When you get done reading this you will know more about me then me knows about me.
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and
I was born on January 6, 1941 that makes me 74 years old this year, 2015.
I have been married to Patty for over fifty years
We have five great kids
I was saved in 1974. That’s a guess as I have never been too good with dates.
I was born a Catholic.
NOBODY is PHYSICALLY born a Christian [John 3:6].
I am part of a huge family of Catholics.
My brother was born again but my four sisters have not been. Well as far as I can tell, anyway. None have produced any Biblical evidence of it.
Most of my relatives are practicing Catholics, but none of my sisters are.
I was named after a Jesuit priest. The Bible says call no man father, meaning spiritually (Matthew 23:9) BUT his title is Father Larry Cr…s.
MY CRIMINAL TEENAGE CAREER
I was a real juvenile delinquent. I stole, damaged other people’s personal property, cursed, drank and gambled but I never did drugs and I have never smoked marijuana.
I have been locked up in numerous jails.
The ONLY reason I am not in prison or worse, is that God was watching over me. You may doubt that, but looking back over my life, I know it to be true [Romans 8:28].
I have always, as far back as I can remember, been trying to get right with God. Yes even when I held Willie Sutton as my hero. Sutton began his career of stealing on February 4, 1919. His last burglary was in February 1952. He was imprisoned numerous times and broke out numerous times.
Today my heroes are all those who live for The LORD Christ Jesus by doing what He tells them to do (Luke 6:46).
I stopped being a criminal after being locked up in the Oakland County Jail for about a month. Being convicted of a felony, I was put in the same “bull pen” as rapists, career criminals on their way to Jackson Prison, and just plain mean people. I was not a big kid and looked like a twelve year old, so I wasn’t intimidating at all, but I knew how to play the role and I started dropping names of some local criminal gang members I had run with. The kid who kind of ran that cell block knew those same people and he had been bragging about their exploits, so when he saw that I also ran a little with them he took me into his group. That was like being a gang member on the outside. I had protection, mess with me mess with all of us.
Still it was a bad experience. My criminal life had been like a game, an adventure. It was fun because I could always walk away when things got really ugly, but here, locked up in a cell with about thirty hardened criminals there was no walking away. When I got out I vowed I would never do anything that would put me back in that kind of situation.
The Catholic Church taught me about the one pure and Holy God who is all powerful (omnipotent), knowing everything (omniscient) and that He is all places all the time (omnipresent) and absolutely holy.
CATHOLIC DOCTRINE OF PRAYER
I reasoned that because Jesus was God He could hear many millions of prayers at once, but how could Mary or anyone else?
I was taught that Jesus was unapproachable. I can still remember trying to find a dead “saint” who wasn’t very popular that I could pray to. My thinking was that he would be more able to hear my prayers and take them to Jesus, fortunately I never found one. That meant that even though I was an unsaved Catholic I still prayed directly to Jesus
(1st Timothy 2:5). That superstition, praying to dead people, could have easily led me into the occult.
MY FIRST OF TWO MARRIAGES
I got married to Ruthann, when I was around 19. She was completely amoral, being void of all sexual mores.
When I married Ruthann she was pregnant but she miscarried. Yet, I knew the baby was in heaven even though he was born dead. The Catholic Church taught me that. The baby had a proper funeral. I really can’t remember about the funeral just that my parents knew the funeral director and they took care of it. I was working but wasn’t making much money. Now that I am writing this I wonder if he really was buried like I was led to believe or just disposed of.
Ruthann left me for a kid in some kind of motorcycle gang. She wanted a divorce. I didn’t. My friends however told me I would be responsible for her unless I divorced her. Being a practicing Catholic, I knew divorce was wrong but I did it anyway. And for all you who give no amnesty for divorce and remarriage – I am glad I did divorce her. And yes I do believe that divorce and remarriage is wrong. I was unsaved so how can my divorce and remarriage be any different than any other sin unsaved people do? (John 8:44)
MY SECOND MARRAGE WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN MY FIRST
I then married Patty. If I had not married her I know that things would have turned out real bad for me. I know that today I would be dead or in prison or deep in gross sin. Patty is my anchor that keeps me grounded. Therefore do not tell me that she is not God’s choice for me.
When Pat and I got married neither of us were saved. I still drank a lot and loved this world. I did try to get right with God, but doing that meant I should change my ways and go to church to prove myself worthy. Don’t forget I was still a Catholic to the bone. No way could I ever stop my drinking and wallowing in the mud. I tried over and over and over again, and failed every time. When I tried to quit drinking, I became kind of a laughing stock to my friends. They knew they would soon see me with a beer in my hands.
I know Catholics get a pass on drinking, partying, gambling et al. I grew up in a Catholic home where liquor flowed and gambling was prime entertainment. And know this: I have no bad memories of any consequences that gambling and alcohol caused – no arguments, no sex, no overly foul language – nothing. My dad was an alcoholic but I never heard him use God’s name in vain or use sex words in conversation, slur his words, miss work, or mistreat anyone. My dad was a man to be emulated as someone who cared and he was always there when ANYONE needed him. He was a real John Wayne type of guy, and that’s a fact; I am not gushing. Still, I always knew drinking and gambling was sin for me. That conviction was the result of God’s grace and mercy because except for the specter of evil I would have been of all people most miserable.
Isn’t that amazing! The very thing that alienated me from God brought me to God. Same thing with you if you are saved (Romans 5:6-8).
Being divorced and remarried I wanted to find another denomination. I had also grown to realize that the Catholic Church was not what it purposed to be – The Church that pope Peter built.
I tried many Churches. Once I did a thing with cards to find a Church. That Sunday I went to an Episcopal Church, which is where the cards told me to attend. I never went again. Another time, I went to a Baptist Church. At the end of the sermon an usher came to me, took me by the arm and said, “Would you like to go forward?” I was horrified and never went back.
Around this time God somehow gave this Catholic sinner a KJV 1611 Bible verse which stuck to me like crazy glue. Hebrews 11:6
I would quote that verse to myself and say
“I know I am seeking you wrong, but I do not know any other way. You say “that you are a rewarder of those who diligently seek you and to the best of my ability that’s what I am doing.” I wanted a spiritual reward, a physical reward NEVER crossed my mind.
GOD STIRS THE POT
In the early 1970’s I read an ad in the help wanted section of the Detroit News for an electrician at US Plywood in Gaylord Michigan. Gaylord is a four hour drive from where I lived in Madison Heights Michigan. My wife and I talked it over. I told her that the position was for a journeyman electrician. That meant I wasn’t qualified for the job. I told her if I could get around that I would get the job. She said ok let’s do it, let’s give it a shot.
I got the job, and bought a house in Frederic. We settled in and once in a while we attended The First Baptist Church of Frederic. I was under heavy conviction to attend services but my going was sporadic.
[I love small churches because everyone is a lighted billboard sign, you just can’t attend unnoticed.]
Pastor Arsonal was the pastor at that time and he paid us a visit and took us on a stroll down the Romans road. When he asked us if we would be saved Patty and I kneeled and prayed the sinners prayer. He never followed up with baptism and Church membership. I think that was from the Holy Spirit because I do not believe either one of us was born again at that time.
[Salvation is a heart – faith event not a magic word thing.]
That’s because all things stayed exactly the same. We were still not regular in attendance because we still didn’t feel a kindred spirit. We were not comfortable around Christians. Christians were weird. Yet that in itself was a good thing because I reasoned that they were going to heaven while I was not, therefore there must be something still wrong with me. That is Sesame Street logic.
THE FOLLOWING IS MY TESTIMONY OF BEING BORN AGAIN
My best friend Tom and I spent our teenage years drinking and driving.
Tom came up to Frederic for a visit and we went drinking and driving.
I began talking about religious things, which I did a lot.
Tom said, “If I believed like you say you believe I would not be living my life like you are living yours.” That was what God used to put me under heavy – very heavy – conviction.
What Tom said along with Hebrews 11:6, got me saved.
After Tom left, I got down on my knees and talked with God.
Up until that time I had always thought that the reason I could never be at peace with God was because of certain sins that I couldn’t quit. If I could quit them then God would accept me and welcome me into heaven.
