The Story of Gordon Fleming
History: Catholic from Scotland
If you had pulled Gordon Fleming aside when he was a teenager growing up in Glasgow, Scotland and told him that one day he would become a Christian, he probably would have laughed in your face—right before he lifted your wallet!
Back then; Gordon already had his mind made up about religion. “I wasn’t neutral toward religion; I was hostile toward it,” he says. As far as he was concerned, religion was good for one thing only: causing division and strife. Whether it was the battle between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland or the conflict that erupted in his own family when his mother, a Catholic, married his father, a Protestant, Gordon was fed up with the church. “Religion made me frustrated and angry, and I didn’t want any part in it.”
Gordon’s social context didn’t exactly encourage him to embrace Christianity either. Gordon spent much of his youth on the streets, where he got caught up in drinking, smoking, and drugs. It was a rough neighborhood, and you had to be strong to survive. “Everyone stole from everybody,” Gordon says.” If you had sixpence in your pocket, you wouldn’t get two blocks before someone stole it from you and so on down the line. Whoever managed to get it for the last two blocks was able to use it to buy cigarettes at the store.”
When Gordon was sixteen, he was presented with an opportunity to escape this negative environment when his father, a draftsman, landed a job in Vancouver, Canada. When asked if he wanted to emigrate, Gordon didn’t hesitate for a moment. “I was sixteen years old; I was up for an adventure. Let’s do it!” Unfortunately, the transition to Canada did not go as smoothly as Gordon had hoped. Feeling like an outsider due to the unfamiliar culture and his thick Scottish accent, he quickly fell in with the wrong crowd. Once again, he turned to drinking and drugs to help him cope.
After high school, Gordon found employment in the restaurant industry. Eventually, he worked his way up to manager, but that didn’t stop his hard partying ways. In the midst of his rebellion, Gordon befriended a co-worked named Neil Gunther. Right from the start, Gordon could see that there was something different about him. He was kind, compassionate and gentle—everything Gordon was not. “I knew he was interested in church stuff,” Gordon says, “But if you could look past that aspect of his personality, the rest of him was pretty great.”
Despite his aversion to religion, Gordon found that his conversations with Neil often turned to matters of faith. For Neil, being a Christian wasn’t just a cultural thing; it was about having a personal relationship with God. As they talked, Neil explained the gospel to Gordon in a way he had never heard it before. But what impressed Gordon most was that Neil never tried to push his beliefs on him. “He was just modeling the Father’s love to me. Whether I became a Christian or not, I got the feeling he wouldn’t love me any more—or less.”
Gordon’s moment of truth came one night when he was high on LSD. He had taken the drug and then arranged to meet a friend at a local nightclub so they could share their “trip” together. When Gordon arrived, he was surprised to see everyone else dressed up like witches, demons, and warlocks. Gordon couldn’t have felt more out of place as he sat there in his sweatshirt and jeans sipping his beer and waiting for his friend to show up.
As stared at the masqueraders, he reflected on some of the things he had been discussing with Neil. Eventually, his drug-clouded mind eventually reached a startling conclusion: “I don’t look like these people, because I’m not like these people, and I think God wants me to be part of his kingdom!” Suddenly, Gordon leapt up and ran out of the bar. It was a beautiful, moonlit night, a welcome relief from the smoky pub. He decided to take a shortcut home through a local golf course. To him, it felt like he had just entered Eden. As he walked, he cried out to God, saying, “I don’t want to live like those people. I want to live like this!” (Only later did he realize that no one at the nightclub had been dressed up. It was a hallucination created by the LSD in his system.)
When Gordon got home, he jumped in his car, drove over to Neil’s house and announced that he wanted to become a Christian. Recognizing that Gordon was still under the influence, Neil invited Gordon to come inside and spend the night. Gordon wound up spending the next three days with Neil. During that time, Neil “downloaded” the gospel to Gordon as the drugs slowly seeped out of his bloodstream. By the third afternoon, Neil asked Gordon if he still wanted to become a Christian. Gordon did, so he prayed with Neil to accept Christ.
The next day, Gordon was so excited that he raced off to tell his parents about his decision. On the way there, he wanted to praise God, but the only song he knew was “Jesus Loves Me.” So as he drove to his parents’ house, he alternated between crying and singing the song at the top of his lungs. Unfortunately, Gordon’s parents weren’t exactly thrilled with their son’s newfound faith. “They thought I had joined a cult,” Gordon says. But that didn’t discourage him. He was just so excited at the new world he had discovered, especially the Scriptures. “Six months earlier, Neil had given me a copy of the New Testament called Good News for Modern Man,” Gordon says. “I tried to read it, but I couldn’t make sense of it. Now it suddenly seemed so clear. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was just gulping it down.”
Gordon started to attend church with a waitress he met at work. She introduced him to her friends in the college and career group. Over time, he got baptized, joined the congregation, and got married—to the waitress! Through it all, he continued working in the restaurant industry, eventually working his way into the head office of two national chains.
Today, Gordon is thankful that God has been able to use the unfortunate experiences from his past to help others. He hopes his life can serve as a reminder that even though people appear to be far from God on the surface, it doesn’t mean they’re not interested in the gospel. “We need to befriend those people and love them and be Christ to them,” Gordon says. “God does the converting, but it’s our responsibility to love lost people.”
More about Gordon Fleming: https://thisisvillagechurch.com/people/gord-fleming/
Have you taken a closer look at what Christian love is really about? Would you like to experience the love of Jesus that Gord has experienced. You can begin a personal relationship with Jesus, today, by praying this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
God’s love is real and you can experience it!
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