In the Lord’s Army Now

The Personal Testimony of Jeremy Robinson

            I was raised a Southern Baptist, have been in church all my life, and as far back as I can remember, my parents have tried to follow God where they felt He was leading them.  I was supposedly saved at 5 years old, but the only memory I have of that experience is a vague recollection of praying on my parent’s bed.  I was too young to have any grasp on the weight of sin and repentance towards God, but not knowing any different, I held onto this testimony until I was 18 years old.

            I can remember having doubts about my salvation growing up, but like most Baptist churches, everyone else has doubts as well, so it is the norm.  When I was 13, the church we had attended since I was 6 months old, showed a video on Sunday night.  I can’t remember what it depicted, but I remember feeling like God was calling me to the ministry.  I went to talk to the Pastor of the church, and expressed my concerns about salvation to him, along with my calling towards ministry.  He assured me that I had to be saved, because God doesn’t talk to lost people, and that doubts about salvation are the work of the devil trying to keep you in fear.  I had never really had the story of Samuel explained to me, which is very clear that God spoke to Samuel before he even knew who God really was.  This is one obvious example in the Bible of God speaking to a lost man, because if Samuel had been saved, he would have had to have experienced God before.  There are other examples, but this is the one that really impacted me later in life.

            I accepted what the Pastor of our church told me, and publicly told the church I was called to the ministry.  Around the same time, my parents felt God leading them away from this church, which was all I had ever known.  I can look back and see how God was working in the lives of my parents to bring my family to the truth.  My family left Pine Drive Baptist Church, in Dickinson, TX and began to search for a new church home.  I remember visiting many different churches, and we even had church in my parent’s house as a family for a time.  After about 2 years, my family ended up at a small, non-traditional church where some friends of the family attended.  The church met in a school, and it was very casual.  The church had no pastor, but several of the men in the church would take turns preaching.  After about a year, the church found a pastor, and moved to a storefront building, and a more traditional church setting.  Faith Fellowship was the most peaceful and close-knit church my family had ever attended, and my parents were very happy there.  After several years, the elders in the church, along with the pastor, decided that the church needed to purchase some land and build a building.  Several members were very opposed to borrowing money, but the church was supposed to be led by the elders and pastor, so it shouldn’t have been a big deal.  To the shock most, the elders decided to close the church, since no agreement could be reached.  I remember my parents being very sad and distraught at this decision, since this was the best church they had ever attended, but the decision stood nonetheless. 

            My parents began searching for a church once again, and at 16, I remember feeling like it was a very dark time for my family because my parents were so unhappy.  During this time, I graduated from high school and began college.  My wife Deidre was a part of my home-school graduation, and ended up at the same community college I attended.  We were not dating during this time, but I had her on my mind, so when my parents decided to visit Highlands Baptist Church where her family attended, I was all for it.  My family decided to stay, and we were there about a year when the pastor retired.  My dad helped serve on the pastor search committee that called Bro. Mike Williams.  The church voted unanimously to call Bro. Mike to be the pastor, but after about a year, the church members began to catch on that the preaching was very different than any they had ever heard.  Bro. Mike hadn’t changed his preaching, but if you spend time under the truth, it will eventually begin to sink in.  Highlands Baptist Church was a very aged church, and older people especially, can be very opposed to anything new.  Before long, the church was in an uproar, and Bro. Mike Williams was thrown out of the church.

            When Bro. Mike first came to the church, I remember his preaching making sense to me, but I never came under conviction from it because I thought I was saved.  When I was 18, god began to work on me and show me that because of the way I was living, I couldn’t be saved.  I remember trying many time to be better, and then one night telling God that I couldn’t help myself, and asking Him to help me.  I took this to be salvation, and when Bro. Mike came, I felt good about myself and that I was saved.  My wife Deidre was very convicted by Bro. Mike’s preaching, but kept it to herself, clinging to an experience she had at 18.  I remember her feeling like she needed to get baptized, and telling me I needed to also.  I thought about it for a while, and then agreed with her, and went to the front for Bro. Mike to baptized me.  Bro. Mike talked to me about my experience, and although I am sure he realized I was lost, agreed to baptize me. 

