3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” Acts 9:3-6 (NASB)
I will be 70 years old in October this year (2021). God had mercy on me in January 1986 when I was 34 years old. I remember it well. I was religious. I was a church member. I took my wife and small family to church every Sunday. I even ushered when asked. We attended Sunday morning services, Sunday evening services, Wednesday evening services, whatever was going on at that church we were part of it….
However, I was just being religious. I was just going through the motions like I had done my whole life. I grew up going to church. The pastor of that church and I were friends from High School. However, there was something missing.
What was it? I was a very fleshly person just as I had always been. I had anger issues. I had one foot in church while the rest of me was in the world. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of people like that haven’t you? Everything changed one very cold day in January 1986. We drove to church. Our Sunday School class met in the Choir practice room. I took our 4 year old son to his class while my wife took our 8 year old daughter to hers. We met back in our class room. What happened next is hard to explain. Everyone was milling around in the room. Our class room had several levels of seating because the Choir practiced in there. While most everyone was milling around fellowshipping I did my normal thing, which was “fellowship avoidance.” I got a donut or some sort of snack, I don’t remember now what it was. I climbed up to the top row of seats to get as far from the crowd as I could. I found two seats and motioned to my wife that we were going to sit there. Then I sat down.