• Barry Peters

When's Your Anniversary?

Updated: Mar 23, 2018

It’s my anniversary! When’s your anniversary? No, not your wedding or anything like that- a transformation.

Today, March 21 is a day I will never forget. It is a day that will forever change the course of my life. Now it is not today actually, but 13 years ago today that everything changed for me. But I love to celebrate this special day every year because without it, I often wonder where I’d be. Let me explain.

I had the wonderful privilege to grow up in a Christian home. My parents set the bar high when it came to a spiritual journey. We attended church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings and even ran a Sunday School bus route. We even took things to another level as we were enrolled in the Christian school located at… our church. All our relationships were through the church world outside of our family. I have many fond memories of my church and school and thank God for the influence my parents placed upon their children. Now 40+ years later, my sister, brother and I along with our families are very faithful in church. Well, actually, all of us siblings and our spouses are serving in the church whether vocationally or as volunteers.

Growing up, I heard the stories of God loves for me whether it was through flannel graphs, puppets or preaching. I knew the stories so well that I could share them myself on stage (actually, I began to at the age of 14). I remember my faith journey pretty well. I recall responding to an invitation to trust Christ when I was in kindergarten. I believe I responded because I saw some other friends responding. It wasn’t until a few years later that I took a bold step in my faith journey and was baptized around the age of 11.

I (along with my family) had the great privilege to spend a lot of time with our senior pastor, Tim Britton. He was someone I looked up to for many years. He had such a great impact on my life. I remember as a young teenager making a commitment to share the Gospel through ministry as I had seen it modeled for so many years. After graduating high school, I began the journey of preparing for the ministry. Now, of course, I didn’t expect it would take the 8.5 years that it took, but I finally graduated from college in 1999.

Now it was time to take the world by storm (well, at least the church world). I was ready, or at least I thought I was. My ministry began for a short season in Palm Coast, Florida. I had been working part-time for my brother at his church for a few years then God allowed my world to change in a unique way and my ministry life changed as well. In 2002, I relocated to Gadsden, Alabama to travel with a Gospel music group as their jack-of-all-trades. God allowed me to use my talents at the product table, in the office, and even on stage at times. I loved my job even though we were on the road 200+ days a year.

Little did I know how God would change my life in quite a few ways from 2002-2005. While travelling on the road I had the awesome opportunity to meet many great people, but none any better than the young lady to whom I end up marrying on March 11, 2006. I’m glad my group’s travels took us to eastern North Carolina. It changed my life (as well as my single status).

While travelling with the group, we saw God do some amazing things in the lives of people. We had the opportunity to be a part of some great events. One event that still impacts me today is the night I heard Bailey Smith speak in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He gave people an opportunity to begin a relationship with Christ and we saw many respond. However, one that surprised us all was when our piano player Channing got up from the piano and gave his life to Christ. It was awesome to see. I must admit, I did some soul searching that night but not enough to do something about it.

For the next twelve months, I continued to ask myself many questions over and over again as to my personal relationship with Christ. I had struggled with it every now and then but it was hitting home. To be honest, I figured I missed my opportunity in some ways back at that night in March 2004 (Channing’s night). Ironically, we received word that we were invited back to Fredericksburg a year later. And yes, you guessed it, Bailey Smith was invited back too. On March 21, 2005 we were once again at King’s Highway Baptist Church for a crusade. I had made some bargains with God including that if Bailey Smith spoke his convicting sermon of the “Wheat and the Tares” that I would make a decision and put my doubts of being a Christian to rest. Bailey got up to speak and told the congregation that he planned on speaking his “Wheat and Tare” sermon but that God had spoken to his heart to speak something else. I now dodged a bullet. I guess I was good to go, so I thought. God had something different planned.

Bailey Smith introduced his text and said that he’d be speaking on “How to Have a Positive Attitude on Your Way to Hell.” Well, under much conviction, I listened intently and at the conclusion of the service… I did nothing. How could I let another day pass when it comes to eternity? Well, thank God, I didn’t let it pass. While standing at our product table, I knew that “Today is the day of salvation” for me. Promptly, I walked back into the auditorium and found Bailey Smith and told him I needed to talk to him.

In five minutes my life was about to change. Bailey and I found a quiet room (the Pastor’s office) and I began telling my story. I shared all I had done in my life (the good and the bad). I also told him how I had been battling about knowing for sure I’d spend eternity in heaven through a personal relationship with Christ. After a lengthy conversation, I knew what I needed (desired) to do. About 8:45pm on March 21, 2005, I placed my faith in Christ. It was that night it became mine! My parents, my church, my friends – I had relied on them for my faith; now it is my own. I accepted His free gift of salvation. Since that night in 2005, I’ve never doubted where I’d spend eternity. My faith became real.

It’s my anniversary! When’s your anniversary? No, not your wedding or anything like that- a transformation of when you became a Christ follower. I encourage you to not let a day pass without placing your faith in a personal relationship with Christ. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy Anniversary,

Barry

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About Me

Barry Peters

A husband, a dad, a Christ-follower, and a pastor

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© 2018 by Barry Peters