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.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)