April 16-The Most Important Day in My Life

April 17, 2018

Today, April 16, is the anniversary of the most important day in my life. I’ve had lots of awesome days since then.  Marla and I got married.  Rebecca, our first child was born.  We’ve been blessed with 4 other great kids since then.  I was baptized when I was 16. I’m a blessed guy if it all ended today.

The days that those events happened were all great blessings, but April 16th blows them all away for me.  In fact, I’m pretty convinced that April 16th made all of the other awesome days in my life a possibility.
I was 12 years old.  My friend, Barry Steelman, lived up the street.  The previous week, Barry asked me to get on the church bus in the neighborhood and go to church with him. 
It’s funny that we never know what following a simple act, led by God, can lead to in someone’s life. We were just two dumb kids hanging out and having fun. We had no idea that eternity was about to change for me and others. All this….. because a 12 year old kid invited a friend to church.
(The pic below, as embarrassing as it is, was us that year-5th grade.  That pic is at least proof that I did have hair earlier in my life.)

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We climbed on the church bus that Sunday and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  What I found was several other kids that I knew and some adults that I didn’t know, but they seemed to really like us.  images.jpg
Upon arriving at the church with a bus load of loud but happy kids, we were all ushered into a large room.  We sang some songs and then the speaker came up.  After sharing some Bible verses, he told us all something…. he told ME something that I had never heard before in my 12 years of life.  Jesus actually wanted to “Come into my heart” and be my friend.
I knew about and believed in God before that Sunday, but I had never heard that he wanted to be my friend.  I had always seen God as a cosmic sheriff that was only concerned about me being nice and listening to my parents.  The fact that the Creator of the universe actually cared about me never really crossed my mind until then.  I never knew that a person could be friends and be led by God.
Even though it all sounded good, it caught me by surprise and I sat there thinking but not moving when the invitation was given.  I wasn’t sure what was happening.  I only knew that it sounded good.
The next week, April 16th, I jumped on the church bus again.  When I went into the kid’s room for worship, I didn’t sit with Barry or any of my friends.  I sat in the back of the room and couldn’t wait until the end of the service.  I knew that’s when they would ask if anyone wanted to ask Jesus to “come into their heart” and those that responded would go out the back door.  I sat by the back door by myself.  I wanted what they talked about and went to church on a mission that week.
I asked Christ into my life that week.  I can honestly say that my life has never been the same since that day.  Most of the decisions that I’ve made since then have been shaped by my relationship with God that began that day.
My relationship with God has shaped who I married, how I do my job, and my attitudes towards others.  God has shaped my convictions that I live by today.  April 16th is the reason that I invite people to church, talk to my kids about God, and have been remained sane for most of my life.  lol
April 16th has made me a better person than I would have been without Christ in my life.  If you think I’m a jerk, think of what I would have been without Christ.  (That’s a joke- but actually true.)
I remember that day like it was yesterday.  I found out it was April 16 because I went back to the church when I was in college and they actually found the card that was filled out that day that recorded my decision.  The adult that talked to me was Scott Marshall.  I found Scott years later and thanked him.
April 16 was made possible by a 12 year old kid that invited his friend to church.  April 16th was possible because of some adults who listened to God’s leading and decided to let Him use them on a mission that wasn’t always convenient for them.  They drove the bus, set up the room, and just did what they felt like God was leading them to do.  I’m sure it wasn’t convenient.  I’m thankful they let God lead them to reach a kid that they didn’t know and tell him about God that day.  I’m thankful that Barry asked me to go to church with him.
Most of all, April 16th was made possible by a God that loved me so much that He sent His only Son to die on a cross so that I could live.
I’ve spent most of the rest of my life trying to let God use me so that others can have their own April 16th.
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(Barry and I recently- We’re a little older now.)
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One Response to “April 16-The Most Important Day in My Life”

  1. cweising said

    Eddie, this is wonderful. How thankful for April 16th, too, or maybe we wouldn’t have met and become friends through MJ Life. Wow, what a legacy. And I really was inspired by what you said about children’s ministry. Thanks.

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