I was brought up Catholic and had a sense that Jesus was God but I was so hung up on my bad experiences of Church and the people in the church, the priests in particular, that I didn’t want anything to do with it. “Christians” seemed so hypocritical to me. Now I know that the problem with Christianity is Christians.
I thumbed to California in ‘71? On the way, we were camped beside Rt. 80 in Pennsylvania in a big field of wild strawberries and I wrote the song that I used as the title tune to my first album. The song was about a guy that knew Jesus was God but wasn’t ready to give Him his life. He was busy “picking wild strawberries” whatever that means.
When we got to Huntington Beach I was body surfing and got caught in a rip tide. I couldn’t catch a wave and I was losing it. Finally I screamed to God to get me out and He did. I was about 50 feet from the pier when I caught a wave. I would have been dead if I ended up in the pilings. It seemed that God had heard me and I knew that He was there but I didn’t think I was ready to “serve” or “commit” to Him. I wasn’t sure who he was and I had no idea who I was. It was just after I hit the beach that I made a deal with Him. I wanted 20 years in the world and then I’d be back. I do remember telling God that if He gave me an album I’d call it Wild Strawberries.
19 years later, my world fell in. I was working in Boston selling printing and was engaged to be married when, in the period of 2 weeks, I lost my future wife and my job. I was devastated and decided after bouncing around doing gigs for the summer that I’d move to LA and pursue the song writing thing.
When I moved SoCal I had gotten in touch with a friend of mine who was the food and beverage manager at a hotel in Long Beach and he got me a gig playing happy hour music in exchange for a free room. It was an interesting time. There was a guy working at the hotel that had gone to Bible College and was discipling people about the truths of the Bible. I got in a conversation with him one morning and told him I thought it was about time I read the Bible. He gave me a New Testament and I began reading the Gospels.
I was into Luke before I realized that the Gospels were the same story told by different people. I had never known that. I had never known that Jesus was a Jew and that all of the Apostles were Jews, that the Bible was primarily written by Jews. Right around the same time I met Tom Carmody. He was attending Tetelestai Christian Fellowship and asked me if I was interested in going to church with him and I started going. Hal Lindsey was preaching there at the time. He was teaching the Bible verse by verse.
He taught about a personal God and a personal relationship with Jesus. That Jesus wants us to know Him and spend time with Him. That He created us for fellowship, to hang out with us. I learned that we were born into sin as a result of the fall of Adam and that Jesus died and paid the penalty due us so that we might be saved from sin to be in His presence. That we are eternal and there were only two places in which we could end up after leaving the world. With Christ or apart from Christ.
One Sunday he held up the Bible and proclaimed that there was nothing in it that was not the truth. That statement spoke to my heart. I have since learned in studying and reading and being taught about the Bible that the whole Bible points to Jesus. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and committed my life to His purpose and glory.
It’s all about Jesus. If you read the Gospels and do nothing but observe His life, He did nothing but serve and sacrifice. He preached the “Good News” which is the gospel. There are 306 prophecies in the Old Testament of the coming messiah that Jesus fulfilled in His life. This is an indisputable fact. The odds of this happening by chance are in the quazillions to one. In fact, if you are truly looking for God and ask Him to reveal himself to you as you read the Gospels, He will. This is also a fact. You could consider it a challenge. One that you will be blessed by. The question is, are we willing to know the real God or content to make one up for ourselves? Especially when, according to the Bible, there is so much at stake!
The Bible says: Jer 29:13 ‘you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’ (NKJ) The line is drawn. Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” (NKJ) and again in Luke 11:23 He says: "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (NKJ)
Jesus is God. He's the only way of getting out of this world alive . . . . . Vini