DallasTurner The crisis point of making a decision to trust Christ alone for my salvation came around 1970. My wife had returned from a bible study and was telling me what they were discussing about the assurance of salvation. I asked her if she was saying that you could know for sure you were going to heaven. Her affirmative answer led us to discuss further the hope we have in Christ. An immediate peace came over me. I had trusted in my baptism from twenty years prior and good works to gain God’s approval but had not felt any peace or assurance until that moment. There was no great emotional response nor did I pray a sinner’s prayer, I simply believed I was free from eternal punishment through Christ’s sacrifice. Later, I prayed for forgiveness and acknowledged Christ as my Savior. Confirmation of salvation came in the peace I found, the understanding of scripture, and the desire to witness the truth of the gospel to others.

After years of being discipled, learning doctrine, studying Greek, leading studies, and personal witnessing, I felt the call of the Lord to ministry. My commitment was open to whatever the Lord desired. He gave us a stirring at a Pastor’s Conference in 1984 led by Dr. John MacArthur and the staff from Grace Community Church. Dr. MacArthur gave me a personal encouragement, which I took as direction from the Lord to move ahead in preparation for ministry. In less than one year, we had made all the arrangements to leave our home and begin education at Dallas Theological Seminary. The courses began in January of 1985.

While at Dallas Theological Seminary, I renewed my commitment to follow the Lord’s leading wherever He desired me to be. The call to pastoral ministry became evident and, in the meantime, I was given opportunities to participate in mission work through First Baptist Church, Euless, pastored by Dr. Jimmy Draper. The theological experience coupled with the exposure to mission work gave me a flexible and balanced education.

It was my privilege to pastor a church in Kerrville, Texas, and continue to take short-term mission trips, which gave me the best of both worlds. I remind myself often of the words of challenge given by Art Yohner in our first Missions Conference at Kerrville Bible Church:

“Lord, anything…anytime…anywhere…and at any cost!”