I heard the fateful news yesterday of the passing of a man that I never met, but had profound influence on my life. Chuck Colson, of Prison Ministries, passed away at the age of 80. This was a life well lived, at least in his final decades, though many may see his entire adult life as a total success. How he affected me was his all-out drive to tenets of truth and to the lives of the forgotten, rejected, and despised.
I was still in high school when the "Watergate Scandal" erupted in America, and changed forever the way American citizens view leadership in the USA. Chuck was an aide to Nixon, and served time for his loyalty. God had plans for Chuck. He became a follower of Christ in prison. Many people who villified those imprisoned for standing by Nixon, had no idea what giant had been awakened when Chuck became a follower of Jesus.
I was sitting on a love seat in front of the fireplace, reading a book entitled, "The Christian in Today's Culture," half-drunk, and miserably reading Christian writings, looking for a secret passage out of alcoholism. This book, authored by Colson, was used by the Holy Spirit to draw me back to God, seeing my broken condition as I read this book. I remember my eyes filling with tears, and asking God to save me from myself, and He did in time.
My life continued to improve by Chuck's ministry as I continued in sobriety. His daily "Breakpoint," commentary was a short 5 minute word to the Christian world, that dealt with our worldviews and conduct. I received it by email and read it daily, even copied many, or saved to my PC. His book "The Faith," was helpful to me in understanding the early church, and to understand the importance of knowing what I believe, and why it is important.
Chuck Colson also stood firm on what so many believers teeter on in societies battles regarding the sanctity of life, the importance of traditional marriage, and falacies of celebrity focus on embryonic stem cell research, as well as media and political bias toward the followers of Christ. All of these topics can be read in depth by going to breakpoint.org or visiting the Colson Center via the net.
My life changed. Everyone I have been able to help in recovery, every person helped by my blogs, and everyone who God will use my upcoming book to help in their full life in sobriety, Chuck Colson has a part in. And I am one of thousands serving in God's kingdom, and the least of those, for many influenced by Chuck are doing ministries that affect nations. Who knew? When we all witnessed his arrest back in the 70's, and called him a crooked politician, we would see a spiritual lion emerge from total defeat, with a mighty roar!
We have lost many great, noted people in the past. Chuck Colson wasn't known, or a household name of fame, yet his life for Christ exceeded what even he expected. You and I can have a similar "ripple effect" on every life we encounter while we live, if we are willing to be reshaped, and redefined as Chuck's life was. Farewell, dear friend.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith