Did the title grab you? I hope so because confession & pastor don’t usually go in the same sentence when really I think they should. The world isn’t looking for people who pretend they’re perfect, but imperfect ones who reflect a perfect and gracious God.
My story starts off pretty cliché but, keep reading, it takes an interesting swerve. I’ve been in Church since the moment I was born. I’m a pastor’s kid; I did all the right things, said all the right things, knew all the right things. I had fantastic parents, a great upbringing and an amazing Church family. But that wasn’t enough. I didn’t know God. I simply knew about him. I knew the stories, but I didn’t know Him personally.
So at 15 I started partying, drinking & doing a whole lot of silly things. I was lost and trying to find fulfillment in anything that offered it.
See that’s the thing, you don’t know WHO you are, until you discover WHOSE you are.
During those years I often wondered if Jesus still loved me and if He still cared. I was certain He thought I was dirty, but now I realise I was the one who thought that. He actually loved me unconditionally and missed me like crazy.
I continued down a path of self-destruction and brokenness. Now I’m going to get super-honest with you in this bit. Which I am fine with and you should be too. Because believe it or not, nothing is too bad or broken for Him. His love reaches beyond any choice we’ve made and wraps us up in His arms of grace.
So I was at a sleepover one night and I was exposed to pornography for the first time.
This would have never happened at home as my parents were hawks when it came to TV and the internet. I was disgusted at first but also intrigued. What ensued was a 4-year struggle with porn. It was a cycle of depression, guilt & shame. See in my life, the big trap of the enemy wasn’t real life sex or drugs or money. It was a deep seeded porn addiction (we are talking 3–5 times a day) that completely controlled my life. It was like a prison that I couldn’t escape from no matter how hard I tried. I felt so ashamed and unworthy.
I recommitted to God at 17 years old. I became a leader at youth. I preached. But I was still secretly battling. Then, just before I turned twenty, someone told me something that changed my life forever.
‘Fred, Jesus paid for this on the cross. You are now RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ Jesus. This desire is no longer you; it is not your master and you can tell it to leave.’
I mean I had heard that before, right? But this time it was different. I felt it pierce my spirit that I could be free and so began my journey to freedom. My journey of letting Jesus fight for me. Practically I still had accountability partners, I still had a mentor, but this time I was leaning into grace. Tapping into His strength and ability not my own.
Before my identity was in being a pastor’s kid, then it was being the party guy, then it was being a youth leader & a preacher but…
…now it’s being a SON, and REALISING that’s all I ever need to be.
Young person, you must believe that the gift of grace is so much stronger than the tug of temptation.
I am now 25, I am a founding pastor at Kingdom Culture Church, I am married to the most beautiful woman who I love dearly, I serve in a thriving Church that is expanding & growing. I get to preach all over the world & see Jesus move in amazing ways.
To quote my friend Chris Hodgemen, ‘The freedom in Jesus is ridiculous.’
I want to tell you that life in His grace is actually amazing and you can truly be free (not fake free, but completely free in His mercy and grace). Don’t hide what you’re going through (whatever that may be)—tell someone and bring it into light. The enemy has no power in the light, only in the darkness. There is a bright future ahead for you.
God isn’t looking for superstars, He is looking for misfits who will say ‘yes’ to His scandalous grace and never ending love.