My name is Daniel Hickinbotham, I am 28, and I am a redeemed son of the King of Kings. This is my testimony of the great and wonderful works that God has accomplished in my life. I am going to keep it relatively short and PG, but you are welcome to reach out and ask me for help or any further questions. I have nothing to hide praise God!
I was born into a really faithful family. I say faithful because they weren’t all about the religion, they were all about the relationship. Seriously, behind Christ my salvation, my family is the greatest blessing in my life. I always knew that God loved me, because it was modeled so well in my family. I always knew that the Bible was the inspired Word of the only living God. We were encouraged to read it to understand what God wanted us to do. We were encouraged to love and serve others. We were encouraged to be all that the Bible told us we should be and promised we could be. Even still, the only thing my parents would say they might have done differently was to preach MORE Christ and a little less “being Christian”. I asked Christ to be my Savior at a summer camp and I meant it with all my heart, and I knew that I was no longer my own; my very being had changed. I believe, at that moment, I had put my hope in Christ for my eternity.
Here comes the ‘but’. At some point around the beginning of High School the call of the world sounded louder than the call of Christ. I felt confident that all was well because I was still “being Christian”: no smoking, no drinking, no drugs, no sex. But there was a far more insidious idol that began creeping into my heart. Self. I began to covet the adoration of men and the affection of women. I began to thrive off the laud of teachers and the praise of my parents. Slowly but surely I began to be my own obsession. On the outside I was respectful, diligent, and ‘righteous,’ but I did all things in order to bring glory and honor to myself. I boasted in my faith, not because of the value of Christ, but because it made me exceptional among my peers. I treated women with respect because it incited them to long after me. I was kind and helpful to the unpopular because it made me more popular. I was truly a whitewashed tomb, experiencing ever diminishing effects from my selfishly motivated action, and walking alone in my self-determined identity.
The night I graduated from High School was the night I got drunk for the first time. To say I was enthralled is an understatement. I had discovered something that allowed me to be free from the paralyzing fear that is the ultimate consequence of a self-centered life. I could cross any boundary of decency or morality that before had been off-limits. It seemed to be everything I had been looking for to quell and abolish the disquiet and revulsion that had germinated in my spirit over the course of the back-sliding. The next 6 years was condemned to confusion, despair, failure, and pain. The summer of 2001 marked the beginning of a glut of broken and brutal relationships, dismissals from universities, spiritual and moral bankruptcy, sexual perversion, hundreds of instances of driving drunk, and most painfully at the time the return of the paralyzing fear with no means of escape through what had become my ever present companion: alcohol. Honestly, I was addicted to anything that made me feel different, but whenever the women or drugs ran out, alcohol was there to return to. By the end I had lost the power of choice when it came to booze. Horrifically, in light of my knowledge of Christ and my ‘commitment’ to Him, I had enslaved myself to another master. I hated myself for it. Insane, physically ill, despairing of life, and convinced that I was merely a disappointment to God, I know that I was soon to kill someone else or myself.
Then Jesus saved me. December 7th, 2007 the Lord used Alex Arnett of the Oxnard PD to reach into my life and arrest my descent. Humorously He literally did it through an arrest, but I am entirely grateful for it! On a night that seemed exactly the same as every other night I spent at a bar and drove home drunk, I turned down the right alley at the right time and the rest is Christ’s story. I was exposed for the drunken liar that I was. I was freed from the burden of deceit and pretense I had been laboring to maintain. The chains of my addiction were struck from me that night. The Lord has kept me sober each day since, released from the obsession to drink and use, and pressing in hard after Him. He has called me to preach the Gospel. He has redeemed me to restore the broken-hearted and to proclaim freedom for the captives. Graciously, He has rescued me so that I might proclaim release from darkness for those who are prisoners; those who are prisoners such as I once was.
Whereas before I was mainly relating to others’ relationships with Christ, today I have a relationship with the living Son of God! I know that He is alive and moving in this world because one day I was a hopeless drunk, and the next day I had hope and was free. It happened not of my own will, but because God was revealing His power and claim over my life. As I continue to chase after the ministry that He is leading me into, an orthodox and relevant biblical education has become a vital next step. Primarily, my prayer and intention is that, through deepening my understanding of the Scriptures, I will be equipped to draw people most effectively into the person and work of Jesus in this world. Practically, a degree opens doors for the Gospel to go forward. Relationally, the discipleship and fellowship of growing in the knowledge of the glorious grace and Gospel of Christ is priceless.
EBC has provided an environment where Christ and His glory hold primacy, spiritual development is not divorced from intellectual pursuit, and the opportunity to receive excellent, holistic, biblical instruction has been redeemed for those who cannot afford an expensive educations or, as in my case, who cannot gain access to other “more established” institutions because of a broken past. I am only 16 units in but already it is an answer to my prayer, as I know it has been for others!
Thanks for taking the time to read this and may the incomparable grace of our Lord Jesus be with you always!
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