape. I wanted to forget my broken marriage and ministry. One day I woke up in my mansion in Nashville, wearing my own vomit. I called my drug supplier and asked to borrow a handgun. As I was lying on my sofa, I felt so hopeless with a loaded gun and ready to take my life. I heard this voice say, “You’re such a loser. You failed your wife, your family and your ministry. Pickup that gun and blow your brains out because that is all you are good for. Remember your dad? You are just like your dad.” I took one last hopeless breath, and said, “God please help me.” Instantly the phone rang, and I am listening to the answering machine. It was my ex-wife calling from the other side of the world. I finally picked up the phone and said. “What do you want?” She said, “John, go to the airport and don’t look back. Come back to find your way back to God.” This woman had revelation of a broken man that needed to find his way back to the foot of the cross. I was angry and said, “It is Christmas and I could never get a ticket.” She said, “John, there is a ticket at the airport, and your flight leaves in two days.

Seventeen years ago I met somebody, and He is called “The God of second chance.” I am now coming to understand when God said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” And Jesus said” I have come to set the captives free.” Before I got my visas to legally come back to America, I made sixteen missionary trips to America.

While I was touring the outback of America, Texas, I got a phone call about my dad. His conversion was so dynamic and life changing that he had led the entire family to the Lord. My dad became my family’s great patriarch. Because of my dad, my family now has a future in the kingdom of God. My dad went on to be my best friend, my mentor, and my teacher.

While touring America, I got a phone call from a family member and said, “Your dad had just died of a heart attack.” It broke my heart. I hoped on a plane and buried my dad, and afterwards flew back to America. My dad use to say, “Son you can’t change the past, but you can take responsibility for the future for ‘Today is the day of salvation.’” He said that God would bring a miracle of restoration and healing to America. God is reaching out to you. He is the God of the first, second and third chances.


The Oringal Newsboys

The band was formed in Mooloolaba, Queensland in 1985 by two young men: Peter Furler and his school mate George Perdikis. Two other teens were added soon after: Furler's best friend, John James, and bassist Sean.

John James performing on stage


Biography of John James at FGBMFA Georgia Men’s Advance 2016

John James was an original member of the Newsboys, a famous Christian band out of Australia. He joined as lead vocalist around 1985, and helped write most of the songs on Newsboys' first three albums, and sang lead vocals on them. The success took a toll on James, resulting with him having an addiction with alcohol and cocaine, and went into depression.  In late September 1997 he was forced to quit Newsboys. John lost his family, his fortune and came within seconds of committing suicide. He turned back to the Lord for help bringing his family back, and taking the path of a Christian Speaker working with needful youth. His testimony is amazing.

John James

John James delivered a stirring testimony and message for reaching the youth of America at the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America 2016 Georgia Men’s Advance.


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John James Testimony