Hi, my name is Greg Outlaw. That’s right… OUTLAW… like a bad guy. And most people that knew me before Christ truly changed my life would agree that I was definitely an Outlaw! I accepted Christ when I was 12 years old and almost immediately starting serving. I even served as an assistant teacher in Vacation Bible School teaching 6 year old children when I was 13.
My father was one of the head deacons at our small church during this time. Shortly after my baptism, my father secretly starting drinking alcohol and eventually left my mother for another woman with whom he had been committing adultery. I remember feeling shocked and distraught – not understanding why this happened. I remember the ugliness of the hypocrisy in my father’s life and all the gossip in our small church. I remember bitterness and pain. I remember my mother’s pain. I remember feeling abandoned and cheated – by my earthly father. I remember falling away from my heavenly Father. I remember wanting to forget…
I look back now and just see this as an excuse to justify my behavior – the reason not to trust or believe in organized religion. I started drinking beer when I was 14 and being sexually promiscuous. I continued my self-destructive behavior, which led to 13 major car accidents. Trip after trip to the hospital emergency room, I continued to ignore God and hurt my family.
These painful injuries led me to an addiction of prescription opiates, hard alcohol, and illegal drugs. My continual abuse led to chronic pancreatitus, an incurable, terminal condition. You see, your pancreas secretes enzymes. These enzymes digest your food when you eat. When you have a very damaged pancreas from alcohol and dietary abuse, it does not function properly. For me, instead of digesting my food when I ate, the enzymes secreted improperly and actually digested my pancreas itself. – Eating me from the inside out – as you can imagine – this is excruciatingly painful.
Doctors attempted to control it with pain medication and told me not to drink alcohol anymore or eat any great quantity of fat in my diet. But when you are on a path of self destruction and do not care whether you live or die, you continue your own selfish life style to the detriment and disbelief of everyone around you. Each and every attack destroyed more and more of my pancreas. By my 14th or 15th attack even though I had finally quit drinking a few years earlier the damage was done. In November of 1999, the doctors said there was nothing more they could do for me. They basically assigned me a death sentence. This, in turn, led to heavy illegal drug use, which eventually came to a head on December 7, 1999. I called my brother-in-law to help me. He took me to Celebrate Recovery at Saddleback Church where I recommitted the remaining days or years of my life to the Lord. I began reading the Bible again and read it three times through in the year 2000. I prayed asking God for forgiveness and asking Him for a second chance.