The Personal Testimony of Jim Hough

I grew up in a family where my parents believed in God and we attended church each time the doors were open. As a five-year old I attended a kindergarten operated by a local Baptist church. Although I have a vague memory of this, my parents told me that during that time I became frightened about going to hell. They said that for months I would wake up at night crying and afraid, saying I did not want to go to hell. Try as they might, they could not console me. Finally, not knowing what else to do, they took me to the pastor of the church we attended. I do not remember exactly what transpired but it was sufficient for the Pastor to say I was saved and could be baptized. So, based on this, I grew up believing I was saved and would not go to hell.

I continued attending church with my family and as I grew older, there was no evidence of the new birth in my life. I was not interested in God or His ways. I would like to share a couple of events during this phase of my life which prove the point. When I was around 13 years old I was sitting with a couple of friends and we were basically complaining, as kids do, about our parents. The topic of religion came up and I defiantly proclaimed “I don’t need my parents’ God”. There I was with no fear of God announcing my self-sufficiency. Then later on when I was around 16 years old one of my close friends professed faith in Christ. He immediately began to act differently. He seemed to always be reading the Bible, talking about Christ, and spending time with our youth minister. Our good times were over. He no longer wanted to do the kinds of things we had been doing and that I still desired to do. I was so angry about this and envious that I decided I can do this Christian thing too. Religion to me was just words and I could say the words as well as anybody. I began really reading my Bible so I would know as much as my friend. This started me on the path of living an outwardly religious life. I ordered sermons and tracts from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and immersed myself in them. I also began being very “humble”. Considering myself less than others I would walk around with my head down all the time and use syrupy language and tones. God has shown me this was false humility done in the flesh and it created an almost impenetrable pride and self-righteousness.

Even after I left home at 19, I continued to attend church and take part as an active member. During this time much of my sin was made up of the inward kind like anger, lust, envy, pride, rebellion, and hypocrisy. From time to time, however, there would be the outward eruptions of sin like drunkenness, fits of rage, and other unseemly and shameful acts. I was always restless during this time and could never find contentment.

While working as a store manager for a retail drug chain, I became more and more discontent and decided to move back to my hometown Hattiesburg, Mississippi and get a college degree. Upon returning I began to attend the church of my childhood. There were many familiar faces there and I started being active in the singles ministry. Bible reading became a part of my life again and I dove into it more earnestly. During this time conviction gripped me as my life was being examined in the light of scripture. Things just did not add up. I did not see how I could have been a Christian and lived the way I had. But I was not willing to renounce my experience as a 5 year old. During this time three scriptures kept haunting me. The first was 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I was full of fear and certainly felt tormented. The other two were in Hebrews:

Hebrews 12:16 & 17 “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”

Hebrews 6: 4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they should fall away, to renew them unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame.”

These verses struck fear in me and sent me seeking relief. I believed I may have committed the unpardonable sin. However, instead of seeking God for relief, I wanted relief my way. I became an “if”er. I would pray, “If I’m not saved God, save me now”, “If I’ve never received your Son, I receive him now” and “if I’ve never trusted you, I’m trusting you today”. None of these things brought me relief. I went to a pastor for help and he told me that if my heart condemned me then I was indeed condemned. I did not know what to do but I still would not go to God and trust Him to help me. I went to the assistant youth minister of the church I was attending and told him I did not think I was saved and, “I want to get this right”. I asked him to go over the plan of salvation with me. He did and I prayed a prayer to receive Christ. When I said “amen”, that feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach was still there. I hesitated a moment but remembered that I had heard preachers say “you can’t go on feelings” so I went on and was baptized. Over time the overwhelming feeling of fear went away. I understood and believed God’s plan of salvation. I believed I was sincere when I prayed. Surely I must be saved. But I was still a man full of fear and no love of God.

Very soon after this experience, evidence of my false profession began to surface. The anger and fits of rage returned, my uncontrollable lusts broke out again, I could not get victory over sin. To compensate for this I became more religious, reading my bible and praying every day, keeping a detailed journal of my “spiritual walk” as a record of my relationship with God. I also became more hypocritical, prideful and isolated, unwilling to share with anyone the struggles, doubts, and fears I was having.

