Testimony – Rob Hines
This is my testimony. There is one God. The Bible is God Breathed, every word of it is true and it is God’s message to us about Himself. He has revealed Himself to mankind through the Scriptures in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God created the cosmos, nothing has been or ever will be created outside of Him. God created man, in His image, and man once communed with God freely. Man broke that communion by disobeying God, and since then, every human ever born was born out of communion with God.
There is nothing that we can do to restore that communion; our sin completely prevents us from entering God’s presence. However, because God loved us and determined prior to creation that He loved me, He set in place a plan in order to redeem me. This plan required that God send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to live as a man, to suffer death on the cross. Not only did Christ live as a man and die on the cross, but He conquered death, and rose again. Today He is in heaven, preparing a place for those who follow Him. This plan culminated in God calling me to Him. Upon hearing God’s call, I was given a clear understanding of who God is, and by contrast, who Robert Stephen Hines is. God is Holy. Robert Stephen Hines is not. I was distraught! To know God is to know yourself, and I did not want to know myself, but His Light did not allow me to hid who I was from myself any longer. I had no choice but to admit my sins to God, and beg Him to forgive me. I looked into the eyes of my Judge, fully expecting damnation, and lo and behold, I saw my Savior there. He reached out His hand and asked for nothing more than was already His. By His grace, I am saved, through faith in Him and absolutely nothing else; I give Him my sinful life. In exchange for so horrible and dirty a thing as that, He gives me salvation, He fills me with His Spirit, He created me anew, He restored me to communion with God, He gives me the ability to choose sin no more, He promises to stay with me forever, and He promises to bring me home to heaven when my work on earth is done, He promises that when I stand before the Judge on that day, He stands beside me, that my salvation is assured, and that I shall never taste the pain of hell. Furthermore, He promises me rewards above and beyond simply passing through the pearly gates. For my faithful work here on earth, I can be assured that I am storing up rewards in heaven, which will last through eternity. This is my testimony.
And this is my story. I was born on January 7th, 1971 to Bob and Janise Hines, faithful servants of Jesus Christ, my Lord. My parents committed me to God, and ensured that I was raised in a home that centered on Christ. I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church, with a strong emphasis on evangelism and missions. I was inundated with lessons from the bible and stories of God.
One day, as I sat swinging on the old rusty metal swingset behind our trailer, I watched the yellow jackets swarm over the pears that we had not harvested; they lay in various stage of rot on the ground as these dangerous insects feed off of them. I remember thinking that I had just lied to my mom. Now, this was not an unfamiliar thought, I had lied to my mom before. However, this time was unique, in that for some reason, that at the time I did not understand, I was "convicted" by that lie. Convicted means "To prove or find guilty of an offense or crime charged; to pronounce guilty, as by legal decision, or by one’s conscience."
As I sat considering that lie, my God convicted me of my sin, and not simply that one sin, but suddenly I realized the multitude of the sins I had committed, and each one of them convicted me further. I was scared, afraid of what would happen next, I now knew myself for the sinner that I was, and through all the training that I had received at home and at church on who God is, I knew I was in trouble. I knew that one day, I would have to stand before the Judge and answer for every single one of those sins, and I knew that any one of them was enough to condemn me to that area of hell reserved for the most wicked of men. I knew then that I was going straight to hell, just like Hitler and General Grant.
The weight of the conviction on my heart was unbearable. I couldn’t stand it, this knowledge was far to much for any man to bear and I was steadily searching for a way to get out from under it. As soon as I thought of escaping this reality, a thought came to mind, like a cool spring of water. I remembered my bible lessons, and all that I had been taught with regard to spiritual matters. Jesus Christ died for sinners! I was a sinner! Perhaps, just perhaps, I was one of the sinners He would save!
Spiritually, I hit my knees right there. I confessed my knowledge of my sins to God, and I begged Jesus Christ to come into my life and my heart and forgive me of those sins and be the Lord of my life, which He promptly did. The horrible weight that I was under suddenly dispersed. I was, at that moment, forgiven of all my sins, past, present, and future.
I then experienced the most phenomenal physical, mental, and spiritual sensation of being right with my God, a sensation that only those who believe and have given their lives to Christ can comprehend. The horrible weight of sin was removed from me, and for a split second, I had no burdens on my heart and I enjoyed the sensation of loving and being loved completely. But then the weight that was removed was replaced by a burden so demanding that I was immediately consumed by it.
As my mother recollects, I came running into the kitchen, white as a sheet. She immediately stopped cooking, and convinced that something terrible had just happened to me, asked what was wrong. I asked her, "How do I tell everyone in the world about Jesus Christ?" She calmly informed me that I couldn’t do that, only to see me do the improbable and turn a shade whiter than I had been before. I stammered out that I had to, there had to be a way. So mom sat down and very calmly explained to me that I could tell everyone that I met about Jesus, and that they could tell everyone they met about Jesus, and as this continued, soon the whole world would know the good news. I calmed down, began breathing properly again, and decided that if this was the way that it had to be done, then this was the way that I would do it. Seeing the color return to my face, mom then went back to her primary concern and asked my why I this was so important and why I was so interested in it. In a way that only a 4Â½ year old can manage, I nonchalantly informed her that I had just given my life to Jesus and I proceeded to head out the back door.
