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The Day Everything Changed for Me

It’s been 50 years since a few simple sentences led me to Jesus—and launched a lifetime of hope and meaning.
Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

I was a scared, scarred, fatherless kid in North Denver wondering how in the world I ever got stuck in a family full of bodybuilders and street fighters.

As a nervous, quiet, bookish boy, I did not fit into my wild family.

Terrified by the relentless loudness and intensity of my always-ready-to-fight family, I used to hide underneath the kitchen sink with nothing but my little red King James Version Bible and a flashlight. Although I knew the answers to all my troubles were in that book, I couldn’t get past the Shakespearean language to the actual meaning of the words.

So I stayed confused.

My Baptist grandparents always took me to church, where I tried to understand how to be saved. But phrases like “confess all your sins” and “ask Jesus into your heart” confused me. I thought if I forgot to confess one sin I’d go to Hell. I thought if Jesus came into my heart and then I got a heart transplant I would lose my salvation.

The Dawning of Hope

On Sunday, June 23, 1974—50 years ago today as I write this—I asked my grandpa to walk the aisle with me so I could publicly declare my intention to get water-baptized. I figured that I had asked Jesus into my heart a thousand times, so one of them had to take.

As I walked the aisle with my grandpa, I could feel the sanctuary full of Baptist eyes on me. Pastor Claud Pettit waited at the front of the stage as the organ music played. When we reached the front, he asked me why I had come forward. I told him I wanted to get baptized.

He then said these life-altering words: “Before you get baptized, you must be a Christian. That means you believe Jesus died in your place for your sins on the cross and that He rose from the dead three days later. That means that you have trusted in Jesus to save you from your sin. Have you done that?”

In a millisecond it all clicked. That was the clearest presentation of the Gospel I had ever heard. Quickly, in the depths of my soul I uttered the words, “I trust in you, Jesus, to save me from my sins” and then answered “YES” to Pastor Pettit’s question.

He had no idea he had just led me to the Lord.

As he announced to the church my intention to get water-baptized, everyone clapped. But it was as though I could hear the angels of Heaven applauding, celebrating my conversion.

In that moment, the fear and trepidation that had defined my eight circles around the sun disappeared.

I had hope in my heart for the first time, because I had Jesus!

How the Gospel Changed Everything

After all the handshakes of congratulations from church members, my grandma and I made our way out to their yellow Ford F-150 truck and waited for Grandpa to drive us all home. It was there that I told my grandma I had just gotten saved.

With tears in her eyes, she congratulated me and wrote these words in my little red Bible: “Greg Stier received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior on June 23rd, 1974.”

I keep that red Bible on my desk at Dare 2 Share as a reminder of how the Gospel changed everything for me—and for my family.

It was around the same time that my rough-and-tumble family members started coming to Christ because of a wild, hillbilly preacher nicknamed “Yankee.”

A few years ago, I wrote a memoir called Unlikely Fighter that details all the craziness of my entire family’s radical conversion to Christ. I encourage you to pick up a copy on Amazon or listen to it on Audible.

I’ll finish this post with a prayer of thanksgiving:

Dear Father, thank you for saving me 50 years ago today. Thank you for the simple message of Christ and Him crucified that changed everything for me. I praise you for five decades of utter faithfulness to me. Youve been a light to my path in the dark time and protected me in the dangerous times. And like my grandfather’s giant hand held mine as I walked down the aisle to get saved, youve held my hand through the ups and downs of this life ever since. You’ve been an ever-faithful Father, my only father, and I’m your ever-grateful son. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Unlikely Fighter

#1 new release in Evangelism on Amazon

The story of how a fatherless street kid overcame violence, chaos, and confusion to become a radical Christ follower.

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