The story you are about to read is true and the names remain the same as there is only One who is innocent. It was very dark early one morning on Marquita Street in Waco, Texas. Gary, a boy of 5 years old, lay in bed as his mother slept beside him. Gary was awakened by activity in the bedroom. It was silent activity that stirred at the foot of the bed. Gary alone was awake to see it. He looked at a scene that appeared to be a scene from a Biblical story. Gary’s vision was filled with an old stone well in the center surrounded by people and a few animals. There was a donkey on the left side of the well and a man, Gary thought that looked like Jesus, on the right side. Other people and a few animals were behind and beside the well also. Gary thought he was dreaming. He tried pulling the cover over his head to make whatever it was go away. When he lowered the cover and looked again the scene was still there. After repeating the cover solution again without results, Gary watched the ghosts, vision, illusion or whatever it was. The people, animals and the One that looked like Jesus were a mere three to four feet from his body. Gary was scared stiff and afraid to move a muscle. However, Gary eventually did go back to sleep. The next morning Gary woke with a jump and looked down at the foot of the bed. Nothing was there not even a donkey track. What all this meant, Gary did not know but hopefully as the years passed in life, he would gain some clues. Was this vision one of Biblical proportions or what? Gary’s mom had taken him to a Baptist Church as a young child. All Gary could remember about those days was getting in trouble for turning around and talking to the people in the pew behind them. Gary attended Kendrick Elementary for the first year of school and then moved to Hewitt to attend Midway. Gary’s mom and dad attended the Methodist Church in Hewitt. Gary’s mom named Shirley had been raised Baptist. His dad, Bob, had been raised Catholic. Gary figured they compromised and went Methodist. For years Gary went to church trying to figure it all out. One Sunday while Gary’s dad was out of town on business, Gary walked down to the front of the church at the end of the service. Gary did not know what it all meant when the preacher, Delbert Taylor, shook his hand and sprinkled water on his head. To wrap things up, Pastor Taylor ended the time with a prayer. Gary’s mom was happy about what had happened but her only regret is that Bob was not in town for this unexpected event. Gary’s mom and dad encouraged Gary to get involved with the youth program called “Good News”. They also urged him to go to the church sponsored youth camps. The teenage years for Gary came with an onslaught of temptations. The youth group was not a dam to stop the flood of evil but a rainstorm to enhance it. Some of Gary’s closest friends in the youth group were the wildest people Gary knew. Gary did not blame them for the evil he got into because Gary had a sinful nature, too. Though the scriptures taught guidelines for living every day, people did not seem to think that the Bible was practical for every day living. The idea trickled down to the youth and that is where the wayward journey began or at least was enhanced. Gary would go on shop lifting sprees with a youth group buddy that lived on the same block. The trick was to buy one or two items and then go back into that store or another store and load the sack up with whatever they could sneak into their sacks. One day Gary and a friend both boasted of stealing about $200 worth of goods each. Then they laughed and told each other that they did not have a conscience. On another episode of theft things did not go so well. Gary and two friends invaded the old Woolco store on Bosque to steal some music. The plan was to get razor blades and the music tapes desired and go to a secluded department in the store. Then the large box wrapping on the tapes would be cut off with the razor blades and the tape stuffed down the front of the boys’ pants. Their shirts would conceal the tapes. The plan was working like a charm until about halfway to the front door, the boys were stopped by a security guard. The guard and two store managers pulled the boys aside. The guard showed Gary the box that used to hold a cassette tape. The other gentleman found an 8-track tape on Gary’s friend, Cody. When the guard tried to match the box with the 8-track tape, he discovered that the tape would not fit in the package. Gary and his friends were lead to the security office and questioned. Gary still had the cassette tape stashed in the front of his pants with his shirt covering it. Gary was scared. After much questioning, the guard oddly allowed Gary to go call Scott and Cody’s dad and all three were released. Scott said the guard let Gary go outside the security room to place the call because they wanted to see if Gary would freak out and reveal the whereabouts of the other tape. To Gary’s knowledge, he never stole anything in a premeditated theft again. Another time Gary was with the youth group on a trip to the Texas State Fair. On this trip Gary was first exposed to marijuana. At that time he did not consume “pot” but he did have one of his first experiences with inhalants. As a freshman and sophomore in high school, inhalants and a rare treat of alcohol were the “in thing”. Since inhalants such as “Banapple” “Locker Room” or “Cryptonite” could be purchased at a local “head shop”, many of Gary’s friends were doing them. Gary did countless bottles of them himself. The inhalants gave a high that lasted 30 to 60 seconds so the teenagers did them in school, church and anywhere else a quick sniff could be consumed. Driver’s education and a driver’s license provided Gary and his friends access to more and more temptation. Every weekend became party time for them. Friday and Saturday meant party long and hard. Sunday meant go to church. The parties got wilder and wilder. Drugs and alcohol became a way of life on the weekends. During the high school years, marijuana and alcohol were the “bread and butter” of fun. Gary still went to church every Sunday because he said “there was such peace there”. However, Gary also looked to other sources of inspiration to guide his life. Rock music, Tarot cards and horoscopes became gospel for Gary as the church was only a once a week solitude. Gary now had friends who were mainly those who did not attend church or know anything about the Bible. Gary by now had gotten busted by the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) once and would soon get busted again. Gary paid a $30 fine for drinking under the age of 18 and kept right on in his partying ways. By his senior year in high school, Gary was making his own wine or “Mead” in his room, smoking “pot” every day both at lunch and in the evening, and staying out until 4 or 5 AM in the morning trying to find “something evil to do”. Many nights Gary did not even remember how he got home. Rock concerts had become Gary’s church and the bands were the ministers. Drugs and a “good time” were his gods. Gary also did a little dealing of drugs to friends. On one occasion, he was working afternoons, evenings and weekends at a grocery store called United Super in Hewitt. Gary had purchased a pound of marijuana. He was selling bags of dope at a profit which would pay for “his high”. Gary was working one night at United Super when a friend came in and wanted to buy a bag. Gary gave a bag to his friend who went into the men’s bathroom to inspect the potential purchase. The friend sat on the toilet with the stall door closed and examined the goods for about five minutes. When the “weed” proved worthy of purchase, the friend walked by and handed Gary the cash for the “bag”. Gary went back to bagging groceries. Meanwhile, another friend of Gary’s named Dirk Gibson sang in the school choir and was a very talented musician. Dirk was into rock music and had a large collection of rock albums. Gary and Dirk spent a lot of time listening to recorded or live music at Dirk’s house. One day a friend from the school choir named John gave Dirk a copy of a Christian rock album. The band was called the Resurrection Band. Dirk and Gary listened to it and thought it was really good. Eventually, Gary went to a bookstore called Zondervan’s on the Richland Mall and bought the album. While Gary was in Zondervan’s listening to the demo of the group, a guy named Mickey Petty came over and asked Gary about the music he listened to. Gary was wearing an REO Speedwagon T-shirt so that is where the conversation began. Mickey talked to Gary about knowing the Lord personally. Gary purchased the Resurrection Band’s album called Colours and exited the store with the Gospel in rock form and the words of the conversation stuck in his head. Gary made a tape of the Resurrection Band and listened to them on occasion. However, Gary knew in his mind that he could not listen to the band on the weekends because the music did not go with “a party atmosphere”. It must have been a “spiritual thing”. The word in school was that if you did alcohol in high school, then you would do drugs in college and if you did drugs in high school, then you would do harder drugs in college. This statement proved true as Gary almost graduated from marijuana to cocaine on his high school graduation night in 1981. A friend traded a very loaded Gary Landon a small dose of cocaine wrapped in a one dollar bill for a “joint”. At the all night party Gary thought about “snorting” the coke but later gave it to a friend who willing consumed it. The next day about lunch time Gary and his friends woke up from their all night bash in Midway Park. They were awakened by some junior girls who were finishing the final day of school by joyriding on their lunch hour. The summer of 1981 got even wilder. Just prior to Gary’s 18th birthday, he got busted a second time by the TABC for drinking under age. Gary lied to the officer about his name and address. He told the officer that his name was Larry Elkier and that he lived in Woodway on Oriole. The Summer rock concert scene then kicked in and took Gary and friends on some wild rides. The Van Halen show was filled with booze, “weed” and black mollies (speed) -- all packaged at high speed in a T-top Camero. The Peter Frampton show arrived with marijuana in pipes and in tea made with marijuana stems and seeds. The odd thing about the Summer of ’81 was that Gary went to church every Sunday even through those days of wine and drugs. One weekend the big Texas rock festival known as the Texxas Jam was in Houston on a Saturday. Gary and 5 friends left Waco at 6 AM in a station wagon. They began smoking hash and drinking beer for breakfast. They arrived at the concert and continued to do “pot” and “booze” until very late that night. The show ended and the 6 buddies found themselves sleeping in the station wagon in a roadside park just outside Houston. The rising of the sun woke them up early the next morning. They all ate at IHOP and headed for home. Gary got home at 9:30 AM that Sunday morning. Gary thought to himself that he still had 30 minutes to shower and get to church. Gary got to church on time and was thankful that the ushers did not do drug test. Some interesting things also began occurring that Summer of 1981. On two separate occasions, members of what Gary’s friends called the “God Squad” came down to Midway Park where Gary and many of his friends partied day and night. Their hangout was unofficially known as “THE BEACH”. The two gentlemen who visited the folks at “The Beach” were just normal guys in their twenties who said they wanted to talk with the crowd about Jesus. One guy came at night. The place was packed. The music was loud and most were not in their right mind. After many people made fun of the brave soul who came to tell them about Jesus, Gary stepped up to him and began to ask questions. He asked questions like did this guy like the music that was playing and was sex wrong? The guy answered all Gary’s questions with honesty and by what the Bible said. Some other radical people at The Beach came up and starting giving the guy a hard time again. Gary found himself defending what the guy was saying. The guy mentioned he was from First Baptist Church of Woodway and departed in peace. Gary’s friend that he rode with to the party that night asked Gary if he believed what the guy said. Gary’s friend knew that Gary was seriously thinking about it. He told Gary not to worry about it. The other “man on a mission” came during the day while Gary and his friends were playing frisbee and partying. His name was Rod Gaylor and he offered the same message of a new life and a new high through a relationship with Jesus Christ. He said he used to party just like they did but that he gave up drugs and booze when he meet Jesus. Gary also got another message from his work world as one co-worker told him that the Bible said it was okay to do marijuana. He told Gary that in the Book of Isaiah it said to “enjoy the herbs of the field”. For now Gary justified his partying and wild living with the fact that he belonged to the Methodist church which was a “very liberal church” that did not mind people partying and doing drugs. The start of college at MCC hit with a “bang”. Literally, as Gary was hit from behind by a new teenage driver who was not paying attention in slow moving traffic. Gary’s head smashed into the visor which was down over the windshield. Gary got a close-up view of the glass cracking inches in front of his eyes. Gary’s silver Audi Fox was crushed between two large luxury cars and determined “totaled”. Gary walked away “without a scatch”. What a first day of school ! The situation did get Gary to thinking a little about life, death and eternity. Gary was thankful to be alive and went back to celebrating life by partying more and more. One night Gary and a friend were at a garage band’s party in Hewitt, Texas. The band consisted of Gary’s closest friends: Dirk, Rance, Blake and one of many guitarist that stayed with the band for a brief time. Dirk’s band was called Golden Ladle. Dirk’s closed-in garage/room was where they practiced and had keg parties many weekends. That night the keg was on the driveway right outside Dirk’s door and the door was wide open with hard rock blasting into the night air. The friend and Gary were in a little yellow truck smoking dope when a police car pulled up beside them. The police officer said “something smells good over here”. The policemen busted Gary and Tim for possession of marijuana. Tim had one and half fingers of “pot” in a plastic vitamin box. Funny thing is that the police were only answering a “disturbing the peace call” filed by a neighbor who felt the music was too loud. Gary and the owner of the little yellow truck got questioned at the Hewitt Police Department. The police questioned them about who they got the drugs from. The police sternly warned them to stop smoking dope. He also said that they knew Gary and Tim’s vehicle descriptions and would be watching them. Gary went home and received a call of concern and reprimand from his friends at the band’s party. Gary appreciated their concern as they had collected a healthy sum of money in case Gary needed to be bailed out. Gary then relaxed a brief time before “sneaking” out of his private entrance. As was his custom, Gary would put his car in neutral and roll it silently down the driveway and street before “firing up” the engine. That crazy night finally ended about 4 AM the next morning. One night a short time later at the lake, Gary had smoked a large quantity of “grass”. About 10 PM he was leaning against a car a short distance from the main crowd at the party, when Gary felt a presence come over him. He knew it was an evil spirit that wanted to control him. Gary spoke with a loud voice “NO”. A few of the people in the crowd turned to look at Gary. Gary knew he had had an encounter with an evil one. Gary had always known that angels and demons were no “fairy tale”. The night continued with a joyride and other events revolving around booze, drugs, music and girls. The evil encounter was blocked out of mind until days, weeks and months later. A few weeks later Gary was “nose deep” in college. He was getting high between morning and afternoon classes. One day at an 11 AM lunch, hard liquor was on the menu prior to Physics class. The “study break” that sticks in Gary’s mind the most was the day Gary and a friend named Robbie got high at lunch with a guy in the “nasty” Northwood Apartments. Robbie had to pick something up at this guys apartment prior to the Rolling Stones concert that weekend in Dallas. It was either drugs or concert tickets. The deal was made and best made plans were laid. When Sunday morning came around five freshman college students packed into Robbie's car early in the morning. It was a dark red Monte Carlo with plenty of music and drugs. Gary felt a little weird at the start of the trip because it caused him to miss his Sunday ritual of going to church. Ten minutes into the trip drugs were flowing and Ronnie Spell wanted to hear some music by Black Sabbath since it was Sunday. The deal with the music hit Gary the wrong way for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that he never was a Black Sabbath fan. However, he did not ever have a problem listening to AC/DC sing “Highway to Hell” and “Hells Bells”. Later that afternoon, Mick Jaggar and the Stones would sing “Sympathy for the Devil”. Well, Gary played along in spite of the eerie feeling in his heart that day. Gary smoked dope and for the first time took cocaine into his body. Ronnie said “just put some under your tongue and your mouth and face will go numb”. He said “this is what dentist use when pulling teeth and such”. Gary smoked enough pot that he did not know if he was numb from the ”coke” or not. However, the barrier of fear of the white powder had been broken. The five travelers finally reached the Cotton Bowl in Dallas for the ZZ Top / Rolling Stones concert. At the gate some young college aged guys were taking tickets and searching people. Gary put his bag of dope on the inside leg of his right sock. The guard grabbed the bag and Gary pulled his leg out of his hands and walked quickly by. The guard called out but Gary kept walking. The guard did not follow. Inside the stadium, the first thing the five were greeted with was a guy holding up a bag and calling out “acid, get your acid”. He came right up to Gary and said “do you need some acid, man”. Though the fear of cocaine had come to an end, acid was not on the menu. Gary told the guy “no I’ve got plenty”. The music finally started when ZZ Top blasted out old favorites. However, for some reason every song that had some kind of “religious words in the lyrics” seemed to ring in Gary’s ears. ZZ Top did “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and the song stuck with Gary all day and for weeks made him think about what the band was talking about in the song. Then the main event happened, the Rolling Stones took the stage with Mick Jaggar wearing a boys football jersey that fit like spandex. It was a Dallas Cowboy jersey, number 33 Tony Dorsett. Gary thought it was strange. The neatest part of the show was when Mick got into a “cherry-picker” and they extended it over the crowd. The bottom side of the bucket Jaggar was in was only two feet above the hands of the crowd. He had a cordless microphone and was singing the entire “cherry-picking” time. The show ended and Gary and his friends were buzzing, both from the music and the drugs. When they got to the car, Robbie’s speakers had been stolen off the back dash. After flirting with some girls from Oklahoma, the five rock and rollers rolled back to Waco. That journey ended at 3 AM. Some of the college buddies Gary had met and his old friends from Midway High planned to get together the next weekend to party one night at the lake. “The Little Circle” was the chosen spot. Gary got there early and got the music going. First, Kansas cranked out some tunes from Gary’s black Sunbird. When twilight arrived, the tape flipped and Rush 2112 brought the future into the present. Another friend of Gary's had scored a deal on some cocaine and Gary’s mind was set on trying it again. After all, many of the musicians Gary listened to were praising “coke” in their songs. Pat Travers had his song “Snortin’ Whiskey and Drinking Cocaine”. Eric Clapton and Jackson Browne both had songs called “Cocaine”. So Gary and his close friend took out the Frisbee and cut two lines of cocaine, one for Gary and one for his close friend. They both consumed and the evening was an intense blur. When Gary finally got home hours later, his eyes were still “bugging” out of his head. Gary was “wired awake”. It was almost scary. It was also about this time that Gary would smoke a joint with a friend and then go home at 9 or 10 PM on weekend nights. He had discovered the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. The Proverbs fascinated Gary. He would read passages dealing with how the wicked act versus how the good should act. After reading only a few verses in the Living Bible, Gary began wondering which one he was: good or wicked. He had some good traits but a lot of wicked ones, too. The question kept echoing in his mind: “was he good or evil?” Gary wrote the following poem during this time of searching: I seek a fortune not found on earth, I have been searching since my birth. My past has been a happy experience But I still seek a great deliverance. My ways have got to change; I can’t be king of my life anymore, I must open the door - And let Jesus totally in. That will be the only way to win - In the struggle to overcome sin. One day after class, Gary was on his way home when another divine appointment happened. Gary passed Scott Stirm on the road. Scott pulled Gary over. Scott had given up drugs, booze and living on the wild side a little over two years earlier as a sophomore in high school. Scott had “given his life to the Lord”. Scott’s older sister, Kim, who Gary had seen “wasted” at many parties had also changed her life around. Scott asked Gary how things were going. Gary talked about seeing the Rolling Stones in concert. Scott told Gary about a Christian rock band called DeGarmo & Key that he had just seen at the Waco Convention Center. He said it was a great show. Scott then invited Gary to go see Baylor and Texas play football in Austin. “While they were down there” Scott said “they could stop by and see an old high school buddy, Brent”. Gary thought it was a good plan. The Saturday finally arrived that Scott and Gary would go to Austin for the Baylor - Texas Game. It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving weekend when they departed for Austin. On the way to Austin Gary began to ask Scott questions about what happened in his life that made him stop partying and start reading the Bible and such. Scott told Gary a brief story of what happened. Then Gary said that he went to church every Sunday but something was still missing. Scott spoke exactly what Gary needed to hear about life and “knowing the Lord”. Later Gary would discover that the Holy Spirit was the one speaking through Scott that day. The Spirit of God spoke to Gary’s deepest needs. Gary had a peace that day hanging around Scott he had not known all his life. The city limits of Austin came into view. Scott and Gary went to Brent’s dorm first and it was just as they imagined it would be. Brent was the same old guy they had known in high school. Brent was glad to see them but did not show much emotion except a brief smile showing that he was happy Scott and Gary paid him a visit. Brent loved music as much as Gary did. Brent let Gary listen to an album he had just purchased. The visit was a short but quality time. Gary and Scott now had to get to the football game. Well, no miracle occurred at the football field as Baylor got “spanked” by the Longhorns. However, a small victory may have occurred in Gary’s heart due to the talks with Scott about what life was really all about. Gary asked Scott how he resisted the pressure of friends who wanted him to party. Scott shared a Bible verse that would forever be engraved on Gary’s heart: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Scott kept in contact with Gary the next few days. Gary and Scott hung out together at Scott’s apartment listening to some of the music Scott had discovered as a “believer”. Scott then invited Gary to go to church with his sister, brother-in-law and him the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Gary was uncertain about going to church on Wednesday night with Scott and company. As a boy, Sunday morning was it in the Methodist Church and going to a church service or to a “religious” function any other day seemed weird. Finally, Scott convinced Gary to go with them. Wednesday, November 25, 1981(a day forever marked in heaven’s history book) arrived and Gary remembered his commitment of going to church with Scott Stirm. Scott picked Gary up and they drove to Scott’s sisters house. Kim met Scott and Gary outside the house while they waited for Kim’s husband, Carry. Kim’s house was within walking distance of the church so the four were going to walk the distance. Kim talked to Gary about some “spiritual things” while they waited on Carry. Carry came out of the house and the four made their way to the church. At Highland Baptist Church, 30th and Maple, the service began at 7 PM. There was some music and informal speaking and then came time for communion. A gentleman who appeared to be a layman got up on the stage and began to talk about the time of communion. He said that this time was a very free time and was just between the Lord and each individual present. He said that people could take communion at the front altar, at their seats, outside or where ever they felt “lead”. After the guy spoke, Scott tried to show Gary some Bible verses in the Book of 1 John. Gary had a hard time paying attention to the words Scott was speaking because he felt compelled to go down to the front altar. Gary told Scott that he could not listen to him right now. Gary moved forward toward the front of the church. He knelt at the front altar area and began to pray spontaneously: “Lord, I know that I have lived my life on my own and really made a mess of it. Lord, forgive me of how I have messed up my life. I give you my life. Lord, please take my life and do what you want with it.” At that point in my life, it seemed like a thousand pound weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Nothing mattered except the moment at hand. Every sin I had ever committed was remembered by God no more. I knew my life had changed and that the person I was before was no more. It was as if I had to talk about the person I used to be in third person or like I was speaking of someone else. The moments passed and I heard nothing that was going on around me. There was such a “peace” in the air. A small portion of heaven must have surrounded me. When I got up from the altar, I had a big grin on my face. It was so big and real it almost hurt my facial muscle. I walked behind the pew Carry and Kim were in and they knew I had changed. As the Bible says I had become a new creation; the old was gone, the new had come (1 Corinthians 5:17). I felt that passage of scripture and I felt an intense peace that I will never forget. The service ended shortly after that and the lyrics of a song by Kerry Livgren with Kansas came to my mind: “You’re in my rock and roll; you’re in my very soul.” I said this aloud as Scott and I walked back to his car. The peace in my heart was as real as the calmness of that Autumn night in Waco. You could not hear a sound as we walked. It was like the Lord walked beside me with His arm around my shoulders just as a father walks with his son. From that date on, Scott began to teach me key parts of the Bible to help me live my new life. He taught me out of a Bible that he had highlighted many, many verses in. Then he said he thought I needed his Bible. He gave me probably the greatest gift anyone has ever given me: a tool, a weapon and the road map of life. I could not get enough of the Bible, the Word of God. I read it all the time. If I was at work, I read it on my lunch hour or on break. I read between classes at school. It was like air, I could not get enough. I also wanted to go to church every time the doors opened to hear the Word of God taught. I went twice on Sunday and Wednesday night. I also went to Bible studies at dorms, apartments and homes. I went to some church services even on Friday and Saturday night. I had a driving desire to learn as much about the truth of God’s Word as quickly as I could. My cousin, Kirk Landon, was in town at Grandma and Grandpa Landon’s house shortly after my “born again” experience. He gave me a small booklet called “Four Spiritual Laws” which he had received at an FCA meeting. This was one of the most beneficial documents anyone could have given me. This little tract benefited me in my Christian lifestyle as much or more than any other piece of literature with the exception of the Bible itself. The Four Spiritual Laws are: 1) God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. 2) Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life. 3) Jesus Christ is God’s Only Provision for man’s sin; through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life. 4) We must individually believe Jesus as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. As I began to follow the Word of God and the Spirit of God in my life, God began to do some house cleaning in my life. The Lord had already taken my desire away to do drugs, beer or hard liquor anymore. As a friend of mine once said, “Jesus blew the beer right out of my refrigerator”. Though I did face temptations to do drugs again. One day at college, I was between the morning and afternoon classes when my old friend, Robbie Brown, approached me. He asked me if I wanted to go over to the apartment we had been at a few weeks prior to “The Stones” concert. I read between the lines and knew he wanted to know if I want to go get high. I had just come from a room where I thought the MCC Circle K meeting was going to be. No one was there and here I was just outside the building being confronted with “sin”. A million thoughts must have run through my head and Robbie stood there anxiously waiting for my reply. Finally, I looked up and saw the president of the Circle K walking toward the door of the building I was just outside of. I turned to Robbie and said that I could not go with him because I had a meeting to go to. At that instant the Bible verse Scott Stirm shared with me a few weeks earlier flooded my mind: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) I knew the Word of God was true and could help me through any situation, good or bad, in life. The Lord had shown me in His Word that if I planted His Word in my heart, He would bring scriptures to my mind when I needed them most. Some real house cleaning took place one weekend night shortly thereafter. I had been praying about certain areas of my life. One of the main areas was music. One night I was praying about what to do with my collection of albums numbering about 300. My collection contained music by bands such as Led Zeppelin, Rush, AC/DC, The Police, etc. There were few if any songs in my collection that glorified the Lord. In fact, most of the music I owed stood in opposition to God’s Way. So the Lord answered my prayer and showed me that I needed to “trash” my albums that very night. The Lord instructed me to get rid of all but four records. He told me to take a screwdriver and ram it through the vinyl of each album. He also showed me the dumpster down by the lake where I was to throw them away and even gave me a mini-vision showing me that a close friend would see me “trashing my music”. It happened just the way the Lord showed me. I destroyed all but four albums. I threw them in the hatchback of my black Sunbird and drove to the dumpster by a place at the lake we called “Rabbit Hill”. As I was taking handfuls of LP’s and pitching them in the dumpster; Russ, a close friend I had partied with many times, drove up and asked me what I was doing. I told him that “I was doing something I should have done a long time ago”. With a strange look on his face, he bid me a good evening and drove on. I returned home to find the four recordings God had allowed me to keep standing in an empty record rack. The records included 2 albums by Kansas, my first Christian rock album by the Resurrection Band and one instrumental recording by Jeff Beck. The keyboard and guitar player for Kansas, Kerry Livgren, had become a Christian in 1979. Livgren wrote most of the lyrics and dropped his Christian beliefs in here and there. As years went by my Christian music collection grew as I found people giving me music. In recent years I have read that Martin Luther proclaimed that music was the second most powerful thing in the world behind the study of God. As time went on, I began to pray what the Lord wanted me to with my life. One day after class, I was resting on my bed at home when the phone rang. The person on the other end of the line said he was Clay Steele, Program Director for KRZI Radio. I was a little shocked to be getting a call “out of the blue” from the PD for a local radio station. Mr. Steele said a friend from high school had told him that I was interested in working in radio and he had an immediate job opening. I had not seen that friend in months and I had not even been actively looking for a job. My goal in school, however, was to get some kind of communications degree. Mr. Steele suggested a time to meet with him. I went to the appointment and he hired me on the spot. I had a peace from the Lord about working at the station but the question kept going through my mind: “why would the Lord put me back into playing the very music I had just destroyed my collection of: records and posters?” Well, the Lord would have to show me the answer to this question in my “on-the-job” training as I began the job as a live DJ the very next weekend. I found the Lord works in mysterious ways. He gave me the job playing TOP 40 pop and rock at KRZI so that he might take the desire for listening to music that does not honor Him totally away. Also, there was plenty of time to talk to teenagers about the Lord on the phone. I found that a lot of lonely and hurting people call radio stations not only to request songs but to have someone to talk to. I know the Lord opened the door for me to work at KRZI Radio. It was a good training ground for my next position at KBBW, the brand new Christian radio station, which moved to Waco less than a year after I began working at KRZI. Getting hired at KBBW was almost as easy as getting hired at KRZI. At that point in life I discovered that God uses everything I know, experience and learn to further His Kingdom. I worked at KBBW numerous years making some very good friends (Steve Williams, Al Gaskamp & Matt Brandon) , ministering to people who called in and playing the music I liked best. Years after I stopped working at the station, I got a call one day from a guy in Houston who said one night he was on the verge of suicide when he called to talk with me at KBBW. He said he did not commit suicide because of our talk and that he was now working fulltime at a Houston area church. There is a song by a Christian band called the Sweet Comfort Band which goes like this: “You’ve got perfect timing; not a minute too soon, not a moment too late. You’ve got perfect timing. I can see when you move; I can feel when you wait. You hold tomorrow in the palm of Your Hand. Everything runs by Your Master Plan. You’ve got perfect timing.” I experienced the truth of this song while attending MCC. God knew that I had been “sprinkled” with water in the Methodist Church. This was my dedication to the Lord by the church and my parents. However, the Lord knew I needed to go through “believer’s baptism” as an act of repentance and as an “outward sign of an inward change”. One day I was lifting weights at the little gym at MCC. There were some people in the gym I had not seen before. They seemed to be finishing up and we began talking about God. We talked between sets and got on the subject of baptism which I had “little to no knowledge of “ at that time. The two men were on the church staff at Lake Shore Church of Christ. After discussing the topic of baptism, I saw that I had a real need for the act of baptism to occur in my life. They said “let’s do it now”. So we went over to their church and they called some friends of theirs to be witnesses of the event. That afternoon another part of my life was fulfilled as I was baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This was another step in the cleansing and regeneration process of my life. It says in Romans 6 that when I was baptized that my old self was buried with Jesus when He was put in the grave. When I came up out of the water, God was saying about my life, “this is my son with whom I am well pleased”. God felt this way about me because as I came up out of the water, I was now “spiritually resurrected” and could now walk in a new way of life. God also brought my friends from the Church of Christ into my life so that as many Christian denominations as possible could impact my spiritual life and show me that the division between churches and races must end by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus and to one another. Thank the Lord for His Perfect Timing in all things. While at MCC, I began attending the Baptist Student Union meeting. The group met once a week and I met several people who lived for the Lord on a daily basis. One friend that I became very close with was El Duane Davidson. El Duane played on the MCC tennis team. He and I would get together often so he could “beat the dog out of me “ in tennis. He also started going to Highland Baptist Church where I frequented. One Sunday he invited me to go to his church in Crawford, Texas. I willing went with him for a country church service and then a down home cooked meal with all the trimmings. After the meal, we went walking in the weeds and woods beside his house. El Duane knew a good ledge overlooking a ravine where we could go and talk and pray. We walked about a quarter of a mile until we came to a cluster of tree on the edge of the ravine. As we walked through the trees we saw a rattlesnake setting on a limestone rock about 10 feet in front of us. In unison we began to rebuke the snake. We told him to leave that place in Jesus’ Name and that Jesus had crushed his head by His death on the cross. Ironically, the snake never coiled to attack or even started rattling. Then after about 30 seconds of cursing and rebuking the snake, he literally leaped off the side of the cliff to the bottom of the ravine which was 10 to 12 feet below. The ravine appeared to have been a sizable river that had dried up about 1000 years earlier. Both El Duane and I were amazed and overwhelmed with joy at the power of God and the authority we had in the Name of Jesus. We then took our place right next to the rock where the snake had been lying. During that time in my life, I visited as many youth and young adult programs as possible to meet people who followed the Lord and to get involved with friends who followed Jesus not the world’s ways. I had come to understand the Bible verse that says “bad company corrupts good character”. I