Monthly Archives: February 2014

Who I am – my personal testimony

Recently one Sunday morning at church I was asked by a friend to give my testimony that night during our evening service.  I am always glad to share the assurance I have in Jesus and how God is working in my life, so of course I agreed.  I also had a few other things on my mind that I wanted to share with the church, so I asked our pastor what direction I should go with my talk.  He said to just tell why you are the way you are.  Well I think I know what he meant, but it really got me to thinking how I got to be the way I am.  Those who know me know that I am a bit different.  But then again – so is everybody else I know!

So how did I get to be the way I am?  The accounts that follow will provide some insight…

John collage2

I was raised in a Christian home, and my family was in church on a regular basis.  I grew up in a Methodist church, went through the Confirmation class at 12 years old, and at the end of the class we prayed to receive Christ into our hearts.  Was I saved at that time – I am not certain.  But I do know that when I was 18 years old  I went to FCA Camp in Maryville, TN and I knew God was working in my heart that weekend.  I also knew I could not give a certain answer of where I would go if I was to die that day of May 5th of 1984.  Through the message given by Rev. Jerry Upton, the Holy Spirit convicted  me that I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus, and I responded by coming forward during one of the services and knelt down at the altar to asked Jesus into my heart.  I knew then in my heart for certain that I had: repented of my sins, told Jesus I believed He died on a cross and was raised on the third day as a sacrifice to cover my sins, I asked Him to save me, and told Jesus I would follow Him with my life.

I have in no way lived a perfect or sinless life since then, but know in my heart that I can always ask God for forgiveness and it is granted.  And I know that because that night I received salvation, and by the assurance in His Word, that I will be forgiven of things I do (sin) that disappoint Him.

Now it was not long after I accepted Jesus into my heart that I realized satan was really tempting me in a lot of different ways that I had not experienced before.  I went to college and the US Army facing attacks from satan, and I hate to say it but he won a lot of those battles.  I remember carrying my little green Gideon Bible in my cargo pants every day I was in the Army uniform, but I did not make reading it a part of my daily life.  I was a worldly Christian giving way to Jesus and the world at the same time.  So of course I experienced failures and disappointments as I tried to follow Jesus.

My wife was the catalyst to bring me to a closer walk with Jesus.  I knew in my heart that Jesus connected us for her to be my mate and to bring me closer to Him.  I saw in her something I wanted more of in my life – an active growing personal relationship with Jesus.  I am delighted to say that since our wedding I have been on a slow path of growing closer to Him!

As I grow older my faith increases through the trials I continually face and how I am able to handle them.  You have to know that satan will not leave you alone if you are trying to live for Jesus.  I am slowly becoming more obedient to Jesus by daily denying satan and the attacks he sends.  I am not always successful, but slowly getting better as I grow in my faith.  I know I will never live a sinless life until I leave this body in the grave and enter into my eternal home in Heaven!

I am amazed and humbled by the way God has used me over the years.  I have enjoyed serving Him in many leadership roles such as a youth minister and Sunday School director.  He has molded me through the daily trials as a leader, husband and father.  I have been fortunate to lead individuals to receive Jesus as their Savior  in Guatemala, during camps and Bible Schools, even by phone with my cousin in Ohio.

Jesus has led me on so many adventures, and they all started with a single step of obedience of saying yes  –    I will follow You and I will go where You send!

Free Book: 90-Day devotion

I was fortunate to be asked to participate as a contributing author of a new Bible devotional book called All Time Verses: 90-Day Scripture Journey by the student ministers at First Baptist Woodstock.  I submitted two devotions for the project.

All Time Verses book

Since this is the first time I have been included in a book publication I wanted to celebrate by giving a copy away to one my blog readers.  So I thought I would have a little contest.

I will select one person to receive a free book who #1_will read the devotion and #2_tells me the most unique place they will read this devotion.   (yes – points added for creativity)

Simply fill out the information below to be considered.  You do not have to be a follower of my blog, but will be entered by submitting the form from this page.  Only one entry per person.  I will not give or sale your information to anyone – just using it as a reference.

Contest begins  NOW and will end at noon on Sunday, February 16th.  You must be a valid reader of the English language and the declared winner will need to provide a physical mailing address upon request.

Congratulations!

Terri Brooks is the winner of the free book contest!  Terri said she would read the devotion the first thing in the morning in her sun room.

You can find out more about Terri at http://facebook.com/theimprintdoctor

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest.

If you would like to buy your own personal copy of the book it is available on Amazon at All Time Verses: 90-Day Scripture Journey

A Great Defensive Driving Course for Teenagers: B.R.A.K.E.S. (updated)

B.R.A.K.E.S. — Dedicated to Saving Young Lives

This past Saturday I took my 15-year-old son to a BRAKES defensive driving school at Bristol Motor Speedway.  We really were not sure what to expect, but the experience proved to be fun and educational for both of us.

Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway

B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) is a 501(c)3 organization which provides advanced driver’s education in a program entitled the Teen Pro-Active Driving Course.  Over 5,000 teenagers lose their lives each year across the country in traffic accidents.  While conventional driver’s education is important and valuable, the Teen Pro-Active Driving Course goes beyond that level of training by addressing driving situations responsible for many traffic accidents involving teens.  The course is for teenagers 15-19 who have a learner’s permit or driver’s license with at least 30 hours of driving experience.

BRAKESWe arrived a Bristol Motor Speedway with apprehension and anticipation.   Neither of us knew exactly what to expect, but my son is about to get his drivers license and I felt he needed this kind of training.

We started the four hour course with a video and some classroom instruction.  I have to admit that we both learned something from the classroom instruction.

Then they took us out to the parking lot where a driving course had been designed.  Each of the students were assigned to a group with a leader for every three students.  The instructors even let each parent take a turn on the course.

BRAKES course video 1

The course consisted of five different real world situations: accident avoidance, a distraction exercise, drop wheel recovery, car control and recovery, and panic stop (anti lock braking).  At each exercise the students were shown my their instructor how to properly navigate the exercise, then took turns behind the wheel applying and practicing each technique themselves.  The amount of behind the wheel time was so valuable and allowed each student to try these accident avoidance techniques in a controlled environment with professional feedback.

BRAKES course video 2

If you are a parent with a new teenage driver, I highly suggest going with them to this course.  Look online for the next class near you. (more…)