The Fragility of a Good Testimony
Out of Dry Ground
My Testimony Series
"...He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist..." (Acts 17:27, 28). Whatever good there is in my life, I owe it all to the Lord of my salvation. The irony of so many being so close and yet so far.
The year was 1975; I was sitting in the doctor's office waiting for my wife, who was expecting our first child. Reading Romans from the Bible, I noticed that the author spoke in the past tense. "Therefore, having been justified by faith..." (Romans 5:1), "...the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5), and many more. At that moment, the assurance of salvation that I longed for so many years before became mine.
I spent much time with one of the pastors from The Bible Christian Union, who moved to Brooklyn to share the Gospel with primarily Jewish people. We would have street meetings; he was an artist and told the Gospel while drawing. He was outstanding. He and others at the BCU encouraged me to attend School as they could see God was working in my life.
In 1977 we moved to Elohim Bible Institute, located in a small town in Western New York, for three years. Some church people tried to discourage me because they did not want us to hurt my mother by our leaving. At 62 years of age, she came to Christ when I shared to Gospel with her. She took the crucifix off and said to me, Jesus is no longer on the cross. God bless her soul.
Battling to go or to stay was no small matter. One person at the Church offered me a job and a partnership if I would stay. I was painting my father's house for much-needed money, embroiled in my spirit about whether to go or to stay. In my youth, as a Christian, I said to God, "Okay, if you supply the way, I will go." There was no way I could afford to move, and I wasn't about to ask anyone for help move. Within minutes my wife came to the window as I was on a ladder and said, "Joe, you know the money we never received from the IRS, HERE IT IS." About two hours outside of New York, a perfect peace came over me that I was in the perfect will of God.
The move to School allowed me to see a noticeable difference between the culture at the School and our previous Church. By comparison, the Church was significantly more self-centric than the School. The School, of course as it would be, was about sending people out. Both trained people, but they seemed to die or become lukewarm; in the Church. In-School, the field was the world, and the work began when the training was complete.
The school president was a kind person with whom it was easy to have fun. He took sin and holiness very seriously. When teaching, he would always end at the cross.
One evening when he entered the chapel, I could tell there was something wrong because of his demeanor. He asked the whole student body to stand and then said would all those who voted today please sit down. All were looking around when one person sat down. He then stated by what margin the amendment had passed to allow pornography into the town. He was bristling with irritation over the lost vote. He was not talking about politics but a Christian testimony to the town. We allowed immorality in a most visible way to corrupt our community, we who were called salt and light in a dark and perishing land.
To Be Continued...