May 3, 2010
“I was a young man, in my teens, when the seeds of the Lord were planted in my life through Mother, Garnett Bingham Stephenson and Father, Alton Stephenson. My parents first took me to Latonia Baptist Church and then eventually, we became members of a little one room Kenton Baptist Church where I use to sing to the Lord. I loved church because the people were so real and sincere and because most of the women were the best cooks in the country! Here is where the first seeds of the Lord were planted. A few years later, three deacons who were our church bus drivers, took the church youth, on our rickety old bus, on its last legs and drove us to Louisville, Kentucky long before we had I -71. This trip would change my life forever spiritually. All us “church” kids were scared to death at times during the trip. The drivers were Vernon Lykens, Walter Roden, John Grizzle and Mr. Covey. Our pastors were Brother Kruger and Brother Foley. There we were, finally, enveloped by the brand new stadium.
What a thrilling experience and then finally the service began. The massive choir, the likes of one I had never seen before, was led by Cliff Barrows, who I would meet later in life with my wife June Geiman Stephenson when Dr. Graham returned to Cincinnati for one of his last crusades. There at this huge stadium facility, I watched in awe while a tall lanky man named George Beverly Shea sang “I’d Rather Have Jesus” and “How Great Thou Art”. Finally, another tall handsome man stepped to the podium and preached a sermon which touched my heart and I was led to give my life to Christ. Billy Graham was his name, but his message was from Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It was there, that very night that I gave my life to the Lord and I appreciate that opportunity more than words can express. That experience and the Bible have been my beacons of light throughout life.
I have learned that life can take us down many difficult trails, laced with many trials. If we are to endure and do His work, then we need to follow His road map and compass, the Bible. I am thankful that God has protected me for all these years and has placed the right people into my life along the way, to make me a better person. I am still learning and will continue to grow in my faith. I thank Him for my Christian wife, a true prophet of God’s. As the years pass by, I see more clearly that her messages from the Lord bear fruit when least expected. She is most obedient to the Lord and His teachings. I am glad that the greatest gift that God has given us is the gift of love, for we truly love each other and Him.
I pray that the people of the world have the same reaction to the teaching of His word as I did years ago. He does knock on all of our doors but we must let Him in. There is a wonderful old print of Christ knocking on an old wooden door. The interesting feature of this picture is that the exterior side of the door has no doorknob. Christ cannot come into one’s life and heart “unless” the person on the other side of the door invites Him in. Sometimes it is just too simple for people to understand in this busy complicated world. We somehow find it hard to believe because of its simplicity. That is the secret. Jesus taught the Gospel of Christ. He is the “only” door to a restored and permanent relationship with God. While the world around us is continually changing, God’s word does not change and His message is the same. He is the salt of the earth. I pray that you will answer His call and let Him come into your heart and change your life. When He does you too will become a seed planter through Christ and be salt and light to the world like Billy Graham was doing with President Barack Obama. June and I are here if you feel the need to discuss this call or if we can pray for you or your family.