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Kevin's Testimony

Early Years
My story is like so many who grew up in the church, yet it is my own personal story. When I was nine years old I was at church camp as the preacher preached his fire and brimstone message. As I listened I leaned my head against one of the concrete pillars of the open air chapel and seen in my minds eye a hand turn the combination dial of a safe. Inside I saw the “lake of fire” that this preacher was talking about. I knew I wanted Jesus. I knew I didn't want to go to hell. I had to get, what I now know was “fire insurance.” I was baptized later that same year.
Getting Real With God
I spent much of my early years claiming to be a Christian while living like the unchurched. In my early 20's that included drinking and looking for love in all the wrong places. It was one night, when I was 25, in early 1994 that I was drunk. Drinking tequila, I was the drunkest I had ever been, when the Holy Spirit descended upon me, and reminded me of the scriptures, that say do no get drunk (Eph. 5:18). I immediately knew that the life I was leading was not the life that God had for me. It was time that I stopped playing church and get real about my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
I got home around 2 or 3 and crashed on the couch, not making it to the bed. Bright and early (about 8) that morning I woke up and I knew I had to get myself to church for the first time in weeks. To my surprise, despite the amount of tequila I had consumed, I didn't seem to have a hangover. A fact that I can only attribute to God.
Still it was later that week, while watching the 700 Club, that I actually bowed my knees and prayed with Pat Robertson, to God asking Him to wash away my sins.
God's Moving Me Into Ministry
What happened next was life changing. I spent much of '94 allowing God to change me. One of the first things that was totally opposite of my previous character, was an acquaintance that I used to work with, and that was now showing up at church was homeless. I felt the Lord tell me to invite him into my house. At first there was some resisting to this, but God had an answer to every rebuttal that I tried to make.
When the Lord told me to invite him to stay with me, I told Him that I didn't have a bed for him. The Lord responded by tell me to go to this one neighbors house and ask them for a bed. At this point I immediately stopped what I was doing and walked across the ally and knocked on this particular neighbors back door. I told them what I was looking for and found that that they had a bed that they would give me, but it didn't have a mattress. I knew the Lord could provide this and I followed the elderly man into his basement to look at what he had. To my surprise it was an antique metal bed with the metal coils. All I needed to find was the mattress. What a blessing! I gladly accepted it and began looking in the newspaper classifieds for a mattress (most of which were $10). I seen one ad for a twin mattress, that I felt impressed upon that I should call, but ignored that thought. After all I needed a full (double) mattress. So after feeding several quarters into the payphone calling about all these double mattresses that had already been sold, I finally called about the twin that God had already told me to call. Rationalizing that a mattress partially covering the bed coils was better then none.
When the man running the ad answered I found that he was a pastor and that the twin mattress he had advertised had been been rained on and ruined. What he said next though stunned me and caused me to wonder why I hadn't just listened to God in the first place. He told me that he did have a full size mattress, if that would help me. What a gracious God, that was the exact size I actually needed. As I accepted that offer, I told him the story of how God was working. He even agreed to deliver it for me as I didn't have a car and I paid him the $10 upon delivery again joyfully telling the story how God provided through an ad that I thought wasn't an ad I needed to even bother calling.
Over the course of that year I ended up with three homeless people in my little one bedroom bungalow and by years end I was being led by God to move to Chicago and go to work for a ministry in the inner-city where I stayed for two years before returning to Kansas.


Kevin Surbaugh

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