One of the pieces of information that churches sometimes ask for from candidates during their pastoral search is the story of how they came to have faith in Jesus. This morning I was working on my story and I thought that I would share a bit of it here.
I don’t remember all of the exact details of my confession of faith in Christ. That is not to say that I don't remember what happened. There are a few details that I don't quite remember. For example when I was about 7 years old I said something to my parents about wanting to accept Jesus into my heart. I don't quite remember exactly what I said or what prompted me to say something. All I know is that what ever I said caused my parents to have the pastor of our church come over to talk to me. I do clearly remember him coming over and talking to me. I remember it because at first I thought I was in trouble. I was playing in my room and all of a sudden our pastor and my mom walked in. My mom said, "Pastor Hargrove wants to talk to you..." What an ominous way to start a conversation with a 7 year old. It was rather intimidating. He sat on the edge of my bed and my mom was standing in my doorway. I do not recall the content of that conversation but what ever I said satisfied both my parents and the pastor that I was making a genuine confession of faith in Jesus.
The next Sunday I went forward during the Invitation portion of the service and made my confession public. I can still vividly remember the scene. We were a part of a church plant which was meeting in a grade school gym. I knew that I was supposed to go forward during the Invitation and this meant that I was not able to go to the normal children's service. I had to sit still through the whole service and it seemed like it would never end. Finally the pastor finished and he invited anyone that wanted to put their faith in Jesus to come forward. I went forward along with a few other people. I stood up a bit straighter as I walked forward without my mom even having to say anything. Then the few of us that came forward went and stood in the back.
When I got to the back my attention was immediately grabbed by a table of pictures from the latest youth group happening. I was so intrigued by the pictures that I didn't notice when the service ended. All of a sudden a whole lot of of people started to come up and talking to me. Which is sort of odd for a 7 year old; most of the time someone was just telling us kids to stop running. So I took the full advantage of my audience and pointed out which of the youth group pictures were my favorites. And to my surprise and delight every one kept coming up to me and telling me that I had made a great decision. Some of them didn't even need to take the time to look at the pictures. They just trusted that I was picking the best ones. It was right then and there that I decided that I was a "picture choosing" expert.
Of course now I realize that I am not a "picture choosing" expert. But I still made the greatest decision of my life that morning. It would take many more years and a lot of growing to even start to grasp the depth of that decision. Looking back and knowing what I know now, I have come to realize that I would still make that same decision.