When I was a kid growing up in the 50's and 60's, it was a normal and expected thing for the whole family to be in church on Sundays. I was baptized and confirmed, and even went to the church school and became an altar boy. I found out later that there was a problem. Even though I believed in God, nobody had ever taught me that I could relate to Him personally - I thought my only connection could be through the priest or pastor. So, when I went off to college, I quickly found myself all alone and in trouble, with nowhere to turn. So, like every other college student in that predicament, I started smoking and drinking. It just seemed like everyone's answer to life!
Fortunately for me, I stumbled on a wonderful girl who was 4 years younger than I was, but seemed to have a lot more common sense than I did. We wound up getting married on the same day I graduated from college and became a United States Marine.
Life was OK for the next few years - we were stationed in Hawaii - but not satisfying in a lot of ways. I spent two years on deployment aboard ships floating around the Pacific. I saw the world, which was great, but I didn't get married to do it alone! I was drinking a six pack or two a day and smoking two packs a day, and life just wasn't very gratifying, even after our first son was born.
So, as the end of my five year service obligation drew near, I began looking forward to resigning and becoming a civilian again - with aspirations of starting my own business and making my fortune!
The problem was, I thought I was smart, but really didn't know the first thing about business. Some friends tried to help and advise me, but nothing I did worked. I soon reached probably the lowest point in my life. I was a failure, and didn't know what to do about it.
Somewhere along the way a good friend, who was far more successful in business than I, and whom I had a lot of respect for, gave me a book that he said would help me. I enthusiastically took the book home and began devouring it. But, what a disappointment! The book had a lot more to say about God than business, and I couldn't have been less interested. In fact, I was pretty angry with my friend!
In spite of my decided lack of interest in what the book had to say, something must have struck a chord in the back of my mind. I distinctly remember thinking, "What if...?" Then I did something I hadn't done since I was a child. I said a prayer. Now, this prayer will really impress you, so listen closely... "God, I really don't believe that You're up there, but if You are, and You're anything like it says in this book, I'd really appreciate knowing about it!" How's that for a prayer of faith? I wonder if you've ever wondered the same thing?
Well, I guess God just can't let a request like that pass unanswered. From that moment on, it was like He was on a personal campaign to get the point across to me. I started noticing things in everyday life that could only have happened with help - supernatural help. At some point, I heard a TV preacher talk about God healing people. I had a mole on the back of my neck for a couple of months that had really been bothering me. So, I did something that I now know you shouldn't do - I tested God and asked Him to deal with the mole, just to see if He would/could. It dried up and fell off 3 days later!
Now, what was I supposed to do? After five years, I'd only been a closet Christian, watching God stuff on television. This was a real problem - I had not been to church since I was a child, and I avoided real live Christians like the plague. I thought they acted very strange and said some of the dumbest things! After all, I was a logical, thinking human being!
Finally, after months of soul-searching, my wife and I decided that if we ever hoped to see our faith grow and become real, we had to see if all this God stuff worked in real life, and not just on television. So, one Sunday we mustered up the courage to visit a nearby church that sounded like one we might fit in, and it had the added benefit of having a Bible College affiliated with it.
Well, the rest is history. It turns out that God is WAY more genuine and effective in person than on TV! That was over 30 years ago in Virginia, and my wife and I both graduated from that Bible College, served as deacons and elders in that church, taught at that Bible College, were ordained as pastors, and sent out to plant a new church in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, in 1991. In 1997, we also started a Christian school in Bethlehem, which has served children in Grades K-12 ever since. All of our graduates have been accepted to the colleges of their choice all across the United States.
"Dear Jesus, right now I ask You to be my Lord and Savior. I believe You are the Son of God, that You died on the cross, and You rose from the dead. I admit that I am a sinner, and I ask for forgiveness of my sins. I want to walk in freedom with You, and I want You to walk with me for the rest of my life and throughout eternity. Thank You, Jesus, for saving my soul. Amen,"
If you would like to talk about the changes Jesus has made in my life or the changes only He can make in your life, call, e-mail, or visit me, Steve, at: