He’s now known as the Pastor Chef, but before he was saved, this man nearly ruined his own life. This is the story of how God transformed him from a drug addict on the road to self-destruction, into a Pastor with a heart for the homeless. All he had to do was let God take charge.
He grew up a Catholic, but as an altar boy, got in trouble for drinking communion wine. He always had a passion for cooking, and quickly moved from a job at McDonalds to a chef’s apprenticeship.
In the fourth year of his apprenticeship, he represented Australia at the World Chef championships, and won three gold medals. When he returned home, he started to feel like a rock star. Overwhelmed by the pressures of being a celebrity and expectation, he soon turned to drugs, which were rife in his industry.
At 24, his career was looking up, and he was still functioning, but his addiction was spiralling out of control, and he knew in his heart that he was on the brink of disaster. His fiancé asked him to go to church with her so she could recommit her life to Jesus, and he agreed.
They saw Reach Out for Christ founder Dr Steve Ryder speak to a packed house, and the young chef didn’t take in any of it. But at the altar call, he joined his fiancé in the line to be saved, thinking “if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me”. But before his turn came, he collapsed to the ground, unconscious.
When he woke up, a man was sitting next to him. The stranger by his side had come to God recently, and escaped his own drug addiction. As the chef stood up, he saw himself completely different. Everything he’d previously believed in, suddenly meant nothing to him.
He started reading the Bible at the book of Revelation, and it made sense to him. Before he knew it, under God’s guidance, everything was changing. He gave up drugs forever that very day. He called off his engagement, left his band, shut down his catering business and enrolled in Bible college.
He made three deals with God that before Jesus came back, he would have gone through Bible college debt free, would find a wife, and become a father. He’d met his future wife before. She’d even been there when he was saved. But when his Senior Pastor gave him permission to ask her on a date, he knew it was the sign he’d been waiting for.
He’s now happily married, he has two beautiful daughters, and he is the pastor of a church with an amazing community outreach program, spreading love and bringing help to the homeless and the needy in Beenleigh. All this was possible, because he let God take the wheel.
“All my own passions and visions were mine,” he said. “And I just knew that if I’m in charge, then I’m going to mess it up. So I had to let that all go, and so allow God to move in those ways.”
When God transformed him, it was like a metamorphosis. In that half hour that he was lying unconscious on the church floor, he changed from caterpillar to butterfly. When friends tell him stories about his past before he knew Jesus, he feels like they’re talking about a different person. “I can’t even fathom myself thinking, or talking, or operating, or living life like that. And that’s from the day I got saved.”
“You don’t know God, but He knows you,” he said. “And He loves you dearly, and always has. I’ve been 24 years saved now. Beautiful wife, wonderful children, ended up pastoring a church. I would have never known the newness I have in my life today.”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV