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Logo of 2016 Michigan Camp Meeting: The Harvest is Great

Own It- Part 4

Darryl Bentley
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  • June 13, 2016
    9:30 AM


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On Heaven. Or I'm up with your presence. In ram up with you. Because when you are. Hearts are healed. Broken Lives are made new. Yuri in Jesus has come to us. And we are so humbled and so thankful that you would stoop so low just to save us because you have us. So Father as we come before your from tonight as we have come before you we ask that you would accept our offering music we ask that you. Accept. Our broken arms tonight and I you would heal us and that you would mean. That you would touch our hearts with the words that will be spoken in just a couple minutes. That you had and knowing the lips of. Your annoying our hearts with your Holy Spirit and let us be open to what you have to share with us. Because you have called us to specific purpose and you want to ask to make a choice you want to choose to accept that purpose you have given to us so I thank you Lord for bringing us all together tonight and again I pray for your mercy in your Grace as we are but poor little children coming to your. Name I pray Amen. Thank you letters we're going to. It is a blessing to be here with you this evening and I want to win by Chu you guys were so kind and so gracious last night to come and said a little closer for a gallon more and I recognize I'm not the conference President but I'm wondering if I can impose upon your mercy and graciousness and just as she comes a little closer Were you in numbers and so it'll it'll save my neck a little bit of a workout if you come and just sit with us and I would invite you to do so if you're if you don't mind I want to share with you tonight and I counted a privilege to be able to do so. For those of you that do not know me. And they Miss Nestor Darrell Bentley and I have the privilege of serving here in Michigan conference going on some nine years now so I love being in the Michigan conference I'm not originally from Michigan you may detect a slight accent that's completely you're hearing I do not have a nice. But if you think that you hear something it might be because I'm from North Carolina and so you may catch me occasionally coming out with some Southernism Zz and I do claim to be bi dialectical I do speak English and Southern. And I can communicate in most areas of the country so that's that's a tremendous lesson but we counted and honored to be here serving in Michigan to be able to spend time with Michiganders Michiganders are some hearty folk have you noticed that I mean you guys survive these winners and just act like it's regular you know for those of us that are imports we have had to adapt to these things I remember the first year coming to Michigan and I had to I had to buy a winter coat I mean I did not remember I got bogged down in North Carolina most winters with just a sweat shirt. And so had they had to invest in a winter coat and learned to dress in layers so because you may be freezing cold in the morning and sweating in the afternoon in Michigan is. That's strange We've seen it just this camp meeting have been nights where you're laying in your camper shivering and then Sabbath I thought if I was a candle I would have melted into a puddle but it's a blessing to be here and we love serving in the Michigan conference love serving the church families we've had the honor to serve and so it's a blessing to be able to share with you tonight now the scene I'm going to share with you my spiritual journey will tell you a little about my childhood and some of those things and my goal tonight is not to just tell you a story. I want you to keep in mind our thinking for this young adult can't me we're asking the question will you choose to own your will you own it will you take ownership or will you sit on the sidelines of a spiritual experience with God and of course my desire is that somehow tonight through my testimony lease this portion of it that you would choose to own your faith as well and so would you by your hands with me I just want to ask the Lord to speak through me before I begin to share with each. Other I think you so much that we can be here tonight and have the opportunity to share with my friends with those that are gathered Lord I don't want anything about me to be glorified I want you to the more. I want those that are listening those that hear this the recording. The Seriously take a look at their. At their journey and look at how you have been leading in their lives and that's themselves the question well on all my they are well I simply watch others have an experience with. That the night I asked these blessings and these verses in Jesus' name. Well I am from North Carolina but I was not born there I was. Not a problem No You two need to know we've done all we can to help marriages let's and. I was born not in North Carolina I was born in Virginia in Manassas Virginia a must for some various battles in our country's history but before I was born my dad decided that he did not want to be married to a woman with children and so my dad left before I was ever more and my mother who was living with her parents in Virginia moved back to North Carolina when her mom and dad moved back to North Carolina interest in early enough my grandfather and his family had moved to Virginia some twenty years previous running from the wall on alcohol making charges so I come from an esteemed background of moonshiners My grandfather actually did time in prison or run and shine and making moonshine and then of course you know a thing about NASCAR NASCAR was born out of the moonshine industry so I come from that esteemed heritage that he had subsided my grandpa the felt that it was safe to go back to North Carolina and so there we went so less than a year old we moved back to Carolina and there I am living with my mom and my grandparents up until the time I was about three years old about the time I was three years old my mom thought it was a good thing to get remarried so she marries my stepdad and my step dad was a pretty nice guy at first he liked to go fishing and I I wasn't much of a fisherman still am not but he would take me fishing and do these different things and it seemed like life was going to be wonderful. That was until about forty years later along comes my baby brother. And for some reason something changed drastically in. The relationship between me and my step father. For some reason my stepfather began to treat me very badly very badly they begin to put me down he began to make fun of me for different reasons and he didn't want to spend time with me in fact he would try to farm me off to my grandparents and interestingly enough my relationship with my grandparents flourished and I dreaded being in a home go figure right my grandfather ran a junk