Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Mark Thornton
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00033B
00:13 Welcome back you know this is my favorite part of the
00:17 show where I get to introduce you to someone.
00:19 Especially today because this is a friend of mine.
00:21 Mark I want to say I want I wanted you
00:22 on this show forever.
00:25 So thanks for coming.
00:26 Thank you.
00:29 I want you to tell them where you come from,
00:31 how did you find God, all the kind of stuff that God
00:34 has done in your life.
00:35 I know it all, but I want you to bless them
00:38 with your testimony.
00:41 Well I was born and raised in church.
00:44 My dad was the Pastor but I was a typical Pastor's kid.
00:47 I ran away from everything that was religious,
00:50 everything that was God.
00:51 I really didn't understand,
00:53 have a clue as to what they were talking about
00:55 and I didn't want to live that type of life style.
00:57 So you were like Yeah, no back, back,
01:01 there's a lot of pressure being a Pastor's kid when
01:03 I grew up because there is like three kids and I was
01:05 suppose to be the example.
01:07 Well that is like it's not going to happen so,
01:09 I was an example but it wasn't a good example.
01:11 It was a bad example.
01:12 So I got into a lot of trouble running from God.
01:16 You know I know people that know you as a kid and
01:21 they said you were not a nice kid.
01:22 I was bad.
01:23 I was a heathen.
01:25 Even when they said that to me,
01:26 I said you're kidding me because I loved him and
01:28 they said Oh Man!
01:30 It was, it was rough.
01:32 I was one of those kids that only a
01:33 mother could love.
01:36 I was adopted when I was 5 days old,
01:38 so I never knew biological parents and why that is
01:41 significant in my life is because my mama always
01:43 told me I was special.
01:45 She told me she chose me, so I would pick on my
01:48 brothers and sisters sometimes and tell them oh
01:49 you were just an act of marriage,
01:51 but they chose me, I was special.
01:52 I got my first glimpse of the unconditional love of
01:57 God through understanding that my mom chose me.
01:59 But at the same time it caused problems in life
02:01 because I thought I could do no wrong.
02:03 I mean I would get in trouble and I was the
02:07 chosen one, so it did get really tracked for the
02:10 longest time so again because of that there was
02:12 a lot of pride, there was a lot of striving to be
02:14 something that I wasn't.
02:15 And you were good at most things you started.
02:17 Yeah I been good at...
02:18 Sports all that stuff.
02:19 Sports and in school, a lot of it I didn't
02:22 have to work hard for.
02:24 It just kind of came easy.
02:27 I don't know why people liked me and
02:28 tried to help me out.
02:29 I mean all of my life, even when I was in
02:31 trouble, that people constantly tried to help
02:34 me, no, no, no he's better than that.
02:36 He's got great potential and my mom was leading
02:38 the charge special and so that really played into
02:42 me thinking Oh, I can rule the world,
02:43 I can do anything I want to do.
02:46 So I got into a lot of trouble when I was a kid,
02:48 high school, juvenile hall, drugs, alcohol,
02:51 at a young age, stealing, like I said if...
02:55 You would have taken my computer, wouldn't you've?
02:58 Probably, yes.
03:00 I knew it when you said, And I wouldn't have called
03:02 to actually give it back either.
03:04 Two years later, Oh go ahead.
03:07 Okay, So I got into a lot of trouble like I said,
03:12 juvenile hall and jail and drugs.
03:15 I totally ran opposite of the way I was being
03:19 raised, because I didn't want to be a part of it.
03:22 Through that I somehow got a scholarship to play
03:26 football at Boise State in Idaho and I came from a
03:29 junior college and what's amazing is that even in
03:32 that junior college, I got in trouble
03:34 trying to help people.
03:36 I've always tried to help other people and so I was
03:37 a stupid trouble maker.
03:39 A bad thief, I never did it well.
03:41 What do you mean by that?
03:43 I would get in trouble stealing hot dogs to help feed
03:46 some people, had nothing to do with me.
03:49 Something you needed.
03:50 Nothing I needed, always trying to help people out.
03:53 So that has been inherent in me.
03:55 I just kind of, I facilitated it wrong,
04:00 didn't know that was God wanting to do something
04:02 in a through me so.
04:05 I got in trouble in this junior college,
04:08 and I never will forget, the people basically did
04:10 everything they could do to say no, no, no,
04:13 don't send him to jail, send him off to college,
04:14 it will change his life.
04:17 By all accounts I should have gone to jail.
04:19 I should never been awarded the
04:21 scholarship to go.
04:23 So you ended up going to BSU for football
04:24 rather than jail?
04:28 Yes and so I got to Boise state and played,
04:30 did my thing, kind of the life of the party there,
04:31 I'm special.
04:34 That didn't change, using drugs and playing football
04:37 and all these things and I ended up getting in
04:39 trouble while I was at Boise State.
04:41 So that was kind of a bad thing,
04:43 here's this kid from California comes to Idaho,
04:45 we give him a scholarship, he gets in trouble,
04:47 that didn't really go well.
04:49 You know what cracks me up?
04:52 What was it like coming from LA to Idaho?
04:54 Cause that is a whole different world.
04:56 Well I grew up in Sacramento for junior high
04:59 school, and so forth, so Boise was really like a
05:02 small Sacramento, but actually just coming to
05:03 Boise was different.
05:04 The drinking age, I will never forget,
05:06 you had to be 18, to drink.
05:08 In California you had to be 21,
05:10 because I went to a junior college,
05:13 I came to Idaho right before I was 21,
05:16 and I'm thinking, Oh when I'm 21 I will party
05:18 legally, and all these things.
