Personal Stories of Salvation Experiences
How I Got Here
Many of my friends had become Christians during the youth revival of the 70's. I wanted NO part of that. I’m not sure why, because I was not a God-hater of any sort, but the selfishness inside me wanted things to stay the same. I didn’t need to be a Jesus freak or one of those church goers.
I played football for my high school team. We had some incredible coaches, some of whom were Christian. One of my friends had given his life to Christ and would tell me, “hey, I love you man”. Weird, I thought. He would say that a lot as a matter of fact.
One of the drills we had in football was called Oklahoma with 2 tackling dummies about 4-5 feet apart and 1 ball carrier against 1 guy trying to stop you. The coach running this drill was one of those Christians I told you about. As I was lined up to carry the ball, he said, “boys, if you love em’ you’ll hit em”. Another weird thing, I thought. Then I looked across who was going to be hitting me and it was my friend who always told me he loved me. And I shook in my cleats. He had this huge grin on his face.
Coach blew the whistle and I headed for my friend who headed right for me. I have never been hit so hard in my life! I looked up at him through our face masks and he was still grinning. I was in pain. I said to him, “I believe you!” We talked after practice and he led me to the Lord. It was not a particularly emotional time but I was ready. This was in my junior year.
I have been a Christ follower since. I was ready for that moment. God had used several touch points and many different people to lead me to that crazy, unusual, God-appointed moment to get through to this hard headed, selfish teenager and make me one of His disciples. I am forever grateful what He did for me and my friends.
This was just the beginning, however. Learn more >>
How I Got Here
I gave my life to Jesus at Sunday School when I was 7 or 8 years old (that story is told below). Even though we didn’t go to church very often, a genuine change took place and I began to read my Bible, kept a prayer journal and told others about Jesus.
When I was 12 years old, my Grandpa, who I loved very much, died in a drowning accident. I also encountered some hypocrites and became disillusioned with God and people. As my life darkened, I came to hate both God and people. Eventually I hated myself as well and emptiness consumed me to the point of wishing to die. I asked Satan to take over my life. Thankfully, God did not allow that to happen and He kept pursuing me.
At some point, an acquaintance at school named Jill gave me a book called Run Baby Run about a teenager named Nicky Cruz who was one of the top gang leaders in New York City. He and his gang were very violent and evil. God sent a young preacher, David Wilkerson, to tell Nicky and his gang about Jesus and His love for them. It almost got David killed many times, but God kept protecting him. Eventually God helped Nicky understand about salvation. He repented and was miraculously changed. He too began telling everyone about Jesus!
I had enjoyed the violence, gore and “excitement” of the book UNTIL the part about Nicky becoming a Christian. There’s no way that could happen! I became furious, believing him to be a liar and a hypocrite. I was done with the book! Time passed and I forgot all about it.
One day though, when I was 15 years old, I was sitting at the breakfast table with my parents. My dad was holding his newspaper up in the air so he could read it. I glanced up and saw a full-page ad with a huge headline saying, “Nicky Cruz coming to Rehoboth Baptist Church”. It took a few seconds for me to remember where I’d seen that name – the book that Jill had given me. I told my mom we were going to church on Saturday night. She was surprised and agreed to take me. (I can only imagine how she must have secretly rejoiced and prayed!)
The night finally rolled around. I sat in the pew with a stiff body and arms crossed. I planned to stand up in the middle of his talk and yell out that he was a liar and a hypocrite to embarrass and discredit him.
Nicky began to speak but because he had such a heavy Spanish accent I literally could not understand him at all. It didn’t matter however - God’s presence was very strong in that place! At some point, I got it! I finally understood deep inside, through and through that God was “real” and not just some religious stuff to do for show. I realized God wanted a relationship with me. I didn’t stand up and yell like I’d planned and I also didn’t catch on that there was a “sinner’s prayer” to pray. I just told God that if He wanted my life, He could have it because I didn’t want it anymore. It was a very matter-of-fact moment. God accepted my “offer” and nothing has been the same since!
Children for Jesus
I grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. As a kid, I figured that since I wasn't Jewish, I must be Christian. Actually I was neither. We didn't get to church very often. One time, though, when I was 7 or 8 years old, the Sunday School teacher told a story about a snake, a kitten and a child (the story is shown below). For the first time, I understood that Jesus sacrificed his life to save me from my sins and I gratefully gave my life to Him. Even though I didn't have a lot of follow up, a genuine change had taken place and I began to read my Bible, had a little prayer journal and told others about Jesus as well.
This was just the beginning. I was turned off by hypocrites during my teen years and turned into a God-hater. The story of how God brought me back is told above.