“Tell your story” is the theme for the annual meeting in Bowling Green this year. Convention leaders are encouraging KBC agency and institution leaders to share short testimonies as part of their reports in encouraging messengers to share their own stories with friends, neighbors and coworkers.
My story centers around church revivals. As a boy, I accepted Christ as my Savior during a revival service at a church in Lexington, S.C., where my father served as pastor. But it was through a broken, stained glass window during a revival when I was a teenager that some powerful theological truths really became meaningful.
First Baptist Church of Denmark, S.C., has eight gorgeous, stained glass windows surrounding its sanctuary. Each window depicts a scene from the life of Christ.
The parsonage is next door to the church building, and on many Sunday afternoons, my friends would gather to play football, basketball, baseball and volleyball. On this particular day, some of us were playing baseball. We had been asked not to play so close to the church. Like most teenagers, though, I didn’t listen.
I pitched a fastball and one of my friends hit it well. It was a homer—in more ways than one. (It sent us running for home.) I sank to my knees and let out a yell so loud they had to have heard it all the way in North, S.C., and perhaps even in Due West (both real places, by the way). My dad came barreling out of his study to see what was the matter.
This was the last thing I wanted: for my dad to know what had happened. But, as revival services were being held that evening, he would know it sooner or later. I’d have picked later!
Yet, what happened next surprised me. My father didn’t get upset. Disappointed, yes; angry, no. He tried to console me, assuring me that everything would be all right. All right? I couldn’t pay for that window in a million years. I’d be mowing lawns until I was 80!
That night, there was a special called deacon’s meeting. Word was out, though, long before then. As people gathered for the service that evening, they gawked at the broken window, which my mom temporarily patched with a green cover from one of my spiral notebooks.
My dad stood by my side as I told the deacons what had transpired that afternoon. No one fussed! No one scowled! No one insisted that I pay for the window. All was forgiven! They even voted to place plexiglass over all of the stained glass windows to protect them in the future. That night, I felt truly loved by God’s people—my church! I learned the meaning of grace.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool” (Isaiah 1:8).
Like that stained glass window, lives can become shattered by sin. But we can find grace. No matter what we’ve done, we can be forgiven by the heavenly Father, redeemed by the Savior’s blood, and restored by His church.
Todd Deaton, Editor