Summary: My life verses and basis for Maverick Ministries
Peter and Me
I have given the testimony of my conversion at various times since coming to this church. Sometimes y’all heard the long version and sometimes the short version. More often than not, y’all have the long version since I am not real good at short versions of anything. However, I do not believe that I have given y’all the background of my call to ministry or why I picked my life verses. I would like to share that with y’all tonight and this will give y’all another clue as to what makes me tick. I know y’all have wondered about that from time to time.
My childhood was not exactly ideal. It was worse than some, but better than others were. I wish that someone would have actively prayed and witnessed to my mother and I when I was a small child. The difference in our lives would have been unbelievable. Would to God that the S.A.F.E. program had been around then.
I attended a mainline denominational church for several years, but never really heard the Gospel. I even sang in the choir and received a bible (not a good one) for perfect attendance in Vacation Bible School, but I cannot ever remember hearing the Gospel in that church. We choir boys told dirty jokes before we went into the loft and then watched the old folks nod out after they checked out who came in with who and what they were wearing.
Consequently, by the time I reached my teenage years I had no use for church. It was the sixties and I was the only real hippie in a redneck town. Imagine the stress that caused in my life! Yes, I went to Youth for Christ meetings because some of the best looking girls were there, but my mind was not on God. I saw a couple of Billy Graham movies and signed some cards. I even found Oliver B. Greene tracts at the Laundromat and I know I said the sinner’s prayer several times since I said it after each tract I read and one time I know I found at least three of them there on one visit.
I imagine that part of the problem was that no one tried to disciple me or spend time with me to be sure that I understood what I was doing. I guess they were content that I signed the cards and my name was on their attendance roll. So, I just grooved to my own thing. If they would have had such a category in the yearbook, I would have been voted most likely to be in jail.
Some of it must have stuck with me, because I can remember a very stressful day in the USAF when I took off in my truck, looked up, and said, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." Sadly, I needed a Philip to come and ask, "Understandest what thou sayest?" I would have answered, "Not really."
Finally, in 1975, I went to a church in Dover, Delaware to get a guy from Moncks Corner, SC off my back. I figured that I would walk in and walk out and then I would be done with it. It did not work out that way. Though it was a Baptist Church, a few things reminded me of my childhood affiliation and made me at least comfortable. They had an organ and sang the Doxology, so they couldn’t be all bad. I think that was the first sermon that I ever really heard that was based on the Bible.
I cannot tell you anything about the sermon. I was not accustomed to hearing one so I did not know how to get anything out of one, I reckon. I sensed that something was going on there that was for real and I had to know about it. After the Lord’s Supper and the benediction, I grabbed my wife by the hand and nearly drug her into the pastor’s office with me to find out what was going on.
He asked me if I was a sinner. I knew I had broken enough of the Ten Commandments to qualify to have sinner on my resume. Then he asked if I wanted to go to Hell. I said that I had told plenty of folks to go there, but that I had not planned on visiting there myself. Then he asked if I knew I could escape Hell would I accept the way of escape. I replied that I would be a fool not to do so, so I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour. I immediately felt like a load was taken off me, though really I did not even know I was carrying one. Remember that I wasn’t seeking anything other than relief from my Christian buddy.