Sid: I have a guest that I should not be talking to right now; he should have been dead many times. And I find that when there’s such a diabolical plot to destroy someone it’s almost as if the devil has some inside knowledge that there’s something powerful that this person is going to bring forth in the Kingdom. I mean Dr. Jim Richards your stepfather tried to murder you, your natural Father tried to murder you, they shipped you off to your grandmother, I guess to save your life and she was crazy too. You got involved in drugs and alcohol, you were a rock musician. How in the world did you reverse that lifestyle? And in addition to all of that you had kidney disease and you had a number of diseases from that horrible lifestyle and everything else! How did you survive?
Jim: You know I can look back and I can only assume that somehow God protected me from so many horrible opportunities to die you know. I went through a lot of pain, a lot of physical pain, and I went through a lot of emotional pain. You know deep inside me there was this hunger to know God. And as long as I can remember even though I lived this horrible lifestyle, even though you know as a teenager …
Sid: But where did this come from? How in the world with the lifestyle you were living did you have this hunger to know God?
Jim: You know my personal belief is that God calls to every heart that maybe every heart doesn’t listen or every heart doesn’t respond, but I believe God calls to every heart. You know I’ve looked back over my life and the only time that I can remember having any involvement with church was when I was a child. At Christmas one year my mother, something happened and I don’t remember if my Dad beat her up, I really don’t remember, but she ended up in the hospital at Christmas and the church brought us some food. So when my Mom got out of the hospital we went to church for just a few weeks. I remember actually then maybe, at four years old or five years old, one night as a service was ending and the pastor walked outside to go to his car I remember chasing him down the sidewalk, grabbing him by his coat and trying to stop him and tell him that I wanted to know God. And he turned to me and said, “Well, you are too young.” So that kind of shot down any you know, all of my hopes at that moment, but I always wanted to know God. Even when I was using drugs, dealing drugs, I think that every night every single night when I went to sleep if I was sober enough to do so I would just pray, and I would say, “God don’t let me die like this, I want to know you and I don’t want to die like this.”
Sid: Just out of curiosity as a Rock Musician I can just image long hair.
Jim: Oh yeah.
Sid: And the way you looked when you walked into church were you accepted at all?
Jim: No, not really and this was in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Actually by this time about 1969 I think it was I actually started going to churches and would go to their office during the week and knock on the door and ask to see the Pastor, sometimes they wouldn’t allow me to. Sometimes I would get in to see the Pastor, and I would go in and say listen “My name is Jim Richards, I live here in Hinesville, I’m a drug dealer, I’m messed up, I’m on drugs, I think I’m dying,” because by this time my kidney disease with substance abuse had just really taken its toll on my body. I woke up every morning with pretty much with blood on my pillow you know, my skin had this disease, my hair was falling out, I would just tell these guys “Look I’m trying to find God, I’m going to Hell, I know it and I want to find God.” And the amazing thing was nobody told me how to get saved! I had people tell me your right you are going to Hell and then on the other end of the spectrum I had people tell me “Don’t worry nobody’s going to Hell.” And of course I thought they were all crazy, I just wanted to know God because I knew that I needed to get delivered from me!
Sid: But, “Well Jim, give me a bottom line what crossed you over to the point where you can say now I know that I know God?”
Jim: You know during this period of time I was driving to another city to try out a new drummer. I was putting together a new band, and the guy that was with me was my bass player and his cousin used to help us get drugs in from Atlanta so that we could sell and use drugs here. And his cousin had gotten saved and of course we didn’t know the terms save, we just said, “He got religion.” His name was Ernie, and so I asked my friend about getting some drugs from Ernie and he said, “Man,” and he said “Ernie he’s got blank, blank religion and he is blank and telling me about Jesus and he’s blank and telling me about for God and you’re blank against God.” And he’s just cussing and ranting and raving, but in the process of his ranting and raving I heard enough of the gospel that for the first time in my life I knew that I had to believe on Jesus, that He died for me and that God raised Him from the dead. I didn’t understand what that meant really in any great degree. So I let him out of the car when we finished out little road trip and I’m driving down the road and I just said, “God I don’t get this, I don’t understand this but if I got to believe on this thing about Jesus dying for me I’m willing to believe that and I’ll give You my life if You want my life.” My salvation prayer was one of these prayers where I said, “And here’s the deal, I’m not going to play church and I’m not going to believe anything about you that I don’t read in the Bible for myself so if You’ll get a Bible in my hands and if you will take my life I will give you my life.” And all I can say is that in that moment I had a revelation of the love of God where it seemed like I left my body for an eternity and experienced something that was completely beyond words. And what was interesting I was crossing a set of railroad tracks there were about six or eight railroad tracks there and by the time I reached the other side of the railroad tracks I had come back from what seemed like an eternity. And all I knew was at that moment that God loved me and that I was a new man.
Sid: Where did the passion come for understanding healing? You know this, I can go to almost any good church in America, I mean that believes in healing, that preaching healing and say “Everyone that is sick if you’ll stand up you’ll get healed.” And 90% of the people will stand up. You have a passion to understand why they’re not healed.
Sid: Why do you have such a passion?
Jim: Well you know first of all I was born with a congenital kidney disease which I really should not have even survived the first year of my life. And because of that I had a lot of immune disorders that made me very vulnerable to different diseases. So throughout my young life you know I had spinal meningitis, I had swine flu. I had you just almost name it; plus I had life threatening kidney infections on a fairly regular basis so first of all the experience of living through that kid of physical pain you know drove me to great compassion for people. I have been involved in all kinds of ministry you know, I have conducted meetings all over the world, I seen every miracle in the New Testament most of them I’ve seen hundreds of times. But I still have great compassion for those people that are trapped somewhere that they don’t get healed in a meeting and so many times we just right that off to okay, they just don’t have enough faith or whatever, but God loves those people, Jesus died for those people and the Bible gives us some very serious…
Sid: You know my heart goes out to someone that says “I believe that God heals, I’ve seen lots of people healed, but why doesn’t God heal me?” And that is the silent prayer of so many Christians today and I believe you have answers.
Jim: Well, you know that’s what I set out to find, you know I still lay hands on people, I still believe for the miraculous, I still experience the miraculous, but for that person that is standing there saying “Why am I not getting healed?” I want to be able to go to some very real Biblical answers, and I want to be able to help that person walk through a Bible process so that they can put off. You know the Bible says to put off anything related to our old man. And that’s not just the old man in sense of all the wicked things we have done, it’s our sense of identity, any aspect of believing about ourselves that is not based on who we are in Jesus. The Bible tells us to put that off and to put on this new identity that we have in Christ, put on Jesus really. I have discovered that you can’t help a person put on what we have in Jesus if there’s something from their past, maybe a hurt, maybe a pain, maybe a shame, if they are holding on to that they cannot put on healing or even happiness sometimes because they’re holding on to something that they need to let go of.
Sid: Well, you go pretty deep in your teaching, you talk about trapped feelings, trapped emotions, trapped wrong thinking, and you teach people how to identify it and get rid of it in an amazing simplistic fashion, and I do say simplistic!
Jim: It is very simplistic!© Copyright 2012 sidroth, All rights Reserved. Written For: Sid Roth