He never gave up on me!
A Testimony of God's Love, Healing, Mercy, and Grace.
A Testimony of God's Love, Healing, Mercy, and Grace.
By the age of thirteen, Mark was already an alcoholic, sneaking liquor from his parents’ cabinets and replacing it with water. As a middle schooler, Mark was unable to function without having a drink before and after school. He was constantly trying to get drunk, causing his grades and social life to take a plummet, and he was eventually expelled from school. His expulsion from school catapulted him into further indulgence with alcohol, and aggressive experimentation with narcotics, acid and other hallucinogens. At the same time, he was joining local Rock bands playing Heavy Metal music.
Drugs, Alcohol & Rock ‘n Roll
By the time Mark was nineteen, he launched into a music career playing bass and lead vocals in up-and-coming rock bands. For 15 years, he toured the country with different bands and opened up for some famed bands including Cheap Trick, Ratt, Poison... and partying with the inside music crowd. Being assimilated into the rocker lifestyle deepened Mark’s dependence on drugs and alcohol. “Being popular in the music industry had its advantages for an addict,” Mark admits. “There were always so many people that wanted to be associated with you and the band. Everybody wants to be your friend.” Most of the time, the drugs were free. Cocaine became his drug of choice, turning into a seventeen year addiction. At the same time, Mark hit the big time in his mind, and was offered contracts and tours.
By the late 80’s, Mark was frequently becoming sick and suffering from voice problems, memory problems, pneumonia and bronchitis. Crack cocaine was destroying his body; however, no matter how bad his health became, he could not find the strength or desire to stop feeding his habit.
In 1990, at the age of 29, Mark could no longer perform or function on stage. His addictions were destroying him. One day, Mark had everything he ever wanted. The next day, it was all gone. The band, his friends and the music industry wanted nothing to do with him.
“You Are Going to Die”
Back at home in Davenport, IA, Mark’s depression & drug habit continued to increase for over a year. As the depression and suicidal tendencies became worse, so did his need for crack cocaine. He became so chronically ill and emaciated that his doctor determined him to be incurable due to his addictions. The Doctor's words still clear to Mark today:
“Mark,” he said, “Your vocal chords are so scarred and covered in nodes, that you will never sing again. Your lungs are scarred and badly damaged from the crack cocaine. Your liver and kidneys are failing. Part of your heart is enlarged by almost 70%. Your heart is going to fail you.”
"We cannot do anything for you. You are going to die.”
Hearing these words, brought Mark’s depression and despair to a pinnacle. He went on a binge for six months, selling everything he had to go out with a bang, overdosing on booze and drugs. He constantly tried to surpass his limits and take enough drugs to kill him; however, he would still wake up the next day. On his last overdose, Mark attempted to end his life with large amounts of alcohol, narcotics and crack cocaine... But, he still woke up the next morning.
During that time, Mark thought, “I can’t even kill myself right.”
"Come Back to Me”
During what he thought would be his last days on earth, Mark started to feel drawn toward the television. “I kept getting drawn to Christian TV, ” Mark muses. “Every day while I was doing drugs, or just waking up from a binge, I would turn the TV to Christian stations and see what was going on. They were always talking about Jesus in a way I'd never heard before". On one particular day as thoughts of suicide were consuming him, watching TV, Mark attempted to change the channel three times, and the TV, by itself, would continue to flip back to that same program. To his amazement, Mark finally gave in to watch.
He saw a Pastor talking on a Live ministry program; when all of a sudden the pastor stopped what he was saying mid-sentence, looked at the TV camera and said:
“Don’t change that channel! You’re addicted to drugs and you’ve been told you are going to die. You will not die because Jesus is going to heal you!”
Overcome by what was just said, Mark knew that God was talking directly to him! He sat back in awe and listened as they spoke about the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. The seed of hope was planted in Mark’s life even when the world told him there was no more hope.
Two days later God sent a second messenger to Mark. Patsy, was his dearest friend from the rock band days who had found her own healing, deliverance, and salvation through Jesus Christ. She came to his house, knocking on his door unannounced, (he hadnt seen or heard from her in a few years) - openening the door, she walked in and sat next to him with these words; “I have been looking for you for two months, because the Lord gave me a message for you. Mark, God is trying to tell you something but you are not listening. The Lord says this:
"Your going to die! I still love you! Come back to me!"
At that moment, Mark cried out to God, “Jesus help me. Jesus help me.” “I knew it to be God, because in a second, I felt the presence of theSpirit even though I didn’t know what that was at that time,” Mark reminiscences. “It was a sensation of warmth, heaviness, electricity; words don’t even come close to describe what that was. I felt Him.”
Jesus had indeed helped Mark that day. This was his conversion experience. “I knew right then in a split second I was healed, delivered and saved,” Mark shares. “I felt every demon and power of darkness leaving me at that moment. I vowed right then to do nothing but serve God for the rest of my life.”
A Brand New Heart & Voice
Seven days had passed since Mark’s conversion. And he was feeling fantastic! He knew he was healed and every desire for drugs and alcohol had vanished. As he returned to the doctor for additional tests, the doctor advised that Mark needed rehab to stabilize his body and detox; otherwise, he could suffer cardiac arrest. However, Mark refused, believing he was healed. When the tests came back days later, it proved what Mark already knew to be true. His lungs, kidneys and liver were all normal. The doctor was in shock as he said:
“You look like you have a brand new heart.”
The very same doctor who told Mark he had one year to live. This doctor, who said Mark’s heart would fail him. The same man who said, “We cannot do anything for you. You are going to die,” now stood assessing, “You have a brand new heart!”
But God did more than give Mark a new heart. With a new heart came a new voice.
Before his conversion, Mark had a very raspy voice from shredding his vocal chords. But on the day he was saved, Mark remembers a pop in his throat, giving him the ability to speak clearly. Doctors proved that his vocal chords that were destroyed beyond repair had been healed. “When I gave my life to Jesus and vowed to serve Him, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” explains Mark. “But the first time I ever heard his voice, He said, ‘Sing for me. Sing for me and tell them what I have done for you.’” Mark went home and vowed to God at that moment, he would only sing for the Lord and to the Lord for the rest of his life!
Mark has personally witnessed countless lives changed by God's miraclulous healing, deliverance and restoration through sharing his testimony, praying for the sick, and singing God's word. He has been preaching and singing the Word of God worldwide for over 24 years.
A Final Thought
On one of his latest ministry tours, Mark leaves us with these thoughts:
“Jesus is knocking on your door; He’s trying to tell you something.
You may not have a drug addiction,
you may not be literally dying, but;
You are going to die - It’s Not too late
God still loves you - Come back to Him
and He will give you new life; a new freedom in Jesus.”