I was introduced to Jesus by my mom who knew him well. He was hard to miss in her life. Both she and my dad were committed to him, and the honesty and sincerity of their faith were very formative for me. But I am a lot like my mom. It’s why we fought when I was a teen and likely why I have always gotten along so well with dad. It’s also why she had such an influence spiritually.
When I was 6, dad was pastor of a newer church in Grand Rapids, MI and mom, a kindergarten teacher, working on her master’s degree, was teaching a Wednesday night kids’ program. There were 4 of us that night. I don’t remember much of the evening, but there was a moment that I have never forgotten. It is the moment that set the course of my life.
Toward the end of the evening, as she was wrapping up the story time, my mom explained in very simple terms what sin was and what it did to us. It made sense to me. I could see it in me. She then explained in very simple terms that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin and why I needed him to do that for me. That made sense to me too. Then she said something like, “If you believe that, all you need to do is tell him so and give him the steering wheel of your life.” That made sense to me too. So, I did.
I wish I could tell you I was totally transformed… but hey, I was only 6, not much to transform from an outward perspective. But I knew something inside me had changed. Someone was there who hadn’t been there before. He has never gone away.
I wish I could tell you I have been entirely consistent over the last half century or so that I have walked with Jesus. I haven’t, but he has. I have come to the realization that he fights for me even when I am too lazy, or distracted, or discouraged to fight for myself. My job is just to respond with faith. The steering wheel is still his. I try not to grab it too often.
This is my testimony: Jesus loves me. And I believe he loves you too. Ultimately, I became a pastor because Jesus loves us. He loves you and me with a fierce and eternal commitment.
If you don't yet know Jesus, believe He loved you on the cross and give Him the steering wheel of your life and He will fight for you!