Monday, February 4, 2019


40 years ago today - February 4, 1979 - I made the best decision of my life. At age 8, from the back pew of First Baptist Church of Pinellas Park, I comprehended the sermon of Pastor Jimmy Hammond and accepted the invitation he gave to anyone willing to receive it. That message was the gospel. It was (and is) the Good News that God created us for a personal relationship with Him, but the generational curse passed down from Adam was separation from our Creator. But God's only Son, Jesus, came and died on a cross for humanity's sin then rose from the dead in order to bridge that gap of separation. Jesus gives everyone who wants to receive it through faith the free gift of salvation. That free gift reconciles us with our Creator and gives us a personal relationship with the God who loves us. At age 8 I understood that simple but profound salvation message. I stood up from where I was seated and made my way to the aisle. I walked down that long aisle to the front of the church and prayed with Pastor Hammond to ask Jesus into my heart. I was only 8 years old and that moment transformed every part & piece of my life forever. I instantaneously wanted to please God. I wanted to obey and honor my parents. I didn't want to live for my own selfishness, but rather for God's glory. I immediately had access to every spiritual blessing - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, and so much more. I could now read the Bible and understand what most of it was saying. I was fully alive inside! It was the greatest day of my life that has never ended. I would (and do) wish it upon everyone. The inner freedom I experience as I obey God can't be compared to anything. Life didn't automatically become easy. In many ways it became much harder. But through Christ I now had access to tools (such as wisdom & self control) and spiritual weapons (such as prayer, scripture, faith, truth, & much more) that enabled me to fight and have victory over spiritual forces of evil, life situations, and any unfavorable circumstances. My spiritual journey of growth started that day. I've had a fair share of spiritual losses along the way, but glory to God, I've had far more spiritual victories. And today, 40 years later, I'm still head-over-heels in love with Jesus! I'm still transformed. I'm still growing. And I still thank God for an obedient man of God who faithfully shared the gospel, and for a church that invested in school buses that traveled throughout the city every Sunday morning giving free rides to & from church. I sometimes wonder where I would be today if I missed church that day or if the pastor didn't give a salvation invitation. Would I have heard the gospel somewhere else? Would I have had ears to hear on another day? Or would I have started hanging out with the wrong crowd and traveled down roads of great heartache and regret? God only knows. I'm just so happy that this one great decision 40 years ago saved me from so many wrong paths... and eventually ushered me into full-time ministry. Thank You Jesus!! I rejoice! Forty years later and I still rejoice!! I look forward to eternity =)