Twenty years ago today, I was gloriously saved by the grace of God! I am so thankful for God’s love and mercy! On April 21, 1991, I was “born again.” Today is my 20th spiritual birthday. I celebrate my spiritual birthday, for without a second birthday it would have been better not to have had a first.
At our church, we sing a second verse to the well-known song, “Happy Birthday to You:”
Happy Birthday to you!
Only one will not do!
Second birth brings salvation,
How many have you?
I grew up in a moral but totally secular home. My father was an officer in the Navy, and my mother was a supervisor for a restaurant chain. In 1989, after Dad’s retirement, we moved to Weatherford, Texas, to be closer to family and to get a “fresh start.” I enrolled in the Weatherford High School. As a sophomore, the providence of God put me in the same class as a teenage Christian named Todd. Todd took an interest in me and began inviting me to his church. The truth is that I was morbidly shy and terrified of attending a church. I had never really been to church and had no idea what to expect. I would even mock Christianity and made a weak attempt at claiming to be an atheist. Still, he persisted, month after month through the school year.
One day, he said, “We are having Friend Day at my church. Will you come as my friend?” This touched my hard heart, and I agreed to attend. On April 21, 1991, he drove out to my home on Mineral Wells Highway and brought me to Sunday School. He introduced me to the Youth Pastor, Robb Foreman, and the other kids. I vaguely remember a cute, friendly brunette bouncing up to me to shake my hand. Yep, that would be my future wife. She probably scared me half to death.
I do not remember the Sunday School lesson. I do not remember the service. Only vague impressions from a kid trying to take it all in. I did not have a Bible and could not have found Genesis in if it I’d had one. I did not know any of the music. I did not know what it was to pray. It was all a strange new experience to me.
In the service, Bro. Jerry Miller (pictured above) preached on “My Friend Jesus” and talked about the rich man in hell. That was the first gospel sermon I had ever heard. Thank God he preached the gospel and wasn’t afraid to preach on hell! I was too afraid to move forward at invitation time. I wish that I had; but I stood there frozen in place. But the message had been plain enough, and the invitation clear – in my place, I repented towards God and put my faith in Jesus Christ to save me. Not a textbook “conversion,” but one that has born fruit for 20 years.