By: Carson McKell
My name is Carson McKell, born in Layton, UT in March of 1979. Most of my life, I grew up in Billings, MT and see myself as a very blessed child to be provided for my entire life. My father sacrificed much of his time with us to keep food on the table. My mother tried to the best of her ability to keep the house together while he was on the road. Although Jesus was never given the key to the house of my parents, we all should be thankful of how much He watched over us all through those years.
I was your average "Star Wars & Heman" kid, living in my little fantasyland for much of my childhood. Around the age of ten my life would take a turn I was not very fond of whether I was ready or not. Reality sets in for us all in life eventually, and this is the way it set in for me. What I am about to tell you is not to put my family to shame, but give you more of an understanding of what series of events took place that lead to where I am today. My parents were the hippy type, but they didn't seem to grow out of it so quickly, especially my mother. The details of my mother's drug problem were beginning to come out in the open. A lot is foggy to me, but the first recollection I had is of a journal she had to bare her feelings to a psychologist. Apparently she wrote of illegal relationships outside of my parents marriage over the last several years of that time. To make a long story short, my dad came across it.
I had to go and stay with my father's parents for awhile so my parents could take care of the issue. That time was the emptiest I had ever been up to that point in my life. Knowing my life would never be the same and eventually returning to a broken family, I cried myself to sleep almost every night I was there. It wasn't a huge life shattering experience, but it began to open my eyes to truth. My heart was hardened, losing confidence in my parents and their ability of keeping things together. When I had returned I found that my mother had begged to be taken back, and was accepted, although things never would be the way they were before.
I was pretty bitter toward my parents, and began to walk my own little paths of mischief. My parents sort of loosened the grip on me a little, frustrated with financial difficulties and so on. I thought I was so cool, being allowed to do things other kids weren't. Swearing around my parents, constantly talking back and never being effectively disciplined. Proverbs 13:24 says, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." No, they didn't hate me, but they didn't have the love of God in their hearts to raise me properly. My parents didn't just fall off the wagon. Their parents were not submitted to the Lord either, and I say this with confidence in knowing my grandparents. There may have been "religion," but I never saw relationships with the living God. I firmly believe this should be the thrust of one's life, especially if they bring a child into this world. What I am saying is, the frailty of their own way has been shown and can be clearly seen in the lives of their children.
In John 15:1-6, Jesus says, "I am the true
vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit
he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may
bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken
unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the
vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same
bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not
in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and
cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
Years had gone by. So did any feeling of unity in my family. Shortly after my parent's written divorce during my freshman year in high school, I started to explore the world of drugs. Marijuana on occasion at the beginning. For so long I had spoken against it, seeing with my own eyes what role it had in the corruption of our family. We had no good example set before us. We knew our parents still partied and used marijuana. I lived with my mother, who both smoked and provided weed for me. My dad, who got drunk every night and smoked an occasional joint, having the "do as I say, not as I do attitude." Our dad hated what was becoming of us kids. We were becoming what he was. He didn't understand how we all were being influenced by a curse on our lives. His father was a chain smoking, hard alcohol-drinking grouch. Exodus 20:5 says ... For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. In the light of this scripture, which is the Word of God, I took a look at myself and my family and began to see us all under what the scripture and bible refer to as a...generational curse.
At the same time, I was trying to be two people - playing basketball I was Mr. Jock who was just having a hard time because his family was splitting up - and Mr. Partier who hated the world. I didn't know it, but there was someone at the open gyms (basketball) that had an idea of what was going on in my life. Wade Sullivan was the new kid who played the same position as I did in basketball. At first I didn't like him, for reason of competition. We ended up having biology class together and started having good talks and laughed all the time. Before long, I considered him a friend and trusted what he had to say.
I will never forget one day I sat next to him on the bus going to Bozeman, Montana for a game. He was talking about Jesus, the end times, the rapture, and so on. A lot of it sounded far-fetched, but there was a deep realization that these things were real. My heart was struck with fear and I wanted to hear more. From this point on, Wade really began to press into me about Jesus, giving his testimony, and his struggles. He didn't just get into me, he related. One Saturday nearing the end of my sophomore year, he invited me to a meeting. People were talking about their struggles, also being honest and transparent about themselves. Not just like your average church, there was something deeper I was drawn to...The presence of JESUS. Then there was an altar call, I was prayed over and I had my first and strongest encounter with the Lord. I wept. Alive and full of energy. A new purpose for my life was introduced, one that would have me never view life the same again. Something inside me said this is the key to happiness and life. Little did I know I was going to receive major rejection from my family. Full of life and confidence, I shared my experience with my father. My dad's response was, "Don't talk to me about religion, I've seen it all, it will destroy relationships and build some also." This was a matter I trusted him on. So I eased off and took the mind set that I didn't need anything he didn't. Deep down I knew I was wrong and denied Jesus' knock on my door.
