There wasn’t much of my life before Christ entered it. Our family was a regularly going family to church being there before the preacher got there and leaving after the janitor left. At age nine, however, I started paying attention to the preacher’s biblical messages and listening to my wonderful Sunday School teacher as they laid a strange possibility before me – a thing called sin and how Jesus loved me so much that He died on the cross to forgive me of it. I came to recognize that I was one who liked to do what I liked to do and was not Jesus-led in my life and that He wanted to come into my life and control it. That appealed to me as I enjoyed the adventure. I became inquisitive.
My pastor came to our home for a visit one afternoon. He asked me several questions about my interest in accepting Christ into my life and forgiving me of my sin. Before he left that day and as we stood on the front door stoop of my family home, he quoted Revelation 3:20 to me and asked if while standing at the entrance to my home I’d like to open the door of my heart and welcome Jesus into my heart. I prayed a very simple prayer and knew that I’d had a transaction with God at that moment. I think it was the next Sunday when the pastor invited people to come forward in church who wanted to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord. I left my pew and took a public stand for the Lord Jesus. It wasn’t long after that that I was baptized. I remember the night of my baptism while walking in the backyard of our family home with my surrogate father (as my actual father had died when I was two years old). The moon was in all its brilliance with a clear starlit night and the presence of His Holy Spirit became indelibly impressed in my heart.
About a year after my conversion experience, I began to sense the Lord calling me, again. I went to speak with my pastor about this sensation. We prayed about it and in the short course of time, I dedicated my life to be a full-time minister of the gospel. I enjoyed memorizing scripture and being in church with my other Christian friends. During my high school years, I became the chaplain of the student body delivering morning devotionals over the intercom. I thoroughly enjoyed life traveling mostly to beautiful northern Arizona where God and I had some very moving moments together overlooking the scenic and multicolored mountain ranges and deep forests of the Tonto National Forest.
God protected me in several romances during those developmental years. I learned to enjoy hard work and did well in school. I graduated from Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after having married the most precious woman in my life whom I met at a Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade in New York City the summer of 1969. We married December of that year and will celebrate forty-five years together this year. Both Carol and I have enjoyed rearing three beautiful children and helping with soon-to-be eight grandchildren.
We have served together in starting numerous churches from Pennsylvania to Oregon to New Hampshire for seventeen years and serving as a hospice chaplain for twenty-one years. Carol was a registered nurse several of those years. Life has been anything but dull and continues to be so during “retirement” years. Our church home has been more of blessing than we could ever be adequately thankful for along with the plethora of God-ordained friends there. We are fully aware that our sins have been covered by the blood of Christ and that His promise of eternal life belongs to us. We expect to meet death with assurance and hope and that those deaths will strengthen others we leave behind with confidence in their own eternal destiny.
The promises contained in God’s Holy Word are abundant, but, I think, my mother’s favorite verse says it all: “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:19.