My father was chosen to attend West Point, the most elite military school in the United States. He was intellectual and arrogant. He read lots of philosophy and at one point he thought he was one of the five smartest men in the world. He said, “I never met the other four, but I figure I am in the top five.” But, two weeks before graduation, a great tragedy happened in his life. My father walked into the campus bookstore and saw a jacket that he liked. He had money in his pocket, but instead of paying for the jacket, he tucked under his arm and walked out of the store. Two military policemen saw him and arrested him for theft. He told them, “I just forgot to pay” but they did not believe him. Because of this incident he was not allowed to graduate.
If my father had graduated, he would have entered the military as a second lieutenant. But, because of his mistake, he was forced to serve as a private. The Army sent him to Germany where he was assigned to be an orderly at a military hospital. Instead of commanding troops, he was cleaning toilets.
In the hospital, he met a man who was a Christian. The man tried to witness to my father, but my father argued vehemently with him. My father thought the Christian was foolish and stupid because he had no answer for my father’s philosophical diatribes. But one day, my father realized he was miserable and the Christian man was happy. My father thought to himself, “Why am I so smart but miserable while this dumb Christian man is always happy?” My father decided to investigate Christianity.
My father read through the entire Bible in four months. He started in Genesis and read straight through to the book of Revelation. By the time he finished, he realized that he believed the Bible and he became a Christian. Once he became a believer, his life completely transformed. His arrogance and pride went away and he started caring about other people.
A few years later, after my father met and married my mother, he was called into the ministry. He remembered that his Christian friend had talked about attending school at Oral Roberts University. My father decided to apply to the seminary at ORU. When he arrived on campus, he found the apartment of the man who had witnessed to him and knocked on the door. The friend never knew my father had become a Christian and all he remembered was the bitter arguments. He actually tried to slam the door in my father’s face. But my father stuck his foot in the door and exclaimed, “No you don’t understand. I have changed. I am a Christian now!”
The Testimony of Saul
There is no greater testimony then that of Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the Apostle. He was born a Jew and studied under Gamaliel, the greatest rabbi of his time. He fervently hated Christians. He stood by when one Christian named Stephen was stoned and he threw Christians in prison. He received permission to travel to Damascus and persecute Christ-followers there. On the road to Damascus he had a surprise encounter with the risen Christ. Jesus appeared to him in a bright light. The bright light blinded him and he knocked him off his horse. Because of this encounter, he became a Christian and wrote over half of the New Testament. Saul went from murdering Christians to being a Christian. A living God instantly changed his life and the same God still changes people’s lives today.
Old things become new.
When people give their lives to God, a radical change happens in that person’s life. Thousands of Christians have testimonies about how their lives have been changed by the power of God. The Apostle Paul explained, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV).