Continued. (All four posts here)
Having heard the gospel and experienced God's conviction for the first time in my life left no small impression on me. That conviction remained with me over the next few days. I wanted to pursue this Christian life. I wanted Jesus; but I also loved my sin. By God’s grace, somehow I knew that I couldn’t have both.
I think it could’ve been that following Wednesday evening when I was sitting on the patio behind my mother’s house talking to God. I could almost visualize in my mind a life with Christ on one side and my life of sin on the other. I had to choose. And I did. That night I experienced what I now know to be repentance, a gift from God, not my own, that resulted in a changed life. That night the Lord granted me repentance to turn from my sin and He gave me faith to trust in the finished cross-work of Christ. I’m confident that I didn’t understand it quite that way back then, but I did know that I was ready to leave my old life behind.
The changes that took place over the following months were obvious. I rarely missed an opportunity in the Lord’s house, I was reading my Bible and understanding it’s basic truths. I was baptized and joined the church. My life was being transformed and those around me noticed. Though I had much to learn I finally had a good life – a godward life.
Almost two years after the Lord saved me and I had been active in my local church - even serving in different capacities and sharing my faith with my co-workers - I wasn’t satisfied. After listening to many preaching tapes during my commute to work I soon realized a growing desire in my own life to teach the Bible. I was growing more and more discontent with my career because of this conflicting desire so I quit my job and the following Sunday made my desires for ministry known during the altar call at my church.
As is the custom among many Baptists, they put this new “preacher” in the pulpit the following Sunday evening and enrolled me in a nearby Bible college that same week. I spent the next four years completing my Bachelors degree in Biblical studies. During the second year of my schooling I took a position as a youth pastor at a growing church in a small rural town in central Arkansas. Anita and I were engaged to be married. Life was getting even better.
To be continued tomorrow...