My Indoctrination to Salvation – A Much Needed Grace

grace enlightens darkness Psalm 18 28The only qualifications I have to write about God’s grace are from my own personal pride and arrogance. Now you may be thinking that doesn’t sound right but it actually is. You see for many years I was enamored with myself. I bought only the most expensive clothes, drove only the most expensive cars, and lived a life filled with self-adoration and conceit, assured that God was proud of all my accomplishments. Let me explain to you how grace found me.

Striking it rich at 24 years old in the oil business, my life was something akin to the 1956 movie Giant. At the time I had been in the ministry literally all my life. At 2 years old I was standing on the altar singing to the congregation in my dad’s church. At 8 years old I was preaching downtown to people waiting at bus stops and handing out tracts as well as delivering the occasional Wednesday night sermon at our church. From an early age I was with my father as we traveled to Mexico on mission trips helping the needy, building churches and orphanages and spreading the gospel. At 18 I was the youth pastor of my local church and by the young age of 21 I was the youth pastor at the largest Assembly of God in America. At 25 I was a multimillionaire.

At 24 I had taken a year sabbatical from the ministry to start a company with my dad, as I was able to raise some funds to drill for oil. It seemed reasonable at the time, as I leaped at the opportunity for wealth. Then it happened – We stuck the largest oil well in the continental US in over 50 years. I was making millions of dollars a year.

I went from a life of serving, praying, praising and talking about God to a life of serving, praising and talking about Darrell. It didn’t take long for me to replace God as the center of my life, and after a while I forgot about God all together. My heart filled with scorn and contempt, as I talked down to and verbally abused people. Lips that once preached of God’s love spewed foul words that were filled with ugly remarks. I strutted around filled with pride thinking I was above the average person assured that I was destined for greatness.

It took me a while as it is hard to blow 30 million dollars, but by the mid 1990s I had wasted most of the fortune I had made. Depressed with a struggling marriage and a dwindling business I tried to find solace in drugs. At 40 without a wife, without a business and without God I was completely a broken man.

I found myself alone in the desert of self-doubt, breathing in the harsh disappointing dust of the dry cracked ground of my life’s tragedy and pain. I found myself in a corrosive place that I never thought I would be as my life came apart on the broken wings of my vain intentions.

From an early age I had been indoctrinated to the gospel. As a young child I had received salvation asking Christ to the Lord of my life, yet I never really understood the depths of God’s grace. I preached about a grace that at the time, I did not fully understand or comprehend.

The grace that the thief upon the cross received as he looked past the wood and nails and blood, was a grace much-needed. Many believers have been taught about grace since child-birth yet have never tasted the fullness or power of God’s grace. Like a bottle of fine wine they possess grace, display grace; then sit it on a shelf as their prized possession. It is only when that wine is opened and consumed that they are able to fully taste and understand the fullness and richness of their possession.

Losing my way was the best thing that ever happened to me. My life being broken and shattered was a gift beyond measure as I was “lost” for the first time in my life in need of God, and that is how grace found its way into my life. My pride and arrogance caused me to reject the knowledge of God in my life and I lost my way. On that night over 15 years ago my vain coverings had turned to into pauper’s rags as I humbly knelt before God in need of a loving Savior. In his mercy God gave me His grace, and it fills every moment of my day with a joy that is beyond my ability to put into words.

God’s grace is sufficient to complete in me what He began in me as I child. Grace makes me realize that I am totally dependent on God. Now when I stub my toe, I much prefer to walk with a spiritual limp as opposed the perpetual carnal strut that was once was my gate, as grace renews my mind daily in Christ Jesus.

God sees us all. From the great plains of Kansas to the beaches of Florida, from the Grand Canyon to the oil fields of Texas; from the stockbroker to the stock boy, from the race car driver to the drunk driver, God sees us all. And He loves each of us. Despite all of our pride and arrogance, He says to each one of us, “I love you dearly and when you turn and walk away from me, I want you to know that I have provided a way back for you”. That way is His Grace.

the-lord-will-enlighten-my-darkness

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Categories: Bible Verses and Scriptures, Christ, Christianity, Comfort, Compassion, Cross, Dreams, Forgiveness, future, God, God's Love, Grace, Preacher, Renewed Strength, Repentance, Salvation

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42 replies

  1. Wow… what a beautiful testimony. It takes a broken and humble spirit to even put the story into words. I know the Lord will use this to encourage others in a deep and personal way. He has a way of bringing us to our lowest point. I know that well… Also, it’s easy to discern your soft heart toward God, and I thank Him for giving you the ability to convey your words and thoughts in such a powerful way. It is such an encouragement. God bless you abundantly!

