Who is Tony Nolan?
Tony Nolan is a husband, dad, friend, minister and author. He is passionate about sharing the story of God. Those that know Tony, really like him. When asked about his greatest achievements, he is quick to say, none of them have been accomplished alone. Things that make him smile; watching tears flow down the cheeks of the forgiven, Christmas talks with his wife, listening to his sleeping children breathe, and the prize of hearing someone say he’s real.
Tony's life story fuels his passion for Christ and lies at the heart of his powerful gift for speaking God's truth to today's youth. Adopted at 3, he endured abuse as a child and struggled with addictions as a teen. On the verge of taking his own life, Tony learned of God's unconditional love for him and committed his life to Christ. For Tony, everyday is a celebration of how God's life-changing love can redeem every aspect of a person's life.
Tony was born to a homeless, mentally ill prostitute who was placed in a mental institution. After his birth, Tony was immediately put in foster care where he suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of his own foster parents. For the first three years of his life, he was repeatedly sexually abused, brutally beaten and thrown down flights of stairs for sport and burned with cigarettes when he refused to perform perverted sexual acts. At age 3, Tony was adopted by a poor and dysfunctional family for only $200. His adopted father beat and verbally abused Tony regularly. In drunken rages he would often look at Tony in disgust and demand, “is this all my $200 got me?! I wish I'd never bought you.”
To soothe his bloodied and battered soul, Tony turned to drugs. Growing up in Sin City, the seediest part of Jacksonville, Florida, provided easy access to illegal drugs. By age 13, he was addicted to marijuana, acid and alcohol. His drug habits regularly landed him in trouble with the law, and he became a social outcast. But God had plans for Tony and kept His hand of protection and blessing on him even as he continued to slide farther down a dark path.
The next step along Tony's road toward salvation was a high-paying, luxurious job as a yacht captain for a major business mogul. He was convinced his job was his deliverance from the pain of life, and would bring him the happiness he longed for. It didn't. This lead Tony to conclude that there is no reason to live. Hopeless, Tony wrestled with a deep desire to die. He quit his job on the yacht and spent his days drinking, even attempting to take his own life.
February 24, 1989, could have been Tony's last day on earth. Crushed by the rejection of his father's words, telling him that he wished he had never bought him, suicide haunted his mind and heart. However in the midnight of his storm, a ray of light from the Son of God broke through. Someone came and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Tony. Hearing that Jesus came to give hurting people life to the fullest, Tony prayed and received Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. Learning that God the Father, in contrast to his adopted father, had never regretted purchasing him with the priceless blood of his Son Jesus, Tony was transformed by the Love of God.
His life changed completely that night. Radically born again, Jesus delivered him from all his drug addictions and began to mold and reshape his character, freeing him from his old self-sabotaging habits. Soon God called Tony into full-time ministry and he went on to become an ordained and licensed Preacher of the Gospel.
Tony's spiritual gift is Harvest Evangelism, or drawing the net, which he simply defines as “helping people get it about God's great love and salvation.” God's saving power is distinctly manifested wherever Tony preaches In a single speaking event, about 3,000 people responded at the invitation and made public professions of faith in Christ.
Today, Tony can be found enthusiastically sharing the Gospel at major events across America. Tony also leads UPGRADE, a “Salvation Awakening” movement. Its core mission is to facilitate corporate encounters with God through prayer, worship, biblical teaching, drama and media that supernaturally transform hearts resulting in resurgence of First Century outreach for the glory of God.