Monday, April 27, 2009

A Wild Night at a Columbus Drive-In

Thirty-some years ago there were Christian drive-ins in Columbus, Ohio. You could take the family to see a Christian movie, but in the drive-in mode, in-car speaker and all. My wife and I decided to check it out one night. The Billy Graham film Shadow of the Boomerang was showing.

In every Billy Graham movie, Billy himself shows up in a filmed crusade. Audiences actually get to hear a Gospel message from the great evangelist. And yes, I still consider him to be a great one, especially because of his early message and early methods. We weep at the later compromises with Rome etc, but we do not take away from how the Gospel has been spread.

At any rate, in those earlier days of my walk, I was not acquainted with all the subtleties of Graham associations. All I knew was that he turned me on to God when I heard him. I memorized his sermons, read his books, listened weekly to his radio program. His star was a guide to a young man with very few stars to follow.

This night was to be a little different though. I had been a seeker for many years by now. I had actually been ordained to the ministry of my denomination and had taken mission trips with them. I was considered a potential leader in that group. But inside I still struggled when it came to that personal knowledge on the experience level. So many of my friends talked glowingly of bona fide conversion moments, and I desired one of my own.

I wasn't looking for one that night. Just wanted something interesting to do with my wife, and a night out watching a Graham film in this unique setting seemed to fill the bill.

The story line was excellent. The acting impressed me. But when Billy started preaching repentance that night, something touched me deep inside. It seems as though I finally got it. I had believed the theology for some time, but it began to take flesh and blood form that night. My own flesh and blood.

I was surprised at the suddenness and depth of the feelings that arose. I truly was sorry for my sin. I really did know that I had offended God, and really regretted it. I began to cry and cry and cry some more. My wife didn't know exactly what to think, but tried to support me the best way she could.

After a long session of tears, another emotion began to surface: pure joy. I was so happy I couldn't stand it! Something inside kept saying, "This is it!" That which I had sought for so long was suddenly here. With each burst of laughter came another one. I seemed totally out of control.

Somewhere in the midst of all this strangeness, God gave me the presence of mind to call a preacher friend of mine, and ask him to meet me at the Scioto River. I wanted a "same hour of the night" experience. And I wasn't being baptized because someone demanded it.I wasn't being baptized to score points with a church or even with God. I greatly desired baptism to express outwardly what was happening inwardly. No theology attached, though I can rattle it off now. Just, "Get me to the water!"

Somehow I managed to drive to the river without an accident. I have never been drunk before, but I imagine this is what it is like. Several friends met me, rejoiced with me, and the preacher put me under the water.

That was my third "baptism". Most people would say it was my first. But who's counting? What matters is the joy unspeakable and full of glory available to His children! is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. I have created over 200 blogs and the site features a live news feed, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together! Contact me any time at

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. I love to write Scriptural works. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond.

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