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"Jimmy Stiff" continued...

Tremendous growth and learning came in the years to follow as he dove into the Word. Jimmy had a good AM/FM radio in his work van, and he loved listening to pastors like Adrian Rogers, Tony Evans, and Charles Stanley. He also had the opportunity to learn much from one of his co-workers that was going to school to be a preacher. Jimmy tried several denominations from Baptist to Methodist to Catholic to non-denominational. These experiences and several mentors brought a lot to his spiritual maturity.

Different churches made Jimmy realize that denominations are just like name tags, and they are all going to fall off one day. Jimmy shares that he is not a fan of religion because it does not have enough Jesus. It is an unfortunate truth that imperfect and insincere people within churches often give Christianity a bad name. The gift of discernment is something that Jimmy feels God has given him where he can see those that are genuine or not. Seeing dishonest people in the church can be discouraging to many new believers, but it made Jimmy quickly realize that our relationship with Jesus is personal. It is not dependent upon the church or other people.

After leaving the band, Jimmy did not want anything to do with a guitar. One church he attended eventually roped him into playing bass for a few weekends. This temporary task turned into a year and a half of playing with the church. Jimmy appreciated it keeping him focused in serving the Lord rather than playing acoustic at local bars. The church kept him busy with sound and video work as well. Jimmy’s wife Jewel Renee Stiff led worship, and Jimmy eventually began playing guitar with her. Having their plate so full, the Stiff family found difficulty resting in the Lord. Churches can often pull their members into so many service roles that the individuals are not being fed, and they forget what it is to worship the Lord. At this point, Jimmy and his wife felt led to declare Kingdom things outside of the local church and go into the world.

One day, Jimmy’s wife told him that they should get a band together. This was not something he was interested in at that time, because he knew the baggage that would come with other individuals. Then out of the blue one day, a band happened. A local drummer called Jimmy to talk about golf. At one point in the conversation, Jimmy said “Imagine God watching a Slayer concert.” His friend replied “What? Why would He do that?” Jimmy continued, “Imagine God watching a Slayer concert because that drummer is the best drummer in the world. Now, imagine God saying ‘Hmm… When am I going to get some of that?’” “Whoa!” was the reply from this drummer. Jimmy said “That’s why I do what I do.”

Within a few days, the drummer called Jimmy back and said “Hey man, when can I start?” Jimmy didn’t even have a band for him to start in, but this turn of events eventually turned into the Christian rock band, Apprehended Ones. The band is what Jimmy describes as a cross between The Gaithers and Ronnie James Dio. Their unique style also gives them a unique ability to play different venues. The Gospel is being shared in churches and bars without compromise. Jimmy states that he feels called to pick and preach. “My guitar speaks, and when I speak, it might pick your nerves if it is something you don’t like!”

Apprehended Ones have had the opportunity to play many different stages, including The Cove, which is part of the Billy Graham Association. They are also heavily involved in the Freedom Biker Churches that are located all over the Southeast. These same biker churches really helped kick the band off. Church or beer joint, Apprehended Ones is always prepared to give 140%.

Concert goers often describe the immense feeling of God’s presence no matter what venue. One show in 2013 found the band in a South Carolina bar. In between some of the songs, Jewel Renee stood up and said “Woo hoo! I want to tell you something. I used to be a crack addict.” A gasp came from the crowd. They had the full bar’s attention. “Yeah, I was less than 90 lbs. I had four kids, and you know what they wanted? Mama. I guess you know what I wanted… Well, I just want to share what delivered me, and I’m still clean to this day.” The band then kicked into “Pursue You” by Jesus Culture, which starts with “Strip everything away, ‘till all I have is You.”

Jimmy said by the second chorus he was sweating with tears running down his face. Hands were raised in praise all around the bar, and one man came forward, set his beer down, and threw money on the monitor. After the show, one lady told Jewel how she had a drug addict boyfriend and other addict friends that would always try to get her to join them. She had finally given in, and had come to the bar that night to get wasted. After some stalling, she had called the bartender over to order a drink. That was right when Jimmy’s wife shared her testimony. The lady ordered a Coke instead and decided that she was going to take the money she had saved and go back to school. A life changing decision came in the blink of an eye.

This type of testimony often reaches the band after their shows, and to God goes the glory for it all. They are focused on pointing people to the cross, not being rock stars. The Lord has also enabled Apprehended Ones to release two original albums. If you had told Jimmy during his Jackyl days that he would be involved in ministry, he would have laughed in your face. Today, his desire is for the Lord and sharing what God has done in his life. The devil is a liar that tells many of us that we are too far gone. The testimony of Jimmy Stiff and many others holds true. Our God is able.

For more about Apprehended Ones, check out www.apprehendedones.com.

(Jimmy Stiff recommends that everybody check out Apprehended Ones, the band Jesus Culture, and the album “Relentless” by Misty Edwards.)

From: Volume 2 - Issue 2


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