A-Challenge-to-Tell-Your-Story

By Chuck Lawless

What’s your story?

Here’s mine:

I was not raised in a Christian home. I grew up in the Midwest, but I never owned a Bible until I was thirteen years old. I first heard about Christ when God planted in my seventh-grade classroom what I call “a crazy, fanatical twelve-year-old Pentecostal preacher” who made it his goal to win me to the Lord. His approach was simple: he met me at the classroom door each morning and told me, “Chuck, it’s a good thing you lived through the night….” He would then continue, “if you hadn’t, you’d be in hell right now.  But . . . you can receive Jesus into your heart right now.” His technique was not the best, but somewhere in the midst of that message God drove truth into my heart—and several months later I trusted Christ and turned from my sin. Now almost forty years later, my life has never been the same. I’m learning daily that grace really is amazing.

I ask you again, “What’s your story?”

See, that question is not an insignificant one. The Bible is filled with people who reached out to others simply by telling their story. Andrew told Peter he had met the Messiah (John 1:40-42), and Philip echoed a similar story to Nathaniel (John 1:43-45). The man born blind told all he could tell after meeting Jesus: “Once I was blind, but now I see” (John 9:24-25). The apostle Paul told his story more than once (Acts 22:1-21, 26:1-23).

Why It’s Important

Why is our story so important? First, everybody has one. Every follower of Christ has a story to tell that includes sinfulness, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Second, nobody needs special training to tell his or her story. Training can be helpful—for example, we can learn how to tell our story clearly and concisely in different circumstances – but we can tell our stories simply because they are ours. Third, our stories are evidences of grace. Some may seem more dramatic, but all are stories of grace-saturated life transformation.  

Even the very ordinances Christ gave the church are designed to tell the story. Through believer’s baptism, we illustrate our trust in Christ’s death, our personal death to self, and our belief in resurrection and eternal life. When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we remember what Christ did for us, reflect on and renew our commitment to Him, and look forward to the day when He will come again. Our sharing in these events shows that the story has now become our story; the gospel has become intensely personal and real.

Why We Don’t Share Our Stories

Yet, most of us don’t tell our story much, even to other believers. My evidence is purely anecdotal, but here’s my experience from studying hundreds of churches over the last fifteen years:

  • Pastors tell their story in the call/hiring process, but many newer members have never heard that story. The longer a pastor leads the church, the more likely it is some of his flock won’t know his story.
  • Some unbelieving spouses have never heard their own spouse’s conversion story.
  • Children and teens often know nothing of the events surrounding their parents’ or grandparents’ turning to Christ.
  • Some adult children don’t learn the details of their elderly parents’ conversion until late in life – sometimes not until making funeral preparations.
  • Small group members have sometimes never heard the story of the leader who facilitates their group each week.
  • Church-going couples sometimes get engaged without knowing each other’s conversion story.
  • Many faithful church members have never been privileged to learn God’s grace story in the lives of their congregation’s staff, elders, and deacons.
  • Most church members know the stories of only a few—if any—other members.

Here’s my question: if we take seriously the Great Commission to reach our neighbors and the nations (Matt. 28:18-20), how will we tell non-believers our story if we don’t even tell it to brothers and sisters in Christ?

In fact, this issue is not an either/or issue. By telling our stories within the Body, we glorify God and encourage others. We also learn to tell our story in a “safe” place. By telling our story to a lost world, non-believers come to know the Redeemer. It’s really that simple.

So, what’s your story? Take a few minutes here to tell us your story. Find a way to tell it to other believers. Church leaders, plan times for members to tell their stories. Teach them to tell them often – to believers and non-believers alike.


Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

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Comments

  1. Jim says

    I grew up in a church. My faith was simply my parents’ faith. In youth group, I heard all about not being unequally yoked” which was fine because I didn’t have a girlfriend. Then a friend started dating someone who had a sister. He introduced me to her. I fell quick and hard. I thought life was good. Sometime between my freshman and sophomore year of college we became engaged. It should be noted that I was attending a small Christian college. Shortly before the holidays of my sophomore year of college, I received the proverbial “Dear John” letter. I was devasted and turned to alcohol to ease the pain. The people at the college showed me nothing but love and grace during this time when I probably deserved to be booted out. Then one Sunday, I was sitting in the balcony of a local church. At the end of the service the pastor gave an altar call and the Lord grabbed hold of my heart. I started to go down to the front. I reached the back of the sanctuary when the song should have been ending. Someone must have seen something, because the choir began singing another verse of the song, which helped me continue my trip to the altar. My life has never been the same.

