I have been a long time lurker at Pyromaniacs, the team blogging effort founded by Phil Johnson and expanded to include Dan Phillips and Frank Turk. All three are articulate communicators, clear thinkers, and entertaining bloggers. They are primarily responsible for the opening of my eyes to the truths of the Gospel and the Gracious hope that Christ brings. It was here that I discovered that I did not choose Christ…He chose ME! It was here that I came to the realization that my sin had so damaged my heart, that I was incapable of finding God on my own. It was only through the mercy and grace of The Almighty that He granted to me SIGHT (I was blind and dead in my trespasses and sins) and a heart of flesh, and Faith to believe the Gospel message. Prior to His intervention in my life the words of the Gospel were foolishness. I was heretofore living my life under the mistaken belief that I was already a Christian, because I went forward at an “altar call” when I was thirteen years old. I lived my entire life (I am now 65 years old) believing that. I read my Bible. I could quote scripture with the best of them. I lead the congregation in singing during worship services. I taught Sunday School classes over the years. I wrote Christian songs and got them published and recorded by others. I produced Christian concerts in one of the largest American cities, working with 50 to 60 of the most well-known names in Contemporary Christian Music. I was even part owner of a Christian radio station, and part owner of a Christian record label. Oh! What a good boy was I! And then I met Jesus! He showed me my heart and it was ugly and wicked and darker than midnight. And I was a fool…fooling myself into thinking that “doing good things” meant I was a “good person” on his way to heaven. When did I come to see myself as God sees me? When I found myself in prison. When I had lost everything including my family. I realized I was as Paul lamented, “The Chief of Sinners” destined for ultimate destruction. When the Holy Spirit gets on your case and is trying to get your attention to turn you to Christ…LISTEN! There are consequences to sin, and though he ultimately brought me face to face with The Only One Who could forgive me, He did not prevent me from living through the consequences of my actions. If Prison doesn’t get your attention…what will? I was released three years ago and since then I’ve been on a journey getting to know The One who loved me so much he paid for my sin on the Cross. There is only one word for that. MERCY. I didn’t deserve it but while I was yet a sinner He loved me enough to die in my place. I can never repay the debt I owe Him. But I CAN live my life in such a way that it becomes apparent to Him how grateful I am. And so can you!