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Hard-headed thinker, Jim took his time coming to terms with Jesus as Lord

I grew up always praying before meals and hearing that our friends that passed were in heaven. However, I never felt I knew who God was and definitely didn't have a relationship with Him. I lived my life thinking if I seemed like a good person, then I must be a good person and who was God to not let a good person into heaven.

My senior year of high school I started thinking about God more purposefully. I was questioning things in my life and why, if He had control of everything, why I'd been dealt such a crummy hand. Why had my father left when I was one? Why had he never returned? Why was I so poor and why was I so unpopular in school? Looking back I realize I wasn't poor, just didn't have money and I really didn't want to be popular in school; that's not who I am (or ever was).

I went on a hunt for who God was, only, being the smart man that I was at 18, I didn't need help. I could do this on my own. So I thought about God from time to time. I even read a bit of the bible from time to time, though not very much or often. My decision came down to me feeling sorry for myself and not liking someone else being in control of me. I wrestled back and forth on whether I believed in God or not for several years.

  Finally, it all came to a head when my mom asked me, point blank no beating around the bush, if I believed in God. Now, keep in mind, I've always loved my mother. I've always had a good relationship with her and would NEVER intentionally hurt her in any way. However, at that moment I had to be honest with her, knowing it would hurt her. “No. I don't.” I replied. Instantly I knew I was wrong. I felt my chest hurt and sadness entering me. I couldn't hardly breathe there was so much pressure on my chest. I am also an extremely hard-headed person, so while I knew I was wrong, I was not able to admit it. Not even to myself.

  A few years went by and I went back and forth with my belief in God. I knew this time I needed help but didn't want my family to know what I was doing so I asked people that didn't know my family life.

A friend suggested I read Job and described it as a bet between God and Satan. I sat up almost all night trying to read it all. I would fall asleep and wake up again a few minutes later and get right back into reading til I passed out again. I needed to know who this “God” was.

  About that time, my wife and I hired someone to work for us in our oversize load escort business. He was a very Christian man and wasn't afraid to spread the gospel. I remember telling him to take it easy because these truck drivers didn't want to be preached at all day and night. Boy, did I get it wrong. The guys we work with have been instrumental in bringing me around to believing. Who'd have thought these big, greasy, rednecks would have a faithful side? But so many of them are faithful beyond question. It was me that didn't want preached to. I just wanted the Cliff Notes and the answer key to go over on my own time.

  Discussions with my new employee, quickly becoming friend, always seemed to lead back to God. Mostly by his dedication to his faith, partly by my growing hunger for knowledge about God. We'd stay up late into the night and I'd ask questions and he'd answer or tell me, “I'll get back to you on that,” when he didn't have the correct answer on the tip of his tongue. After several invites to church (I had an aversion to church because I just never felt comfortable there. I always felt the preacher and the people attending were just saying “stuff”.) I loaded up my wife and son and went to church. Forty minutes of drive time to get here left me plenty of time to think of reasons why I should turn around  but I felt I was suppose to keep going.

  The moment I walked in the doors I knew I belonged. I can't put my finger on what it was, but I didn't feel like I had in every other church I'd visited in the past. I knew this was where I was suppose to be. After months of talking with the pastor and some of the congregation, I could feel myself starting to lose doubt. I remember after one Wednesday night bible study, I stopped the pastor to ask two simple questions thinking, “five-ten minutes, tops.” I had gone to church straight from the road so my wife had her truck and after a while she and the pastor's wife left him and I to our discussion. That five minute talk lasted til 2:30 or so in the morning. One question led to another and one answer led to another question. I could feel myself panic when he told me he could see that I was there, ready to be saved. I froze momentarily and replied with “Let me take this new info home and process it.” I did mention I was hard-headed, right?

  A couple weeks later I was still being hard-headed all through church service. At the end of service, our pastor asked the praise team to play and sing while he talked to us about salvation. Anyone could come up front and pray that wanted to or you can pray right where you are. I remember telling myself I don't want to go up in front of everyone and make a big deal about what I found myself believing, without doubt. Then I was walking. I was kneeling and then praying. I was overcome with emotions and felt all that pressure on my chest since I'd told my mom I didn't believe in God, being lifted. My pastor knelt beside me and asked if he could pray with me. We talked and I told him I did believe in God (the first time I'd ever said that out loud). I admitted that I was a sinner and I asked God to forgive me for those sins. I told him I believed Jesus was the son of God and Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I asked God to lead my life for His needs. There is no question that He heard me and answered my prayers.