  2. Jimmy Edwards says

    I did not grow up in church, but I always knew in my heart there was a God. When we lived in London, our neighbors across the street went to church and led my older brother to the Lord. I noticed that they carried their Bibles with them and prayed very profound prayers before eating. I also attended a private school when living in the UK where every morning we read from a prayer book and sang hymns–planting a seed for my own salvation experience years later. The first time I heard the plan of salvation was when some members of my college BSU came to the dorm. I poo-pooed them, but I know there was something different about these friends. I would hang out at the BSU and go to church when I was invited. But after I missed the start of the spring semester of my sophomore year with chicken pox, I felt the need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior which I did one Tuesday night after the weekly BSU meeting. Thirty years later my walk with the Lord is not as upbeat as it was as a new Believer, but I am still earnestly contending for what the Father has in store for me.

    • Chuck Lawless says

      Thank God for college groups, Jimmy. Praying that telling your story has helped restore some of your fire.

  3. says

    I was raised up in church most of my life. As a child, my Mom took me to many different kinds of churches: Southern Methodist, Free Will Baptist, Pentecostal Holiness, Assemblies of God and a few others. As a child I was “saved” and baptized as a part of a Free Will Baptist church…old school style in Lynches River while everybody was singing “Shall We Gather at the River”. It’s a great memory, and I’m glad I had that experience.

    I first felt the call to be a minister as a child really, as funny as it sounds. My Mom (and others around me) thought it was ‘cute’ when I preached to people in Dr.’s office waiting rooms, etc. That faded and again, in my teenage years I felt another tug at my heart. Sadly, I didn’t listen, or even tell anyone about it. The first major setback in my ‘life plans’ happened when I was about 16. My Mom was a baker in a grocery store. We never had much when I was growing up, but she did the very best she could with her 9th grade education. We ended up moving and I ultimately, sadly dropped out of school — I went to work as a concrete finisher.

    A few years later my Mom had gotten really ill, and became unable to work. We moved back to my hometown so that she could be closer to family. I went into a pretty deep state of depression about school and the fact that I had allowed myself to do something as dumb as dropping out. On an absolute whim I drove to a local Technical College to ask what I could do. I was 19 at this point — to old to go back to High School. I met with an admissions counselor she said I could start school in the fall, but I had to take the GED as soon as I could. The next opportunity to take the GED was in September, approximately a month later. I had to pass or I couldn’t stay in school. I passed.

    You would think that would have taught me a valuable lesson, but ironically it didn’t. I had been a musician my entire life. I literally started playing guitar at age 4, and I’ve known how to play so long I don’t even remember learning. As I got older I joined band in school and I had my eyes set to be a HS Band Director. I had my heart set on being a HS Band Director but the local University didn’t have a Music major. I couldn’t leave my Mom so I transferred anyway from the Tech school to the University after completing a couple of semesters of General Education classes. I flopped around between a few majors and I kind of settled on History. It’s a subject that had interested me my entire life. Aside from music, it was the next most logical choice. In college though (as I’m sure so many do) I changed, and not for the better. Two things happened. I discovered I had a problem with Alcohol and through a Music professor I got interested in Computers (using them to Notate/Create music). Shortly, I got interested in the machines themselves and I wound up being blinded by an offer to work at a company where some friends (who had already graduated) worked. I was blinded by the proposition of making nearly as much money as I would make with my degree as a school teacher, right away. Sadly, I left school and went full-time into the IT/Computer industry.

    All along, my alcohol problem was festering. I no longer did anything but come to work, go home, drink and play video games online. I was a mess. You see, the company I went to work for was a good Christian based organization that creates software for Churches. After about a year and a half my drinking problem caught up with me, I came to work drunk, blew up at my supervisor and I walked out and quit.

    I was unemployed for about 6 months, and I wound up working at an electronics retailer. I hated it. I did manage to work my way up through the ranks, but I couldn’t help but miss the old job, and I had not only tackled my drinking problem and beaten it, I’d grown as a person. I got in touch with the IT Director and by the grace of God I was allowed to come back to work here. This was in 2007. During all of this, actually at some point during college, I had walked away from Christ and the Church. I’d completely turned my back on my faith.

