Just a quick reminder that our next Ox Strong guest speaker will be Matt Augustin on October 10th.
I’ll not send out another devo until the first week in October…enjoy taking your time viewing and or reading through Bob’s challenge to us.
Practicing His Presence,
Ox Strong met as a group on 9-12-20. We had 29 men present and one new attendee. We feel so blessed to have had such a large attendance during such crazy times. Bob did a fabulous job presenting his life story. I did my best to jot down some of the main points below, but do feel free to watch the challenge he presented to us…it’s on the link I’ve provided for you.
Also, feel free to look up or email Bob with any further information or questions at www.livegodnow.org, or email@example.com. He's an excellent speaker and he has an amazing gospel experience. He'd be a good one to consider speaking to your schools, churches, teams and or FCA huddles. Would love to hear everyone’s opinion of him coming back to Central Park to speak to our teens sometime next year…they’d be floored after hearing his story.
Guest Speaker: Bob Colquhoun
Ox Strong Video Link: https://youtu.be/rqL4CXTxJUo
His story can also be read on CBN on this link https://www1.cbn.com/700club/rocker-becomes-radical-voice-god
Once again I’m reminded of the old Hymn…Blessed Assurance…(The chorus lyrics include: “this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long”).
Each of us has a story…that’s what the gospel is ALL about. Where He’s brought you from and to. A story that should be so easy and exciting to share with others, because it’s your story – your praise Him story. Below is a story, a true gospel story…and a reminder as to where God’s brought Bob from and to. No doubt he’s praising his Savior all the day long – all because of His grace.
First, let’s consider this gospel story as an example from God’s word (never hurts taking some time to read God’s word and gaining something from it)…notice what Jesus wanted the healed demonic man to do with his story. And then take some time and pray…consider what He’d have you to do with your story. This is what I love and enjoy about Ox Strong…getting to hear everyone’s gospel story. Each one is different, unique, and yet glorious.
Mark 5:1-20 (ESV) Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon
5 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
Here are the notes that I jotted down as Bob spoke...
Bob was the youngest of 3. He was born in Germany, and raised in a military family.
He always viewed his mom as a strong believer in Christ. (Keep 2 Timothy 1:5 in mind). She had a huge impact on him as a follower of Christ and as a musician. She began voice lessons with him from the age of 5/6. He grew up singing in the church choir. Everyone would have thought that from the outside he was the finest of Christian young men.
His dad on the other hand was the meanest man he’d ever met in his life…no hugs, no handshakes, no “I love you’s.” Because of being raised in a military family, Bob spent most of his childhood constantly moving. In 6th grade Bob's dad retired from the military and got a job with Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, IA. Due to moving so often Bob never received a strong education, and never really had an opportunity to develop strong relationships either. Everything began to change in his 7th grade year. He wanted to make friends and most of his friends played sports. So he too tried sports, but ended up quitting most of them. Along with quitting came the loss of several of his friends...they no longer had much in common with each other once sports was taken out of the equation. A pattern was surfacing in his life...an attitude of quitting. It wasn't until late in High School where he discovered that swimming had become his niche. He became so good at swimming. In fact, he graduated in 1980 as a State Champ and a recipient of scholarships in music and swimming – he thought his future was set.
One night Bob was invited to a party. While at the party a couple of highly respectable classmates introduced him to marijuana. He wanted to fit in so bad that he took the joint, tried it, and was instantly hooked. Bob gave up the scholarships, education, everything he knew, and moved to Florida to pursue music and to join a rock band (the band was named Hurricane)…and life went crazy as he began “chasing the dream.” All that mattered to Bob was partying and cocaine. Drugs had such an impact on him that he'd go days without sleep.
He did end up signing a contract with New Yorker Kenny Ketcham in 1984. Just like we read in Romans 1:24...God gave him over to the desires of his heart. Bob got his contract in Rock music and he'd developed quite the reputation as a drug dealer...clientele and business were booming. But God intervened...trying to get his attention, He made it possible for Bob to sell drugs to a cop in 1982. Along with that situation came struggles internally within the band...a band that was financed by drug dealers in Florida. Kenny, along with heavy drug dealers from FL., made it possible for the band to perform and travel along much of the east coast. While on probation, Bob received permission to travel out of state with the band. While touring Bob rode with one of his buddies from Pennsylvania to New York. What Bob didn't know was that his buddy had 10 pounds of pot in the trunk. Bob told the cop that he had no idea it was there, and that he came up from FL to perform with his band. The cop wanted proof...so he had Bob sing for him on the side of the road. The cop believed him and sent Bob on his way. But in the grand scheme of things the trip as a band ending up being a bust. Band members were dispersing and going their own way. They’d heard what was happening to Bob and they also were receiving grief from their girlfriends…they wanted them home in FL. So Bob’s band didn't end up performing at the venue they were scheduled for...this was the same concert Bon Jovi attended and ended up signing Cinderella to a world tour that very same night (Cinderella was the band Kenny had to replace Bob’s band with that night).
Bob left the Northeast and came back to Florida. Broke and needing money…he came to find himself once again selling nickel and dime drugs on Cocoa Beach. He joined a new band since his other one dismembered, and at the same time became close friends with the President of a serious biker club. The trust between the two was mutual. They recruited him and put him in charge of selling cocaine for them. The VP of the biker club wanted Bob to sell for them since he knew so many contacts, but he gave him one rule to follow..."Don't ever mess with my money…messing with my money is the same as messing with my family…you mess with my money and family and I’ll kill you." Shortly after that conversation there were several nights in a row of partying with the President of the biker club. While partying together, the President asked Bob for the money he owed him, so Bob paid him. Unfortunately for Bob there was no communication between the President and the VP, which led to Bob receiving a good pistol whipping from the VP in his own bedroom. While pistol whipping him, they had him on the floor, poured gasoline over him and threatened to light him on fire. Bob explained to the VP where the money was, so they cleaned him up and went to the President’s house to verify his story. After the VP and President discussed the situation…not seeing eye to eye on it, the President returned to Bob and the advice he gave him was to “leave the state of Florida or they'll kill you.” He gave Bob a bunch of cash and sent him on his way. Bob was dating a topless dancer at the time (she wasn't in it for the drugs, in fact she hated what Bob did with drugs...she was in her profession for the sole purpose of financially making ends meet / surviving…she was originally from AZ), and the two of them made their way out of FL.
They left Florida and moved to El Paso, TX. She was able to find a job at a club there, and once again he was able to sniff out and find a drug contact. Back to selling cocaine as a career. He'd gotten his girlfriend pregnant...she was three months short of carrying full term when she experienced some complications that led her to having to go to the hospital. Bob was so high on drugs at the time and paranoid that if he went with her into the hospital that he'd get arrested and sent to prison...so Bob didn't go into the hospital, he just dropped her off there. During her visit she gave birth to their son...Bob missed it. Being 3 months premature, the doctors didn't give his son much of a chance at survival. Bob showed up two days later and the Doctor’s told him to not get his hopes up…there’s no chance of survival. This led to Bob finding his way to the hospital chapel. He prayed to God and pleaded with Him to not take his son. And if He didn't take his son, then he'd quit his worldly lifestyle. For 12 weeks Bob visited his son every day, and for 12 weeks he continued his pleading with God. God answered his prayers and allowed his son to survive…God is good all the time. Not just only did his son survive, but his son also experienced no continued lifelong complications (nerve / brain damage…in fact, his son grew up to be brilliant). As soon as his son was well enough to travel, Bob brought his son and girlfriend back to Cedar Rapids, IA. After a week of tests by the University of Iowa doctors…he found out from them that his son was perfectly fine. Not too long after he’d received that news he moved him and his family to Phoenix, AZ…her home state, and they stayed at her mom’s house.
One night Bob told his wife that he needed a hit, so he asked her to show him the nightlife of Phoenix. Bob ended up spontaneously performing some Led Zeppelin songs at the Hammerheads Bar in Tempe and the band Trilogy ended up hiring him on the spot that night. “Sorry God...you saved my son, but it's back to Rock-n-Roll.” Not only did he rejoin a rock band, but he was also introduced to a new drug that changed his life forever...crystal meth. He was hooked after the first line. This drug kept him up for days and gave him lots of energy and insanity. Crystal Meth was first experienced by Adolf Hitler. His scientists created this drug. Hitler would have administered to his soldiers...it enrages one's brain and keeps them up for days.
One night Bob was invited to a party by a clean-cut GQ-looking kind of guy…this individual attended several of Trilogy’s concerts and he ended up approaching Bob. He invited Bob to his house for a party…he was there for a few days. This same guy offered to finance his new band called Devonshire. Bob was once again chasing a record deal. The bass player, named Kerry, in the band was a quiet dude and for some reason he intrigued Bob. One night Kerry invited Bob to his house and took him to one of the rooms inside his house. A room that included witchery and the Devil's Bible – Kerry was a living, breathing, practicing warlock. This stuff he was into was just as real as the Bible. Regardless of growing up in Christianity, Bob was intrigued and ended up spending every minute with Kerry – Bob served as his guinea pig with the potions, altars and such, etc. The demonic presence was so smooth (Genesis 3:1)...it took over Bob’s mind and heart before he knew/realized it – he was trapped. So much so that it consumed his thoughts, way of dressing, and lyrics. Bob was told by the Devonshire Manager that his wife and kids were holding him back, so he gave in to the promises of the manager and gave up everything – and didn't look back – moved in with the manager. He lived there rent-free and got all the meth he ever wanted. He started living ten times worse than he ever thought he could live (Luke 15:11-32). He began selling meth to big shots. The lure of the money and moving product was insane...a rush. He felt so powerful. Each of his buyers were his puppets.
He got tired of people owing him and tired of trying to track down their money. What he came to find out is that AZ has a right to own and carry firearms. He became obsessed with weapons…obsessed with shooting out in the dessert, money spent on ammunition, etc. One night his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend showed up at a party...the ex was asking for meth when he was already tripping on acid. Bob refused and told him to come back when he wasn’t high. Shortly after the ex left the house Bob heard a noise outside. The ex was smashing car windows in with a bat. As the ex was driving away, Bob began shooting at him, but by God's grace he didn't kill him. Bob was becoming crazy and out of control. He was losing friends quickly – no one wanted to hang out with him, because he just started shooting at everybody all the time – would just start shooting at the drop of a hat. Bob was constantly living on a paranoia edge…pulling a gun out on anyone just for even looking at him funny. It didn't take much for him to pull out his gun. Life became all about guns, toys, money, drugs and women. Many nights he’d cry himself to sleep and wonder...why am I so lost / so empty? So one night at a shooting range with his buddies in AZ, he walked back to his vehicle to reload his gun. He put a gun to his own head and fired. The pressure of the shot pushed his hand back and the gun up...he missed (better yet, we know that God grabbed the gun and fired it straight up in the air…He wasn’t done with Bob’s story just yet). The bullet went above his head. His life was so incomplete. His highs were like no other (10 foot tall and bulletproof), but his reality / his lows were empty and miserable. He became the dad that never spent time with his kids…never followed through with his promises to his kids.
Bob was in and out of prison...imprisoned for anything and everything (paraphernalia, forgery, 55K in stolen checks, etc.). For the third time Bob ended up in front of the same judge for the same thing…driving on no insurance. The judge sent him off to county jail for 180 days...there was nothing that was going to get him out of this situation. The jail only provided the Discovery Channel and Christian music. [Still see God at work in his story?] Bob was able to cut his prison time in half by doing work within the prison…a two-for-one…so he worked in the kitchen and shaved his sentence to 90 days in prison.
He recalls in September of 1995, while high on cocaine and meth, praying to Satan. Bob was ready to sell his soul / a hundred percent / all-in to the Devil (Mathew 16:26). All he wanted was to be a rock star and that’s what he asked Satan to fulfill in his life.
Bob was staying at his manager’s house when he was released from prison. The same day he was released from prison his crime buddy called him and said he’ll be by to pick him up from his manager’s house. What Bob didn’t know is that he picked him up in a stolen vehicle. Immediately, Bob was taken right back into a holding cell…held there for five hours. Bob pled not guilty, but it didn't matter...guilty by association, and his friend told the police the Bob was actually the one who stole the car. For the first time his brother back in Cedar Rapids was unwilling to bail him out…he told Bod that he was on his own. So Bob called his dad to get him out of this one once again. His dad told him to call him back the next day…his dad needed time to see what he could figure out. He called his dad back and his dad told him that he's in big trouble, and not getting out of it. Bob's heart sank as he heard that news. His court date was nine months out so Bob called his mom and asked her to send him a bible and some good bible study books…he needed to figure this out (2 Timothy 4:13). Initially he wanted to disprove the Bible and his mom’s faith. A book was recommended to him by the librarian in prison…it was entitled More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, a 68 page book. Bob found out that Josh was on a mission to prove that the Bible was wrong…Bob could relate with this mission. But what happened is that Josh and his other colleagues ended up proving Christianity to be real by the use of historical fact, which led to Josh getting saved (crossing the faith line / accepting Christ as Savior / becoming a believer).
Bob’s study time was getting him back on track. He was diving into studying the word, leading Bible studies and leading other men to the Lord...all while in prison.
Bob made the mistake of taking the stand in his own trial…he was just hoping to let the jury know that this was all a misunderstanding (in the wrong place at the wrong time). The prosecuting attorney thanked him for taking the stand, because the state of AZ had been doing a three and a half year investigation on him of all his comings and goings. They had pictures of all his drug deals. They had been following him everywhere. The head of the Mesa drug task force told Bob they didn’t stop him the first time. Why? Because he said that following him was like a kid in a candy story…Bob had led them to hundreds of drug dealers. Once the jury heard Bob’s history they immediately found him guilty. Since he was found guilty he had to spend 7 and a half years in prison. He was at rock bottom. He thought he was going to die…that’s where his mind was going. A government official came and interviewed Bob to see which prison he would be heading to and what they would determine about him. She told Bob that the state of AZ has classified him as a danger to society and they’re sentencing him to a lifers yard. He thought he was dead…to be in the same prison alongside the worst of the worst…murderers and rapists, really? While in prison he met a gentleman by the name of Keith White. Keith was in prison / doing life for murder. Bob asked Keith one day how he could be so happy. Keith replied, “because Jesus Christ is Lord of my life,” (Acts 8:26-40...like going into the desert to lead an Ethiopian Eunuch to the Lord). So for three and a half years Bob was mentored by Keith…Bob was so hungry for the word…he wanted to know it inside and out.
