Testimony of Salvation

Brief introduction — I had the privilege of meeting Jim when he became a member of the church my father started at RAF Fairford, England back in 1984 or 1985. Jim served and grew in that mission work while serving in the US Air Force. He would later visit me at Northland Baptist Bible College while looking at schools where he could train for the ministry. Jim lives on the East Coast now with his dear wife, and he continues to be a faithful Bible teacher as he strives to become more like Jesus Christ. Here is his testimony. It has been a blessing getting back in contact with Jim and renewing our friendship.


Having been born into a Catholic family my earliest years in life for church was the Catholic church.  After my dad divorced and remarried another woman the Catholic church “ex-communicated” our family.  After the ex-communication we no longer went to any church.

When I was nine years old my two sisters and I were playing in our front yard when a church bus driver pulled alongside the curb and asked us if we would like to start going to church on the bus.  After getting our parents approval we started going to a Baptist church.

Sunday School was fun for me because we played games and had snacks.  There was no such “monster” as children’s church in those days and we would sit together as “bus kids” with the bus captain in the adult service.  I didn’t pay much attention to the pastor except on occasion and I would go forward during the altar call telling the pastor that I do bad things and he would tell me that we all do bad things and he told be to back and sit down.

Eventually our parents began to attend the Sunday morning services and we sat with our parents rather than the bus kids.  At this point and time I was now ten years old and one particular Sunday morning during the adult service I was pestering my sisters.  My dad looked at me and told me to shut up, sit straight, and pay attention to the pastor.

My dad was a strict father and I knew that there would be serious consequences if I didn’t do what he told me to do.  I shut my mouth and sat up straight, and paid sincere attention to the pastor.  As he was faithfully preaching the gospel about sinners dying and going to hell and Jesus having died and shed His blood to save us the Holy Spirit of God convicted me as a lost sinner.

Now I didn’t want to go to church anymore because I was running from God and myself.  A few Sunday’s after my initial “conviction” as a lost sinner the Spirit of God was impressing upon me that I needed to get saved and what was I going to do about it?  I had this all happening inwardly and I started to question whether this was really God or just “all in my head.”  I decided to “test” God and find out if this was really happening or not.

As the Lord was impressing upon me as to what I would do I said, “I’m going to wait until I’m grown up, and God impressed upon me that if I wait until I am grown up that I’ll grow up hard-hearted and lost.  Again, the Lord was impressing upon me “what are you going to do?”  I still questioned the validity of what was occurring and I said within myself, “I’m going to wait.”  It was then that I sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence leaving from me and I knew that this was real.

At that moment as I was still sitting in the pew I surrendered myself to Jesus Christ and acknowledged myself as a sinner and with a true heart of repentance I placed my faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood to wash my sins away.  I didn’t understand at that moment that I had indeed been saved right then and there.  I thought that I had to go forward to the altar to get saved.

When the altar call was given I couldn’t get there fast enough and when the pastor asked me why I was there I told him that I needed to get saved.  He said, “excuse me?”  I cried, and told him that I needed to get saved and that I didn’t want to go to hell.  We knelt down at the altar and he did not tell me to repeat after him.  He prayed that God would saved me and as I was praying in agreement the Holy Spirit confirmed within me that I was already saved in the pew.

When the pastor and I stood up we faced the congregation and he announced that I had just gotten saved.  The pastor looked at me and asked me, “now that you’re saved what do you want to do with your life?”  I told him, “I’m only ten years old and I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”  The pastor encouraged me to tell the folks something since I now know Jesus.  My reply was:  “I just want to do what Jesus wants me to do.”

As a newborn babe in Christ at the physical age of ten I was telling everyone about Jesus.  When my mom would go to the grocery store with my two sisters and myself I would tell the clerk at the check-out about Jesus.  I went on and on to the point that I drove my dad crazy and one day he told me to stop talking about Jesus because he’s heard it over and over again.  I stopped talking about Jesus to my dad but I never stopped talking about Jesus to others.

To God be the glory to save a sinner such as me!

Jim Kelley

I Want to Start Sharing the Gospel, But Now What?

