Saturday, June 25, 2016

From Out Of The Past A Blessing And A Burden ... Dominie Bush And Evangelist Al Lacy

After many years, I am in communication with a former member of the church I founded and pastored nearly 30 years, Temple Baptist Church,  now changed to North Florida Baptist Church in Tallahassee, FL. Her name is Dominie Bush and she was saved at Temple during a Revival meeting under the preaching of Evangelist Al Lacy. Dominie works for Challenger magazine, a real Christian witness outlet to thousands, which published Dominie's own testimony of her salvation, which I am sharing with you below. I hadn't thought of Brother Lacy in years and decided to send Dominie's testimony to him as an encouragement to an old preacher. I Googled his name and discovered Dominie had already let him know God had used him in her salvation. But, I also learned that Al is now under care for Alzheimers which saddens me but motivated me to ask your prayers for this great man of God. I might also mention that Mack Evans who came to do the music each time Al was with us for revival, passed away several years ago. Many of you knew both Dominie and Brother Al. Pray for them both and subscribe to Challenger, its free, at P.O.Box 750759 - Petaluma, CA 94975-0759 or by email to  - RB

I add this 5 hours after publishing this post. Brother Lacy passed away about 2 and a half hours ago. RB

Religious But Lost
I appeared to be a Christian. I was born into a Christian home and attended church faithfully. I was baptized when I was 12. I made straight A’s and was active in school organizations. I could quote many Bible passages. As a college student at U.C.L.A. in 1968, I became involved in campus Christian groups. I later attended a Bible college and served as a missionary. I then began teaching in a Christian school and played the piano for various churches. However, there was one problem—I had never truly placed my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior.
How could this be?
When I was growing up, I thought that sins were things like drinking, dancing, smoking and playing cards. I didn’t know anything about having a loving, personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. When I was a 16-year-old college freshman, I heard the words “God loves you” for the first time while attending InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ meetings. This idea was unusual and refreshing to me, because I had always thought of God as a stern taskmaster in the sky with a big stick, ready to hit me if I did anything wrong. Many of my college friends seemed to have a close, warm relationship with God, and when I was around them, I felt like an outsider. I was with God’s family, but not part of His family.
After college, I discussed my feelings that something was missing in my spiritual experience with two Christians whom I respected. They assured me that I was a good person and just needed assurance of my salvation. Their answer didn’t satisfy me. I had a lot of Bible knowledge and “deeper life” teachings, but I also had sins in my life which people couldn’t see, particularly unforgiveness toward people who had wronged me. I had no joy in hearing of the salvation of others. You could say that my Christian experience was “all in my head.”
Years passed. I pursued my career and was active in church life, but my spiritual life remained the same. But at age 36, something happened that changed my life completely. It happened on May 11, 1988, while I was attending a revival service at Temple Baptist Church in Tallahassee, FL, where Evangelist Al Lacy was holding meetings. I sat in the back of the auditorium on the ground floor under the balcony. In front of me was a row of rough-looking men from the rescue mission that our church operated downtown. The evangelist spoke on “The Contrary Christ,” how Jesus had defied every law of nature. He was born of a virgin, He healed the sick, He walked on water, and He even ascended into Heaven, defying the law of gravity. I noticed that the men from the rescue mission were saying a lot of enthusiastic “Amens” and “Hallelujahs.” In my heart, I looked down on them because of their unkempt appearance, and some even had needle marks on their arms from long-term drug use. But I also observed their joy and obvious connection with God—something I did not have.
As we stood to sing the invitational hymn, the Holy Spirit suddenly and powerfully gripped my heart with the absolute conviction that I had never really accepted Jesus as my Savior. The conviction was so strong I could hardly breathe! I realized without Jesus I had no hope of eternal life. The thought went through my mind that if an explosion were to destroy the building we were sitting in, the men from the rescue mission would go to Heaven and I, “Miss Goody Two Shoes,” would go to Hell. My heart was so moved I began to cry. A lady counselor met with me, and we read Ephesians 2: 8 and 9 together. “For by GRACE are you saved THROUGH FAITH, and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” These were verses I had learned as a child, yet I had never understood them until just then! For the first time, I realized that I could not get to Heaven on my own merits. I needed the Savior! Right there I made a “business transaction” with the Lord—I gave Him my sins, and He gave me His righteousness. What a great deal! As the old hymn states, “’Tis done, the great transaction’s done—I am my Lord’s and He is mine...Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!”
My life was changed forever. I now belonged to Jesus! I was eager to tell others. I loved the Lord and wanted to obey Him in every area of my life. I now felt ready to serve the Lord.
I have learned that, unfortunately, there are many people like me. I can now understand the testimony of others—a youth pastor at my mother’s church, a prominent deacon, a seminary student, and a man in our church choir—who, after years of Christian service, have come to realize their state of unbelief. All were convicted by the Holy Spirit that they were depending on something other than Jesus for their salvation.
What I and others have learned is that Christian activity does not give eternal life. In a tract called “Counterfeit Christians” by Evangelist Luis Palau, the question is asked “What does it take to make someone a real Christian?” The reader is asked to check as many as they think apply:
Being born in America
Thinking positively
Living a good life
Going to church
Giving to others
Being baptized
Taking communion
Believing in God
Talking about Jesus Christ
Reading the Bible
Prior to becoming a true believer, I would have checked many items on the list. Luis Palau wrote, “The truth is that while many of the items are Christian activities, not one of them can make you a real Christian. . . . God wants you to know where you stand in His eyes. Don’t settle for counterfeit Christianity when you can have the real thing.” This is what I had for so many years—“counterfeit Christianity.”
Right there I made a “business transaction” with the Lord—I gave Him my sins, and He gave me His righteousness.
Being a true believer has not meant that my life is free of trouble. Satan will always bring attacks against God’s people. I have gone through much personal upheaval and disaster, but through these trials, I have learned to submit to Jesus as Lord of my life. I have found that there can be only one will in my life. This has required that I die to my own will so that Jesus can live His life through me. My prayer is always, “Not my will, but Your will be done.”
If a person is depending on anything other than the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to get to Heaven, he will not make it. The Holy Spirit can open a person’s eyes to their need of a Savior, just as He did with me—when I was religious but lost!