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A New Creation in Messiah
Episode 819th April 2021 • Our Hope Podcast • Chosen People Ministries
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Hear three inspiring testimonies from Jewish believers in Jesus in this week's episode of Our Hope Podcast.

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Welcome to

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Our Hope, a production

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of Chosen People Ministries.

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"Therefore,

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if anyone is in Messiah,

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he is a new creature;

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the old things passed away;

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behold, new things have come."

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2 Corinthians 5:17.

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Springtime is here.

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As we say goodbye to the last

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lingering days of

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winter and experience

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the change that comes

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with a new season,

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we are reminded that

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God makes all things new.

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He breathes life into that

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which is dead and causes

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the former things to pass away.

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The same God who

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transforms a caterpillar

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into a butterfly and changes

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the sky from dusk to dawn,

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also transforms

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the lives of those

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who have put their faith

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in Yeshua.

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Today we bring you three

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powerful stories

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from Jewish believers

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who have experienced

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this transformation.

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The first is Grant Berry.

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Grant spent his life pursuing

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what he thought was important

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– wealth and success.

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But one day, a Christian woman

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who started working for him

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provoked his desire for God.

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Take a listen.

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I came to America

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to chase the American dream

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and it wasn't long before

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I started my own

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cosmetic business

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with my brother.

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And through a lot of hard

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work and effort,

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we brought some very new

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and innovative products

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into the cosmetic industry

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in the mass market

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and it wasn't long before

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I began to experience

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the pleasures

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and the success of that.

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I was driving around town

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in a red Maserati.

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I have modeled girlfriends.

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And I was really sort of

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chasing that life,

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but it was really a God

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that I was after.

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As a child,

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I was always looking to know

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God and I was searching for Him

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all throughout my childhood

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and I have to be honest,

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I couldn't find Him in

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the synagogue experience.

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I found it religious.

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The women were concerned about

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what they look like

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and what they were wearing, and

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there was a lot of

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materialism going on.

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I was actually looking

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for a spiritual connection.

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So I was beginning

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to experience the high life.

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Beautiful restaurants,

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a single lifestyle,

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money in my pocket,

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driving a red Maserati,

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and in comes

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this beautiful girl,

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name is Maria.

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A make-up artist

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I had started to work with.

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And it's like I had it all

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but something

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wasn't quite right.

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And the interesting thing

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was, is that Maria was

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there was something

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different about her.

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She just didn't seem to be

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too interested in everything

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that I was sort of living up

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at that particular time,

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and she started to

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explain her faith to me

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as a Christian girl.

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She presented her faith to me

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in a way

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that I could understand that

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belief in Yeshua, was

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had a Jewish foundation

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and it was so different from

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from like my synagogue

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experience.

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You know, here

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I was looking for God,

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looking for a relationship

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and she seemed to

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have this dimension

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and this intimacy,

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and this connection, and here

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I was the child of Abraham,

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the Jewish guy, and I seem

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to have nothing.

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It was almost like

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I was a Jekyll and a Hyde

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two types of personalities

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like this young successful

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entrepreneur during the day

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and at night I was empty.

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And a depression

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was setting in that

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I couldn't contain,

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but I wouldn't

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let anyone see me.

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It was almost like in the world

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we have a facade

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that everything is

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wonderful and okay

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and yet inwardly

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it's not like that.

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There was a depression

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and emotional chains

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that I was beginning

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to get in touch with

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and definitely

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something was wrong.

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I think what was

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really different about Maria

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is that

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she had learned to bring

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the message of Yeshua

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back to Jewish people,

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as if it was their very own.

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We reviewed a lot of the

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in some of our discussions

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we talked about all

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the terrible things

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that had happened

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to the Jewish people

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in the name of Christianity

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and how Christianity has

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been used.

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And she worked very hard

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in her communication

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to separate that stuff.

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Mainly most of the time,

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saying that most

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of those people really

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weren't believers

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in the first place.

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And she began to,

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so she began to lay

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this foundation for me

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that the roots of Christianity

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were completely Jewish.

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And of course you know

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when I began to

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open the scripture

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and read for myself,

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I was overwhelmed.

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I was so surprised, okay,

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that I was actually

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reading a Jewish book.

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So I have to

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I have to tell you, after

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you know experiencing

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this dimension that I knew

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Maria was experiencing

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between her and God, it began

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to really get my attention.

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And so it caused me

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to begin to go after

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once again, a relationship

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with my own God.

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And so I went into my bedroom

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for three weeks,

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seven days a week.

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Every night

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I got on my knees and I prayed.

