Have You had an Encounter with Jesus?
In the comments below, let’s have a conversation about how each of us has encountered Jesus. Here is a good outline that to follow as you write.
- What my life was like before I became a Christian
- Some key people who showed me what it meant to follow Christ
- How I decided to community life to Christ
- The difference following Christ has made for me
First Baptist Gallatin – Member
First Baptist Gallatin – Member
First Baptist Gallatin – Member
One of my earliest memories is kneeling in front of the living room couch which was our family alter. Mother, Daddy, and I would kneel together there for our prayer time every night. I talked to God as if he were kneeling there with us. I don’t actually remember asking God to “save” me. I just knew that He loved me and I loved Him. By the time I was about 5 years old I knew in my heart that He held me in His arms just like He did Mother and Daddy. We were a happy family of three living on a dairy farm. We went to our small country Baptist Church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and usually Monday night for Mother’s WMU meeting or my GA meeting. Daddy’s Deacons meetings were monthly, I believe.
Since we lived out in the country I had no close by playmates and I had already learned that nothing was too big or too little to pray about. So during our family prayers together, mine started including a plea for a baby brother or sister. (I had visions of holding my sibling in my arms at church). That prayer was answered when I was 7 years old and my baby brother was born. Nothing made me feel any prouder than cuddling him in my arms during church.
By the time I was 8 years old I started thinking about joining the church. After talking to Mother and Daddy about it I decided it was time. At our Church it was customary to share your experience with the congregation when you went forward to join the Church. I did not have a real exciting or colorful story to tell because asking God to live in my heart was just the natural thing for me to do, but it was very real. Now that both Mother and Daddy are already with God, I actually feel anxious at times to be there too.
The memory of my childhood experience instilled in me a deep desire to pass on to my own children the best loving Christian parenting and leadership that I possibly could. They are now three great Christians. PTL.
My parents were divorced when I was 5. So, you could say I grew up in a broken home. However, my mom was the best and she got me involved on a grand scale at Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. I was your classic church kid. I was there every time the doors were open and I had some great friends, leaders; and, I also had a good relationship with my Pastor. I don’t remember all the details; but, around the age of 12 I went to visit my pastor in his office. Again, I don’t remember much about the visit except that all the walls in his office were wood. After that date, my mom set up a day for me to be baptized. This all coincided with a meeting I had with a friend of mine who lived in my neighborhood. He lived three house up/down from me; and, one day while I was playing outside he came down to visit. He asked me about my salvation and whether I knew I was a Christian and whether I would go to heaven when I died. We prayed and I’m not sure if this was my salvation day or the day with my pastor; but, they were around the same time and I believe the Lord was working all things for good during that time.
While I was at church most of the time during most of my teen years, I was relying on others for my growth. I don’t ever remember reading the bible on my own until I was 19 years of age and then a college freshman. I went to a crusade in Winston-Salem and it really cemented in my life the realization that if I was going to grow I had to do some work. I got involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on the campus of Wake Forest University and that’s when and where I really started to grow.
What difference has God made in my life? As I look at my Christian life as a whole, I would say the theme of this life would be that God has been the firm foundation. I definitely have not done everything right and I definitely have struggled and there are some things I’m still asking God to provide for me in life; but, God has always been there for me and He’s been that ever-present help in time of joy and trouble. I can’t say I’ve always loved Jesus well; but, He has always loved me and I am so grateful for that.
Saved by Grace
I was privileged and blessed (not that I understood this was the case at the time) to be born into a God-fearing family who took religion seriously. A family that – if the church lights were on and the door open – we were there. Not just my Mom and Dad but both sets of grandparents. I have always liked to visit other churches in other parts of the country to see “how they do it.” But my roots are and have always been at FBG. Since God, Jesus, the Bible and other religious topics were so common-place in our homes my committing my life to Jesus, asking for forgiveness for all my sins both past and the ones I knew I would be guilty of in the future and trusting Him as my Lord and Savior was not a “bells and whistles” event. At age 9 I turned my life over to Him knowing all the while that “I have agreed to do something that “I” cannot do alone.” The same Sunday I was Baptized I repeated this to my grandmother (Troutt) who, along w/ my paternal grandfather, Jim, lived with me, Mom and Dad in a duplex-type home for more that fifteen years. She, w/o hesitation, quoted two scriptures. These have been my spiritual “security blanket” for all these years.
Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”
Hebrews 13:5 “——-I will never leave you or forsake you.”
This same grandmother always prayed w/ me before school EVERY morning. Most of these prayers included a petition to God for my success in school that day but with a twist that always humbled me and got my attention. To this day I use “Nanny’s” prayer as an encouragement before any task I attempt: “ Lord God – I only ask that you let Bill succeed today to the degree to which he has prepared.”
I can still remember clearly where I was and what I was doing when I realized my need for Jesus forgiveness.
I was standing at the right end of the fifth pew on the right side section of the Rockwood Baptist church in Independence, Missouri. When we stood to sing the invitation hymn, Lianne Potts immediately started down the outside aisle. She and her brothers and sister were setting two rows in front of me and my family. As I watched her walk down the aisle. I knew what she was doing, but I wondered why she was “going forward.”
I had seen many people go down the aisle and repent of their sins in my many years; I was seven at the time. They were teenagers or adults who were old enough to have done something really wrong, they had sinned. Lianne was the best kid in our class. She never did anything wrong. When Brother Bledsoe, our Pastor, introduced Lianne to the congregation, he told that Lianne had come to his office that week and they had talked about her desire to accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior and her desire for Jesus to forgive her of her sins.
That is when, for the first time, I realized that this stuff applied to me. I was a good kid, for the most part. But I knew I had done some things that did not please God. Right there while he was still stalking, I asked God to forgive me of my sin. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and live in me. The invitation was over, so I flied out with my family like normal.
The next Sunday, when the invitation started, I left our pew, the same one I was sitting on the week before, and went to the front and shook Brother Bledsoe’s hand and told him that I had ask Jesus to save me last week.
I had heard the bit about Lianne coming to his office and talking with him before she came forward but that did not seem to be an important part of the story to me. When he introduced me to the congregation after the hymn was over, he told that he would be talking with me and my parents this week about my decision. I was a little offended, why did he and my parents have to talk about my decision? He wanted to be sure that I knew what I was doing, I understand that now.
I had not talked to anyone about this decision. It was personal. I knew it was something I needed to do. I did it. I probably could or should have talked to my parents about it, but I didn’t. We talked about it that Sunday afternoon. A few days later my parents and I sat down with the Pastor and we discussed my decision with Brother Bledsoe. I few weeks later I was baptized.
I was young. I believe God saved me that Sunday morning in the pew at the close of the service. I certainly did not understand all that it meant to be a Christian then. The Children’s ministry and the Student ministry were important in helping me continue to grow in my understanding of what it meant to be a Christ follower.
My Salvation Story
I became a Christian when I was nine years old, but I knew Jesus long before that. I felt His presence in so many ways during my young life. He was talked about to me by my grandmother, and I saw Him and His love through those who cared for me at home, and my teachers at school and Sunday school.
As I sat in church on a summer Sunday morning at Third Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee with a neighbor who took me there, I walked down the aisle and gave my heart to Jesus and was baptized. I learned to play the piano, and as I grew up I began to play in church, and played in different churches over the years. This was a gift that God gave me to use for Him.
I have taught children in Sunday school, Training Union and Vacation Bible School and I feel that these opportunities were given to me for a purpose, to keep me strong and close to Him. There have been times I have failed Him, but He has given me strength and courage to keep going, and He is always forgiving. I am so thankful for His love and grace to me, and this has made all the difference in my life.
My Salvation Experience
I was 13 years old and began to realize I was lost. When we went to church and Sunday school and I would hear the preacher preach about Jesus and His sacrifice for me, I came under conviction as a sinner and thus began the battle of either giving in to the invitation to allow Jesus to save me, or try to ignore it.
Due to the way I was raised to this point in my life, I knew what was going on with the battle inside my heart and mind. Mom and Dad were Christians and they took us to church and Sunday school every Sunday, Sunday night and Wednesday night. My Sunday school teacher was very loving and caring and she knew I was struggling and she spoke to me about it. I was scared to go to the altar or to even go down front to talk with the preacher. I would almost twist the paint off the pew in front of me to hold on and not give in. My teacher and parents realized what was going on with me and asked our pastor to come to our home and talk with me.
He came to our house one night and he and I sat down at the kitchen table and talked and then and there I gave my heart to Jesus. The burden was immediately gone and I felt great and so happy. I went the next Sunday without fear and joined the church, told them of my salvation and was baptized.