05:20 And you only had to be 18, and I was thinking, Man,
05:22 I should have been here several years ago.
05:24 Yeah I should have been here a long time ago.
05:27 So I was a little bit older so I actually
05:29 instigated a lot of things.
05:31 Parties and things like that.
05:33 But not really a lot of trouble.
05:35 But I remember I got into trouble,
05:36 I broke into a building while I was still in
05:39 college, and I just remember that the coaches
05:42 were saying do not bring shame to the program,
05:45 so I lied, told them my name was something else so
05:47 that they couldn't track me down.
05:48 There weren't a lot of black people in Idaho at
05:49 that time.
05:50 That's what I was thinking what was that like because
05:53 I know a friend of mine Randy Maxwell,
05:54 you know Randy.
05:55 He's black and in Idaho and I think
05:58 there was only 5 of you.
05:59 Yes, we've increased, we're about 50-65.
06:03 But what is really interesting is that when I
06:05 walk around sometimes with Randy,
06:06 especially years ago, people would stop and
06:09 look, so that had to have been and
06:11 odd thing from LA.
06:13 Well I would wave, people would literally break
06:16 their necks when they drove by I would be like
06:18 HEH! How yea doing?
06:20 I'm always kind of a clown,
06:22 the life of the party you know.
06:24 Singing and doing things so I got in trouble and
06:26 they sent me to prison.
06:29 I had what was like going to be a 4 month rider.
06:33 We'll see, we'll put you in jail for 4 months and
06:35 if everything works out, we will let you go on
06:37 probation if not we will keep you for 5 years.
06:39 I will never forget that I had a Sergeant and a
06:44 Lieutenant that were there and they actually went to
06:46 court in my behalf.
06:48 They said this man does not need to be in jail.
06:50 They didn't know me from anything,
06:55 and those 120 days, I don't think I spent that
06:57 much time with them as I was processing,
06:59 but they went to court on my behalf.
07:02 I just couldn't understand why are you doing it?
07:04 And part of it, I'm special so,
07:06 they recognize that I'm special so
07:08 they're helping me out.
07:09 So consequently I got out of jail early and I was on
07:12 probation, my identity at the time was caught up in
07:15 Boise State football.
07:16 I mean my identity was that I was good,
07:19 and my identity was in that and so once that was
07:22 removed from me, it's back into drugs,
07:25 back into partying, it's back into women,
07:28 it's just back into these things and running from
07:32 what God had ordained.
07:33 And ever when you went back into everything there
07:35 is no reason for you to step up to the plate
07:37 anymore because it's all gone.
07:39 So when your identity is Oh I'm a Boise State
07:42 football player and that's taken away from you,
07:45 for me as a man, I had to have that significance.
07:48 So if I couldn't find it in my athletic ability,
07:51 I'll just be the greatest party animal
07:53 in the whole wide world.
07:57 So a lot of things transpired in that time
08:00 and there were still people willing to go to
08:02 bat for me and help me out.
08:05 So somehow through all these things,
08:06 you know God was watching over me,
08:08 He was covering me.
08:10 But I was still running from God.
08:13 So I ended up getting married in 1991,
08:16 met a gal and got married in 1991 and
08:18 she had a lot of money.
08:21 Just an inheritance.
08:22 I didn't even know.
08:23 I'm just partying.
08:26 Well I didn't know, it ended up we had to have a
08:27 job, had to do something.
08:28 I was like I always wanted to make money,
08:29 I didn't want to live, like I'm just going to
08:30 live off your money.
08:31 I want to do something, so we opened a pub and deli.
08:34 I had 36 beers on tap, it was the largest assortment
08:37 of beer on tap in Idaho at the time.
08:39 We opened a pub and deli, a place called Thornton's,
08:42 The Place to Be!
08:43 Life of the party, Karaoke,
08:47 I am the reason Karaoke made it into Boise in bars.
08:50 So I don't know if that's a good thing
08:52 or a bad thing.
08:55 It's a cool thing.
08:58 I sing, so I figured I'd have my own platform to
08:59 sing, whatever it is that I want to sing.
09:01 So I owned this pub and deli and I didn't really
09:04 drink that much, I smoked a lot of pot.
09:06 I was addicted to Marijuana,
09:10 I didn't know it because I reflect back and every
09:13 morning I would wake up and the first thing that
09:15 I did was I'd smoke.
09:16 Taking the kids to school, you know taking,
09:20 her kids to school.
09:21 I would smoke and driving home,
09:22 it was unnatural for me not to be stoned, not to be high.
09:28 I just want to do a side note,
09:30 because when I work with someone who smokes weed,
09:32 you say I have no problem with that,
09:34 and I said do you do anything with out smoking weed anymore?
09:36 Do you go to a movie, do you go out with your
09:39 friends, and they say like no
09:40 I got to get some weed.
09:42 And I say did you enjoy any part of your life,
09:44 can you have sex without smoking weed?
09:46 It's like every part of their life has to be that
09:47 I have to have some pot first.
09:50 Realizing that people don't think of it as being
09:54 that disruptive in your life is pretty soon you
09:56 are not doing anything without being stoned.
09:59 And I functioned very well so I didn't process that
10:01 I was addicted to this chemical, to this drug.
10:03 So some things were going on at the pub and deli,
10:07 I wasn't selling drugs at all.
10:10 I had too much money, I didn't need to sell any
10:12 drugs, but I knew a lot people who sold drugs.
