A Word With You

I am frequently reminded of the encounter that would forever change the direction of my life. It was an encounter I did not seek; it was one I tried extremely hard to avoid. I was a broken man, hell-bent on destruction, consuming alcohol like water, neglecting my wife and children, and I was consumed with ME!

Say what you will about religion and religious people, but it was those religious types that began nosing around in my life, and it began very early.

My Grandmother loved a man called Jesus and spoke of Him often, frequently sharing my need for Him in my life. I had no clue who He was or why I should follow Him.

My parents did their best to bring me up in the context of a religious church. I remember little of it other than pretty people in robes stood up front and sang songs I did not understand, then a man in a robe would drone on and on about more things I could not understand; I quickly fell asleep every time he began to talk.

As I grew older, I became more resistant to this message about Jesus. I mean, who needs Him in their life? God and the stuff religious people talked about seemed to be the opposite of what I was all about!

The further I devolved into a life contrary to everything my grandma and parents tried to teach me, there was a persistent gnawing at my heart and soul, something I could not quite shake. There were those times I would want to know the God my Grandma talked about, but I was so far away from Whoever or Whatever God was that I was convinced He would have nothing to do with me other than crush me!

Then one hot July night, at a religious meeting I did not want to be at, it happened!

The summer of 1990, nearly 33 years ago, me and my wife Sherri encountered this Jesus in a very real and life-altering way!

We had been invited to a Christian Camp by some good “religious” folks; we had no clue where it was other than someplace near Kane, Pa.

Earlier in the day, I sent my wife Sherri to get me 2 cases of beer; she put gas in our van and came back with food instead! 𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧 𝗪𝗔𝗦 𝗦𝗛𝗘 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚!

I was upset and frustrated on that hot July night. I got our two kids and Sherri, and we started driving aimlessly because “𝗥𝗼𝗰𝗸 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗽𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴.”

We drove to St. Marys, then to Johnsonburg, and on past Wilcox; then I saw a sign that said Kane! 𝗢𝗵 𝗖𝗿𝗮𝗽! That church thing was over there somewhere; time to turn around! I took the next road to the right and started down. We approached a few twists and turns and the van started to chug and acted like is would stall out . . . 𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗜𝗡 𝗙𝗥𝗢𝗡𝗧 𝗢𝗙 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗛𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗟𝗔𝗡𝗗𝗘𝗥 𝗖𝗔𝗠𝗣! Nooooooo!!! Not here, not now!

It was too late; people recognized us and started calling us to go in; we did, and we got there just as the service was starting.

As the pastor speaking that night was giving his final “Come to Jesus Plea” I was looking for an escape; panic anxiety was at level red, and 𝗜 𝗛𝗔𝗗 𝗧𝗢 𝗚𝗘𝗧 𝗢𝗨𝗧!

Sherri was already down at the altar, and I got up and was going to go out the back; but as soon as I got to the aisle, I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder, yet no one was there.

The next thing I knew, I was kneeling at that old altar rail. I recall saying; “𝗜 𝗱𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘁; 𝗜 𝗱𝗼 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗼𝗸𝗲𝗻 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁, 𝗶𝗳 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀; 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜 𝗮𝗺 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲.” Then I said; “𝗜 𝗴𝗼𝘁 𝗡𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂”

The I heard the words of Jesus to me . . . “𝗜’𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗶𝘁!” Tears began to flow, and I wept for 25 minutes as wave after wave of grace flooded over me! The encounter that day changed me—or rather, the Person of Jesus, who met me there, changed me!

I would later go on to become a pastor and now an evangelist, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to any and all who care to listen.

After 32 years of serving Jesus, I have a few takeaways. I won’t get religious with you; just the truth.

Everyone is broken, but not everyone knows this.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” In other words, the one who knows they don’t have it altogether is in a very good place; they are ready to meet Him. Those unwilling to recognize their need WILL NOT meet Him.

Jesus forgives those who break God’s rules.

We tend to place heavier weight on certain rules broken than on others; from God’s perspective, every broken rule of God carries an eternal death penalty! Now that’s heavy, and we are all guilty of breaking these rules. Jesus alone had provided the forgiveness needed, and He is reliable!

God loves everyone.

God created you; as a matter of fact, He declares that you have been created in the image of God. How awesome is that!

His love for you does not change and is not contingent on your station in life; rich, poor, criminal, gay, straight, gender status, educational achievements; it does not matter, He loves you! He also knows you are broken and in need of a Savior, His Name is Jesus.

God has an enemy; his name is satan.

The devil, or satan, was once an anointed cherub, one of God’s most powerful angels. He took issue with what God was planning, and he broke fellowship with God and was cast out. The devil has a malicious hatred for God and all God created and stands for, especially humans!

The devil hates all humanity, not just those who are aligned with Christ; he does, however, have a special hatred for that particular group.

Since my encounter with Jesus, I have had many attacks on my character and have had long-standing friends mock and ridicule me for my beliefs. One of the greatest honors ever bestowed upon me is to be mocked on account of Jesus!

The current world situation is pretty bleak, strangely lining up with what Jesus predicted it would be like just prior to His certain return.

Are you ready?

Do you know that you are spiritually poor?

Would you like to know Jesus in a real, tangible, and personal way?

Call out to Him; tell Him you are ready and that YOU NEED HIM!

He will come to you, and your life will change.

God’s Best to you and yours!