Mafia associate. Drug-addict. Biker-gang enforcer. God-doubter. Prison convict. Not quite the ideas that pop into one’s mind when describing the typical Christian man. Yet, as we can so easily forget, God loves to redeem and use the rebel, the castaway, and the “hard case.” Sons of Grace is a raw, real and honest account of ten men, told in their own words; men who each battled God in their own way and are thankful to have lost the fight.
The brainchild of successful businessman and marketing guru David Hughes, this book is not one for the faint of heart or easily-offended. The stories, and sometimes the language, are colorful, descriptive and brutally real. There is no sugar-coating here. These are stories of men who have all lived lives largely void of God; lives fueled by pride, greed, sex, doubt, drugs and violence. Yet it was Jesus himself who said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:32 NKJV). From the prideful business executive to the tough-as-nails Marine sniper, each man’s autobiographical account in Sons of Grace tells of a powerful encounter with God that led to true repentance and real life-change.
In one of the more gripping accounts found in the book, that of former Sons of Silence motorcycle gang enforcer Ron Gruber, Gruber describes his philosophy on God at one time in his life. ‘Standing outside the building, in the middle of dozens of people, I pulled my 44 Magnum Smith & Wesson and proceeded…“this [lifting my gun up in front of his face] is God. The one and only true God! The one that holds the power of life and death.” Then I pointed the gun straight up and screamed, “Watch this!” as I fired four deafening rounds of 240 grain semi-jacketed hollow points into the sky. As I lowered the gun, I thrust my face into his and through clenched teeth I hissed, “My god just shot your god in the face…What about it now!” Later in his chapter, Gruber describes his powerful encounter with God while on the run from the feds and contemplating suicide. “He [Jesus] pressed His pure, clean, renewing lips against my vomit-filled mouth and sucked the most screaming pain, fear, and powerlessness out of me. Then He breathed into me the hope that can’t be explained in words.” Gruber remains in prison today, serving a 58-year sentence for racketeering and murder. But even behind prison bars, he tells of experiencing a freedom through Christ previously unmatched during his many years of hedonism and lawlessness.
Bill LaMorey, former assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel Miami Lakes, tells his of his own journey from heroin junkie to church planter in Chapter Eight of Sons of Grace. In an interview with the Good News about his involvement with the book, LaMorey said, “I spent more time on the raw, gritty details of my past in this book than I do when sharing my testimony in a typical context. However, I believe it’s important for all Christians to be open about the details of our past so we can be an encouragement to others. When I first came to Christ, I remember feeling so dirty and different from all of these ‘clean’ Christians. It wasn’t until I heard some other guys tell their own stories that I realized that everybody is really broken and messed up in their own way.” LaMorey continued, “This story is God’s story. It’s not about me, it’s about God. I once had one of my pastors tell me, ‘You are a trophy of God’s grace.’ That was my desire in contributing to Sons of Grace; to give God glory and to reflect Him to those out there who think they’ve fallen too far for God’s grace to reach. With Jesus, there’s always hope.”
If you consider yourself a “tough guy” (or if you know a man who does), no matter where you presently stand with God, this book is sure to reach you right where you are. Some of the men featured in Sons of Grace are in still in the very beginning stage of their relationship with God, and all acknowledge that they are far from “having it all together.” Each man in the book tells of their now- total reliance on God and His grace each day; of a complete change from the prideful self-reliance that once characterized their lives. If you are one who can identify with the stark and graphic accounts of redemption found in the pages of Sons of Grace, you are sure to encounter Jesus as you read this book. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today.