A Legalistic Cult
(The Vern Bourne Story)


Growing up in a church under the cloak of holiness, it was a legalistic cult.  Violating my super sensitive conscience became a daily occurrence, because I was no longer under anyone's authority and truly did not understand right from wrong.

I thank you for this opportunity to tell you just a little about us.  Miko and I have been married for over forty years. We are deeply in love with God and each other. We were in the entertainment business for many years performing in night clubs all over the United States.
 
I didn't believe in God and hated anyone that did.  I became hopelessly addicted to drugs and lost everything including my family. The one thing I did have was a Christian mother who never stopped praying. Not only did God forgive me of my sins, He delivered me from years of addiction and after two and a half years of separation, brought my family back together.


My heart breaks when I hear of young people running from God because they grew up in a legalistic church. I, too, grew up in a church that (under the cloak of holiness) was a legalistic cult.

At age fifteen, I was convinced that this church was the only way to get to heaven. I also knew I didn't have it in me. Being kicked out of the only school I had ever attended, I ran away from home. My parents allowed me to move back home. But, things were never the same.

I stopped going to church, but still felt drawn to return. So one Sunday morning, I went back. The preacher stood up to the pulpit and began talking to me. I'd seen this happen to others. But now, it was happening to me. I don't remember everything he said, but I do recall him predicting that I would be dead within two years and would burn in hell. He, then, asked me to leave the church.  The only church that I had ever known just kicked me out into the unknown.

Violating my super sensitive conscience became a daily occurrence as I was no longer under anyone's authority and truly did not understand right from wrong.

"They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." Mark 7:7
Joining the Army, I was sent to Okinawa ... where I met and married a wonderful girl named Miko. We have three children, seven grandchildren, and have been married now for forty years.

After getting out of the service, I joined a band and worked in the entertainment business ... playing in night clubs for the next 16 years. During this time, I became hopelessly addicted to drugs.

Losing my home, my wife, and my family, I was bitter about God. I believed He was some kind of monster who was going to send me to hell ... just because I was unable to live up to His unreasonable standards.

I ended up living in Florida with our youngest son Stan, while my wife and other two children lived in Atlanta. It was almost Christmas. So, Stan and I drove to Atlanta; bringing his brother (Ricky) and sister (Debbie) down to Florida for the holidays.

It was so great having all the children together again, even if it was just a week or so. We got up early Christmas morning, opened presents, sang songs, and played games. It was great!

My brother and his wife were in town, so we were having quite a family reunion. They invited us to go to church with them on Sunday. God was really talking to me. It was the strongest conviction I had ever felt.

I remember what the Pastor talked about that morning. But I really don't think it would have made much difference because, God was talking to me. I wanted so badly to turn my life around and I knew God was the answer. The only thing standing between me and God, was pride. How could I humble myself in front of all these people; my nephews, my nieces, my own brother and his wife? I mean, what would everyone think!?! What would my own children think? I wanted to accept Christ into my life, but I knew I didn't have the courage to step out and go forward.

The sermon was over and the pastor had asked everyone to stand.

My hands hung onto the back of the seat in front of me and I just knew I couldn't let go and go forward. Then, I heard the most beautiful words I've ever heard. "You don't have to come to the altar to get saved, you know. You can be saved standing right where you are. Everyone, with their eyes closed and lifting in prayer, is there anyone here who would like to give their heart to Christ and would signify it by lifting your hand, then slipping it down again?"

God had brought me this far. I had to make the next move myself. I let go of the seat in front of me and as I lifted my hand, I could see out of the corner of my eyes, like it was in slow motion, all three of my children raising their hands too! We were all raising our hands!

Pastor said, "I see those hands. Just repeat these words after me: Dear Lord, I know I'm a sinner, and I'm sorry for my sins. With your help, I will stop doing what I know is wrong. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave. I open my heart's door to you just now and invite you to come in, as Lord, and Savior, of my life. Lord, thank you for saving me. In Jesus' name, amen."

Then he asked for anyone who had excepted Christ to raise their hand. Once again, the four of us raised our hands.

As we left the church, the pastor shook my hand and asked me, "Did you really mean it?"  

I said, "Yes, I did."

We all got into the car, then drove over to my nephew's house for a Sunday dinner. All the way over there, no one said a word about what had happened. We were just happy.

After we had been there for a few minutes, I had to tell someone. I walked up to my nephew's wife, Martha, and said, "Ya know, I think I just got saved."

She replied, "Boy, will Darrell be happy."  Somebody said, "Vern, there's a phone call for you in the other room." It was my Mom, calling from Alaska. What perfect timing.

"Mom, I just got saved." My voice echoed words of pure joy through the phone to a mother who had been praying for me for so many years. She said, "Praise the Lord, Vernon. Praise the Lord. I can die now."

Ricky and Debbie went back to Atlanta and started taking their mother to church. Soon after, she gave her heart to the Lord!

Two and one half years from the time I lost my family, God brought them back to me.
Now twenty years later God has given us a ministry along with a deep compassion for the needs of those that are hurting and looking for answers. Even though this ministry has only been operating since November 2000, we are seeing people come to the Lord from around the world. Others are asking for prayer and reaching out for help.

Debbie is now married. She and her husband have a powerful youth ministry, called TVIC (Totally Valid in Christ) Check it out. Their web site is: http://www.tvicministries.com/

I tell you all of this so you won't make the same horrible mistakes that I did. You can't judge God by what some group of people do, even if it's in God's name. People make mistakes. God even loves them.

Please don't try to live your life without God. You'll be missing the best part of life ... a love relationship with Him. It's awesome!

I hope you can learn something from my story. Remember the saying, "Learn from other peoples' mistakes. Life's too short to make them all yourself."


~Vern Bourne


If you are interested in contacting Vern, he would be more than happy to talk to you or help you in any way that he can.  He can be reached at sbdycrs4u@cs.com.  Or if you would like to visit his website, please click on the following link:  http://www.SomebodyCares4U.com


Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to cover your sins?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To be at peace with God; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life. 


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