A Salvation Conversation
Someone asked me the other day about whether or not I knew my father was in heaven. I told them I was confident and then they asked me if I knew his salvation story…and as I shared it with them I wanted to honor my father AND Jesus who saved him by sharing that story with you.
(I took my dad to lunch back in about 2002 because I was incredibly burdened for him and wanted to know that he knew Christ…and he told me the following.)
My mom and dad had a very rocky relationship…and then I was born (when my mom was 39 and my dad was 38!) When I was about two years old my mother decided to begin going to church and taking me (thank God for godly mothers!!!) My dad decided to do the typical male thing and send us to church while he did more important things…like sit at home! :-)
One evening he got home from work and poured himself a drink (he told me he was a very heavy drinker at the time) and sat down in the living room…and after doing so my mother informed him that the pastor and a deacon from the church she had been visiting were going to come by for a visit.
My dad lost it! He told me, “Perry, I cussed your mother out and told her that I didn’t want a damn preacher in my house.” BUT…he didn’t forbid it, he simply told her that he would allow it to take place this one time…but it was to never happen again.
The preacher and the deacon showed up and sat down in the living room to chat. (I don’t even know the name of the church…all I know is that it was a Baptist church somewhere in Whittier, CA where I was born and we were living at the time.) My father told me that the preacher shared the Gospel with him and my mother…and that on that evening both my dad and my mom received Christ. (I can still see his face as he shared this story with me!) Within several weeks they both went public through baptism…and although I do not remember it he told me that I was on the front row of the church when they were baptized.
I’ve got to be honest…my father did not always follow Christ; in fact, when we moved back to SC (when I was four) he became involved in a church and because of a very unfortunate incident in the church walked away. (I am more convinced than ever before that when someone walks away from church it is impossible for them to maintain an intimate walk with Jesus!) As I reflect on his life I can now see the pain, struggle, and conviction that he wrestled with during those times.
When I began NewSpring church in 2000 my dad was there…and when we went to two services he would attend both. One of the privileges I had as a pastor was being my dads pastor…and I literally saw a prodigal son come home the last few years his mind was right.
So…today, as I’ve said before, there is an amazing sense of peace and joy because I know He is in heaven. And…I know NOT because I assumed but because I really did care enough to ask.
Anyone in your life that you are unsure of? I would challenge you with the hard truth that praying for them is easy…if you want to know…ask them!
Thank you for allowing me to wrestle with my struggles this week on this website. It has been awesome to write out my thoughts and I appreciate you all taking this journey with me.