Summary: A brief testimony given at LoveDenver in Denver,NC
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Today I want to share my testimony with you. In the late 1960s when I was in my teens I worked at an independent chain store called Park-n-Shop with another young teenager named Bobby W. We were a part of a group that watched and copied some of our favorite professional wrestlers and none was better than Bobby. From taking bone crushing elbow drops from pallets to being flipped into bottle bins, he was the best. Things were fun and games with little thought of any plans. But as it says in Jeremiah “I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord. “Plans to give you a future and a hope”
Soon I was facing the draft and the prospect of going to Vietnam. I joined the Navy, got married, and shipped out the day after my wedding. During this time I began to question the reality of God. In school I had been taught about Greek gods and Roman gods. Perhaps this God was just a myth. But despite how I felt about God, he said “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
I returned home, became a father, begin watching my marriage unravel. After 7 years we were divorced. I threw myself into a life style of partying. My only focus was to have as much fun as I could each day and I had no plans beyond that. But God said “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
In 1978 I settled in to a career in bread route sales, a job I have been doing for 34 years now. And out in the market place my path once again crossed the path of Bobby W., who had a cookie route. We were now too old to wrestle so we spent time talking and sharing stories. We were both vendors but that was all that we had in common. Bobby was a Christian; I wasn’t nor desired to be. Becoming a Christian was not in my plans. But God said “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
In 1981 I married the most wonderful woman I could have ever found. She loved me as no other had ever loved me, cared for me as no other had ever cared. And she was instrumental in leading me to the realization that I was a sinner in need of a savior, that savior being Jesus. In 1982 I allowed Jesus into my life and became a Christian. I even told Bobby W. about it. I had arrived. But God said “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
I stand here before you today sharing the stage with a much younger Bobby W. Forty-five years ago I could have never foreseen nor planed to minister with my friend’s son. But God knew because He had a plan for me. It was a plan to give me a future and a hope. And God is still revealing that plan to me daily.
In the Bible in the book of Revelation, the second chapter, the 17th verse, we are told that when we allow Jesus to forgive our sins, we are given a new name. This name is given to us by God and it reflects who we really are. The world calls us a lot of names, like loser, drunkard, drug addict, outcast, ugly. But God knows who you really are under all that filth and He calls you by that name; my child, my beloved. And He writes it in stone so it can’t be changed.