Senior Pastor at St. Augustine Road Baptist Church
Pastor Gary Poplin
Before I received the gift of eternal life I felt like I was empty and had no purpose. Jesus has given me a purpose to living. As I neared my high school graduation, I can remember looking at my hands and saying, they were made for a purpose and that purpose was to serve God. During an invitation at church, I trusted in Jesus for salvation and received eternal life. Saved at 17, transformed by the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. 25 miles off shore and even in the midst of a sinking boat, I knew I would go to heaven if I died. Following this, I wanted to be at church, around Christians and learning more about Jesus. I became a new person and my life turned around. My grades improved and I got more involved in high school. My friends could see the difference in me.
A recent life experience from just last year, I was fishing 25 miles off shore and water began coming into the boat. I could not get the engines started and the waves kept coming. We radioed for help. I raised the engines to discover the anchor line had gotten wrapped around the props holding us down and preventing the engines from starting. I cut the lines and the engines started and we were able to get moving so the scupper valves could drain the water. On the way back in because the fishing was over for the day even though we had just started, we spotted a search and rescue plane...then we could see a large boat from a distance cutting through the water... yes a Coast Guard boat. We didn't realize that the radio stopped working and they thought we had gone down. I felt in the midst of all that, even if we had gone down, should I have died, I knew I would go to heaven because I had received the free gift of eternal life.