In 1982 I decided to become a follower of Jesus. At the time I was studying for my A-levels at a Clergy Orphan Corporation boarding school.
My father, a vicar, had died from lung cancer when I was a year old, leaving my mother distraught and suffering from debilitating bouts of depression. When I was seven, she too was diagnosed with cancer. She fought the disease for seventeen years and died when I was twenty-four.
So, I grew up without a father, separated for half of each year from a mother who could be profoundly depressed and emotionally absent, and on top of that I was badly bullied for much of my time at boarding school. It’s fair to say that by the time I reached my mid-teens I had a lot of questions about life. So much seemed unfair. Where was God and why didn’t He do anything about suffering? Two things happened that changed the direction of my life.
An appeal to the mind
First, I was given two books to read. One was Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, in which he explains why Christianity is the best way to make sense of the way the world is. I found it compelling. For the first time the Christian faith seemed to make logical sense and not be based on myths and wishful thinking. The other book was Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison. He had set out to disprove the miraculous nature of the resurrection of Jesus, but the more he studied the evidence the more he became convinced that it was true. For the first time I was convinced that the death and resurrection of Jesus were not a story but history. The books presented a compelling case to my mind. But that was only half the story.
An appeal to the heart
Confronted with the historical evidence for Jesus’ death and resurrection I then had to consider why He had died, and the Bible has only one answer to give: because I had sinned, and He loved me enough to want to rescue me. Jesus had willingly gone to the cross to pay a penalty for my sin that I could not pay myself. Jesus had stepped into my shoes and taken my place on the cross so that I could step into His shoes and enjoy a life everlasting. When I realised the extraordinary love of God for me, my heart was overwhelmed, and I thought that the only response I could make was to choose to follow Him for the rest of my life.
So, on 23rd January 1982 I asked Jesus to forgive me for the things I had done wrong and invited Him into my life. It was the beginning of a wonderful and exciting journey of faith that continues to this day.
I was ordained in the Church of England in 1990 and since 2010 have split my time between my ministry with Turn the Page and serving as the Pastor of Bolney Village Chapel. I’m a CVM recommended speaker and an Associate Evangelist of JJohn’s Philo Trust.