R. Scott Burkley

I have always been religious, at least so I’ve been told. I did not have a choice in the matter. From the time I was two, my Grandmother, who was the adult Sunday school teacher, stopped by the house to walk me to the little church a block and a half away. Whether I was ready or not, she would patiently wait at the bottom of the stairs until I went with her. If I made her late for Sunday School my parents were not happy.

That went on until I graduated from high school and received my pin for 16 years of perfect Sunday school attendance. Rancocas, New Jersey was a very safe and sheltered place to live. Even folks who were not members of the church, or the Friends Meeting in town, had respect for the church and honored the Christian faith. From my perspective, this was the way life was.

That all changed when I went to the University of Maryland. Within minutes after my parents dropped me off, someone came into my room offering to sell me marijuana. A few weeks later, I arrived at my dorm room after an all-night session at the Maryland Observatory to find my roommate’s scantily clad girlfriend in my bed. It was a shock that not everyone lived in the Christian culture in which I grew up.

What complicated life was how I felt about myself. I didn’t like me. I wasn’t athletic, only earned average grades, and felt socially awkward. Worse yet, my sensitive spirit was mostly directed inwardly, and I bruised easily. Forget about God’s standards, I wasn’t even living up to my own standards.

There was no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit intervened so that I could attend the retreat. From that point on, my doubts about God evaporated.

This realization began a period lasting about 18 months of questioning my faith. I needed to decide what I really believed, not just because someone told me what to believe, or because it was a part of my cultural beliefs. I became active in the university chapel, but in the early 1970s, the emphasis was more about protesting the war in Vietnam or the conditions in Biafra, but not much about God. My chapel experience ended at the conclusion of my freshman year, when the university chaplain resigned because he decided he didn’t believe in God anymore.

Another Christian group shared the chapel when we had our chapel meetings; so I visited them one evening. It was a leader’s meeting, but they allowed me to sit in. After the meeting was over, two of the members sat with me awhile and listened to my story. Then they shared their own faith stories. They spoke about how God created me, loved me, and even though he knew all about me, God wanted me as one of his children. God loved me so much that Jesus willingly took my sins, weaknesses, and infirmities upon himself, and suffered the consequences of my disobedience on the cross. I began to see that being a Christian was not about living in a Christian culture, or following a cause, or even a set of rules. Instead, it was about having a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Not only that, but God created me to be unique, and I didn’t have to measure myself by the standards of others.

There was no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit intervened so that I could attend the retreat, and from that point on, my doubts about God evaporated.

On the way back to my dorm room, I willingly and joyfully accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord. I felt incredibly free and humbled at the same time. During the next few months, I allowed the sensitivity I had directed inwardly to open up to others. I began to accept myself as God had accepted me.

A watershed moment occurred when I attended a retreat at Massanetta Springs, Virginia, sponsored by a Christian group called the Navigators. My new Christian friends encouraged me to attend, but I didn’t have the $35 registration fee. My friends encouraged me to pray about it. Three days before the retreat I got a letter from my great-aunt Mary, who I hadn’t heard from in two years of college. In it was a simple note: “Thought you could use this,” with a check for $35. There was no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit intervened so that I could attend the retreat, and from that point on, my doubts about God evaporated.

My next step in faith was to ask the question, “What difference does God’s love for me make in my life?” Somehow a career in astronomy didn’t hold the excitement it once had. Many of my friends were going into Campus Ministry, but that didn’t seem where God was leading me either. I decided to enroll in seminary to explore possibilities. I joined my parents’ church, was accepted at Princeton Seminary, and enrolled as a candidate in West Jersey Presbytery.

As icing on the cake, I got a job at the Princeton Observatory as the principle data processor for the Copernicus Orbiting Observatory. My other job was serving as the student assistant pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Edison, New Jersey. It was through the pastor of that church that I fell in love with the pastoral ministry, and felt called to be a pastor.

So that’s my story. After eighteen years serving churches in Iowa and Ohio, I came back east in 1993. As I look back at some of those early experiences, I see how God used even the negative ones as preparation to be the pastor of a new start-up church in Middletown. This is where God wants me to be, and I have no doubt we are all working in the midst of the Holy Spirit. Life continues to offer real adventures in loving Jesus.

More Faith Stories

There are people who sometimes have a stomachache and think it's cancer, they think it is a terminal illness. Sometimes people think there is no solution, but it is only a stomach discomfort. It's something bad that you ate that upset your stomach. It is that people that are losing their faith. They get concerned about so many things. They wake up and see the car with a flat tire, and it is a bad day.

There are more important things we need to learn. We need to seek the Lord, because time is short, time goes by quickly. I've got three children: my first daughter is 25 years old. My son is 21 and my other daughter is 16. I mean, time goes by fast.

This means this is an opportunity for you to devote your heart to Jesus Christ, so that He can save you, so that He can be your guide, so that He can be your path, so that He can be everything in your life. Listen to this message, share it with your family. If you do not have a family do not think you are alone. God is with you wherever you are. God will be with you come what may.

