We arrived in Texas in the evening and when we arrived at our destination twenty five minutes from the airport, we were immediately whisked away with the Buitron family to another family in the church for dinner. I don't think we were in the house five minutes before the conversation turned to the Lord Jesus Christ. Still brimming and glowing with my new conversion and understanding of the Scriptures, I was in love. They wanted to know what my testimony was and were eager to share theirs as well. I didn't think anything of it, but at each instance, my wife seemed to leave the room to go change the baby during these times.
We had a wonderful time in Texas and it was on Thursday that we went to the church to speak with pastor Kyle. In the course of our conversations, brother Kyle pointed out that much more important than the school job I was applying for, he was interested in whether or not we fit in the church and felt comfortable there. He then asked me wife for her testimony as he hadn't the chance to hear hers yet. What a moment! Her face turned pale and she didn't really know what to say. She began speaking of howshe was terrified by the mark of the beast movies shown at her church and was led in a prayer by the pastor's wife at the age of 5. She commented to bro. Kyle how she would never teach her daughter in such a way and realizes how little such methods have to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Brother Kyle began to share Scriptures that were all to familiar to her, my wife had literally memorized close to half of the New Testament throughout her childhood. It was obvious to us all that regeneration was taking place! Heidi and I both remember thinking 'OK, OK can you quit talking so she can pray the prayer!" Only now do I understand that regeneration had taken place, praying the prayer is simply a matter of confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus and what He has DONE for us.
Regeneration precedes repentance and faith. - How vain is any attempt to get people to pray to 'accept Jesus into their heart.'
So my wife was wonderfully and graciously converted that day. We both saw this as divine intervention into our lives and realized that God was calling us to Texas. The rest of the time spent there that week is a bit of a blur. I remmber being so amazed! I truly thought my wife would never be convinced that she was lost! Perhaps I need to remember that day when I come across so many steeped in the "Christian religion' who by their fruit demonstrate they are not born again. If God can save Pharisee's such as Paul and my wife, who could He not save?
I become a bit frustrated when I see men and women in the exact situation as Heidi and I were with similar testimonies and people are outraged that you would even suggest that they were lost. No, they say, this Laodocean church full of carnality and divorce and broken homes, disobedient children, drunkenness and part-time church attendance has nothing to do with people being lost, they say! It is just that they are carnal Christians! I had a pastor tell me, "The problem Joe, is that you are equating faithfulness with church attendance." To which I answer, guilty as charged.
Who then can be saved? asked the apostles "With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible comes the reply.
So we loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly...