Biker Gang Leader Meets Jesus at The Bar
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CBN.com- For most of his life, all Jeff Stultz wanted was to be accepted.
“When I was a child, I was a heavy kid, and I was picked on. I was scared a lot. And that caused me to be very angry,” he says. “I did well in school, but I didn’t get along with people very well. I just wasn’t one of the popular kids, and that really played on my self-esteem.”
In high school, he discovered bodybuilding and soon became the school bully. “I was fighting all the time,” he says. “I just didn’t take anything from anybody.”
After high school, Jeff joined the army, hoping to impress his father, who was a veteran. “I always wanted acceptance. It seemed like, for my father, nothing I did was ever quite good enough. I just never could measure up.”
Jeff could not deal with army discipline, however, so he went AWOL and joined a motorcycle gang. “I wanted to be a part of something. I wanted to be accepted. And when I met these biker guys, I was very heavy again. I had been shot in the leg in a bar fight and had put on a lot of weight. And what I noticed about the bike gangs is that they accepted anybody. You didn’t have to be perfect. You could just be you.”
Jeff got married in 1993 but never left the biker life. Eventually he was elected president of a gang. “I became president because of my loyalty and my dedication, and my ruthlessness. I can remember going into the bars at night, and I would walk up to the first guy I saw, smack him in the head and take his beer,” he recalls. “Life in the motorcycle gang was so violent. It was just constant stabbings and shootings.” At that time, Jeff considered himself an atheist. “If someone were to ask me at that moment if I believed in God, I would have made a joke about it and said, ‘I know I’m going to hell, so the freedom in that is that I can do anything I please,’” he says. “I just thought God was something for idiots to believe in.”
One Christmas, Jeff’s wife had enough of his lifestyle and left him, taking their young daughter. About the same time, Jeff’s sister died. To deal with the pain, he tried crack cocaine for the first time.
Over the next six years, he lost everything I had. Jeff’s habit became so bad he even stole from his own parents. “I actually conned and cheated my parents out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a very short period of time, probably in a two-year span, which caused my father, who had retired from the Army and civil service, to have to get another job to pay for a bankruptcy,” Jeff recalls.
After several failed attempts to get him into rehab, his parents had enough. They gave him a one-way ticket to Miami and $300, which he spent on drugs the first night. After that, he began stealing again to survive. “I robbed drug dealers over and over. They could have easily killed me.”
Jeff later reunited with an old girlfriend and they traveled the country together. Eventually they landed in Nashville, where they bought a bar. There, Jeff met an unusual customer, a sober biker who brought his Bible to the bar with him. “This biker preacher named Ray Elder (they called him ‘Doc’) would come in. Of course, I thought he was crazy, with all the Jesus talk and all that, but he was just a really nice guy.”
Jeff’s addiction eventually caused him to lose the bar and the girlfriend. He wound up homeless, living under a bridge in Nashville, and was arrested over 30 times for crimes related to his drug use.
When his father bailed him out one last time, Jeff knew he had to get help. The one person he knew in Nashville who didn’t do drugs was Doc Ray. “I looked up his phone number and gave him a call, and he invited me to church,” Jeff says. “The first Sunday I went, people were really nice to me. I hadn’t experienced that from total strangers before. I had hair down to my waist, and was rough looking with tattoos and everything. But I had an experience with Christ that day. It was as though he were on the pew right next to me, speaking to me. I can remember him telling me that it was time to give my life over.”
That day, Jeff was delivered from a six-year crack addiction. He became active in Celebrate Recovery. He moved back to North Carolina, remarried, and is now on staff at a church in Fayetteville. In 2008, Jeff received an extra special Christmas present.
“I was coming to my parents’ house for their annual Christmas party, just prior to my wedding, and I walked in the door. And there was my daughter. I was able to hug her for the first time in six years. She had forgiven me completely, and now she is proud to tell people that I’m her dad.”
But Jeff had one more piece of unfinished business to tend to. In 2008, his father was hospitalized for congestive heart failure. “He told me that he didn’t know if he was right with God, so I told him that we needed to pray together,” Jeff fondly remembers. “He prayed to receive Christ that day. And that was probably two months before he passed away.”
Today, in addition to his position on staff at the church, Jeff is a regional director for Celebrate Recovery and God has even opened doors for him in the movie business, where he’s had several small parts in faith-based films. But most of all, he wants to share with others the hope he has found in Christ. “If you think that you’re not worth anything, if you think you are garbage—I’m telling you--I was garbage, but God recycles garbage. There’s hope, there’s freedom, there’s a better life. There aren’t words big enough for me to tell you what God has done in my life,” Jeff proclaims. “I can only imagine the destiny that he has planned for me.”
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