    Fast-forward 6 years to 2013. Last year I had a real “Job” year. You see, in 2009 I weighed in at 320 lbs. (I’m 5’7″, so needless to say I was morbidly obese). By the beginning of 2013 I was down to 150 lbs. and I’d become an avid runner. I’d ran countless 5K, 10K and two 1/2 Marathon races and I was training for my first full marathon. Well, you see I’m a Hemophiliac. I have no clotting factor in my blood. I made some mistake in the gym lifting weights and a hematoma formed in my right glute area. It put pressure on my sciatic nerve and as a result I got a condition called foot drop where I couldn’t dorsiflex my right foot — if I lifted it, it just flopped down — completely paralyzed. I could no longer run. I’m blessed that I have just in the past few of weeks regained some use of my foot and I’ve actually been able to run some while wearing a brace!

    Anyway, as back to 2013 it was a horrible year, except for this one thing. My neighbor kept bugging me to go to a July 4th celebration at a small country church just down the road. I resisted with all my might and came up with every excuse I could possibly come up with. Nothing was enough and I went down to this event. As I was sitting there, listening to a youth pastor from another church speak, I quite literally felt my heart change sitting right there in that field.

    My friend, and boss had always been asking me to go to his church. He knew I’d hit it off with the pastor — he was an ex-IT guy/Programmer also. I decided to visit the next Sunday. Not only have I joined that church, that Pastor has not only become my pastor but one of my best friends. I have since rededicated my life to Christ, been re-baptized and sometime in September of last year I felt that call again. Except this time, it was irresistible. I hadn’t read an entire book since college. Since September, I’ve read the Bible cover to cover twice (in two translations); I spend much time in the Word every day now. Not only that I’ve read upwards of 50 books since then — everything I can get my hands on, I read. I have an insatiable hunger for the Lord and everything I can learn about him. I’ve substituted as a SS teacher at church, and my pastor has actually let me lead a Wednesday night service and teach one week when he was out of town. Both he and I got good feedback, and there is an elderly gentleman at church that has called me “Preacher” since that night!

    Right now, I’m in the application process for SEBTS, and I can’t wait to get started!

    • Thomas Reid says

      I’ve read your story and currently have the opportunity to attend @ SEBTS, which is a great school with great professors. Thank you for sharing I will be praying for you.

  4. Durward says

    Growing up, I was blessed to have a family that taught me about God at an early age.
    Although we belong to a Southern Baptist church, my relatives were scattered among multiple church groups. I remember walking several blocks to church with Papa, my mom’s dad. Papa attend the local Church of Christ. I remember vividly the pastor, Robert and his love for Papa, and their love of Christ.
    About 8 blocks from Papa, was my aunt (dad’s sister) and uncle. They belonged to a Pentecostal church. When Papa’s house was full, (frequently) I went to stay with them. My aunt would always remind us at 8pm, “boys, you better go take care of business now, Uncle Willie is going to the prayer closet!” This was in the days when houses were about 1,000 SqFt. and only had 1 bath. Guess where the prayer closet was! We always thought it was funny then. My uncle would go into the bathroom and lock the door, staying for over an hour. But, without fail I always heard him praying for every one of our family by name. My dad had heart trouble and that was important to me.
    Other relatives were in other denominations, but the common thread was the same, God’s love and Salvation by Grace. The theological differences didn’t affect our family as I’ve seen it do to some.
    When I was 8, I felt that gentle tug from Holy Spirit. I didn’t respond immediately but when I was 9 told my dad and he called Br. Newman, our pastor. He came to our house and the 2 of us sat on the front porch. After about 30 minutes, we prayed and I asked Christ into my life.
    I’d like to say I’ve been an obedient servant since, but can’t. I can say that God has been a strong presence in my life. Even when I followed my own path, I’ve been blessed. My decisions were just a little more difficult than had I been more obedient. As a “senior citizen” it’s still challenging at times.
    But, but God’s mercy and grace, I’m still here to serve.

    Thank you for your testimony Chuck. I believe every one of has a story to tell. AND, someone needs to hear it. It is our obligation to share it.

  5. Vicki says

    From about the age of eight or nine I wanted to understand the Bible but there was no one to explain what part of the Bible I should start with, no Christian church to attend, so I set the idea aside. As a teen I stumbled upon the famous Footprints poem and felt immediate faith that this poem was my story and I believed that God was watching over me. But there were still no Christians in my life to guide me.

