By Mark Ellis —
Shane “Little Mike” Reese grew up in Orange County, California, with mixed messages from two sides of his family. His mother’s side of the family were “solid”, but his father’s side had a felonious past.
“My dad’s side was pretty much all crime, biker lifestyle, drug deals, and questionable women,” he told God Reports.
Shane’s early life seemed promising, as he excelled in high school athletics. “I was a super jock and I ended up with a full-ride scholarship for shot-put, discus, and powerlifting. I was going to the Nationals in Arizona and I was shoo-in to win.”
However, a school official made a serious error with respect to Shane. “My athletic director gave me the wrong time to show up for the meet. I was unable to throw or compete or do anything,” he recounts.
When he returned home from Arizona, there were numerous messages on his answering machine, apologizing for the terrible mistake, but the damage was done. “My scholarships were athletic, and I failed to place in a national meet, so I got dropped from all my scholarships.”
He went to the last party of his senior year in high school feeling dejected. “I was in give-up mode, and there was some cocaine at the party. I thought, what the heck, I have nothing else to lose. So that’s where it started. That kicked off my career as a habitual drug user.”
He found an escape from the painful emotions connected with the sudden loss of a promising athletic future, and a downward spiral ensued. At 19, he was arrested in a Tower Records store for shoplifting and during the arrest, officers found drugs in his possession.
“I went to jail for the first time at age 19, which was a major shock to my family because I’d always been the jock, the athletic guy. They had really no idea what was going on behind the scenes after high school.”
From the age of 19 to 36 Shane was addicted and locked up, either in a penitentiary or county jail, for sales, multiple possessions, parole violations, weapons charges, and even an explosives charge.
“I was a workman for the devil, doing things that go along with the drug life and the people related to it: robbing, stealing, hurting. I was definitely working, and it wasn’t for God.”
He stayed high whether he was in jail or out of jail. He says drugs were readily available when he was incarcerated. “I was an IV drug user. So when you get to that level, there’s nothing off limits as far as what your conscience will let you do. I destroyed families, not only my own, but other people’s,” he admits.
One of his greatest regrets is that he injected a pregnant girl with drugs. “She was just like me, an IV drug user. Everything came second to the drug and getting high.
“The devil is strong,” he adds. “He lives in the lives of people that are out there on the streets and doing drugs, because it’s an easy place for him to land.”
At 36, Shane appeared before a judge who offered him the choice of another nine years in prison, or a 90-day rehab program. “That was an easy choice, so I went to the 90-day program, just to get parole and my family off my back and appease them for a little while. I had no real goal in mind of getting sober or getting clean or anything like that. It was just to get everybody off my back.”
In the rehab program at Cooper Fellowship in Santa Ana, California, Shane began a 12-step program, albeit half-heartedly. One day he attended a meeting with 200 people, and he felt the guest speaker skewer him with these words:
“Hey, stupid, you want to be happy? Go do what the happy people do.”
I don’t know any happy people, Shane thought, and he began to ponder the man’s words in his heart. “On Sundays, we were able to leave for a couple of hours to go see family or go to church. And I ran into a girlfriend of mine who said that this guy had beat her up and broke her finger and he goes to this church.”
“So I went to this church, not necessarily to find God, but to find this guy and give him what for. I wasn’t thinking that God is present at this place and there’s Christian people at this place. I was going there to hurt this guy.”
As Shane sat back in his seat and began to listen, Pastor “Freeway Pete” Cropsey, a former leader of the Vagos Motorcycle Club, delivered a message that penetrated Shane’s calloused heart.
When Freeeway Pete gave the invitation to follow Jesus, Shane came forward and surrendered his life to Jesus as his Lord and Savior and was born again.
“My dad was a biker and I wanted to be like my dad my whole life. And I got my wish. But one of the guys that he hung out with was this guy named Freeway Pete, who was the national Sergeant at Arms, for the Vagos 1% Outlaw Motorcycle Club. That means he was a real heavy hitter. If there’s any issues within the club, he’s the one that goes and handles it, however he needs to handle it, nationally, which is a very big deal.
“So lo and behold I go to this church (First Love Church in Costa Mesa, California), and there’s Freeway Pete — 30 years later — as a pastor of this church. His message landed home because he looked like me, he talked like me, was covered in tattoos, a biker, and he got his life right.
“From that day, in 2013, I have been saved and serving the Lord, living this amazing Christian life.”
Shane met his wife, Tina, in rehab. She got saved at First Love Church, and they were baptized together, “We’re still happily married today, seven years later.”
He marvels at the way his life has been transformed. “The most measurable change for me is the peace, the serenity, the true joy of this new life in Christ.”
Shane is currently the president of Christ’s Sons Motorcycle Club. “Ninety-eight percent of us have all walked the prison yards in Southern California, have been addicted, homeless, violent — we even have a former bomb maker.
“But we all did one thing different in our lives that changed our lives, and that was submit to God. That’s the only thing different we did that changed our entire lives.”
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