went to meetings at Woodway Baptist, Calvary Assembly of God, Highland Baptist and various other churches. I just wanted to know God and God’s people more and more. In my journeys from church to church, I met Shannon Burr, Allen Key and got reacquainted Randall Nutt (a friend from the Good News Youth Group). Randall had experienced some changes in his life as well and he shared those with me. Randall also had received some good teaching on things such as spiritual gifts and the importance of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. In my past and present teaching experiences I had not yet encountered anyone who had a knowledge about these important topics from the scriptures. So Randall, Allen, Shannon and I began having Bible studies at my house on Friday or Saturday night. The times we had were spontaneous yet restful. We would just sit back and pray and let the Holy Spirit take the Bible study and evenings where He wanted to take them. We had timely words come forth for each of our lives and the presence of God always fell on each of us. One night I remember well because it was one of the first nights I really experienced the gifts of the Holy Spirit firsthand. Allen, Randall and I were sitting on the floor in my room praying. The presence of God was heavy in the room that night. We were all praying and worshipping the Lord silently and aloud. I began to speak in another tongue I did not know. This was my first experience of many in speaking or praying in tongues. Since then I have discovered that praying in tongues is a good way of praying for someone who you do not exactly know how to pray for or for praying for yourself when you do not know how to pray (Romans 8:26). . Though that night the Holy Spirit wanted to teach us to pray in the “tongues of angels”, there were other times in our small gathering that God showed up and just wanted us to laugh. I remember several occasions just sitting and laughing “uncontrollably” with my friends in my room on Dixon Drive in Hewitt, Texas. If people would have seen us they would have thought we were drunk as they thought the Apostles were on the day of Pentecost. In fact, the Apostle Peter had to stand up and tell the crowd, “these men are not drunk as you suppose”. He went on to quote an Old Testament prophecy: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy”. (See Acts 2) One night I was worshiping the Lord with a “full house” at Highland Baptist Church. The Word was coming forth from the congregation. People from the audience were reading verses from the Bible as the Lord put them on their heart. I really felt impressed to share the last part of Isaiah 40. I was in the back pew on the lower level of the church. My heart was racing and I was nervous about reading in front of this very large group of people. The service fell “deathly quiet” and I knew it was my time to share the “word” God had given me. The minister seemed to be waiting for me to share the passages from Isaiah. Finally, spurred on by the Holy Spirit I began to read aloud Isaiah 40:28-31: Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” As soon as I finished reading the last word of the verses, Don Crossland said this passage in Isaiah was the one that was on his heart. He said it as though he had been waiting for the Lord to confirm the passage by having someone else read it that night. The very last verse I read from Isaiah 40 became the theme for Highland Baptist Church for years to come. Much of the church literature and such had the verse on it. As I continued to make my way through MCC, I started looking into extra curricular activities such as dating. I went out with a few girls while at MCC. I did try to date girls who followed the Lord as I knew the importance of “not being unequally yoked”, that is dating girls who lived for God not for the world. One girl I dated was named Marlene Rupio. She had just started going to church at Highland with this girl I knew from my Old Testament religion class. It was kind of strange the way we went on our first date. I had tickets I was selling to the Resurrection Band concert. The Resurrection Band was one of my favorite Christian rock bands from the inner city of Chicago. I was pumped about them coming to Waco. The day of the concert I saw Marlene in the MCC Student Center and I started telling her about the concert. She told me to call her that evening and she would see if her parents had anything for her to do that night or if she could go to the show. She still lived at home with her mom and dad. Anxiously, I called her early that evening and she could go. I picked her up at her house and we went to a great rock show at the Heart of Texas Fair grounds. The Resurrection Band lived up to their name and brought life to my life and many others that night. (There was one Debbie Vana in the audience who I will talk about later) Marlene and I even got to talk with the band after the show. I started dating Marlene at that time. However, I knew deep down in my heart there seemed to be a gap or breach or something in our relationship that did not jive. Marlene had just started going to Highland so maybe she had not made a commitment to the Lord yet or maybe she was a young believer that had some things that the Lord was trying to clean out of her life. However, in spite of my deepest feelings about the relationship, I tried to force it to work. Marlene was on the MCC Dance Team and was very pretty. One night at church, Marlene and I were there visiting with friends. Marlene went over to see a friend while I talked with this man in the pew in front of us. He was married and seemed to have a lot of wisdom in the area of relationships. He spoke a “word of knowledge” the Lord needed me to hear (1 Corinthians 12:8). The man said that I should not be captivated by Marlene’s outward beauty. He said this more than once in the conversation. I pridefully said I would be okay. As days went on it seemed that I wanted a serious relationship but Marlene did not. A few nights later I was working at KBBW Radio and I had been trying to reach Marlene all day from the station. Marlene was now not calling me as much as she once was and I was getting concerned. Late in the evening at the station, the Spanish minister who did a show came into the station with a group of people. After I got his show going on the air, I visited with the people from his church. I did not say anything about my dating life to them when one of the ladies said that “I should not try to hold on to the relationship I was now in and that I should let God handle it”. She exhorted me with very strong words in this fashion. This was now the second time the Lord had verbally warned me through His servants about this relationship. The relationship did seem to dissolve without Marlene or I ending it per se. I desperately wanted it to continue but it was not going to work and I knew it. I just would not give up and I found myself going against God. When I finally realized there was nothing I could do to save the relationship I became anger at God. At Calvary Assembly of God Church one night, there was a guest speaker who had a “healing ministry”. I was seated on the front row. During the service the lady came up to me and said “let go of what you are holding on to”. I knew exactly what she was talking about. She wanted me to get over Marlene and stop my inward rebellion toward God. I was “convicted to the bone” but still did not give this part of my life back to God yet. In fact, I went on for about 30 more days in my inward state of anger and rebellion toward God. I finally realized that to move on with God, I needed to get right with God, forget Marlene and go on with life. I did release Marlene totally from my life and asked for God’s forgiveness. I was finally free and God revealed to me that He wanted me to get to know Him more and become stronger in His ways before a serious dating relationship consumed a lot of my time. He also showed me that I would meet “someone special” when I started school at Baylor. I felt great about being right with God and about what the Lord had shown me. So I finished MCC with less focus on girls and more focus on God and grades. My reward was an Associates Degree in Journalism. As I began school at Baylor University in 1983, you can imagine the first thing that came to my mind: God’s promise that I would met that “someone special” at Baylor. I quickly forgot I would be at Baylor for 3 more years and that God had that length of time to fulfill His promise. However, right off the bat, I met a girl from the northwest part of the U.S. in the registration line. It was odd how we met. There was a conversation going on about the legality of having sex with someone outside of marriage if you really loved them. I shared the scriptures that discuss if you have sex with someone then in God’s eyes you are married to them. My remarks started a lengthy conversation. Eventually, I got the girl I met to go to a Bible study with me at Gina Parker’s house. Then I met another very sweet girl in one of my Radio/TV Film classes. We went out for lunch one day. The problem I kept running into was the girls at Baylor had a “little rich kid attitude”. Not that I was perfect by any means, but it was hard to swallow that arrogant attitude. One night I was at a Benny Hester concert at Highland and thought I met a real nice Baylor girl at the concert. We visited that night and she gave me her phone number. I called her the next day and her boyfriend answered the phone. I was bummed out that my search for God’s blessing had not brought any good results. The problem was that I was chasing the blessing too hard on my own without God’s leadership. One day as I was praying about this very issue, God put a girl I knew from high school on my mind. We had gone out one time years ago when I was still going to MCC. Her name was Debbie Vana. While I was driving home that day, I prayed half heartedly and half joking that “if the Lord would save Debbie that I would marry her”. I prayed this prayer not because I did not think that Debbie was attractive but because Debbie was still partying a lot and I knew I did not need to hang around a party hearty good looking girl. Still after praying the prayer, Debbie was on my heart and mind. I really felt lead by the Spirit to call her that afternoon. So I called her a few minutes after I arrived home. There was no answer and I felt that anxious feeling from the Spirit that I get when I rush things. I prayed about the situation and the Lord impressed me to call Debbie again at 2 PM that afternoon. So at 2 PM I dialed Debbie’s number again. This time Debbie answered and I asked her if we could just get together and talk. She agreed to the idea. What I did not know at the time is that Debbie and a friend had skipped out of class and had come to Debbie’s house to look at a Bible as they had been in an intense discussion about the Book of Revelation. Amazing that God told me to call Debbie at 2 PM when she would normally be in school. Not only did I catch her at home but she was discussing God’s Word. Wow! God’s timing is perfect. Debbie and I got together and talked about the first time we went out years ago and the idea of going out again. That night I was the guest speaker at a Bible study during the Wednesday night activities at Calvary Assembly Of God. Debbie agreed to go to the Bible study with me. I remember that she sat on the front row and I spoke on “Jesus, Your Friend or Just an Acquaintance”. I prayed that Debbie’s heart would be impacted by the teaching of God’s Word. The next night I got a phone call from my close friend and Debbie’s next door neighbor, Randall Nutt. Randall was the reason Debbie and I originally went on our first date. Randall said that he had some very good news for me. He told me that Debbie came over to his house and began asking questions about the Lord. Randall discussed the scriptures that would lead Debbie to repentance. He said that night she had given her life to the Lord. I was overjoyed and had to go and see her. I guess this is when our dating relationship officially began. Debbie and I went to church and Bible studies every chance we got. We went skiing in Taos, New Mexico with the youth group at Calvary Assembly. On one occasion we went with a big group to a weekend service at Christ for the Nations in Dallas. It was a great time. The Lord’s Spirit was as thick as water in the place and everyone was dancing carefree in the Holy Spirit. Debbie and I dated for several months when she told me that we needed to be apart for awhile. She said her life had radically changed and she did not know if it was the Lord that changed her life or being around me. I could sense also that her friends at school were having a bad effect on her. We were apart for about two weeks and Debbie stopped coming to church. I feared the worst and prayed hard for Debbie. One day I was on my knees praying and the Lord told me that we would get back together for good. The days dragged on and we were still apart. My friends and I kept praying for Debbie. Finally, one Sunday night at church my friend, Robert Freeman, came up to me and said that Debbie