Most of my life I knew there was a God, but the closest I ever came to knowing Him was using His name in vain or praying to Him when I would get into trouble or maybe if I wanted something I knew I couldn’t have! I never went to church for any reason other than for a few weddings. I did go to Sunday School once with a friend of mine when I was young but that was about it. My grandmother (my mom’s mom, rest her precious soul) she was the only one who went to church in my immediate family. She was Catholic and attended on Sunday’s, Wednesday’s, and whenever there was a religious holiday. I can recall she even ate fish on Fridays (even though it was a fish sandwich from McDonald’s), she passed away when I was a teen. I don’t remember ever having any discussions with her about God.
My quest for something more never really started until after my mother passed away suddenly in April 2002. My new motto was “Forget about yesterday, don’t worry about tomorrow, right here, right now!” I now knew first hand, life could be cut short without a moment’s notice! I decided at this point I may as well enjoy it while I can! So I drove fast, took chances, spent money foolishly, drank a lot of beers!
In 2004, I saw the movie The Passion of the Christ, a pretty intense movie that caused some pretty intense feelings in my heart and soul. When the movie came to its end, I left wanting more. I was ready to see the sequel, but a sequel never came. Later I had some discussions with a few people about the movie and where I could find the rest of the story but I never really got the answers I wanted; I wasn’t ready to accept Jesus into my life. But I did go as far as letting a pastor in my house, that came knocking on my door. But all I got out of that was the repeating of a prayer that ended with you are now saved which obviously I didn’t take seriously! I was given a King James Bible and some direction on where to start reading, but when I read the Bible nothing made any sense so on the bookshelf it sat, and on with my life I went!
In 2009 I overheard a coworker speaking to a customer about Jesus Christ, I was intrigued and felt lead to pursue more information about the bible. We discussed how the Bible was put together and who wrote it and where to start reading. He gave me a New Living Translation Bible which I tried reading but I was still lost! I came across The World of Promise audio Bible at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and I started listening to it during my lunch breaks and whenever I was driving in the car. One day I even felt compelled to seek out the Christian radio talk shows and started listening to Christian rock music. Over the next year or so between listening to the audio Bible, reading what I could of the actual Bible and learning from Greg Laurie’s radio program things started to come together. At the end of Greg’s teachings I would always recite the prayer for salvation but nothing ever changed. I knew the next step was to accept Jesus Christ in my heart and start going to a church to be with other Christians, but I felt until I rid myself of my alcohol addiction it would have to wait! I drank way too much! Seven days a week!
Memorial Day weekend May 2011 we went on a camping trip with friends and that weekend I came to the realization once again that I definitely needed to quit drinking. I had just about finished a bottle of whiskey and my friend had told me he was surprised I was not falling all over the place! I told him, “This is nothing! I am a professional; I drink 7 days a week!” He thought I was nuts! That following Friday June 3rd, 2011 I remember coming home from work and opening the refrigerator as I always did to grab a beer, I remembered that camping trip and the comments, I knew I had a problem. I was always looking for something more satisfying but never got it, I needed to quit this addiction! I remember seeing two Guinness beers on the top shelf of the refrigerator, a bottle of wine, and 2 Woodchuck Ciders that belonged to my wife, that very moment something came over me, I said to myself: “I am going to drink all this alcohol and I am never going to drink again!” I proceeded to finish it all off! I went to bed that night and never touched another drink! Praise God for His intervention!
The following Sunday, June 12, 2011 my wife and I made plans to go to church (but she somehow forgot that we were going) so I ended up going by myself! That day everything that I listened to or read finally made sense! Going to church that day made it all come together! The switch inside me was turned on! I was filled with the Holy Spirit; Jesus Christ was living inside me! I could read the Bible and understand what I was reading! From this point on a lot of changes happened, it was pretty crazy! I was a changed man! I was so excited about Christ My wife thought I was nuts! She almost ended up asking for a divorce! She admitted that when I came back from church that day she no longer knew who I was! Even my sons were taken aback with all my changes! God is good!
It’s been almost 6 years since my official conversion. I have not arrived! But I am on the fast track to winning the prize! It feels so good to have all that junk that was bringing my life down so far behind me! I love being addicted to Jesus instead of alcohol! I can’t get enough of His word and His people! I am so blessed that God saves all those that are willing to believe and have faith in His Son! I was lost and now I am found!
My wife of 25 years now is still hanging in there with me and she’s saved too! She’s walking the walk and talking the talk! She didn’t experience a radical change like I did, but she’s on her way to the ultimate victory! It’s been great watching her change!
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” — 1 Peter 3:15
I am a follower of Jesus Christ because…
- He died on a cross for all my sins even though I didn’t deserve it!
- He is the only connection to our God in Heaven
- Jesus Christ is good
- He brings me joy
- He gives me a hope, and a future
- He brings meaning and purpose to my life
- He directs my paths and keeps me from stumbling
- He is the truth, and the truth will set me free
- He eliminates the stress and worry from my life
- He helps me forget about my past, my slate is clean
- His helper the Holy Spirit helps me to keep my slate clean!
- He keeps me filled with His Holy Spirit which keeps me from doing what is wrong and only what is right!
- He restores lost relationships
- He takes away the fear of death
- He gives me Love
- He gives me life
- He writes my name in the book of life
- He gives me the ability to live forever in Heaven
- Because of Jesus I now have a whole lot of brothers and sisters!
- His word inspires me to write
- His Holy Spirit helps me to write and inspire others
- I am now addicted to Jesus, His word and all that He brings to my life
- I am sure if I really thought about it the list could go on!
With Christ, the things of old are gone and all is new! I wake up every day knowing I am with Him and He is with me, I am humbled, I am at peace! I have continuous joy in my life! Forever eternally!
Before I became a follower of Jesus Christ…
- I was an Alcoholic
- I used profanity
- I was judgmental
- I was often unloving
- I was selfish and self-centered
- I was sometimes hurtful with my words
- I never thought before I spoke
- I spent my money foolishly
- I drove fast and took chances
- I broke a lot of rules
- I spent more time admiring other women instead of my wife
- I was addicted to Internet pornography
- I watched inappropriate television programming and movies
- I used God’s name in vain
- I believed in God but had no idea how important it was to have a relationship with Jesus Christ
- I had no idea where I was going after I died
- I was lost and would have definitely died to sin
- I never knew what my purpose in life was
- I put value in things that weren’t important
- I was of this world
- I had a whole lot of worry and stress in my life
- I am sure if I really thought about it the list could go on!
I thank God everyday for all that He has done for me and continues to do! Life definitely has more meaning since I gave it all up for Christ!