Board Secretary and Servant of Christ
Tom was called by the Lord to serve as the Secretary of the Board of Directors.
Matthew 11:28-30, NIV
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Tom's Life - His Testimony
It is by God’s grace and only by God’s grace; I have reached the age of 64. This is because to one degree or another half of those years were spent away for God in slavery to a life of self-indulgence.
The story of the surrendering my life to Christ is an inconsistent one. From my earliest memories the Church has been a part of my life. My mother and my father were raised in the Church. Quite naturally, my parents decided to raise their children in the Church. I am the oldest child, born in 1952. Over the next ten years our family grew to include four more children. My father had the type of job that moved our family frequently. Wherever we lived, the local church was a part of our lives. Our family was always active in the Church.
By the mid 1960”s we were living on the west coast. As a teenager I became enamored with the counter-culture that was sweeping the country. It was a time where “anything goes”. As a result, my early faith was soon cracked to its foundations. I was not too concerned with that though. Then in 1972, my parents got divorced after twenty-one years of marriage. In what seemed like the blink of an eye at the time, our family dissolved, never to be the same again. While my parents have passed years ago, yet the effects of this divorce became a disease that each of us children suffers to this day. My parents deserted each other and we all deserted the family of God.
I burned the candle at both ends for many years. In the midst of all this for some reason that I cannot explain, I picked up a Bible and began reading the New Testament. In the book of Matthew, chapter 11, verses 28-30, I read how Jesus says he provides rest for the weary and to try his life-style out because it was easy and light compared to the one I was leading. In John, chapter 14, verse 6, I read that Jesus said he is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the father except through Him. In I Corinthians, chapter 6, verses 9-10, I read that the sexually immoral… the greedy… drunkards… swindlers, would not inherit the Kingdom of God. In James, chapter 1, verses 14-15, I read that each one of us is dragged away from God by our own evil desires. Our desires give birth to sin; and sin when full grown, gives birth to death. Slowly, finally, my heart was becoming deeply convicted and the truth of the Gospel was taking hold of me.
Then, one night in October of 1983, I received a taste of what death is like without God. While I was alone with my habits, I fell unconscious and I truly believe God took me outside my body. I left this world only to resume my consciousness in the deepest darkness. I was a spirit being, with no sense of body, floating is a sea of darkness. I was alone, lost, and very frightened. At that moment, I ask Jesus into my heart. I pleaded with him not to forsake me. And, just as he has promised, he did not. He restored me to my body. It took most of the next day to over come the physical effects of this event, but it changed my spiritual life forever.
I soon quit substance abuse. I bought a study Bible and literally wore it out. I got married and promised God that this marriage would be for life. In time, my then 10- year-old son came to live with me. My career prospered. God was changing my life. However, I made a mistake. I never found a church to grown in. I never connected with other Christians in any meaningful way. My wife had little to do with Christianity so I lived as a “lone ranger” Christian. Without discipling in my life it was not long before my old habits returned. Thirteen years later, the marriage failed and I found myself continuing in my old familiar life-style of self-indulgence. In the Book of Luke, chapter 11, verses 24-26, Jesus says that when we allow the old nature to return, the final condition of the man is worse than the first. This had certainly become true in my life. I was spiritually bankrupt and was eating pig food once again.
I doubted if my earlier confession was real. Yet I now can see God was always patiently in the background. Several years later, God, in His perfect timing and His amazing grace, sent Christian friends into my life. They invited me to their church. I began attending different churches on a regular basis. It felt good to be there. Within a short time God placed me in the church were he want me to grow and to serve. I made more friends; ones who held me accountable. In May of 2001, I finally made the decision to be baptized. It had been over seventeen years since that night I pleaded for Jesus to save me. It had been over thirty years since I first began deserting the family of God. Trust me. Baptism has made all the difference. I no longer doubt my salvation. The Holy Spirit has empowered real change in my life. I no longer simply have a belief in the truth of the Gospel, but I am living out its power though a changed life. I am a disciple of Jesus.
Now, as I write this sixteen years later, I am amazed that God would wait so long for me to come home and that his love has been so unconditional. When I look back, I can see that the Lord was always at work in my life. He was not slow with me, at least as I understand slowly. Instead, he was patient with me, not wanting me to perish, but to come to repentance. Knowing this, I highly recommend you take stock of your own life. If you have not yet decided, then it is time you come home to a faith in Jesus Christ today. It will make all the difference.
I can now see God was saving the best for my life until now. 14 years ago God presented me with a Christian woman. She has become the “just one girl” in my life. My marriage is as God planned it. We are a devoted Christian couple and have been blessed with two daughters - who have become part of my new mission field. I am so thankful. I am also thankful that my 39 year-old son now has a Christian father to talk to. We are making up for lost time.
Heavenly Father, thank you for all that you have brought me through. I thought it was for evil but you turned it into good. God I am reminded always of your promise to those parents who raise their children in a Christian home: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” Proverbs 2:6. I am so thankful to my parents, especially my father who made sure that I was trained early in the way I should go. Thank you brothers and sisters in Christ, thank you my church, Thank you Jesus!