A storm was brewing inside of me, and I could feel it. It was time to make some changes in my life though I wasn’t sure what or how.
It was a few months before my nineteenth birthday. My parents had taken me to church for as long as I could remember so the story of Jesus was familiar to me. From a very young age, the need to be forgiven of my sins to gain entrance into heaven always made sense.
But I had a problem.
Though I always said that I believed, I certainly didn’t act like it. From middle school age on, my life reflected little if any evidence that I had repented of my waywardness and was following Jesus instead.
I could relate to Peter who denied that he even knew Jesus when his alliance with the Master could cost him something. My “double life” was creating tension within and it bugged me. Convicted that I wasn’t living the life that I professed, I knew I needed to get right with God and I also knew it was going to require that I make new choices to replace the old.
At the end of my first year in college, I had become convinced that it was time for a change and I came up with a plan to take the first step.
I was invited to a prayer meeting by a caring friend at a little country church on the outskirts of Kansas City in June of 1972. It was a Wednesday. I had heard that the preacher leading the meeting always ended his messages with altar calls and that’s what I thought I needed. A good, old-fashioned altar call. My plan was that I’d come clean with God in the presence of many witnesses (The “witnesses” were those at the prayer meeting. For some reason, I also believed that “getting saved” was something that you did in public.)
I raised my hand at the appropriate time signaling my desire to “be saved”, went forward, prayed a prayer in faith and I became a child of God. I didn’t hear angels singing after the prayer but something about being honest with God (maybe for the very first time) changed who I really was deep inside. I knew it.
I am thrilled to report that this event marked me for eternity. On this day, Jesus became Lord of my life. On this day, my sins were forgiven for all time, the fear of death was gone and I had joy and peace in my heart. Hallelujah!
I received God’s unconditional forgiveness, and with a new desire to live for Jesus, came the power to change by the Holy Spirit. It’s like God was saying to me. ‘OK Tim, I know you say that you believe but it’s time that you be honest with yourself. Your walk isn’t matching your talk. If you will take the first step and walk away from your bad choices choosing to trust me instead, I will help you become a better person than you ever thought was possible.’
Wow! What an offer! How could I refuse?
In the days that followed, I changed the circle of friends that I hung with. You could say that God changed them because my desire to hang out with my old drinking buddies was now gone. I began to hang out with new friends who shared my new point of view. Bible study, prayer and fellowship replaced booze and partying. A new life was born within and a new lifestyle. Something had changed.
God did for me what I could not do for myself.
Jesus replaced callousness with caring and waywardness with wonder. I began to worship the God of the universe, instead of serving the gods of this age. I became a servant of the one true God.
That’s my story. So what’s yours?
If it’s been a while since you’ve shared your story of how Jesus came into your life, may I suggest you make a point to tell someone what God has done for you the next time you get a chance? It is a great way to remind your heart of the time when His love broke through!
On a completely different note, I want to give a special shout out to those listeners, who made a first time gift during Fall Share. It takes courage to pick up the phone and make that first gift but you did it and I’m proud of you! Thanks also to you veterans who have been giving for a long time and continue to stand with us. Many of you have been doing so for years and we never take it for granted, so thank you. Thank you!
We appreciate everyone who responded to be a part of what God is doing through music that offers hope. Every time we heard from one of you the past few days, it was a reminder that we have faithful friends who understand what God is doing and want to be a part of it all.
Have a great October.
Music video of the month: Toby Mac – “Love Broke Through”