God's Saving Grace

(By: Douglas Lambert)

For the first twenty-seven years of my life I was an atheist. My father had left the Assembly Of God Church at the age of twelve, and had raised me to believe there was no God. My mother had received very little religious instruction in her childhood and therefore did not know about salvation through Jesus Christ. 

I graduated from high school in 1982 and set off for Indiana University Bloomington. In college I saw nothing that contradicted my atheistic beliefs. I learned to use drugs and alcohol. Life seemed to be one big party with no real meaning. After partying my way out of school in 1984, I returned home to Terre Haute to work. My drug and alcohol addiction grew and so did my desire to escape the misery that was my life. 

My life seemed to have neither purpose nor meaning. In an attempt to find some meaning, I joined a biker club known as the Gladiators. (I had ridden motorcycles since the age of five and had always been involved in the motorcycle industry.) The club gave me a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. These people spoke about belonging and brotherhood, the very things for which I longed. 

One night in 1990 after electing a new club president, we went out partying in Paris, Illinois. It seemed at first to be just another night of partying with my club brothers, but this was to be a night I would never forget. We arrived at the Tap Room Bar around 11:30 and began to party. As the night progressed, one of our more violent club brothers named Buck began to argue with Big Frank. Frank was an associate member of the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club. Buck was high on methamphetamines, (crank), and was extremely violent this night. 

The two began to fight and Buck found himself outmatched by Frank. Buck then decided to end the fight and pulled out his nine-millimeter pistol and shot Frank in the arm and in the chest. Frank fell back against the wall and spoke his last words on this earth; OOOhhh....NNNoooo. There was a fear in Frank's eyes that I had never seen in any man before. My mind raced, why was Frank afraid? This thought did not last long as Buck then pointed his pistol at me and some of the other club brothers, asking us if we wanted some of this? Of course our answer was no, so Buck calmly got into his pickup truck and drove away. The rest of us started our bikes and returned to the president's house. 

The club was disintegrating before my eyes. Brothers were hiding guns and taking off their colors, every man for himself, so much for brotherhood. The next few months of my life were chaos. The Sons Of Silence took offense at the killing of one of theirs and put death warrants on all of us. A deal was struck with the Sons and the club was disbanded. The police interviewed all of us and made their case against Buck. Through all of this, the question still burned inside: What did Frank see that caused such fear in his eyes? 

It was at this point that God sent His Word to me. My friend Todd House had been there the night of the murder. Todd was raised believing in Jesus, although he had fallen away from the Lord. He had seen the fear in Frank's eyes and it had jolted him back to the Jesus he knew. Todd knew why Frank was afraid, Frank had not known Jesus. This in mind, Todd recommitted his life to Jesus and began to witness about Jesus to me. 

At first I did not accept the things Todd said, but after a period of six months, I began to see the truth. As I began to read the Bible, God's Word began to destroy the lies I had believed my entire life. I became deeply convicted about the sin in which I lived. I read the Ten Commandments and realized I had broken them all. 

For in the Bible James says in chapter 2, vs.10: "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not commit murder. Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law." 

It was a long six months, full of questions, answers and struggle that ended on December 12th of 1990, at a Christmas party for work. I was sitting at the bar with my friend Todd. He was not drinking, but I was as usual. Todd was persistent as ever in his desire to see me saved. As he explained and patiently answered all my questions, it was as if a light went on inside my mind. I understood why Jesus died even for me and my sins. It was there outside that bar that I accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord of my life. Instantly, I was sober, despite the fact that I had several drinks. 

Thus began my new life. Indeed it has been one full of struggles, victories and setbacks. The idea that when someone accepts Jesus as Savior and lives happily ever after is a fairy tale. God allows trials to continue in your life, in order that you may be changed in attitude and faith. 

I have heard how many people having been saved were able to give up their addiction without any struggle. God just takes it from them. This was the case concerning my alcohol addiction, but not my drug addiction. God freed me instantly from the desire to be drunk, but He allowed me to learn of His great love and care for me through my journey to freedom from drugs. 

You see I had the desire to be free from all of my drug use, the moment I was saved. I could see how being high was just a false way of dealing with the problems in my life, but their power over me was very strong. I gained victory over the drugs like LSD, downers and crank, (methamphetamine), after a few months. But the drug that was the hardest for me to quit was the one society says it not that addictive, which is marijuana. 

It was two years before the last stronghold of this drug was broken from my life. During that time, I read the Bible, learned to pray and began to explore the different churches in my area. I had not grown up in church and did not know what church was really about. I had a deep desire to know Jesus and to live as the Bible said I should. I read the book of Acts, which speaks of the fellowship and power that should be the norm for believers. Yet it would take visiting many churches before I found one where Jesus was welcome. 

In the fall of 1993, I began to feel the call to pastor. I went on a "Walk to Emmaus", where God not only confirmed this call, He baptized me with power. I began to preach at places like the Lighthouse Mission, sharing what God had done in my life. I continued to study the Bible as well as taking college courses correspondence, working full time and spending Saturday nights on our main street, talking to teens about Jesus. 

In 1997, an opportunity arose to pastor a small church in Arcola, IL. After much prayer and seeking God, my wife and I decided this indeed was God's will for us. It truly has been a challenge, yet through it all, God has provided everything we have needed. 

It would be a grave error to leave this testimony without mentioning my wife Marcia. She was a believer when we married in 1986 and it would be over four years before she would have a husband who believed. She endured what so many women do, yet she never gave up praying for me. (Although she said it was close many times!) Although she did not want to be a pastor's wife at first, I could not minister without her. I say this to encourage all who read this to keep praying for your loved ones. Do not give up, it does make a difference. 

I want you to know, that no matter what you have done, no matter how badly you were treated as a child, no matter the bad deal you think you have gotten from life, if you do not repent of your sins against God, this life will be the only heaven you ever know. Don't wait to ask Jesus to be Lord of your life. He is waiting, just ask. 

To God Be All The Glory!

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 God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your 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 have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, 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 you 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, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-21 is our assurance)