  I was saved that day and know that God has put me here to lead others to Him. I have been told by many friends and family that they can see a whole new me. I thought I was always a good person, evidently there is more to being a good person than just staying out of trouble and being honest and fair to people. I liked to think that just being a good guy most of my life was good enough but I've learned that we can never be good enough to get into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 says : For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -  and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.


several years.

Finally, it all came to a head when my mom asked me, point blank no beating around the bush, if I believed in God. Now, keep in mind, I've always loved my mother. I've always had a good relationship with her and would NEVER intentionally hurt her in any way. However, at that moment I had to be honest with her, knowing it would hurt her. “No. I don't.” I replied. Instantly I knew I was wrong. I felt my chest hurt and sadness entering me. I couldn't hardly breathe there was so much pressure on my chest. I am also an extremely hard-headed person, so while I knew I was wrong, I was not able to admit it. Not even to myself.

A few years went by and I went back and forth with my belief in God. I knew this time I needed help but didn't want my family to know what I was doing so I asked people that didn't know my family life.

A friend suggested I read Job and described it as a bet between God and Satan. I sat up almost all night trying to read it all. I would fall asleep and wake up again a few minutes later and get right back into reading til I passed out again. I needed to know who this “God” was.

  About that time, my wife and I hired someone to work for us in our oversize load escort business. He was a very Christian man and wasn't afraid to spread the gospel. I remember telling him to take it easy because these truck drivers didn't want to be preached at all day and night. Boy, did I get it wrong. The guys we work with have been instrumental in bringing me around to believing. Who'd have thought these big, greasy, rednecks would have a faithful side? But so many of them are faithful beyond question. It was me that didn't want preached to. I just wanted the Cliff Notes and the answer key to go over on my own time.

Discussions with my new employee, quickly becoming friend, always seemed to lead back to God. Mostly by his dedication to his faith, partly by my growing hunger for knowledge about God. We'd stay up late into the night and I'd ask questions and he'd answer or tell me, “I'll get back to you on that,” when he didn't have the correct answer on the tip of his tongue. After several invites to church (I had an aversion to church because I just never felt comfortable there. I always felt the preacher and the people attending were just saying “stuff”.) I loaded up my wife and son and went to church. Forty minutes of drive time to get here left me plenty of time to think of reasons why I should turn around  but I felt I was suppose to keep going.

The moment I walked in the doors I knew I belonged. I can't put my finger on what it was, but I didn't feel like I had in every other church I'd visited in the past. I knew this was where I was suppose to be. After months of talking with the pastor and some of the congregation, I could feel myself starting to lose doubt. I remember after one Wednesday night bible study, I stopped the pastor to ask two simple questions thinking, “five-ten minutes, tops.” I had gone to church straight from the road so my wife had her truck and after a while she and the pastor's wife left him and I to our discussion. That five minute talk lasted til 2:30 or so in the morning. One question led to another and one answer led to another question. I could feel myself panic when he told me he could see that I was there, ready to be saved. I froze momentarily and replied with “Let me take this new info home and process it.” I did mention I was hard-headed, right?

A couple weeks later I was still being hard-headed all through church service. At the end of service, our pastor asked the praise team to play and sing while he talked to us about salvation. Anyone could come up front and pray that wanted to or you can pray right where you are. I remember telling myself I don't want to go up in front of everyone and make a big deal about what I found myself believing, without doubt. Then I was walking. I was kneeling and then praying. I was overcome with emotions and felt all that pressure on my chest since I'd told my mom I didn't believe in God, being lifted. My pastor knelt beside me and asked if he could pray with me. We talked and I told him I did believe in God (the first time I'd ever said that out loud). I admitted that I was a sinner and I asked God to forgive me for those sins. I told him I believed Jesus was the son of God and Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I asked God to lead my life for His needs. There is no question that He heard me and answered my prayers.

I was saved that day and know that God has put me here to lead others to Him. I have been told by many friends and family that they can see a whole new me. I thought I was always a good person, evidently there is more to being a good person than just staying out of trouble and being honest and fair to people. I liked to think that just being a good guy most of my life was good enough but I've learned that we can never be good enough to get into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 says : For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -  and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.




Jim Bull

Marion, Kentucky

Horseman