About this time I met the woman I would marry. We met as students attending William Carey College. Sharyn and I were married about 8 months after our first date and very soon afterwards my behaviors began to reveal the selfish purposes of my heart. My every thought and action was for my advancement and benefit. It was all about how I looked to others and to ensure I got what I wanted. During this time any preaching on repentance would confound me. I could not get a handle on exactly what repentance was. During one sermon, the pastor said repentance was a change of mind. In my vain imagination I took that and ran with it. “Oh, I HAVE changed my mind, I have agreed with God”. All these things were done in the power of my prideful flesh. “I can repent. I can believe.” Not willing to come clean about my condition, I went on believing a lie. As time went by I became angrier and more discontent. My anger and fits of rage would baffle and frighten Sharyn. I blamed everyone but me for my unhappiness. Outwardly, it seemed I was doing great and God was smiling on me. My wife and I had both completed advanced college degrees, I was making great progress in my career and we had a beautiful baby girl, Kiley. But just like in my religion, I had built my marriage on words only. It was a structure that would soon come crashing down.

When the crucial times came for the measure of my love for Sharyn to be demonstrated, I was empty and gave nothing. An example of this emptiness occurred in September, 2001. A few months earlier, in June, we had moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama so I could take a position that would mean another career ladder move for me. In the midst of this major life change Sharyn’s mother died. We were silent for most of the three and a half hour drive to Wiggins, Mississippi. We left Tuscaloosa about 8:30 P.M. so it was late when we got settled into bed. As we lay there, Sharyn looked at me with tears welling up in her eyes needing comfort. In silence and hostility I rolled over and turned out the light. Believing she should have been more supportive and enthusiastic about our move to Alabama, these selfish expectations fueled my anger. She “hadn’t been there for me” so I would not be there for her. Sharyn is an amazing woman. In the face of this she continued to stay married to me and show love toward me. But she is human and my continual taking without giving finally reached an unbearable point in January 2003. After 15 ½ years, the unspoken problems in our marriage broke into the open. In a selfish effort to restore our relationship, I began to search the scriptures and pray for God’s guidance. God’s purpose in my search, however, was an eternal one.

The first scripture which I really took a look at was Luke 21:34 when Jesus said “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with carousing, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” “Oh,” I thought, “that’s it, my heart has been taken away by these things. I need to repent of this and start living right again.” So, I prayed and confessed this, determined to get back on track. Despite all my efforts, things got worse. My anger got worse, my fits of rage got worse, and NOTHING was improving. Sharyn asked me for patience and space but I continued to make demands and attempts to manipulate or force us back together. Even at this time God was showing me myself and I began to be sickened by what I saw. Then in May or June at work one day while sitting at my desk, staring at the computer screen, reflecting on how things had gotten where they were. God through the Holy Spirit said these words to my heart and mind, “The move to Tuscaloosa was not for you, it was for Sharyn, you do not even belong to me.” Immediately fear and terror gripped me and my journey into darkness and distress began.

From this point the word of God became a hammer and an arrow to me. No matter where I sought comfort, I received rebuke, reproof and conviction. I would read in Psalms and all I could see were the words wicked, wicked, wicked. I would read in the gospels and all I saw were Jesus’ warnings and rebukes to the Pharisees. The verses in Hebrews which had wounded me years ago came again to strike fear in my heart. I began to believe I was reprobate and past the day of grace. I would put my bible away for a while because of the painful conviction, only to pick it up later, believing that if there was any hope it would be found there. I would cry and pray in anguish, confessing my sin and begging God to forgive me. These prayers seemed to be falling to the floor as I said them. My thoughts were constantly being filled with memories of my sin.

Fears began to consume me. I was unable to sleep and my appetite left me. At times I would lay in my bed shivering, chilled by fear and tormented by my thoughts. In my mind I would hear the statement, “In hell you won’t be cold.” I lived in constant fear of death. A twinge in my chest would alarm me. While driving I would become consumed by the fear of a traffic accident. I had major surgery during this time and was fearful I might die while “on the table”.

