June 2, 2015
Mark Stevens grew up in Tasmania, Australia and was a teen icon on the Australian hit television show Young Talent Time before falling into the deadly trap of drug and alcohol abuse. Mercy residents in all four U.S. homes recently had the opportunity to hear his inspiring story of transformation from a life of addiction to church leadership.
Mark led the residents in a time of worship and then shared how at age 14 he started using drugs and alcohol. By age 26 he was estranged from his family, had lost his entertainment career, and was a heroin addict. Mark eventually moved to London and through a Christian friend there came to know Christ and experienced instant and radical transformation in his life.
Mark is now married with two children and is one of the United Kingdom and Europe’s leading exponents of praise and worship. Mark first based himself for four years at Hillsong Church—both in London and Sydney—singing, writing and touring worldwide with the Hillsong worship team. This was followed by an 11-year period as Worship Pastor and Creative Director at Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England.
While at the Mercy homes, Mark made his personal story applicable to the residents by weaving it with a teaching based on 1 Samuel 16 where God rejects Saul and redirects Samuel. He asked the residents, “How long will you mourn over your past when God has already moved on to what will happen?” He followed that thought by saying, “Your rejection will always be your direction.” Mark taught that God has great miracles, surprises, wisdom, relationships, and resources for us if we will deliberately seek Him and not place so much focus on our past. He encouraged the residents to be like Samuel and “fill your horn with oil and be on your way.”
Mercy resident Victoria said this of Mark’s teaching: “I loved how he told his story and I could not see a trace of shame in his eyes. I want that for my life so bad—to be able to stand and to speak out against the lies that plague humanity and to believe the truth that Jesus says about me. God has a future for me!”
“When Mark was talking about how we are stuck in our past and how that can sabotage our future, it clicked for me,” said Mercy resident Cyndie. “I have been stuck at a standstill for more than half of my life. When he asked, “How long will you mourn?” I realized I haven’t moved on! I have never really acknowledged things going on in my life. I am ready because I don’t want to keep sabotaging my future. I want my life to move forward. I am so tired of being stuck! I really liked this message.”
“Mark’s story was awesome to hear because his love for the Lord is so real and evident. Anyone who makes me want more of God is great. What impacted me the most is when he said that God loves to defy the odds. My odds might not be in my favor, but God is. That’s a game changer,” said Mercy resident Jodi.
Mercy is grateful for Mark Stevens and the powerful time of worship and teaching he brought to each Mercy home.