10:14 What happened is a friend of mine came to me and
10:16 said do you know where I can get some Cocaine.
10:18 I was like I don't have any but
10:21 I know people who have some.
10:25 So I put the two of them together in my office.
10:26 Oh Man!
10:28 It turns out he one guy was a
10:30 confidential informant.
10:31 The purpose was to set me up,
10:32 I don't want to say they were picking on me because
10:34 the color of my skin, probably more because I
10:36 was arrogant and boastful and I didn't do
10:39 authority very well.
10:41 When you've got a lot of money,
10:43 you think you don't have to abide by
10:44 everybody else's rules.
10:48 It was more than that, God was after me.
10:49 So this was just the vessel that was being used
10:52 for God to bring me back to Him.
10:54 So I let them make this transaction in my office
10:57 and they arrested me right in January of 1991.
11:03 But prior to that I'm still living in a mess,
11:06 I'm still living to where I am
11:08 trying to find my place.
11:10 My sister passed away and she was only 34 years old.
11:13 She had ovarian cancer.
11:15 So she passed away and I was,
11:17 I didn't realize it then, but I was so not in a place
11:19 to really even understand or comprehend the significance that
11:22 had to my family.
11:24 I wasn't weeping, hysterically, I wasn't,
11:28 I just didn't have a clue.
11:29 I was just out there, I didn't have a clue.
11:32 So we went back for the funeral and that took
11:34 place, and my mom's my best friend.
11:36 I mean all my life.
11:38 Like I said, I'd be on the video camera stealing the
11:41 candy, stilling the video, Oh that's my baby.
11:42 He wouldn't do that.
11:45 I mean That was my best friend, I'm special.
11:48 So I wasn't really tracking with what was
11:51 going on so I had money and I could help out.
11:53 So my input was financially and things like that then I got
11:57 arrested right after that.
11:59 So delivery of a controlled substance.
12:01 So in Idaho it is punishable up
12:04 to life in prison.
12:05 This would be my third felony at this point.
12:09 When they came to arrest me.
12:12 I have not delivered anything.
12:14 This is how arrogant I was.
12:16 The police man came into my place of business,
12:18 my pub and deli, I'm cooking lunch,
12:20 and he comes in, we have a warrant for your arrest.
12:21 Like a warrant for what?
12:24 I haven't done anything.
12:25 They're like Whoa, we don't know.
12:27 Well like if you are going to arrest me,
12:29 call and find out what I have a warrant for.
12:32 It's the grace of God that they obliged me and went
12:35 along with the thing.
12:37 Well delivery of a controlled substance,
12:38 I'm thinking, I haven't delivered anything.
12:40 I'm like no you've got the wrong person.
12:43 They are like, we are going to have
12:44 to take you to jail.
12:45 I'm like, what's the bond? Well we don't know.
12:46 I'm like well you're going to have to call and find
12:48 out what the bond is cause I'm not going with you.
12:50 Now mind you these people have guns.
12:55 I'm thinking who would do that!
12:56 They have guns and they have authority.
12:58 I was really arrogant.
12:59 They obliged me, it's totally miraculous story
13:05 and they said the bond is $200,000 dollars.
13:07 So I called my wife and said you need to meet me
13:10 at the jail with $200,000 dollar cashier's check
13:11 because they have arrested me for this.
13:13 So she got that all put in order and then the police
13:16 man wanted to take me out through my own business.
13:18 I said no, you are going to have to drive around
13:20 the back and get me because I am not going to
13:22 let you take me through my business.
13:26 So they came around back.
13:28 I'd say shut up there is no way.
13:30 It was amazing thing.
13:32 So I get down to the jail they process me and do
13:38 everything and the bail is like wow,
13:41 I've never seen anybody write a $200,000
13:42 dollar check to bond out.
13:43 I was pretty arrogant.
13:45 Anything short of a million dollars and I'm
13:47 not going to jail.
13:48 That was a bad move, because somehow the judge
13:51 got wind of that particular statement.
13:53 Because it is a controlled substance.
13:56 It's a controlled substance,
13:58 it's a third felony, and because I had a felony I
14:00 had a real, I couldn't have a liquor license so
14:03 it appeared as if I didn't have a job.
14:05 My name is on it, Thornton's The Place To Be,
14:08 but tax wise, there was no money actually coming to
14:10 my name so the argument could be made easily,
14:12 he's selling drugs.
14:13 That's how he's making money.
14:16 But that was a God thing, everybody knew where the
14:19 money came from.
14:21 I go to jail and I'm facing this,
14:23 I'm trying to process how can I get out of it.
14:25 We're going to move to Jamaica,
14:26 we're going to leave, we're leaving the states.
14:28 I'm not going to jail.
14:30 Especially for life.
14:31 They want to send me to jail for life.
14:33 In the process of all that fighting this charge,
14:36 my mom wanted to come to Idaho for Mother's day.
14:43 Because my sister died and she passed away at home so
14:46 she didn't want to be in the house over the
14:48 Mother's day holiday.
14:50 So they came to Boise to visit us for Mother's Day.
14:53 We had a great time, and you know my dad's a
14:56 Pastor, educator, so me playing football,
14:59 me partying and all that stuff,
15:00 was totally contrary to everything he was
15:03 trying to teach me.
15:04 My mom was probably more of a football fan
15:05 than my dad was.
15:08 He said, ah that's silly you need a job,
15:11 education and so I never remember the day,
15:13 the Sunday afterwards, well it was Mother's Day
15:15 Sunday and they were leaving.