    When I was 18 years old I called a friend to see about going to a party one night but she was going to be tied up at a bible study so I invited myself to accompany her. There I met Christians for the first time and heard the Bible discussed for the first time. I believed immediately and decided I wanted to be a Christian though I had no idea what to do next but had faith things would work out.

    A couple of weeks later I left to start college in another city. Low and behold a campus ministry had a table set up outside my dorm inviting anyone interested to sign up for weekly Bible study. I penned my info and started attending. Little by little I started being convicted of specific sins and turning away from them. I stopped getting drunk, stopped being sexually immoral, stopped listening to and watching things that caused me to stumble, forgave people who had hurt me, and shared my faith with others when there was opportunity. I lost relationships that first year due to my forthright sharing. I lacked wisdom in my evangelistic approach but was a fool for Christ.

    It’s history from there. I’ve been a follower of Jesus for almost 30 years. I still suffer the consequences of those lost relationships and have lost others along the way as well. Others I have been an instrument for them to know Jesus for th first time, perhaps to plant a seed, or grow in Christ. At other times I’ve made really dumb mistakes and have learned very hard lessons from them. God doesn’t promise being a Christian will be a cake walk and I’ve certainly experienced that. But it’s all worth it. I wouldn’t want any other life.

    To Him be the glory for coming for seek and save the lost – that’s me.

  6. says

    Urban Camp Testimony – Alcohol, Drugs, Arson, Sexual Abuse, Beatings, Depression, Attempted Suicide, Murder.Those things and more were all part of my early childhood and teen years.

    My mother was one of the abusers and would call me names no matter what I did, so I thought I might as well enjoy the crime if I was already convicted.

    First, I tried to join a local gang, but failed the first initiation to smoke – I watched a girlfriend actually turn green from what she was inhaling, and I didn’t have to worry about anyone noticing I was not inhaling much because I already got sick just watching her.

    Next I tried to run away to get married. I say tried because the groom took his dad’s car and drove us 7 miles to the next town. As we passed the only theatre around he decided the wanted to go to the movies instead. Another run-away plan failed when my girlfriend jumped on the moving train, but I froze, and was left standing in the brush by the tracks to face an angry mother. Then I attempted suicide several times by taking pills.

    I kept living on the edge of the law, lying, sneaking out, stealing, and getting into dangerous situations. I eagerly left home the morning after graduation thinking I was free, but I brought my old self – my fears and sins along.

    That September I met a wonderful guy and we became engaged in December. We wondered together if we had children what we would teach them, for we both wanted to find God’s direction in our lives. Since we agreed the Bible was God’s word, we began reading from page 1 – Genesis. Soon, I was having nightmares of demons dragging me out of the upstairs window. Ken shared this with a fellow he worked with at the factory – and Charlie told Ken it was a spiritual battle. He pointed him to the book of John, saying “underline all the words “believe.” Ken did as Charlie suggested and “believed” all that he had read. I wasn’t sure and I actually dared to and challenge God – “show ME if this is from you.” God took me up on that request on that July 4 when I stood on the upstairs porch watching the fireworks. As I thought of all the mothers who gave their sons so I could have the freedoms that America offers, God spoke to my heart “You accept their son’s gifts– I also gave my son that you could have eternal freedom – why won’t you accept my gift?” I understood then God loved me, and went and knelt by my bed to thank Him for loving me.

    When I awoke the next morning, WOW – everything looked cleaner – brighter. I was filled with wonder to think that I was totally cleansed and fit, in God’s sight, to enter his heaven and to be called His child. I began walking the few blocks to the corner store, when a neighbor I’d met when we moved in a few weeks before, called out, “Delores, come here a minute.” I was stunned as I approached her for she asked me “What happened to you since yesterday?” I shared my experience with her and she said she could tell because before I looked as though I carried a heavy load on my back and that day I walked up straight and looked happy. She could see the difference already!

    I’d been ashamed of my heritage and my family, but now realized that my destiny began long before my earthly childhood. I had been looking at the picture of death as my friend, but Jesus said in John 10:10 “I came that you might have life, and might have it abundantly.”

    I had a picture of God as the judge out to get me, but Psalm 72:14 says He rescued me from my life of oppression and violence, and I am precious in His sight!

