I started playing guitar when I was thirteen. I grew up listening to The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Elvis, Johnny Rivers, The Monkees, Simon and Garfunkel, and the list goes on. I wanted to play guitar in church. A friend and I decided we’d play together. We were told we couldn’t play guitar in the church because it was the Devil’s instrument, and that there was no place for rock n roll in the church. If I wanted to play piano or organ I could. At the time I thought, “Something just doesn’t sound right about that. What is that?”
Skipping forward to when I was twenty-on years old, I was out on my own. If you’d asked me, I was saved born again, going to heaven. However, I had a live-in girl friend, and I found myself at an abortion clinic. My idea of who God is, and his character is this. He cares more about the length of my hair, whether women wear pants, and what music I’m playing, than anything else. I concluded, “If those things don’t meet God’s standard, then what I’ve done now means he cares nothing about me. God wants no part of me.” That led me to a downhill spiral.
At twenty-six years old I woke up one day and said, “That’s it. I’m done. Today is the last day I’m going to live. That’s it!” That day I received a phone call form somebody I hadn’t talked to in years. I’m don’t know how they reached me. It was a random, friend of a friend, call. They said, “How are you doing?” My pat answer was, “I’m doing fine.”; the same answer we all give. I had the fake mask on. Then they shocked me by saying, “God told me to call you today.” I said, “God didn’t tell you to call me. I know that for a fact. God doesn’t want anything to do with me after what I’ve done.” When they invited me to church I said, “I don’t want anything to do with church; the bunch of legalistic hypocrites that praise God in the church, then go out and curse the waitress because their glass wasn’t full. I don’t want any part of it.”
They wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. They said, “I know if you say you’ll go, then you’ll keep your promise.” Finally, just to get them to shut up I said yes. When I went I heard something I had never heard in my life. I heard about grace; that no matter what I’d done, no matter where I’d been, no matter how wrong it was, God would forgive me. I heard that he wasn’t a God in heaven whose character was to beat me across the head with a stick every time I messed up. Nor was he waiting to throw stones at me every time I messed up. For the first time I heard he was a God that no matter what I’d done His grace covered it, and even more. I thought, “How is this?”
I’ll never forget the night I was driving down the road. I pulled off to the side, and sat on some steps. I said, “Okay, God. Here’s the deal. I’m hearing religion versus relationship. I’m hearing you have enough grace to cover everything I’ve done, no matter what it is. If you have that much grace I’m willing to give you my entire life, but I want all of you. That day was the turning point in my life; the day things changed in my heart and my life. There was a hunger after that to know who God is, to open his word to find out what he has to say. If it had not been for God’s grace in my life, today I wouldn’t be sitting here.