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I became a believer when I was ten. I remember that moment as if it was yesterday.

One night in the car after a revival service at the church where my dad was pastor, I asked him if I could talk to him when we got home. I was feeling a deep tug in my soul. He gave a knowing look to my mom and when we got home, he took me into his bedroom and shared the gospel with me. I dont remember what he said, but I do remember how I felt and how desperately I wanted a relationship with Jesus. When I poured my heart out to Jesus in prayer, I immediately sensed His presence in my life. As my parents said good night to me, I told them I felt like I had everything I needed. I knew there was no greater desire left to be met. My memories before Christ are sparse. I existed, but I was not alive. After I came to Christ, I remember talking to Him all the time. I knew my relationship with Him was more than just a religious decision. I felt it to be very personal. As I grew older and began to struggle with teenager issues, there was a growing sense of shame that I did not measure up. By the time I graduated from high school, I had attended six different schools in two states and four towns. There were some good moments during that time in my life, but there was also a lot of pain. The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, while on a mission trip in New Orleans, I sensed a call from God to give my life for ministry. Even though this changed the course of my life as far as vocation, I still struggled with the soul-deep sense that there was something wrong with me. When I was 21, two weeks before starting classes at Bible college, I attended a camp in Montana with about five high school boys as a camp counselor. The last night of camp the evangelist preached the wheat and tare sermon and gave examples of people who thought they were Christians but realized they were not. All of a sudden fear gripped me to the core of my being, which began a twelve year struggle with doubt. At the age of 29, married with two small children, I participated as the music leader at a revival in Montana. The evangelist held a Bible study during the day in the next town over. The text for that study was Romans 5-8. I was just months away from graduating from Bible college and I had never heard what he was teaching. For the first time since my doubt had begun, I found an oasis of truth that resounded deep within me. I didnt really understand what he was teaching enough to repeat it to someone else, but that began something in my mind that God would later use. When I was 31, I enrolled in seminary to get a dual masters degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and Christian Education. During my second semester there was a revival on campus. There were a few students who were saved. There was a part of me that was baffled as to why someone would enroll in seminary if they were not a believer! It hit me, however, I was one who struggled with doubt. Up until that time, I was able to stuff most of my doubt into a closet deep in my mind. The doubt came bursting out of that closet and forced me to deal with it. I went into a little room in my house I had established as an office and prayed one of the most sincere and bold prayers I had ever prayed. I told God I was tired of this old struggle and wasnt going to try to figure out my eternal destiny anymore. I told Him that no matter what I tried to do to resolve this conflict didnt work and I was giving up! I said, If my eternal destiny is hell, then let it be. If my eternal destiny is heaven,

then that would be better, but I cant do anything about this. It is totally up to you! Amen!! There were no tears and no begging, but just a final resignation of how it had to be. When I got up from that frank prayer, it was if the clouds parted from the sun. I realized I had been in a fog for a long time. I felt a peace like I had not known since the day Christ gave me His life when I was ten. It was at that point I finally realized I was totally in Gods hands and there was nothing I could do to change my position. I felt His love and His acceptance of me. This realization began a new chapter in my life. I had to rediscover the security of being Gods child, no matter what. The next few years I found myself living in Romans 7. I knew God loved me, but I felt He was disappointed in me because of sin. I kept trying to please Him by rededicating my efforts to be the best I could be. After I finished seminary I moved to Georgia where I currently live. After moving to Georgia, I tried to get established in a new counseling career. I worked for a well-known Christian counseling ministry in the Atlanta area. Because I was working for commissions, my paychecks werent always what I needed to survive financially. I was also finding myself dissatisfied with my job. I could make people feel better about themselves in the counseling room, but I really didnt see any improvement in their lives. After a year, I left this job and began working for a local home builder. Talk about a change of vocation! During this period, we continued to suffer financially and basically lived from pay check to pay check. We were very involved in a local church. I taught a Sunday School class and became a deacon. One of the pastors approached me and asked if I would be willing to take a lay counseling class. He said they needed more men. It was a ten month commitment, but I was desperate to do anything to help me understand why God had placed me on the top shelf of life where it felt like I had been forgotten. Here I was a Bible college and seminary graduate prepared for ministry and I was building houses! It was during this training the Holy Spirit revealed life to me. For the first time in my life, I couldnt read my Bible enough. I wanted to know more. Because of working full-time, being involved in my three teenagers lives and my ministry responsibilities, I did not read the books I was supposed to read or do much of the homework the class required. However, the depth of the understanding I was experiencing astounded even me. I knew God was opening truth to me that could not be explained in human terms. I realized, looking back, I was never on the top shelf. God had me right in front of Him the whole time deliberately working out the smallest detail of my life to bring me to this point of brokenness. Out of that wonderful brokenness, God showed me His life; and that life was in me the whole time! When I was 31 God made me understand that I was loved and that I was totally forgiven, but now at 41 God showed me what Christ meant when He said, I came to give them abundant life! (John 10:10, paraphrased) As a pastor, I knew what it was to get excited about new programs and ministry opportunities, but now I was excited about Life! Christs Life cannot be quantified by a program or a ministry event. It is a relationship to be experienced and enjoyed. I think some around me waited for my enthusiasm to wane as all pastors enthusiasm eventually dies and then has to be replaced with

something new. My enthusiasm has only grown over these past eight years since receiving the knowledge that Christ is my life. Soon after embracing this truth, my church called me to be on staff full-time as the counseling pastor. I took over our Exchanged Life lay counseling ministry. That ministry grew over the next six years and we were able to share Christ as life with many people through counseling, training, and teaching. Most of the people exposed to the counseling were from outside our church. Last year we began to transition the counseling into a different ministry where the focus is now on sharing Christ as life with whomever the Holy Spirit brings into your circle. It is life-onlife sharing the exchanged life in a friendship, mentoring, coaching, etc Our lay counseling only reached people who were in crisis. This new model is designed to help believers share Christ as life with anyone and everyone. Father has now moved me on to Christian Families Today in Newnan, Georgia. It is an Exchanged Life ministry that shares Christ as life through counseling, seminars, Advanced Discipleship Training, and speaking opportunities. I am helping our ministry connect with local churches because we recognize the church as the biggest mission field to share the Exchanged Life. When believers understand who they are in Christ and that His life is their life, they become free to really live! The world is looking for life, and Jesus said we are the salt and light in this dark world. It doesnt need more or better religion, it needs Life!