I was about 8 years old when it clicked. I asked dad why he was always going to Africa. He began to tell me about the great need of the world. He began to explain to me there was trouble in the world, people were dying in Africa, and God wanted dad to go. I had heard about the mission my family was on. I knew that I was in a family that had a mission to help a dying world learn life. But, it finally clicked. God saves and God wants to use His people to rescue.
Shortly following the conversation with my dad, Pastor Paul Calmes preached a sermon about Samson. I don’t remember the details, but I remember thinking, “If God can use a guy that breaks all the rules and denies that God is good, then maybe he could use me too.” I remember this because George Foreman was going to fight Evander Holyfield that evening and we were going to watch it. (When you lived in Michigan in the 80’s, Boxing was a big deal!) During the sermon, I drew a picture of Foreman stepping on Holyfield. (If you remember that fight… I picked the wrong guy) I vividly remember looking at my dad, wanting to show him what I had drawn. I looked up and his focus was intensely glued to Pastor Paul who was explaining that God uses broken people to accomplish rescue. What dad and mom had tried to drill into me suddenly clicked. Jesus came to save, He came to save me, He called me to mission, and I was in! Jesus saved my dad and gave him mission. God is Amazing!! I was in, let’s do this!
I told my dad I wanted to walk forward. Now, just to clarify, my parents wanted to be careful and walked me through the Word of God for the next 6 months before I was baptized. By the time I made my public proclamation I knew God had rescued my soul and had put my faith in Jesus as my Savior fully.
Now, what is crazy about my conversion experience is that God didn’t stop moving in me. He has been constantly moving in my heart to change me to be more like His image each day. And each day I realize just how far I’ve been brought and how much further He is going to take me. He has blessed, built, broken, molded, raised, razed, changed, lifted, reproved, motivated, inspired, deflated, humbled, moved, focused, and rescued me! One of the greatest truths about salvation is that God is not finished when you prayed for Him to save you. He is not finished when you walk forward and get dunked. God has just started… This is a walk with Jesus, not a moment in time. I would tell you stories of God’s work in my life from EVERY YEAR since that day it clicked and, indeed, I started to write it down. After page 3, I had reached the age of 14 and I realized I had 17 more years of joy to cover. So, I decided you’ll get this abbreviated encouragement.
For us, let us cling to Paul’s admonition. “I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6. Jesus is not done in you… trust Him!