Sunday, February 25, 2007

In the World but Not Of It #1


I came to Jesus on October 14, 1973. It was in the middle of the Jesus Movement. I didn’t plan to, but the time was right and the rest is HIStory.

My life at the time of my conversion was dedicated to getting high. Marijuana primarily but anything would do. I was selling at the time so I had plenty of whatever I wanted. While not making huge amounts of money, I had enough to keep me happy.

I had graduated from high school the previous spring. It was a completely wasted summer and come fall, my dad decided I needed a job. I started looking for the least intrusive one I could find. I ended up at a carnation greenhouse. Spent the day tending and cutting flowers. Man, that place smelled good in the morning!

After a month or so at the greenhouse, I met a girl who was a backslidden Christian. She messed around with the world and it got a hold of her. I sold her some pot and we talked a bit at work. Then came the day; it was a Sunday afternoon. I’m not sure why, but we were talking on the phone. I think we were supposed to make another deal. She had quit working at the greenhouse. After a short chat she told me that she had been talking to some of her old friends. Then she announced it to me, “You can’t do drugs and know Jesus.” I heard it then and I remember it now. If I think of those words, I am transported back to that moment in time.

It shouldn’t have mattered. I was raised Roman Catholic and went to parochial school in grade school and high school. My dad spent a fortune on that education, which I squandered, and in my junior year of high school, I was given an option to leave or be thrown out. I ended up at a public school and coasted downhill for the next two years. I graduated with a B average even though I missed at least one day a week and can hardly remember a day there.

Anyway, I was a good Catholic. I knew the rules and played by the rules. I tried to stay away from serious sin, went to confession regularly, and went to Mass every Sunday. I didn’t want to go to hell and thought I had it figured out. Of course, drugs were fine and you could pretty much justify most other things as long as confession was kept up. If you were not raised Catholic then I’m sure I just lost you but that’s how many play the game.

So here is this good Catholic kid on a Sunday afternoon. Stoned, happy, talking to a girl that he wouldn’t mind getting to know better. But those words! I think she was speaking of herself, somewhat apologetic, but she might as well have been a prophet of God. “You can’t do drugs and know Jesus.” We finished our conversation and I can’t remember what happened the rest of the afternoon. Then came about 7pm that night, He must have been in my room. He was in my head. I didn’t know exactly what it meant but I decided I wanted to follow Him. All of a sudden, the good catholic kid was lost. I knew what she said was true and I wanted to follow Him. Somehow, I realized I had not been.

I grabbed a New Testament from the bookshelf and started reading (in Revelation.) The next morning at work, I wanted to tell people that I was a Christian. Something happened inside!

That evening I talked to the girl, Penny, and told her what happened. She invited me to church and on Wednesday night, I went with her and her mom. A week and a half later, I was baptized. Within a couple of weeks, Penny quit coming. She just couldn’t let go of the worldly things. She hasn’t had a good life since.

I kept going to church with her mom and after awhile started driving myself. It was a completely different life now. Everything was changing.

To be continued… Click here for part 2.

Philip

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