Now, what happened with COVID two years ago was unbelievable. God put us to the test. Many people died, and that's something that's coming ahead. There will be more illnesses, there will be more regulations. But if we keep our faith in God, if we continue to trust in God, He will give us the peace we need, the peace the world needs.

Sometimes in the community, there are a lot of people who are watching their backs. For their own protection they hire bodyguards that watch over them night and day because they feel insecure. But we have God to protect us. Day after day, God protects us. God takes care of us. God gives us strength.

I strongly encourage you, I dare you to seek the Lord. This Why I Love Jesus ministry goes across the globe spreading the word of God, telling the world Jesus Christ is real, He is not dead.

There have been many stories in this world which were looking forward to changing history, but we have this story of faith that we believe, come what may, the Lord will be with us.

So if you have relatives, share this experience with them: brothers, sisters, parents. If your family has never been in contact with Jesus, now is the time for you to tell them to embrace Him, to embrace God. Tell them about the story in the Bible that says there is a man in hell, being burned there, and he would like to have a chance of getting out of there. But unfortunately, he has already lost the opportunity. In other words, there is no way he could leave hell.

And you who are there watching this testimony, this word of the Lord, this is the opportunity that you get. Maybe we don't wake up tomorrow; we don't know what will happen tomorrow.

This is the moment for you to say, "Lord, forgive me. I have failed a lot; I've failed in several things, but I want You to be my Savior, I want You to be my shield, I want You to be my strength, I want You to be everything in my life."

Make your decision. Sometimes in day-to-day life, we make decisions, many of them, but this is the most important decision you should make in your life. That is to devote your life to Jesus Christ, commend your life to Jesus Christ, so that He can be everything in your life. May He be your peace, your strength.

At times, people have enough money in the bank and think with that they will change the world, think that will be their protection. But money is only an ordinary piece of paper. In the end, the paper will run out, the money will run out, but treasures we did will remain when we're in heaven.

So let's make this an invitation. Let's hope this message will reach someone in need of it. So you who are out there, this message is meant for you.

My stepfather was an alcoholic, and we had a difficult life. But God changed us. When I began going to this church in 2000, God changed me. God changes you, and God wants to do great things with your life.

So, I mean, maybe you are also having a hard time with an alcoholic father, an alcoholic mother. Let me tell you, I had bad thoughts in my head about finishing him, killing him, destroying him, so that it all would end. But when I got to the feet of Jesus, when I started going to church, God made changes in me. God makes changes in you. God changes your mind.

When God entered into my life, and I looked at my stepfather again, I saw him in a different way. I held a grudge inside my heart, but nevertheless, God was working on me. God worked on me and gave me peace. I was smart enough not to commit a crime. God showed me the way I should live.

In addition to being at peace with God, He gives you intelligence. God gives you wisdom to be on the side of right every day in our lives.

So, this is an invitation, whether you're a woman, or man, or youth. Young people sometimes make decisions which scar their lives forever. To put it another way, if you are young, make your decision to accept Jesus: don't wait until tomorrow and say, "No, I'd better wait before accepting Jesus Christ, before accepting God in my heart. I've still got a long way to go. I want to live my life, and I want to do things. When I'm older, I'll see whether I change." But we don't know what happens tomorrow, so you should make up your mind today.

I've had some friends who made their decisions too late. I had a friend who said he was going to drink his life away. He was going to drink, that's what he was going to do. He was going to do drugs, to live a totally careless life. He thought he was being cleverer than God. But he wasn't, nobody is smarter than God. At the end of his life he was going to seek God's forgiveness.

Had God been given the opportunity, He would have forgiven him, He would have indeed. But my friend didn't take the trouble to get to that point. He was doing his drugs, drinking and whatnot. Then he grabbed a gun and shot himself in the head.

I mean, we don't know what was the last moment in his life, whether he asked forgiveness or not. We only had the word he killed himself by putting a bullet in his head. Odds are he didn't have the opportunity of begging God's forgiveness, and he lost his life. Or better expressed, do not let the enemy fool you. The enemy hampers your life.

That means to move on and accept Jesus Christ. He is going to give the answers. He is going to give you the peace you need. That's my testimony, and I know this is on behalf of God, so people would turn to Him.

People get lost, people haven't wanted to recognize their faults. God has a plan for your life. That means if He gave you this plan, accept it, accept it. We have free will, people make their own decisions. God has already chosen some individuals. God has predestined people. Whether you are predestined or exercising your free will, make your decision and follow Jesus Christ.

Your life will change, He is going to transform it, and He is going to help you in every way, be it economic, social, psychological, whatever you need, God is going to help you.

Thank you for your time, thank you for this opportunity that God gave me to share my faith. I come from Houston, Texas, but I've been working here in Delaware, and this is an opportunity God has granted me to share good news and continue to spread good news. We're the ambassadors of the word of God. So thank you for this opportunity, and let's move forward with this testimony which is for the benefit of society.

Barb Lambert

Barb Lambert

I wasn’t raised in a church; so I knew nothing about Jesus or God. I did go to Vacation Bible School in the summers and heard and loved the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”