Boldly and without hindrance, he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
I couldn’t believe it! He was the coolest of the cool, onetime warlord of the most vicious gang that had ever roamed the streets of New York City, and he was coming to town. I had to see him!
I’d read his book. Well, at least part of it. I couldn’t get enough of the rumbles, the switchblades, and the blood, but when he started talking about God, I put the book down. I just wasn’t interested in hearing about salvation. But what I didn’t realize at thirteen years of age was that
God was interested in me. He had a plan for my life, and it began the day I picked up that book—Run Baby, Run.
“Nicky Cruz? He’s coming to town?”
Wild with anticipation I put on my denim jacket and boots. I slid a fake switchblade into my pocket and followed my sister downtown. The auditorium was packed. A feeling of intensity gripped the room. And then I saw him step to the podium. I gazed in amazement. He was everything I had imagined and more. Solid. Tough looking and scarred. I couldn’t believe I was actually looking at Nicky Cruz. He spoke of the ghetto, and of zip guns and chains and blood. And the excitement I’d felt when I’d first read his book hit me all over again. But as he shared the rest of his story I felt a deep yearning. Whatever that tough Puerto Rican kid had found after years of fighting and running from God—I wanted it.
“Jesus saved me,” Nicky exclaimed, “and he can save you too!”
The service drew to a close. Nicky gave the altar call. I inched forward with a hundred other people. I didn’t even know why. But then Nicky prayed and something remarkable happened to me, and since that moment my life has never been the same.
“Did you do it?” my sister asked me at the conclusion of the service. “Did you pray?”
“Nah,” I said, coolly shaking my head. “I just wanted to see what he looked like. He was cool!”
But I did do it—I bowed my head that night and prayed to receive Christ. So thank you, Nicky. God used you to ignite a fire in me. I thank God for your boldness. I thank God for you. You are still my hero. The coolest of the cool!
Have you met the Lord Jesus? Have you responded to his call? If not, don’t waste another day. Get down on your knees right now and invite Christ into your life. Take it from a man who knows—from a naïve teenaged boy who responded almost forty years ago—you’ll be glad you did.
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What are you doing to try to be cool?
by Pat Patterson
I am a paramedic, an educator, a family man, and an adventurer. I love life, and live to go fast. I used to race motorcycles, now I ride a mountain bike. I have sailed since I was nine, taken a million pictures, studied many topics, and bandaged a lot of people. I write about what I know. So if my stories are gritty, a little fast, colorful and full of adventure, it’s because I’ve been there, on the water, in the woods, and on the street, with dying people in my arms, and that has left a deep impression on my heart.