All this time I was unwilling to just admit openly and inwardly that I was lost. I was an ordained deacon and a member of the personnel team at church. I looked back at the two “salvation experiences” that I had and tried to assure myself that at least one of them may have been real. No comfort or assurance came.

I wanted to stand up and tell people that God had shown me I was lost and then saved me. I did not want to tell them He’d shown me I was lost and that I was still unsaved as yet. I believed that if I told the church openly I was lost, God would strike me dead immediately upon my confession for an example of His wrath against hypocrisy.

Because of this, I would determine to stay on my face before God and cry out to Him until He saved me. These vows did me no good. In fact, they hindered me from coming to Him. I would not forsake my ways and thoughts about salvation and how it should take place. Often, when my attempts did not work, I would become angry at God and have very hard thoughts and feelings toward Him. I did not have right thinking about His character. But I was getting a clear picture about mine. I did not love God; in fact, I had hated Him and His ways. I had been a rebel toward God and an enemy of Christ. My impenitence, selfish fear, and unbelief were keeping me from coming to Him for pardon.

Still unwilling to admit my lost condition to myself or others, I began to share “doubts” about my salvation with Sharyn and my accountability/prayer partner at church. Neither one of them believed that I was lost. I talked with my pastor, my Sunday school teacher, and the youth minister at church. My accountability partner recommended I talk with a man in our church, Dolan Davis, who had battled doubts about his salvation throughout his life. I did call Dolan and began to meet with him. He was encouraging to me and showed me great compassion. God used him along my journey to provide some comfort and hope when they were greatly needed. One thing he told me at the beginning was of particular help. He said, “You’ve got to relax and trust God.” I would later come to understand this is what the Bible calls “waiting on the Lord.” He is sovereign and operates in providence according to His will not ours.

In the midst of these very difficult days, God continued to shower grace on me. However, at the time it did not feel like grace and favor. Now I see that it was. He began to speak to me through His word in a way that moved me to continue seeking. While reading in Matthew’s Gospel and seeing myself as like a Pharisee, the words of Jesus in verse 13 of chapter 9 seemed to command me, “But go ye and learn what that meaneth I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” These words were spoken through the prophet Hosea in chapter 6 verse 6.

As I read the Book of Hosea, God began to show me that my sins were like the sins of Ephraim. I did not cry to Him with my heart but howled in anguish and self-pity, rebelling against God, wanting not Him, but the good things He could give me. He gave me the grace to recognize that I was not praying with the right attitude. And also like Ephraim, when I saw my sickness instead of going to Him and trusting Him to help me, I went to others for the cure. There were also words of mercy and hope. For God said concerning Ephraim, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim. I will not execute the fierceness of my anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not man.”

Along with revealing to me who I was, God continued to show mercy in the midst of my sin and despair. One particular day which marked a turning point was February 6, 2004. That day I had attended a conference in Montevallo, Alabama. While the speaker was lecturing to us, the Holy Spirit was showing me my true self and a glimpse of the works and character of God. I felt so weak, helpless and needy. I could not change myself, I was powerless. It seemed that I cried out to God during the whole drive home. By the time I got home I was exhausted, in despair and needed some hope really bad. So I picked up my bible, sat in a chair in our bedroom, and opened it. This verse was before me: Isaiah 41:13, “For I, the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” My heart broke and I began to weep. Oh, how I needed help. Somehow, I knew that was a promise for me from God and with whatever amount of faith I had at that moment I believed it.

I had been reading sermons and writings from preachers like Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, and Edward Payson. As I read the writings of these men, they seemed to be addressing people during their lifetime who were struggling with the same things I was. One specific thing I struggled with often was the belief that I was beyond hope and had “sinned away my day of grace.” God answered this most effectively through a writing by John Bunyan entitled “The Jerusalem Sinner Saved or Good News for the Vilest of Men.” In this writing he gives 6 hopeful signs that the day of God’s patience is not over. Two of these particularly spoke to me:

(1.)Art thou jogged, and shaken, and molested at the hearing of the Word? Is thy conscience awakened and convinced then, that thou art at present in a perishing state, and that thou hast need to cry to God for mercy? This is a hopeful sign that this day of grace is not past with thee. For, usually, they that are past grace, are also, in their conscience, 'past feeling,' being 'seared with a hot iron' (Eph 4:18,19;1 Tim 4:1,2). Consequently, those past grace must be such as are denied the awakening fruits of the Word preached. The dead that hear, says Christ, shall live; at leastwise, [40] Christ has not quite done with them; the day of God's patience is not at an end with them (John 5:25).

(2.)Hast thou any enticing touches of the Word of God upon thy mind? Doth, as it were, some holy word of God give a glance upon thee, cast a smile upon thee, let fall, though it be but one drop of its savour upon thy spirit; yea, though it stays but one moment with thee? O then the day of grace is not past! The gate of heaven is not shut! nor God's heart and bowels withdrawn from thee as yet. Take heed, therefore, and beware that thou make much of the heavenly gift, and of that good word of God of the which he has made thee taste. Beware, I say, and take heed; there may be a falling away for all this; but, I say, as yet God has not left thee, as yet he has not cast thee off (Heb 6:1-9).

Despair was another giant which troubled me almost daily. Edward Payson’s sermon about Despair was most helpful. He writes that to despair of oneself is right but to despair of God’s mercy is a heinous sin and a great offense against His character. Oh how depraved we are, that we are unwilling to despair of ourselves but most willing to despair of God’s mercy. God showed me my sin in my despair and gave me grace to resist despairing of His mercy. I did not by any means never again despair of His mercy but was able to recognize it when it manifested itself and cease from it, asking for His forgiveness and grace to fight against it.

Repentance was another fight. I would try and try to repent. Like before I could not get a handle on repentance. Sometimes conviction would grip me so tight I knew if I could just repent there would be a release. Often during these times Satan would tell me that God would not accept my repentance because I had waited until my marriage fell apart before I started seeking. The Holy Spirit would remind me of Manasseh who did not seek God until he was taken away in the affliction of captivity with hooks in his nose, shackled in chains. Charles Spurgeon described in his own salvation what I was going through. He said he came to understand that in his sorrow and anguish over his inability to repent he was actually repenting. In my fruitless struggle to repent I was beginning to understand that repentance is not within the ability of fallen man without God’s grace in granting it. Repentance is a gift. It truly is forsaking your own thoughts and ways and believing God’s thoughts and ways.

I could fill many more pages with the writings and sermons God used during this time to help me. He kept me moving toward Him even when in my unrest and weariness I sometimes wished He would leave me alone. I am so grateful He did not.

While in the midst of my struggle things at work were getting worse. My job performance was declining at a rapid rate. One day my supervisor came in my office and shut the door. He sat down, looked me in the eye, and said “Jim, you’ve got to get some help. Yesterday, I stood outside your door and watched you stare at the floor for 15 minutes. Literally you looked down at the floor for 15 minutes, I timed it. You’ve done a good job for us and I want you to stay but you’ve got to pull yourself together. I want you to go talk with somebody.” I knew he was right and began seeing a counselor and physician.

About that same time our department began to have financial problems. It was decided around April, 2004 that unless things improved they would have to lay off some employees. In May they decided to take that action. My employer was good to me and gave me a generous severance package allowing me some time to find new work. I began completing applications around the Tuscaloosa & Birmingham area with no intention of moving. In fact, I remember telling Sharyn that I as far as I knew, I would be buried in Tuscaloosa.

Then, in June, the recruiter who brought me to Tuscaloosa called me about a CEO position in Pontotoc, Mississippi. I told her that I would like to be considered for this position. She scheduled me to interview with the President of the company the week I was planning to drive my parents & Kiley to Texas and visit my younger sister and her family. The corporate office was only about 75 miles from her house so I told the recruiter I would drive down and interview while I was out in Texas. The Friday before we left, she contacted me and told me the President would not be in Texas that next week but would be in Mississippi and I would need to interview there. After consideration of this, I told the recruiter that I was not willing to leave my daughter in Texas with my sister and fly back to Mississippi for the interview. She pleaded with me to reconsider, that if necessary she would fly Kiley back with me. “Jim,” she said, “this is the position you’ve been working toward your entire career, don’t let this one get away.” I told her I’d think about it and call her back on Monday. Within 30 minutes of arriving at my sister’s house I knew I could not leave and go to Mississippi. The recruiter didn’t wait for me to call on Monday. She called me that morning before 8:00AM. I told her I just could not do it. I couldn’t leave my sister with 2 or 3 more people to take care of while I flew back to Mississippi. She told me, “Jim, the other candidate is as strong a candidate as you. If you don’t go to this interview you may never get an opportunity like this again.” I told her that I understood the consequences of my decision but I wasn’t willing to leave Texas to interview for the job. I returned from Texas knowing I had willingly forfeited that job with no regret.

