The most important thing that can happen to a person is their coming to salvation in Jesus Christ (Yeshua Messiah). I try to reflect now-and-then on my salvation experience. Reflecting like this helps to keep me grounded and reminds me where I’ve come from and where I am now. So, for those that might be interested, I’d like to share my salvation story. Being born in 1954, I grew up in a typical middle class family. (My, how America has changed in the wrong direction!) I have an older and younger sister. My parents never, ever went to church. However, they did drop us off at the local Congregation church. Honestly, I don’t recall how frequently we went. I’d say it was less, rather than more.
When Sunday morning came along I’d creep downstairs quietly and watch Davey & Goliath on TV. I’d keep it really low so as to not wake up my parents. I’d hope-against-hope that they wouldn’t wake up and, if they did, they wouldn’t feel like taking me to church. Besides, Davey & Goliath was much better than church anyway. I’m sure I mentioned that to my parents! I still love Davey & Goliath —- “Oh, Davey.”
— As a side note, I used to watch Ranger Andy everyday after school. He’d sing a song with his banjo that said something along these lines: “You’ll find it in the Bible so you’ll know it’s true.” Davey & Goliath along with Ranger Andy had a major impact on me. It was these two programs, more than anything else, that awakened within me an awareness of God. —
As I remember it, I mostly went to Sunday School and was picked up after that. When my older sister could drive she took my younger sister and me to Sunday School and church. I don’t remember how frequently we went. All said, it wasn’t a lot.
During the years of going there to church, if you had asked me any basic Bible question I would not have been able to tell you much, if anything. I don’t remember the Bible being, what I call now, preached. The minister talked and gave messages but the content doesn’t register in my memory now. All I know is that I sensed an emptiness that wasn’t being met there.
I thought the problem might be with me, so I asked the minister what I could do to become more involved. My thought was that if I got involved “God” might become real to me. So, the minister suggested I assemble some of the young people my age to take up the offering every other week. I got a few of us together and, somewhat excitedly, hoped to develop a connection with God. But, after a few weeks some of the young people that helped didn’t show up and eventually it was me and one other person regularly taking the offerings.
After several weeks of this I realized nothing was changing in me. As a matter of fact, my sense of emptiness only deepened. So one day after placing the offering on the table at the front of the church, I walked down the long aisle to the back of the church and looked up toward the ceiling and said: “God, if this is it I don’t want anything to do with it.” I went home and told my parents I wasn't going back. And I never did. I was 14.
It was at this point that my immersion into sin started to develop. Without going into detail, I spent the years between age 16 and 19 delving into drugs. It was the height of the hippie years. I did a lot of drugs from marijuana to heroin and pretty much everything in-between. Thankfully I had enough sense to do heroin only once. It was at that point, with the needle in my arm in the back seat of my ’62 T-Bird, I realized how far I had gone in the wrong direction. It was 1972. I was a senior in high school. Judy, would have hated me.
For reasons unknown to me, I started to hang out with a friend of one of my close friends. I knew him and he knew me, but we never hung out together. He bought marijuana by the pound and sold it in ounces. We became very good friends and started to spend more time together.
During this time, after graduation from high school, we were both working full-time at the same factory. I was in training to be a machine repair man and he worked a grinder on third shift. One night while he was working, a man named Omar Adams witnessed to him about Christ and his need for salvation. This went on for a few weeks. Omar invited my friend to church and in turn my friend asked me to go with him. This was so out of the blue. This was the last thing on my mind. — I said yes.
And so, one Sunday we got on his 1973 Triumph motorcycle and headed off to church …