Bob Stood Up

            I’m from a good, moral family.  My dad often uttered pithy sayings that were supposedly derived from the book of Proverbs or the Sermon on the Mount.  I heard numerous mentions of “the Good Lord.”  The Bible was “the Good Book,” and Jesus was a Good Man whose example we should learn from and follow.

            We seldom attended church until my sisters and I became teenagers.  my folks thought we should be going for the positive influence.  We regularly attended a dead Presbyterian church in a dying small town.  I was baptized by sprinkling and confirmed at age 13.  It meant nothing to me.  I was just doing whatever I was told to do.  The truth is, I hated church.  Once when I was seven, my dad took me outside and gave me a spanking for swearing during the church service.  As a teenager I couldn’t stand all the ritualism.  I never understood it.  What was the point?  Nobody had an explanation.

            In Sunday school all we did was go through the quarterly material and did the standard Christmas and Easter plays, which seemed like a sick joke to me.  What did any of these people know about this stuff?  The adult class argued about whether God created the world in days or over millions of years.  Preaching was done by a tottering old geezer who was likely born old and didn’t seem to know anything about the Bible.  There was no emphasis on being born again and needing a Savior from sin.  I nearly walked out of my place in the choir loft one Sunday morning to escape the stupidity and boredom of it all.  Why didn’t anybody know anything for certain?

            At a church business meeting one Sunday night, something happened that really fired me up. Bob G., a farmer and a towering figure, stood up and announced with meekness and trembling that he and his family were leaving the church.  They could not support  the denomination’s activities, and they were going to find a place where the Gospel was preached.  Since Bob’s family were pillars of the church, there was a great deal of begging and pleading for them to stay.  I was elated.  Finally, somebody showed some character!  Somebody knew there was real Bible truth to be had and wouldn’t stop until he found it.  He had my respect, which wasn’t easy to get.

            The next couple of months were very difficult for me.  I was hospitalized for an eye operation and missed several weeks of school.  This led me to ponder and ask many questions about where my life was heading.  I hungered for Bible truth.  I was enthralled by some radio preachers who taught boldly that it was possible to be born again and have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  It wasn’t about being religious.  In contrast, my dad said you couldn’t know if you were going to heaven until Judgment Day, when the “Good Lord” would see how much good you had done for others.

            One April evening Bob G. and his family came to our house and invited us to the Baptist church they were attending.  Bob shared the Gospel to be sure we’d heard it.  When I told him about the radio preachers I liked, he gently warned me they were false teachers, and I should stop listening to them.  I trusted his judgment.  He was right, too.  I asked if we can know for sure we’re born again.  He quoted 1 Jn. 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  That night in bed I confidently prayed to receive Christ as Savior.  That was over 30 years ago.  I’m so thankful.  It still brings me to tears remembering when Bob stood up for his Lord.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Salvation, Thoughts from John

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