My junior year rolled around. And I began to roll...downhill in a destructive way. I let go of any moral standard or personal responsibility of my life. Taking LSD, and smoking dope everyday-all day. During this shameful time in my life, I found myself a girlfriend who was a 4.0 student and had a good outlook in life. It sounds odd to bring her up in my testimony, but I feel it is important be aware of what effect we have on peoples' lives. I would pervert the words of God to justify my pointless attitudes. I would preach and then have sex with her. I was a hypocrite. I have faith that Jesus will work a mighty work in her life and patch up the pathetic testimony she received from me. Nevertheless, I fear to see what would have happened if I didn't have true repentance in my heart for filling my lust at the expense of someone else's life. We men should really judge our motives towards women. Yes, women have their decision to make, but my position of being a man is the looking glass I'm speaking on.
So many of us ignore the fact that we will face Jesus and will be held accountable at the end of our lives. You wouldn't want someone messing with your daughter like she belonged to him. Marriage is a covenant between two people and the Lord. To have intimacy with no covenant is a destructive path and a sin unto death. You don't want to feel the wrath of God at the end of your life because you couldn't judge your lust. Jesus says in Matthew 5:27-28, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery in his heart already. I admit I struggle, but I chose to fight and judge with the strength Jesus has given me. He sees that, and I receive grace. Search your heart. After all, it's your soul, and whoever's soul you tango with. Through obeying the words of God, you will receive a love you never would have found in the flesh.
My life for the next two years would only get darker and
further from the Lord, and the pressure
of the kingdom of God was getting greater and greater, bringing me to the
realization that I had no future in the life I was choosing to lead. Let's go
back to the day I was first prayed for at the end of my sophomore year. I
was not filled with the Spirit, nor spoke in heavenly tongues (which has
happened when I was later filled with the Spirit) but I was born again. No matter how
hard I tried to fight it, that seed had been planted and I saw differently from
that day forth. There was conviction where there hadn't been before. That
conviction would only grow and my heart would only become heavier as I was in
the transition from a boy to a man. So in March of 1998, with as much as I knew
to give, I gave in to the Lord. I literally sold what I had and went with Gene
Sullivan and Jump for Jesus to Tonga for ministry that June. Being with this
team of men for the next two months gave me a good dose of the requirements God
has for men that will to serve Him.
I went back to Billings as scheduled and pondered which way to choose. I was still pretty selfish, not yet seeing the calling Jesus had on my life. At this time, Jump for Jesus had been in the final stages of leaving Montana for Ministry in the South Pacific, being based in Hawaii. Jump for Jesus would return for one last jump in Billings that August before the doors shut there for a while. Looking back, this is my "crossroads" milestone. I was invited to help out as part of the crew. As it turns out, it was a much bigger invitation than that. There was an altar call with the message being, "If you come up here, your life will not be yours anymore, it will be in the hands of Jesus." While being prayed for, I asked the Lord to make me a man of God. I'm not sure if I will ever see the fullness of what happened at that moment, but since then, there has been a confidence that I never had before. It gave me a purpose to live for. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6. That is all the more purpose any of us need. Through the grace and keeping of God, I will be a man of truth and walk in the way and life of Jesus.
In Feb. of 1999 I moved to Hawaii and into the family of God that I was called to. The scripture that best explains my new life in Jesus is Psalm 68:5-6, "A father of the fatherless and a judge of the widows is God in His holy habitation. He bringeth out the solitary in families, He bringeth out those which are bound in chains!" Without the family He has given me, I would not be the man I am today. Through the patience, love, and mercy the Lord has shown through His family, I have become a man of integrity...a man of God. Proverbs 25:4, "Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer." It doesn't happen by being alone. It happens by being around people with a common goal...that goal being, to know the living God, and to know what His calling is on your life.
I urge you to consider where your life is today. Of all the things in life that seem so important, for some reason this is one that gets pushed out of the way. This is the single most important decision you will ever make. So my question is...Are you prepared to meet the Lord? Will He say, "Depart from me, I never knew you." Matt. 7:23 Or will He say "Well done thou good and faithful servant." Matt. 25:21
If you would like to contact Carson, please click here.
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