Author: Christopher
•7:53 PM
I had a friend named John. Great guy. A real brother. He was younger than I was, and was in the grade behind me.

I had been in College a year before John joined me there. I was still up to my eyeballs in Bible every day. He was a non-practicing Catholic -- lost, and a mess. I didn't know how to tell him about Jesus. I was embarrassed, but "perfect love casts out fear," so I found a way.

We were sitting in the Student Center. I gave him a Chick Tract ( I think it was "Hi There!" http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0076/0076_01.asp ). I said, "Read this." Then I sat across from him while he read the entire thing.

When he finished, he said, "So?" And a tear rolled down my cheek as I said, "If you don't do what that tract says, you'll die and go to Hell. And I don't want you to."

He told me later that the tear did it. He said that 'here is the best person I know telling me that I'm going to Hell with tears rolling down his cheeks.' He didn't look it, but he was shaking inside.

He got up from his seat, and walked out telling me that he'd be fine.

He didn't pray then, but later in his bedroom (if I remember correctly), he couldn't sleep. He got up, an read the tract again. He knelt on the floor by his bed and got saved.

John was a great soul-winner. I know that he led Javier to the Lord (what a soul-winner he was!). And Javier led Mikey to the Lord. So, I know that I have some spiritual great-grand babies out there somewhere.

John graduated from Bible school, and got into sin. We're all human, so I don't judge him. But it makes me really sad because, last I heard, he wasn't walking with the Lord at all.

I pray for him every now and then. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth, and no greater sadness than to hear that they aren't. :(
Author: Christopher
•9:40 PM
I'm not sure which of these events came first, but they were both very early in my Christian walk.

Remember, I was reading tons of Bible every day. I say this because I firmly believe that God is not going to waste his breath speaking to someone who won't even read his written words. I used to read the Bible out loud after praying, "Lord, tune me like a tuning fork so that I vibrate to your frequency, so that I hear your words." I wanted to be 'in tune' with my Saviour.

One night, I determined to seek the Lord until I found him. (Jeremiah 29:13) I knew that the Song of Solomon was about the intimate relationship between God and the believer, so I read it through 8 times. That's eight times eight chapters; sixty-four chapters. By this time, it was late into the morning. I closed my eyes and asked the Lord to speak to me. There was no audible voice, but a very clearly directed thought. He brought to mind the believers that were imprisoned around the world. And he brought to mind their joy. When I wondered why they had more joy being in prison WITHOUT their Bibles, than believers in America who have their Bibles, he said, "They may not have the word, but they have the Word."

This was huge for me. Up to this point, I would have self-labeled myself as a 'Bible-believing Christian.' I was Bible-centered, like most Baptists. But when the Lord spoke to me, something inside switched to Jesus-centered, and it never switched back.

I understand that I would never know the Word without the word. And I know that the Lord has magnified his word above his own name. But I also know that the Scriptures were given to point us to the Son so that the Son could bring us to the Father. Many believers are dry & dusty because they know the word, but not the WORD.

The second time that the Lord spoke to me, I was outside on a summer day. It was warm. I was sitting against the garage door. I was reading Haggai. When I reached the last verse, God spoke to me. "In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts." (2:23)

For over a year, I refused to even research who Zerubbabel was because ... well, because GOD had called me by that name, or associated me with that name, or whatever it was. I'm still not exactly sure, but HE said that he had chosen me and set his seal on me. I couldn't even speak about it for years; I think it was four years before I mentioned it to anyone. I'm still not sure exactly what it means. I will say this, EVERY believer is chosen by God, EVERY believer has been sealed by God.
Author: Christopher
•6:49 PM
I would never trade my first year of learning the Bible.

That commentary that I was saved while reading was written by Peter S. Ruckman. Most of the books and sermon booklets that were in the big cardboard box were also by Dr. Ruckman. I have since come to realize that though he is an extremely intelligent man, he gets most of his teaching from reading a zillion books, not from the Lord teaching him. Anyway, I will say this, I came away from his teachings with a tremendous belief that the Bible is the word of God.

