Conversion

It’s interesting how God sometimes returns us to our spiritual roots, even while we are pressing forward in the faith.

Forty-four years ago on Easter Sunday, 1965, I became a Christian at eight years of age in response to a sermon preached by George Batson. George was then a young Assemblies of God pastor starting his first church in Annapolis, Maryland, and my parents were among the first members of his young congregation.

I lost touch with George over the next forty years, but then ran into him while visiting a mutual friend. It took me several minutes to realize who he was, and my eyes then welled up in tears as I thanked him for leading me to the Lord. To my surprise, he and his wife vividly remembered my conversion those many decades before. He’s now one of my Facebook friends and a fellow faculty member at the liberal arts Christian college where I sometimes teach.

My conversion, despite my young age, was life changing and I never had any doubts that God’s hand was on my life from that day forward.

I’m told that the tear stains from my conversion were visible on that church’s old wooden floor for many years thereafter. It’s since been torn down, but the fruit of George’s ministry continues.

I sometimes wonder if there can be true conversion without tears that flow from true repentance and the wonderful release that then follows from true forgiveness.

As I now pass on the faith that once was handed to me, my own conversion compels me to avoid the current fades of easy-believism and to preach true repentance. As a result, others are finding true forgiveness and leaving their own tear stains on innumerable floors as ongoing testaments to God’s continuing power and grace.

(c) Copyright 2009, Fulcrum Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

7 responses

  1. I don’t think I cried. I don’t ever remember even saying anything like a “sinners prayer.” Jesus-in-my-heart was, as far as I can remember, always just a matter of fact. Actually, I can remember being 3 or 4 years old telling the grocery store check-out lady that Santa Claus was make believe and that Christmas was about Jesus being born so I could go to heaven. And I can remember being in first grade explaining Revelation 22 to my teacher (who tried to get me expelled because she thought I had cheated on my memory verses) about no more curses or night and how Jesus’ name will be stamped on everyone’s foreheads because we’ll all be with him (in my very 6-years-old understanding).

    Your conversion sounds passionate and moving — which, I think is perfect for the kind of man you are and the kind of conversions that you’ve facilitated over the years.

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  2. Well, if you didn’t say the “Sinner’s Prayer” and you didn’t cry, then you must be reprobate.

    Seriously, I’ve gotten away from having people say the “Sinner’s Prayer”. Instead, I tell folks to get alone with Jesus and confess their sins, ask for forgiveness, and get any other issues resolved between them and God. I tell them to then let other brothers know that they’ve become a Christian by deciding that Jesus is Lord of their lives, thus confessing with their mouths what they now believe in their hearts.

    I see much more fruit from that.

    Also, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all going to be surprised with who shows up (and doesn’t show up) in heaven! You won’t find any “Salvation formula” from me, other than seeing who has made Him Lord of their lives.

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  3. Jim,
    Thanks for sharing about your conversion that Easter Sunday! Your response to God and His saving power is always great to hear. The tears of a child are precious when they express a heart and a life that is given to God.

    It is amazing how God directs our lives and gives many mercy miracles. He makes us fruitful in His divine service.

    God has used your life to bless others. Thank you for being faithful and fruitful. Keep up the good work for the Lord of the harvest. God is your “present help in time of need.”

    George Batson

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  4. Pingback: Resurrection Sunday « Crossroad Junction

  5. How do we reconcile your comment that “we may be surprized by who shows up in heaven” with the scripture that says “by their fruit you will know them”?

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  6. That’s exactly why we will be surprised. Not all who say “Lord, Lord” necessarily are Christians, while some who we might disagree with theologically but who do the will of the Father as a result of the faith they’ve found through grace — and as evidenced by the fruit they bear — are going to be celebrating in eternity with the rest of us!

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