Testimony of a New Life
My testimony is the story of how Christ saved me. It was in May of 1994, a time I will never forget. That sounds like a good start to a story, doesn’t it?
Every Testimony has a Beginning
I was a young, progressing drummer for a rock-n-roll band and a self-proclaimed atheist. In addition to this, I thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. I had pretty much everything that a young man of the world could dream of. Moveover, I had a job making enough money to buy some old furniture to go in my cinder-block house. We only paid $150 a month for rent for that little house.
Being out of my mother’s house and her immediate authority, against which I was constantly rebelling. Indeed, being in my live-in girlfriend’s arms was where I wanted to be. My joke was that before being saved, I was living the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll lifestyle without the drugs. Or the money for that matter.
I thought I had it all. Although having it all came with a price. A price of constant depression, and anger that set me apart from everyone I loved. I was making a continual effort to fill the spiritual void in my life with whatever I could. Sometimes that was sex and pornography, sometimes it was music, and sometimes it was anger. Those things didn’t last long and never gave me peace. However, a peace that surpassed all understanding that was about to come my way.
The Would-Be Drummer Boy
For some reason, I was attracted to the book of Revelation. As I was reading it, I was also searching for a band to play drums with. Answering an ad in an Atlanta-based paper called “Creative Loafing,” I contacted a Christian band seeking a drummer. I didn’t care at that point what kind of band it was or what kind of music they played. My heart was to play my drums. I had played different kinds of music before. To me, this would be no different. Here in this, God met me where I was and I took the bait: hook, line, and sinker. And thank God I did!
The Band and Audition
The band that I had been playing in broke up, much to my dismay. I loved playing music as I still do. The plan was to be a great rock and roll star with all the benefits that life had to offer. God had other plans. I was searching for the next musical project that was going to take me to the top. God was about to work a miracle in my heart. He was drawing me in. As I said I had started reading and looking into the book of Revelation. God has used that book many times in my life. It seems that every time I read or study Revelation, God does something major. This was the first.
I called the band, set up an audition, and took a demo tape with me. Traveling to Atlanta, I was set to talk to the bandleader. I will never forget the man’s name, Mark White. Partially because he shared the same last name as my live-in girlfriend, but mainly for what happened next. I let him listen to the demo tape and we talked about music for a bit. Then he did something I didn’t expect him to do. He witnessed to me.
To my surprise, he didn’t browbeat me with the Bible. He didn’t condemn me to hell. Mark simply asked me if I knew Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I was appalled. As memory serves, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to hear this; this is not why I came up here.” I told him that I didn’t care about Jesus Christ. All I really wanted to do was play drums. Then he said something I never forgot. He said, “When God opens your eyes to the Truth, you will see the world as it really is.”
At that moment, God lifted the spiritual veil off my eyes. Even though I didn’t understand it at the time, I was getting my first glimpse of the Kingdom of God. Then something else happened that I didn’t expect. I had heard many people speak of their salvation experience as God lifting a great weight off their shoulders. It was a feeling as if God dumped a thousand Bibles on my head. I couldn’t explain it, but I saw it and now I had to figure out what “it” was. At that moment, everything changed. Life, as I had known it, would never be the same.
Something Was Different
Something was different. I didn’t know what it was. Also, I didn’t understand what I was experiencing at the time. I hadn’t repented of my sins or even recognized Jesus as He rightfully is, Lord and Savior, yet, something was different. Something was not the way it had been. My first few “spiritual experiences” would confirm that something had changed within me.
Testimony about the Bar
On the way back home from the audition, I had to stop for a bathroom break. I didn’t go to bars on a normal basis. Didn’t like them and never really have (which was ironic for a guy who wanted to be a rock-n-roll superstar). I’m not much for the crowds, the drinking, the partying, or the overall loudness of it all. I always liked a crowd, but not at that volume. Is it funny that I now write classical and fingerstyle guitar music?