    When you are convinced that God cares for you, you are also convinced He is able to bring you through any trial you may face, and life takes on new meaning. To rightly see myself as God sees me is not an ego-boost, or to build up my self-esteem, but a reality check to realize and admit my weakness and sin and to accept that God truly knows all about me but loves me just as I am.

    After my decision to accept Christ’s gift, the world was and is still the same – all the nasty things are still there, but I see now that they are from living under the power of sin, and I do not fear them any more. They do not control me. I know God’s power is stronger. I have been resurrected with Christ and I can trust God with my future.

  7. Tony Sessions says

    I did grow up in church and in the midst of a huge family of Godly men and women and I could not wait to get away even though by the age of 21 I knew that God had a call on my life, I wanted no part of it. My goal was to be wealthy period, nothing less would do. By the age of 61 I had owned and operated my own business that did in excess of a million dollars annually for quite a few years. I found myself divorced and dead broker with 32 cents to my name and on March 29, 2009 I gave my heart to Jesus and He completely changed my life AND renewed the call that He had placed on my 40 years before (my wilderness years). Many in the church welcomed me and oohed and ahhhed about all that God was going to do in my life UNTIL I began to talk about my call to ministry. I was devastated,, because the very people who taught salvation and forgiveness operated under the misguided idea that divorce was the unforgivable sin. Yes divorce is a sin. But it was only one of the many that I had committed in my life time. Anyway, God is faithful and here I am serving as a Missionary to the Navajo Indians on the largest Reservation in the United States with a beautiful wife that God has given me and He continues to bless. We baptized four last month and are moving forward in this place for the cause of Christ. I am more wealthy now than I have ever been. May God bless you, as He has me.

  8. Simon says

    I grew up in a home with strong Christian influence, attending weekly worship, and Sunday School as a child. Of course I made a profession of faith as a young person, as most everyone did, and I even became president of the Scripture Union at school when I was 18. As I went to university I drifted, only occasionally attending Christian Union. I got married when I was 21 to a beautiful Christian girl, who was nothing but a good influence on me. Unfortunately I wouldn’t say the same was true in reverse – I was a pretty poor influence on her.

    Over the years I kept a superficial appearance of Christianity up, I attended church each week, I was elected onto the committee (deacon) and when I was 30 I was appointed as an elder. However I always knew my heart wasn’t right. People told me “no-one deserves to be an elder”, but I knew that things weren’t right. For anyone who doubts me (it amazes me that people tried to convince me that I was saved) I was not reading the scriptures, praying on my own or with my wife. Through this process I did attend a Christianity Explored course, and ended up leading a spin off Bible study group. Of course I knew this wasn’t right, that I shouldn’t be doing it, but it is amazing how I was able to carry on undetected, I suspect because I only allowed superficial relationships to develop.

    In the period around 2007-2011 I went through a long process of change. I travelled to the USA with work on several occasions, and while flicking radio stations I stumbled across Pastor Matt Barnett of the Dreamcenter church, and found this teaching impacted me in a way I never understood before. With hindsight I don’t think it was anything doctrinal about the teaching, or indeed that there was any doctrinal error in the messages I heard each week at home either. I think it was me that changed, not the message. A friend said something that really annoyed me “Lord of all or not Lord at all”. This annoyed me, because if it is true, then He was not my Lord at all. Over the coming years many American pastors had a huge influence on me, culminating with Ray Comfort and Paul Washer pointing out that it is possible to make it right to the end of the road, thinking you’re sort-of-ok, but actually hear “I never knew you”. I knew that was me.

    Part of this process was a deep repentance of the way I had been living, and I began taking my role in the home more seriously, reading and praying with my wife, and about the same time we went on the marriage course together. This built the bond between us and between us and the Lord.

    Now I am walking faithfully with the Lord, saturated in Bible teaching, reveling in weekly worship with the church family, and I know in my heart that I am saved. I am involved in street outreach, and love it. The Lord is now involved in all our decisions, from what to do each week, which car to buy right through to which job to take.

    As a youth I always hoped I would have no regrets. I regret how I made decisions that stunted the growth of my wife in her faith for 15 years. I regret how I didn’t lead my children properly. But the sovereign will of God will work all things out for the good of us, who love Him, it is in His hands.

    I am still not perfect, but now I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit, I have a knowledge and hatred for my sin, and the Lord helps me to overcome it, little by little. On the outside people have noticed little change, I think, but on the inside the change has been polar. Praise God for how he works in our lives, and we know that the future is in His hands, and I expect further surprises from Him in the future.

