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Tape 1 Side A

[praying for first part of tape]

Introduction

Psalm 77, “I’ll remember..” That’s what we’re gonna do, tonight. Remember his deeds. Time and again, the message that’s recorded in the New Testament, that Paul gave more than any others, was his testimony – of what happened in his life. That’s our strongest message! That outta be the message you share more than any others in your life. Your testimony. Your testimony, certainly outta start with being saved, but most people when they think of testimony, that’s all they think of. And it’s because, that’s – in the case of many believers – that’s all they’ve got to share. They stopped believing, and.. exercising.. faith, like in a- almost a crisis – to see miraculous things happen in their life, thereafter.

And, I’m challenged with this week, with the brothers that are in – we’re challenged together, and with each of you brothers and sisters here. To really see testimony, miraculous deeds.. miracles. That we can look back and validate that God is indeed raised from the dead. And I just want to go back and share a little bit and.. of my own life and a little bit ah- that – to praise a little bit even how some of us are even here today, and sometimes I think God uses us.

God's good at history, you know, we have the New Testament, we have the Old Testament and- any- he shows lines of history and it’s beautiful! And, uh- really all- the source of everything goes- you know- we think we- all goes back to God, if we had enough time.. that’d be a long conference. [laughs] Creation and before- but anyhow, uh.. Just, what- uh- started happening in my own life.

And some of you, are right where I am gonna be starting. Where I was getting out of high school and going into college, and- and, uh- God finally got ahold of my life. I didn’t know for sure that I had even assurance, I didn’t even know for sure if I was saved. I remember when I was younger, in my junior high, high school days, I was praying, you know, and wanting to know- I just didn’t know if a person could know for sure, and- and, uh, I, in my own family, uh, uhh.. Had certain freedoms and- and uh, some I didn’t have, but I took, and uh.. did an awful lot of things, that uh.. was a waste of time, and now all I can use it for is to relate to people who waste their time. [laughter] And, uh, before I had my- before I was 16 I was sneaking one of.. my parent’s car out, and – they had several, in the front, and several in the back, and so if one was missing that thought that it was one of the [pleat?] in the front, and so it was never any problem and, and I was taking cars left and right. And going out – dates at night – racing around, uh, had a little alley I could always – thought I could, I think I maybe did once, I dunno, but – get through there where, this little car, sports car I had, it was so small a regular police car couldn’t get through this alley, and, uh..

And, I was.. doing all sorts of things, and – but I wasn’t all that bad [laughs] to be honest with ya. [laughter] I mean I, I don’t have any big story, you know, how I was, you know, flying down to, uh, Columbia selling dope or something. You know, I, [laughs] I don’t have any big bad story, I was wild and having a lot of fun, so to speak, if we were saying those days, driving around going here and there and starting parties and [hanging round?] girls and dropping them and dropping me. And, you know, doing all sorts of stuff like that. The typical thing, wanting to be popular and trying to find a purpose in life, not realizing what the word meant or how to spell it.. but that’s what I was working at. [laughter]

Basketball And Student Body President Stories

And.. uh.. and, uh, God, uh, he- he had a line on me, praise him for it, I thank him for it. And, uh, he, uh, sought me with several things. Um, a big basketball - my early career got smashed. I got beat for being president of the student body, by a girl. That was crushing [laughter] in high school. It really wasn’t a good election, there was five guys running and one girl. And she got all the girl votes, and- and, uh.. [laughter] I don’t try to explain it. [laughter] I can see I’ve already lost.. But I’ll tell you something that you won’t believe, when they- I went home so confident and, maybe a little cocky: “oh, I’m gonna win this one,” you know..

I went home, I was a wrestler, there’s- worried about the ballet box, got the call, “oh, I made it” and- what, my guy in the campaign says, “Jim, you’ll never believe it!” “Sure, I’ll believe it, tell me.” He said, “You lost.” [laughter] I said, “You’re right, I don’t believe it. Now get serious!” [laughs] And he said, “You’ll never believe this either. You lost by one vote.” The school was.. hundreds.. I don’t know how many. And that was right on the heels of losing my great basketball career. Ask Harry and the boys if you think there’s any.. [laughter] And God sent me a double whammy. I smashed into the wall and- and had to bench it for a long time. And, till I finally discovered there were guys a lot better than me, and- [laughter] that was discouraging.

And, uh, and God hit me. With a double whammy. Just stopped me. And he did it in such a way, so – almost – it- I knew, “God, you did it.” And I knew he did it. And I do believe he did it! And, uh, you know [laughs] it says all authority’s appointed of God. And, I didn’t make it! It wasn’t big authority but it, but- over the student body - and was the, most humiliating position, I was the vice president under the school that year. Runner up was vice president, that was me. [laughs] And I was second. And I was a bench warmer. And I was always second.