Well, as you can imagine, if your 4½ year old tells you that they have just become a Christian, you want a little more information. So I walked through my testimony with mom, and after praying the sinner’s prayer with her she was convinced that this was indeed what had happened. In a few hours, my father came in from work and mom shared the news with him. Dad also required some more information, so I discussed my testimony with him, and once I prayed the sinner’s prayer with him, he was satisfied that I had indeed gotten it right, I was taken to see Pastor Vance. Pastor Vance needed to ensure that I was indeed a convert prior to baptizing me, so I went through the whole thing with him as well, to include praying the sinners prayer again. Not to mention every adult that my proud parents introduced me to as a newly converted Christian looked at me like I had just grown an ear in the middle of my forehead and immediately began cross examining me with regards to why I might claim any such thing at the age of 4Â½. Now, in retrospect, I can appreciate their reactions. However, at the time, I was very confused. I realized that all the adults thought I was out of my mind and none of them appeared to believe that I was a Christian, so I started doubting if I was indeed a Christian. I must have prayed the sinner’s prayer a million, bazillion, gazillion times. Well, at least a lot, and for a long time. At some point I got over it and realized that no matter how other people reacted, I was saved. Some five or so months later I was baptized, on February 1st, 1976 at Calvary Baptist Church in Starkville Mississippi.
I continued growing up in the church, and particularly as a child, I grew very close to my Lord. I studied my bible stories, I memorized my verses, and I told everyone I had the opportunity to about Jesus. Around the age of 12 or so, I discovered that girls were desirable. For many reasons other than simply chasing around the playground, and at this time, I can say with confidence that Satan found what could prove to be his greatest stronghold in my life; if not the greatest it runs a close second to lying. I began to understand what it meant to lust.
Now, for the most part, I continued my teenage years as a strong Christian young man. I was well known in the church for my faithfulness and evangelism. I was active in every aspect that the church would allow me to be, and I sought after biblical knowledge like a desert nomad seeks water. I went on multiple mission trips to Central America, Belize, and I continued to find opportunities to share the gospel. I was not quite as wholesome as I appeared and I had non-Christian friends at school that I spent time with; and I found more opportunities to hang out with them as I got older. So to my mind, I was mostly a Christian. I just didn’t act like a Christian around my non-christian friends, and I acted like a Christian around my Christian friends and acquaintances. If that sounds hypocritical to you that is because it is. I was having some issues. It appeared to me, that I had served God quite faithfully, and my non-christian friends where having a lot more fun, enjoying life far more than I was, and basically had their cake and was eating it to. They didn’t exercise any self discipline, and if anything they wanted was within their grasp, they simply took it.
Now, I have never, at any given moment, not known what choice my Lord would have me make at that moment. I have always known what God’s will for me has been at every moment of choice since I can remember. When I decided to do something other than what God would have me do, I was very conscious of the fact that I was wrong in doing it. But as Paul said, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out." I was desiring a bit more fun and excitement than it seemed my Lord was providing in my life, so I decided to partake of some of the fun and excitement my contemporaries were enjoying.
I have been called as an evangelist since the first moments I became a Christian. I had every intention of graduating high school, going to a bible college somewhere, and eventually going to seminary and learning everything that they have to offer there. However, upon graduating high school, we had an ice cream social at the church in honor of the graduating seniors, and I was approached by four youths in the church. They ranged in age from 14-16, and Jake, the spokesman, told me that they wanted to let me know what a wonderful role model that I had been to them. He let me know that they all aspired to live a life like me, committed to Christ, and that they appreciated me for providing such a clear example of Christianity in youth. I was mortified. I began to attempt to tell them that they did not want to grow up like me, that I was no kind of role model, and that I could give them a book full of role models, just don’t look at me like that. They weren’t quite sure what I was going on about, but they assured me that I was great role model regardless of what I said and then went off to get some ice cream.
I was devastated, I knew what kind of person I was, I was well aware of my failures, and if they knew, there was no way they would regard me as a role model. I went home and hit my knees and began praying, "Lord, please, give me something else to do. Ministry is not for me. I realize now that if I go into any kind of ministry there will always be people who are going to place my life on a pedestal and point to me as a role model. I can’t live a life worthy of that, I don’t want that responsibility for the people who might follow me, you have to give me something else to do." Well, God, being the great negotiator that He is, said, "Nope. This is what I’m calling you to do. Do it." So I prayed again, and got the same answer. After praying the same prayer and getting the same answer for some time. I decided to tell God that He was mistaken. I wasn’t going to do it. As a matter of fact, I would run as far in the opposite direction as possible, and when I had finally gone so far that He was ready to give in and let me do something else, I’d come back to Him and do the something else that came up with for me.
So I joined the US Navy instead of pursuing college and seminary. To borrow some imagery from Charles Spurgeon and make it my own, I shipped the anchor of my faith; I cut the cable of my belief; I no longer moored myself hard by the coasts of Revelation; I allowed my vessel to drift before the wind; I said to my flesh, "You be my captain;" I said to my reason, "You be my rudder;" and I started out on my own mad voyage. I sailed out over the tempestuous sea of Infidelity. I went on, and as I went, the sky began to darken; but to make up for the lack of light from the sky, the waters were brilliant with coruscations of brilliancy. I saw sparks flying upward that pleased me, and I thought, "If this is what it is to live in the flesh, what a happy thing!" My desires seemed like gems, and I scattered stars with both my hands, master of my own fate; but soon enough, instead of seeing coruscations of glory, I saw grim fiends, fierce and horrible, start up from the waters, and as I dashed on, they gnashed their teeth and grinned at me. They seized the prow of my ship and dragged me on, while I, in part, gloried at the rapidity of my motion, but shuddered at the terrific rate that I passed the old landmarks of my faith.
Thou shall not covet, thou shall not bear false witness, thou shall not steal, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not murder, honor your father and mother, keep the Sabbath, do not use the Lords name in vain, do not worship idols, have no other gods, love your neighbor as yourself, love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. I passed them all.
As I hurried forward with an awful speed, exulting in my rebellion, full of pride and arrogance, I finally reached a place that was so far removed from anything I had previously known that my very soul shuddered to see how far I had come. In the far distance, I could somehow clearly see the light, calling me back to the Rock of my Salvation. I was afraid again; I dared go no further than that. I began circling around, attempting to find some way out, only to be inexorably drawn towards the light. I fought hard to resist it, I told myself that I was resisting it; but my God would not release me and drew me back to Himself. For three years I sped away from Him, an unimaginable distance He allowed me to go, and for 10 years He slowly pulled me back to Himself as I feebly struggled. On January 9th 2003, a spiritually broken and pitiful example of a man, I once again laid eyes on the landmarks of my faith. Spiritually, I hit the deck with my knees right there. I confessed the enormity of my sins to God, and I begged Jesus Christ to forgive me and welcome me back home, which He promptly did.
I arose, Christ took my helm and faith became my rudder once again. From that moment I have never looked back to the dark waters I left behind. Christ steered me back to himself. I cast my anchor on Calvary; I lift my eye to God; and here I am. "alive, and out of hell." I speak what I know! I have sailed that perilous voyage; I have come safe to land. Ask me again to be an infidel? No! I tried that. It was sweet at first, but oh so bitter at the end. Now, lashed to Gods gospel more firmly than ever, standing on the Rock of Ages, I defy even the minions of hell to move me, for "I know in Whom I believe, and I am persuaded, that He is able, to keep that which I have committed to Him".
This is my testimony. There is one God. The Bible is God breathed, every word of it is true and it is God’s message to us about Himself. He has revealed Himself to mankind through the Scriptures in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God created the cosmos, nothing has been or ever will be created outside of Him. God created man, in His image, and man once communed with God freely. Man broke that communion by disobeying God, and since then, every human ever born was born out of communion with God.
There is nothing that we can do to restore that communion, our sin completely prevents us from entering God’s presence. However, because God loved us and determined prior to creation that He loved us, He set in place a plan in order to redeem us. This plan required that God send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to live as a man, to suffer death on the cross. Not only did Christ live as a man and die on the cross, but He conquered death, and rose again. Today He is in heaven, preparing a place for those who follow Him. This plan involves God calling us to Him. Upon hearing God’s call, I was given a clear understanding of who God is, and by contrast, who Robert Stephen Hines is. God is Holy. Robert Stephen Hines is not. To know God is to know yourself, and I did not want to know myself, but His Light did not allow me to hid who I was from myself any longer. I had no choice but to admit my sins to God, and beg Him to forgive me. I looked into the eyes of my Judge, fully expecting damnation, and lo and behold, I saw my Savior there. He reached out His hand and asked for nothing more than was already His. By His grace, I am saved, through faith in Him and absolutely nothing else; I give Him my sinful life. In exchange for so horrible and dirty a thing as that, He has granted me salvation, He fills me with His Spirit, He created me anew, He restored me to communion with God, He gives me the ability to choose sin no more, He promises to stay with me forever, and He promises to bring me home to heaven when my work on earth is done, He promises that when I stand before the Judge on that day, He stands beside me, that my salvation is assured, and that I shall never taste the pain of hell. Furthermore, He promises me rewards above and beyond simply passing through the pearly gates. For my faithful work here on earth, I can be assured that I am storing up rewards in heaven, which will last through eternity. This is my testimony.
October 04, 2017
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September 26, 2017