  9. Loretta Quinnett says

    I was born, raised, confirmed, attended/participated in the Methodist church from the day I was born. When I was 14, my father had remarried after being a widower for 9 years to a woman who had been a widow for several years. Although the blended family was not so hot, we began attending an assembly of god church and I truly gave my heart to God on Mother’s day Weekend in 1965 and experienced the speaking in tongues that summer at bible camp. I know now what it means to truly “feel” God in my life although it does not mean that life is always perfect or wonderful, He is always with me.

  10. Donn says

    I did not grow up in a church, however I do remember my christianing at a very young age maybe 3. I can still see the church and yard in my mind it is one of my oldest memories. However parents divorced when I was 2 and I was raised by single mom that really didn’t care for me. I was placed in special education since I couldn’t talk. I believe it was birth defect caused by drugs while my mom was pragnent. I was teased by students everyday and even my teachers they all just called me retarded even my mom. My mom ended up marrying a drug dealer which was very abusive. He ended up getting hanged in Mexico after my mom divorced him. Then the next man she married was a Hell’s Angel or at least that is what everyone would say. He was pretty cool since he made my mom take me back in.

    Since I was abuse every way there was to be abuse to include neglect. I remember a time I was about 10 and stayed home alone with my brother for a week during Christmas break with no clue where my mom was. Later I found out she had gone to Canada to stay with her boyfriend. However, she kicked me out of the house when I was about 12. One year I lived 14 different places. Doing what work I could do for food or shelter. I was finally taken in for about a year in a half by homosexuals. I had two moms that ended up getting custody of me. Of course I had no clue what a homosexual was until the kids were teasing me and I asked one of my teachers. However I never saw them kiss or anything like that, I thought they were just best friends. However, one of them got real sick and I had to go. At this time I claimed to be Buddhist since my neighbor was one and he told me all about the religion.

    I made it through high school and join the army with Buddhist on my dog tags. My life wasn’t that great and it was full of sin. But at least I had a bed to sleep in and three meals a day. A lot better then eating dog food. After spending a year in Korea I got stationed in NC.

    My life was hell and anything that could go wrong was going wrong. However one night my room mate needed a distinated driver since he had a weekend pass from the leadership course he was in. That night I took him to a night club. Where I happen to meet another distinated driver. She was beautiful so when she invited me to go to church the next day. I stayed up all night so I wouldn’t sleep in. I met her at a gas station and followed her to church. I also did this for a few months where I gave my life to Jesus and married her.

    From there I became a Jesus fanatic or Jesus freak which was a lot better then being called a speechless faggot as a child. I took every religious course the military had to offer online, also took several religious classes in college. The Lord was deep in my life I experienced several miracles well more then several. After going to church for about 6 years and witnessing and sharing the gospel with at least ten people a day I asked for my trail sermon. I kind of challenged myself every day to talk to as many people as I can about Jesus. The preacher said he would give me one but it was put off again and again for about year. The deacons finally took a vote on the trail sermon and rejected the opportunity. I was crushed devastated speechless. How can The Lord call me to preach and this happens? I was confused and the devil took advantage of the situation.

    I should say a few of the miracles so you would fully understand the power of Jesus in my life. Let’s just say those that voted no passed away or had life changing events like a kidney transplant. I ended up changing churches and running away from my calling. I have never stopped talking to Jesus everyday and he always answer my prayers. He has also bless my life beyond belief. I went from not being able to talk until like 7 and never that good until I gave my life to Jesus to becoming my college student president and giving a speech to thousands. I even was the 2013 science math and technology teacher of the year for North Carolina. This year alone I presented at two national conferences, and two state conferences.

    However, serving The Lord for 18 years now I have finally found a church that brings my joy, love, and acceptance. But I guess starting over in a church is never easy. My step daughter wants me to marry her soon. I guess The Lord is not going to let me run for much longer. It took me two years last time before I had enough courage to asked for a trail sermon just to be rejected a year later. I find myself in a lot of prayer lately. How will I do this?

    I hope I met your challenge and maybe someday I will write the whole story. So many testomonies to tell.

    I love you!

    • Walter Long says

      Dear Donn,

      It does not seem clear to me that you know who Jesus is. I might be wrong. Pardon me for being frank, as I do not mean to be rude. I believe that you have had some hard times. That seems clear. I would like to hear your conversion story, in a nutshell, if you can do that. If you cannot run it through a spellchecker, that is OK, but if you care enough to do that, it would help me. Without a spellchecker, I am not so good at “slelnipg,” either.

