Where Does a Story Really Begin?
We are about to celebrate our 38th Christian Challenge Homecoming Jubilee. What a story to be told.
When we Christian believers wish to write about our ventures of faith, how do we even find a beginning place. Our entire life has been one great adventure with the Lord Jesus. After all, the Bible says that God knew us before the foundation of the world.
Now that I wish to share some things about a ministry known as, ‘Christian Challenge International’, I still wonder where the story of Christian Challenge actually begins. But since we are celebrating our 38th Homecoming Jubilee, perhaps it would be good to find one spot to work from.
And so I begin – Christian Challenge held its first service on March 9, 1976. But for an earlier beginning place let me reach back to 1975.
IT HAPPENED FRIDAY MORNING, JANUARY 17, 1975 –
It was during my morning devotion. As I was playing my guitar and singing the Porter Wagoner song, ‘Peace on Earth Begins Today,’ I heard these words, ‘Go home.’
When God speaks, you listen and obey. Betty and I took our children out of school and headed north. (We were living in Lafayette, LA. North was Central Louisiana.)
All I had was two words. ‘Perhaps the Lord wanted me to go to churches that I had held revivals in, and share some of my testimony.’ That was not to be the case.
We left our children at my sister’s home. Across the road from her was a church that we have ministered in. But it seemed odd. The lights were on and it wasn’t a service night.
Betty and I quietly sat in the back. What I did not know was that the church had recently lost their pastor. They were in prayer, asking the Lord to send them their new pastor.
Then it happened – The minister who was helping them, recognized me and said, “Brother Martin, would you like to share anything?” (I still did not know what was happening.) I simply said, “Brother, I don’t know why the Lord sent me, but I am here.” (A near quote.)
A holy hush. Then I heard weeping in the congregation. The Lord was bearing witness to their pastor.
In looking back, I was glad the Lord only gave me two words. I had no want to pastor again. Yet little did I realize is that this was a major step to another ministry the Lord would commission me to raise up, a ministry called ‘Christian Challenge International.’
What I have found through time is that every step of faith we make, is largely to prepare us for the next step in our journey of life.
My pastorship of that beautiful country church was only for a year and a half, but that year and a half was crucial for me and my precious wife, Betty. It had to be one of the most loving churches in God’s many flocks. The older folk were like grandfathers and grandmothers to us.
I spend countless hours, pouring myself into God’s Word. The Lord was opening my eyes to so many treasures in His sacred writ. All this had to do with the Lord preparing my heart for another venture of faith. But here I must add another story behind the story.
So, let me reach further back still. It took place several years before this time.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH AN OLD BOOK -
When the Lord, brought me into His kingdom, in 1964, He did something that set the musical note for my walk with Him. He gave me an intense love for His Word. (Some people search the Scriptures to confirm what they want to believe. Not so with me. I search to Scriptures to see what the Lord wants me to believe.)
I don’t need to skip around to find something interesting to read. That old book is filled with wonderful secrets. I know exactly what Jeremiah felt when he said, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jer15:16)
Actually, Betty finally asked me to stop giving my Bibles away. Because of all the notes that are written in them, she wanted me to save them for our kids. (Sometimes wish I had kept them all – Alas, I felt a need to help someone along the trail of life. But I do have several saved.)
So why do I use the term ‘musical note’ in describing my Biblical walk with the Lord? The primary reason is that God has taught me to how to recognize His voice in the Scriptures, and it is like music in my soul. (Yes, the Bible is full of music.)
But there is something else equally important with regard to God’s old Book. (Besides the music.) The Bible is always unfolding its secrets. The unfolding of God’s Word is for all His children. David said, “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psa119:130)
Well – If I have peaked your interest just a little, then do this. You can pray this prayer now -
“Lord God, please open my eyes to see wonderful things in Your Book. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son.” (Psa119:18; Mat7:7)
See what I mean. You begin with the now, and you keep reaching back. Where do you even find a stopping place?
Well — If you are truly interested, let me let me share more light on the story behind the story.
Things That Add to the Story
Perhaps you would like to know a bit more about the Martin family. This video has to do with my and Betty’s 50th wedding anniversary. It reaches far back in time.
Then there is the number one entry on my blog. It has to do with ‘My Story’. I never mean this story to dishonor my church background. All I can say is that every believer’s walk is intensely personal. We each can only walk in what the Lord has called us to walk in.
My Story: http://buddymartin.net/blog/testimony/
Then there is this, especially for country music lovers.
When the Lord spoke to me these words, ‘Go home,’ I was singing a song by Porter Wagonor, titled, ‘Peace on Earth Begins Today.’ Perhaps the Lord will speak to your heart.
Here it is:
See what I mean.
There is no stopping place. The more I reach back in my life, the more I see the hand of the Lord.
Just one more tidbit – This happened before I entered into a knowing relationship with Jesus Christ.
When I left my last ship in the Navy, I said this to my fellow crewmen: ‘I am sick and tired of this life. I am going to find me a good woman, and settle down.’
Was God in that? No one can convince me otherwise. In looking back it was as though the Lord gave me words to speak over myself. Did it happen?
There would have been no Christian Challenge International, had not the Lord given me my wife of His own choosing. My wife is the most loving and caring person I have ever known. And I’m so glad that our three children have so much of Betty in them.
How easily I could have shared the bigger story of my ‘God-ordained’ marriage to a beautiful Christian girl, and how this was also arranged in time. But, you have your own story.
So – Has not your walk with the Lord been truly an amazing venture of faith.
In Christ Jesus always,