Jess French - Cherokee - Full Story
Hello, my name is Jess French, and Iím a Cherokee Indian, and I live in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
I was a night club entertainer for fifteen years, and I was raised up around music. All of my ancestors were musicians, and at an early age, about twelve years old, I got interested in music, playing the guitar. But, not knowing God, my music led me down the road of night clubs and bars, and for fifteen years thatís what I did every weekend.
And it started out that I was enjoying it and enjoyed the attention, the money, the partying. At the beginning it was really fun, but after several years, fifteen years of that kind of life and whatís involved in night club entertainment, drugs and alcohol, I became, I got addictive to those drugs and alcohol, and it wasnít fun anymore. And also, because of my lifestyle, it created problems with my family. My wife and I had two children at the time, and my life revolved around me, my music, and I would leave home on Friday evening to travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma because thatís where I did most of my entertaining.
Iíd be gone for three or four days, living like a single man when I got out of sight, and during the week, after I got home I didnít spend much time with my wife or children because I had been up for so many hours without sleep or rest, it would take me two or three days to recover. Then I would leave again, do the same thing over and over. And I was getting tired; I felt so empty, like a failure as a dad, failure as a husband, failure as a citizen cause I wasnít contributing anything to society except just bad.
And it wasnít fun anymore but I really didnít know what to do, because thatís the only life that I really knew, and then we were having so many problems with our relationship, I decided to move to Los Angeles, California, thinking that changing my location, environment, friends, start a new life, that was my idea of moving.
Just get away from everybody and everything, but soon as I got settled in, in Compton, California, it wasnít long that I found another bar with a band, and the whole process started over and over again.
And then, eventually we moved back to Oklahoma, and I was employed in a little town called Prague, Oklahoma about, oh, sixty miles from my house, a club called the Capri Club, and on a Friday evening just like other Friday evenings, I was setting up my sound system, wasnít thinking about God, wasnít thinking about church, those were the furthest thing from my mind, when a voice spoke to me and called me by my name, and He said, ĎJess, where would you go tonight if Jesus came?í
Iíd heard that Jesus was coming one day, I had the knowledge of God, believed in the existence of God, but for the first time, when I heard that voice, I thought about my relationship with God and accountability to Him for my actions, and I didnít think I would go to heaven if Jesus came, and it scared me, and I asked the bartender, whose name was Charles, and him and I were the only two in the building.
So I went to Charles, but I didnít tell him what was going on in my thoughts. I asked him to give me a straight shot of whiskey, and I always had the pills to make me high or low, so I went into the bathroom and took those two elements, and what I was trying to do, I was trying to forget that voice.
But periodically that voice would speak to me again, when I was alone and sick and tired and hung over. I didnít feel that anybody loved me, and several times I would contemplate on just hitting a bridge, killing myself, cause I wasnít a good person, wasnít a good husband, wasnít a good father.
I came in one morning from the club about four a.m. and I woke up at about eight and I wanted to go to church, and if there was a truth, if there was a God, I wanted Him to be real to me, and God said, ĎJess, youíve tried everything and you canít find it. Youíre still empty.í He said, ĎWhy donít you try me?í
So I started attending services Sunday morning, and the Sunday school and morning worship, learning about God and Jesus, and finally I learned that my problem was sin. I was born with a sinful nature and I was in bondage, and I learned that God loved me in spite of my behavior and conduct, and that He gave His only begotten Son named Jesus to die for me, and raised Him from the dead early Sunday morning, and if I would by faith be willing to turn my life over to Him, trusting only in His finished works on the cross, He would save me from my sins, He would give me new life.
I wanted to do that so bad, but I couldnít do it. I had some things hidden in my life, from my wife and other things, that if I did become a Christian that there was a possibility that I would lose my family, my wife, but I had to get right with the Lord; I had no peace in my soul, and so finally, after four months of listening to the Gospel I went forward even if I had to lose my wife and my children.
And if I did, I deserved it because of my life, but fortunately God allowed me to keep my family, and that morning, when I trusted in Jesus, I felt so clean inside. I had so much peace and joy, hope and love, and I had a purpose for my life and that was to serve God, and I serve Him today with my life in my community in telling others about Jesus through my music.
To share His wonderful love and forgiveness, and God has given me a new life in Christ.
You know the Bible says, ĎAll have sinned and come short of the glory of God; thereís none righteous, no not oneí and the Bible also says, Ďthat the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ.í
Itís not through baptism, because I was baptized at eleven years old, but my life was not changed. It was only when I admitted that I was a sinner and I was willing to accept Christ. The Bible says that, ĎJesus came unto His own but His own received Him not, but as many as received Him He gave them power to make them the children of God.í Also Jesus said, ĎIím the way, the truth and the life and no man can come to the Father but by me.í
And so the Lord says that, ĎIf we believe that Christ died and rose again, thou shalt be saved for with the heart man believes unto righteous and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.í So the Bible says, ĎFor whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.í
And itís so simple, it just admitting that youíre a sinner and that God loves you, and if you invite Him into your heart that He will forgive you, make you a new creature in Christ.
And I would encourage you to do that, because if we die in our sin without the Lord Jesus, the Bible says that God will have to judge us, because God is a just God, but He loves us through Jesus and He did something for us that we could not do for ourselves.