At the Crusade, we talked about things such as our favorite kind of ice cream.
After our deep conversation about orange sherbet and vanilla, I remember looking around and seeing thousands of people with their hands raised and eyes closed, singing “Awesome God” by Rich Mullins. I thought to myself, “Maybe God is real.”
I had always gone to church, but it was only for the Nilla wafers and tic-tac-toe games. God seemed far away, like someone only old people could reach, or like a cartoon character that loved sheep and children. But something about a “God-event” outside of church was refreshing. And while the music at the Crusade was playing, God broke through the walls that had prevented my heart and mind from understanding Him. I witnessed people experiencing something real during worship that night. It spoke to me louder than anything I’d ever heard before.
When the time came for people to come down to the field to make a commitment to Christ, Amy was down there giving our friends hugs as if they had just returned home from a long trip. I did what any 12-year-old boy with a crush would do: I got my hug. I was pretty immature about coming forward. But the interest and love the counselors showed made me more curious about God. They gave me the Book of John, and I took it home and read it. The words jumped out at me, and I was consumed.
Later the next day, I read John 3:16 and realized that Jesus died so that we could spend eternity in heaven with God. I decided to give my life to Christ. I signed my name on the commitment card and told my friends about the decision. I was so curious about this place called heaven where all believers in Jesus eventually go that I wrote to Billy Graham and asked him to tell me all he knew about heaven. I also asked God to take me there saying, “If You give me a tour, I’ll come back and tell my friends what it’s like, and they will believe in You, too!” But that didn’t work, so I had to think of a new strategy. Next, I told God I wasn’t going to sleep until He took me there. The next day I was pretty tired.
It’s been 16 years, and I’m still looking forward to heaven. However, living day to day in an abiding relationship with Christ is out of this world, too. I have a hope and understanding that when trouble comes my way, everything will work out in the end because of the love God showed in sending Christ to die for our sins.
After I accepted Christ, I bought a dry-erase board, hung it in my room and started a youth group with my friends. It was just the five of us talking and learning about God. But it wasn’t until high school that I really began growing in the Lord by attending church.
In high school I started a band and began singing and making music. During my junior year, some friends and I were moved to do an event at the high school called “Take a Stand.” One restaurant donated 500 hamburgers and another put the event on its reader board. Local bands played. Athletes gave their testimonies. We had dramas and worship. About 600 people showed up, and at the end of the event, one person came forward to accept salvation–and then the floodgates opened and everyone was experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit. Hundreds accepted Christ or rededicated their lives to Him.
I am now a solo artist and have told this story at shows all over the country as an introduction to my song “Heaven.”
Heaven. Right around the corner
I want to know what it’s like to be in heaven
Looking back on my life, having answers to my questions
‘Cuz we don’t belong here forever
No, no, we don’t belong here
And we’ll be dancing, singing, bringing our praises by lifting our voices to Jesus
There’ll be no more crying, lying or dying when you and I are in heaven
I want to know what it’s like to live forever
Embraced by the light of knowing You better, Lord
Cuz we don’t belong here forever
No, no, we don’t belong here
We gonna be dancing, singing, lifting our voices to Jesus
Take me Home
I want to go Home
I want to be in heaven just singing and dancing and praising and living forever.
If it wasn’t for the Billy Graham Crusade, I don’t think I would have had an opportunity apart from church to encounter God for some time. I am thankful for how God gets our attention, whether it’s through His Word, His creation or music.