Sharables – Testimony
Pastor Chuck Lindsey | Reach Pastor
New Year’s Eve, 1980, near midnight, the phone rings and my mother is told that my father and his friend were in a fatal car accident. They had both been drinking that night and were on their way back from getting more beer when they hit the flatbed of a turning diesel truck. Danny died instantly, my father suffered major internal injury and took his last breath three days later. I was just three years old, my sister was 1, and my mother was 19.
That night began a series of events that ultimately led to my rescue from sin, death, and hell by the One who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Four years passed and my mother was (I now believe) divinely introduced to my dad. They were married a year later, and though none of us yet knew Him, the work of Jesus to rescue us all was at work.
Tuesday morning, March 14th, 4:15 am, the phone rings again… my dad has been in a near fatal car accident and is being taken by ambulance to the ER. He survived. He was on his way to work that morning, and it was very early… like 3 am early. As he sped down the unlit street, he suddenly saw the reflectors of the flatbed of a diesel truck that was turning around. With less than a second to stop, he realized he was going to hit it and says that at that moment he felt someone push him down and hold him there as the car went under the truck’s bed. The entire top of the car was peeled back. He was in the hospital for three days. But he survived.
Two weeks later, Easter Sunday morning, March 26, 1989, 9:30 am, my parents, sister, and I get out of our car in the church parking lot for Easter service. My grandmother, who had invited us, saved us all a seat. What felt like hours of preaching (to a kid), was only a few minutes and at the end of the sermon my parents stood up and began to walk down the stairs. I thought we were leaving. We were not. We were doing the craziest thing I had ever seen… we were walking forward to the front of the stage. My parents were repenting of their sin and receiving Jesus.
Our lives were immediately different from that moment forward. We were “church people.” By that I mean, we were at church, a lot. Sundays, Wednesday nights, Youth groups, camps, bake sales, men’s groups and women’s studies and, and, and… Somehow, in all of this, I managed not to be saved at all. Somehow in all of this, I managed not to see my need to be saved, not see my need for Jesus. Somehow, I was able to go to church and completely ignore everything except my friends, and whatever cute girl was there.
It was January 1996, 6:15 am, in the back bedroom of my grandmother’s home in Riverside California. I was sixteen years old. I was running from, what I now realize, was myself. My world was falling apart. To be more accurate, I was falling apart. My sin was heavy, pushing down on me and had become a load I could no longer carry. I was angry. I was consumed with myself. I was lost. Sitting there, at my drawing table, with the shattered remains of a mechanical pencil I had just driven into the table top in anger… I looked over and saw the Bible my parents bought me sticking out of my duffle bag. The thought came, “Well, I call myself a Christian and I never read that thing. What have I got to lose, maybe it will help.” Three chapters into the book of Matthew and I was flat on the floor, face down, weeping in repentance to Jesus. Suddenly, this “faker” had become a “follower.” I read and read and read and read the Scriptures… night and day, day and night. I like to say that I was born again by the Word of God. I would read for hours, stop to eat, then hurry back to read, fall asleep, wake, and read. For the first time, I heard the voice of Jesus, understanding His Word, hearing His leading and teaching… feeling His presence. I did not want it to end. I was afraid that it was eventually going to “go away” and so I read and read. I read through the entire New Testament in a week and then began on the Old Testament.
It was September 1996 in Murrieta, California. I entered Bible college. Two years later I graduated with a degree in theology and pastoral ministry. During college, I served as the youth pastor at a local church. Out of college, I was called to continue as a youth pastor in my home church in Michigan. Seven years later, the Lord called me to start a church in the city of Flint. I pastored that church for six years until the Lord called us to Riverside, California where I was an assistant pastor, get this… at the church, my parents walked forward at to receive Christ all those years before! Harvest Christian Fellowship. The Lord is amazing, isn’t He?
I have been a radically different person since that day in 1996. Jesus rescued me that day. He loved me and brought me to Himself with the truth of His Word. As I write this, with tears in my eyes, it is a joy to say that it was 20 years ago… He is the love of my heart, and His will is the burning desire of my life. All praise to the One who “loved us and gave Himself for us!”