was out in the parking lot and she wanted to see me. That night she came into church and we were reunited never to part again. Debbie got involved again with Bible study and such. One night Debbie and I were out on a date when we decided to go to the lake and pray. We went down to where we used to hang out and party with our friends in high school . The place was now deserted and we were glad. We sat in the car and prayed for many minutes. The presence of the Lord was so heavy upon us that we literally could not move. Both of us were plastered to the red bucket seats of my black Pontiac Sunbird. The Spirit of God was so heavy on us we could not even turn our heads to look at one another. The Presence of God is a wonderful place to be. A year later God answered my half hearted prayer about Debbie. I felt lead in prayer that we were to get married. I asked the Lord to show me when we were to wed and He showed me December of that year or 1984. So I called Debbie to see if she wanted to go on a bike ride. She did. So we began to ride and talk. I asked her to marry me and she said “YES”. While we continued our ride, I kept praying for the Lord to confirm the date of our wedding as December. About that time we rode past a new street in Hewitt. The name of the street was December. This confirmed the Lord’s plan for us to be married in December. Baylor got out for Christmas vacation in mid-December and we got married on December 28, 1984. We wanted the wedding to be an outlet for God’s love to everyone who came. I felt it was a blessed time and one of my mom’s friends, Linda Peters, said my face was glowing when I walked out onto the stage. It reminded me of a couple of Bible verses that talked about Moses’ face glowing after an encounter with the Lord and the verse in Psalms that says “those who look to Him are radiant”. The early years of marriage are always tough. Those years involve change and times of lean finances. Deb and I experienced a down month early in our marriage. The money did not last as long as the month did. We had bills to pay and no cash to pay them. Deb and I prayed about the situation. As we went about our daily routine, God was in the process of answering our pray. I was in the process of applying for a job at Hewitt United Methodist Church as youth minister. For some reason I was looking for documentation for the application process. As I looked through some old pay stubs from KBBW Radio, I ran across a pay stub that still had a check attached. Deb and I were ecstatic. After confirming with Judith Lancaster at KBBW that the check was still good, we cashed it and paid the bills we owed. The check just covered our bills. God had been faithful to supply all our needs according to His riches and glory as He promised in Philippians 4:19. This was one of our first big lessons of life the Lord had taught us: Some live paycheck to paycheck but we were to live promise to promise (God’s promises). The Word of God says my body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. To keep the “Temple” in shape Deb and I worked out with weights on a regular basis. There are two experiences I know the Lord was in on in weight room. Once Mike Williams invited me to a lifting contest. I went into the gym where Robert Freeman and Mike were. I was going to lift my max on the bench press. We began praising God and worshiping His Name. As I lifted the weights I kept increasing in the amount I was lifting. One of my favorite verses then and now is Philippians 4:13 - “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”. As Robert, Mike and I kept praising God and quoting scriptures such as the one I just mention, I prepared for my bench press lift of 300 pounds. At 145 pounds or so I would be lifting in excess of twice my weight. I was “psyched in the Spirit” and successfully did the lift. That was the only time in my life that I ever maxed 300 pounds. I attribute it to the Power of the Spirit of the Living God in the gym that day. Another workout related experience that God intervened in came when Deb and I went to Arkansas for a week. Deb and I went to a youth minister training camp just outside Fayetteville. I was the youth minister for Hewitt Methodist Church and I was on a “work related” trip. Deb and I prayed that in the evenings we would find a place to workout. We decided one of the first evenings we were there at the conference to go down to Arkansas University in Fayetteville. We went to the football stadium and got out to walk around. As we approached a door at one end of the stadium, a guy came out of the door. We asked him about the gym or weight room. He happened to be the acting President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). We told him that we were at the Methodist camp doing youth ministry training. He welcome us and then said he could arrange it so we could workout all week long in the weight room. We worked out that week in the same gym that the Arkansas football players worked out in. The gym was a huge state of the art gym that overlooked the football field. We also went over to the house where a lot of the FCA members hung out. I remember meeting one of the Razorback basketball players. Later in life I saw him play against Baylor in Waco. My days at Baylor came to a close on August 16, 1986 when I graduated from BU with a BA in Radio/TV/Film. My career at the Hewitt Methodist Church was also going to curtail shortly. So I was out searching for a job one day. I went to Comtron, a company located in the WACO Radio Building, to apply for a job I saw in the newspaper. The interview was terrible. I was so bummed when I got in my car to leave. I was frustrated, angry, disappointed and every other negative emotion I could have been. I began to pray as I drove out of the parking lot. As I exited the lot God directed my attention to an Audio/Video store across Highway 6. The place was called Highland Camera & Video. I was so upset that at first I ignored God nudging. I was going to just drive home and have a “pity party”. God kept speaking to my heart to go to Highland and apply for a job. Finally, I surrendered and used the turnaround to get on the other side of the highway. I went into Highland where I meet Sam Rhudy. He greeted with an application and a handshake. A short time later I was called in for an interview and was hired for the job. I worked there for three years. I gained valuable skills in the audio/video world and eventually became the Electronics Manager. In this case, God was my employment agency. I should have known He would know where all the good jobs were. My job experiences at Highland eventually evolved into my having my own audio/video business. I did wedding videos as well as a lot of other video jobs for companies and individual alike. Though I did not spend money to advertise and only used referrals or word of mouth, the business boomed. The Lord greatly blessed it and met many of our financial needs through my efforts as a videographer. I discovered one Saturday playing disc golf that Satan does not take vacations or time off on the weekends. Charlie Hunke and I were playing disc golf at the MCC Annex or the old Waco High School building. We both felt a very heavy presence. It was an evil presence. As we discussed what we thought it was, we came to the conclusion that it was the evil spirits of the Lake Waco murders that were hanging around. Charlie and I began to talk about the blood of Jesus and how we were covered with it. The evil spirits departed and the spiritual oppression and heaviness was gone. Deb and I studied about the power of the Blood of Jesus in and around our lives. We learned the most from a man named Benny Hinn. He instructed us via tape and book to “apply the Blood of Jesus daily when we prayed”. Just as Moses and the children of Israel applied the blood to their door posts in Egypt before the angel of death passed over, so we were to apply the Blood of Jesus to our lives, our children, our finances, our home and our cars. Daily Deb and I began to practice this in prayer. In those days we only had one car and this was a great blessing. Every day Debbie took me to work at First Mortgage / First Bankers. The drive was about 10 minutes and we prayed all the way. It was indeed a great way to start the workday. As we prayed we would ask the Lord to cover our beings and our possessions with His Blood, the Most Powerful Defense System in the world. One day we took our car to the mechanic at Brazos Battery to check out some squeaky belts. We thought the belts just needed to be tightened. The mechanic said he totally did not understand how our car could be running right now. He said it was mechanically impossible for our car to function as it was.. He said that we had a bad fuel pump and the belts were not even on right. Debbie and I thanked the Lord for keeping our vehicle running by the Power of His Blood. We learned that God really does have control over all things. The lesson that God has control over all things even cars and trucks was experienced another time in Conroe, Texas. Deb and I were staying with her mom and dad in a Conroe time share condo. All of us were going to Randall Nutt’s wedding. During the afternoon Dan Vana and I were driving around out by the lake. Each of us were in our own vehicles. We stopped on this big parking lot where it looked like you would park boat trailers. When Dan tried to restart his truck it would not start. He messed with the truck for a while trying to get it to start. When he felt it was a lost cause, we called a tow truck. Dan kept tinkering with the truck while we waited. I sat in the car and prayed since I knew my lack of maintenance skills could not help. I prayed that the Lord would help and that Dan would know it was the Lord who solved the problem. A tow truck arrived and was hooking Dan’s truck up and telling him that no place was open to service his truck on Saturday. That meant he would have to spend Monday in Conroe, three hours from home, waiting for his truck or he would have to drive back down Monday night to get his truck. Either way it was going to be a pain. Suddenly, the tow truck driver said he had just received an emergency call and he had to go. He said another tow truck is on the way now. Dan tinkered some more with his truck and this time it started. Dan got out of the truck and pointed to the sky to give some credit to the Lord. He kept saying he did not understand what happened. Debbie and I started going to Highland Baptist Church in the mid-1980’s. To me it was like a homecoming since the Lord had changed my life at the altar inside the walls of the white structure at 30th and Maple. We enjoyed the lively worship and the practical teaching and ministry we received in the church service and Sunday school. One Sunday a friend of mine named Rodney Cox confessed to the class that he had a problem with alcohol. We showed Rodney compassion by gathering around him to pray for him. During the weeks ahead Deb and I prayed for Rodney at our favorite time in our favorite chapel: in the car on the way to work. Rodney’s life and countenance changed as the Lord weaned him from alcohol. The desire for beer and hard liquor was totally taken away. Now we see Rodney with a glow about him. He is filled with God’s joy. He now even leads a Bible study at his house. In the gym my workout partner, David, began to have marital problems. Deb and I began to pray for David and his wife, Debbie. After months of praying for them, we were surprised to see David and Debbie at Highland since they belonged to another church. They told us that they had been going to marital counseling with a couple from Highland. We saw them every Sunday at church for a month or so. However, this episode of our lives and theirs did not have a happy ending. Debbie and David ended up getting a divorce. The pull of the past in their lives was stronger than the pull of the present. Deb and I hurt for our friends. However, we knew that God gave each of us a “free will”. David called me a few years after the divorce was final. He was living out of town in West and no longer working at Time Mfg. He said he had met another girl that he really loved and “could get along with”. David thanked me for always encouraging him when he was down by showing him that God loved him in spite of the circumstances. David is now remarried and I pray for the Lord’s love to be upon David and his new bride. During the 1990’s we had some problems of our own. Debbie had hurt her knee doing aerobics in the 1980’s. She had to have reconstructive knee surgery. Our entire family was under First Mortgage insurance at the time and we only had to pay 20% of $10,000 for her knee reconstruction. With First Mortgage going through FDIC seizure and the First Bankers buyout, the insurance situation changed. It changed from company paid to a large monthly bill for insurance. Deb began to have additional problems with her knee right before the FDIC seizure occurred. Deb had every kind of test known to man done on her knee. The doctor was uncertain what the problem was. The tests went on for months. By the time the doctor finally told us that he needed to do surgery