When I returned to Tuscaloosa, I picked up my job seeking. One day in August while I was at home, the phone rang. It was Linda Garrett, the recruiter. She said “Jim, I don’t know exactly what happened with the other candidate but YFCS dragged their feet making him an offer and he took a position with another company. Would you still be interested in interviewing for the job?” I told her yes and we subsequently scheduled an interview. I interviewed at Millcreek of Magee, Mississippi and when the interview process was completed, I knew they would offer me the job. On the drive home I determined that if I turned the job down, Sharyn would see without doubt I loved her and we would be reconciled. So, I determined to carry out this plan. I did want her more than I wanted any job. That night Sharyn stood in our bedroom door and asked me, “Where are you with this job?” I told her “I believe God wants me to get the offer for this job and then turn it down.” She repeated to me what I had said. I confirmed my statement not wanting to come out and say “I’m going to refuse this job so you’ll know I love you.”

She then said something to me that set me aback. She said “I don’t know where this is coming from but God is a God of grace.” She went on to say that God doesn’t desire sacrifice but mercy. I remembered what I’d read in Hosea. That night, as I prayed about this decision, two verses kept coming to my mind. “A man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel” and “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” The next morning, I told Sharyn about this and that because this was the only job offer I had, I was going to take it. I knew she would not be happy about this, so before I called to accept the job, I phoned the University of Alabama to check my status with the position I had interviewed for there. They told me it would be at least one week before they made a decision and they could not tell me my standing at that time. So I called to accept the position with YFCS.

My job as CEO at Millcreek of Pontotoc began on September 6, 2004. I was staying in a hotel in Tupelo, Mississippi while I searched for a place to rent in Pontotoc. One day as I was driving on Highway 6 to look at a house, I passed a small red brick church. Something was stirred in me as I read the sign. Grace Baptist Church, A Preserver of the Way, Bearing the Cup of Salvation to the World. The Pastor’s name was on the sign, Terry Owen. There was neither a phone number nor worship times listed on the sign.

I went to go see that house two more times. Each time my eyes were drawn to this little church when I would pass by. I did not rent that house but I couldn’t stop thinking about Grace Baptist Church. One day, I drove to the church, pulled into the parking lot and sat there a few minutes. I had such mixed emotions. I was unsure what to expect. Finally, after getting up some courage, I got out and walked to the Pastor’s house, rang the doorbell and knocked on the door. Their dog immediately began barking at the inside of the door but no one was home. I drove back to work a little discouraged but knowing what I would have to do.

After work that day, when I got back to my Hotel room, I looked up Brother Terry’s number and called. I got the answering machine. I left a message with my phone number. Around 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM my phone rang and it was Brother Terry. Our conversation started out a little awkward but I told him I’d like to visit their church and I needed to know when their meeting times were. He began to tell me a little about Grace Baptist Church. At some point in our conversation, I told him, “I think I may be lost.” Brother Terry told me he had preached for five years and was a senior at a Bible College when God showed him he was lost. Immediately I was drawn to him and believed this man could help me. We talked for about an hour and I told him I would be visiting Grace Baptist Church. I began attending Grace on Sunday mornings and evenings. Then, Brother Terry invited me to start coming to Men’s prayer meeting on Tuesday nights. When I told the men where I was and my experience over the past couple of years, their reaction surprised me. They were happy!! They were literally smiling and nodding their heads as I shared with them. They told me I was in a GOOD place. I certainly had never felt or thought I was in a good place. Their prayers for me that night were so encouraging. Over the next weeks as Brother Terry and I spent time together he showed me Psalm 107 and Lamentations 3. I was instantly able to recognize my experience in those verses and realized I really was in a good place. God had shown me those things to save me not to kill me.

I finally came clean with God, myself, and others about my lost condition. When I did this a strange thing happened. There was a calmness within me I did not understand. No anxiety or panic. No sense of urgency to “do something.” I asked Brother Terry about this and he showed me with the scriptures that I was no longer walking contrary to God but was in agreement with Him about the state of my soul.

One day, during one of our many conversations, Brother Terry exhorted me “You do know we have church on Wednesday night too? You need to be hearing as much of the word as you can right now.” So I began to attend on Wednesday evenings as well. Even during this time, dark moments of despair would sometimes come over me. When I would talk with Brother Terry about these after they occurred, he would tell me to call him while I was in the midst of one instead of afterwards so he could help me more. I told him these did not come at convenient times but usually very inconvenient ones. He looked at me squarely in the eyes and told me, “This is what God has called me to do.”

Again and again, God would speak to me through Brother Terry’s sermons. He preached about Jesus’ command in Luke, “strive to enter in at the strait gate” and I understood the striving was not working in order to get in but striving against all the distractions and forces which work to keep you out or deceive you into thinking you had entered in when you had not. Sometimes, however, I would miss a vital part of the message and when Brother Terry and I would discuss them he would show me some important things I had missed. Many of the messages were on listening and how all spiritual blessings come through our hearing. In Isaiah 55, God commands us to come unto Him and hear and our souls would live. I realized that although I was listening, I needed to listen more intently.

In the early part of January, 2005 during a service, Brother Terry announced that Faith Baptist Church in Myrtle, Mississippi would be having a revival and Brother Tim Rutherford would be the evangelist. He was expecting Grace Baptist Church to attend the Monday night service to help this sister church. I heard this but did not think about it further. On Sunday, January 16th, he reminded us again about the services at Faith Baptist Church. I was not intending to go. On that Monday morning the revival services did come to my mind but I still did not plan to attend. Brother Terry and I spoke during that day and he asked me if I would be going. I said, “Yes.” I began having a feeling of anticipation after I had committed to go. When I walked into Faith Baptist Church, immediately I felt tired in my spirit. I was so tired of not believing and just breathed out a silent prayer to God, “Help me believe.” The scripture that Brother Tim preached from that night was Jeremiah 9:23-24. Although he preached from this text, he quoted many other scriptures during his message. He quoted the words of Jesus “the words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life.” These words stirred me. I knew I needed to hear the words of life. His sermon ended but the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Brother Claude Mills, felt led to continue the service. Robert Hunt read one of his poems about the love of God titled “Say Not, That I Love Thee Not,” which God used to show me His love for me even while I was sinning against Him and hurting others. Then Brother Claude asked for some to sing. During this time he said “take a good look at His character,” Then he asked Philip Cox to pray. Philip was sitting directly behind me. I now know it was because there was something God wanted me to hear. As he prayed, he said “God, I feel so small I don’t know why you would even want to me.” My heart melted, I fell to my knees and began to weep. God could have left me alone, he could have left me in my sin, asleep to die and go to hell. That is what I deserved. But here I was in the midst of His people, by His grace. I cried out to Him, thanking Him for not leaving me. Brother Philip continued to pray and my sins began to pass before me. This time I was subdued, I was agreeing with God about myself. I was so ungodly. Then I heard Philip say “surely Christ died for the ungodly.” My eyes of faith were immediately opened and fixed on Christ dying for the ungodly. These were His words of life to me. I just collapsed inside as God gave me the faith to believe. Oh how I cried out and wept as the waves of pressure and release continued. I knew Christ had died for me, the ungodly one. Then, all of a sudden, the waves subsided and I was still, inside and out. I wasn’t sure what just happened but I knew I didn’t want to move. I just wanted to stay there a while.

I had heard that salvation would not be like I thought because our thoughts are not God’s thoughts and our ways are not His ways. Now I had the reality of that. This was not something I had planned, worked out or worked up, I was not in control of this, and it was the miracle of being born from above. Brother Terry had told me during our first conversation on the phone that there is a definite day in the life of every true child of God when you rise up a new creature. I now had the reality of that truth too. I knew I was leaving Faith Baptist Church a different man than when I entered.