by Ron Halbrook
Synopsis: Ron reviews a recent book by Michael P. Glaesemann, a heart-rending story of ruin and redemption. Michael's search for truth inspires us all to value the spiritual blessings that are in Jesus Christ.
Michael P. Glaesemann was born in 1956 and has lived for many years in Burkeville, Texas. He has supported himself in part-time preaching, serving whenever needed, with the encouragement of his wife, Donna. By the grace of God, Michael came out of a very dark and ugly world of self-destruction. The Bible literally saved both his life and his soul. He tells how God's providence opened door after door to save him in a very readable and engaging book entitled A Wanted Man: a true story.
Michael's story confirms one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible, which says, "That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us" (Acts 17:27). His father was raised Lutheran, his mother Catholic, and he was christened by a Methodist minister. The family moved from Rhinelander to Duluth, Minnesota when he was eleven, and drifted away from the Lutheran religion.
After his parents divorced, Michael lost what little interest he had in God and religion. Little by little, he was drawn down the path of alcohol, marijuana, and other illegal drugs as a teenager in the 1970's. Eventually, he was horrified to find himself "being engulfed in a huge black hole" (p. 21). His memory was replaced with spells of paranoia to the point that he had to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for months. Michael was suffering "a chemically-induced central nervous breakdown" (p. 30).
Counselors mentioned the Bible only in negative ways, but assured Michael that fornication, alcohol, and marijuana could be enjoyed in a responsible way. Over time, he became well enough to advance to a halfway house. He took vocational classes so that he could get a job, got his own apartment in St. Paul, and became an assistant at the halfway house.
However, all these signs of apparent progress belied the emptiness which terrorized his soul to the point that he began to plan his suicide. "Many people who talk about suicide merely reach out for attention. But, not me—I was through. It seemed as though it took years to get well enough to think, only to find out there was nothing to live for anyway" (p. 39). With every intention of taking his own life, one idea sidetracked his plan. It occurred to him that he had tried everything but reading the Bible. His counselors had already made it clear that such would be a colossal waste of time and could even drive people crazy, but what did he have to lose?
Although Michael was a slow reader, he determined to read the Bible in its entirety. As weeks turned into months, he found that its message of God, truth, and righteousness fed his soul like water on parched earth. He tried attending some churches, but could see that they were not serious about following what he read in the Bible. He learned from John 3:5 that Jesus required water baptism for salvation, but saw a preacher kiss a baby's head and proclaim it as baptism!
In frustration, Michael literally walked away from his job and his apartment and made a journey—not knowing where he was going, but praying to God with the determination to find someone who was serious about obeying the Bible, who could help him. He traveled aimlessly from St. Paul back to Duluth. God kept opening doors on that journey until he stumbled onto a small, simply-worded newspaper advertisement, "WANTED—SOMEONE TO STUDY THE BIBLE WITH" (p. 88). Could that small ad be the answer to his prayers, his longings, and his hopes which had so often been disappointed?
Indeed, Michael was the man "wanted" by the people who placed the ad. They were the very people for which he had so diligently and feverishly searched over a period of many months!
You must read the book to follow all the twists and turns taken in the life of this soul who found no peace or reason to live until he read the Bible. The grammar and format are so simple that anyone from junior-high school and up can easily read it. Once you start reading, you will not want to put it down until you can learn how God answers the piercing cries of this soul sinking into the abyss of sin. Use it as a birthday gift, a holiday gift, a graduation gift. Offer it to people you know who are sinking in despair as was Michael, and help them find the way out of the darkness as Michael did.
I asked Payton Halbrook, a granddaughter, to read this book and give me her impression of it. Here are some of her thoughts:
When I read the back cover of this book, I knew it was going to be an interesting story. As a thirteen-year-old, reading is not something on the top of my list of things I like to do. In this case, I enjoyed reading. Every sentence fell into place and made me want to know what was going to happen next. My whole life I have gone to public school, and as I have gotten older, I have come to see how many terrible traps the devil can put out there. Since I was a baby, my parents have taught me the Bible. When reading this book, I started to think about how much I take for granted living in a home where the Bible is taught. Everyone has his own story of how he came to know Jesus, and I think this story is one you will not want to miss.
This book reminds us that there is hope in Christ for every sin-sick soul. It also reminds us that God is always near at hand to help those who seek Him to find Him! This book by a wanted man will lead other wanted men to salvation through Christ who is the message of the Bible.
Author Bio: Ron has shared preaching duties at the Hebron Lane church of Christ in Shepherdsville, KY since August of 1997. David Dann and Ron have worked together there since April of 2016. Ron has made 71 trips to the Philippines. The church website is hebronlane.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.