Addicted to the Word

In middle school, I remember a Gideon handed me a New Testament after class. I was raised in a Christian home and thought I knew all there was to know about being a Christian, so I set the book aside for several years.

At age 19, I became involved with drugs and alcohol. I drank every chance I could find and went through ten different jobs before landing a full time position at a clothing factory. I was assigned the late shift, and found I had a lot of time to myself during work hours. So, I decided to read the Bible.

The orange New Testament I had received in high school was the perfect size to carry to work. The more I read, the deeper my convictions became. I knew my substance abuse was holding me back from developing a full relationship with God. Once I made the decision to quit abusing drugs and alcohol, I became addicted to the Word, and my life began to change.

Soon, I felt God calling me to become a pastor. I graduated from Lancaster Bible college with a Bachelor of Science, then finished with a Masters in Divinity at Luther Rice Seminary. Today, I serve as the Senior Pastor at Harrisburg First Church of God, in Pennsylvania.

God’s Word is infinitely life changing. What I find most exciting about knowing Jesus is the discovery and ownership of truth. As a younger man, I listened to the Gospel of John on an iPod during work until I nearly memorized it. John’s emphasis was the truth of Jesus—He was the Son of God. Showing the historical Jesus is the truth, is where my pastoral passion lies.

I still have the New Testament that proved so instrumental in my life, though now the pages are worn and the binding is held together with tape. If I could talk to the Gideon who gave me this book when I was a kid, I would thank him and encourage him to continue the Lord’s work. Like so many others changed by the power in the conviction of the Word, I am the fruit of labor for many faithful Gideons who are consistent in distributing the Gospel.

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