Phil Hulett

Before

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.

Challenge

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?

Neva Belle Johnson

Pastor Nelson said to start before I knew the Lord.  My grandparents and mother were involved with the Methodist Church all my life though my father was not involved with anything.  He would not let me be baptized as an infant.  When we bought a house on Ross Place the closeness of Wilmington  First was made to order.  I was 10 when we came.  Dorothea asked me to sing in the Chancel Choir as no children’s choir existed at that time.

I can remember sitting in the choir pews as various pastor’s preached.  They talked about Salvation but never answered my silent questions.

Sometime in my teens I found myself in San Diego at a Billy Graham Crusade.  I do not remember the circumstances of how I got there..  However, I vividly remember when he said, “Come.”  I got up and went down.  I remember someone who came over to me.  He greeted me warmly and spoke John 3:16 to me personally.  For God so loved Neva that he gave His only son so that Neva who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life..  As I returned home the words in my Bible spoke to me in a new way.  I thirsted for more.

At the age of 62 I was faced with life changing  decisions.  Roy had suffered a major stroke. His driving days were over.  I could not continue working full time and take care of him.  Therefore, I retired from the City of Torrance figuring that my life as I had known it  was over.

Actually the age of 62  my spiritual life began.   My thirst for God that I had felt so many years before surfaced again.  As I did whatever I needed to do for Roy I felt an emptiness that I knew only God could fill. Through the years I had gone to every Bible study or workshop that I could attend .

The day came when I threw caution to the wind and surrendered myself to God.  I knew that I had to forgive everyone, read the Bible, have a lengthy quiet time with God and follow his will.  As he led me through the last 16 years I have found myself changing.  I used to have to write prayers out when I was Liturgist, but now I could pray out loud without a script.  My taste in reading changed.  Some authors  that I had read no longer were attractive to me.  I had learned how to forgive.  I had acquired compassion for others.  He was teaching me to give thanks in all things, not just the good..  God was involving me in classes about  praying for healing for others  He was highlighting Bible readings that spoke about not grumbling or complaining.  He got me involved in Lay Speaking.  He opened Church, District and Conference doors that used my God given gifts.

My territory was enlarged as I came into contact with other church members..  I no longer worried about finances as my tithe doubled and my trust in God’s care became solid.   Family Promise came into my life.  .  In July I got another job as Treasurer for the District Foundation.  I wonder what else is ahead.

Whatever it is, these things I know for sure.  I will never be alone.  My salvation is assured by Jesus as I am covered by his Costly Robe of Righteousness.  I am building up treasure in heaven as I pray for those that God has given to me to care for.

Jesus changed my life and He can  change your life too.  All you have to do is surrender yourself to Him and allow Him remake you  into  His image.