Wednesday, April 28, 2010

35 years a Christian

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

It was on April 26, 1975 that I first put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and received eternal life from Him. The seed had first been planted three years earlier when my brother, who had recently come to Christ, gave me a couple of gospel tracts, including that Jack Chick classic "This was Your Life." I read them, but they made no impact at the time, because I didn’t see myself as a sinner in need of a saviour.

At the end of 1974 the Father began to draw me to the Son. I was going through a time when I wasn’t doing well in school (I was in grade 9), which was unusual for me, and it was mostly my own fault. It was also around that time that I tuned in to one or two gospel radio broadcasts on out-of-town stations, and I began to think that if there really was hell, then I didn’t want to go there. My brother gave me a 5-volume paperback "Bible" in comic book form for Christmas, and I read it and enjoyed it.

In February, a high school friend named Rod invited me to the weekly young people’s gathering at his church (it was a Pentecostal church--I don’t go along with their doctrine on tongues, but they did preach the true gospel). I accepted the invitation, and began going there every week. I liked the people I met there (some of whom I already knew), and sensed that they had something in their lives that I wanted Two months later, I was at that church’s Saturday night coffee house. If you had asked me then if I was a Christian I would have said yes, but wouldn’t have been able to say just why. By that time I was acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Son of God, but I hadn’t yet asked him into my life. There were some Jack Chick tracts at the table where I was sitting; Jack Chick gets a lot of knocks, and often rightly so, but on this occasion, the Lord used a few of these tracts to reach me. I read a couple related to end-time prophecy, and the conditions described in the prophecies sounded so much like the current age that I figured these predictions must be inspired by God. Then I recognized "This Was Your Life" and read it again. John 3:16 suddenly spoke to me, as if a light had been turned on in my mind, and I realized that I just had to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. When I got home that night, I knelt and asked Him to come into my life, and the prayer was answered.

Looking back, I realize more and more that my salvation was and is the sovereign work of God. There was no reason that I should take an interest in the things of God when I did, or that Rod should invite me to his church, or that I should accept the invitation, but in the sovereign timing of God, that’s what happened. I’m also very grateful that He saved me when and where (Yellowknife, Northwest Territories) He did. For one thing, I came to know Christ before ever seeing a televangelist; otherwise, I may have rejected Christianity because of the buffoonery going on in His name. I came to know Christ at the age of 13 at a time when the gospel was still communicated in a straightforward manner to young people without dumbing it down for them. The coffee house at that church was very low-tech: some tables with tracts, and a record player playing a few well-worn Larry Norman albums. And in 1975 if you came to Christ, you were a Christian. I prefer to call myself a Bible-believing Christian, rather than use the "Christ-follower" label that’s so popular with the Emerging crowd in the early 21st Century. I can’t believe that 35 years have gone by so quickly, and it’s been almost that long since I’ve seen most of the Christians I knew back then, but I’m looking forward to the reunion--and the Lord’s return is 35 years closer now than it was in 1975.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Jack, that's awesome! I love reading testimonies!

    Good old Chick tracts - that's the same one that impacted me as a young girl. I read it over and over (still have it).

    You've been busy blogging since I last checked. Good stuff, as usual.