Bill S’s Story

RisenSD_main-clean (Custom)What was your life like before you met Christ? * I grew up attending a church of another denomination. My parents were regular participants with my father an active deacon/elder. I began singing in the choir at age six and through the years was active in our youth group. At age 12, like many others, I was baptized (sprinkled) and subsequently became a “member” of the church. Now I could partake of the sacraments (mainly the grape juice) like the other members. Going to church was usually an adventure with sibling conflicts/parental discipline both going & coming. Church attendance seemed to be an obligation rather than a desire. I was essentially a “good person” who was obedient to my parents and pretty much got along with most everyone. However, there were several occasions when I would get into trouble or do things that weren’t spiritual such as bad language. Despite the temptations, I abstained from the use of alcohol and tobacco. Spiritually, I thought I was a pretty good person who should make it to heaven one day although there was some doubt. In church, I don’t recall any reference to the term “born again”. I remained at home while attending the local college/university and was very involved in our denomination’s youth group, eventually becoming president. During my senior year, I met a fellow student (Charles) who was renting a room from our next door neighbor. We became friends and with my parents’ permission, moved into a room across from mine. Charles had just become a Christian (he also had been a regular church attender) and it wasn’t long before he began “witnessing” to me about what being a Christian really means. There were many sessions of him reading his bible to me with emphasis on a spiritual rebirth. I remained resistant to any change as I didn’t think I needed to. After all…I was a “good person”. Nevertheless, I continued to listen and ponder about my salvation.

How did you come to Christ? * Charles’ friendship, influence and evangelistic persistence were significant contributors to my becoming “born again” at the age of 22. I believe that I received my BA (Born Again) degree just prior to my BS degree from MTSU. I happened to be teaching a ROTC class my last semester when I experienced an appendicitis attack resulting in hospitalization and subsequent surgery. While in the recovery room, a nurse stated she heard me making wonderful spirit filled comments rather than common responses that were unspiritual. This made an impression on me as my language (I served over 2 years in the Navy Reserve prior to ROTC) was not anything to be proud of. It was then that I realized God had been preparing me for this moment of acceptance of Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

What is your life like now in Christ? *    I have lived 48 years since that day in April 1966 with Christ as my Lord, Savior, and confidant. When I have moments of doubt or discouragement, all I have to do is contemplate on all those times He has intervened in my life and been there for me even when I didn’t know it. He has been responsible for many important events over the years despite many moments of trials and tribulations: I met and subsequently married (46 yrs) my wife whom I met 5 months after being saved and were both baptized at N. Cleveland Baptist Church; He allowed me to return home unscathed after a year in Viet Nam; My first primary job of 31 years miraculously developed because of Him; We have been blessed with 3 wonderful children (the sons are both ministers) and 9 grandchildren; I was allowed a 24 year military career with a rank I never anticipated attaining; He brought us to Athens and First Baptist Church in 1970 where I have been influenced by very spiritual brothers and sisters during the good times and the bad. There are many other times, too numerous to mention, where God has been there for me. As a sinner saved by grace, I recognize that I still do things that disappoint my Lord, but as a child of God he still is merciful and forgives.

Any additional comments? I very much enjoy the game of golf which is very difficult for this perfectionist. It is a game that can never be perfected despite my futile attempts to do so. It is like that with Christianity – I continually am striving to achieve the perfection only attained by Christ with the realization it won’t happen. Yet, He will be there for me when I fail and will carry me when I am not realizing it. WHAT A LORD! WHAT A SAVIOUR!