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I tried to talk to God.

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And it was like my prayers

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went up to the ceiling

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and dropped

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right down to the floor.

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There was nothing,

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no connection.

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And I was frustrated.

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I mean here Maria

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was this Christian girl

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that had a relationship

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with my God,

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the God of Abraham.

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And here I was a Jew

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trying to have a

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relationship with my God,

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the God of Abraham and nothing.

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I was disconnected

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and so it cause me

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to get very frustrated

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and one night

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we were out for dinner

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and I

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expressed that frustration

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and she turned around to me.

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She said, "Grant,

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I have been trying to tell you

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for six to eight months,

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almost every time we go out,

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you can't have the Father

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without the Son."

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So immediately I decided

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I've got to go upstairs.

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I got upstairs to my apartment

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and it was not difficult for me

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with all my

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spiritual experiences

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to visualize this whole thing.

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And I laid on the bed,

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and I stretched out my arm

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in the shape of the

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crucifixion tree,

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and I shut my eyes.

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And Maria had told me

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about a scripture,

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Revelations 3:20,

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and I'll never forget it, "I

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stand at the door and knock.

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If any man hears

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my voice and opens that door,

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I will come into him

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and he will hear my voice,

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and we will sup together."

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In other words, we will connect

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and have intimacy.

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So I close my eyes

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and I visualized the door

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and I knocked on the door

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and I said, "God of Abraham

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if Yeshua is,"

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this is the exact prayer

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I prayed, "if Yeshua is

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Your Son

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and the Jewish Messiah.

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I want to know the truth."

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Right at that moment,

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at that very second,

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physical wind

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indwelt my stomach.

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I could, I could almost see it

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swooshing into me.

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And I was got up from the bed.

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I was startled, but

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from that moment on I believed.

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Grant's earnest seeking

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led him to find his Messiah,

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and afterward,

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he was never the same again.

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Like Grant, Elaine Caplan

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could never find fulfillment

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with the material

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things of this world.

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Having grown up

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in a broken home,

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she was devastated

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to find her own

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marriage falling apart.

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But God met her at

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her lowest moment.

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My parents were not

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happily married.

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When I was about five years old

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I would talk to God

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and I would say, "Dear God,

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I think you've made a mistake.

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I'm not supposed to be

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with this family."

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And I would talk like that

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practically every night

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because of my unhappiness.

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My father backed

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horses during the day

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and greyhounds

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during the night.

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He was very unfaithful

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to my mother.

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He had several affairs

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growing up.

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It wasn't a happy place.

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Well, as time went by,

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I met the man that I

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was going to marry.

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He actually managed

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a young man called Jack Wild.

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Soon after that

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he was introduced

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to a band called Yes.

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They went on the road

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with the first concerts

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in America.

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As the tour went on, Yes'

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album started to climb

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and climb and climb

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and do so well.

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The joy of it was short lived

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because I had to

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live my life myself.

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All this time

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I was alone in London

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and they were away for

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six weeks.

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We lived in one house

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and then we'd moved to another.

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And as things became

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more successful,

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I was always alone.

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No matter how many

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clothes I bought.

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No matter

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how many houses we had,

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my life was empty.

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It's like

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I had a hole inside me.

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Just sitting at home

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waiting for Brian

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to come home from the tours

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was very difficult.

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And then when he came home,

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it was like a stranger

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and he wasn't

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a good communicator.

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I had no idea at the time,

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or maybe I did,

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but I was in denial

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and I didn't want to

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look at things as they were

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that he was actually

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having affairs.

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So I was searching

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and searching and searching

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and a friend in LA

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sent me a letter.

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The only words

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I ever remembered were Donna

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Summer got born again.

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And I thought,

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that sounds good.

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What does that mean?

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I didn't really know

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who God was.

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I mean being Jewish, you know

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He was Adonai and Elohim.

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But on this day

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I was talking to God

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and I said to Him, born again,

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that sounds good to me.

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How do you get born again?

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How can I make restitution

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for everything wrong

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that I have done in my life?

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At this point in time

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I went with Brian

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into Beverly Hills

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and he dropped me

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at my friend, Frankie's house

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and we went to

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this place called

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Carlos and Charlies on sunset.

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And then this woman arrived

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and she sat opposite

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me at the table.

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Her name is Susan Maneo

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and she managed Donna Summer

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and I could not

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stop staring at her.

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So I said to her, "Susan

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can I ask you a question?"

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She said, "Yes." I said, "Are

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you born again?"

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She said, "Yes."

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And I looked at her

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and I said, "You

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have something that I want

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and I know that I can't

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buy it with money."