  2. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS AMAZING GRACE!!! Thank you Darrell for sharing your testimony… what a blessing for all to know that there is always a way back to the open arms of a loving SAVIOUR… GOD BLESS YOU MY BROTHER!!!

  3. Reblogged this on maryhallrayford and commented:
    What a reminder of just how good God is!

  4. A remarkable testimony, Darrell. Brings me renewed hope for a prodigal son. I have seen God breaking him in the same, and out of love drawing him back. Thanks for your honest sharing.

  5. Grace and mercy can clean us up and bring us back to the ONES that means the most to us. Losing everything and gaining the Lord and Father brings us back to our lives are the best to see that They are the ONES we needs the most. Love bears all and keep us safely in the arms of the Father and Jesus when we walk away but still we are covered in the light of Their LOVE!!!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story. It has a take-home message we all can learn and grow from.

  7. “Amazing grace” – I’d learned about it, talked about it, taught others about it, but didn’t fully “get” it until the last year or so. God has been really driving home just how amazing His grace is.

    What a fantastic testimony. Thanks for your transparency and willingness to let us peek into your history. It gives us much to praise Jesus for. His love never fails, does it? 🙂

    \o/

  8. Wow, Darrell, this is a very powerful testimony! Thank for sharing this. As Sue mentioned, it reminded me of the Prodigal son. But I can picture you as a replacement for James Dean in a remake of “Giant.”:-)

  9. Wow, I am blown away by your testimony! Sometimes it takes stripping everything away from us. Grace, sweet grace, I am so glad grace found you! I look forward to following your blog. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us. I pray that many who do not know the LORD will be encouraged by this post. Love in Christ! 🙂

  10. Darrel,
    Thanks for sharing your story. It makes me reflect on my own life and see again how God has had mercy on me in spite of my slowness to obey. Reading your story humbles me and makes me reflect on how Great God is and how He is reaching out for us and never willing to let us go.

    God bless you!

  11. I take no joy and reading or hearing about the past trials of others but for some reason your story rises to my attention and makes me feel the need to comment just as it has done before. This is not the first time you’ve told it on your blog and I relate to it quite a bit. My story is strangely parallel to yours minus the money. The pretentiousness,the self-consumed arrogance and self-worship. We indeed benefit from our falls as it precautions us and hones us to the razor-sharpness that the Lord needs to be able to recognize future pitfalls. Christianity in general benefited most from persecution in the past and still does so today. Why? Because it makes people decide what is worth dying for. Suffering and persecution makes us also jettison the “versions” of God we know are false because they are no consolation in times of great suffering and pain.
    Sometimes it is only God’s grace in allowing us to fall flat on our kisser that allows us to see the error of our ways. When we see the problem as error we see it for what it is…missing the mark / ἁμαρτία…sin. Once we know how far off the mark we are and where we should aim (holiness), our vision becomes clearer and our purpose resolute. We repent or turn from the errant trajectory we were on before which set us well off course for God’s holiness and we repent (literally turn) with our hearts and aim them towards the One they were meant to be aimed at all along. Jesus Christ. Thanks again for your candidness and honest self-assessment. It reassures me there are still meek people in the world that can make a difference. Andy

    • Thank you Andy – I appreciate the heart felt comment. You always bless me with your writing. Like I have told you before I am a fan of your ministry at http://souljournaler.blogspot.com/, where there is meat and milk for all who wish to dine at the Lord’s table as you share His word. I am honored to share how Christ rescued me and am forever indebted to and thankful for His grace. Blessings brother – Darrell

  12. Thanks for sharing your testimony. Only by His grace can we know the REALITY of being His blood-bought, adopted child and experiencing the abundance of His blessings – in good times and not-so-good.

  13. The good Lord’s ways are different.HE is a good GOD.praying for His graces.

  14. Darrell what an awesome testimony!! You know you have such a way with words, I actually saw you in my imagination doing that carnal strut, but also saw the broken Darrell, the prodigal son returning to His Father. Thank you so much for your message. Sharing as usual. Blessings to you and Gracie.

  15. Your story, His glory! This is an amazing testimony. God really answers when we seek Him as paupers. Have a blessed day in His Grace! 😀

  16. wow Darrell, that was awesome. perfect example of grace. Glad you made it back!!! 🙂

  17. Thanks for sharing that testimony of grace….God is so good to us…….praise His Name……./

  18. Thank you Kim, I enjoyed..More – Be still on your page at http://unwalled.wordpress.com/ – Your ministry is precious to God’s grace – Thanks for sharing -In Christ Darrell

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