A Life Fully Surrendered

By Scott Smith   •   January 11, 2006

My mom and dad grew up in Christian homes, so we went to church as a family. But we were part of the Easter-Thanksgiving-Christmas crowd. My dad worked in the oil field and was gone a lot. I was the youngest of six, and I knew it was tough for Mom. She took us to church when she felt like it or on special holidays, so I had been to Sunday school and had heard the story of Jesus.

But actually I came to know Christ on a Thursday evening while my mom and I were watching a Billy Graham Crusade. The message was simple and to the point: If I should die without Christ living in my heart, then I would live forever without Him. Billy Graham said that God loves me and that He gave His Son for me. When he said that, and that I can be forgiven, I knew in my heart that I needed Him right then. I felt God all around me. I said, “Mom, I feel like God wants me to open my heart to Him.” I knelt on the living room floor in front of the television and asked God to forgive me. I asked Christ to come into my heart as the choir was singing “Just As I Am.”

However, I really didn’t have anyone to tell me that I needed to read the Bible, pray and go to church–things that you need to do to grow in your Christian life. So, even though Christ came to live in my heart, I wasn’t serving Him the way I needed to be.

When I graduated from high school at 17, I moved from Louisiana to Mississippi to live with my grandmother. She said, “If you’re going to live with me, you’ve got some rules to live by, and one is you’re going to church.” I said, “Yes, ma’am.”

The first day I walked into Sunday school, the teacher greeted me. As I left her classroom, she said, “Scott, I’m praying for you.” At first, I thought, “Good, I’m glad you’re doing that, if it makes you feel good.” But after about a year of her praying, God started to get to me. And after three years, when I was 20, I was sitting all by myself at my house one night, and I realized that I really needed to give my life back to Him. I realized that life isn’t about friends, it’s about giving yourself to God and letting Him take control.

A few days after that, I went to a revival meeting, and I felt like the guy was talking straight to me. I rededicated my life to the Lord and said, “Whatever You want me to do, I will do.” Two months later, I felt God calling me into the ministry. I had already been to school for three years, received two degrees and now was working. I went to talk to my pastor and we prayed. I surrendered my life and plans to God.

I sat down with my parents and said, “Mom, Dad, I feel called to the ministry. I think I need to go back to school.” Mom started crying–I knew she was happy. I asked her what she was feeling. She said that when she was a young girl she wanted to be a missionary. But she got married and had kids and it never happened. She always prayed that God would use one of her children in the ministry, and her prayer was being answered.

I quit my job, went back to school for four more years and received a degree in Religious Education. For the past 22 years I’ve been serving Christ in the ministry. My mom and dad always supported me.

I’ve been in New Orleans for seven years, and when I arrived, pastors were looking into bringing a Crusade here. I was on board. We needed something like this.

After Hurricane Katrina, when we got word that the Celebration of Hope With Franklin Graham was going to happen, I was in tears. I knew this was something God would use to touch lives.

I have my Operation Andrew prayer card and have put my neighbors’ names on it. I live on a short, dead-end block with about 10 homes. Almost everybody on the block experienced some type of roof damage from Katrina. I’ve been praying for my neighbors, and I’ll invite all of them to the Celebration. It would be awesome if God saved my whole block–I’d have “church” every morning!

It seems that the storm has taught everybody that we need each other. We need to work together. And above all, this city needs God.

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