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I wanted the peace that I saw

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in Susan Maneo's eyes.

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I had been searching

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for that peace my whole life

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through my unhappy childhood.

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Through my time of smoking

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dope, snorting coke,

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taking sleeping pills, drinking

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and so at the table

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they held my hands

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and I prayed.

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I accepted Yeshua.

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That's just the beginning.

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When Brian found out

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that I had received

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the Lord he went crazy.

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What are you doing?

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You're Jewish.

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This is all antisemitism

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blah blah blah blah blah blah.

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I never really talked to Brian

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about what was in the Bible.

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I wasn't one of those

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people

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that hit him over the head

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with the Bible

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and all that stuff.

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I just quietly prayed

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and I lived.

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I lived what I had been reading

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but eventually he left.

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I stayed in that marriage

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for three years.

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I decided that I

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would get a divorce.

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If you read Isaiah 53,

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it tells you

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that He was pierced

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for our transgressions.

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All our iniquities

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were put on Him,

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and those stripes

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that were on His back

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are the very things

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that heal us because I

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was so lost in my heart,

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I know this to be true.

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So I would say to

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people that say to me

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you can't be Jewish

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and believe in Jesus,

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I would say, "I'm Jewish

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and I do believe in Jesus."

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Elaine

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found a peace and confidence

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she had never had before.

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Now, being secure in her faith

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as a Jewish believer,

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she is not ashamed

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of the gospel of Yeshua.

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Ken Barun is another bold

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believer in Yeshua.

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He now serves as

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the Executive Vice

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President of the Billy Graham

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Evangelistic Association.

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But this is definitely not

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who Ken was before.

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With a history

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of drug addiction

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and family estrangement,

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you will not believe

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how God miraculously

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turned his life around.

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How did a Jewish kid

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from New York City

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wind up as an executive Vice

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president of the Billy Graham

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Evangelistic Association?

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I remember coming

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home from school

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and these Catholic

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kids would chase me

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and then they

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started to throw rocks at me.

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"You killed Christ!"

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I don't even know who

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Christ is.

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I didn't kill anybody.

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The first time I had heroin,

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it was in the

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in the bathroom, men's bathroom

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at Grand Central Station

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in New York City.

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What a horrible

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degenerative kind of thing.

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How did a nice

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Jewish boy like me

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get into a place like this?

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And that led to a

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string of drug use

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and eventually got to

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where my parents disown me.

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I was kicked out.

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My father said,

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"I never want to see you again

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as long as I live."

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Now I had been a heroin

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addict for seven years

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and then some people

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from a drug program came

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and recruited me

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to go into this three-year

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residential treatment program.

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God was my imaginary friend.

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I said, "Please God,

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if you get me out of this one

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I'll never use drugs again."

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I wound up being president

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of this drug program.

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The President of

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the United States, comes

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to visit that program.

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Ronald Reagan shows up

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at the front door

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of this building

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and I'm hosting him.

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I sit there for two hours

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talking to the president

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telling him about this story

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and what happened to me.

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And then he spoke

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to the residents.

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He asked me first,

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he said, is it OK if I tell the

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residents of the program

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that your body is

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the temple of your spirit.

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I said, "You can tell them

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whatever you want, you're

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the President of

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the United States."

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The Chief of Staff, Jim

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Baker, he said, "We

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saw what you did

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with drug addicts.

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We'd like you to

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join the campaign,

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because just think

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what you could do

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with Republicans."

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I'm in Washington,

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I'm- Here is my title, Deputy

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Assistant Secretary

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of Public Affairs

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slash, Public Liaison

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for the United States

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Department of Health

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and Human Services.

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Huge title

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I don't even know how you

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fit it on a business card.

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It was like a miracle.

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I mean things kept

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falling into place.

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Going to England,

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being the guest of

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the Royal family.

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Private visits with the Pope.

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The Dalai Lama.

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And I wound up becoming

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president of Ronald

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McDonald House

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Charities worldwide.

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When I started there,

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we had $300,000.

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When I left in 2007,

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we had $1.6 billion.

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I was doing well.

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But my heart was all messed up.

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I was like

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searching

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how am I going to ever

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get happy?

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You could pay me

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all the money in the world,

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give me nice

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cars, a nice house.

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All this success

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that I was having didn't

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fill this emptiness in me.

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If I could

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just find this answer

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that this pain would go away.

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This auto race came up.

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It was a one lap of America,

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a car and driver

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magazine sponsored this

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and we would get pledges

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for miles driven

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and we arranged for people

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to drive fancy cars, fast cars.

