I’ve sat in many churches. Maybe because I was a wander lust, maybe because I couldn’t find a comfortable place. Probably because I didn’t know what I was doing there? I couldn’t get it?
I’ve heard it come from the pulpit many times. Something along the lines of “you must know the date you were saved, reborn, baptized.”
I never knew? I never know. Does that mean I haven’t? Been saved, reborn, baptized, received the Holy Spirit in some circles? Pentecostal circles, that is.
I don’t even know how old I was when I was first baptized. I know I was home on leave, when I was in the Navy. I wonder if it was when I came home from a trip to Viet Nam, but I can’t remember.
I know I was still in the service though. And I know that most of that time, the time I was in the service, I was drunk.
Wait, wait. I remember now. It was somewhere between Viet Nam and the Mediterranean.
I had been real drunk and wrecked my daddy’s car. Went to jail. He came and got me out the next day. I was about to cry I think. At what an idiot I had been.
“No need to cry over spilt milk, son.” “It’s done.”
That was on a Saturday. That very afternoon the preacher came to the house, my daddy’s house.
I was real shammed, a pushover for Jesus that evening. He prayed, I don’t remember what, and asked me if I would like to be saved by Jesus?
I’m not sure if I knew what that meant, or not. But I bet he told me I would be going to hell if I died. I probably already felt like I was dying — of a hangover?
I’m thinking between the shame and the hangover, I probably felt like I was in an emergency situation. I asked him when he could baptize me?
My daddy was real proud. He was real proud because when I was growing up, we never did go to church too much.
He had an uncle that was some sort of cross between a Baptist, and a Pentecostal preacher. I think they called themselves primitive baptist.
We went there sometimes for Easter. They always had good food “on the grounds”.
We lived only a block from a Baptist church. Sometimes when my daddy wanted some private time with my mother he would make us three brothers walk to church on Sunday morning.
Now I don’t remember how it happened, but one time a Sunday school teacher came and told my daddy I wanted to be baptized. I was about 8 years old.
My daddy ran him off. Said if anybody was going to be teaching me about God and being baptized it would be him?
When I left to go in the service my daddy and momma and 2 younger brothers started going to church every Sunday. I expect my daddy was a little older now, and was somewhat sad that he had kept me from being baptized when I had a chance.
I expect he was a little concerned that I was going to get killed, and it was going to be mighty shameful how he kept me from getting baptized when I was 8.
He was real proud when I told the preacher man I would want to get baptized so I could go to heaven if I died.
The very next morning we went on to that little Baptist church in Jackson, Ms. It was Creston Hills Baptist Church.
We all sat down and sang, and then Brother Laird, that was the preacher, he asked some sort of question. I wish I could remember what it was?
Well, you know how them preachers are always asking questions to get you to thinking? You ain’t never supposed to answer out loud.
I didn’t know that? I probably hadn’t been in one, a church, over about a dozen times, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t paying attention to what was being said?
I wish I could remember the question? Maybe it would help me remember what I talked about when I lunged up from my seat and went to spilling my guts about being a sorry sinner who couldn’t stop getting drunk, and needed Jesus bad.
Them poor Baptist people had never heard nothing like it. They were some amazed both at my confession, and my ignorance of the rules. But they brought me right on up to the water, and that Brother Laird went right on and baptized me.
I didn’t get drunk no more on that leave. I think it was only a couple of days before I left to go to Norfolk, Va to get on a ship to go to the Mediterranean for a year. I packed up my little pocket bible that they had given me at Creston Hills Baptist Church, and started my journey with Jesus.
I’m guessing that was maybe in 1968? I’m thinking Jesus knows. I don’t.