Now for the FIRST TIME, I knew, I absolutely knew, that even if I could stop my sin of drinking, I would still be unworthy of forgiveness. That’s because I finally realized that I deserved to spend eternity in Hell and there was nothing I could do to change that.
I cast myself on Jesus telling Him that I would love Him forever and would always tell others about Him. I told Him that I did not know why I could not get enough strength to quit alcohol [Romans 5:6]. I knew Jesus could set me free but that was His decision. If he cast me into Hell I would still love Him.
I promised Him that I would never bring shame to His holy name by stopping my drinking. That’s because I felt my failure was seen by those around me as His failure. I would tell everyone that Jesus was the reason for my rejection of alcohol. Then a short time later I would again return to my wallowing in the mire (2nd Peter 2:22).
I am just being honest with all this, I believe God gives us unique experiences for a reason and we should tell them.
I surrendered to Jesus at that time confessing that He is LORD and me, I a wicked servant. I was His to do what He wanted. Only I would never stop telling everyone I met about Him.
Did I open my Bible to say certain words or follow the instructions? NO I DID NOT. Romans 10:10 tells us it is a heart thing, not a magic word thing. When a person, lets say, is in Church and they get convicted and go forward to get saved I believe in almost, if not every, case they have already been saved in the pew. When they go forward it’s because of Romans 10:11.]
When I was saved I told Jesus that I would never stop drinking and I WAS TRUE TO MY PROMISE.
For the first time in my life I had no conviction that my drinking was wrong; my drinking, not yours, yours is wrong mine was okay because I got that settled with my LORD Christ Jesus. I would tell everyone about Jesus even with a beer bottle in my hand.
I now felt a kindred spirit with the Christians at First Baptist of Frederic and started attending, going to every Church service. I just could not get enough of Church. The Bible became as real to me as it did to those on the Emmaus road [Luke 24:32]. I was a truly a different person (2nd Corinthians 5:23).
Pastor Arsonal moved to another Church and Pastor Taylor became the new pastor. I will always thank God for him. He was my spiritual hero feeding me real good, when I left him to go to Midwestern Baptist College I committed spiritual suicide.
The following verse warns us about new, overzealous, Christians, who want to jump into full time service.
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.]
I was growing in the LORD and was accepted in the Church as someone who had a great desire to serve Christ Jesus. They did not know that I was still drinking.
When MY SISTER-IN-LAW, Mary, came up for a visit she asked me if my pastor would baptize her. I said I would talk with him about it.
When I talked with Pastor Taylor I said that he could baptize me also. He said that he would not baptize Mary because baptism and Church membership went together, but that He did not know that I hadn’t been baptize so he would baptize me.
Oh, Oh, now that dreaded verse by all disobedient children, “be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23) was about to happen. I am no hypocrite and I knew Baptists were against drinking. I had to tell Pastor Taylor that I was a drinking man and that I had no desire to quit.
You know what this “man of God told me” – THIS IS PROFOUND – though it wouldn’t work with everyone. My pastor said, “Larry I know you are saved. The same Holy Ghost who lives in me lives in you. I will let Him deal with you. But you need to be baptized.” The deacons beat him up on that decision but he held his ground and it was done, Pastor Taylor baptized me on June 8, 1975.
After my baptism nothing seemed to change. Then, after a short time, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t had a drink since being baptized. That is when I knew that I was totally, 100%, set free from that addiction.
There is no divine power in baptism. If you get baptized do not expect some kind of deliverance from an agony that you are trapped in.
There is no divine power in baptism except for obedience. Baptism is the first steep in a Christian’s life after being born again, and Church membership should happen right along with it.
IF YOU ARE SAVED BUT STILL HAVE NOT BEEN BAPTIZED, then baptism and church membership is your first priority.
PREPARATION FOR FULL TIME SERVICE
I left Frederic in late 1978 to prepare for a full time ministry. I got a job at G.M. TRUCK AND COACH, as a skilled trade’s electrician, and I started working on a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern Baptist College.
Every semester I took a full amount of classes and finished in four years.
I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Midwestern in 1982 with a Bachelor of religious education.
NEVER – NEVER – Tell God what you are going to do with your life, and then believe it to be God’s will. God will not bless that kind of prideful arrogance even when it’s clocked in humility.
Take it from someone who knows.