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I had met a gentleman

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who owned the one McDonald's

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restaurant in Atlanta, GA.

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Name is Paul Sabre.

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I arranged for him

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and his friend to come up

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from Albuquerque

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and drive a Ferrari,

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and it was all logoed up.

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It looked like one

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of those NASCAR cars

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with all kinds of logos on it.

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It had Ronald McDonald House

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charities on it.

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I'm driving and he says,

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"Kid, go faster,

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go faster we're on two lane

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highways, go fast."

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I said, "Paul,

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you don't act like you're

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afraid to die."

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He says, "I'm not,

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'cause I know where I'm

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going." I said, "What

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does that mean?"

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And he says, "Now,

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let me tell you about

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my friend, Jesus."

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Then he starts to talk to me

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about his religion.

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He said, "You need to accept

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Jesus Christ into your life."

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And I screech on the brakes

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and pulled aside

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and said, "Look,

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I'm a Jew." He said, "No.

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You would be a completed

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Jew." Right,

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So what does that mean?

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He said that means

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that you've accepted

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Jesus as your savior,

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that you've accepted that

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Jesus is the Messiah, that

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Jesus went to the cross

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and died for our sins.

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Well, that was a big

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philosophical conversation.

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I knew as a Jew that

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we weren't supposed

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to read the New Testament.

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It was taboo.

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When I opened it up, I saw that

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it was just an extension

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of the Old Testament.

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It completed the story for me.

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If that's going to fill

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up this emptiness,

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then how do we do it?

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I mean, do I need to

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go to a synagogue?

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Do I need to like

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step on a glass and

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or build

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a chuppah or something?

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He said no.

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Just pray with me.

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God forgive me for my sins.

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I accept Jesus as my savior.

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I repent

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for all

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the things I've done wrong

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and I ask you to

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come into my heart

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and into my soul,

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clean this stuff out

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and make me new again.

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And I started sobbing

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and the tears were

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coming out of me

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and it was like a

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fog came over me.

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I couldn't stop sobbing.

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But I felt like this

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whole weight had been

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lifted off my shoulders

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that I had been freed.

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This emptiness was full.

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It was a physical reality.

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I said, you know,

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I've heard this word born again

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Christian a whole lot of times.

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I never,

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ever would have believed that

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I would be one of them.

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But I know,

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after that night

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what it's like to

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be born again.

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So I called up my father

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and I figured I'm

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getting disowned again.

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But I might as well tell him

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'cause I was so excited

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about it, and I said,

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"Dad!" He said, "Kenny,

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how are you?

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What's going on?"

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I said, "I want to tell you

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something happened last night."

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He said, "What is it?"

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I said, "Last night

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I prayed to accept Jesus Christ

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as my Lord and Savior."

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(He) Didn't say a word.

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He started to cry.

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He started sobbing.

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My mother gets on

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the other phone, "What

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did you say to your father

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to get him so upset?

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You know he's not well.

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He's 85 years old.

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He's in a wheelchair."

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Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah,

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typical Jewish mother.

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So I told her.

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It was dead silence.

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Dead silence.

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I figure I better hang up now

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so I don't have to hear

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about it.

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And she came back

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into the conversation

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said, "He's not crying

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tears of sadness,

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he's crying tears of joy

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because when we were looking

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for help for you

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with your drug problem,

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we found Jesus too."

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How did I get from here

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to there?

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All about Jesus.

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Ken's testimony reminds us

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that when we surrender to God,

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he can rewrite any story.

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An unlikely believer in Jesus,

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Ken is now faithfully

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helping to share the word

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with all the nations.

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We hope these testimonies

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remind you

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that there is no person

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or circumstance too

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difficult for God's restore.

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He is always reaching out,

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pursuing and waiting

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and in His perfect time,

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He will make all things new.

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This year, as we wait

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on the Lord for new

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season to begin,

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let us persist in hope

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and steadfast endurance.

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Because He has given us

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a new heart in spirit

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through Messiah,

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we can now walk in

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hope and freedom

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as we wait until the

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Messiah comes again.

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We hope you've enjoyed this

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week's episode of Our Hope.

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This episode was

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brought to you by.

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Dr.

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Mitch Glaser, Abe

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Vazquez, Grace Swee,

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Kieran Bautista,

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and IFoundShalom.com

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in partnership

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with One for Israel.

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I'm Nicole Vacca.

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Until next time.

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Thanks for

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listening to Our Hope.

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If you like our show

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and want to know more,

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check out ourhopepodcast.com

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or chosenpeople.com.

Links