I grew up believing that I was saved because I had gone through the right steps to ensure that I would go to heaven, was a relatively good person and confessed my sins on a regular basis. I went to church when I was young because I had to, although I skipped out rather frequently until I got caught doing so. Once I was on my own, I rarely went to church.
My wife, Vicki, was saved at an early age and had made Jesus both her Lord and Savior. Once we were married, she would get me to go to church, but I rarely wanted to go. I went to make her happy and went through the motions and hoped the service would end quickly. As far as I knew, I was saved and would spend some time in purgatory to pay for my sins before I was allowed to enter heaven when I died.
Things started to change for me when I started to question some things that were coming from my church’s leadership related to capital punishment and the war in Iraq. I started to read the Bible to determine what the Bible said about these things. The more I read, the more I realized that what I had learned as a kid about how to get to heaven didn’t match up with what I was reading in the Bible. What I read in the Bible was that everyone is a sinner and the penalty of sin is death. We all deserve to die, but God sent his only Son to die in our place. Though he was perfect and never sinned, he died for the sins that I have and will commit. I also learned that I can have that salvation by acknowledging that I am a sinner, believing that only Jesus can save me from the penalty of sin, and confessing that Jesus is the Lord of my life.
While I was learning this, Vicki was pregnant with our first born, Paytyn. I wanted to make sure that what I would be teaching Paytyn about Jesus was correct theology, so we started attending a different church that taught the same thing that I learned in the Bible. It wasn’t long after starting to attend church there that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in our car driving back to Wichita Falls from Archer City on Highway 79 near the Little Wichita River.
Though I was saved, I never went through the process of being baptized because my pride kept me from doing that since I had been baptized as a newborn in another faith. During a revival in 2008, I walked down the isle at FBC Archer City and asked to be baptized and was able to join the church.