I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting by a campfire out in a mountain clearing that we had hiked to, watching the flickering embers float up to meet the stars shining brightly down on us and feeling a deep sense that God was there with us. I don’t remember what songs we sang or anything that was said but I vividly recall thinking to myself that God was real and I needed to commit my life to Him. I was somewhere around 12 years old sitting in that field on that cool summer night and that moment has stuck with me.
Some years earlier, in the desert southwest of Roswell, New Mexico, I had given my heart to the Lord as a young boy. My parents had been talking with me about salvation as they tucked me in each night, but standing there in the pew of the First Baptist Church I felt a sudden urge to answer the altar call. I remember that my heart was burning on the inside as I asked my parents if that was ok and walked down the aisle ready for more of Jesus. I was somewhere around 8 years old and have never been the same since.
I could go on about how when I was 17 I accepted the call to ministry at a camp in Wisconsin, that when I was 19 I gave my musical gift to the Lord at a conference in northern New Mexico. Each moment is burned into my memory and in my heart. However, the point of this trip down memory lane is not to share my experiences but rather to encourage you remember yours.
When did you first meet God? When did His presence change your life? Can you remember? Because you should.
I don’t know that anyone remembers that night by the campfire in the woods like I do. Just another hike, just another message, an activity to do, logistics to take care of, time to fill perhaps. But I remember, because it changed my life. Does anyone remember that Sunday morning when a rather tall for his age boy walked to the front? Just another altar call, just another service, an item in the bulletin perhaps. But I remember.
So these days, when I set up chairs, when I carry the wood for the