Who I Was Before Christ

     I grew up in a family that wasn’t particularly religious, but attended church for a while. I never doubted the existence of God. I could never even imagine this world just coming into existence by chance. To be honest, I was very concerned about death. I knew God existed, but I didn’t really understand what was necessary for me to be in heaven when I died. So, like so many people seemed to do, I made some assumptions. I believed that if I lived a good enough life that God might let me into His heaven and I certainly hoped He would.

     So, I worked very hard…on the job and in school. I made good grades. My father taught school and I wanted to please him. Before entering college, a friend of mine introduced me to marijuana, hashish, speed and cocaine. He thought I would enjoy life much more with drugs. 

     During my first 3 years of college, I worked very hard. I made pretty good grades. I had a job working 35 hours each week. And I partied a lot. But I planned it out. I would get high in the morning, go to work, go to classes, go to work again, then to the library. Then at night I would get high again to relieve myself of the stress and hard work (sort of a reward). On the weekends I would get all my schoolwork done during the day and go out drinking and partying at night.

What Changed?

     During my senior year, I was pulled over for speeding. The officer found drugs in the car and hauled my roommate, my younger brother and me in. Fortunately we had enough cash to post bail. When I called my parents to tell them what happened, I heard my father, one of the toughest men I know, crying in disappointment.

    It was that arrest and phone call that made me realize that the very people I was trying to please… I was actually hurting. I began to realize that the life I was living was leading nowhere. The fun I thought I was having still left me feeling empty inside. There was no real fulfillment in the drugs nor in the hard work.

     I was a very small guy in college and had really long hair. I worked as a student supervisor in the food service department on campus and one of the students reporting to me was on the football team. Needless to say, we didn’t get along very well. But the fall semester after my arrest he came back to school a changed person. He was quite friendly to me and couldn’t wait to tell me some amazing news. He had given his life to Jesus Christ. 

     I too was looking for real hope and answers to some questions about eternity. He explained to me that my life will always be empty without a personal relationship with the living God. He showed me in the Bible how Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty that I deserved for the things I had done wrong – the things that hurt my parents, myself and of course God. 

      I went to my apartment to pray and place my trust in Jesus Christ. I realized that only His death and resurrection would provide complete forgiveness and healing of the emptiness I had inside. I stopped relying on drugs and hard work to try to fill the void in my life. 

Who I Am Now

     My experience in graduate school was incredible. I enjoyed meeting with other Christians and studying the bible. I still worked hard and made good grades, but no longer was I relying on those things for satisfaction in life. Since college I worked in the career field for about 35 years and have been involved in ministry in the community and on campus. I now pastor full time at our community church. I have a hope and a joy that I could have found nowhere else except in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.