Born Again Experience:
Born in Renton Washington in 1955, I grew up as any normal child would, yet God was never mentioned in my home. The culture of the 1960s had a major influence on me: It was a wild time to live, with hippies, the Vietnam War, rampant drug and alcohol use and a general party atmosphere. At one point my greatest ambition was to become a hippie; yet, the movement faded before I was old enough to really participate in it. Nineteen-seventy-one was a pivotal year for me, it was the year my brother died; it was also the year I was visited by demonic beings while trying to contact him. Because of that experience, I began an earnest search for answers to life’s questions.
At nineteen I started earnestly reading the bible. Yet, I was having a difficult time understanding it; for example: I wondered why Jesus was always getting in trouble for healing people on the Sabbath day? Over the next three years I basically acted like a normal young person: My social activities included going to parties, hanging out with my friends; etc., yet, there was this huge longing in my heart that wasn’t being fulfilled. And, I didn’t even know what I was trying to find? One evening when I looked around the room and noticed that I was the oldest guy at the party, I began thinking,
“There must be more to life than this!”
As I look back to the period of years when I was searching for God, I can see that several different people could have led me to Christ. Some tried but they had a poor approach. In the summer of 1975, Kenny, a former high school buddy who was now in bible college came over to speak to me. He tried to get me to go to bible college with him by telling me how good-looking the girls were there. I thought, if I’m going to attend a Christian college it will be with better motives than that. If Kenny had explained the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to me, I would have considered going to college with him.
I Almost Became a Jehovah’s Witness:
Then, one day a friend named Jerry invited me to study the bible with some Jehovah’s Witnesses. He had just been approached by two Jehovah’s Witness ladies and they were holding a bible study every Wednesday. These ladies had a more refined approach than other Christian people who had spoken to me before.
When I got zealous for God, I decided I was going to get baptized into the Jehovah’s Witness faith, because it was the only religion I knew anything about at the time.
Yet, when that same old high school friend Kenny came by the house again and listened to my plans to become a Jehovah’s Witness, he arranged a debate for me with one of his Christian roommates named Jeff. I accepted the challenge and prepared for it.
Jeff’s presentation lasted about 3 hours in which we looked up well over 100 scriptures from a bible college course study on the nature of God. During this time I had a vision, seeing myself in a long dark tunnel and slowly coming out of the darkness into the light.
When Jeff was finished he said,
“Ok, I’m done with my presentation, now it’s your turn.”
“Hey, I just had a vision of coming out of darkness into the light. I don’t want to present my side; yet, I have some questions.”
Jeff explained Jesus Christ’s role to atone for man’s sins and asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus as my savior. I thought,
“This is what I have been searching for all these years!”
I immediately said,
Born again experience:
We prayed. I felt a blanket of love surround me, as thick as butter, and that love stayed with me all night long. I felt assured that God accepted my prayer for salvation; and, I believe at that point I was born again:
“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.’ You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'”(John 3:5-7)
For an informative study on salvation in Christ:
■ Through the Door and Into Christ’s Image — Kelsey