again, our insurance was gone. We prayed that the Lord and the doctor would have mercy on us and not charge us anything for the second surgery. We had $900 left to pay on the original surgery and the second surgery was going to cost $4,000. The Scott and White financial aid department sent us a letter showing payment plans and assistance that were available. Debbie and I prayed all the more about the situation. Ironically, we never received a bill for the second surgery. When Debbie phoned to ask the doctor about invoices for what we owed the hospital, he said that there would be no charge for the surgery. The $900 for the original surgery and the $4,000 for the second surgery had been purged from the Scott and White system. We were so grateful to God for arranging that. I remembered earlier in that year, 1993, that God showed me it would be a year of jubilee. Praise God for His provision and His Jubilee. In the 1990’s I also discovered the “full extent” of God’s love for my friends and I (John 13:1). One summer night in Waco, Satan was out to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). Charlie Hunke and I were playing disc golf in Cameron Park prior to the installation of the “Official Disc Golf Course”. We played until twilight not knowing we were about to enter the “Twilight Zone”. As we drove from Cameron Park through downtown Waco, darkness fell on the city, both naturally and spiritually. We were heading toward I-35 right behind First Baptist Church of Waco when a black lady jumped out in front of my white Nissan Centra. We asked what she was doing and she said she had been drugged. She said she was feeling bad and begged us for a ride home. With some reluctance, finally we gave in to her begging. Charlie got in the back seat and allowed our “friend” to sit in the front seat so he could keep his eye on her. She said she lived over by old Providence Hospital on 18th Street. We began our ride and Charlie and I began to talk with the lady about the Lord and His love for her. She said she was “into the Lord” and then began saying some bizarre things. I cannot repeat much of what she said but the basic theme of her message was that “Jesus is her sex”. She then began to tell us again and again that she was not “tricking” or “pulling tricks”. All Charlie and I could do was look at each other with puzzled looks on our faces. We finally got close to where she said she lived. She told us exactly where to park where she could get out. We came to a stop just off 18th Street. When we came to a stop, she did not try to exit the car but continued talking her head off. About that time, I looked over my left shoulder to see about 20 or so black young men running toward my car. They did not look like they were coming to “greet us in the name of the Lord”. I put my car in drive and sped rapidly away. We drove a few blocks and then I stopped the car and told her to get out. She seemed like she was deliberately taking a long time getting out again. We sternly told her to get out of the car. Finally, she was out of the car and we got out of there. My adrenaline was flowing and heart rate was racing. When we hit I-35 to go to Charlie’s house, we began to breathe a little easier. Charlie called me the next day to tell me a story he just read in the newspaper. He said that 1 white male was dead and another was missing. The police did find their car. Evidently, the two men had been in the same area that we escaped from. I honestly feel that the Lord spared Charlie’s life and my life that dark summer evening. A passage in Isaiah 43:4 comes to mind when I reflect on this almost deadly situation: Since you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for your life. My heart aches for these two men who had their lives brutally taken from them by the work of the evil one. Praise God that Charlie and I were under the protection of the blood of Jesus that night. The Lord always fulfills His promises even the one that says that through others death He will provide us with life. A very short time after this episode in my life, a good friend of ours, Linda Espin, had this same lady try to scam her. The lady’s mission that night was to try and steal Linda’s van. Thankful the lady failed again in her efforts against God’s chosen. By this time in life, Deb and I had been blessed with two children. We had a girl and a boy. The girl, Sharayah, was born just 11 days before I graduated from Baylor. Our son, Josh, arrived very early in the morning on Veterans Day in 1992. Good thing I was still working at the mortgage bank at the time because Veterans Day was a bank holiday for me. I slept past noon after the thrilling event. I give Deb and the Lord credit for the successful births. I also give Deb credit for instructing Sharayah in the ways of the Lord. Deb home schooled Sharayah up until her tenth birthday. During their school time Sharayah and Deb would occasionally talk about the Lord. Sharayah would ask many questions about following Jesus. Deb and I prayed that Sharayah would commit her life to the Lord at an early age so Sharayah would not have to go through the same garbage we went through in life. Deb ministered to Sharayah with the Word many times during school. Sharayah accepted Jesus into her heart the week before Easter in 1993. She was 6 at the time. That Easter Sunday Sharayah wanted to go down to the front of the service and publicly make a profession of her acceptance of Jesus. Mark Wible prayed with her and us. A few months later Sharayah wanted to be baptized. She followed the Lord in believers baptism one Sunday night. We do not feel it was just luck that Josh also went down to accept Jesus on Easter Sunday 1998. It brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts. May they continue to walk in their commitments to the Lord. Psalm 37:4 says that if we delight ourselves in the Lord then He will give us the desires of our hearts. I discovered that God longs to bless us even in the trivial things that may only mean something to our hearts. For years, I had longed to go on a pilgrimage to Bushnell, Illinois to see the music festival called “Cornerstone”. The festival was put on each year by the Resurrection Band and the gang from Jesus People USA (a Chicago based ministry that attended to the needs of winos, druggies and prostitutes in the inner city so as to lead them to the goodness and salvation of God). In 1994, my desires and dreams became a reality as my good friend, Kevin Kerr and I ventured to Illinois. At the 1994 Cornerstone Festival there were over 150 rockin’ Christian bands playing on 6 stages in the midst of 13,000 people. It wasn’t just the music and the fun but the entire environment and spiritual atmosphere there. Jesus said if two or more gather in His Name then He is there (Matthew 18:20). You can only imagine how it was as 13,000 gathered in His Name. One spray painted sign at the festival summed it all up: “Cornerstone - Heaven’s Doorstep”. At that time the Lord was providing our family’s financial needs and desires through my job at First Bankers Mortgage Corp. Every company has its good and bad points. I worked in Collections and Cash Management while I was there. I was asked by the company to move from Collections to Cash Management in order to straighten out the cashiering problems. I inherited a mess. The worst of which was two “rebellious” employees. I prayed the Lord would change the staff members’ hearts or put new people in the department. He chose the second route and I ended up with two of the best employees I have ever worked with in Kay Cooper and Harold Carroll. However, in an imperfect world things do not remain perfect too long. The department was hitting on all cylinders and running efficiently when my relatively new boss decides that our department was her whipping post to beat on. Daily and monthly we would break posting records but to Mary Ann Tyner it was “never enough”. I began to hate my job. I prayed for my work situation and about all the grief that Mary Ann was giving me. I pleaded with the Lord to show me what he wanted me to do. One day Toby Burkett, Patrick Burkett’s mom, called to talk to Debbie about health food. I happened to answer the phone and Toby gave me a “word of knowledge” from the Lord that my boss at work had a “man-hating spirit” and a “spirit of strife” controlling her. Toby encouraged me to pray against these spirits daily. Deb and I began “binding” these spirits and praying for Mary Ann each day on the way to work. We prayed that the Blood of Jesus would cover Mary Ann Tyner. In the next six months time period, I only had one confrontation with Mary Ann. I still continued to pray for what God wanted me to do career-wise. At that time, the upper management felt I was doing a good job in my area but that I had “peaked out” salary-wise. They did give me the opportunity to oversee the customer service department as well as cashiering. The only catch was that there would be no additional compensation for the extra time put in and extra responsibilities acquired. I declined the opportunity. The fact that I was in a dead end situation made me aggressively pursue other job avenues. The harder I tried to find a job the more doors seemed to close. There were a few avenues that appeared right for me but after being lead on by the employers, the doors always shut at the last minute. I wanted God’s direction not my anxiety. The Lord finally told me to stop applying for jobs now that he had a “future and a hope” for me. At the beginning of the year God had shown me we would be “blessed in every way”. I was overcome by an incredible peace from God and worked the next six months or so with joy and peace in my heart. In August, God blessed Deb and I with Cassia Rose Landon, our third child. Then in November, my dad approached me about working for him at Fab-Knit which would soon transform into Reebok Team Uniforms. I prayed earnestly about the position my dad wanted me to take. At that point in life I had come to love my job at First Bankers again. Finally, I sensed the Lord opening the door for me to work at Fab-Knit. I called my dad to tell him I would take the job and his response was a dogmatic “fantastic”. The Lord truly blessed us in every area in 1995. The Lord revealed to Deb and I that we needed to have our own family Bible study with our children. This would unite us and build our relationships with each other and the Lord. One weekend we were planning our agenda as to when we should have our Bible study. We had tickets to the HOT Fair and Sunday night appeared to be the only night the fair would fit into our schedule. However, we all knew that our family Bible study fell on Sunday night. Sharayah did not like the fact that we would have to miss our Bible study if we went to the fair that Sunday night. This really blessed our hearts that she would value the Word of God over simple pleasure. So we did our Bible study prior to going to the fair. We had a great time both in the Bible study and at the fair. 1998 brought some growing pains to the household as we discovered Deb was pregnant with our fourth blessings. Deb’s tummy was growing and we were about to overflow our house at 4000 Austin Ave. The Lord had also been faithful to bless us as we had sown into His Kingdom. As Malachi 3:10 says “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Well, God’s promise held true and we did not have room at our current residence to hold all the blessings He had rained down upon us. So Deb and I began to pray for a bigger home. We both agreed to put the situation totally into God’s hands as far as selling our current home and finding another one that would meet all our needs. It all happened so smoothly and spontaneously. Deb’s mom, Barbara Vana, suggested we look at a house by the Hillcrest Hospital. It was just perfect. Four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, huge living room and kitchen plus a big park right across the street. The house had not even been put on the market yet. Barbara heard about the house from a friend who walked around the park with the homeowner, Patsy Smith. Patsy and her husband were building a home in the country and planned to sell their home at 3100 Mitchell Ave. soon. Deb and I told the Smiths we were very interested in the home and asked how much time would they give us to sell our home. The answer was about 75 days. Deb and I prayed again and put the sell of 4000 Austin Ave. into our Loving Heavenly Father’s Hands. We planned to sell the home on our own so we would have plenty of money for the down payment on the bigger home. We both had such a peace about the whole situation. God was definitely our real estate agent as we had an offer on the home in the first three days. However, the offered price was too low. We got another offer just a few days later and it was from an old friend and colleague from Highland Camera & Video named Kevin Tankersley. Kevin and his wife, Abby, were also seeking the Lord for a home. After Kevin made the offer, no more offers came. The Lord orchestrated the whole deal and by Christmas 1998, a very pregnant Deb and I were living at 3100 Mitchell Ave. Even the day for the move was