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Youth evangelist gets personal with testimony of painful past

April 28, 2008 : Mitzi Bible

Youth Evangelist and author Tony Nolan shared his life testimony with Liberty University students at Monday’s convocation service.

Most recently, Nolan has been the tour pastor for top Christian band Casting Crowns, where he has seen thousands pray to receive Christ during concerts. He is also a popular speaker for youth leader conferences and is the author of the devotional book, “Faith Fuel - a refueling journey.”

Nolan spoke about rising up from a point where he felt his life was worthless and tried to end it, to speaking before thousands and giving them the hope that a life with Jesus Christ can bring.

Nolan told of the abuse he endured as a young child in foster care and then being adopted by a father who was an alcoholic and made him feel worthless at times. Nolan himself plunged into alcoholism and a life of drugs, what he calls “the dark days of my life.” He was also sent to a mental institution for two weeks after a suicide attempt.

Then someone shared with him that Jesus could offer forgiveness and a life worth living for Him. He gave His life to the Lord, he said, and that life was changed dramatically.

Students laughed when Nolan recalled his first days going to church after that decision. He was so energized by his new life with Christ that he would shout phrases like “Dude, you rock!” during the pastor’s sermon.

“I was the one the church wanted to reach, but when they found me, they didn’t know what to do with me,” he said.

Nolan used his testimony to challenge students to view themselves as God’s “work of art.”

“Your life is a canvas on which God wants to paint a masterpiece,” he said, adding that now, during the college years, are when “you are gathering up the colors and brushes” to give to the Lord to let him work.

On Wednesday, April 30, Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. will close out the semester with the last convocation service.

Liberty’s Spiritual Life department organizes three convocation services each week to give residential students the opportunity to hear world-class speakers address topics ranging from dating and relationships to biblical prophecy and archeology. The services also give the student body a chance to worship together and to be kept up-to-date on campus announcements and upcoming events.

For more on spiritual life at Liberty, visit www.liberty.edu/spirituallife/.