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The Joy of Being Born into the Gospel

joyful men being baptized
Were you born into the Gospel like me; or did you find it later in life? Where do you stand with the Gospel today? You need to know.

The Barrymores were born into the theatre. I WAS BORN into the Gospel.

It was all around me. My life was lived under a blinking neon sign that said “Jesus Saves.” I went to Sunday school before I could walk and learned to read from the Bible, verse by verse.

It was a good life, and I was as sure of the Gospel as I was that Queen Elizabeth was running England. She and Jesus had the same reality to me as Mickey Mantle, the Lone Ranger and the yellow bricks on Monroe Avenue. The Gospel was pretty ordinary to me, mundane even, after the Bible stories were eclipsed by tales of Robin Hood and the Knights of the Round Table.

In the Church and Home

In this Gospel milieu, I lived and moved and had my being. My life was just like the other boys’ I grew up with except for that time I spent in EMMANUEL PENTECOSTAL CHURCH or in our home at 658 Monroe Avenue. Elizabeth was a city of 100,000, 99,900 non-Pentecostal. We were mocked and called “holy-rollers” and followed around by neighborhood boys speaking gibberish and claiming they were speaking in tongues.

We couldn’t curse or play on Sundays, or play cards, or go to the movies or dance or even bowl, because liquor was served in bowling alleys. These rules became my standards, and I thought they were the Gospel.

I learned to pray, read the Bible devotionally and gave my heart to Jesus when I was very young. Much of this was rote, but one night, when I was having an asthma attack, Jesus came into my room. He didn’t say a word, and I didn’t see Him, but His presence was very real, and I knew from that moment on that I belonged to Him.

That’s not to say I surrendered my life to Him. I did my own thing, became a prodigal, lived for the world, the flesh and the devil, until sorrow began to fall. My young wife left me; my best friend died. Then my father went to heaven, followed later by my lovely 16 year-old niece.

Dad’s death brought me back to the church, back to that same milieu I’d grown up in. It no longer fit, and so I went to another church where I felt loved and entered into the worship.

In the Garden

But my real quiet time came after the Sunday morning service, when I would stop by the florist and drive on to Hazelwood Cemetery, a lush, green meadow where my loved ones were buried. I would take the flowers to the graves, daisies for Kelly, carnations for Dad and Jeff.

I put the flowers in water and lingered quietly by those graves, resting in soaking prayer. It was there that I came to know the Gospel was real. There I had assurance, that the words of Jesus were true and for me; and there I accepted His invitation to “come unto me and rest.”

That was 40 years ago, and I am resting still. Since those days of sorrow, the Lord Jesus has been with me, every step of the way. There have been difficulties and sorrow, but far more blessings and joy. He gave me a beautiful wife and blessed us with two wonderful children, now about to start families of their own.

He helped me exercise the ministry my father had bequeathed me and gave me the great joy of bringing up my son and daughter in the Gospel. They too were born into the Gospel; but they have been more faithful than I was, and I am trusting the Lord Jesus will bring us all into what He has prepared for us, in earth as it is in heaven.

What has made this all possible?

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, who chose us before the foundation of the world. He made us His people, the sheep of His pasture. He gave us the gift of faith, faith in Him, faith in His word and especially in His promises.

Were You Born Into the Gospel?

Maybe you were born into the Gospel like me; or maybe you found the Gospel later in life. But regardless of when, I have the same question for you, where do you stand with the Gospel today? Are you in it? Is it in you? Has it become real in your life? It makes all the difference.

What can I do to be of help? Tell me more! Let me know too if you have any questions or idea you are willing to share. I write to be a blessing and to testify of Jesus’ great love and how He calls you to Himself. God bless you this week.

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