By Michael Ashcraft —
Matt Sinkhorn was seven when his mom slammed the door in the face of a woman witnessing about Jesus.
“If my parents don’t need Him, I don’t need Him,” he concluded, a rejection that stayed with him for two decades until he met the Christian military man.
Matt Sinkhorn was always a good student because his dad was a teacher at the same school where he and his twin brother attended. His cumulative high school GPA was 3.6.
He went to college to study anthropology because looking at bones purportedly millions of years old fascinated him. He believed in evolution. “I didn’t care if you believed in God,” he says. “I just knew that I was on my own.”
But when he got on his own — at college, he couldn’t handle the freedom. While his dad had been present at the school, there was accountability, with less peer pressure to try alcohol or drugs.
“I was a teacher’s son. They thought I was going to narc on them,” Matt says. “They pushed me aside.”
But at college he tried weed and later dropped acid. Soon he was skipping classes. After two years, he had lost weight and flunked out of college and was forced to return home. His twin, attending another college, did the same.
“When there were no parents around, it was like, ‘Wow this is amazing. We can do whatever we want,’” he says.
Getting kicked out of college was a shocker. “I had never not been good at school,” he admits. “My mom freaked out.”
But he didn’t mend his ways. Instead, he got a job as a busboy earning minimum wage and continued drinking.
Eventually, both boys figured they were too much of a burden to their parents and so they joined the Air Force, where they continued partying unabated. Matt cycled through a failed marriage in New Jersey before shipping out to Korea, where the hedonism knew no bounds.
By age 28, he was in England hanging out with airmen almost half his age. His life had become monotonous.
That’s when Mark Stoneburner, an older gentleman from Navigator’s, showed up in the Air Force dorms. Matt somehow knew the book in his hand was a Bible, but what took him aback was the visitor’s appearance.
“When I saw him, I actually saw that he was glowing,” Matt says. “There was this light that was inside of him. I said to my friend Elena, ‘Do you see him glowing?’”
Matt walked up to him and asked, “Why are you glowing right now? What’s going on?”
Mark chuckled, chatted and asked, “What’s your purpose in life?”
Matt knew the answer: “My purpose in life is to work to make money so that I can go to the store to buy food so that I can eat so that I can go to work.”
It was a facetious answer but reflected the aimless life of a person without God.
“That sounds kind of purposeless,” Mark replied.
As Matt thought it over, he realized his life was exactly that, insipid and purposeless.
The long and the short of it is they agreed to get together weekly to read the Bible. But Matt, from the time he saw his mom slam the door in the face of the nice lady talking about Jesus, was resistant to being proselytized.
“Do not try to push your junk on me,” Matt cautioned Mark. “As soon as I hear you saying, ‘You need to…,’ I’m going to walk away.”
They started reading the Gospels. After just a few times together, Matt had one persistent question, “Who wrote this?”
One thing was the command to forgive, feed and take care of your enemy.
“I was floored. The more I read, the more I realized the Bible couldn’t have been written by man. I was blown away. No man writes that. If the Bible was written by man, it would have been a big Christmas list,” Matt remembers. “Why would I feed my enemy? I don’t get that. Who would write that? It is 100% impossible that people wrote this.”
The creeping realization was that the Bible could only have been written by God. It had 66 different books, penned by 40 different authors, over 1400 years, from Iran to Rome, and yet they all agree and point to the need for the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The truth was suddenly dawning on him. So one night on Cromer Beach, with a beer in his hand, Matt reviewed his life and everything he had learned from the Bible and came to an inevitable conclusion.
“It’s now or never,” he told himself. “You’ve done enough reading to know that you have created your own version of God and you don’t know the real God who made you.
“I realized that if I died, I wouldn’t be with Him.”
Outside of God, he recognized everything was meaningless. “I was educated. I could get the girls. I could make people laugh,” Matt remembers. “But I knew all that was temporary. I knew I was going to die one day.”
So he pleaded with God.
“Lord, I want to give you my life. I don’t have all the answers, but I don’t want to go back to what I was.”
The power of the Word and the Spirit fell upon him and he was born again.
Back in the United States, he was stationed in Lancaster, CA., where he got involved in the Potter’s House church, where he grew in the Lord, broke his addiction to cigarettes, went regularly on outreach and met his wife, Esmeralda.
After a few years, he was ordained as a pastor and pioneered two churches, one in Sylmar, CA, and another in Santa Clarita, CA. Today he is an assistant pastor at the Potter’s House in Palmdale, CA.
The writer, Michael Ashcraft, also is a Christian financial professional, helping people with life insurance, retirement planning, debt elimination, tax strategies and rollovers in California.