The year was 1978, nearing the close of the decade best remembered for
Bellbottom jeans, huge Afros and all night discos. The music of Barry Manilow, Barry White, The Jackson 5, The Osmonds, Elton John, Al Green and of course the Bee Gees and Earth, Wind and Fire were heard all over the radio. Our TV sets were tuned to The Brady Bunch, Good Times and Johnny Carson… depending upon your bedtime, of course. The times were comfortable and pleasant. Our nation was strong and getting stronger. We even had a president that professed to being born again. The “Jesus Movement” was gaining momentum and would soon collide with and disrupt my life like nothing I had ever encountered before.
I was seventeen years old and only weeks away from graduating from high school. The pressure of starting adult life, going away to college and trying to figure out why a particular Christian tract kept following me everywhere I went was almost unbearable! Do you remember chick tracts? We’ll a quite powerful one entitled “This was your life!” followed me all around San Diego for a solid year. It seemed every time I turned around, it magically appeared. I was under such heavy conviction. I felt like I was the biggest sinner on the planet and that the world was going to end tomorrow and I knew what that meant for me. My world was so Jesus saturated that I was almost in a panic! Driving on the freeway I remember seeing huge billboards that read “Try Jesus” and “One Way.” I saw countless bumper stickers that said “Turn or Burn.” There was even a street preacher who was always at the downtown square warning me that Jesus was coming soon. Everywhere I went reminded me of my sinful condition. I was afraid to sleep at night, but also dreading the day for fear of running into that chick tract again. I knew it was time to give up and surrender my life to Jesus and finally get some peace.
I remember waking up one Sunday morning with an anxious zeal to finally get this done. I could hardly wait for the church service to get to the time of the invitation to come to Jesus. I walked down the center aisle and threw myself on the altar and wept like a baby. I’m sure it was only a few minutes, but it felt like I was on my knees for hours crying and repenting over every sin I ever committed over the past 17 years of my life. When someone helped me off the altar, I knew I had been changed. I felt such peace again.. The fear and torment was gone. Shortly after that I was water baptized and believe me, I rose up out of that water ready “to walk in the newness of life.”
My Bible became my constant companion. I didn’t go anywhere without it.
That chick tract didn’t strike fear in me anymore. I knew I was born again.
Isn’t it interesting, and sad, how we don’t hear those words “Born Again” much anymore? They have almost become taboo to mention these days. I was proud to labeled a Born Again Christian. I was called a Jesus Freak too. That title didn’t offend me. That is exactly what I was. Anyone that got close enough to me knew it too. I was always ready to witness. I had been so beat down with conviction and overwhelmed with guilt that I was thrilled to accept everything that came along with my new life in Jesus Christ. Oddly now, it doesn’t seem quite the same now, not for me and not for other Christians either.
It’s now 30 years since my Born Again experience and things have changed drastically. The world has changed, the church climate has changed and I have changed also. There have been many fluctuations in my relationship with God. I’ve been extremely consecrated, at times distant, somewhat indifferent and also excited about my life in Christ. This has caused me to become introspective about why this has occurred. Why have I accepted a mediocre Christian life when 30 years ago this was never an option? Has Jesus changed? Has Heaven lost its’ luster? Has Hell cooled down? Have all the sinners been converted? None of the above is true! I therefore have to conclude that I need to make an adjustment back toward the zeal I once possessed. Despite all my best efforts to maintain a strong and bold Christian stand, I’ve allowed the subtle yet constant pressure of this Godless society to shut me up. These days, you must admit, it’s very non-politically correct to be a Christian. In fact, anything that is remotely associated with morality or carnal restraints is viewed with intense hatred. Under these conditions it’s normal to want to not make waves. Why walk around with a target on your back? On the other hand….isn’t Jesus worth it? Can’t we be inconvenienced a little for the testimony of Christ? Can’t we suffer just a bit in order to win a soul to Christ? Can’t we endure the persecution long enough to see that someone needs the Jesus we can give them? I think we can.
Paul, the apostle, stated so insightfully, “…the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be…”(Romans 8:18) I remember when I grasped the concept of Eternity actually being a reality. When I learned all that Eternity encompasses it made life here on Earth easier to endure. It made me want to live with more determination and a willingness to stand for my beliefs. I became more conscience of the fact that I don’t want to forfeit my heavenly reward because of circumstances I encounter during this life (II John 2:8). So, how much harm can occasional persecution do? The Word of God promises that we can overcome any obstacle that opposes us in the world because of Christ in us (1 John 4:4). “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
There is a day coming that not only will Christianity be “non-pc”, but also it will be criminal. We are already seeing foreshadows of it now in isolated events nationwide. It would serve us best to reconcile with the idea that life here on Earth won’t get easier for Christians. Let’s arm ourselves spiritually for the fight. Let’s revive or better yet, re-create a Jesus Movement that is designed for this End-Time generation. Let’s go after the lost with zeal and a love that they won’t be able to resist. Just like the conviction I felt to come to Jesus; I feel that same conviction to reach the lost. Time is short. The Rapture is near. The gravity of the hour necessitates that this Born Again Jesus Freak be resurrected.