First of all let me say that I came from a great family. I had a wonderful Mom and Dad and a brother to fight with every day. Until I was about 10 years old, we attended church but were not really Christians. Other than asking God’s blessings on the food I never saw anyone pray at my house. We moved to a new town when I was 10 and after trying two churches my parents decided there weren’t any good churches in this new town so we stopped going. When I turned 16 and got my drivers license, I began to rebel big time. I started drinking, doing drugs and partying day and night. At 18, I dropped out of school and got married to my party buddy. By the time I was 23, I was burned out and divorced. I moved away to another town to get away from the drugs. I met the lady that I am now married to. We got married and she helped me to quit drugs completely. I still drank a little beer on the weekends though. The career that I got into when I quit school began to take off, so I started climbing the corporate ladder. By age 35, I had a wife, two sons, a good job, a house, three cars and a boat. I had everything that was supposed to make a person happy but something was still missing in my life. It was then that God went to work on me. He hit me from about three directions at once.
First of all my oldest son had acquired a new friend that lived in the development that we had moved into. Naturally we met his parents who turned out to be Christians. They were different though than most Christians I had known. They were just everyday people but they loved Jesus. We would get together on Saturday nights and play cards and somehow the conversation would always come around to Christianity. They were very knowledgeable of endtimes prophecy so I began to study prophecy in the Bible so I could carry on an intelligent conversation.
I had also just read Stephen King’s “The Stand” which is somewhat of an apocalyptic story. The ending was such a let down compared to what I had been learning from my friends that again I turned to the Bible to get the real story.
Last but not least, the evening news went through a spell where it was so disturbing that I decided man’s only hope was to live the way God wanted us to live so, you guessed it, I went to the Bible again to see how God wanted us to live. I studied the Ten Commandments and vowed that I would live by them as best I could. I loaded up my family and we began attending church. Our friends had introduced me to Christian rock music. I had been a rocker all my life so I thought this was just the coolest thing since ice cream. I continued to read and study the Bible and to listen to Christian music. Whenever I listened to the music, I always got this warm and powerful feeling inside. I had been reading the Bible long enough now to understand that this was the Holy Spirit.
I was having a good ole time, going to church, trying to behave myself, studying the Bible, listening to Christian rock music and enjoying the presence of the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t have a clue what Jesus had to do with anything. I thought I was doing everything there was for me to do. I knew that Jesus died for our sins but I really didn’t know what that meant or what it had to do with me.
One day, while riding home from work, I put in a Mark Farner tape and started to listen. Soon I felt that warm loving feeling that I was getting so fond of. I remember saying to myself, “Oh boy, the Holy Spirit”. But this day was different. He had come to show me Jesus. That warm, powerful, loving feeling just got stronger and stronger until goose bumps had popped up all over my body and I literally felt my heart melt in my chest, as if my heart of stone had been replaced with a new heart of flesh. I know He was in the car that day. For the first time in my life I felt filthy and insignificant and asked Him to forgive me. At that moment I came to know Jesus. All I could do was mutter, “forgive me Jesus” over and over. I guess I just needed the Lord to show me how much I fell short of deserving Him. I thank God that He drew me to Him and forgave me of my sins.
I am now the Associate Pastor of the church that I have attended since before I was saved. Imagine that. While growing up I was the guy that would get physically sick when called on to give an oral report. Now God has me speaking before an entire congregation of people. He never ceases to amaze me. I don’t claim to be perfect, but then none of us are. If we were, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. As the old saying goes, “I’m not what I ought to be but praise the Lord I’m not the man I use to be.”