My name is Richard Stewart and I was a professing Christian for over 60 years, but I had no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know about Jesus but I really didn’t know Him. I lived the same life as all my unsaved friends. When I grew up I lived the typical American experience. I got married, held a job, raised a family, paid my taxes, even attended church, but I was a pew sitter. I was not a follower of the Lord. Most of all, I was not the spiritual leader of my home.
Then at age 66 after the death of my second wife I had an encounter with Jesus Christ. I told the Lord among other things that I wanted to die. I felt the loss was too great to carry on without her. I asked Him why I was still here. He said, ”I am not finished with you, there are things I want you to do.” For the first time in my life, I put my trust in Him and surrendered to His will. Our journey started with Him bringing me here to FBC JAX.
He took me to A. C. Soud’s Sunday school class, where I first heard about One2Won. I attended a men’s rally, listened as men gave their testimonies and afterward told the moderator I wanted to join. The following Sunday Joe Kirby sat next to me in Sunday school and offered to mentor me through One2Won. It is now 3 and a half years later and he is still mentoring me. We now call it a Paul’s meeting and he has recruited Henry Luke to join us. I have discipled 9 other men in the One2Won ministry.
I heard about other ministries through Sunday school. The Lord has led me to be the assistant leader of the church Grief Share ministry. I participate in the very rewarding prison ministry under Rev. McCallum. I have occasionally been a substitute Sunday school teacher. I have been on two foreign mission trips with the BTEA in the past year and a half.
How do I feel about these works. In the words of Isaiah they are as filthy rags. All the credit and all the glory goes to Jesus. He changed my heart which changed my life and made me a new person. In December 2010 I made a public profession of faith in Christ and was baptized by Rev. Clifton and joined this church.
Fast forward 2 years, December 2012 my son made a public profession of faith in Christ and on Christmas Eve 2012 Dr. Brunson baptized him. Fast forward again to July 2014 on the last day of VBS, my grandson told me, “Papa, today I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save my soul.” The following Sunday night, Rev. Angel Santiago baptized him. In 3 and a half years, Christ has saved 3 members of 3 generations of my family. We serve an amazing God. If you do not think so, then you haven’t done business with Him lately.
Richard Stewart gave this personal testimony on Wednesday night September 10, 2014 in Dr Brunson’s meeting with men at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida. Used with his permission.