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Jack Thoemke

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I'll begin with a little about myself. I was born in Chicago and baptised a Catholic as an infant. For the first 7 years of my life, I went to church. My relatives would go to church on Sunday and that evening play cards or dice for money and get drunk. Profanity, arguing and fighting was common place. I thought church was just something we did because it was the thing to do. The Priest talked some about God, talked in Latin and sang in English and Latin. On Wednesdays I would leave my public school and go to church school from 1 to 3 pm. Each time one of us got in trouble, the nun would make us lay our hand out on the desk and hit it across the knuckles with a pointer. It didn't take long for me to hate church. Please don't misunderstand me, I am not knocking Catholics, I'm just sharing my personal experience. As I got older (around 10 ) we began experimenting with cigarettes and beer. That was "cool". Then I tried smoking pot . By the time I was 15 years old, I was smoking cigarettes daily and drinking beer or anything else we could get a hold of as often as possible. I had taken LSD, downers, speed, heroin, and a wide variety of other chemicals and pills. I would inhale spray paint, parts cleaners, even gasoline. Anything to get high. From 15 to 33 years old, a week would not pass without me being high on something. By this time I was married with 3 children!! Let me backtrack here a little bit. My father was an alcoholic and he would spend most of his money in bars where he spent most of his time. I was the youngest of 4 children, 5 years younger than my closest brother. ( I had 2 brothers and 1 sister). My father was abusive to my brothers and my mother. They got divorced when I was 8 years old, I was too young and did everything perfect at home and at school to avoid any reason to get hit. When my father came home drunk, I stayed away from him. He died as a direct result of alcohol at age 56. My oldest brother died from alcohol (his liver) at the age of 43. I never really believed in God because of everything that happened in my life and all around me. I figured that when you died you just went into the ground. I went through several bouts of depression through those years and contiplated suicide on several occasions. In September of 1994 I quit drinking alcohol and smoking pot. Just lost the desire and stopped. I could not believe how easy it was. A friend of mine at work began to talk about God to me. I listened to him out of respect, but I didn't believe because I had a daughter that was still born in 1991. How could a God let something like that happen (I thought). January 1995, everything he was saying started to sound so right . It was all perfectly clear, then on january 10th I was saved!!!!!!!! At that point I knew that God had delivered me from drugs and drinking a couple months before to pre pare me for salvation!!!!! Then my friend (Jeff Brassard) gave me a bible, the first one I ever opened in my life!!! I've been thanking,praising,and living for God ever since!!!
Jack Thoemke



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