At the age of 20 years old, I attended a quaint little church called Bible Baptist church. Two main reasons for attendance there was because someone invited me, and they had a lot of young people. After attending for a couple of weeks, I began to feel that something was missing. I kept going because of the youth group. I even purchased a Bible and started reading it–Wow! But those feelings of emptiness didn’t go away.
About 6 months later, Mom told me about a revival going on in another local church nearby. It was the church that my parents attended when I was a kid. There were a numerous amount of people receiving salvation during this meeting. I, however, would not attend, thinking some kind of ‘cult’ was going on there. At this time things really started bothering me.
Feelings of “going to Hell” became stronger and stronger. I began to cry myself asleep at night. I was afraid of going to hell. I talked to my pastor about it. I really just wanted someone to tell me I was alright. But it kept getting worse.
I finally came to the point that I just could not go on living like this. The week before I accepted Christ was one miserable, lonely, depressing, empty week. This lump in my throat and pounding in my chest was almost unbearable. Crying myself to sleep every night was not working.
So…on a particular Sunday Morning when I attended, (I don’t remember what was preached; I don’t remember the songs that were sung; in fact, I don’t remember much of anything), I was consumed in myself and the feelings that I had. When the Pastor gave an invitation to come to the front of the church I responded with great desperation. I came forward and kneeling down, I gave my heart to Jesus!
I remember trying to say all the “right words” so that Jesus would save me. I said that I was sorry for my sins. I told Jesus that I wanted Him to come into my heart. I said everything that I thought I was supposed to. But behind me I heard my brother speak to me. I will never forget his words. He simply said, “only trust Him”! From that moment I completely trusted Christ to remove my sins and come into my heart to live.
Many more details surround my life since I met Jesus. But one thing is certain–I’ve never been the same since that particular Sunday morning!
My wife of 27 years and counting...
We started dating in January of 1990. We were married that same year on May 14th (in which I don't recommend). But hey, that's our story! Too many details to put here, so I'll let Sharon tell you all about it. ~Billy Bollinger
I’ve been preaching for 27 years and only been a Pastor of two churches. My tenure of my first church was 14 years. The Lord moved me into interim work for 4 years to help other churches secure new Pastorates. The last church is where I landed permanently, in which I am now currently the Pastor of Gilead Baptist Church.