My Testimony - How I Came to the Lord
by, 10.24.2008 at 09.34 PM (1015 Views)
Long story. I grew up as a preacher's kid, one of 3 boys, the youngest in my case - whose dad was a full-time minister. He was gone a lot - out doing "church" stuff that I didn't understand.
Growing up in the church, Jesus seemed to be nothing more than a fictional character to me. That's how the children's ministry portrayed Him. Cartoonish - right up there with Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.
I hated going to church as a little boy - my parents would have to carry my out to the car, I would be kicking and screaming. When I got to church, I wouldn't sit in the pews, I would wander around this massive building - all levels of it - until the service was over.
Fast forward. I'm 13 years old. I hated my life and I made a conscious decision to rebel. I followed in my older brothers footsteps - who were right there to help me out - in starting to drink alcohol and then marijuana - and then graduating to whatever drug I could get my hands on. I took pleasure in destruction. I hung out with 2 different groups of people. The first group was around my age and we got into destroying people's property and getting into fights. The second group was much worse - bikers - throughout my teen years I would come to see many friends and people I knew, die.
With death all around me, I never gave it a thought. I continued on my rebellious, evil, wicked ways. I was a drunkard by the time I was 14 and was smoking pot morning, noon and night. I was selling pot in order to feed my habit - which wasn't small - I was stoned constantly for 7 years. I was popping pills, taking LSD, snorting/freebasing cocaine, downers, uppers, meth, whatever.
I met a friend along the way who very quickly became my best friend. I would go over to his house - he hated his mother but I loved hanging out with her. We would get drunk - this 40 something year old woman and I. Words about Christ would come out of my mouth and I wouldn't know why - in those times I would be so drunk, it wasn't logical for such things to be said.
Time passed. I met some more people - I was a socialite, meeting people was great fun. I had a CB radio in my bedroom at my house - and through some very unusual and violent circumstances, met a guy that I started hanging around with quite a lot. He knew a girl whose mother was Christian. We would go over to this girl's house a lot - drunk, stoned, fried, whatever - and this mother would sit there in her living room, paying it not a thought, but would inject a few statements here and there about the Lord. Very subtle, but - eventually had a great impact on me.
This relationship grew, but I was still very rebellious. The Lord sent various people my way throughout my teen years to witness to me about Him. To Christians: you know how you meet a stranger and feel prompted to say something about the Lord to that person? And you do? And it doesn't seem accepted? Think again. God has HIS ways and they are FAR above anything we can imagine. Words have POWER. Just look at God - He spoke some words and the earth was created.......not that we're gods, but there is definitely power in the spoken word.
There was the time a man chased me down while I was riding my bicycle - I had flipped him off for no good reason - I was in GREAT shape and couldn't believe this guy outchased me. He knocked me over, into the sand, I was still cussing him out. He claimed to be some NFL superstar - I don't remember his name because I didn't care at the time. He toned down and started telling my about my life - and the Lord.
There were many such instances. I would see those Chick tracts on telephone booths and take them home - hiding them so no-one would know I was thinking about "getting religion" as everyone I knew called it.
Eventually, I actually graduated high school through all of this and was then kicked out of my house by my mother - who was throwing everyone else out as well, including my dad. It was rough, I was working at a small airport at the time but it wasn't paying much and I ended up sleeping in my car for a while. At least it was a station wagon, and those old station wagons were great with the room to stretch out in.....
It took years for me to come to the Lord, is what I'm really saying through all of this. Yes, there was the one day - the day I repented and gave my life to Him - but it was such a long process. Eventually, I ended up living with my oldest brother for a short time. I was broke - even though I had a job, paying my portion of the rent consumed much of my finances. I had little left to live on.
One day, my friend - the guy whose mother I used to get drunk with - called me and wanted me to go to a biker bar in south Chandler. We'd been there many times - drink beer and shoot pool. God caught up with me there. Trust me, there weren't any Christians in this place. I was getting drunk and shooting pool when all of a sudden, I started having a vision. It was a vision of me falling into the black depths of wherever I was falling - until I saw this enormous hole with nothing but flames inside of it.
I had consumed large quantities of beer that day - and yet suddenly, I was as sober as if I hadn't had a drink. I had had enough - I was ready to die anyway. Life sucked at the time. Broke, no hope, nothing to live for. I gave my life to the Lord - inside of me, yes, but still, I did it. I looked at my friend and asked him if he could take me home, he had brought me over there. He didn't know what was going on and I didn't want to tell him, a huge stigma was attached to anyone in our group of people that was "found out" to having "turned religious". He was mad at me and couldn't understand why I suddenly wanted to leave - normally we would have stayed there for hours and hours.
My conversion was total and complete. I totally abandoned my friends and started hiding in my bedroom at home - spending all of my time reading and consuming the Bible, listening to Gospel tapes and watching preachers on TV. They all serve their purpose whether anyone wants to relate to that or believe that or not.
I think it was 8 months later - another long story I won't go into here, but I ended up on the full-time, volunteer mission field. It was an amazing journal which took me to a lot of places, encountered a lot of evil and threats, and was probably the most outstanding thing I have ever done with my life. There are other things I have done in public service - but I certainly have never regretted my time on the mission field.