Homeless Drunk Transformed Into Preacher For Christ (Part 3 of 3)
Jack Hollingsworth was a man who lived on the streets for 20 years in an alcoholic and drug haze, that is until he met the Lord Jesus Christ in 1988. His life was totally transformed by that encounter. Jack was so transformed that he became the founder of a Christian ministry called Acts 29 Ministry. He and his wife, Sally, began traveling the nation singing, teaching, preaching and counseling for Jesus.
Jack died suddenly and unexpectedly in November 2017. In a special tribute to their memory, we’ll conclude Jack’s wonderful testimony. [Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]
Jack Hollingsworth: At the detox center I met a very special person — a little 4’10” Yankee girl. At first I didn’t like her at all. Not one bit! Well, she wasn’t crazy about me either.
As soon as I came into the detox center, from the very beginning she said she knew I was somebody special to God. I just didn’t fit the preconceived mold. I was afraid to sleep at nights, so I always ended up in her office. Of course, I knew that was where the center kept the cigarettes and lighter. They didn’t turn them loose in the unit, so if I wanted to get cigarettes, I had to go to her office.
I would sit in there and talk with her about everything. She could tell I was very intellectual despite my poor schooling. She told me about my potential and I’d reply, “Yeah, if I could ever get out of the gutter, I’d show you my potential.” And so, we would talk and I went through the programs, but I still wasn’t saved.
I stayed at the Lexington detox center for a real good year. Though I worked my way through the rehab program, I craved getting drunk again. Well, that little lady announced to me that God was never going to allow me to be able to get drunk ever again. She said that’s what the Lord had told her to tell me. She called her speaking out as an act of faith.
For two whole weeks I tried to get drunk. I drunk and drunk and drunk, but never could get buzzed. God had indeed spoken to her, and so I was very afraid. So, late one night, I decided to just get up and leave. I was fixing to run away from God again. I was headed for the highway. But, I hesitated.
Defeated, on December 5th, 1988, I slunk back to the detox center and the little lady. On December 8th, about 3 o’ clock in the morning, I was sitting back in her office. The Lord had given her a Scripture all ready for me when I returned.
Sally had a little Bible that she’d carried with her since she was in the fifth grade. I tell you, she was weird! She had this Bible more years that I could have ever imagined anybody owning anything, and she just up and gives it to me to read.
I was sitting in a chair in her office, and she handed me her Bible. She’d opened it up to John 14:6. She ordered, “Jack, I want you to read this, and read it out loud.” I started reading what Jesus said. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Well, all of the sudden, something in my heart started breaking. For the first time in many, many years, I started crying. I just couldn’t help it. I wasn’t just crying, I was consumed by an uncontrollable weeping. In all that crying all I could say was, “Jesus, if there’s anything you can do for me, please help me.”
To be honest, I didn’t think God would really do anything for me. I’d been too far gone and done too many bad things. I was a sinner who had just gone too far and sinned too much, I thought.
I discovered the grace of God that night — the absolute, instantaneous, and miraculous love of God. He changed my life right then and there. It wasn’t a gradual change. God turned my life into a testimony to the fact that the Bible teaches over and over again that there is no sin so great, so black, or so terrible that could separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ. None at all!
After I got saved, God took me back to old places in order to show me what things He had done for me. The Lord showed me the truck I’d crawled under in order to drown myself to death in rubbing alcohol. He just took me back to where I could see it this time clear and upright. What I saw written on the side of that truck just blew my mind. It read “Salvation Army.” Right then and there the Lord spoke to me and said, “Son, don’t you know that you can’t crawl under salvation and die?”
Granted a Helpmate
The Lord had just started dealing with me once I accepted Jesus as Savior. He said in my heart, “Sally’s going to be your helpmate.” And I replied, “That’s fine Lord. She’s helped me a lot.” I didn’t like her at first, but by that time I had a great respect for her, and a grudging friendship. This attitude was forged over a period of two challenging years as I bounced back and forth in the detox center.
The Lord was still speaking to me after I got saved, telling me to get a job. And so I went and applied somewhere and actually got my first real job. I earned my way out of all the detox programs as well. And, while I was at work one day, I’d earned enough to purchase my very own Bible. I had gotten saved, so it’d become high time to read the Bible on my own.
I remember reading in Genesis that, “The Lord saw that it wasn’t fit for man to be alone, so he made Adam a helpmate.” That verse keyed me right there. I exclaimed, “No, no, no, not Sally, Lord!” But, He kept dealing with me, so I asked my boss one day after lunch if I could get off work early. I walked over to her house and I knocked on her door. Her voice called out, “Come in.” I entered her house and found her in her kitchen.
I blurted out, “God’s been dealing with me, and I think he’s been dealing with you, too. Are you ready to go and get married?” In her own little way, she stepped back from the kitchen sink, because she had been washing the dishes and she was kind of wet, and she answered, “No. But, if you give me a minute, I’ll change and then we’ll go get married.”
Transformed by His Love
If you could only see how far Jesus brought me from where I am today. Wow! Some people say God no longer performs miracles, but my life stands out as a testimony to the transformative power of Jesus Christ.
I married Sally in 1988, and in 1993 we founded a preaching and singing ministry called Acts 29 Ministry. For the next quarter century, we traveled all over America ministering for Jesus, sharing my testimony and Christ’s love.
God transformed a homeless drunk into a singing preacher for Christ. What can He transform you into?