As a child, I attended Advent Christian Church in my hometown of Princeton, WV. I always sat by my Pastor, Mr. Harvey. As I grew up, I no longer attended church. That pretty much stayed the same through my 20-year Naval Career. I have always believed in Christ, just didn’t go to church much at all. I’ve had so-called Christians be very critical to me for not attending church, which really frustrated me. The way I see it, that is not the way to convince someone to attend church.
God had other plans for me…He has his very powerful, and sometimes very calm, ways of getting things to you, in many different and amazing ways. Go with the common phrase, things happen for a reason. Here goes:
In 2011, I was diagnosed with diabetes. A member of our congregation, Dr. Michael Thompson, diagnosed me. When I was told about it, I was very upset. In some ways, it actually has been a good thing. I had to change my diet, and the way I did certain things. It was a God-given wake up call…His first, and just the beginning of many different ways to reach me. Also in 2011, I changed jobs. One of my new co-workers is Rickey Douglas. He is a very dedicated Christian, but not the type of individual that was condescending. I listened to him. He kept telling me I needed to come to church, but still, I was being “defiant” not to. In 2012, I went on a “wheeling trip” with my jeep club. I drank some liquor back then. When I got to Uwharrie National Forest, I started drinking and it made me feel very strange. I did not know at the time, but it was making my blood sugar surge and then crash as a result of diabetes. I became very scared, and I prayed to God that night (first
time I had prayed in many years) that if He would get me through the night, I promised to God that I would go to Church with my co-worker and that I would start listening to Him. God was really getting a message to me in ways I had not begin to fathom. Thanksgiving 2012, I had something to eat that did to me almost
identical what the liquor did to me. Needless to say, I completely quit drinking liquor. I continued to feel bad that whole weekend on and off. On the monday after Thanksgiving, after I got home from a workout, God completely consumed my heart. I wasn’t feeling well. I was in the kitchen, and all of a sudden, I had the most amazing feeling I have ever had in my life come over me. God had entered my soul. I stood there in a complete stare. Then I started crying, then laughing, then crying. I was an emotional wreck, but in the most amazing way possible. I have never, ever felt that complete in my entire life. Yes, I got saved right there in my kitchen. I’m sure a lot of you has felt that, but wow, what a feeling! Needless to say, I became a very serious church attendee. In 2013, I met what became my second wife. We married in 2014. Unfortunately, we got divorced in 2016. Along the way, I got baptized on Easter 2014 at the Ted Convocation Center in Norfolk while attending New Life Church. I also lost my dad in 2013. He was 87. My dad was not saved, until two days before his death. My brother is a Christian. I had already made up my mind I was going to talk to my dad about accepting Christ as his personal Savior. But, my brother asked me if I would. I told my brother, I was going to do that anyway. He said if I needed a Chaplain to assist me, and I told him, I did not need a Chaplain, that I have God with me. I asked my dad if he believed that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, and he said yes. I also asked my dad if he would accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior. My dad had his eyes closed, then all of a sudden, he opened his eyes, looked straight at me, and said, “Yes, Jesus Christ is my personal savior”. My dad had green eyes. But, when he opened his eyes, his eyes were so deep blue. It was so awesome! The next day, my brother’s pastor came to visit my dad and he asked him if he had accepted Jesus as his personal savior the day before, and my dad said, I SURE DID! The next day, my dad went to be with the Lord. Without God, there is no way I would have done what I did with my dad. Since he has died, the family has stayed so strong and my mom is still alive today…no doubt because peace came across the family with my dad being in God’s hands. My mom and dad were married for almost 62 years!
I became a member of New Life Church in 2015 but due to my divorce, I quit attending in 2016. Didn’t want to run into my ex-wife. She is a member of New Life Church as well. I once again wasn’t attending church, because I simply did not know where to attend. Remember, God puts things, and people in your path for a reason. Had it not been for Michael Thompson, I may not have ever endured the episode I did with diabetes. Instead, I could have died from it. Michael Thompson is much more than a doctor. He’s an awesome man, a man of God, and my friend now! I was blown away that he attends Abundant Life Fellowship. What a blessing!
So, I went churchless for about 11 months. I had met Marshall…he’s a member of the Jeep Club. I had no idea he attended church. We were talking, and he said he attends Abundant Life Fellowship. He talked about how nice the church is. So, I said absolutely, I need to attend and see for myself! I have been amazed about how nice everyone is. I love Abundant Life Fellowship. Very small, and down to earth church. I will tell you I never met as many people at New Life Church, as I have
at Abundant Life. Hard to believe, but very true. So once again, God put Marshall in my path, for a number of reasons. One, to get me to a church I would be happy to attend! I needed a great friend like Marshall is and I believe he needed a good friend too— and I am. God does some magical things. I will never, ever take God for granted again. He is amazing…I believe we all know that.