15:16 He came and I wanted to show him the pub and deli.
15:21 I through him the deli part,
15:24 you know so he could see it is just a business.
15:26 Not my passion to sell beer, but I mean,
15:27 you make money.
15:28 I remember he was in the bathroom for a long time
15:31 and he finally came out and he just looked at me,
15:34 like son, I'm proud of you.
15:35 I'm not tracking, cause I'm like there is no
15:39 reason he is proud of me cause I own a pub and
15:42 deli, I know my dad.
15:43 That's contrary so I am going like well he is
15:46 maybe just proud of me because of the money.
15:47 I don't have to work for anybody,
15:48 I'm working for myself.
15:50 I just let that go.
15:51 On the way home, they are driving through
15:55 Waimauku, my dad dies.
15:59 So they came to escape the grief of home,
16:01 my sister passing away and on the way home from
16:03 visiting me, my dad passed away.
16:05 Like I said, my mom has been my best friend.
16:07 I got to just tell you I am sorry.
16:09 I'm sorry about your dad.
16:10 It was just, that was rough.
16:12 That was rough, because like I said now I was
16:14 facing what I thought would be life in prison.
16:16 I'm facing the dismantling of my family.
16:18 I knew I would lose my family,
16:19 I knew I would lose all the resources, all the,
16:22 everybody was just there for a good time.
16:26 That would go away if I went to jail.
16:31 I wasn't equipped to in my spirit,
16:33 even though I was a big guy, a tough guy,
16:34 like I said all the trouble I got in,
16:37 I wasn't really a serial criminal.
16:38 I just did stupid things.
16:43 I never did it well, that's how I know I wasn't
16:45 meant to do all that wrong,
16:46 cause I never did it well.
16:47 I was a very stupid criminal.
16:49 I was a very stupid thief, very stupid drug addict,
16:52 I mean all of those things.
16:53 Now I have to deal with my dad dying,
16:56 I have to deal with my mom, because
16:59 my concern is for my mom.
17:01 Going to jail.
17:02 You are facing going to jail.
17:04 Yeah and there us no way I can tell my mom.
17:05 She's got her husband and her daughter.
17:07 She is grieving, my daughter.
17:10 My mom had three young children and so she had
17:13 taken custody over those three young children.
17:16 So she has the children, all of these things,
17:18 now my dad died.
17:20 I'll never forget that.
17:22 I don't know how I'm going to tell,
17:23 I can't say anything.
17:25 So I went home for the funeral,
17:27 for my dad's funeral.
17:30 Backtracking just a moment, they told me,
17:31 because of this court case,
17:32 you can't leave the state without telling us.
17:35 Without getting permission.
17:37 I was like arrogant, I will not be calling you to
17:39 ask you if I can go to my dad's funeral.
17:42 So I just left.
17:44 I just left.
17:46 When I get down there my sister's were in church,
17:48 helped build the church.
17:50 You know we have been in church all of our lives.
17:55 My sisters could tell something was wrong with me.
17:58 I didn't tell them anything.
18:00 So they pulled me into a room, and like Mark,
18:02 what's wrong, because you didn't grieve this hard
18:05 at Twana, my sister's funeral and
18:06 something is just wrong.
18:08 So I had to unleash and let them know Heh,
18:10 they are trying to put me in jail for the rest of my
18:13 life for something that I really didn't do.
18:15 How can I tell mom and I'm going to lose this,
18:17 and that, and they told me something
18:19 I will never forget.
18:21 Mark this is spiritual warfare.
18:23 God's got a plan for your life,
18:25 and the devil is trying to thwart that
18:26 plan for your life.
18:29 And I am yeah whatever, but how is that going to
18:31 keep me out of jail.
18:32 We can't ever wrap our mind around that.
18:33 What are you talking about I'm talking serious,
18:35 real stuff here.
18:37 And they are like, so are we.
18:40 They were trying to explain that to me and I'm
18:41 like I'm not telling mom.
18:42 They are like well you just wait until like what
18:45 is going to happen.
18:47 I don't know I've got enough money to buy a
18:49 lawyer, I mean if money could have bought you out
18:50 of trouble, I would have been out of trouble.
18:52 Cause there was no resource that I didn't
18:56 have financially to be able to get out of this
18:58 mess, if that really could do it.
19:00 But God had other plans.
19:01 So what happened, I'm dying to hear.
19:04 My dad passes away, we do the funeral thing.
19:06 I come back, on my way back a friend of mine that
19:09 worked for me, he calls me up and tells me that a
19:11 gal that works at the airport said the police
19:14 were there and they were going to arrest
19:16 me when I got back.
19:19 So I just wanted to let you know they found out
19:20 you were gone and they are going to arrest you
19:22 when you get back.
19:24 So I flew to Salt Lake, bought a van cash,
19:28 and drove home to Boise.
19:29 Yes we drove into Boise.
19:32 That night packed up a pretty large house.
19:34 Movers came a packed a pretty large house,
19:35 bought another house on the other side of town,
19:37 moved there so the next time the police came to my
19:39 house looking for me, it was empty.
19:41 Don't try this at home.
19:44 No don't, please don't do this.
19:49 It happened to be the same police that came to arrest
19:50 me the first time.
19:53 So I go through this whole process and I ended up
19:55 turning myself in.
19:57 I went to court.
19:59 I just want to see the look on the police officer
20:02 when he comes to the house and sees he moved.
20:04 I hate this guy.
20:05 With that guy it gets better, it gets better.
20:08 I ended up getting a sentence three to ten,
20:12 3 fixed and up to ten years.
20:13 I'm thinking I'm gong to loose my family.
20:15 I remember telling the judge,
20:17 I'm going to lose my family.
20:18 No your family is going to be fine,
20:19 everything is going to be fine.
20:21 I'm thinking, I know people who manufacture
20:23 drugs, I'll tell on them and I remember the
20:26 prosecutor saying, Mr. Thornton,
20:27 we just want you.
20:28 We don't need anybody else, we just want you.
20:30 I'm thinking, I can't get out of it.
20:33 My mom still doesn't know.
20:36 So I'm in jail and I go through this process and
20:38 appeals things and all these and now it looks
20:39 like you're not going to get out of jail.
20:42 So now I have to tell my mom,
20:43 this my dad died in May, Mother's Day,
20:46 I didn't tell my mom until August.
20:48 I'm in a jail cell, a prison cell and I'm having
20:50 to call collect and tell my mom Heh this,
20:53 I'm in prison, I'm going to be here possibly up to
20:56 ten years and this is my best friend.
21:00 I can't even imagine her heart.
21:03 This is what she told me.
21:04 She said son, I have to wash my hands of you.
21:07 You are not going to kill me.
21:09 Now I am devastated, I'm in jail,
21:11 money can't get me out of jail.
21:13 My last resort, which has been my last resort all
21:16 my life, my mom's love, unconditional love,
21:18 special, we chose you.
21:20 Made that statement to me, broke my heart,
21:22 I hung up the phone and I could understand where
21:24 she was coming from.
21:25 It was at that moment.
21:27 Knew she had to do it.
21:28 Knew she did.
21:29 It was at that moment, that every scripture that
21:33 I had ever heard, memorized in a children's
21:36 play, saw on the wall, I'll never leave you
21:39 nor forsake you.
21:40 All those scriptures, every song that I ever
21:44 sung in church, it all came back to me.
21:47 In the jail cell, Lord I'm yours.
21:50 What ever you want I'll do it.
21:53 If this is the end result, then I'll serve you here.
21:56 If I lived a thousand miles an hour for the
21:58 world, I'll live a thousand ten miles
21:59 an hour for You.
22:03 That started a remarkable journey.
22:07 From that point I was committed,
22:08 that's okay if my wife leaves me,
22:10 if my mom that's okay.
22:12 I got God and I put my face in the Bible.
22:14 And you felt it, you felt His presence and
22:15 His love overwhelming.
22:17 When they say a jailhouse conversion, you know.
22:19 We laugh at that sometimes,
22:22 yeah and when he gets Out he's going to be the same,
22:23 but I've always been the kind of type that once I
22:25 made up my mind to do Something,
22:27 I was going to do it.
22:28 I tried everything else, I mean there was not a drug,
22:31 You know that I hadn't tried, probably.
22:33 There probably was, but in my mind anything that I
22:36 Wanted to do, I did it.
22:37 There was not a party, I mean I had done everything
22:40 that I could possibly do.
22:42 I was like, you know what, Lord I am going to serve You.
22:45 I remember the Lord gave me a song,
22:47 in that jail cell.
22:49 I did that so I get out, got my Bible.
22:51 Wait, wait, wait, what's the song, do you remember?
22:53 Can you sing some of it?
22:54 Yeah what He's done for me.
22:55 You gave me your shoulder, When I wanted to cry,
23:01 You gave me lasting hope, When I wanted to die,
23:07 You are my friend, yes, When I was all alone,
23:13 You reached out Your hand to me,
23:18 So I could make it home.
23:20 You know I talked about there was times I wanted to die.
23:22 When I wanted to give up, but God wouldn't
23:24 let me, give up.
23:26 He said no, I called you for a purpose and I'm going to use you
23:29 I don't know how he is going to use me,
23:30 or when he is going to use me,
23:31 I'm thinking I must be a jail preacher.
23:33 I plugged into the chapel.
23:36 And I'm doing all these things.
23:38 The journey started, I felt like
23:39 Joseph in prison.
23:41 Because there was a measure of favor that was
23:44 applied to me that wasn't applied to
23:46 any other inmate.
23:47 I have big feet, I wear six 15 shoes.
23:49 They didn't have boots or tennis shoes to fit me and
23:53 they could care less whether I had shoes,
23:55 but did still have a lawyer at the time,
23:57 so I got two pairs of my own shoes in.
23:59 So now I'm walking around in prison with my own
24:01 tennis shoes, which you think no, okay,
24:04 but that's a big deal.
24:05 Everybody else had state issued,
24:07 I got Jordan's you know.
24:09 Some nice walking shoes.
24:10 It started with that and they made me,
24:14 I started working at the chapel,
24:15 everybody's lifting weights you know.
24:17 I'm a big guy so they think he's going to lift weights.
24:19 I was athletic, they think he is going to
24:20 play on the basketball team.
24:21 I'm like, no, I am not going to do that stuff.
24:23 I'm going to run after God.
24:24 Occasionally I would play basketball,
24:27 it's amazing thing.
24:29 I'm losing wife, my wife is having an
24:31 affair with this guy.
24:34 I find out about it, they think that I don't know.
24:36 This guy comes on the volunteer team out to the
24:38 prison to play basketball.
24:39 Yes, this is like adding the injury to insult.
24:43 And I'm, like everything within me,
24:44 Everything within me, and the Lord is like,
24:47 you know you brought this on yourself.
24:49 So you deal with the fall out of your actions.
24:52 Really, up until that point,
24:54 I had never taken responsibility for things
24:57 that I had done.
24:58 So, he was probably scared of me, but you know what?
25:01 I'm not mad at you.
25:03 Can I just say, Mark, cause I don't
25:06 want to lose this.
25:07 For most addicts for most people that God is calling
25:09 back to sanity, back to their right mind,
25:12 is the biggest step is to take responsibility,
25:15 to look at what you have done in your life,
25:17 and say you know what?
25:18 All this I brought on myself,
25:21 all this is because of the choices I've made.
25:23 And there is a freedom in that,
25:24 this is because of what I chose,
25:25 I'm going to choose different in Christ.
25:28 It is, I took a class in thinking classes like what
25:32 is your part in it.
25:33 That was one of the biggest thing that every
25:34 happened to me, I had to process, God is faithful.
25:38 When He says, I'm the Lord thy God I changeth not.
25:41 He means exactly what He says.
25:43 He's faithful so there is a problem with my
25:45 relationship with God, it's me.
25:46 It's not God's fault and so I had to come to that
25:49 realization and that understanding.
25:50 So I am working in the chapel,
25:52 I'm doing these things, and there was a big
25:54 fallout, a big, big fight and you know I have always
25:57 tried to help other people out.
25:59 So somehow I got myself involved in this,
26:01 it was none of my business.
26:02 I got myself involved, I made the decision,
26:04 I am going to take care of this situation.
26:06 Well, they ended up moving me to the farm.
26:08 Which is minimum security next day so I couldn't do
26:11 any further damage to me.
26:14 The Lord showed me later on that my life was
26:17 literally in danger, with white supremacist,
26:20 people who wanted to, gangs and nobody is going
26:24 to mess with me.
26:25 I'm Mark Thornton, I'm...
26:26 The Lord showed me NO!
26:28 I had a hedge of protection over you so
26:30 that they couldn't touch you.
26:31 So I go to the farm, I'm working on the farm
26:33 in the Chapel.
26:34 I'm the Chaplin in there so I am preaching,
26:36 we know our church is praise and worship today.
26:39 In traditional black churches you sing hymns.
26:41 And the choir processions in so I don't have a clue
26:44 about praise and worship, but God is using me to
26:46 lead praise and worship.
26:47 To preach the message.
26:49 Then there is this thing about Promise-Keepers.
26:52 So we are saying Oh that would be neat.
26:54 We're minimum security so maybe we could go.
26:56 So I orchestrate all these things to get to go to
27:00 Promise-Keepers then I made a mistake.
27:03 I sent, you can have your own personal property
27:06 which I had really too much of.
27:07 I mean I had a Walkman's, tapes, books,
27:10 and your only suppose to have so much personal
27:13 property, but because of the favor of
27:15 God, it really was.
27:16 I was in charge of a couple different programs,
27:18 I had like about 3 or 4 people's worth
27:21 of personal property.
27:22 I had it stored in other people's lockers.
27:25 The police knew it, the guards knew it.
27:28 and they, well that's Thornton.
27:30 But you know what's real interesting is most people
27:32 don't understand in a prison environment you are
27:35 the man then.
27:36 I mean what you have, even the little
27:38 you have, it's status.
27:40 Yeah that's all you have so I had all these things
27:42 and my own shoes, clothes, like I said
27:45 books, tapes, Walkman.
27:47 I'd walk around singing.
27:49 Why does Thornton gets to have it?
27:51 Because I'm involved in the programs,
27:52 programs and security are two different things.
27:54 There's the people who processing security,
27:56 that's all they care about.
27:57 So if you're walking around with head phones on
27:59 and stuff, they are like, wait a minute,
28:01 how does he get to do that?
28:05 But the deputy warden of programs,
28:07 no he can have this because of this,
28:08 because of that.
28:09 Unmerited favor, I mean honestly through the
28:12 whole, my whole time in prison.
28:13 So pride starts creeping in and I had actually too
28:17 much personal property so I sent some out,
28:20 but it wasn't the proper way.
28:22 The Warden finds out and he removes me from my
28:25 position as running the chapel and makes me pick
28:28 up cigarette butts.
28:29 Now I don't like cigarette butts, can't stand smoke,
28:32 it bothers me.
28:33 So to me that was the worse thing
28:35 you could have done.
28:36 Yeah make me pick up cigarette butts and I
28:38 don't even smoke.
28:39 So I did it with humility and I didn't ask for my
28:43 position back or anything.
28:44 I still had to orchestrate this Promise-Keepers trip even
28:47 though I wasn't going.
28:48 So pride is being killed in me slowly, but surely.
28:51 By God's mercy!
28:54 By the grace of God, definitely.
28:57 Cause it would destroy you.
28:58 Yeap, it would have, it had already gotten me to
29:00 the place that I was at.
29:01 So I will never forget, one day the Warden was
29:04 walking by and I'm two months into picking up cigarette butts.
29:06 I'm like, Mr. Warden can I have my job back?
29:09 He's like, have you learned a lesson?
29:11 I'm like, I have learned a whole lot of lessons.
29:13 So he's like sure, go tell the Lieutenant and so he's
29:16 gave me my job back and I'm like afraid to ask,
29:18 can I go to Promise-Keepers.
29:20 But I was just like, I would let that go.
29:22 The Chaplin, you know the staff Chaplin decides who
29:24 was going to go.
29:25 And he comes up an tells me the Warden has decided
29:27 to let you go to the Promise-Keepers event.
29:30 So in 1995, I leave prison with the group of guys in
29:35 our blue jeans and blue shirts and we go to this
29:38 Promise-Keepers conference and I'll never forget.
29:41 One of the Pastors took me up to Wellington Boone
29:44 Dr. Wellington Boone, says this man's in prison,
29:46 he's at Promise-Keepers, and he said WHAT!
29:49 It was kind of funny so he wanted me to share some of
29:52 the things that was going on.
29:53 In front of everybody?
29:55 Well I didn't get up at that time,
29:57 but just with the Pastor, with Wellington Boone at the time.
30:00 So we go back to prison, life had changed.
30:02 Life had changed for me, God was doing great things.
30:05 So now comes time for my parole.
30:06 And honestly if you looked up the word changed in the
30:10 dictionary, my picture would have been there.
30:12 I mean because there was a 180 degree change.
30:15 It was God working in me.
30:16 And it was your desire for the change now.
30:19 Yeah, totally not me, it was God moving in me.
30:22 I go to the, my mom came, and my wife that I'm
30:26 married to now, my wife had divorced me,
30:28 moved my kids away.
30:29 I hadn't seen my kids for two years.
30:30 So I literally lost my family.
30:33 Did they leave the states.
30:34 They left the state and went to Ohio.
30:36 I didn't find that out till I got out.
30:39 I'll come back and share because that is another
30:42 miraculous thing that God did.
30:43 I go to parole hearing and I've got this
30:46 dissertation ready to share with the parole board.
30:49 They let my mom say something,
30:51 they asked my brother, he didn't
30:54 have nothing to say.
30:55 I'm thinking, what are you doing say something.
30:56 That was it, the guy asked me,
30:58 you play football at Boise State?
31:00 I'm like yeah!
31:01 Okay that's all.
31:02 Like okay you can be dismissed,
31:04 I'm thinking no, wait, wait.
31:05 I've got something to say.
31:07 They're like Mr. Thornton we don't need
31:09 to hear from you.
31:10 I'm thinking, they are not going to let me go.
31:12 I mean they are not going to let me go.
31:14 I remember going back there and I was praying in
31:17 the room and I come back out and they are like this
31:19 is June of 1995.
31:23 Okay we are going to give you a parole date for
31:25 October, I was like in my spirit, October!
31:29 What do you mean October!
31:31 I was upset.
31:32 Oh I was upset and I went back into the room and the
31:37 Spirit of the Lord spoke to me,
31:39 How ungrateful are you going to be?
31:41 I fell to my knees and I wept, Lord I am sorry.
31:47 Now I don't see how Gods working so had I gotten
31:51 out of prison that day, I had no place to live,
31:55 I had no money, I had nothing.
31:59 Your wife, is gone.
32:00 I've got no nothing.
32:01 I God kind of orchestrated to go to a work center,
32:04 I got a job doing steel construction.
32:06 I had never done any construction
32:09 in my life before.
32:10 When I went in to talk to the guy,
32:11 the only thing, this is what I can do.
32:13 I have computer skills, I'm a human fork lift.
32:16 I can sing.
32:17 They didn't want any singers at the time.
32:19 The only thing you have to take a chance
32:22 on is my character.
32:23 I'll never forget, He said Mr. Thornton, I'm not concerned
32:25 about your character.
32:26 I'm like, you don't even know me.
32:27 So anyway I got a job and Davis - Bacon, federal wages.
32:31 I get a job and I'm making like $27.00 an hour plus
32:34 $5.00 and hour benefits.
32:36 I cannot hit a hammer on a nail.
32:38 I know that seems, no I am so not that guy.
32:41 My wife did not let me have power tools.
32:43 None of that stuff because I am not guy.
32:46 I got a job making this much money,
32:48 and I'm in a work release program.
32:50 I'm in jail.
32:51 God is orchestrating all of these things together.
32:54 When it was time for me to get out,
32:56 this lady who use to come out to the prisons,
32:59 her son is still out there.
33:01 She said well you can stay at our house.
33:02 I'm thinking you don't even know,
33:05 I've seen you minister at the Chapel while you were
33:07 in jail, you can stay at our house.
33:08 You don't have to pay any rent.
33:10 So people just trusted you.
33:11 It sounds like God just had His hand on you and
33:13 open doors, one door after another
33:15 at your coming out.
33:16 Yeah and that was amazing because I was so totally
33:18 undeserving of any of the favors,
33:20 any of the blessings that they bestowed upon me
33:23 because my previous lifestyle.
33:25 So you know what I want to ask Mark?
33:27 I know that you are standing in ministry in a
33:29 number of different places,
33:30 I want to know how that happened.
33:32 How God stand you up in ministry in the places
33:36 that you are in right now?
33:37 Well I started volunteering in
33:39 Promise-Keepers, then I ended up getting hired
33:41 part time to do that.
33:46 So I would travel around the Northwest now
33:49 ministering to men, sharing with men the
33:50 gospel of Jesus Christ.
33:51 I went to one church to try to use their building
33:54 for an event and met the Pastor and
33:57 attended a service there.
33:58 The Holy Spirit was just thick in that place,
34:01 Oh my God, I'm going to end up going to church here.
34:04 I will never forget, he, I didn't know he knew me,
34:06 he called me to his office one day.
34:08 He said God said you are going to
34:10 be my worship leader.
34:11 I'm like, Okay, you don't know God.
34:14 He should tell me.
34:16 I'm thinking you don't know my story,
34:17 you don't know.
34:19 He's like I know all about you and God told me this
34:21 and so he moved me into a position of actually
34:24 ushering people into the presence of God,
34:26 which I really didn't have a clue.
34:28 It was a great learning process,
34:29 so through that and discipleship.
34:31 Do you know that if I'm having a hard time and I
34:34 just want to be blessed that I will come to the
34:37 worship and to the prayer just because I know you
34:40 are gifted in that way.
34:41 That I know you love God and that
34:43 God has His hand on you.
34:45 I am blessed just by watching you minister to other people.
34:48 Well it's good to be used by the Lord and to be
34:51 faithful to what He's called you to.
34:54 What a change in what you were doing.
34:55 Oh Yeah.
34:57 I was about me and now it is about God,
34:58 that's really my passion now.
35:00 to be able to help people experience.
35:02 You can't tell the arrogance from your past.
35:03 I have never seen you arrogant.
35:05 I have never, cause I met you in Christ.
35:07 I have never seen you arrogant so that cracks me
35:09 up that God can take somebody and change them
35:11 so much that people are going what!
35:14 Mark arrogant!
35:15 What are you talking about.
35:16 A true, humbling experience will change you around.
35:19 I had to depend on God and He didn't fail me.
35:20 He didn't leave me, He didn't forsake me,
35:22 He did what He said He was going to do.
35:24 I like sharing that with people now.
35:25 And He made mama proud.
35:27 He made mama proud and so yes now she invites me to
35:30 her church, this is my son in whom I'm well pleased,
35:33 I go and minister there but I've been
35:35 in full-time ministry for ten years now.
35:37 A little bit over ten years.
35:39 I'm still amazed that God would use somebody like me.
35:42 And your kids are with you.
35:43 My kids are with me now.
35:44 Through a bunch of different circumstances
35:45 they are with me.
35:47 Everybody's in some type of ministry.
35:48 Like if daddy's singing and preaching,
35:51 somebody's got to run the camera,
35:52 learn to play the piano, read a prayer, or something.
35:55 Your son came up to me one time and ministered to me,
35:58 you were doing something, and he just ministered and
36:01 told me a little bit of his testimony.
36:02 I thought you are so Mark's son.
36:04 It's been great, God is ah,
36:07 I've been to Kenya three times.
36:09 Doing what!
36:12 Ministering to kids, and ministering
36:14 to the lost there.
36:16 So three times there, it is just remarkable
36:19 God has opened these doors because
36:21 I've attempted to be faithful.
36:24 Shut up cause you know what,
36:25 I'm such am opportunist, you know that.
36:26 I've got you on air, so would you go somewhere
36:30 with us some time?
36:31 I'll go with you, I'm ready to go.
36:32 Wherever somebody needs to know about the love of
36:35 Jesus Christ, to see an example that
36:37 He can do great things.
36:42 What God began He'll finish, I'm ready to go.
36:43 Regardless, he began it as a child with you,
36:44 even though you fought the whole time,
36:46 decided to do your own thing.
36:48 Almost took yourself out.
36:49 He said, you know what!
36:51 I haven't took My hand off you.
36:52 You are special.
36:54 You have been chosen.
36:55 This has been a great year just, my purpose,
37:00 I've been in full-time ministry, like I said ten years.
37:01 God didn't just call me to ministry in the church,
37:03 He said there is people who are lost and dying.
37:06 Jesus didn't minister in the synagogues,
37:07 He ministered in the streets.
37:09 So God, it's like that's what I called you to do.
37:11 Somebody in the streets needs
37:12 to hear your testimony.
37:15 Somebody in the streets needs to share in the
37:16 anointing that you share in so I want you to go.
37:18 For the longest time I was like I'm comfortable here
37:20 in the church.
37:21 I mean this is a great place but the Lord is like
37:23 this is what I want you to do.
37:25 When I saw you on January 1st,
37:27 I had already made that decision
37:28 and doors started opening.
37:30 I was like WOW!
37:31 Once you make up your mind to follow after God and
37:34 let Him do what He said He would do, there's no end.
37:37 It's like He takes your breath away.
37:40 He's like you know what I have no idea you were
37:42 serious about this using me thing.
37:44 I mean it's amazing and I'm excited about the
37:47 opportunity to be, if God can use me,
37:50 if He can do what He did in my life,
37:52 He can do it in anybody's life.
37:54 And He's willing.
37:55 You know what, look in the camera and tell them that.
37:57 So on the mountain of ashes,
38:00 from you burnt up mistakes,
38:03 God will give you a platform to minister to
38:06 the lost, to the dying, and to the hurting.
38:09 He can use you, just like He used Moses,
38:12 just like He used David, Just like He used me.
38:15 God is faithful if you just trust Him.
38:17 And as He stands you up as a man of God,
38:19 it is really interesting to me is that the Bible
38:23 say's we're the light of the world.
38:24 We're the light of the world.
38:26 We bring God colors to the world.
38:28 I think that in our damage we think,
38:29 how does that happen.
38:30 How can that happen?
38:32 God says that is not even for you to concern
38:33 yourself about with.
38:34 I will do it.
38:35 You just stand up, stay true with your relationship with Me.
38:39 How cool is that!
38:40 Make yourself available.
38:42 I want to have you come back after the break and
38:44 sing a song for us so I want to say stay with us.
38:47 Just remember I don't care who you are,
38:49 I don't care where you are,
38:50 everyone of us is special, chosen by God.
38:53 Everyone of us is adopted into His family because
38:57 He wanted us there.
38:58 So know that when Mark talks about being special,
39:03 we are all special and it's way cool.
39:04 Stay with us, We'll be right back!