July 8 1974

I read a familiar verse today that took me back to July 8, 1974.  This date was a turning point in my life.  Many of you reading this probably weren’t even born then, but God was very much at work in my life as a young man…….I had recently become a following of Christ and was serving in South Texas on a recreational ministry team.  We pulled a trailer that looked like a barn to Canyon Lake every weekend and set up  a camp where we could have puppet shows, recreational activities and a worship service on the beach on Sunday mornings.  It was awesome.

During this summer, I felt God tugging at my heart and didn’t really understand what He wanted.  In the middle of the summer – I was a little bit frustrated – becasue I felt like God was trying to get my attention but I couldn’t put my finger on what He wanted.  Then, bam, one night I sensed God telling me to get up out of bed and read His Word.  As I opened to the 5th chapter of Luke and began reading it was like vv. 27-28 had neon lights around them just for me.  

Luke 5:27-28 says: After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax booth.  “Follow me,”he said to him. And he got up and followed him, leaving everything behind.   I knew immediately what God wanted from me.  He wanted me to release all my future plans – leave them behind – and choose to follow Him for the rest of my life.  So in my room that night – I made this commitment – and shared it with the church where I was serving the next Sunday.

Levi – who was also called Matthew – was a tax collector (big time sinner) who took Jesus to “his crowd” so they could meet Jesus.  I believe His call on my life was prophetically linked in some ways.  I was a “big time sinner” and I have a huge desire to take Jesus to people that some believers do not want to associate with.  However, the biggest issue for me on the night of July 8, 1974, was releasing all my personal desires to Christ in order to follow His desire for my life.

It’s not been easy – but the adventure has been great – the blessings have been better – and it was a wise choice.   I’m also amazed that God would choose someone like me – a very ordinary person with a pretty nasty background – and yet He did and I’m so thankful He’s given me a chance to serve Him for the rest of my life.

About bjrutledge

BJ & Janet were married in July 1977 They have three grown children who are all married: Jeremy & Whitney Rutledge, Chris & Julie Hurst, and Josh and Hannah Rutledge. They also have four grandsons, and a granddaughter. BJ says perhaps our greatest legacy is even though our kids are PK's, they love Jesus and are all involved in ministry in the local church. BJ has served at churches in Dallas - Bossier City, LA - Houston - and was at Fellowship of the Woodlands (Woodlands Church) in The Woodlands before coming to Grace Fellowship. BJ is the Lead Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, TX.
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2 Responses to July 8 1974

  1. Mary Ann Malone says:

    BJ,

    There are so many former youth that I know are very thankful you followed God’s plan for your life. You are remarkable in the way you relate to them and their needs. Carla was so disappointed that you were not there when she got there.

    I thank God for having had the previlage of knowing you at FBC, BC.

  2. Ron Hunter says:

    I am sure glad that you followed. You are a true Blessing to me and my family in so many ways.

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