Dr. Ruckman also was a strong believer in Gospel tracts and witnessing. I had been saved less than a month before I ordered some of his tracts. When they came to the house, I was waiting for the mail man to get there. I shoved tracts in every locker of the High School (it seemed like it anyway). I also left them in the boys bathrooms. I left them everywhere.

My art teacher was very close to me, and I really wanted him to get saved, so I gave him the Commentary, all 500+ pages of it. LOL I don't think he ever did read it. When he returned it to me, he gave me a small paperback about two neanderthal villages named Adam and Eve. Sigh.

Perhaps the best thing about that first year happened about 6 months into it. I was in the car when I realized that for 1/2 a year I hadn't even thought of the occult or the paranormal. How wonderful! God had taken it completely away. Talk about putting off the old man, and putting on the new man!
Author: Christopher
•11:01 AM
I was in my Senior year at High School. I had just turned 18 years old. It was Christmas Break and I was bored.

As I walked up the stairs to my bedroom, I passed a book that had sat there for a couple of years. (My parents had divorced a couple of years earlier, and Dad left behind a bunch of Bible books; this was one of them). As I passed the book, I side-stepped it like it was a land mine. I stopped. Why had I walked around that book? I didn't even know its title. I picked it up, continued up the stairs, and began to read on my bed.

The book was a 'Commentary on the Book of Revelation.' It was about an inch and a half thick! As I began reading, I was aware at once that this was both spiritual and powerful. (A commentary walks the reader through the book, giving explanations in a verse-by-verse manner.) Soon, I realized that I wanted to take notes. I went downstairs and grabbed an old family Bible that was sitting on a shelf. It was large print, and had lots of room for making notes in the margins.

I devoured the commentary! I wrote notes all over my Bible. And the Lord was softening my heart. By the time I read about the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, and the gates of pearl (Rev. 21:21), I was convinced. I bowed my head to pray. "Lord, I know that I'm already saved, but if I'm not, please save me. And I know that my sins have already been forgiven, but if they're not, please forgive me of my sins. Do whatever you need to do so that I can go to heaven when I die."

There was no immediate change. I finished reading the book, and went to bed. However, when I woke up the next morning, I was a different person!

This commentary was just a small part of a large collection in a cardboard box in the downstairs coat closet. This box was filled with other commentaries, sermon booklets, and cassette tapes of teaching and preaching. Shoe boxes filled with teaching tapes! I started devouring this box one book at a time. The last half of my senior year is a blur, but I do remember reading, and reading, and reading. On into the summer, I read and listened to tapes, and took lots and lots of notes in my Bible.

And I haven't stopped yet!
Author: Christopher
•9:32 AM
The Devil is very real, the word of God tells us that. In this blog, I'll record some of my experiences with him before I was saved. Again, I'm putting these in print for my kids. They need to know that the Devil is real, and they shouldn't disregard it when someone says that they've had an 'experience' with him.

I thought I was saved early on. I went to church. I can remember my twin brother and I singing in front of the congregation when we were really little. We also went to Vacation Bible Schools. I memorized Scripture (including Ephesians 2:8-9) and was given ribbons for it. But the Bible was not real to me. I remember trying to read ONE verse at night, and being unable to keep my eyes open that long. I honestly believe this was demonic. C'mon, I couldn't get through a single verse? I'd start reading, and I'd be asleep. Hmmmm...

Well, as I said, I was interested in the paranormal. I taught myself to meditate very deeply. On one of these occasions, with my eyes closed, I was able to see the entire room. I saw 360*, in front of me, and behind me, at the same time. This was very neat! I later learned that this was a power claimed by ninjas.

Another time, my little sister rolled a pair of dice. She asked me what it was going to be. I 'felt' the answer in the back of my head. I said it out loud. She rolled the dice, and I was correct. Then she did it again. Eight times I called out the correct answer before she rolled the dice.

One time, my brother threw something at the back of my head when I wasn't looking. I 'saw' it, and ducked. It flew over my head. Very cool. But not of God.

I made a dowsing rod from a coat hanger, and put down a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. I dowsed over the paper, and wrote down the numbers that were 'chosen.' I ended up with something like 6 out of 7 lottery numbers being correct. (I didn't play the numbers because I was only about 16 at the time.)

Things started moving around my bedroom. This was scary, but also fascinating. I was sitting on my bed. I dropped a pencil. When I bent to pick it up, it wasn't there. It was already back on my nightstand. Another time, I had my wristwatch over the post at the foot of my bed. As I made the bed, I threw the covers up in the air, and it settled over the posts. I briefly thought, 'I better move my watch.' When I lifted up the blanket, the watch wasn't there. It was on my nightstand where I had planned on putting it. This happened 5 or 6 times.

I once took a psychic quiz in a magazine. There were 100 Coke cans in a picture. The goal was to tell which can actually had pop in it; the other cans were all empty. I ran my finger over the page, and one of the cans felt cold to me. That can was indeed the one with pop in it.

Oh, yeah, I also had visions. One day, I was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room; nowhere near the back door. Instantly I was standing at the back door looking out at the driveway. My grandparents' car pulled into the driveway; I saw them make the right turn into the driveway. Then I was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living room again. When I came to myself, I realized that I had had a vision. I ran to the back door, and looked outside. I saw their car make the right turn into the driveway. (Yeah, very cool. But not of God.)

The most terrifying incident, and one that started me on the road to salvation, happened as I attempted astral projection. Astral projection, or OBE ~ Out of Body Experience, is real. I knew a friend who said that he had done this. I read up on it. I did what was necessary (a very deep meditation being part of it), and, as I was lying on my bed, I began to lift up out of my body.

I had only risen a few inches, when I heard a satanic voice in my head saying, "I will get you." That is a direct quote. I will never forget it. I immediately called out in my head, "JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!" and I was back in my body. I was shaking, sweating, and terrified! Something/someone was out there. I never tried that again.

There are more stories, but these should suffice. I have many more second hand stories from friends, but these are mine. I was there. Satan's power is very real.
Author: Christopher
•11:11 PM
As I mentioned, I have a twin brother. We are identical. He got saved at the age of 5, and I didn't. I grew up angry and bitter, and he didn't. He can remember breakfasts as a family before Dad went to 2nd shift, and I can't. I hated my life, and he didn't.

I was the typical brainiac with a photographic memory. I was extremely shy, introverted, and misunderstood. Sure, I got straight A's, but that's just because school was so easy. Talking to the other kids was the hard part. I was very nerdy. I read books all the time. ALL the time. Over a single weekend, I would read 4 or 5 paperbacks. And that was every weekend. (Many weekends would start with an allergy shot on Saturday morning, and a swollen arm Saturday night. Life stinks for a kid who can't play on Saturdays! So I read a lot.)

I started reading fiction/fantasy books, and comic books. Then I started fantasizing about being the characters. My life turned more and more inward. [Philippians 4 says "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, ... think on these things." I wish I'd known then what I know now.]

I eventually started reading more and more about pyramids, ESP, and the paranormal. I read through the entire encyclopedia set titled, "Man, Myth, and Magic." I longed for the paranormal, spiritual life. I didn't know that the Devil was hard at work on me. The anger, bitterness, and hatred filled me...but I hid it. I was a 'good' kid as far as the world was concerned, but on the inside I was more and more lost.

More on that next time.
Author: Christopher
•10:03 PM
I have a twin brother, Nat, and a sister, Trish. Both of them were saved very early in life.

Nat was saved in Kindergarten. One evening, Mom had explained the Gospel to both of us, and we had knelt beside the couch and 'prayed the prayer.' This meant absolutely nothing to either of us. (A word of caution to parents: If your children pray a prayer without any understanding, that is NOT salvation, no matter how much you want it to be!)

