The testimonies of the two individuals baptized last night was certainly the high point of the evening. I love hearing about God's grace invading peoples lives - often in very unexpected ways. A while ago I had asked my dad to write up his testimony so I could share it here. I've heard it many times and I love the story of how God's grace came into his life (and through him into mine). I've heard my dad talk before about how he went from carrying switchblades on Friday to a Bible on Monday. Here's his testimony:
I was asked to write a few words about my background by my son, Daniel Jr. So, I will begin by saying that like Amos, the prophet of the Old Testament, “… I was not a prophet nor the son of a prophet.” By this I mean that I had no religious pedigree. My immediate family did not attend church and I was not encouraged to take up the practice. However, God had a very different idea about the matter.
Early one evening I received a phone call from my uncle who asked if I wanted to substitute on a church basketball team for the evening. I agreed, not thinking that it would be the most important event of my life, though I was only sixteen years old.
I played well enough that they wanted me to consider playing for them again. I was eager to play, but my uncle explained that the league required that I attend the church four times in a calendar month.
I reluctantly agreed; so come Sunday morning I went to church [editorial note: this was a church that was started by his grandparents!]. The pastor preached a stirring sermon about what the Bible says about sin and the consequences thereof. I knew I had no real relationship with God nor any assurance about my eternity. At sermons end an invitation was given and I responded and went forward to be shown how to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior.
The truth I learned then and have seen many times over is that God doesn’t put a great deal of stock in pedigree, but on one’s heart, on ones commitment to Him. When I began attending church I didn’t have the proper clothes, and I didn’t understand the things that those raised in church took for granted. I fumbled through my Bible to find chapter and verse; it was embarrassing. I came to understand that God had a great deal in store for me - I only had to pursue it.
Thinking about it all now I am reminded of what a good friend told me. Dr. Witty the founder of Luther Rice Seminary said, “Dan, you never know what God’s prepared to do until you’re prepared to start.” It has been true many times over. Since coming to faith in Christ I have never regretted it at any time. God has proven himself to be faithful and true over and over. It’s the best adventure to be had this side of heaven.