yard. He was very industrious wasn't. Moonshining to junk yard and I think the junk yard in was a way to avoid paying taxes I don't know that for sure but I love my love my grandpa all there or he passed away and but I grew up around this junk yard and so I grew up playing in automobiles they all these cars my grandpa would bring in and I would go through them I found all kind of neat things and junk cars money pocket knives all kinds of things people would lose in cars or leave them and it really paid off because now I can work on almost any vehicle in fact just the other day past her for not I were traveling and my Jeep broke down and we fixed it in the parking lot of a Kmart so those skills have come in handy but things were really bad at home in fact it got worse as I got older my step dad became more fierce might be a good word in his in his attacks and as a kid I still have a large head but as a kid my head did not match the size of my body you know my butt my body caught up to my head but as a kid and the big head little body and my dad like the point that out in fact he used to tell me that he thought my head was shaped like a guitar pick. So can you imagine where my self-worth was growing up. I thought that I would never amount to anything in fact he would go so far as to tell me the. He would tell me you're useless you're worthless you'll never do anything in life you'll never amount to anything and I don't know why I don't know why you were even before these kind of things and what kind of mentality do you think that develops in someone and you just think that you're the scourge of the earth but subconsciously I desperately desired to succeed and so at school. I found a place where I could excel and so I tried the hardest as I could to get the best grades and I'm telling you without me even knowing that God blessed me with a good academic understand but my entire identity was wrapped up. In what my grades were I remember the sixth grade. We got to report cards and not only report cards do you get grades about your various subjects you get marks about your behavior right and I remember getting that report card and the grades were were perfect all A's but then I looked at the Behavior column and instead of having that asked. For satisfactory there was a you. Unsatisfied. And I remember in the sixth grade Now this sounds crazy but notice how messed up your mind can get that one you report on satisfactory I asked to go to the restroom at school and I went to the restroom and I cried sitting in the bathrooms straight A's but I had a you you see how messed up my mind was at this point my entire identity was wrapped up in whether or not someone could pat me on the back and it all be perfect because I knew I would never get that at home and knew I would never get that from that. Well I begin to find some friends the on the sixth grade and some of those friends helped me to realize that my step dad did not know everything. In fact they helped me realize a lot of what he told me that I was wasn't true and so the pendulum of my understanding the pendulum of my attitude swung from being someone who was afraid to even look at people now try to imagine it I was afraid I couldn't make eye contact with you at that time I would've been afraid your female forget it I couldn't have spoken to you it would have put me in a puddle. Just the way it was but as my attitude began to change I was still scared of women. But I realize. That my step that was wrong so I developed a very bad attitude in fact all of this anger all of this tension all of this just hatred that was in my heart needed an outlet and step that was too big to take out right. So I found another way to get rid of it I would get in fights at school and I developed a love for Biden I would look for five I would find other people but I didn't try to get in on the fight so much I enjoyed it because it was an outlet to be able to get rid of some of this anger some of the sacred that I had in my heart because of what was happening at home so the course that led to various suspensions in school suspension out of school suspension and I never could figure it out you didn't want to be at school so you get in a fight and then. I let you go home from school. Almost up to it was a great idea. You didn't get your grades done right and because of that my grades began to slip I never felt anything the Lord has blessed me that I didn't know it with a very strong ability to do academic things so even sleeping in class I passed all my classes even missing class from being suspended and the Lord bless me I was able to pass all my classes but it gave me a really bad attitude and. Well here I make it to the ninth grade. Ninth grade and I was a messed up teenager hated my home line hated my step father looked for any fight I could be a part of. And there I am a messed up teenager this time by this time I figured out my step that didn't like long hair so guess what kind of here I wanted. Well here and here I had long hair probably almost to my shoulder blades trying to get your head around the. My wardrobe but this time consisted of heavy metal T. shirts in fact I owned at that point every month that look at the shirt every ever ever minute there were seventeen at that point then knowing don't care anymore but I had those seventeen heavy metal T. shirts and two pair of blue jeans that was my entire wardrobe and I had an old army Vietnam era filled jacket that would wear. Well there I am in the ninth grade scared to death of women looking for any fi. That attitude shoddy and weird and just so messed up. And as I'm there in class one day I'm a ninth grade government Nneka nomics and in walks this girl. It was happening at school. I told you this a little bit the other day right in the marriage seminar. What was happening because it was spirit week and when I was going to school I'm forty two they just turned forty two June so you can kind of do the math and see when I was going through school late eighty's there when I was going to school you couldn't wear bar caps to school it was considered disrespectful but this one time in year your in spirit really they would have hat day and everybody could wear their favorite ball cap everybody knew that it was ball caps that you were on hat day except this girl she walks in with the same Barrow. And we still have that some bro it's a beautiful hat but it's huge it's big black some Barrow and she figures out very quickly she's the only one in the school that does not have a ball cap on and she desperately tries to get rid of this thing she puts it in or tries to put it in her locker do you think a sombrero put in a locker No but luckily for her there was this guy who was kind of a school clown who volunteered to wear it for her all day Ginger didn't have to wear this hat but I when I saw her. I'm going to say that I fell in love with her instantly. Or whatever you know when you're in the ninth grade that your estimation of love but I was struck with her and I could not stop thinking about her. But you think I had the courage to talk to or argue. Forget it but I had this great idea. I was taking this French class and it became Valentine's Day And so in French class we made French Valentine and they passed out this one and we colored them and made them nice and this one Valentine had a picture of Mickey Mouse handing the heart to Minnie Mouse in French above their heads that zapped him. If you know any French that means one. When I snatched up that Valentine and I got my markers and oh I had it all nice and I put a little note in there to do gender and then I stuck it in my locker because I was scared to death to give it to or. Know what how would I mean how she needed to do it I wanted her to have it but I didn't have the courage to give it to her support it in my locker and when when I was going to school and that that particular school when you got the buses would get there a different times and so you might get the school thirty forty minutes early and so we would walk around the halls in our little groups in our little cliques and try to look cool Well I would let Ginger going to head of me and I would just kind of I call it follow her around the halls I think statutory regulations would probably refer to it as stocking. More skulking I'm not sure but she would walk with her cousin and their little friends and I would this in the dream only walk in the distance behind. Afraid to approach Well there was a school dance that was coming up. And I got to thinking you know this is my time to make a move. I've got to get my courage up and invite her to the school day. So I asked her for her poem number Well I didn't ask her I had a friend ask her. Because I couldn't talk to or. So the friend who also had class with her in another class said Hey do you know there are all of us that. Well he'd like your number can he have your own way and so anyway I got the number and so then I sat and stared at that number for four days. Scared the. Hand shaking palm sweating How do I call. This got to do it you gotta call or if you don't call or somebody else is going to ask for to the dance you've got a call or. Is ginger there there was this this is their room. Where you want so when I can talk to you know your voice that I mean I've just fallen to pieces and if you ever meet gingers That is hands and faster coring testify with me than I am I'd lie and at this brother's hands are about triple what one of mine is he's a big dude and when he answers the phone he doesn't say Oh he always speaks loudly and so when he answered the phone it was I'll instantly. Find when she makes it on the phone. I this is there all. Alone yes yes I'm here make it through this phone call a little ways and finally I get the courage to said listen the reason I'm I'm calling to school dance coming up in two weeks and would would you be willing to go to the school dance with me didn't even know how much courage it took for me to do that and what do you think her answer was. No so I instantly think. Somebody beat me tumor. And so I asked her essence somebody else already asked you oh no. OK So nobody asked you this you just don't want to go with me well no it's not that oh so you do want to go with me. I do but my parents won't let me we don't go to Benson's. Why why well they don't like to us to do those sort of things and besides it's on Friday night. And I'm thinking when else would they have it. You know it's like OK what's the problem what's wrong with Friday night they always do the most probably none of it works for everybody the end of the week you know schools now well and she him hauled around and I kept persisting a little bit and finally she told me oh. I'm not going to I can't go to a dance because that's how Sabbath. It's your woman and you have to realize guys I grew up in the only time I heard God's name was when it was taken in by. Either in my home directly from my parents or on the various movies are movies in any other bill that we decided why. We didn't go to church unless someone died or got married and for us it was the same people dressed up and you got booed. That was that it no anything about church but the only but the one thing that didn't know about church was that everybody went on which day. Some day and so she says Sabbath that's what's a Sabbath. Well that's it's from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday and it's when are we when we go to church and she's trying her best as a fifteen year old girl thrust into the public school world having always go into admin to now trying to explain to this guy that's pursuing her wanting to go to the high school or in the general high dance why she can't go to the dance well finally she gets it all out and I had even gone so far as to what do you think it would help if I asked your mom and dad if you can go no that won't change anything. A long story short I didn't get to take her to the bank. But she said let me ask my mom if you can come over. Her mom finally agreed to let me come over. And so I got to thinking these are religious folk. I can't go over there in a Metallica T. shirt makes sense or I don't at least I was smart enough to figure that part out right I mean give me a little credit so I called my buddy John. I was like Dude what the religious people where he was a Lutheran these folks the no. These are what are you talking about what the religious people where I was like you know that girl Ginger I've been you know you know what about her well her mom said I could come over but all I've got I mean is it OK if I wear my mouth I look at the shirts you said no that's probably not a good idea if they're religious folk. So what am I going to do he said I'll loan you some clothes. All right so we had this plan my buddy John was older than me and so he had licens and he said I'll bring you something now you have to remember I'm from North Carolina and there's two primary sports teams in college sports in North Carolina one of them is a Carolina Tarheels. The other one is the Blue Devils. When I was growing up you pulled Purdue can anybody play in Carolina. My buddy shows up at the Carolina Tarheels sweat shirt. But I wore it because I was desperate to impress these religious folks and he said I've got something else that you'll probably want just to set it off nicely and he reaches down in his pocket and he pulls out his gold chain necklace he says Your put this on so here I come over my one pair of holy jeans Carolina tarring old sweat shirt on and I'm rocking that gold chain hanging in right out like you did in the eighty's right so here I make it over to Ginger's house. So these religious folks. And her mom they had a chicken farm and chicken houses these houses that laid legs right and then thousands of eggs and so our mom had just come from the chicken house I'm all spiffed up I thought for these religious folk and her mom comes in like a chicken house and looks at me and says Who are you. Come to find out later on she knew messin with but I figured out after getting to meet her parents that if I wanted to spend time with gender it meant going to church and so another phone call to John and what a religious folk were to church. Where you're going to need a dress shirt and some dress pants and shoes I don't have any of that sorry I got. Here and I never realized growing up as best friends that miss the were also a smaller than mine brother had these tiny little baby fee or not and I have shoes and here I was an average man wearing ten and a half's and he brings me is white shirt black pants he was Lutheran he wasn't Mormon but the parents had a Mormon outfit and so he brings me these white shirt black pants and nine and a half dress shoes. And I squeezed my feet. You talk about the longest Sabbath in history was wearing those black shoes a full size too small I remember taking them all at the end of the day and you never know but you know how when you've been cramped up when you finally get to expand how good it feels but it hurts at the same time that's the way my feet did it's like. I quickly sold something and bought a pair of shoes I couldn't handle that well long story short I didn't know what to expect when these people and I got the church here I was this long haired bad attitude messed up teenager parachutes too small and then they're talking about name they Moses and Abraham. All these people I mean those were the easing things right all these other names you couldn't even pronounce them and I'm sitting there in a Sabbath school a teen Sabbath school with Ginger and I have no idea who they're talking about. Stories that my kids knew by the time they were three four five years old here I am a teenager and had no idea what was being talked about. Make it through Sabbath school go into the church service and then the preacher keeps talking about these people. And Ginger is flipping through the Bible and she says that they're smiling and nodding and I'm thinking she knows everything I was in a world that was completely unfamiliar to me. And you have to remember I came from a background where I expected rejection I expected judge mental attitudes I expected to be put down and I expected to be cast aside and I want to tell you something. Folks in that little country church in North Carolina they didn't see a messed up little teenage. I saw someone for whom Jesus said that. They welcome me and they put their arm around me they got me involved they started asking me to do things at the church and I'm like wouldn't wrong with these. In it was the weirdest thing I couldn't figure it out I'm like why why do they care or what I'm doing why do they care what I want me and. Why are they doing this. And I couldn't figure it out and it was like what they want they're trying to set me up for something I was so suspicious I was on my guard I was waiting I was waiting for the floor to fall out from under me wonder are they going to let me they'll wonder are they going to see all my flaws What are they going to tell me about them like everybody else I've known has done. But never meant well months later Ginger dummy devastated. I was so into her I was so mittened her and here's the cult Here's the wonderful reason that Ginger broke up with are you ready for this this is what this is rich you know love this her cousin broke up with her boyfriend made about as much sense to me but she thought well if Marcia's going to break up with her boyfriend I probably don't need a boyfriend through the summer so let's just do that. But I was devastated. Here I finally found some people that were decent to be around Europe finally found a girl that I could talk to that didn't think I was just totally weird. And then all of a sudden that was pulled out I was crushed I kind of slid back into that attitude. And something strange happened. I had a friend from school. Then was Jason in fact his name still is Jason it didn't change. And he would invite me to come to his church on Wednesday nights. And I didn't hear anything about going to church really but they had all kind of concrete and they would let me bring my skateboard and ride in skaters anybody with a nice morning. I love skate. And you look at me now and you like that you could ride a skateboard I can still ride. And all the tricks I used to could do but I can still ride or. So I would go on Wednesday nights with Jason to his church get my mom to drop me off that wasn't too far and I would go there and skate and sit there their little meeting they had no anything didn't learn anything but one Saturday I was there at the house cleaning things up and I saw a car coming up our driveway. It was Jake's. And he had another kid from church and then Cody. And they come up and they see me down at the basement so they pull around to the basement and they come around and they're just kind of making an awkward weird small talk. And I'm talking to them and finally I'm like dude what what do you want. Kind of direct with people. Is like well we kind of swallowed. You figure at this time I'm six thing Jason was sixteen and he had a kid nine Cody That was fourteen with him. And he got two sixteen year olds and fourteen year old Stan in the basement of my parents' home and Jason swallowed. And he said they're all. I came by to ask you if you want to give your heart to Jesus. And I looked at the market had three heads what are you talking about and that well you know here he is he's got the new Imagine sixteen year old kid brings a fourteen year old kid and they're coming to ask you Do you want to get your parka Jesus and I ask him what are you talking about so what does that even meaning what does that cost I asked him then oh no it's free so what are you talking about and so he started telling me about how all of us were sinners all of us had done things that offended God and that those sins had to be paid for and so. God came as Jesus. And he died on a cross the pay the penalty for our sin. Isn't if you will accept Jesus he'll forgive you of your sins and all the things you've done wrong he'll be your say. And if he's talking there's just this change that came over him it wasn't the Jason I was used to talking to it was just incredible I'm like what is happening but I'm watching him I'm glued to his face every word I'm hanging on it. And I said how do I do that. What how do I even how I'm going to look to do he said well he said we can pray right here. You said now say the prayer and if you will say it after me. Jesus can come into your heart. He said Do you want. Yes So there we are two sixteen year old reporting euro we kneel down in the basement of mine parents' home and Jason walks me through the sinners prayer and as he's praying I'm trying to pray because the floodgates open. I'm thinking about somebody willing to die for me are you. I don't know what about that walk across town from a little known bad form. We said that prayer I did my best to repeat it. Even though bring gave me a hug and Cody patted me on the back and they drove all there I stood weeping in my parents' basement. Not having any idea what just happened when almost my life. About a year later me and my buddy John you remember nine and a half. Little boy beat or out run around in junk yard looking for stuff for our car we ended up at a junkyard near gingers house. And I said why don't we stop in and say hi to Ginger and her family are you sure you want to do that because the night she broke up with me who do you think I called and cried in their year for an hour John. Are you sure you want to do that she's gonna rip your heart out. Well let's just go by there we went by they were very happy to see us gender actually was driving a forklift for her dad and she ran over this big iron thing and poured out of the floor. Upon her dead didn't think so but. He finally voters I want to get up that pork lip and go give them some cookies or something so we went to the house we see her dad had this machine that would tell you no fabric that this printed like your shirts here this cloth is printed with heat transfer paper that's how they get the paint the picture on the Paul and it takes that paper and it runs that there were heat cycle against claw and it prints it on the fabric while one that paper is used once it's been printed one time they take and cut it up into sheets and that's what they stuff in pocketbooks in the toes of shoes and wrap pottery and stuff and while her dad had one of those machines that took that paper and cut it into those sheets and that's why Ginger was running the forklift move in the paper and so anyway we had our cookies John and I left three days later I get a call from Ginger's mum. Enter was helping her dad with that machine and she was up on top of that machine and her hand got cocked and one of the pinch rollers that pulls the paper through to cut it in the she. And it pulled these three fingers in and it's mash them until they burst open or mom said. To know that in your heart and you're obviously still up around. Horses I came to see her. Praise the Lord that her dad got the machine stock before crushed the bones and they were able to sew her fingers back together but if you ever get close to my one you'll see she's got a scarring on her hand and their fingernails are just a little off on this finger because of that accident. Well that visit to come see how she was going actually got us back together. And so I loved to tell her mom thank you for bringing us together and get the bunny mom right these are you guys hanging around us that listen you're the one that called me remember that so it's fun to pick on her mom Fast forward to the story. Ginger and I got back together this was the summer between our software engineering years of high school and she and I stayed together from that time all the way through high school I continued. Church going to church with her got back to going to church and this time coming back to church it was different. You see. After I had that experience with Jason Jason told me you ought to read the Bible. How's that for a good idea. And so this time I came back to church yes was a new day but. This time I knew who. And I was just so intrigued to sit there and listen to that pastor and this pastor still serves in the Carolina Conference and I listen Pastor Bob. He was there talking about this one sermon he was preaching one day. I was just glued to that brother I could not take my eyes off him and he was talking again about the things Jason had talked to me about about how Christ and died for us and he paid the penalty for our sins and if we really wanted to live and have peace in our why we had to accept Jesus completely and we needed to make a decision to be a bad time. And he did a call now you remember I was a little shy and then he asked people to come all in ruins I can't explain it I felt compelled almost lifted out of my so. I had to go. And there in that little church North Carolina or I knelt down and again except Jesus Christ and made a decision I wanted to be better. Than I even know what that meant but it sounded good and it was what I wanted here's here's what I figured out after finally figured out why those people were so weird. Geez I finally figured out why this long haired messed up teenager could come into a church not know anything about any body and have a bad attitude about only figured out why they could accept link because the new Jesus and have nots have finally figured out what made them different I wanted to be different. So I want to Jesus. So I went to church chasing ginger. Not realizing Jesus was chasing me. And as I fall in love with ginger more deeply. I also go in love with. How Prince of Angelus came in just recently retired anybody here know Elder Steve Bell. Elder Steve Bell went to the Carolina Conference to become the conference evangelist because they eventually list they'll polit retired. In one thousand nine hundred ninety two I know that was millennia ago for some of you. But in ninety two Odell pilot came to our little church and he held a series of Angeles stick meetings and I listened to every one of the glued to the screen glued to his words and I was just in it and this is incredible. Bible says that and I'm just there it's just I mean imagine a dry sponge being put in water for the first time that's how I was just. Just absorbing the stuff and of course when they made the call that you know for those that want to be baptized and accept this truth I couldn't get my hand up quick enough. And in Marchmont March thirteenth of one thousand nine hundred two. I was baptized in the seventh they're going to. And I look at that as my spiritual birthday. And I remember that. I still have my baptismal certificate and here's what's cool about it the lady that was the clerk of the church at that time was Ginger's mother. So here she is her signature is all my baptismal certificate along with the pastor who just recently retired in Carolina conference yesterday and like who baptized one of the parts of the story. That I want to tell you about is wallowed Jesus was coming into my line and I was making decisions for him. I also wanted to be in the military and I had been listed in the Marine Corps you can enlist in the Marine Corps other branches the service in your junior year of high school into the delayed entry program some of you might be familiar with that I know you are asking questions about service members and the Navy they are. They going to go a little deeper but I wanted to be a Marine I was going to be in the service I wanted to be the baddest there were and so there I enlisted my mom had the signed permit to and when asked but in one thousand nine hundred two Something strange happened President Clinton was trying to handle budget battles and one of the things that he decided to cut. Was military spending. And so if you go back and look in history you'll see that in ninety two there began a series of base closures across the U.S. And so as you close bases do you need more people in the military or less. Less. So about two weeks before graduation. I get a phone call from a recruiter that only. A sergeant what standards have changed. Before you can go in the military you have to be a certain weight and you have to be able to perform certain physical activities for the Marine Corps had to be at a certain weight had to be able to do five pull ups certain number of set ups and a certain number of pushups and do a mile and a half run in so many minutes I can't remember all the details but I could do everything and I my weight was even good until they changed the standard. He called me up and he said Don't you got to lose eleven pounds in two weeks. Before you ship the book it. Sounds fairly little except at that time I didn't have all the. Padding. That I have now. And I said eleven pounds art. He said Yeah. So I did everything I could think. And I'm not going to tell you what I did. It's not very healthy. But I went down to the ship for basic training but when I got there for a while you know I was four pounds overweight. Normally that's not a big deal they just send you home a week per pound. Here's the problem I told you I was in the late entry you can only be in the late entry for a max number of days my delayed entry had ended on Friday and here on the transfer station on Monday. So he looked at me and he said boy. We don't need you in the Marine Corps are mad enough to send you to Parris Island overweight how your mama and get out of my face how do you think I felt rushed one of the hardest phone calls I ever made was calling my mom. To have her drive an hour to Charlotte North Carolina to pick me up at the military entrance process and station the maps. Who you think rode with her. And I couldn't say anything all the way home. Goes there my entire future. Was my plan was to join the Marine Corps get them to help me pay for college. Get an education and stay in the military as a as a career. All of that was ripped out from under me. In a matter of moments I didn't know what to do. So I started trying to find a job I ended up flagging traffic if you ever drove by a lot of flak in traffic. That's about the level of hill is like intra in the Carolina summer sun as it gets hot in North Carolina so there I am out of high school. Sitting in the blazing sun no future. Except turning this stop sign when equipment would cross the road. Or what am I going to do. I was a Christian at this point. But I was a baby Christian. I still had a lot of the world that needed to get out of me I still had a problem with language I'd say things that I'd said all my life I then heard all my life that I shouldn't say as a Christian it took time to get over some of these things so I ended up then jumping from job to job to job and I would do well at those jobs make some decent money but I felt empty. My pastor praise God. Paying attention. And once Abbot the church he came up to him and he said there. And it was funny how after so what job are you doing now. What I was doing at this time I was working for a drilling in blasting company. Our job was to drill holes in Rock Hill it full of explosives and blow it up have you ever seen twenty five thousand pounds of explosives go off at one time it's cost. US but I got him to. I had to travel a lot. He said Why don't you consider becoming a little tour evangelist. Want. A little tour of Angelus a call Porter why don't you consider becoming a call Porter I said What is a cult what a point. So what is that pastor he said well you know you've heard us talk about Mrs White you know he said well we have those those books from Mrs White that are there in the special bindings they're very nicely bound and and we have people that go around door to door and from home to home and they sell those books trying to get our message on there and we even have a series of kids' books I said so I'd be a book sells them and he said you said you'd be a litter evangelist this brother was a salesman was and. So I got to thinking about literature and. I said what do I do he said I'll have a guy get in touch with the. Short Story guy calls me the publishing director he looks me up with the district leader I go out and do my first canvass with him I was hooked. For two and a half years I was of literature evangelist for the Carolina coast. And want to tell you I have probably forgotten more miracles than most people will ever experience if you've never can. Remember this one time I'll tell you one story. I had a lead card so we'd leave Bible story books in the doctors' offices right in the head cards people could take and Bill out and had this lead car and I'm in Salzburg in North Carolina and and I pull up to the house in the old kind of a ramshackle house just a little square concrete still open to wrought iron hand rails going up the porch and as I'm always on the lookout for dogs. Dogs are not always your parent they're man's best friend but it's the man that owns the dog not you but I get out in a look the house looks kind of empty but you know a lot of times people are don't have a car and you knock anyway I get out and I look in over here by the tree. Looks like a heap of carpet on the main genius black and barely of the women there the bell go over there I make my way around the car. Watchin the people park that doesn't. I make it all the way to the concrete stoop. And there's my foot goes to touch that concrete stoop that hunk a carpet came. And I quickly discovered that this was a challenge. And if you've never been around shall dogs they're crazy at least my experience has shown that. In here comes this dog and you have to remember I had sing Cujo as a kid. And so I started having flashbacks. And this dog comes across the yard in similar fashion and where I am in this concrete stoop to our own room and the dog is now between me in the car and. Just tearing across the yard and all I can do is back up against the door and yelled Jesus help me. And that dog God is my witness came screaming up at that concrete stoop low and as it got to the concrete stoop it was was there some slack that right in the mouth because that dog yelped. Well down on its back haunches and came to a skidding stop and just looked up at. I'm convinced the on any shadow of a doubt that that dog was permitted to see my guardian angel then. You'll never convince me otherwise there was no reason for that dog to stop it was intense it was bint. Destruction. The dog sat there didn't move. I had faith but I didn't take my eyes the. Knock on the door that pure my business well eventually I lost sight of the blessings and been a little German Angeles. One of the miracles that I forgot to tell you about because I had a publishing director tell me he said You guys are going to see miracle after miracle the one that he forgot to tell me. Was how you learned to live with very little money and I kind of let that get to me. Because I felt like I should be providing better for my wife married at this point. And here I didn't hardly any money to my making barely paying our bills. Back I was so poor and I think it was because of my faith it wasn't because God wasn't They all. God showed me little little things about how he was mean faith remember before we had cell phones they had these phones you could put money in. They called them paper homes you buy a bit seeing one of those in a museum you know what I'm talking about it took twenty five cents to make a phone call and I had this corner of North Carolina the northwestern corner I had eleven counties that was my territory and I had all I was down here and I had a little card way over here. And said Lord I don't want to drive all the way over there because if if they're not there and I can't make a cell I will have enough gas to get home. And said look I need to make a phone call one call was twenty five cents I had fifteen. That's pretty broken isn't it. Some drive and I see this little country store and I just feel overwhelmingly impressed pull over make a phone call Lauren I don't have but if being Since make the call. Get out I've got my fifteen cents and I'm looking around on the ground maybe I can find that. I walk over to the phone not knowing what I'm going to do and just casually put my hand in put it in the change return what do you think I found a line in the chain to return. And since I had fifteen loaded need to give me a quarter I only needed ten more sense to make my phone call and I started crying. Oh my God doesn't care about. The Give me just what I needed I called the people were home I drove the Lord blessed me with a sale and not only had enough money to gas but I had enough money to pay my rent the Lord took care of us but eventually I felt like I needed to make a change and so I went into the cycle of going job the job again. Finally in two thousand and two I decided I needed to go back to school and to go to college. Need to get an education Ginger had done a business degree she was working so I need to go to college and I have a natural affinity with electronics and computers I had taught myself at this point how to write H.T.M.L. code for websites and some javascript and stuff like that. But will not go into computers since they were my gifts are I try to go to school to different places for computers for computer science I.T. and every time I tried to go to school the work at getting shut classes weren't available program wasn't offered cause in the by this point I have some kids. And I had to go to school when I could go to school and work and raise my kids but I had this overwhelming sense that God was preparing me for some I'll be honest with you I'm not but I'm not very fatalistic but I thought perhaps God was preparing me for that. And so I did what many a good Christian would do I called my pastor and said I've got some heavy things on my heart can I come talk with. Great guy and then Pastor Ron Patterson the Serban right now in West Virginia. Pastor oncet there come on in. And I set there and I started pouring my heart out to Pastor Ron and the more I shared with him the more he smiled. Now if there's anything I've learned in pastoral ministry it's when someone's pouring out your heart you usually don't laugh at them. Amen brother. But do your own I'm on board the pastor we're on the pastor this is happening this is happening in Lord large preparing me for something I'm not sure what it is but I think maybe he's going to let me to rest and so I'm going to have to take care of my family and then the more I smile What I'm more I talk about he's my family I looked at the brother now said I'm player mode out now you can do is laugh at me. And then he chuckled You sit there you just don't see it. He said the Lord's calling you to be a pest. I immediately stood up shook his hand then left. And it will do anything that it with me in the past I had been close to several of my pastors and I solved just how hard the Saints could be. So I said you know what I'm happy we're in the soundboard being a deacon and. Here in the church you can have that Pastor mess after Ron called me a couple days later he said you left going to quickly. I saw you had bad news so I was going out in a bad mood as. They said there would do at least do this he said would you at least pray about it I said I guess that's. So I began to pray about it. And I made a deal with the Lord. I said Lord but this time I knew William Miller was right and cinema Polis look when the Lord. William Miller got asked to preach out of nowhere do you know the story he's just there kind of doing his business he had been studying about the Second Coming and all that and some of the shows up and says hey when you come preach I said I'm going to that the God of the Lord if you want me to be a preacher you've got to have somebody asked me to preach never spoken in my life except with the Sabbath school class or whatever and I wrote this arm and. I caught with a sermon you know what I mean it was it was that sermon. And I started to pray I didn't tell the gender about this. Or that I didn't need her brain and muddying up the waters for me right. She had a better connection with the Lord deny that I don't want to mess me up. So I didn't tell anybody I didn't know gender at Intel passed Iran but I wrote this pitiful sermon. And I prayed. First we nobody called me to preach. Second week I thought I was in the clear. We got invited over to Pastor Ron's house for best person and we're sitting there and in and I was a little bit of a smart aleck in those days. In those days. In those days. I may have attended a bit left. But were there and passed to Ron you know we're all just having a good time we had a little sun down worship and family looks at me and he says there what are you where you going to be next week so what do you mean he said next Sabbath I look the most I'll be in church where will you be. This man I'm so glad to hear that I said one. I had forgotten about my deal with the Lord. He said because I was wondering if you would have the service in it. Now if you know meaning it is very hard. And may not have something to say to. Because of my experience with my step father my experiences with people I'm pretty quick on my. I couldn't say anything I got ghostly white and nobody in the room knew what had just happened that. Pastor John looked at me and hear something and she got to realize about my home church in North Carolina the HC richer. It was a one church district and so the pastor was there almost every week and when he wasn't there there was a line from here to the door of elders and deacons and people that were just not going to get into the pulpit. And so I would get passed around and I said did you not ask your elders they said none of the elders are available and so what about the deacon he said you're. A tsunami and the ones the the ones that normally preach it said they're not available he said I was praying about it and he said The Lord told me that I should ask you so I gave that first pitiful sermon and that begin a journey where I began to get asked to speak around our little area there in North Carolina. And then that was May of two thousand and two. Year later in the summer of two thousand and three found myself sitting in a class in southern advantage university of life and teachings of Jesus and I can tell you. That I'm so thankful that God answers prayers even when we don't want them answered but you know even though I was except in a call to ministry by following an education. I was still pretty messed up. In fact when I got that I did have this call to ministry I went to see my minister will director and Carolina Conference elder. Jim I can think of his last name and I can see this. Is in the southern of the Southern Union president I can see this letter when I went to see older Jim. These one it told me I should go to southern and the you know what went through my mind when he told me that I believe you're called the ministry so that you ought to go to Southern. First thing with there my man was all I know about these under what I believe what I need to go to school. You can see I still had some arrogance I still had some things that the those rough edges and I remember said in life and teachings of Jesus taught by Dr Judd lake and I remember it dawning on me. Just how much I didn't know about the Bible. And that begin a journey praise God of education graduated from Southern and praise God for that currently about to start work on a master's program. But I don't ever want to stop learning about Jesus so tonight as I close why did I choose to own it well because I already had ownership in that. And here's the reality of it yes. You already own a future if you don't choose Christ guess which future you own. It's a future of destruction it's a future of. Loss it's a future of death it's a future of no hope you automatically owned that by virtue of your existence. But what I realized was that goodwill not only that future I want to own a better future I want to own a future use me hope that gives me something to look over to. That gives me a reason to live in the you know why so many people turn to drugs to alcohol to illicit sexual behavior you know why people get so wrapped up in that that stuff because there's an emptiness inside their heart there's an emptiness in their life and they desperately are trying to fill it with something and they don't realize just like I didn't realize they don't realize that what they really need is Jesus they don't realize that what they really need is a saving relationship and that is it's not about making a checklist like keep the Sabbath but you know I read spirit of prophecy that I know the state of the day and I can tell you about the sanctuary it's not a checklist you know I can I haven't had me pass through my lips in forty years or something it's not a checklist it's a saying in relationship with. The was it good to keep the Sabbath. Absolutely Diskeeper on the Sabbath save you. Is it good to eat healthy. Does the eating healthy save you. You're not going to get to heaven one bite at a time you know you're not going to have in one Sabbath at a time you're going to get to heaven having a saving relationship with Jesus you're going to get to heaven by choosing to own your faith. So why do I keep the Sabbath. Because that's my faith and I love Jesus why do I try to put these things into my body because I own my faith and I love Jesus why do I believe in the state of the them out of the sanctuary the second coming or spirit of prophecy because I own my faith and it's not just somebody else's it's not just change your faith. My faith. So I want to challenge you and when I ask you the question. Do you own your. Is it your thing. Or is it your mom's then do you own your faith or is it that and. Is it your buddies and. Is it. Is it your pastor say or is it you have not laid claim to it and if you haven't won one what do you waiting for why. Would you wait any longer. For the man to tell you something as I look around. I see people I see young people I see. The God just wants to do power. Through. You believe if you can take a messed up country born who has a legacy among shiners and junkyard. If God can work through many magine what he can do with you if you're not as messed up as I was as you might not have as much garbage to overcome as I have that I'm still trying and in many areas I have to pray every day and it would take that from. What he knew. But I want to ask you as I close the you want to own. The you want to be yours do you want Jesus to be. The one that had the mistake to be your friend. And when asked if that's your desire to nine I want to ask you to come down and stand and this is. Going to have you raise your hand I'm going to come down and stand with me because I want to pray with you I want to pray for you because I want you to have the joy of knowing Jesus that I have we have time for you that's your desire to learn. To come down here we're. Gather together and think somebody is him would you. Grab somebody say and don't let anybody stand by themselves we don't have to form a circle but just grab somebody and the Lord must pretty loving father or THINK YOU percent. Thank you for a church family. That was willing to love me as a missed opportunity to. Thank you for dinners mom and dad. Who didn't pick me and how. They embraced me they put up with the. I modeled what it means to love Jesus form and. Father I think the project. Who had the courage to stand up for her party. Even as a fifteen year old girl bothered to learn and I thank you for those that have made a decision. The OEM their faith the city. They don't want to sit on the sidelines they don't want to look at their faith from a distance they don't want to be just mom and dad space for their body space of of they want to be there the stately. It's a father they have stepped forward they've made the decision to own and Lord I just pray right now by the power of the Holy Spirit that you would come into our hearts my heart their hearts by the take away everything that we can everything that's against you everything that our character from reflecting the character of Christ the brother maybe we don't even know what that means but we know this much that we want to be like Jesus. We want to be like Him We want to live like him with whether we want to follow your teachings your truth so Lord I pray that that desire would burn in our hearts now in Premiere more. You would be quare by. The star. But Lord this group this group right here standing near right now you know. Be part of the group hastens or so. We can take ownership in or. LAURA. Is more sort of. Jesus in. 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