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ATC students give thanks

Ken Bevel

Ken Bevel

ALBANY — Members of the Student Fellowship for Christians at Albany Technical College held their yearly Thanksgiving luncheon Thursday.

To top off plenty of turkey and dressing, speaker Ken Bevel delivered an inspirational talk. Bevel is senior associate pastor of connections and events with Sherwood Baptist Church and co-star of the Sherwood films “Fireproof” and “Courageous.”

In his address to the group, Bevel told of his beginnings in Jacksonville, Fla., of a father who was addicted to drugs and alcohol. Bevel said he chose to follow in his father’s footsteps, fighting, drinking and doing drugs himself. Eventually, he came to see the problems with that lifestyle and at age of 17 joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I knew I would be dead if I didn’t do something different,” Bevel said.

Bevel said he loved everything about the Marines — the mental and physical challenges, the camaraderie, the travel — but on his return from the Persian Gulf in 1990 he began to use alcohol and drugs once more. He continued the substance abuse on his off-duty hours, dispute a stern warning from a superior. Eventually Bevel was told he would be subjected to a general court-marshal for his improper activities.

“They could have sent me to a federal penitentiary,” Bevel said. “I didn’t know if he was joking. I didn’t know it was real. I only knew I didn’t want to go to prison.”

In his bunk later that day, Bevel said he thought seriously of suicide. He felt ashamed to bring the news back to his mother, so he decided to take the problem to God. Two weeks later, in a Wal-Mart parking lot, Bevel was approached by three guys who asked if he was saved. Bevel replied that he was not but needed to be. It was in that parking lot he gave his life to Jesus Christ.

“From that point on, God changed my life completely,” Bevel said.

He was later told all the legal charges against him had been dropped. Bevel was given an opportunity for a leadership role with the Marines, as well as a full-ride college education.

“They were about to court-marshal me,” Bevel said, “and then they were making me a leader. Only God can do that.”

Bevel said he’s been offered five separate movie roles since his involvement in the Sherwood films.

“I don’t care,” Bevel said. “My mission is to glorify God in everything I do. If you don’t do it here, on this campus, who will do it?”

If not now, when?”

Start showing love and compassion for Jesus Christ.”