Sharing The Light – Steve “Leapin” Lillis Testimony

Steve Lillis

Are you searching for peace and satisfaction? Do you long to find a joyful reason to wake up and greet the new day? Do you desire to have purpose and meaning in your life and to know where your destiny lies?

These were the major issues of life that I wrestled with for many years.  Having been raised in an upper middle-class home, educated in outstanding public schools, and having unlimited opportunities, only fueled the fire of my desire to find meaning.  After throwing away many opportunities for success, my temporary contentment came in my search for meaning and purpose through the financial freedom afforded me in the life of a professional pool player.

My odyssey started in 1971 after dropping out of my third college in three years.  In the next four years I was to become a notorious bar room pool hustler who slept by day and made his money by night.  Drugs, alcohol, and women all accompanied that lifestyle.  I was on a path of destruction but was blinded by apparent success.  I rejected God because I felt that my destiny was in my hands, the cue stick, and winning.  Fame and fortune seemed around the corner as news spread of an up and coming young pool player named Steve “Leapin” Lillis.  That nickname came and stuck because of my unpredictable behavior.  I went from bar room hustler to top professional pool player to United States Navy Champion in a matter of three years from 1974-1977.

I then traveled the United States in search of a World title in the arena of professional billiard competition.  Over a three-year period, I logged 85,000 miles by car from 1978 through 1980.  I played in almost every state and played almost every top player in the country.  My only purpose and desire became the next game.  I was trying to fill a huge hole in my soul with pool.  A broken marriage and strained family relationships developed.  I was obsessed with only one thing, the next game.  Deep down I knew something was missing.  From 1981-1985 I began to intensify my search for meaning and purpose.

A shoemaker in Chattanooga, Tennessee showed me a verse in the Bible, Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but…”  This revealed to me that there was more than just what was seen.  Deep down I knew this but now I realized I had God’s Word, the Bible, to help answer my questions about meaning and purpose.  For almost four years I searched the Scriptures and found answers that all my travels and experiences could not supply.

Then in 1985 after many difficulties with family, career, and self, I knelt beside my bed and asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of my life.  Even though I knew in my head a lot about Jesus, it was time to surrender and let Him fill that hole in my life that only He can fill.  He created you and me to have fellowship with Him.  We were designed and created in His image to commune with Him.

Maybe today you are trying to fill that spot in your life with something other than Jesus Christ.  Maybe you are filling that hole with a lot of “good things”.  Maybe you work 60 or 70 hours a week.  Maybe it’s a hobby, or a relationship.  I had a wrong relationship with pool for many years.  The first commandment says “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”  If anything else fills that spot meant for God, it is an idol.  What is filling that spot in your soul today?  I pray that today would be the day of salvation for you.  Put away that idol and put your trust in what Jesus Christ has already done 2,000 years ago.  He died for all your sins.  He wants to be Lord of your life.  Tell him right now that you want Him to be your Savior and Lord and to forgive you for all your sins.  Thank Him right now that your destiny is secured (Rom.10:9; John 3:16) and your purpose fulfilled (Mt. 6: 33).  If you have done this it is between you and the Lord Jesus Christ and it is a done deal.

Visit or call a Bible believing, Bible teaching church or ministry so that you can grow in your faith! 

Steve Lillis is currently 69 years old and has been playing pool since he was 11 years old and was raised in a Christian home but decided to get serious with God at the age of 35 years old.