Anyway, I had to take a break. Having been in bars before, even though they were not my thing, they had never been eerie or anything. This one was. There were only two people in the whole place. The TV was playing and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, however, this place was creepy. It was that spine-chilling kind of creepy, like something, didn’t belong and I was that something. As quickly as I could I made my way to the bathroom and then got out of there. I finally made it home in one piece.
Testimony about the VCR
I was blessed in my meeting with Mark. Not just because of his sharing the Truth with me, but also because he was prepared. He was generous enough to give me a videotape that would help point me to the Truth. I was interested in seeing what was on this tape. We had a middle-aged VCR at home. That’s right kids, a VCR (look it up). Now this VCR wasn’t the newest model, but it wasn’t in bad shape either. It ate the tape. I thought to myself, “How convenient,” and I realized how it was convenient. I believe, had I seen that tape, I might have been saved a day or two earlier.
Salvation Amongst the Music Equipment
It took a couple of days for my experiences to sink in. I don’t remember mulling it over and over in my mind. However, it was there and I had the sense that I needed to do something about it. It didn’t dawn on me what I was supposed to do until three days later. Now, as I write this, I wonder if the three days may have had some significance.
My live-in girlfriend was at work or away, I don’t remember which, and I had the house to myself. I simply bowed my knees amongst the instruments in that quiet block house and prayed, “God, I’m a sinner. I haven’t done things right and I’m asking Your forgiveness. Lord Jesus, please come into my life and be the Lord and Savior of my life.” It was that simple. I had prayed something like this before but had never really meant it. This time I did. Coming to a place of realization, that I was indeed a sinner, living in sin and loving sin. I knew I needed a Savior. That Savoir was Jesus Christ.
The Most Amazing Part of the Testimony
And then the most amazing thing happened. God saved me; I was born again. I literally felt the Holy Spirit move into my soul. It was like I had eaten a fried chicken dinner with all the fixings. However, it wasn't my stomach that was full, it was my soul.
There were no fireworks, no speaking in tongues, and no incredible mystic experience. It was just a simple man praying a simple prayer. A prayer to a gracious, kind, and loving Heavenly Father, and that Father doing what He said He would do. There was peace between my God and myself. There was love and there was forgiveness to a simple sinner needing hope. I will never forget the experience of that day in May of 1994 when God saved me.
I want to add these last two sections to tell you, reader, that the devil hates it when a sinner gets saved. He will try to convince you that you’re not saved. He will try to make you doubt your salvation. However, when you are born again, you know it and there is nothing that can change that fact. The devil can’t do anything about it but now he doesn’t want you to grow.
Testimony about the Girl
Satan’s first attack was to try to get me to doubt my conversion. He has tried again and again over the years. But God has always pointed me back to what He did that day in that little blockhouse. As I have said, my life at this time involved a live-in girlfriend, and my life centered around her. Several opportunities had been sacrificed so I could stay with her. I could not wait until she got home. To tell her the good news that I had gotten saved just a few hours before. That we were to start going to church. I just knew she would be excited about that!
She arrived home and I followed her into our makeshift kitchen/laundry room and told her the good news. “Hi honey, you’ll never believe what happened to me today… I got saved. I’m now a Christian.” The first thing out of her mouth was, “You’re so gullible.” I don’t remember if that started a fight. However, I do remember that she never saw me in the same light ever again.
The Satanic Attack
I don’t remember how many nights afterward this happened. However, I know that Satan hates it when a person gets saved. He will try to discourage or scare a new believer in any way he can. It was a few nights following my conversion. I had laid down and could not get to sleep. After a time, I had finally started to drift off. That’s when I literally “felt” something (what I consider a demon) standing in the doorway of the bedroom.
I didn’t see anyone or anything, but “felt” it in my spirit. Then it moved across the room, around the bed, and jumped on me to pin me down. I was already lying in bed and now I could not move. Literally, I was scared stiff. I did not know what to say. What do I do? Then a thought came to my mind: “Rebuke it in Jesus’ Name.”
