Summary: This sermon provides an outline about how I became a Christian
How I Became A Christian
I was born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire in the United Kingdom in 1956, where I was raised a Catholic, and attended a Catholic school until I was 16 years of age. I then attended a sixth form college, but left with few qualifications.
My life consisted of nightclubs discos and pubs. Life for me was fun. I started my working life in an office in Sheffield in the early 1970s. It was then that I met a workmate called John Keen, who was a born again Christian. This was a new concept for me, due to the fact that I was a Catholic. Interestingly, John did not need to tell me about Jesus. I could see from his life that he had something I did not have – and I wanted it.
I really could not grasp the concept of what a born again Christian was until John invited me to a Pentecostal church in Rotherham. I don’t remember much about what was preached, but I do remember the kindness of the minister, Paul Mercy. From the first time I entered the church, he would always be available to pray with me. I had never been prayed for before, other than when I went to confessions, and it was a real I soon went through water baptism, signifying my desire to obey God, die to the old way of life, and follow him wherever he would lead me. I enjoyed going to open air church meetings, and preaching on street corners, including giving bible studies in my local churches in Rotherham and in Sheffield. God poured his Holy Spirit into my life so that I could talk about Jesus without fear wherever I could. expression of love, which had a profound effect upon me. Every time I left the church, Paul would tell me that it would not be long before I would come to faith. He really believed that God would do a work in my life. In fact, after about nine weeks, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon my life and I went to the front of the church and made Jesus the Lord of my life.
A change in direction
Becoming a born again Christian made such a huge difference to me. I felt the old part of me just get up and walk out the door, and a new me was born – which in spiritual terms was very true. I now found that I no longer wanted to go to the nightclubs, discos and pubs. In fact, I felt that I had no more interest in what the world had to offer. I soon hung up my disco boots and started serving Jesus.
I soon went through water baptism, signifying my desire to obey God, die to the old way of life, and follow him wherever he would lead me. I enjoyed going to open air church meetings, and preaching on street corners, including giving bible studies in my local churches in Rotherham and in Sheffield. God poured his Holy Spirit into my life so that I could talk about Jesus without fear wherever I could.
God helped my career too. Not long after my conversion, God opened a door for me in 1981 to go to Sheffield Hallam University where I became President of the Christian Union. This was also the time when I was intro duced to the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship (FGBMFI) in Sheffield. It was there that I saw God move on people’s lives in power, with people getting healed and delivered from all kinds of sicknesses and bondages.
The FGBMFI provided a good place to share what God had done for me, but also to learn from people who were moving on in the gifts of the Holy Spirit – in a way I had not experienced before. Again, God helped me by giving me the faith that I needed to share my testimony at after dinner meetings in FGBMFI, and to go on to the University of Manchester in 1987, where I trained to become a teacher.
Called to the Bar of England and Wales
After about 20 years teaching in universities, I began to feel God nudging me that it was time for another change in direction. Meta phorically speaking, the train was about to leave the station, and I did not want to get left behind. This desire to move on was matched by my being made redundant from my lecturing post in Preston in 2007. Once more I made a leap of faith and used the redundancy money to pay for the legal training I needed to become a barrister. It was quite a miracle to become a barrister for someone who had very little secondary school education. However, God is a God of the impossible, and in 2010 I was called to the Bar of England and Wales as a member of Gray’s Inn.