I was born and raised on a farm. We went to church every Sunday, and every summer I attended vacation Bible school. This gave me a knowledge about the Bible, but not a saving knowledge of God. Upon graduating from high school and college I returned to the farm and went into partnership with my father. I then married and we became members of the church which we were attending. They immediately made me a deacon and Sunday school teacher, and except for the sovereign grace of God would have continued a good church member and went to hell as an unregenerate church member.
In 1972 God providentially sent an evangelist to our church who had the power of God on him and through his preaching the Lord convicted me of my lost condition and saved me by His grace. Two years later I left the organized church to become a part of the church which is His Body, the living organism of which Christ is the living Head, and started meeting in home Bible studies. That has continued to this day, and I have been privileged to teach the Word of God, and be associated with true believers who love the same Lord.
I was saved in 1992 at the age of 30, and believed in God's Sovereign grace from the moment He saved me. Raised in a typical Southern Baptist home, my father was a minister so I had a full dose of man's free will growing up. I can not count the number of times that I had "asked Jesus into my heart", but it never seemed to "take" for more than a few days, then I would be right back in the world. The problem was, I may have been ready to be saved, but God was not ready to save me.
When He finally did, I began looking for a church but soon realized that if I wanted to know what the Bible taught, I would have to get into the Good Book myself. A dear Evangelist named Dusty Rhoades used to tell me, "read a book in the Bible through 100 times". I did, many, many times and soon realized that after reading a particular book in the Bible that many times, I knew less of it than I did before I began! The Scriptures really began opening up when the Lord revealed the truth of the church which is His body and what it means to me today to be a part of it. When I understood that I was not a part of Israel or the traditions and promises given to Israel, all the chains seemingly fell off. Many people do not like the word "dispensationalist", but I believe that you must rightly divide otherwise you are doing a disservice to both your Saviour and yourself.
I must know how to be pleasing to my Lord and Saviour in this present age of grace, and I must know what promises await me, as a member of His Blessed Body, and only in post Acts Pauline Scriptures do we find that. I trust and pray that you will take a few moments to also view our Web site as it might be of some benefit to you, Lord willing.
I grew up in New York State where my family was very active in a Baptist Church. When I graduated from high school in 1975, I attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago Illinois for 2 years, before returning to the family farm to work. I was very active in my church, being a deacon, a Sunday school teacher, and taking charge of the high school youth group. I think it was around 1980 that, unbeknownst to me at the time, the Lord directed me to study the doctrine of grace. This led me to an understanding of the sovereign doctrines of God. Since then, I've learned to sum up these truths in something said originally by Thomas Aquinas, which is that God is the "first cause, himself uncaused".
It was shortly after this that the Lord sent a man to the church to which I belonged, who had a message for me. This man, R. E. Rhoades, understood the gospel of personal identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I had never heard this before! After the Lord brought me to understand grace, He taught me many things through the vigilant teaching of this man. The most important being how to properly divide the scripture. As a result of this, I came to understand the uniqueness of Paul and the mystery of the Body of Christ, which has changed my view on many things.
About 1981 I moved to south Mississippi, where I now live. I firmly believe that the Lord has called me to teach other believers who need to understand the truth. The Maranatha Fellowship exists solely for this purpose and no other!