I'm not sure how to really write this but I'll give it my best shot. My life changed 14 years ago on a bright spring day riding in a 1992 Saturn sedan on NC HWY 18 in Western NC. That was the day that I met Jesus Christ. Many of you know my story and for the sake of blog brevity I'll be brief, because its about a 28 year tale. Long story short, my life had been in a tailspin for many years from the age of 16 on filled with wrong turns, bad decisions, poor judgment and faulty ideas. Enough said! On that March 22nd 1994 I was driving alone on that curvy rural highway, deeply engrossed in of all things a sermon on the radio. the gentleman speaking was a guy named David Jeremiah out of San Diego, CA (www.davidjeremiah.org)
He was teaching through the book of Revelation of all places and I was basically an atheist listening to a guy teach on the return of Christ. For some unexplainable reason it all made sense that day. I came to the very real conclusion that there was a God, His name was Jesus, that I didn't know Him and that if I didn't get to know Him, my life was going to continue to be the mess that it had been. Worse than that, I realized that the question of my mortality hinged on the very words from this 2000 year old book we know as the Bible. Weird huh!
That day, Dr. Jeremiah gave a call out over the radio to those listening via the airwaves to stop and take a moment to evaluate one thing, "What will happen the day that you die?"
Believe me, I had no idea. I waited for the answer and it was clear as the windshield after coming out of auto bell. I needed Jesus. I needed forgiveness, I needed to know this God who made me and you and everything else. So, without much fanfare I asked Jesus to forgive me. to take my life and make it what He wanted. And true to His Word, he has done just that.
14 years later, beyond my first days of being mentored and discipled, my classes at seminary, being ordained as a pastor, speaking to thousands now, caring for soldiers as a Chaplain, carrying the Gospel around the world to strange places, I find God has indeed done what I could never have done.
That brings me to today's post. In gathering materials for our unit my Chaplain assistant SGT Russ Robinson contacted dozens of ministries. We have been overwhelmed with support. Books came flooding in and with it, materials from Dr Jeremiah's ministry in CA. With it came an invitation to attend a small event in Winston Salem, NC with DR. Jeremiah. We of course responded yes!
Russ, being the sneaky soldier he is, emailed a Dr J's personal assistant, Vicki, and told her that I had come to Christ through the ministry. I then received a phone call from her and she asked me if I'd like to tell my story at the event. I of course said "Absolutely!"
We met at the stadium where Wake Forest University plays football and I got to meet and hug Dr Jeremiah and personally tell him thanks for his ministry and then I was given a few minutes to share what God had done. As I spoke Dr J sat on the front row along with 170 other folks, my wife, Russ and his wife. I looked down as I spoke and He was crying. I thought it odd, but realized with great clarity what God was doing for him. For 14 years I have been living my life with Jesus, following him as best I know how. My story of conversion is very common to me, because its mine. I don't find anything particularly powerful about it. But, this man had never heard it. For 14 years as I lived my life, he had no idea what his obedience to proclaim Jesus started in me.
Standing before him in flesh and blood was a brief confirmation of the power of the proclaimed Word of God. It was pretty some kind of cool to be a part of. The great thing about it is that I can take no credit for it. I just rand into Jesus and He did the rest.
I got to go on the radio for an interview the next day with Dr Jeremiah, who had been taped earlier in the day. If you'd like to listen to it you can just click here.
So take courage if you preach the Gospel, there just might be a guy listening out there and it just might change his life too, and if your not careful 14 years from now you might get to meet him!