Let me start by saying that I’m truly a Christian – an assured child of The Living God. Although I’ve only been saved since January 23rd, 2008 I’m not the same person I was on January 22nd, and I will never be the same again.
I grew up in church thinking that I was a Christian. My family was there every time the doors opened. I struggled with sin, but never repented, never really understood what it meant. I looked like a Christian on the outside, but on the inside I was putrid. When I was 16, shortly after becoming reacquainting with the music of Keith Green, God gave me an overwhelming desire to learn piano. Although I played and sang Keith’s music, I never really “heard” what I was singing. The words and message never sunk in and I continued in my sin. I was truly deaf and blind! I strayed further away in college, thinking that I was just a “carnal Christian” – that the blood of Jesus and the grace of God covered me, no matter what I did. I thought that as long as I asked forgiveness occasionally, that I was OK. I played in the Baptist Student Union band, as well as Zoar Baptist’s Chi Alpha band. I led worship at my parent’s church. I often performed powerful, solo performances for audiences and congregations large and small. Was God using me? Absolutely. God can use anyone for anything He wants. Was I a Christian? I surely thought so. After all, I looked just like the people sitting next to me in church.
Things didn’t change much when I got married. I kept falling to the same sins that held me captive for years, only now I had some new sins manifesting in my life. Sure, I would continue to use the gifts God had given me, singing and playing piano in church, but less and less now. I hung out with Christian friends, and said all the right things, but I was slowly slipping further away, and nobody really knew it, not even me. I graduated college with a business degree and got married to my lovely wife in 2001. I started a business venture in 2003, and the company grew quickly and became very successful. My wife and I had a baby boy in November 2005. After that, we really didn’t go back to church – maybe once or twice. Things looked great! We weren’t going to church, but God was surely blessing our lives, right? I was a good guy, and although I exuded the Spiritual fruits, I was deeply deceived.
Last year, God began dealing with me. I began to question my salvation, knowing that I had never turned from my sins, but still thinking that there was a possibility that I was saved. The Lord showed me Matthew 7:13 and Matthew 7:21, and He never let those verses leave my thoughts. I constantly felt His gentle, but urgent call to break free of the sin that had enslaved me for so long. I felt Him drawing me, pressing me, urging me, calling me. God continued to impress upon me that He wanted me to be holy and to live in purity. I really didn’t know why or how, but He had my attention and I felt compelled to try. Even though I felt it would be impossible to leave my long-time sin forever, I trusted that God would help free me, despite my history of returning to the mud.
In September of 2007, I began recording Keith Green covers and posting them to YouTube. I thought that would help out with the emptiness I was feeling. Although I began getting some encouraging feedback from the YouTube Christian community, I also began feeling conviction. I was living a lie. The emptiness was still there, and now I felt like I was broadcasting my hypocrisy to the world. Something had to change.
On December 8, 2007, with a supernatural determination and strength I’ve never know, I abandoned the last of the “big sins” in my life. For 46 days I held on and resisted temptation. I was feeling stronger every day, but I was also still very unfulfilled.
Late one night on January 23, 2008, (the 46th day) while listening to a web sermon on Matthew 7:13 and Matthew 7:21, I began to weep. I fell on my face before God and I cried like a little child. I prayed and I pleaded with the Lord to save me. I asked His forgiveness while determining, in my heart, to never return to my sins. That night, in that instant, I was born again. I became a child of the King! I gave my life completely to Him, in service to Him, for His glory, forever! Throughout my whole life, God had been calling me to His service, but I rejected Him at every turn, always clinging to my sin and my plans for my life, me, me, me. That night, I not only heard the call, but I answered it! I answered the call to reach the lost through preaching the word and through His gift of music. I had always known that I was called, but I never knew where or why. That night, as I gave myself completely to the Lord, he began to show me what he wanted. God showed me that he is going to work through me to stir up the hearts of complacent believers and unbelievers within the Church, all over the world.
After that wonderful night, I had this unquenchable desire to absorb every truth and every word in the Bible – to devour it, to feed my starving soul – when before, I didn’t even care to crack the Bible. Now, I couldn’t get enough! I stripped my life of all “personal” or “free” time and replaced it with time in the Word and in prayer. But it wasn’t enough. God showed me that I couldn’t completely serve him on a part-time basis. He wanted more! God made it very clear to me what he required, and my decision, although seemingly huge, was rather easy to make.
In faith and obedience to God, I stepped away from my full-time, secular job as CEO of my company in order to give my entire life to Him. I’m now able to spend my whole day in His word so that He can equip and prepare me for service. I also have some time to develop the musical talent He’s blessed me with, not only practicing, but writing and composing music. He’s given me some amazing ideas and “lyrical bits”, and I finally have some time to create! Now, God’s business is my business. His desires are my desires. I no longer care for the things and distractions of this modern life. I only care to glorify God in all things, serving Him, working to advance His Kingdom.
The Lord has given me such a heavy heart to speak his truths to people. I suppose that’s what a burden really is. I’ve begun sharing my testimony and the gospel with the people in my immediate circle of family and acquaintances, soon to spread out. I even shared the gospel with the DirecTV guy! I’ve been meeting with my Pastors and asking questions and advice. I feel like God has given me some kind of unique truth or special inspiration, because every time I meet with the leaders in the church, I leave with the same questions I started with and a sense of disappointment. That discouragement and confusion is always dissolved when I go back to the Bible, study, pray and listen to the Holy Spirit. I can see the ripened, white fields before me. The harvest is ready, but the laborers are few. I feel so encouraged yet grieved. Lord, send me!
Yes! I’m truly a Christian – an assured child of God. Although I’ve only been truly saved since January 23rd 2008, I’m not the same person I was on January 22nd, and I will never be the same again! I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and a servant in His Army. Amen! Amen!