      I am not sure “being a Jesus Freak” is evidence of a genuine conversion experience. Is your church a Bible believing church? Our seminary (SEBTS) here uses the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy to vet candidates for admission to seminary. You might look at that, and see whether it offends you or not. To me, it is a beautiful statement.
      Sincerely, Walter

      • Donn says

        Dear, Mr. Long

        Jesus loves you and I do too. Thank you for the information SEBTS, I wish someone would had informed me 15 years ago when I had asked for my trail sermon. I also ask for forgiveness for my clerical errors throughout my life story. I use a IPad and the keys are so small and I seemed to make some mistakes. Spelling has always been one of my weakness, and speech of course.

        The conversation on the use of Jesus Freak I believe I should share that experience or testimony. In the military before we are promoted to position of leadership we have to go to a Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC). This course is 4 weeks long and we are confined to live with each other during this time. This gave me a lot of time to share the gospel and talk about Jesus to the 27 soldiers I was living with. I witness to them every chance I had. However, they did not accept my ministry and went about to tease me and call me a Jesus Freak. One of the activities we had in our class was a peer evaluation. Each student wrote a few words about everyone in the class that described their character. 27 out 27 had either Jesus freak or Jesus fanatic written as my character. I prayed hard that The Lord wold allow me to minister to these soldiers. I never gave up or lost the faith even though the barracks were filled with vulgar during the evening. There was one that led in the disbelief in Jesus, that the other 26 followed. So I got on my knees and prayed that The Lord would remove him so I could share the word with the other 26. That night the one that did not believed in Jesus and put him down that the others looked up. Was called to the administration building to leave because his father had passed away. That next day everyone asked me to read the bible to them during the time we polished our boots. They wanted to hear the story of Job. In one night Jesus changed the culture of the barracks from vulgar and sin to a place where we gathered in His word.

        Jesus is my father and I am not ashamed of Him. I know Jesus as my savior and I love him more then anything in the world. I spend the majority of my time with Him in my mind. Everything I do I do for the glory of His kingdom. My testimony hopefully represent the need for an outward ministry. The majority of the worlds children are not raised in the church, their parents or parent are not believers, they need us. I have a deep compassion and love for the lost. I was not ashamed to walk in every class at the school I teach at and give a personal invite to every student to join me at VBS. I asked my principal if I could give everyone a flier on VBS and he said it was fine because they need The Lord in their lives. So I did.

        I am nothing more then his servant and I will serve with out fear of the world. I ask you to pray for me, the children I invited to VBS, and the children out their that live in a household of sin. They need a our prayer the most.

  11. Peggy says

    I don’t remember I time when I didn’t believe in God. Our family faithfully attended church. I had no problem knowing I was a sinner, even believed Jesus died for my sin, but just couldn’t figure out how I could be sure I would make it to heaven. Hopefully I would die on a ‘good’ day. When I was a teenager my brother started attending a Baptist church with a friend. The rest of us started going on Sun. evenings. Their vocabulary was different than I was use to, words like ‘saved’. Since I already ‘believed’ in Jesus I thought I was ok. One weekend our regular church had a teen retreat. I observed the other teens and no one seemed to care about God. Since it was a church event that bothered me, but then the thought came into my head “What about you”. I realized I was no different than the rest, and when I crawled into my bunk that night I gave my life to God. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but looking back I can see how God immediately began to change me. That was over 45 years ago and I can definitely say that was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. God is continuing to work in me and I am so grateful.

  12. Tim says

    I grew up in church and I walked the aisle when I was nine years old…only because my twin sisters did a few weeks before. It wasn’t until I was 16 years old, actually on my 16th birthday, that I trusted Christ as my Savior.

    It was summer and our church was hosting an outdoor crusade at the local fairgrounds. My dad, who was also the coach, insisted that his family would be at the crusade. I sat on the upper row of the bleachers so I could see my ballgame across the parking lot from us. The whole service I was more interested in the ballgame than what God was trying to tell me.

    Towards the end of the service, God somehow got my attention. It was at that point that I realized that if I were to die that I would suffer the consequences of Hell because I had never surrendered my life to Christ. My dad was a counselor that evening and I sought him to share my decision that evening. From that day on, I have never doubted knowing Christ as Savior.

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