If you have been reading my articles lately, you have probably noticed a very consistent theme, that being that Christians are commanded to share the gospel with the lost. I have been writing these articles for the very purpose of awakening the church to the desperate need in our world for the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to be preached. It has been my sincere hope and prayer that these articles may have caused even a small number of Christians to stop and evaluate whether they have been obedient to the command of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If you are one that has realized he or she has not been doing so, but realize you need to be, you may be asking, “What do I do now? Just how do I go about doing this?” It is my hope and prayer that over the next few articles I can answer these questions and help equip you to biblically share the great and glorious message that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Today, there are three things I want to encourage you to do as you go about preparing yourself to evangelize the lost.

First and foremost, before we ever wade out into the world to share the gospel, we need to be about the business of praying to God. A Christian must pray that God would give him wisdom, boldness and an unquenching thirst to preach the gospel to the lost. Christians must pray for humility, confessing their sins and repenting of them, and praying that they would not seek their own recognition and glory. Rather, Christians should pray that they would seek only to glorify the Lord by preaching His truth, not seeking to persuade with our own vain philosophies, but by speaking His revealed Word. Christians must pray for the Lord to break through the hardened, stony hearts of sinners and that He would reveal their need for Christ as their Savior. That He would cause the scales to fall from the eyes of the lost and cause them to see Christ in all His glory. Christians should also pray for steadfastness, an unwavering desire to preach the true gospel, no matter the opposition, or even persecution, that they may face. We must pray that we never become weary in doing good even when the world seeks to shut us up, when our friends and family tell us to stop being “so preachy” and even when our local churches refuse to support us because we are “judgmental.” We must pray that we would never stop sharing the gospel because we seek to please God alone and desire to bring a lost and dying world to Him. Prayer is one of our most potent and valuable weapons because it causes us to come to the throne of grace, seeking the power and equipping of our sovereign Lord. Never seek to accomplish the task of evangelism under your own “power.” Rather seek the power of God Himself to do the work.

Secondly, Christians need to become thoroughly equipped in the study of the scriptures. Human wisdom and philosophy can accomplish precious little when it comes to proclamation of the gospel. Remember that those who are lost are slaves to sin and are spiritually dead. Our words alone will never penetrate the rocky soil of an unregenerate heart. Only the Words of God Himself can break up that stone and make the heart into fertile soil. Therefore, we must be diligent to study the Bible daily, but not just to find scriptures that bolster our arguments. Such study accomplishes little because we are not seeking the actual context and application of God’s Word. If we fail to discern the true meaning of a passage, we may end up ripping scriptures out of context and doing damage to the message itself. Rather, we should study that we might grow in all wisdom and understanding. We should study so that our lives are so impacted by the Word, that every aspect of how we live changes to reflect the image of our Savior. In doing so, not only will we gain the words necessary to share with the lost, we will actually demonstrate that we believe them because our lives will reflect it. All the objections and obstacles that man can offer against God find their demise in the very words of our Lord. Study, memorize and learn to apply all of the scriptures on a daily basis.

Third, remember that you were once a lost and condemned sinner too. Remember that you had sinned against the very Creator who gave you life and breath through your wicked works. Remember that you had broken His laws, that you had been a liar, a thief, an idolator, a blashpember, one who lusted and fornicated, who harbored unjust anger in your heart, one who had sought only to please himself above all others. That in your sinned darkened stated, had you died and stood before God, who is perfectly righteous and holy, you would have been judged guilty and rightly condemned to an eternity it Hell. Yet, while you were still a sinner, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you on the cross. That Christ lived the life of perfect obedience to the law that you could not. That He willingly went to the cross to suffer a brutal and humiliating death, the one that you deserved. That three days later, He rose again, defeating death and giving you a promise of eternal life. Remember that one day, God sent someone to you to share this glorious message of salvation. That He opened your eyes and softened your heart. That God miraculously granted you repentance and faith and caused you to be born again. And as you remember these things, glorify the Lord through worship and praise. Remember that you were once dead and He made you alive. Rejoice that God took an unworthy sinner like you (and me) and adopted you as His child. Then, in your praise and adoration of Him, seek to obey His command to preach this glorious message to others.