Until God finally got my attention. And God began to show me, look, you’re gonna be second, and you’re gonna be third, and you’re gonna be a loser in what really counts, if you don’t figure out what I’m trying to say to you. And I began to stop and listen. And, uh, I know when I was younger and- I wasn’t sure I was saved at this time..

Christian Camp

Went to camp, I had to go to, and when God finally got ahold of my life, I never.. I knew some guys that I never- that were, that I never was interested in- ah, in ever talking to these Christian guys and - at all - they didn’t wanna talk to me, I didn’t wanna talk to them, and ah.. I went to this camp but I hated and dreaded to go to and when I got there I was having indigestion I didn’t want to go, my mother made me go.

It was a Christian camp and I thought, "This is a nightmare," and I won’t take time elaborate it but it was.. I was really getting sick to my stomach.. Thinking I was gonna have to spend a week at a Christian camp, ya’ know, nice goody Christians.. here’s all the nice boys and the sweet girls and isn’t it nice and ya’ squack.. Oh, aren’t they, they’re praying, they’re so sweet.. they’re the guys we used to talk about last year squack. And yet, I was gonna spend a week with ‘em.

And I was standing at the registration line trying to look like a Christian, to the people in line. And ah, I look over at the other line and I saw this girl, I took a double take, I couldn’t believe it, she was the head cheerleader of the other high school. I thought, she must have gotten lost. She was what I played basketball for, what was she doing up here? I bet she’s like me, I bet her mama made her come. The irony of it is I was just getting out of junior high, going into high school, ya’ know it was that time of month, still had an influence on it, but I didn’t think her mama make her come she was a junior - gonna be a senior - so that’s kinda funny.

Make a long story short, ya know, in these little Christian camps they’re not always quite this way, ours was, it’s, ya know, kinda everybody there- they kind, some were more equipped for this, but, ah.. But I guess this was worthless and when I realized because of what God did in my life, but anyhow.. um, ya know they, the counselors were- didn’t always keep up on things and everybody kinda paired off an, ah- there little, ya know, boyfriend, girlfriend and- and ah.. the camp started to look up a little bit since this girl was there and.. and ah- and one of the guys ya know, before the sun set, ya know, it came around everyone was figuring out who they were pairing up in this little camp of about 30, guys and girls.

That was, ah, basically ah.. high school camp, and I was kinda cheating, just barely getting in out of that summer, just out of junior high. And, ah, and a buddy of mine said, "Hey she, I think she likes ya’ Jim." I said, "You gotta be kidding me." Said this gonna be lookin up, alright.. so I kinda got, went through the.. ya know.. our little line. There’s, ah, there she was over there at the table with few others and there was a lot of other empty seats over at this table a little closer, but I couldn’t find a seat until I got to the back table.. and ah, sat down next to her and, I wasn’t too experienced professionally around a girl, that was, ya know, gonna be a senior in that fall - a head cheerleader - and here I was just out of junior high.. but ah... But..

But I maneuvered and sat down next to her and started talking and and ah, [laughs] it must have been the Lord because I thought it was my great maneuvering at the time. And ah, it's probably good she wasn’t too spiritual or she probably wouldn’t have looked at me, but I tried to give the real good fake.. I’ve been a Christian a lot, so I acted real nice and cheesey and talked, and I think I’m sure she thought I was a Christian, ya know, an- and, ah, so we started kinda hitting it off, and pretty soon, ya know, she was my girlfriend there and I was her boyfriend an- and that was the number two.

And, ah, and that camp was looking up, I wanna tell ya, was getting to be pretty good. These Christian camps and, I, I really had plans after the camp, ya know. I had a lot more plans than just for that week, and ah, so I, I felt the one thing I.. got against me is that she, ah, eh, ah- ya know we had fun doing a lot of things, and hiking and stuff, but I knew my, my really the one thing I didn’t have was really she - I came to be amazed - that she really did love the Lord. And ah, ah, I can’t remember really how fired up she was for the Lord but compared to me she was, she was fired up, ‘cuz ah, I couldn’t believe it.. and ah and so I went along with it, ya know, and it was one of these - of these little small camps, like I said - I can’t remember how many, 30 maybe, 40 at the most.. kids there - an- and..

I don’t know if you ever been to this kinda a camp, but everyone knew there was one kinda bad kid and he wasn’t a Christian.. he knew it we knew it everybody knew it and, ah. And then there was a lot that was really loved the Lord then there was bunch like me, another bunch, and none of us really knew who we were and, ah, but we were all praying for the bad kids. And ah.. And I told Laura, I thought, "Boy, I gotta get some points in this area, cause I’m afraid I’m gonna flunk out with her and here in this area." Cause I really, cause I really was amazed at her, spirituality.. and I thought well I knew Christians well enough, boy, you witness and you get in.. they think you’re really something if you witness, that’s what I thought anyhow..

I thought, I thought it was something to witness not being saved and, ah, so I told her, ya’ know I said it would sure be good if he got saved, wouldn’t it? You know, I knew the language and all, I had been to the churches and all, and she said, "Oh" and kinda looked at me, and I thought, hmm she might have wondered a little about me and my salvation, and I thought I was cranking dirt there and it was great. I said, "Yeah.. be good," and she looked at me and she said, "Yeah Jim, Jim, that really would be.. boy if we ever got a chance to witness to him, it would really be good, yeah, sure would Jim," and we were, we were, you know, walking down the road.. and we were going on some other topics and I just kinda wanted to throw that in and leave it, and I just thought, "That’ll be a good clincher and we’ll get on with things," and ah..

And God has a way of having circumstances, ah, be very providential.. And, and no sooner had I said that ‘n down the road, was this kid coming.. and right towards us, all alone. It wasn’t dinner time, there was nothing to do but stop and talk to him. And I saw him I hope that she would think he was invisible, but she didn’t. She saw him too, she nudged me said, “Jim look here he comes.“ I.. I was speechless. I tell you, I can’t express it.. it’s funny to use, it’s funny to use- but if, if I could have done anything.. if I’d had a gun I mighta’, considered.. finish Harry’s head off.. I was, ya’ know, I was really stuck.. oh this was a horrible one. Here she was, I really, you know, I in a fleeting minute - it seemed like five days just flashed through my mind - but it’s, I’m sure it happened in only a moment, I thought, should I just fess up tell her I'm a phony? Should I just run?

And, ah, I just don’t remember all the.. that were going ya’ know.. I act I sick, I felt like that wouldn’t be hard to do [laughs] I just wanted to show her that boy I was flashing.. an- you know I thought nm.. And I finally, you know, it’s kinda like ya- you sin and you get foot in a little further and you go a little further and.. I didn’t, I didn’t fess up. I said, "Yeah, yeah," I said, "Huh, maybe, maybe we witness to him, now." Said, "yeah, that’s right, good, that’s- we’ll see" and we got a little closer, and I asked him, "How you doing?" He said, "Oh fine." I said, "Whatcha doing?" He said, "Oh, nothing much." Oh, shucks. You know. And um, I said, "Oh, well," and you know, I knew I couldn’t stall too long, I had to get on with it. I knew it was, you know, bite the bullet and get going so I said, "ah, well, we’re taking a little walk here, you wanna walk with us?" "Yeah! Sure, [laughs] Sure!"

Okay, well we went down this, kinda off a road and up a little trail and we were hiking and I was, I think I was really praying then [laughs] trying to figure out what to say, cause I had to say something, you know. I was in it at that point and and I- I think I knew John 3:16 and I may have known one or two other verses, I’d heard and ah, and I started quoting it you know and I don’t know how I quite got into it, but I thought, "Boy I better get into it and get it over with," an- and ah, I did and I said, "You know there’s just.. wanted to tell you.. there’s this verse.. thinking about and John 3:16, and ah, God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, whoever believes in Him will never perish but will have everlasting life." And I can’t remember exactly what I said but I quoted the verse and, you know, I wasn’t- I was serious but ya- was scared, and didn’t know what to do after that.

Thank goodness she said something, and she said a little more, and I was relieved but after about ten minutes I thought about it, if I’m gonna play the part I better say something again, and I finally got up enough nerve to share something else, and I shared my other verse. An- and, ah, she talked a little more and- and then and- after awhile tears started coming down this guy’s eyes. There sittin down there at the rock and he started weeping, and I was petrified. And he wanted to get saved and he just asked if he could just sit there alone and pray and ask Christ into his life, he said, "Oh yeah, we’ll go down here a little ways, huh, pray for you."

We went down another little rock, down the trail, left him alone and.. see if he was in tears.. and I won’t forget, we sat down, she sat on the rock, I sat there and I said, oh this priest right ahead of me I think I’d had starred a hole right through him. While she was praying for him I started praying, and I never will forget it.. I thought myself. What if this guy goes to heaven, and I go to hell? And I told him how to get out of Hell and into Heaven? And I’m the one that showed him the way, and yet I didn’t feel the same way. 

And I was very serious then, and I prayed quietly - the girl never knew this was going on with me - and I prayed to the Lord, I said, "God this is horrible. He may go to heaven and I may go to hell and I’m, I’m the one that told him how to outta get there." I said, "God, if I’m not saved," and I’d prayed before and said little prayers, but I really shouldn’t presume - I didn’t know - have any assurance if I was saved, I said, "God if I’m not saved, I wanna be saved now." And if I wasn’t saved before I was saved then. And I started getting into the Word.. God came in my life and I started reading the Bible.

That guy, I believe did get saved actually, and ah.. I think when that girl discovered I was just out of junior high she dropped me.. ‘at, ah, that about killed me. But I started getting into the Word. And, ah, and God started working in my life, and in a real pattern of time took place the struggles went on my sophomore year, and my junior year, and just striving for things that the flesh would go after, having one foot in the world and one foot with [end of tape]

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