I started going to regular Bible study and I ran into a scripture that was a major scripture for me. It was in Galatians 5:22. It said, “The fruit of the Spirit is peace, love and joy.” I looked at that and I thought peace, love, and joy. If I had peace, love and joy that’s devoid of circumstances, I could be a paraplegic or I could be stuck in any circumstance and it didn’t make any difference. If I had peace, love, and joy I thought that’s what I want.
I also came across a scripture in Matthew that said, “Seek and you’ll shall find.” I hung on the word “shall”. I said, “OK God if you’re for real—and I knew that I had quit drinking and that something had done something in my life to change me— if you’re for real, than I’m a seeker. Write me in your book as a seeker. I’m a seeker. So, I started going to Bible studies.
The Bible says that Jesus said himself, “I am the way the truth and the life.” It teaches that everyone of us are born slaves. Not just to alcohol, like I was, but to all sin. Each of us, every person, has sinned against God. We have selfishly gone our own way, independent of Him, and the way we live falls short of the glory of God. Our lifestyle is not acceptable to God. I knew that was true for me but the good news of the Bible is that it says that the truth shall make you free. Jesus Christ is the truth.
One night I accepted Christ, one on one, in prayer, just as the Bible teaches, as my Lord and Savior, as payment for my sins, and as God’s only begotten Son in whom is forgiveness and eternal life with God himself. My life has not been perfect since then by a long shot. I have problems and difficulties and problems in relationships with my children and with my wife. We’ve had some drug use in our family but the thing I want to tell you is that, by God, I’m making it through successfully. I’m living better and my life is getting better in the midst of all this. This is a testimony, as far as I’m concerned, to the change that Christ made in me when I accepted Him that night.
I prayed that prayer to receive Christ back in 1974 and you can be wondering what major changes have taken place. Well, one, is fear went away and love came in. I said earlier that I’d reached all my goals ahead of schedule, but my major motivation was fear. I had a fear of failure. I had a fear of falling behind my peers. I was eaten up with fear. Sometimes I’d go out to sell and I couldn’t sleep all night because I was getting ready to sell a new territory the next morning. This was my whole motivation. After receiving Christ and asking God to lead my life I left the results of my work up to him. I said, “I going to do the best that I can and the rest is up to you.” I still prepare and work hard and seek excellence but I pray also and commit all my efforts to him. I accept the results as his way for me at that time. My fear is turned to an inner peace.
The next part to me is real interesting. When I first read Galatians 5:22 which said the fruit of the Spirit is peace, love, and joy. The word love jumped out at me. Somehow I knew that I had never really loved anyone. I only cared for people based on how they treated or served me. Even my own family. I knew that something wasn’t right. I read that love and there was a yearning. A couple of weeks after accepting Christ, I had gone to my boss’s house to watch the Cowboy game which was by the airport because I was flying out and I wanted to see the game and make a quick connection. We went to get some snacks and stuff beforehand and I’m walking down the aisles in Safeway and I’m pushing a cart and I started looking at the people coming toward me. This was wild. I loved them for no reason. Unconditional and a deeper love that I felt for those people than for anybody in my life.
That’s why I’m here today. I’m not here on business. I’m simply here because by the grace of God I can love everyone. I can say that with truth that I love each and every person here today. Jesus was asked the most important command. He replied that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and like unto that you should love your neighbor as yourself. That’s a command. God wants me, wants us, to do that. I decided the best way I could express my love for Him and others was to care what He cares about, to love what He loves, and that’s people.
The Bible says that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever—that’s me and you— should not perish but have eternal life. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” That “they” means me and you.
I chose Jesus Christ nineteen years ago. I followed Him ever since. I try to abide by His word. I consider it my direction in everything in life, the Bible. Ever since, I’ve had fulfillment. My major priority in life is to share with others the availability to them of God’s love, forgiveness, and provision forever. Some of you may have never received that gift. Just like I did, you have a chance today. Just like I did in 1974. I’m going to pray a prayer in just a second, and if you would like to pray that with me—and it represents what you feel in your heart and while I’ve been talking if you’ve felt that drawing of yourself, that yearning to have forgiveness, have God put his Spirit in your heart—then you can do that now. Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock. I knock at the door of your heart and anybody that opens that door and receives me I will come in”. That’s what you can do now if you’d like to do it. I’ll read the prayer and then you can pray it. If this represents your heart, you can join with me.
Dear God, I know I’ve sinned against you. I want forgiveness for my sins. I believe that Jesus is the truth. I receive Him now as my Lord and Savior as payment for my sins and your gift to me of eternal life. Thank you for putting your Spirit in my heart. Thank you for forgiving me and saving me. In Jesus name, Amen.
I hope you enjoyed listening to my life story. If you prayed that prayer with me I’d like to take a few minutes and share with you how you can continue on your spiritual journey. I strongly encourage you to begin reading God’s word daily. A good beginning is with the gospel of John. I recommend that to you.
Second, I want to suggest to you to find a good Bible teaching church and attend there on a regular basis. Third, pray daily and be open and honest with God. He knows what you’re going through. Finally, take the initiative to tell others about your decision to follow Christ. Maybe you’ve listened to me today and you’re not ready to make that commitment to allow Christ to be on the throne of your life. I challenge you to read the New Testament portion of the Bible and I encourage you to talk to someone that you know understands the Bible and ask them the questions that you have regarding Jesus Christ.
I may be a businessman but I want you to know that my first priority in life is my relationship with Christ. The things I talked about today are very important. I want you to know how God really cares for you and me and each one of our spiritual walks. I pray God’s blessing on you on your spiritual journey.