            When the church kicked Bro. Mike Williams out, about 50 of us followed him.  Some followed because they felt he had the truth, while others followed out of principle, since they couldn’t stay in a church that would act so hatefully.  Deidre and my families were among those to leave and Pioneer Baptist Church was born.  God began drawing me toward salvation by instilling truth in me, and beginning to shape my thinking.  I was attending Southwest Texas State University at this time, and couldn’t always drive home on the weekend.  Deidre and I were married in May 2003 and I was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force in August.  We lived 3 ½ hours from Pioneer, and although we traveled home often, we were not active members of Pioneer.  I ended up moving to Georgia for pilot training, where Deidre got saved. 

            I am not sure when I realized I was lost, but I began to have suspicions about my salvation.  I never said anything, and I am sure it tortured my wife.  I performed well in Pilot training, and had my choice of assignments to continue training.  I remember wanting to go to Columbus AFB, MS because it is was the only base close to one of the churches that preach the truth.  I was secretly hopeful that I would find help when I arrived.

            From the first time Deidre and I walked in to Grace Baptist Church, it felt like home to me, and we began attending church there in December 2004.  It didn’t take long for me to become convinced I was lost, but I wouldn’t say so publicly.  It wasn’t until April 2005 that I finally admitted my lostness to the church.  It felt like a great weight had been lifted off of me because I had been hiding from the truth for so long.  For a long time, I was just comfortable in lostness and distracted by pilot training. 

            In June 2005, two weeks from graduating pilot training, God stopped me dead in my tracks by telling me Pilot Training was not what I was supposed to be doing.  It was strange, because God was so clear about what He wanted.  The next day, I told my Assistant Flight Commander and probably scared the poor guy to death when I told him God told me to quit Pilot Training.  It didn’t take long for the rumor to circulate that I was leaving the Air Force to join a cult, and before we knew it, Deidre and I were shunned by all of our fair weather military friends.  We lived on base, so this was probably harder on Deidre than on me since we were a part of Grace Baptist, but we lived over an hour away.

            All my Air Force superiors were shocked, since I had made such an abrupt turn, and they though I was crazy to give up something like Pilot Training.  All the “religious” Officers tried to tell me I could go anywhere and do anything I wanted and still take God along with me.  I knew this to be a lie, especially since God specifically planted Deidre and I at Grace.  I kept telling them, that to reject what God had told me would be just like Jonah running when God called him.  They even tried to bribe me with my choice of assignments and aircraft if I would stay.  I couldn’t reject what God had told me because He was so clear.

            Coincidentally, God decided to tell me to get out of Pilot Training at a time when the military had too many young officers.  Because I got out of pilot training, the Air Force had no room for me anywhere other than as a pilot.  The Air Force decided that I owed them for the money they had contributed towards my college, so I was forced to pay back a portion of that money.  Truth be told, it was a small price to pay for the peace that comes from doing God’s will and freedom from the military.

            From the time when God showed me I was lost, until about 3 months before I got saved, God spoke to me several other times.  I have always been a very prideful person, and it took a while for God to work the extra pride I was pumped up with by being in Pilot Training out of me.  In the Air Force, being a pilot is a very exclusive thing, and you are reminded constantly of how “special” you are.  It is because of pride that it took me so long to get saved.  I remember one time, when Brother Terry was preaching on Naman the leper, that God told me I was being just like him because I would not come to the front and get the cure.  I remember many sermons when God was calling the lost to salvation, but I would not go to the front and get saved because of my pride.  I know that there are some who get saved other than at the front of the church at the altar, but because of my pride, I always felt God calling me to come to the alter and I had refused to go.

            In the last few months before God saved me, it seemed like every time we came to church, God was preaching to the lost.  It was apparent that God had us on His mind, and there were many things I heard during that time.  After one sermon Bro. Terry preached, God showed me that I wasn’t really seeking to be saved.  I would forget about what was preached as soon as I left church, and not think about God again until the next service.  God showed me that there is no way the seeds He was trying to plant could take hold if I didn’t harbor them until they could be watered.  I would just throw out the seed God was giving me as soon as church was over, and I was expecting God to save me anyway.  I began to really try to think about the sermons and what God was trying to say throughout the day, and I could tell that it helped me hear what was being preached more clearly.

            God also showed me through preaching, that I had already repented of my sin, and that it had been taken care of if I would just come home.  Two weeks before God saved me, God was calling very clearly to the lost and telling us that God would save any of us who would come to the front and take the cure.  Again God used the story of Naman to show me my pride, and none of us who were lost moved.  When I was driving home from church, God reminded me of all the times He had called me to be saved, and how many times I had rebelled against His call.  He told me that I was being just like a stubborn dog, who you whistle at and call to, trying everything to get it to come in the yard, but still it refuses.  God showed me how I had always been rebellious, and that He was just trying to get me to come home like the Prodigal son.

            The morning God saved me, Bro. Tim Tutor got up and started to sing “The Robe” and in the song it is describing the prodigal son, weary of his time in the world and ready to come home.  When I heard those words, God broke me, and I finally was able to get out of my seat and go to the altar.  I fell on the ground and was begging God to save me.  I cried like I have never cried before, but I didn’t feel God’s presence.  I searched but didn’t find God at that time.  It was apparent to me that God had broken me, and that it wasn’t of myself, but still I could not find the manifested presence of God.  I sat up and looked over at Bro. Terry.  He was looking at me, and I went over to him and told him what was going on.  I told him I didn’t know what was going on, but that I didn’t feel like God was there.  I went on to say, that maybe I needed to hear something he had to preach. 

            Bro. Terry didn’t have anything to preach that morning, but when he got up, he began to preach straight to me.  His text was Luke 11:1-13 on the needful friend, the helpful friend, and the heavenly friend.  He explained that the Needful friend had to have someone ask the master for him, and that maybe one of the lost in the church needed to ask someone to entreaty God on their behalf, since, if they couldn’t find God by themselves, they could ask someone who knows God to ask for them.  As soon as Bro. Terry began to preach about having someone pray for them, God told me I should ask Bro. Terry and Bro. Mark Harding to pray for me.  As soon as I got a chance, I went to the front and asked.  When we went to the altar to pray, Bro. Mark began by asking God to help me.  He helped me because through his crying over me, God broke me again, and then Bro. Terry began to pray.  At first, Bro. Terry was asking god to give me grace, and nothing was happening.  Then he realized that in the story of the three friends, the helpful friend had to go and ask for grace to take to his needful friend, and that he should be asking God for grace himself so he could help me.  When asked God this way, God told him it was in thankfulness.  He told me this, and God brought back to me how He had been so good to me all my life, and how He had worked in my life to bring me to this point.  I began to thank God with all my heart for how good He had been to my family and I.  When I got thankful, God told me that He had been good to me, and that I could come home.  At that point, I flashed back to two weeks earlier, when God showed me I was being like a dog that wouldn’t come in the yard, and He brought back the story of the prodigal son.  I saw God standing there with one of His arms extended, like a father calling me to come home.  It didn’t feel like He was mad at me, just disappointed like a father would be.  Bro. Terry said that I could rest, and I rested on the arm of God.  I was so blown away, I wasn’t sure what had happened, and I wanted to make sure I was saved before stating it publicly.  I got up and sat on the front row, while Bro. Terry had Bro. Robert Hunt come and sing “Be Still.”  As he began to sing, I felt like I could go up and give God a hug like there wasn’t anything between us anymore.  It took the rest of the afternoon for it to sink in that I was really saved, and I told the church that night.  It really helped give me confidence that every time I would give my testimony the spirit would bear witness to it.