Brooklyn born and San Diego raised, Jon Lutack is as diverse as these two cities. Growing up in a large family of eight children, and being the only boy, his survival skills kicked in early on. With the majority of his education from the school of hard knocks and his firsthand experiences as his professor, Jon graduated from the streets of San Diego.
Rarely is a story about the harshest of roads, the worst of circumstances, and the deadly grip of addiction told in a more beautiful and touching way. Jon pulls few punches as he shares about the downfalls, the heroes, the miracles, and living in the heart vs. the head. Jon speaks to men today about addiction and the redeeming grace found in the Crucifix, community, and the present moment.
His talks encompass primarily three topics:
1. THE PAIN AND GRACE IN ADDICTION
“When the pain is greater than the fear, movement will come”
Jon speaks incredibly bluntly to fathers, sons, and brothers as he shares gut wrenching and grace-filled moments of pain and redemption from a 15 year battle with heroin, and the source of strength that allows him to keep fighting the power of addiction, one day at a time.
His testimony is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the homeless, hopeless, the addicted, the imprisoned and the unknown heroes who fight to overcome all odds through Christ to heal themselves and change the world around them.
After turning his life around, Jon served as a substance abuse counselor and case manager in various San Diego organizations, including St. Vincent DePaul, one of the largest homeless residential shelters in the country. A legend in San Diego drug courts, the presiding judge once stated that Jon was “the most powerful speaker” she had ever seen in his position. Through this, Jon had the opportunity to mentor many men through drug/alcohol addiction. He talks of the pain and the humility required for healing, going through the Crucifix and not around it, the necessity of a Christ centered community for a recovering addict, and the grace of surrendering.
2. THE POWER AND NEED OF A COMMUNITY IN CHRIST
“Christ walked with 12. Who are you to walk alone?”
Jon’s testimony is interwoven with a very specific community of men. These characters of all types, personalities, and backgrounds, make frequent appearances and are never absent from Jon’s testimony. When you bring Jon forward to speak, you may as well bring 20 men forward to speak. Their testimony is his story. Their faith has carried him. And Jon doesn’t dare forget it.
In today’s society of individualism and self adoration, Jon’s talk is a hope-inspiring, glorious look into what an active community of men following Christ looks like. Whether young or old, single or married, healthy or sick, it is very hard to believe that you can, or should, go it alone in this world after hearing Jon speak.
Jon believes passionately that community starts in the home. Jon speaks especially to fathers about the importance of building the family unit. He firmly instructs fathers to take their rightful place as the family leaders vs. letting society do their jobs for them.
Jon’s brash candidness challenges men to forever put away the notion that they should choose to walk alone when God puts others in our path to accompany us.
3. BEING PRESENT TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING
“People just want to be heard. They just want to have value. “
You may never look at “helping” or “fixing” another human being the same again after listening to Jon speak. Jon shares with men the power of being present and the dignity desired by every person, especially those without a home. When asked, he gives sound, safe advice for how to serve the broken in your immediate world and how to deal with those who seek to take advantage of those around them.
Jon answers the “how” of how to love those around us that suffer from addiction, prison convictions, and depression. His love, empathy, and unapologetic conviction on this topic often touch the more hardened and distant hearts in the audience.
With his quick wit, compassion and love for all, Jon shares his story for the glory and praise of God. Whether the topic is addictions, community, environment or living in the present, Jon is an impactful Catholic speaker and living proof that miracles DO happen through Christ.
“Jon always does an excellent job and it is evident that his talk is structured, well thought out, and always from his heart in portraying God’s love and message. I would recommend Jon to go in front of any group or audience is speaking about his past experiences, his accomplishments, and how now he has surrendered his life to Christ and how he could shout that out to the four winds. Jon is a good man, a man with good examples, and would be a great resource to place in front of so many that are searching for a new life with Christ.” – Eddie Albanez
“He is a very passionate man, and his passion resonates outwardly when he speaks. Whether he is speaking about his walk with God, his walk to overcome drug addiction, or his walk as a substance abuse counselor, his words are powerful and motivational. The obstacles Jon has faced in his life are large, and his journey has been difficult. But he has faced these obstacles with a very deep faith in our God, and a tremendous sense of humor. His story is captivating to listen to when told.” – Mark Pierson