The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Sturgis Bike Rally

Biking According to Jim

By Cynthia Savage with Scott Ross
The 700 Club Scott Ross [reporting]:

Meet Jim Hamilton, a burly biker I recently met in Sturgis, South Dakota, site of the 67th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. In the midst of chrome and black leather, you could tell that Jim lived for something more than a cross-country ride. Jim is not a stranger to crowds. He grew up in Southern Illinois, the 10th child born to a family with 11children.

Ross [reporting]: So how does a number 10 kid get attention in the middle of all this, while just sitting down to eat dinner?

Hamilton: Well, a number 10 kid who doesn’t go to church gets attention in a lot of different ways, and unfortunately that was the kind of kid I was. My dad was a good man but an emotionally absent father, and so I had to look for that male attention somewhere else, and found it in a brother-in-law. He just happened to be an alcoholic.

Ross: At the age of 11, Jim drank along side his new role model. By the time he entered high school, Jim was an alcoholic. When Jim was 19, he married his high school sweetheart. Three years into their marriage, his wife, Lisa became a Christian, something Jim couldn’t relate to at all. 

Hamilton: When she came home, she was a different woman. She wouldn’t let me have kegers at the house anymore. She wouldn’t go to the bars with me anymore. I began to question, ‘hey, what’s going on here?’

Ross [reporting]: Was that a strain on the marriage?

Hamilton: It did strain the marriage. In fact, I tried to get rid of her.

Ross:   What do you mean, 'get rid of her?'

Hamilton: Well I told her, you’ve flipped out on me. You’re crazy. You’re not the woman I married. I don’t know who you are anymore. It got to the point where one day I just said, ‘hey what do you want from me?’ And she said, ‘I just want you to go to church with me on Sunday morning.’  So, I went to church and I heard the Gospel, for the very first time in my life at age 23.

Ross [reporting]: What was the impact, if any?

Hamilton: I told my wife, ‘You know that preacher probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about.' In fact, I may have even called him a liar. I told my wife if that were the case then someone would have told me before now if that were true.

Ross: Did you then go back to church? What did you do with this information?

Hamilton: Well it’s interesting because for the first time in my life, I started to feel bad. I came under strong conviction of sin, but I didn’t know that was what was happening. I didn’t have anybody around to explain what was going on. So, I became miserable for the first time in my life when I was doing some of the things I was doing. For the first time in my life I began to feel bad about doing those things.

Ross [reporting]: And what did you do?

Hamilton: I did more of them. I thought that would help ... and it didn’t.

Ross: So, you were out there getting blitzed, but you’re really running from God.

Hamilton: I was running from God, but I didn’t know I was running from God. I didn’t know that.  

Ross [reporting]: So, where did this end up?

Hamilton: Finally my wife said, ‘go to church with me again.' I didn’t know why I was drawn back to church, but I said, 'Okay, I’ll go.'

Ross: Same preacher?

Hamilton: Yeah, I pretty much heard the same story. You know, God loved me. Jesus died for my sins.  He had a plan for my life. I couldn’t imagine, you know, God having a plan for my life. I thought I planned my life out. It was pretty empty. My life and my plan wasn’t very good, but at least it was my plan. It got to that point that I just couldn’t stand it any more. And so, I ended up getting on my knees right there in my bedroom. I didn’t have a tract that had, you know, ‘here’s how you pray to receive Christ’ on it. I had never seen a tract in my life. I had never read a Bible. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I needed God in my life. And so I just got down on my knees and said, 'God I believe that this stuff that I’m hearing about You is real. And, I know I’m a sinner. You don’t have to tell me that. I know I am. And so I know I need Jesus.' The best way I knew how was to invite Him into my life.

Ross [reporting]:  This was the beginning of the new journey for you, then? I mean, it all began to change for you.

Hamilton: It did change. It changed in a tremendous way.

Ross: With that simple faith, Jim began his new life as a Christian. Lisa and Jim experienced a unity they’d never known. Yet he soon found alcohol had a stronger hold on him than he wanted to admit.

Hamilton: I was trying my best not to drink. I’d go a day or two, and I just couldn’t stand it. It kinda got around that 'Hamilton got religion.'  So for about a year, it was the most miserable time of my life because I was secretly still drinking. One night I came home, after about a year of this, and I woke up the next day and the desire was gone.

Ross [reporting]: Just gone?

Hamilton: I remember about a year or so later bragging about how one morning I just woke up, and it was gone. And finally we got home and my wife said, ‘I’m tired of you bragging about this stuff like you did it on your own.'  She said, ‘Let me tell you what happened. I called The 700 Club. I told them about our situation,' and the lady said, ‘We’re going to get all of our prayer partners here praying for you' and she said, ‘Go get some oil and anoint his head.' Of course, I was passed out in bed. I didn’t know what was going on.

Ross: You were drunk?

Hamilton: I was drunk: Christian and drunk. They just don’t go together. But that’s what happened. And the next day, obviously God had honored those prayers and healed me of alcoholism.

[Jim is still a motorcycle enthusiast, but add to that a minister of God. Over the years, he’s pastored in churches from Indiana to Alaska to the Dakotas.]

Ross [reporting]: From where you are now, looking back -- two different men. How’s it changed?

Hamilton:  I have no clue who that old Jim was. God has certainly transformed me into a different Jim.

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