arranged by the Lord. December 18, 1998 it rained much of the day and it looked like a bad day for moving. We prayed continually during the day that the Lord would stop the rain and make it a good evening for moving. When the rain continued, I prayed that God would just give us a small window of opportunity of about two hours or so that evening. I got off about 4 PM that Friday. It was still raining. However, we believed God would make a way. I was waiting at the Austin Ave. place for my buddies, Ray Struck, Patrick Burkett and Michael Landon to show up to help me move. The rain came down harder and harder. I continued to pray for God to control the weather and make a way. At 5 PM my friends began to arrive and the clouds parted. The rain clouds burned away very quickly and the sun began to shine in its strength. All I could say was “Glory to God” as He made a way for moving that December evening. About this same time, I was caught in a mental dilemma at work. I needed to order plane tickets for Kirk Landon and I to travel to Atlanta for the National Baseball Show. However, the show fell right on the due date for Deb to give birth to child number four. I prayed about the situation and felt the Holy Spirit tell me I would not need a ticket for Atlanta as I would not be going. I pondered that “stirring in my heart” but went ahead and ordered tickets anyway. Our mid-wife, Michelle, then checked Deb a few days later and said that Deb might even have a Christmas baby as Deb was getting very close to “dominoing ”. So I wrote off the impression in my heart as “just me”. Then New Years Eve arrived and still no baby. The day to go to the show came and only minor stirring was going in Deb’s womb. The show started and I was home soon to be a dad again. Then at 4:33 PM on 1/2/99 while Kirk was in Atlanta selling baseball stuff, Charis Elizabeth was sliding safely into Waco, Texas. Charis means Joy, Grace and Gift of Grace and Elizabeth means Oath of God. The name Elizabeth had significant meaning to Deb and I as in the summer of 1997 (Chicago: July 1997), the Lord told Deb she would have our forth child. Only a few days after this I traveled to Nashville for a National Football Show. I discovered that God is even in Nashville. We stayed at the Opryland Hotel which is like a little indoor city. One night after the show I was looking around in the shops in the hotel atrium area when I ran across a music store. As I entered I recognized the song playing in the store as an old B.J. Thomas gospel tune. The song was from a recording I had right after I met the Lord. I looked through the store and found the CD. I thought about purchasing the recording but felt the Lord impressing me that I should not get the CD there. The Lord wanted to bless me with the disc for a lot less than 16 bucks. The show ended and I rushed to fly back to Texas. I checked out and headed out the hotel door for the airport shuttle. The shuttle was about to leave and I was not aware that I could not pay at the bus. The shuttle ticket desk was a good distance from the “shuttle stop” and I needed to be on this shuttle. The bus driver said go ahead and get on shuttle. Even though the shuttle ticket was $11, he said it was “status gradius” and I could ride for free. It was a good thing the ride was free. When I arrived at my destination in Killeen, Texas; the parking fee was more than I anticipated. After exiting the parking lot I only had $10.50 in my wallet. That would have been .50 cents short of the amount needed to pay for both the airport shuttle in Nashville and the parking fee in Killeen. It is amazing how our Gracious Heavenly Father knows our needs before we ask or even know about our needs (Matthew 6:8). Oh by the way, a few days later in Waco, I was able to buy the B.J. Thomas CD at the Meals-On-Wheels bookstore for 2 bucks. The Lord saved me $14. The Lord longs to bless us if we wait on Him and not be anxious. Trusting the Lord in all things is the key (Proverbs 3:6). While I was away in Nashville, another interesting thing happened. One day Deb went to the beauty supply place to get some hair supplies. She entered the store carrying Charis who was only 8 days old. The lady at the front register was so much in awe of Charis that she tracked down her colleague who was in the back room of the store. The lady in back came up to look at Charis. The lady’s name was Tracy. She took over helping Deb at the register and when Deb presented her card, Tracy saw the name “Landon” on it. Tracy asked if Deb was related to me. Deb said I was her husband. Tracy was overjoyed. She said that her husband was Dirk Gibson and that Dirk had been praying for the Lord to show him how to get in touch with us. Dirk did not know where I worked and had not been able to reach us by phone since our phone number and street address were now unlisted. Deb and Tracy exchanged phone numbers. Dirk and I made contact when I got back from Nashville and renewed our friendship. We had not seen each other in about 9 years. The irony is that Tracy only worked at this beauty supply place called Armstrong-McCall for about two weeks. I am glad that God answers prayers and directs people to the right places at the right time so that His will is done and our lives are better. Dirk Gibson and I were very close friends in high school but when I began to follow the Lord in 1981 our paths seemed to part. It did not begin that way. Dirk came to Calvary Assembly of God with me one Sunday. Dirk was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to the front and pray at the altar that day. Dirk bought a Bible and was on his way “walking in the Way”. However, Dirk was the lead singer of a rock band that was moving to California. I sensed in my heart that Dirk moving to California was like “feeding a baby to the lions”. I knew Dirk would be living in a “party zone” among his friends in the band. This type of life style would encourage Dirk to go against God’s ways. The Bible says “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Though I prayed for Dirk during those days, I lost track of him for years. However, from my understanding it was only the prayers of Dirk’s mom that kept him alive during the 1980’s. I saw Dirk in 1991 at our high school reunion. I briefly discussed the Lord with Dirk but he said as soon as he gets established in business, he would get “into the Lord”. Dirk moved several times in the 1990’s to several different cities in Texas. We lost contact with one another until God got involved in January of 1999. Dirk and I had lunch that month after our wives swapped phone numbers. After about an hour discussion, Dirk told me that he had just accepted the Lord. He said he was just “an embryo in the Lord”. We both rejoiced in that moment and I knew 17 years of prayers had just been answered. Dirk said he gave his life to the Lord after his dad died of cancer. Dirk said that he could talk with his dad about anything. However, since his dad had died, he was only left with a void in his life. He then turned to talk to the Heavenly Father and established a relationship with God. Now the calendar has rolled to 2000+ and Dirk and I try to get together once a week to “encourage one another in the Lord”. In July of 2001 Dirk and I got to hang out together a lot as we made the journey to Bushnell, Illinois. This is the sight of one of the biggest music festivals in America known as Cornerstone Festival. There were 300 bands on 11 stages in the midst over 25,000 people. Cornerstone is the “Woodstock” of progressive Christian music. This was the second time in 10 years God had blessed my life with the opportunity to go to Cornerstone. This trip was indeed special as it was a great reunion not only with a good friend but Dirk and I were now brothers through the Blood of Jesus. The festival was also special because of all the bands that were doing reunion concerts at the festival. It was like a musical journey through the last 20 years I had walked with the Lord. Daniel Band rockin’ on the tunes from the early and mid-80’s. Bride and Guardian were my hard rock “soundtracks of life” from the 1990’s and they were both there. Last but not least, Larry Norman who is considered the “Father of Christian rock” and one of my all time favorite musicians played the last night of the festival along with Stryper and Third Day. Definitely, a “Top 10” event in my life. I make this statement not just because of all the great music and good times we had there but because of all the incredible people you meet at the festival. One of the people Dirk and I meet was a intense rapcore musician from just outside of St. Louis named Michael Stahl. When we pulled into our camp sight the first night, Michael and his family plus our other neighbors at the camp sight rushed to help us set up camp. It was amazing. As we were visiting with Michael a few days later he shared a great “Cornerstone” story with us. As he rotated his head shaking his brown, black and gray dread locks, he said he had been in the mosh pit jamming down with a band and he lost his wallet. He did not realize it until he got back to camp. He asked his family what he should do. His mom who lead nightly Bible studies at their camp suggested he go to the Cornerstone lost and found building. So Michael went believing he would find nothing. When he got to the building he asked if anyone had turned in his wallet. When they said they had it, Michael thought to himself that he would get back his wallet, driver’s license and other important identification cards but he felt all his money would be gone. To his surprise, all the cards, money and everything else was still in the wallet. He rejoiced and thanked God all the way back to camp. Only in a place where people follow Jesus’ ways wholeheartedly and have brotherly love for all could this happen. This is the way it should be everywhere on earth. So for five days Dirk and I experience a glimpse of heaven on earth. On the way home, Dirk was already planning the trip for next year’s Cornerstone Festival. Back in Waco, I find reality waiting in a world that has turned its back on God and the great love He has for each person regardless of what they have said or done in this life. There was one person at my office the Lord for years had compelled me to minister to: Shelley Thomas. Debbie and I first invited Shelley to go to Highland Baptist Church with us in about 1998. She came and said she enjoyed it. Then when we felt lead to start going to Antioch Community Church, Shelley came with us one Sunday to ACC’s incredible worship service. Antioch’s folk rock worship band is second to none and the Holy Spirit always falls on everyone in power and love. Anyway, Shelley came and said “wow, everyone here really gets into it”. Most Sundays at Antioch we have literature on the front table. Each Sunday I began getting extra copies of the literature to give to Shelley. The Word of the Lord never returns to Him without accomplishing His will and purpose. I believed that and knew that God’s word would impact Shelley if she kept reading it. I also gave Shelley tapes of Christian rock music. She would tell me she enjoyed the documents and music I gave her. Debbie and I as well as a few others in the office were praying for Shelley. Shelley’s goals in life in those days were looking for “Mr. Right” and partying to drown her pain. Shelley would frequently ask me questions about the Lord and life. The Holy Spirit would give me timely words to speak to her. One morning Deb and I were both praying for Shelley. Deb was praying on the living room couch and I was praying in the bedroom. I felt lead by the Lord to give Shelley a copy of a devotion out of a book called The Upper Room. The article was entitled “Looking for Love”. Debbie was inspired by the Lord to write Shelley a note and seal it so that only Shelley, Debbie and the Lord knew what the contents of the note were. When I asked Deb about the note she merely said it was just “girl talk”. That morning at work I gave Shelley the note along with the devotion I copied for her. Later that day, I asked her if she like the note and the devotion. She said the note and the devotion discussed the same thing: looking for love in all the wrong places instead of looking to God who is love. I looked at her and told her that I did not see Deb’s note and I did not tell Deb about the article I gave Shelley. The Lord must have given Deb and I the same message for Shelley that morning in prayer. Shelley was overwhelmed and said she felt chills all over. There were many other times of interaction with Shelley about the goodness and justice of the Lord. One Monday Shelley came in with the biggest smile on her face. She pulled me aside and said that she had gotten “saved” over the weekend. Shelley and I rejoiced together. Shelley began coming to Antioch on Sundays. She was asked to give her testimony and soon after got baptized. Shelley also joined a life group (ACC prayer and share group) led by Priscilla and Gerry Whisler. Shelley amazes me with stories of how the life group pours out their love and blessings on her family. Shelley is an inspiration to everyone she talks to as she tells them of how she got off the path of self-destruction she was walking and now is walking in the Lord’s way of love, peace, joy and mostly His faithfulness. As mentioned earlier, traveling to different parts of the U.S. is required if you work for Reebok Team Uniforms. My first trip to Long Beach set the Lord’s theme for all my trips. God showed me that “as He was with Israel so He would be with me”. At shows and sales meetings God would always give me a sign that He was near. People would come up and give me business card with a Bible verse on the back. I would be riding on an airplane and someone would give a smile and positive comment about the Christian book I was reading. Another time on an airplane, a guy in the military once told me his story of how he met the Lord. In Phoenix, Kirk and I went to a baseball game and over the loud speaker they played a brief portion of a song by Third Day, a Christian rock band in my current top 10. At the national shows with Reebok International, I had chances to go to the FCA breakfasts before the shows. I heard Clark Kellogg, NBA player, and Jose Alvarez, pitcher for Atlanta Braves, speak boldly about their faith in God. John Wooden also spoke at the Final 4 Show but I was unable to attend that luncheon. Even in this very “party happy” and worldly industry, I was allowed by God to met people in the industry who knew the Lord and were not ashamed of their faith. I met dealers, coaches and salesmen alike who knew that the Lord is the one “who had given them the ability to produce wealth” and Godly fruit in their lives. On occasion I have the opportunity to encourage a friend or colleague with the Lord’s love and goodness. Recently, the Lord inspired me to create a one page document that presented the Truth about the Lord and challenged people to make a decision “to accept or reject” the Truth. The next page is a copy of this document I pray over and place in the magazine pockets on airplanes and leave on the floors of hotel rooms as I depart. God’s love is working in every person’s life right now and this document may stir a heart toward Him. WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS ? Will you accept Him or reject Him? God has shown you His love through Jesus. God loves you so much regardless of what you have done, said or thought in life. God loves you and has a future and hope for you. But how can He work in your life, if you will not let Him in? Today, He stands at the door of your life and in a still small voice asks to come in. Let’s look at some facts from the scriptures: 1) God created you. (Psalm 139:13-16) 2) You have wandered away from God’s love and His ways. (Romans 3:10-17, 23) 3) God willingly welcomes you into His arms of love. (John 3:16) 4) You enter into His love and blessing by turning from your ways and following God’s ways. (Psalm 34:14-19) 5) You had a sin nature when you were born. (Psalm 51:5) 6) Today, your sin nature controls your actions, thoughts and words. (Romans 8:7-8, Matthew 15:18-19) 7) God wants to change your nature that controls you. He will change you from the inside out. (Jeremiah 31:33) 8) When you ask for God’s forgiveness, He thoroughly forgives and forgets your sins. Your past is no more. (1 John 1:9, Psalm 103:11-12) 9) You receive a brand new start from God. (2 Corinthians 5:17) 10) The more you seek God and live His truth, the more He sets you free in life. (John 8:30-31) Right now, if you have not made a choice to accept Him or reject Him , you have already made a choice. Your choice is to reject Him. He who is not for Him is against Him (Matthew 12:30). If your heart’s choice is to open your life and let Jesus in, then below is an example of how to pray: Lord God, I need you in my life. I know that I have sinned against you and my fellow man in this life. I ask you to forgive me of all my sins. I know that Jesus died with all my sins upon His body on the cross. He died for me so that I can be forgiven and live by Your ways. I also know that Jesus rose from the dead to give me life. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and show me how to live for you daily. Surround me with your love, fill me with your peace and overflow my life with your joy. In Jesus Name. Amen. It says in Isaiah 49:23: “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.” Now that you have welcomed the Lord into your life, below are a few suggestions: 1) Pray daily as often as you can. God is your best friend so you can talk with Him and tell Him everything that is on your mind. You can always talk with Him silently and get help in all situations. 2) Read the Bible daily. Start reading in the New Testament with the Gospel of John. Then read the other three Gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke), followed by Acts and the other books in the New Testament. Read the Old Testament after you finish the New Testament and as the Holy Spirit leads. 3) Pray that God will lead you by the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life. 4) Pick your friends carefully as friends can make you or break you in your new life. Try to find friends who sincerely want to follow God also. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says “bad company corrupts good character.” 5) Find a Church that is exciting to go to and that teaches all the truths of the Bible. 6) Tell others about Jesus and the love He has for them. 7) Allow God to “weed out” the things in your life that do not bring you closer to Him. …God has said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) In Isaiah 55:11 the Lord says, “so is My Word that goes out from My Mouth: it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it”. My prayer is that the document I call TRACT98 will be like a message in a bottle and lead a person off their lonely, empty desert island called “self” and to a joyful, satisfied place in God’s Great Kingdom. So as I come to the end of another flight on an American Airlines plane, I place another TRACT98 in the American Way magazine in the magazine pocket in front of me. May God’s Word not return to Him without accomplishing His Purpose. May His Wonderful Love touch another person’s life. His Love is so good. His Love is better than life. (Psalm 63:3) One day while I was on a plane destined for Long Beach, the Lord began speaking to my heart about Sharayah. He told me this word of knowledge to share with Sharayah: “Mold your life after the Word of God not on what you see on TV or what you see in your friends”. When I got home from that trip, I discovered that one of Sharayah’s school friends had given her a magazine called YM (Youth Magazine). The magazine was filled with “verbal porno”. I was shocked. Deb and I discussed the magazine with Sharayah and I shared the “rhema word” God had given me to speak to Sharayah. My prayer is that my family would live up to the name of a street in Waco: LANDON BRANCH(ES). In John 15:5-7 Jesus says “I am the Vine; you are the BRANCHES. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. One of the most blessed airplane trips was recently on a trip to Orange County, California. For months I had not been able to upgrade to first class with my American Airlines upgrades. This day the Lord wanted me in first class. My seat was an aisle seat and as it came time for departure, I thought the window seat next was going to be vacant. Then at the very last minute a lady in her mid-fifties with long blonde hair asked me to move so she could get to her seat. The lady’s name was Joan and she was on the way home. Her husband and her ran a medical clinic in Orange County. As we visited, I discovered she listened to Christian music on a station in her home town. She began to tell me about her faith and the struggle she was having not “feeling like she ever measured up to God’s standards”. I told her about a passage from scripture that had helped me over the years. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”. Then I began to explain to her that it was not her actions that caused her to “measure up” but it was what Jesus did on the cross. I added that when God looks down and sees a person who has accepted Jesus into his or her life; He does not see that person but He sees Jesus. The passage in 2 Corinthians means that we are as righteous as God as long as we remain in Jesus. Joan was overjoyed about this Word from the Lord. She said that no one had ever shared that truth with her before. As we continued talking I started telling her the story of how I met the Lord. Finally, I got out my laptop and let her read it. She told me that my story was powerful and that I needed to write a book about my life. She said what she had read inspired her to carry her Bible with her everywhere. She said even at stoplights she could read 2 or 3 verses. As we departed company in the baggage claim area, Joan told me that God had a great purpose for my life other than just that…as she pointed at my Reebok briefcase. I agreed and exited the John Wayne airport with one of our salesmen. With the instant rise of popular and usefulness of the internet in today’s society, the Lord spoke to me earlier in 2001 and told me I need to send friends and family His word over the internet via e-mail. Thus, the “Word of the Week” was born. Once a week, a message from the Word of God is sent out to several people in the U.S. and one oversees via e-mail. The Lord said we are to disciple people and speak the word to them (Matthew 28:19). There is a great joy in being a follower or disciple of Jesus. In America, I have a burning passion to live a life of discipleship, that is learning the Truth from God’s Word and what He speaks to me in prayer and then sharing the Truth with others (Matthew 10:27). Today. The Truth is absent from many areas of society and life. That is why our world is falling apart. Though we are overdosing on knowledge from the radio, television, internet and literature; we are starving for the Truth. After all, it is the Truth that sets us free not knowledge (John 8:32). As we walk through the day, it breaks my wife’s heart and my heart to see all the broken lives caused by people living without any standard except their own obsessions and feelings which come and go like the wind. There is a picture of the world we live in painted in Scriptures: But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble (hard to deal with and hard to bear). For people will be lovers of self and (utterly) self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by the inordinate (greedy) desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. (They will be) without (human) affection, relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); (they will be) slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. (They will be) treacherous (betrayers), rash (and) inflated with self-conceit. (They will be) lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 (Amplified) Today, some who do know the Lord tell me that they think they would miss out on a lot in life if they gave their lives completely to Jesus. After 19 years plus of knowing the Lord’s love, faithfulness and the joy of being in His Presence, all I can say is, “I think of all the things in life I would have missed out on if I had not given my life to the Lord in 1981.” Truly, Jesus was right when He showed the Apostle John that “He who has the Son has life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12). I express all of this because every Word from the Word of God is true and I have experienced It. The Truth found in the Word of God is Truth not for my life only but for every person who has ever been alive or is now living. I have written this as my story, my testimony of the Truth. I have written this because I have overcome Satan, the accuser of mankind, by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11). This has been my testimony. Praise be to God for the Blood of Jesus shed to give me life. I need it every day. My eyes closed in a vision I see, In an open field my arms stretched out, Green grass around me forever in every direction, Very slow, slowly turning… “I can feel it, oh yes, I can feel it the Blood of the Redeemer.” “I prayed for it, oh yes, I’ve prayed for it the Blood of the Redeemer.” “On my face down on my knees…” “The Blood of the Redeemer washes it away. The rain began to fall as I crawl to the Blood of the Healer.” “Fall on me…the Blood of the Healer.” ** **Selected Lines from The Song: “Never Enough” by The Prayer Chain (1993) There are many more events my Loving and Faithful Lord has carried my family and I through since we have been alive. “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25). In heaven awaits even more stories of how the Lord assisted me and I was unaware. I will probably find out how the prayers of my Great Aunt Edna guided me into the Kingdom. One day I will meet her there and we will worship the King of Heaven together. Thank the Lord for those who spent time praying for others instead of watching TV. John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except though Me.” John 17:3 (Jesus said in prayer to God) “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” This Story To Be Continued….Forever