I wasn’t raised in the church…but I had some of it… Dad…agnostic. Mom: Catholic school growing up in another country…stayed involved with St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Lomita, CA…mostly because that’s what her friends were doing…so I went to catechism, was confirmed…and that was about it.
By the age of 15 I was a long-haired punk, surfing and drinking and smoking pot, by 16 I was in a rock and roll band, drinking, smoking pot, and taking just about any drug somebody brought into the garage where we practiced. Not a lot of purpose in life other than to party.
How I met the Lord
Spring 1977, I’m 18 and a senior at Narbonne High School…in the lunch pavilion I notice a pretty girl sitting a couple tables over…clearly a beach-loving girl, tan, sun-bleached hair. My buddies dared me to go talk to her, and I did. Turned out she liked me. It also turned out, she was a born-again Christian. I thought, oh, a Jesus Freak, eh? Normally, I would take off running, but she was so pretty. She took me to a Bible Study with a bunch of kids, who actually were cool…they all seemed to care so much for me. I listened, but had a pretty thick wall put up. Finally, my new girlfriend took me to a place in Costa Mesa called, Cavalry Chapel…a big church with a parking lot packed with cars…inside everyone was young, there was a rock band playing Christian songs and they were good songs. The preacher, a guy named Greg Laurie, had long hair and a caring, compassionate, loving way of speaking…kind of like my new friends at the Bible Study…but he was more direct. And by the time he got to the John 3:16 moment, For God So loved the world that he gave his only son, for whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Everybody, I mean everybody…there were 4 thousand kids in there…started singing, Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God….it was like I was listening to the angels in heaven singing. Pastor Greg called on me, and everyone else who had yet to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior to come up to the front…and I did…and I accepted Christ…me, Born Again, a budding Jesus Freak…and at that moment, I felt something I’d never felt before…as the Holy Spirit rushed into my body, I practically floated back to my seat…if I smiled any harder my face would have broken…this was a much better high than anything I’d ever felt.
Changes in my life
After that, I started going regularly to Bible Studies and various Christian events…my new Born-Again friends made sure to constantly nurture my growth in Christ…me and the girlfriend broke up, but that’s another story. Me and the Christian kids eventually met a preacher in Lomita, a surfer and we ultimately started our own Calvary Chapel in the multi-purpose room of a school in Rolling Hills…that church is now Calvary Chapel South Bay…
Life was real good, walking with Jesus was working out real well…but here’s the part maybe some of you can relate to…I went to college, lost touch with my Christian circle of friends and I fell away real badly…back to some of my old habits…didn’t go to Church for a few years…then I met another pretty girl. Remy and I hit it off pretty good and we fell deeply in love….and she had, since the early 1960’s, come to this Church…and eventually we started coming here together….and the light that was lit in High School was starting to burn again….but I have to tell you, over the years, all of the trappings and responsibilities of life have really gotten in the way for me…so honestly my walk with the Lord has ebbed and flowed….I can tell you the past 15 years or so, that light burning inside me has been nothing more than a flicker. My Christian life has more or less been on auto-pilot.
But…I can also tell you, that for the past two months, thanks in large part to the message and hands on approach of our new Pastor….the auto-pilot has been turned off and even though I have my hands on the wheel, I feel ready to hand the controls over to Jesus, to re-commit my life to him and to, and I am ready to feel the Holy Spirit fill my body in the way it did back in 1977…and I believe it can, and I believe it can for you.
And so…if my story has touched you in a way that you, too are ready to re-commit yourself to Jesus Christ and to turn that flickering light in your soul into a raging bonfire…then today I challenge you to ask Jesus to come into your life and to give all of your problems to him and to praise God for giving him so that you may have eternal life…will you do that today?