I thought that was a great idea and tried it, but nothing came out. The problem was that I was so scared that I couldn’t move. After a minute of struggling with the thought of what should I do, I heard, “I rebuke you in Jesus’ Name!” I recognized my voice, but I did not recognize that I had made the effort to say it. It just came out. Just as fast as the attack began, it was over. Sometime later I just assumed that the Holy Spirit must have said what I needed to say. God had delivered me from a satanic attack.
Now, just an update, “I rebuke you in the Name of Jesus” is not a Biblical response to something like this. The proper Biblical response is “The Lord rebuke you.” (Zechariah 3:2; Jude 9). We are not to even bring a blasphemous remark to those beings higher than us (Jude 8).
Please consider this: Having matured over the years, I’m now a cessationist. Only being a couple of days old in the faith, I was operating on what I knew at the time. I also understand that some people will have a hard time accepting this part of my testimony. They may even attribute it to my mind playing tricks on me. That very well may be. However, it was a very vivid and intense mind trick, if, in fact, that was what it was. Now, back to our regularly scheduled testimony:
I can certainly say that being born-again and coming to know Jesus Christ has changed my life. Cursing left within a few days. The depression I had experienced for years left within a few months. Life is still hard from time to time. Bills still come in every month, but the Holy Spirit is teaching me how to be content in every situation. I still have my trials and tribulations, but now I have Jesus and I don’t face them alone. God revealing Himself to me is a cause for thanksgiving. It is my hope that if you are reading this, He will reveal Himself to you as well.
If you haven’t repented and placed your trust in Jesus Christ, I would like to tell you why you should:
Why become a Christian?
Why should you admit you’re a sinner, repent (radically turn from your sins), and place your trust, and your faith in Jesus Christ? That’s a fair question to ask. You see, the Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God:
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23 ESV)
What It Means to Fall Short?
What does it mean to “fall short”? It means that we haven’t measured up to God’s standards. You may say, “What are His standards?” or “How have I sinned?” Those are also fair questions. Have you heard of the Ten Commandments? There are ten simple laws, ten of God’s standards that we fail to meet. When we sin, we break these laws.
Consider This Testimony
Consider this: How many lies have you told in your life? It only takes one lie to be guilty before God, for the Bible says:
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16 ESV) and “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8 ESV)
Have you ever stolen anything? Took something that doesn’t belong to you? Downloaded music from the internet without paying for it? Or even take pencils or paper from your job? That makes you a thief before God:
“You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15 ESV)
Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (ESV) Have you ever looked at a woman to lust after her (to have sexual thoughts about her)? The same principle applies to a woman: Have you ever looked at a man to lust after him? That makes you an adulterer or an adulteress. In fact, any sexual relationship outside of one man and one woman, married to each other, is considered adultery, a violation of the seventh commandment:
“You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14 ESV)
The Law and the Testimony
These are not the only laws but it is safe to say that we have broken all of them. The problem here is that the Bible says, “The soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20 ESV) We don’t just die physically but also spiritually. Spiritual death is eternal separation from God’s goodness in a very real place called Hell. Instead of God’s goodness, the person who hasn’t repented and trusted Jesus will have God’s wrath poured out on them. They will be in hell for all eternity for breaking His laws.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 ESV)
Paying the Penalty
Somebody has to pay the wages and that somebody is you and me. So, on Judgement Day when we must stand before an Almighty and Holy God. We will have to give an account of our lives to Him. Since we have already shown that we all fall short of His standard, we must pay the penalty.
The Fine Payment
The only way out is for someone else to pay the penalty for us. That’s what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary. God took our sins, placed them on Jesus Christ (Who had no sin), and made Him the sin-bearer for us. In this way, Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross. We broke the law, and Jesus paid our fine (it was a legal transaction). Do you see why we need a Savior?
“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6 ESV)
The Free Gift
Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase a place for us in heaven, which He offers to us as a free gift. The Bible says:
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:13 ESV)
You can do that now simply by going to Him in prayer, confessing and repenting (turning from your sin), and placing your faith, and your trust in Jesus Christ as Lord. When you do that, look at what Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” (John 6:47 ESV)