By equipping ourselves in these three areas – prayer, study and worship – we prepare ourselves for the spiritual warfare of saving souls. We are equipped with God’s power rather than our own and we are using His weapons in this battle. The preaching of the gospel is not an effort to improve lives, change minds or rescue the culture. The preaching of the gospel is two things: first, it is the glorification of our great God and Savior; second, it is a rescue mission to save souls on a path to Hell. Therefore, we dare not treat this lightly. Let us be fully prepared, with all God has to offer us, before we step foot onto the battlefied.

In my next article, I intend to speak on the biblical presentation of the gospel and to point out the errors of modern evangelical “evangelism.”

The Death of Christopher Hitchens

Renown speaker, author and self avowed atheist Christopher Hitchens died at age 62 yesterday. Mr. Hitchens was perhaps most well-known for his atheism and consistent attacks against religion, primarily Christianity. He was previously diagnosed with esophageal cancer and underwent medical treatment, including chemotherapy, to treat the disease. Ultimately he succumbed to pneumonia as a complication of the cancer and died. Prior to his death, many Christians prayed for Mr. Hitchens, for his healing and for God to save his soul. Mr. Hitchens found this to be interesting, but assured the public that any stories of his deathbed conversion would be fabricated.

The question that stands before us today of course, is where is Christopher Hitchens today. According to Mr. Hitchens, he simply ceased to exist, nothing more. But for the Christian, we know that we exist for eternity once this mortal body ceases functioning. There are only two possibilities as to where, Heaven or Hell. As Mr. Hitchens was created by God, and was bound to God’s laws, as we all are, he can only be in one of those two places. At first, it may seem quite easy to figure it out. He denied God, spoke vehemently against the Christian faith, and was often hateful and vitriolic in his speech regarding it. Considering that he made the statement there would be no deathbed conversion, it would be a simple thing to declare God sent him to hell. However, the truth is, we simply do not, and cannot know.

It is clear that Mr. Hitchens made a career of hating the very idea of God. But it is also clear that he was a common sinner just like the rest of us. He had a conscience, he was aware of right and wrong. He, like the rest of us, committed acts that were in violation of that conscience. We know that our consciences are God’s laws written upon our hearts. When we violate our conscience, we are violating God’s laws. Additionally, Mr. Hitchens debated with many Christians, he had heard the gospel presentation many times. There is little question that by the time of his death, Mr. Hitchens knew what God required of him. It is that time just prior to his death that we cannot know about. Is it at least possible, that as he faced those last moments, knowing death was coming that he considered those sins he committed, that he contemplated the gospel he had denied so many times, that he just might have repented and trusted Christ. If we are intellectually honest, we must say that it is possible. And since we cannot know, we hope that is what happened. We hope that we will find Mr. Hitchens in Heaven one day, for we do not wish the wrath of God on any man.

But we must also be honest say that he may not have repented. It is entirely possible that Mr. Hitchens held on to his rejection of God all the way into death. If so, Mr. Hitchens now stands before God in judgment for his sins. And not just for his atheism. As said before, our consciences are merely God’s law written on our hearts. When any man or woman breaks those laws, through lying, stealing, coveting, lusting, or blaspheming, they have sinned against a holy and righteous God. It is not just because he was an atheist that Mr. Hitchens may have stood condemned, it is because, as we all are, he was a sinner against the God who created him. And if that indeed is what occurred, even we Christians must mourn his death, for we do not wish Hell on any man. But we also rejoice that God is glorified, because His justice is perfect.

So what does that mean for the Christian? First, let us not run around proclaiming we know where Christopher Hitchens is, only God knows that. Let us share with people the truth, that if he repented and trusted Christ (which is our hope), he is in Heaven. But if he remained in his sins, he was condemned (as we all deserve). Let us not rejoice that another atheist voice is silent, that presents us as unkind and unloving. But let us not ignore that what he taught was blasphemous. As we engage in coversation with others on this, let us remember that, whatever Mr. Hitchens fate was, all of us face the same date with death. All of us will one day die and stand before the Lord. Let that motivate us to share the gospel with everyone we meet. Let his death stand as a reminder that our lives are but a vapor, our next breath is not guaranteed. Thus, it is imperative that we share the gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ died for sinners, and that salvation is available through Him alone. Christians, let us be about our Father’s business of proclaiming this good news.