Bob eventually made his way down to a minimum yard and his parents came to visit him once or twice a year. During those visits it was more conversations with his mom while his dad kept his distance from him. During the summer of 2000 Bob's parents made a trip to the Holy Land. Bob found out that his dad received Christ as his Savior and then was baptized in the Jordan River while on this trip. And in October of 2000 his dad came to visit him in prison. For the first time in Bob’s life his dad held him. He told Bob he loved him. They wept together. God changed both he and his dad. His dad was excited about the possibilities of all they could do together once Bob was released from prison. Bob shared how he kept a journal every day in prison…he compiled seven books called Letters to God. He’d write about how he viewed his life outside of prison…all that he dreamed of doing was being with his dad once he was released – going fishing, having bible studies, and just being in a relationship with each other…a relationship based on Jesus.
But in February of 2001 Bob's counselor let him know that his dad had just suffered an aneurysm back in Cedar Rapids and only had hours to live…God kept him alive for longer than that. They soon discovered that 65% of his dad’s body was covered with cancer. Doctors gave him 6 months to live...but Bob had 10 months left to serve in prison. So his dad came to visit him in prison in AZ in June for the last time while here on this earth. He recalls walking across the yard angry at God, Bob became pissed...telling God he’d done all that He’d asked, in fact Bob reminded God how he had put his life on the line for Him in prison while witnessing to all races, colors, etc. So how could God do this to him? He just wanted to get out and be with his dad. When his dad came to visit him in June his dad was witnessing to others at the prison Bob was in…and telling them how God saved his life so he could come visit his son one more time. Bob just remembers punishing himself so much…thinking, this is what his sin had done…listen, sin has consequences (Numbers 32:23). Bob was suffering daily because of his past choices. The joy that overrides that suffering now is knowing where his dad is at, and knowing that one day they’ll be reunited in heaven once again.
Bob found out that the day before his dad passed away...his dad’s last request was to ride the city bus to see Cedar Rapids (his beloved city) and witness to passengers / total strangers. He was a witness for the Lord all the way up to his day of death. Bob thought that “if someone on their death bed could do that, then what could someone like me do?”
Bob was finally released from prison on September 31, 2001…he was on fire for the Lord. He let God know that his heart was crying out for Him, and he knew that was reciprocated. Out of that was birthed M.H.C.O.F.Y.…my heart cries out for you. MHCOFY Ministry was Bob’s first ministry and it was founded on that prayer he had with the Lord.
A few scriptures that got him through difficult times were Jeremiah 29:11-13, and Psalm 61:1-3. Phrases such as, "Seek me with all your heart," and "My heart cries out for you" really stuck out to him and became imbedded in his mind.
Bob claims that his past is nothing to be flattered about. He says he was the lowest of the low (1 Timothy 1:15). He said he hurt so many people. Who he is today is a reflection of not what he can do, but what God did…what He’s done in and through his life.
Challenges to us from Bob:
- Seek God with all your heart.
- Love God with your whole heart...find ways to be so in love with Him. No matter what, treat God like the King He truly is. Be disciplined, obedient, and actively pursuing a loving a relationship with Him.
- John 1:1, 14a…In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
- Jesus is the Word, and the Word is Jesus...be in relationship/communion with Him on a daily basis. In order to have a true / in love relationship with Jesus Christ you must be in the Word every single day. Thriving relationships require communication…God longs to hear us call out to Him and for us to learn more about Him each day. Read God’s word. Research it. Find those gold nuggets. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you. He’ll light your fire if you allow Him to…it’ll burn brighter than you ever imagined. Ephesians 3:20
- You may have hurt so many people along the way, but look at what God can do and restore.
- Look for ways to show an act of kindness each day. Buy a meal for someone ordering in front of or behind you. Hebrews 13:2
- Want pure joy? Go share the love of God with someone you’ve never met before. Get out of your comfort zone and share the gospel with a stranger. Tell your story of what He's done in and through and you. Recognize the open door, remove the blinders, and don't hesitate to share Christ with others.
This is his story, and he loves to share it all the day long for His glory.
Be thankful for God's grace...As a loving Creator and Father, He's told each of us "NO" many times in our lives, and we may have not understood why in the moment…just know that by His grace…you may have no clue what He's protected you from…what stupid sin He’s prevented you from committing. Praising my Savior all the day long!
I had no chance, it’s too late now
Too far gone and too ashamed
To think that You’d still know my name
But love refused to let my story end that way” For the rest of the song lyrics
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter