What age were you when you decided to follow Christ? What do you remember about that?
I guess I thought that, because God’s word was so much a part of everything that went on in our lives, that I was just a Christian by birth. But at one evening service, my little sister walked down the aisle to the front, made her confession to the church, and my dad baptized her.
I didn’t let Nancy beat me at anything, and lo and behold, she beat me at becoming a.Christian! I was 12 years old. My dad and I did some serious talking that week, and I was baptized a week later. I don’t think I understood real repentance and commitment until after I started preaching, and I think my real conversion took place one day down at Wilson Shoals on my mail route.
It was during the Vietnam War, and fighter jets from Barksdale AFB would ‘fly that crooked Trinity River’ to practice before going to Vietnam and Cambodia. Johnny Price’s mailbox, Rt. 2 Box 30, was right on the.riverbank, and one day one of those jets flew right at treetop level right over my little International Scout mail wagon! It scared me so bad because Peter said whenever men are wondering “Where’s the promise of His coming?” And responds to his question with, “The heavens and earth which are now, will pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” By then, I’d been preaching long enough that I was familiar with that scripture, and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this is it!’ I really expected the fervent heat any moment, and I’d always hoped I’d have time to say one last little prayer to kinda ‘clean up’ anything I might’ve missed asking forgiveness for. You see, I really didn’t understand ‘grace’ back then. Anyway, I opened the door and fell out on the ground on my face, begging God to forgive me for all those unconfessed sins. Not long after that, I had brother Gaylon Embry baptize me…as a man who still believes that I had “my road to Damascus experience” at Rt.2 Box 30!
I was far too immature at 12 to truly understand what real repentance and conversion is all about.