After college I went into the Air Force to become a navigator on B-52’s. Up to this time life was going well. My finances, which seem to have an affect on almost everything, were the best they have ever been. My marriage was also going well. The main thing missing was that after 7 years of marriage, we still did not have children. At that time, in 1981, some friends of ours invited us to go to what was called a Family Life Conference. It was held on a Friday night and a Saturday at a nearby church in Riverside, California. The topic of the conference was something that I was very much interested in, marriage.
At the conference they told us about what a wonderful plan God had for marriage, and it really did spark my interest. A term they used quite often to describe the relationship between a husband and wife was “Oneness” which is partially based on the 2nd chapter of the Bible, which talks about a man and his wife becoming one flesh.
I really did desire to have the plan they talked about. At the end of the conference they challenged us to do something that was crucial to making God’s plan for a marriage work. They challenged us to make Christ Lord of our lives and center of our marriage.
On Saturday night after we had finished the conference, and after Charlene had went to bed, I went into our TV room and got on my knees to pray. Praying was not part of my normal agenda, and especially not getting on my knees to pray. I asked Christ to come into my life and to take control of my life and I thanked Him for the gift He had given me in my wife Charlene. The commitment I’d made to Charlene at our wedding had now become more than just words.
We had originally planned on having children that were 5 or 6 years old by now, but at this point had none. I stopped to think about why we hadn’t had children and realized that maybe God had been the part of the formula that had been left out. I told the Lord that I was ready to have children. And I didn’t know it, but Charlene had also been talking to the Lord. The next month she was pregnant with our first child.
My perspective changed dramatically because I started looking at what does God want instead of always what do I want. My primary struggles today involve finances and debt, which are far worse now than twenty some years ago before I accepted Christ. I do, however, have the peace of knowing that when I die I will live forever in heaven, rather than forever in hell.
I am currently struggling through a process of learning how to seek God and God alone rather than seeking God with the expectation that he will fix all my physical, emotional and mental problems. I am trying to learn how to ask God without arrogantly expecting Him to perform my way and to be thankful for what He provides along the journey.
Since then my spiritual growth has been affected by many things, including:
1) The Navigator’s ministry, including Bible studies and scripture memorization.
2) Teaching Sunday School – my wife and I were overwhelmingly blessed one Sunday a few years back when a young girl (probably 5 or 6) said she wanted to receive Christ and we joined her and her father as she prayed to receive Christ.
3) Leading several Navigator 2-7 Bible Studies.
4) Leading FamilyLife Couples study/fellowship.
5) Regular reading of God’s Word, journaling, scripture memory, prayer
6) Attending several Promise Keepers conferences. The first one was when they first filled the stadium in Boulder.
7) My wife and I attended a “Walk to Emmaus” in 1984, which was a very significant experience in my spiritual journey. It was a 3 ½ day retreat/renewal which helped refocus many things, including the reality of Christ’s love and the fact that the body of Christ is not just one particular church.
8) Meeting as a small group in a home and reading two life/church changing books – Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna and The Gathering by Ray Barnett.