By Editorial Staff
Published December 22, 2007
GAINESVILLE, FL (FR) – He was called the “beer boogieman” in the Florida beach community of Bradenton. Bill Gunter would run into convenience stores at night and steal two to three cases of beer, along with some potato chips. “I did this every night one summer until I got caught,” he admitted.
“I was on my way out of this one store with a couple of cases of beer. It was the sixth time that summer I had done this … and it was in broad daylight. Before I knew it, I was arrested and charged with petty larceny.”
When he was 15-years-old, Bill was well-known around town in the bar scene – and was well on his way to becoming an alcoholic. “I would be sleeping in class and all of a sudden I would get a craving for a beer. I was a borderline alcoholic and came to school stoned all the time.” He was 15-years-old when he was arrested for the first time. The second arrest came at age 16. That began what he called a “three-week fight” with his parents. “Then everything went downhill,” he said.
That alcoholism could have been nipped in the bud if he was checked into a Florida alcohol treatment rehab at that age.
Drugs and alcohol had been a part of Bill’s life since his childhood. He smoked his first joint when he was in the 5th grade. From marijuana, he went onto LSD, reds, valium and speed. Although he played football, he never trained or lifted weights, but stayed stoned most of the time. “My parents found pot and rolling papers in my laundry,” he added. “I smoked pot in my room, and pretty much did what I wanted to do because my parents were scared of me.”
Along with drugs, Bill also got into fights: “One night I beat up six guys and kicked in someone’s door. I went home and cried myself to sleep. I felt out of control because of my temper. I thought I was going crazy.” He would often “black out” after hitting the person the first few times. “One night I had a fight with this other guy, and I blacked out. I regained consciousness when they took him in the ambulance. My lips were busted and people told me that I kicked him. But I didn’t remember a thing.”
That year, Bill contracted pneumonia and went into the hospital with a 105 degree fever. While in the intensive care unit, a friend’s father brought a Bible for him to read. Bill began to read it through the ensuing years of drugs and violence.
The fights and drugs came to a climax during his senior year in high school when his friends would leave parties because he was there. “Everyone was afraid of Bill,” said Jim Smith, his best friend. “They would leave the party because of him. I told him I thought he was insane.” Bill began to get desperate: “People thought I was crazy, and I thought about suicide. One night I prayed, ‘Lord I need help.’”
A scholarship to play football at a major university was Bill’s dream. But if a scholarship didn’t work out, Bill had already planned his alternative occupation: to work with a cocaine dealer as a thug. “I was on my way to it already. I was hired once – I drove by and shot at a man’s house and broke his windows. I told the dealer that if I didn’t get a football scholarship, I wanted to work for him.”
Several scholarship offers did come, however. “I was committed to go to Miami University, but I changed my mind and decided to go to the University of Florida. I believe I was directed by God, even though I didn’t know it.” The month before he left for Gainesville, Bill pulled a gun on a man and told him, “I’m going to blow your brains out if you don’t quit messing around with my girlfriend.” Two girls jumped on him, and he beat them up. However, he says, “If it weren’t for them, I think I would have killed him.”
When Bill arrived at the University of Florida, his father had a stroke and went into the hospital. “My father was supposed to die,” he related. “I was really hurt because I remembered the way I treated him. I had never ever told him that I loved him. I got so sick that I could barely eat for a week.”
The emotional turmoil over his father’s illness, coupled with his own personal desperation, began to bring Bill to his knees. Two weeks later, he received a dinner invitation from a young man in the Maranatha Church at the University of Florida. After hearing about the love of Jesus, Bill became a Christian. “Out of the depths of my sin, God could answer my prayer!” he said. “And there was an automatic change. The Lord put me in the right place because I had worn out my welcome in hell. All I wanted to do was die.” After he became a Christian, he immediately returned to his dorm and shared with his best friend Jim.
“I flipped out when he told me he got saved,” admitted Jim. “I thought, ‘If God can change Bill, then He can change me.’” Before the day was over, Jim had also become a Christian.
A national racquetball champion, Jim said that he and Bill then decided to return to Bradenton for a visit: “People just sat there and shook their heads when we told them that we loved them and we loved Jesus! When we walked into the parties our friends would try to put a beer into our hands. But we always walked in with milk and would share with them about Jesus. Now they’re calling Bill a ‘Christian Weirdo,’ and expecting it to last no longer than a month. But I know it’s going to last for life.”
Today, Bill Gunter is a new man. Besides playing defensive tackle for the University of Florida Gators, he preaches open-air on the campus about the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. He tells students passing in front of the Turlington Hall classroom building, “I would have killed myself if I hadn’t found God. I praise the Lord for snatching me from hell!”
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Sports
Your comments are welcome!
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)