Greetings everyone! My name is Jacob Marcelloni and I am happily married to my wife Melissa. We have one daughter named Emma who is now three and a half months old. My wife and I are members of Grace Baptist Church of Essex where we are really blessed to have both sweet fellowship and sound preaching! My wife has a heart for missions and I feel continually burdened for building up the body of Christ and reaching the lost by preaching of the gospel of the grace of God.
I wanted to share my testimony with everyone. I hope you'll be encouraged by it!
I was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario in a broken home. My parents divorced when I was a year old. My brother went to live with my mother and her parents. I went with my Dad and was raised by my paternal grandmother. My parents did eventually get back together, but not until I was an adult. My father was very outgoing and affiliated with biker gangs. As a child, I can recall going to their clubhouse and rallies. I would watch my Dad play guitar in bands. This is how I gained and interest in music, especially the drums, which I started playing at age ten.
By a very early age I was into drugs and would steal alcohol from home. By my high school years, I was kicked out of school and enrolled into an alternative school. While cheating my way through my first year of college I enrolled into second year mold making. I spent more time at the bar on campus and then later dropped out of college. I worked and played (in bands) downtown. During that time, I began looking for some work and I decided to go to a bar. The bar I picked turned out to be a sushi bar. The boss notified me that they were hiring. Long story short; I ended up working there as a sushi chef for four years.
It was around this time that I was initially confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There were men open air preaching downtown and I walked by them (with my fists clenched) filled with anger at the thought of one approaching me. They never approached me but on the sidewalk up ahead was a piece of literature which turned out to be a gospel tract. I picked it up and read some of it and immediately flung it into the trash.
By continuing my dependency on drugs and alcohol I began to run out of money and began stealing alcohol from work and various places and would frequently live from couch to couch. I started to get kicked out of the bars I would go to, be with prostitutes, and frequently be thrown in jail. If I wasn’t high or drunk I’d become angry. I would walk the streets and would often have no recollection of what I had done. Police would often find me passed out in alleyways, parks, and at the train station. I became very depressed and I wanted to die and so I tried to overdose on various hard drugs. My brother resuscitated me one night, as I was unconscious on the living room floor.
I got into yoga and practiced transcendental meditation which I thought would be a positive in my life. Instead, I learned positions in Yoga that would emulate false gods. Meditation would send me into a trance-like state which literally felt like some force would be lifting me up into some other level of consciousness.
There was one particular night that really had a profound impact on me. It was a riotous night which included getting staples put in my head; I came home like I was demon possessed. I recall my Dad being terrified and saying, “You’ve got fire in your eyes.” I can remember having my father backed up against the sink in the kitchen and head butting him again and again, opening up the wound in my head. My brother and my mother tried to hold me back by throwing me into another room but I had easily driven them out of the way. They proceeded to call the cops. The police finally arrived, handcuffed me behind my back, and put me in the car and sent me to jail. The police insisted that my parents press charges of assault on me; they declined. That loud echo of the cell door slamming shut yet again made me feel as if something died within me. I remember screaming and cursing at the top of my lungs until I had no more energy in me and finally, I passed out.
Young man, young woman, “honor your father and mother…” there is a promise in that command, “… that it will be well with you and you will live long on earth.” (Ephesians 6:2, 3)
Afterward, my boss had a friend who needed another sushi chef in the Virgin Islands. I left for the Caribbean, and was gone for six months. During my time in the Virgin Islands, I remember asking a coworker one day, “…what is Good Friday, Easter, and Jesus Christ all about?” A man overheard our conversation and said “Jesus came and died for our sins; that’s Good Friday, and Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection.” Some time later that same man gave me a camouflage Bible he had been given in the army. I started reading Romans because I liked the title of the book. I read the beginning chapters of Romans, but didn't finish. However, thinking that I could keep getting away with sin came to a drastic halt. God revealed to me the fact that one day, I would stand before Him as I am, in judgment. No matter how many times I try to get away, still, my sins were always before me. Given my lifestyle, I thought I should be dead by now. I didn’t deserve another day; I deserved to die and go to hell.
I can only describe how I felt that day how the Bible describes it: “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, patience, longsuffering, not realizing that the goodness of God is leading you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." (Romans 2:4-6)
I brushed off that visitation by the Lord, returned the Bible, left the Virgin Islands, and came back to Windsor. Back home, an old guitar player friend of mine invited me over to watch a video that gave the Bible’s message of salvation. My friend didn’t tell me what it was beforehand because he thought I‘d reject it. You see, I knew I was a sinner (no one would have to convince me of that). My struggle was that I thought that the good news was for others but not for me. I couldn’t believe that God would WANT to forgive me for my sins. Psalm 86:5a says, “For you O Lord are good and READY TO FORGIVE…”
My friend asked me what my thoughts were about the gospel and I told him that it was “good”. But inwardly it was more than good! It was the best news I have ever heard in my life!!! Inside I was crying, “I want that!!! If God would do that for me!! OHHH MY…”
And for the first time it hit me that “JESUS DIED FOR ME ON CALVARY’S CROSS!”
Jesus actually loved ME? (Galations 2:20b)
But that is exactly what the Bible says, “But God demonstrated his love toward us, in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
I left my friends house and a few nights later in my room the Lord brought to my attention a verse in Romans, “For whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) I thought “I can be saved?”
God granted me repentance and I turned from my sins and self and surrendered my life by faith alone to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had “not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32) just like the Bible said He did. That summer night in 2004, on the flat of my back (broken in my room), is when I cried out to the Lord Jesus Christ to save me!
I desired to know more about Jesus but didn’t have a Bible. In fact, my mom had seen not only a change in my behavior but in my countenance. My mother gave me her grandmother’s Bible. I began reading it and was invited to a Bible study at Turner Road Bible Chapel. I thought, it being Friday night, that it would keep me out of trouble. I agreed to go. I stayed and was baptized and continued there for 4 years. I would see people I knew from before and the Lord would burden me to ask them for forgiveness. Some forgave me! Others would look at me like something was wrong with me.
I also came to realize that my parents were not saved. When my Mom gave me her great grandmother's Bible, little did my parents know that soon thereafter all that I would want to do is to share the gospel. Well, that day came! My father was very angry and began to shout at me and my brother thought I was trying to break up our family. They left the house and I followed them outside, still trying to persuade them of their need for salvation, but they took off in their car. I went back into the house feeling very discouraged and hurt. But the Lord Jesus strengthened me that night as I picked up my old great grandmothers Bible. There were these words, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth (Jesus says); I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For, I came to set a man against his father…. And a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)
It was such a comfort to me.
Let me ask you my dear friend… are you willing to lose your life for Christ’s sake?
He knows how we are. He knows we are half-hearted. He knows that you and I will never come to Him to be saved unless you find Him to be your highest treasure. Christ made such demands because He loves sinners. The Lord Jesus suffered and took the punishment for your sins in such away that “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” The one who will save you from your sin, hell, and God as your judge is the one calling this day. (2Corinthians 6:2)
Jesus says “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…” (Matthew 11:28)
Surrender your life to Jesus Christ by calling on him to save you!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen!