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Minister turns life around, helps others

In the pulpit

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POSTED: October 11, 2010 4:01 p.m.
The Rev. Johnny Fleming has only been in the ministry a short time, but he is certainly intent on spreading the word of God.
After turning his back on a life of selling and taking drugs, the minister said faith changed everything. “It was God’s grace that brought me out of the mess I was in. I was on a collision course headed in the wrong direction, but I thank God He touched my life and turned me around,” Fleming said. “I tell people that if God did it for me, He can do it for them. All you have to do is let God take control of your life. When we are in a world of sin, we think we are getting by, but we are not. We are only fooling ourselves.”
In 2001, Fleming, who serves as an associate minister at the Riceboro Baptist Church under the Rev. Edgar Timmons, said he had a life-changing experience.
“I was facing a life sentence in prison. Because of my involvement with drugs, I had spent several years in various prisons throughout Georgia. Each time I was released, I would try to do right, but eventually went right back to my old lifestyle,” he said. “One night, while sitting in my jail cell in the Liberty County Jail, I cried out to God, and He saved me. I walked out of jail a free man, and have never taken or sold drugs again. I have not looked back on my old lifestyle, and I am not going back.”
In 2006, God called Fleming into the ministry, and he was ordained in 2007.
“Because of what God did for me, I love to tell the good news about Jesus Christ,” he said. “When I preach, I also share my testimony.”
In June 2010, Fleming published a book, “God Brought Me Out.” The book focuses on the minister’s life, how his involvement with drugs almost cost him his life and how God finally delivered him.
“I published the book so people will not make the same mistake I did. So many young people want to live the fast life and make a quick dollar. But they don’t understand the risks and dangers behind what they are doing,” he said. “Every year young people are wounded or killed because of drugs. We see so many grieving family members because their young sons were sucked into a dangerous and ruthless lifestyle.”
Fleming’s message to young boys and girls is to seek God and not drugs.
“Get involved in your church and positive things that are going on at school and in the community. You need to be careful of the people you hang around. Don’t allow a quick dollar to land you in an early grave,” he said. “I was a fast-talker and loved a quick dollar, but the hurt and pain I caused my loved ones and friends will forever be a part of me. ‘God Brought Me Out’ is a book that will cause you to think before you act.”
Since becoming a minister, Fleming has eulogized some of the same people he once hung out with while running the streets. He also has his own construction business and likes to spend time helping people.  
Fleming and his wife, Evangelist Elsie Fleming, who is an accomplished gospel singer, love to give back to the community. They have a helping hands ministry. Whenever someone is in need, they try to provide assistance. During the holidays, they give to the elderly in the community and nursing homes.
The Flemings live in Hinesville and are the parents of six children. For additional information about the book, call Fleming at 572-1240.

Anderson is the author of “Lack of Knowledge” and “Dare to Soar.”
 

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