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Zachary T. Francis - Writer, Actor, Teacher & Co-Founder

posted Mar 13, 2012, 11:05 AM by Susannah Francis   [ updated Mar 13, 2012, 11:08 AM ]
When I was a teenager, I believed that I could control my own morals; that I didn’t need a “Christian” God to help me do what was right and what was wrong. I had my own moral compass and I followed it to the letter. I believed it was wrong to drink and drive. I believed it was wrong to murder….etc., etc. But my Christian friends at the time, they believed something different. They believed that God was needed to help you live a life of righteousness. “Baloney” I thought. But as I got older, I decided I wanted to test this philosophy, a scientific experiment, if you will. So I went to look for a crowd of individuals that would test me, that would get me involved in drugs. That would tempt me into evil. The thought was if I was surrounded by them and still followed my morals, then my Christian friends were wrong. And I didn’t need their God.

So during my junior and senior years of college, I found the people I was looking for. And we had fun. We drank, we did drugs, and we partied until 3 in the morning. And at first, I thought things were OK. But then situations would happen that would give me pause. I would be drunk at a bar and have to make a decision to ride with my friend who was also drunk or let her go home with a complete stranger who might take advantage her. I started to have this attraction to one of my friends, causing this intense jealousy when she flirted with others which led to violence. And when I started to become violent to this girl, I began to realize that I was becoming everything I didn’t want to be. I would get up every morning crying, telling a God that I didn’t serve “Thank you for not having anyone die under my watch yesterday”. Ironically, as things got worse, I didn’t change. Although I was miserable, I was addicted to my behavior.

One evening I was sitting in the hospital after a suicide attempt while trying to explain to the doctor that I wasn’t trying to kill myself, that I was trying to attempt to kill myself so that my friend would feel bad about what they did to me. My first thought was, this is messed up. My second thought being “If I continue on this path. I’m going to die. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not the next day, but soon.”
That’s when I realized I was wrong. I am not in control of my own life; that you either serve God or Satan. Matthew 6:24 states that “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” This phrase began to make sense. I can’t serve two masters. And I certainly didn’t want to serve Satan. And if I wasn’t control of my own life anyway, why not serve someone that represents good? So I started going to church. Did I become a Christian the next day? No. It took me another two years of searching, but I learned a lesson, the most important lesson up to that point which lead me on the path of Christ. I am not in control of my own life.

So when I write plays or even reach out to artists, I always have this in the back of my mind. I understand what happens when there is no Christian outlet for an aspiring actor so they go out to start performing for community theater, getting exposed to dark areas of life and eventually become controlled by that. After all, you can’t serve two masters. Galatians 5:16-17 states “So I say live by the spirit so you will not gratify the desires of your sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so you do not do what you want.” But if there is nothing Christian for the artists to go to, what are they going to do? We can’t just expect them to ignore their spiritual gifts. So my heart for this ministry began to grow. My desire as an artist myself is to create a place of light, where they can grow in their talent to serve the Lord, where they can be encouraged. Because if there isn’t anything available for them in the realm that involves light, then the only choice for them to use their gift is in the arena of darkness. And like I learned, darkness will have power over us because we are not in control of our own lives.
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