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 continue with Jack’s wonderful testimony. [Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]
Jack Hollingsworth: During those drunken, hate-filled years, I supported myself on the streets by digging out of garbage cans and stealing. Today, I tell folks that it’s easy to feed me good food because I’ve got something awful to compare it to. I ate out of garbage cans and dumpsters. I’d beg. I’d steal. It didn’t matter. When the police would pick me up and put me in jail, well, that was a relief. Finally, some good food!
I remember actually stealing from a guy who was just trying to help me out. It happened in Texas, as a matter of fact. I was running from life. I was running from God. Then I came across this old gentlemen who was sitting on a porch of an old country store. I went in, and since I actually had a little change at the time, I bought some beer. Another tramp was traveling along with me at the time.
The shop owner looked us up and down and said, “You boys look like you’re kind of road weary and tired. Would you like to rest awhile?” We immediately answered, “Sure!” And so, the owner put us up in a trailer that he had been working on. After he set us up nicely in the trailer, he notified us that he had some things he needed to get done. So, he said, “You boys make yourselves at home. Clean up. Take a nap and get some rest.” And he drove off.
It wasn’t long before we noticed the place was full of power tools. Also, there was a big can of change in there — a big three or four pound coffee can just full of change. The can must have had a hundred dollars stored in it. The man owned saws, drills, hammers, and other expensive power tools. We both looked around the room and I proposed, “Man, you know something? We can take this stuff and make a whole bunch of money out of it.” He agreed, so we grabbed as much as we could haul and left.
To my shame, despite the fact this man had befriended me, at the time he didn’t matter to me. I was a people user. I didn’t care about that man, or anybody else, for that matter.
No sooner had we gotten down the road when I looked back and was startled to see the shop owner pulling into his driveway. Oh, I knew we were in trouble now! The Texas State Troopers were all over us in no time flat. The owner walked down to where the Troopers had us handcuffed. I was shaking, so afraid I was a goner. You just don’t steal from somebody in Texas and not expect you’ll get shot. I knew that fact.
Well, the strangest thing happened. I don’t know why, but that old gentleman came up to those State Troopers and he ordered, “Let these boys go. All I want is my stuff back.” The Troopers replied, “No, we’ve got them dead to rights. You don’t have to press charges for us to arrest them in this state because we’ve caught them with stolen property.” Then the cops asked the shop owner, “Is this your property?” He had to reply, “Yes.” So the Troopers exclaimed, “Then, we’ve got them good!”
The old gentleman didn’t give up. He took the Troopers off to the side of the road a ways and he talked a long time with them. Somehow he convinced the Law to turn us loose. I don’t know how he did it, or especially why. I now know he showed me mercy and forgiveness.
Before I came to meet the Lord, I thought I’d hurry up the meeting by deciding one night to commit suicide. I actually jumped off a bridge one time. I missed the river! The mud on the bank where I’d fallen flat had cushioned my fall. That shows how successful all my plans were. My best thinking, my best planning, and I couldn’t even kill myself right.
Another time I attempted to kill myself was while I was on the run and ended up in Lexington, Kentucky. I carried a couple of dollars in my pocket, so I went into a little store and bought two bottles of rubbing alcohol and a Mountain Dew. I’d mix the two and guzzle the concoction all down. It’d either kill me, or it would just fry me to a vegetative state. By that point, I just didn’t care.
Before drinking the vile brew, I crawled under an old truck in a parking lot and began drinking the rubbing alcohol. Oh, it was horrible! I can remember the awful taste to this very day. I kept passing out, but I kept waking up. I just couldn’t die.
The next morning when I woke up, I was so sick that I had turned a sickish green. I stumbled around town in agony. That’s when I stumbled aimlessly into the only non-medical detox center, the only one within a hundred miles of Lexington.
In the third and last part of Jack’s testimony about how he was transformed from a homeless drunk into a preacher for Christ, Jack shares how God and little Yankee girl’s love changed his life.