Some time later, Nat was lying upstairs in bed. I believe this was just prior to Kindergarten. He got to thinking about life. He realized that life was just eating, sleeping, and playing. (The life of a 4 year old!). Then he thought about doing that forever. "How boring!!" he thought. He didn't want to live forever if it was going to be so monotonous. At this point, the Lord joined the conversation, and reminded him of Hell. Nat was so scared that he ran downstairs to Mom saying that he wanted to get saved. Mom told him that he knew what to do, and to go upstairs and tell Jesus what he wanted. That's exactly what he did. He was lying on his bed with his eyes closed, praying. When he opened his eyes, he saw the Lord ascending up through the ceiling looking down at him.

Yeah, I know how it sounds, but he's 41 years old, and that's still his story. I believe him.

Trish was saved at about the age of 3. She was saved when Mom (I think it was Mom) took her through the wordless book. [This is a great way to explain the Gospel to a child. The Gold page is for heaven. The Black page for our sin. The Red page for the blood of Jesus that makes us clean. The White page is our clean heart. The Gold page is, again, where we will go if our hearts are clean. And, lastly, the Green page which is growing in Christ.] Trisha never doubted her salvation from that time to this that I know of.

And what about me? I prayed with Nat beside the couch, but didn't get saved. After Nat truly accepted the Lord, his life changed. I can remember in Kindergarten seeing him praying with a young boy behind a tree; he was praying with the boy to get saved. I was 5 years old, and I remember thinking, "How come Nat changed and I didn't?"

I wouldn't get saved for 13 more years.
Author: Christopher
•2:59 PM
I am a Bible teacher. I have that gift, and it is absolutely amazing! But I am not the first one in my family to teach the word of God.

My grandparents on both sides taught Sunday School. My father taught Sunday School. My mother taught Sunday School. That is a great foundation!

I remember my Dad talking about getting saved as a young boy. He gripped the pew until his knuckles turned white, and then eventually went forward to ask the Lord to save him. I can remember him praying over a bowl of cereal at 2 o'clock in the morning, when everyone else was supposed to be asleep; I had snuck down to use the bathroom, and found him praying ~ what a testimony to the reality of God! He also loved to read the Bible (still does). His Bible was covered in notes! I guess that's where I get it from. I can also remember him sitting on the front stoop with his Bible open trying to show a Jehovah's Witness the truth of God's word. And he always had Chick Tracts sitting on his table at the flea market. These events all had a powerful effect on my life.

My mom was saved at Rex Humbard's church in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Her Sunday School teacher (mother of David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association) led her to the Lord, if I remember correctly. When I was a young kid, mom held neighborhood Bible Clubs (through Child Evangelism Fellowship) in our house. I grew up hearing the word of God taught. She used flannel graphs, and giant cardboard songs ('Somewhere in outer space, God has prepared a place, for those who trust him and obey, Jesus will come again, and though I don't know when, the countdown's getting lower every day!'). Mom has read literally hundreds of books on the Bible; she probably knows more than most pastors!

Rebecca's parents and grandparents were also Christians, but she'll have to blog about that herself!

Psalm 16:6 "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. "
Author: Christopher
•2:45 PM
Every Christian has a story (2 Corinthians 3:1-2), this is mine.

I guess there are many reasons for writing an autobiography. I'm writing this one for my kids. I'm 41 years old, and little Meagan was just born. The boys are just 3 & 5 years old. There's a good possibility that I might not be around when they really start growing in the faith. I want them to know what their daddy believed, and why I believed it. I want them to know the truth from someone who has walked with the Lord for over twenty years.

As the reader, you may not agree with me doctrinally, or personally. That's okay. Honestly, I'm not really interested in anybody's comments or critiques. This is between me and my kids. But you're invited to listen in.

This is for Aidan, Evan, and Meagan.