Christ changes lives. He changed me and He continues to conform me to His image.
My sister posted this picture of me on Facebook to let friends and others know of my birthday yesterday.
I am pictured with my registered quarter horse “Roy’s Acey Ducey” – affectionately called Acey.
While at Michigan State University as an undergrad, I was searching for what life was all about. I wasn’t looking in the right places and it clearly wasn’t to be found at a highly secular, impersonal state university.
I wasn’t searching for Christ.
Frequently I would take the opportunity to ride my quarter horse down the meandering gravel road along the Grand River where I lived. I did a lot of thinking and soul searching on those rides. Still, despite the soul searching, I wasn’t looking for answers from God –that’s for sure.
To make a long story short, I credit Michigan State University for the despair, the sense of loneliness that I experienced – often asking myself the question: “Is this what it’s all about?” If it was, I knew that I wasn’t impressed. I wasn’t impressed with college campus life with its partying, secularism, and hedonism at a major university with a student body of 40,000.
I had a good upbringing. My parents loved me, disciplined me, cared for me. That, I never doubted. My parents were well off – my Dad and his father had been new car dealers – Chevrolet and Oldsmobile. We had a swimming pool, horses, the good life – I was successful in high school as a thirteen letter winner in athletics, class president, and student council president, etc.
So here I was struggling with purpose. Looking in the wrong places for fulfillment.
I began going to church with my wife-to-be (though I didn’t know it at the time) and went not because I loved God, but because I was falling in love with my wife-to-be (Jan).
I saw something different in Jan and in her parents. They loved one another, served each other, their family members, their neighbor, needy people, were faithful members of a local church in attendance on Sundays and at a mid-week service, tithing and exhibiting character qualities that I began to recognize flowed from faith in Jesus Christ.
Though at first, when speaking with their pastor, I clearly remember saying that I wasn’t in need of a Savior because I certainly wasn’t a sinner.
Someone(s) must have been lifting me up in concerted prayers, because within a short period of time after that conversation, I acknowledged that I now understood that, indeed, I was in need of Jesus Christ. I in fact was a sinner.
In my heart I bent my knee, humbled myself, and received Christ as Lord and Savior.
I began attending church regularly and sensed Christ working in me by way of His Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I became a Christian in early 1970 and married Jan shortly thereafter.
Years have gone by so very rapidly. I have seen a lot of life now since those early days.
I now have the perspective of a father, grandfather, husband, educator, elder, a sinner – once lost in sin, a Christian still working out my salvation with fear and trembling.
Once when sharing the plan of salvation years ago, Dad said to me “Bill, I’m glad it works for you but it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. You are like a life insurance salesman. You are peddling something that not necessarily everyone wants.”
In other words, Dad was telling me to back off from sharing Christ with him. And so I did. I became determined that I would just let my life speak for itself. And I prayed for Dad.
Years later, I began to believe that my dad had become a Christian. Something happened – I know – because he became a regular church attender and his family (we kids) saw him as he became a loving, tender, sweet man.
In the last few days of his life, hospice came in to assist us. The chaplain upon visiting with my dad, told me, your dad has a peace that is rare. I don’t doubt that he is a saved man.
Christ changes lives.
I have loved ones in my extended family that I have been concerned about for a long time. Many of you do, too.
Keep loving and praying. I’m going to trust Jesus for His grace in the lives of my loved ones who I know are outside of Christ.
As we are now less than two weeks from Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, I felt compelled to share a brief testimony regarding my situation in my early years as contrasted with my years after being saved. Highlighting the high importance of Christmas and the celebration of it!
For a limited time, I’m offering a sweet book entitled “The Next Great Awakening” By Dr. Terry Slachter. Receive your free copy by calling 231-924-4050 or by emailing Kimberly@americandecency.org