On July 4, 1988 I was enjoying a day off from work. I was in my early twenties and my life had drifted far from any real concern with the things of God. My current roommate was soon to get married and I needed to move out of his house. I had another single friend who owned a house about 20 miles out of town. It would be a longer commute but I was kind of missing the rural setting I grew up in. So I drove out to look at the guy’s spare bedroom on my day off.
About one mile before I reached his house I passed a small side road where there was a church sign that read, “Evergreen Freewill Baptist Church, one mile”. It had a little green arrow pointing to the south. As soon as I read the sign I had this clear and authoritative thought flash through my mind: “Be there this Sunday.”
I had maybe been to a Sunday worship service 4-5 times in the previous year. And that occurred on weekends when I visited my parents and accompanied them to church. Partying on Saturday nights and sleeping in on Sundays was my lifestyle. But deep in my heart I knew I needed to be in church somewhere. I knew I was avoiding God. I had promised God off and on over the years that when I graduated from college or got married that I would “settle down” and get right with Him. But the truth is that I felt I was enjoying my life of avoiding God. I wasn’t miserable. Actually, I was mostly successful, had good friends, was making enough money, and had few responsibilities in life. And the partying seemed pretty fun.
But I was living in sin. I was believing the lie that my life under my control was better than under God’s control. And the truth is I had no idea what I was missing by serving sin rather than the Living God. And though it was the start of a process, it all began to change in an instant, when God spoke unmistakably to my heart: “Be there this Sunday.”
In the next post I’ll tell you what happened on that Sunday when I obeyed God’s voice.