I love to hear how people came to faith in Christ. I chose this platform to share my story.
As a child I attended church with my mother and sisters. As a youth I didn’t attend much. My Dad and I would spend most weekends working on our farm. We enjoyed a lot of quality time together and I was always close to my Dad. He came to Christ later in life. When he did it impacted the rest of the family. As we had children my wife and I started attending church. The church we attended didn’t stress our need for a savior or living in relationship with Christ. I felt I was a good person and I knew intellectually that Jesus died for my sins. I didn’t live in gratitude or obedience of that fact.
I attended church and Sunday school but I didn’t really have a relationship with Christ. I attended some YoungLife banquets and would hear young people (high school and college aged) give their testimony in front of other young people and adults and it occurred to me that they had something I didn’t have. I lived for myself. I loved my wife and my family but I really still lived for myself.
I was a respected business man in a small town in Virginia. I was in the lube business (think Jiffy Lube but different) and had the opportunity to sell one of my stores in 1995. I had long weeks leading up to our last day. To celebrate my manager and I enjoyed some beverages while counting inventory and even more as we went for pizza after we were finished. I almost made it home. At the bottom of a mountain on the interstate I had fallen asleep, awoke when I hit the median, turned the wheel, spun and flipped my truck over the guardrail. The truck was recently restored and very special to me (think golden calf special). It was destroyed. People couldn’t believe anyone survived. I couldn’t believe that I survived.
I began searching for ‘more’ and seeking understanding as to why my life was spared. I attended a bible study because I knew I didn’t know enough. During this study I began to be aware of my sin and apathy. I surrendered my life to Christ. My life has never been the same. I have peace in all circumstances (almost always) because I know that everything here is temporary. I now see things from a Biblical perspective. I have hope for the future no matter how bad things are here. This is not our home.
Humbled, I began to recognize that I was not ‘good enough’ to enter the presence of a Holy God. I had to repent of my sins and my own righteousness and trust Christ to pay my sin debt and give me His righteousness. (I grew into this understanding over a long period of time. I came to understand that the only thing I contributed to my salvation was my sin.)
My walk with Christ impacted how I love my wife and children, how I lead my family and ran my business. Over the years I have grown through earnest study, attending retreats, conferences and serving in the church. I have been blessed to experience authentic community with other earnest believers who accepted me with all my faults and loved me anyway. They encouraged me. A major tool which God uses in our sanctification is the gift of others. We are saved into His body of believers, the church. I have come to understand my experience with Christ is not just for me but for others with whom I come in contact. As a believer we become the light of Christ to a darkened world.
My wife and I attended a Walk to Emmaus in 1997 the weekend after I returned from Promise Keepers’ Stand in the Gap. Our three children were ages 3 – 6 at the time. Emmaus helped me understand the basics of the faith, grow my confidence in God’s word and tangibly experience the love of Christ through the body of Christ. My wife and I both went back and served on a number of weekends ever since. Our life became an expression of gratitude for what the Lord had done in saving us. Emmaus became a tool which God used to shape us and prepare us for serving Him even more in the future. We continued to grow in our faith. Our children all came to real saving knowledge of Jesus. They each served the Lord in their college years and value authentic Christian community as they experienced in our home and at school.
We helped start a church in our family room. The planting pastor mentored me. I grew in my understanding of theology and knowledge of the Scriptures. Ultimately the Lord gave us an opportunity to sell our lube business and I attended seminary. I’ll write more about my call to ministry and our call to return to West Virginia to plant a church in another post.
Thanks for reading. If I can answer any questions please feel free to contact me.