His only pass to skip church was during moon visit

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By Mark Ellis –

Jon Jackson at Miraleste High School in Southern California

Jon Jackson grew up in a family where church attendance was mandatory. The only time he was allowed to miss the Sunday evening service coincided with the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

“I’m one of eight kids, and my parents saw to it that the Jackson family went to church, Sunday morning and evening, and then on Wednesday night, we had to go.”

July 21, 1969 was Jon’s first valid excuse to miss church. “Neil Armstrong was making his big (first) step on the moon. I told my dad, ‘This is historic; we can’t go to church tonight.’”

Jon admits he didn’t really care about Armstrong stepping on the moon. “I just didn’t want to go to church, so I talked my dad into that.” Jon and his dad stayed home, while his mom took his six sisters to church.

His indifference to God began to gnaw at him. “I don’t know how many times I prayed some sort of a prayer to become a Christian,” he recounts. He questioned his own salvation because there was no change in his behavior.

During high school in Rancho Palos Verdes, California he got interested in sports. “I started running around with some of the guys. Dad knew I was out drinking, and he came to me one night when I came home drunk and said, ‘Don’t do it again.’

Jon with friend Steve Barrett. They won state wrestling championship in high school

“I had gone the way of the world, pursuing whatever I wanted to do. And I remember I was very rebellious.”

One day during spring training he pushed one of his coaches in the high school swimming pool. “I wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box. He had his wallet in his pocket. When he got out he was madder than a hornet.”

Jon was kicked off the football team because of the incident.

“My life was spiraling down. A number of times I was out drinking and driving. My life was getting out of control. I did whatever I wanted to do. Everything was falling apart.”

One night at the end of his junior year he came home drunk and a spirit of repentance fell on him. I’m going nowhere…I’m a wretched sinner, he thought.

He fell to his knees and began to weep, confessing his sins to God.

In this moment of surrender to Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, he was born again. “I didn’t have a vision. I didn’t hear a voice from God, but God changed my life. I went from being a jerk and having to get the last word in…it was a transformation.”

Suddenly he had the desire to read his Bible, pray, tell others about Christ, and get involved in his church.

“It shocked my parents because all of a sudden, here’s this little drinker that was reading his Bible.”

His friends couldn’t believe it. “My buddies said ‘you’ll be out drinking with us soon, you’ll be back with us.’

“And I never did.”

 

To learn more about a personal relationship with God, go here

A recent photo of Jon with his wife

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