I’ve just read a couple of books telling the stories of two men encountering Jesus in the midst of drug addiction.

One Step Beyond: One Man's Journey from Near Death to New LifeOne Step Beyond is the story of Gram Seed, a man from Middlesbrough who was written off by his family as his life spiralled out of control.  He was involved in shoplifting, football hooliganism and violence, alcoholism and drug addiction.  Two Christians got to know him when he was living on a bench and went to find him in hospital when he wasn’t there one night.  Gram was in a coma and the doctors were wanting to switch off the life support machine when the Christians found him.  He had been in a coma for six days but opened his eyes after they prayed.

Once an Addict is the story of Barry Woodward.  Brought up in Manchester, Barry drifted away from a good familyOnce an Addict: The Fascinating True Story of One Man's Escape from the Murky Drugs Underworld into drug dealing and heroin addiction.  It seems a surprisingly simple journey with stunning repercussions.  In and out of prison and different relationships he becomes an isolated figure, haunted by the vicious voices he hears everywhere he goes.  And then one day he meets a friendly man on a bus, a man who invites him to a church meeting the next time they meet.

Both men come to know Jesus in powerful encounters.  Their lives are transformed and now they both have thriving Christian ministries.  Both books are amazing reads.

I am drawn to stories like this of course – I spend a lot of my time with people who have overcome, or are overcoming, addictions to drugs or alcohol.  We do what we can, but what these men’s stories make clear is that only Jesus can truly transform lives in this way.  And Christians have a vital role in making Jesus known.  It may be by spending time with people in great need (as Christians did with Gram Seed) or it may be inviting someone you have only just met to a church meeting or alpha course (as Christians did with Barry Woodward) but we can all play a part in making Jesus known.

I highly recommend these books to you.  You will be challenged and amazed!