Lebanese by birth… Australian by allegiance… & Heaven bound.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
IN 1969, as a teenage boy I was working in my summer school break in one of Lebanon’s mountain holiday resorts. Two days before my fourteenth birthday – on the 20th of July, I watched with amazement the live broadcast on black and white TV, and witnessed with astonishment along with 500 million other viewers worldwide, History in the making – MAN WALKING ON THE MOON.
The countdown began, just few days earlier, on July 16, when ignition was established on pad 13 of the Kennedy space centre, lifting off Apollo 11 with 3 astronauts on board of 1 of the most advanced flying machines at the time. The carefully built and finely tuned spacecraft travelled 391,888 Kilometres (244,930 miles) into the unchartered space of God’s great and marvellous creation.
The nature of their mission and destiny was to realise their nation’s vision and dream, which was to reach the moon, and they did when the EAGLE landed. Neil Armstrong descended the Lunar Module, which ultimately touched down. As he stepped on the “lot less dustier than expected” surface of the moon, he described that momentous event with eleven unforgettable words:
“That’s One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind “
By comparison the simple choice that you make and the single step that you take, to be In Christ, is even far greater in impact, influence and effect than that of Neil Armstrong’s. This is real because God – the King of eternity becomes your heavenly Father when you accept His only begotten Son – the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. And as his child, you have access to His throne of Grace, which takes you from Earth, past the Moon, to Eternity. Millions of people over the years have testified to that new and dynamic relationship with the true and the living God. Here is my story in brief.
I was born in Tripoli, Lebanon, into a loving Roman Catholic/Maronite family. The youngest of four boys, my week consisted basically of school, scooters, seeing movies and Sunday church (occasionally I rang the bells). Summer was a favourite time when for three months of the year our family went to our mountain home in Becharre, up north from the old city of Tripoli and down from the majestic Cedars of Lebanon.
In the late sixties, Australia was seen as the land of milk and honey and migration took off. So in 1970 my dad and I followed in the steps of my two older brothers who had left Lebanon few years earlier and prepared the way for us to live here. Our whole family eventually settled in Ashfield –an inner western suburb of Sydney. At the age of fifteen I was back in school learning English and sitting for the Year 10/School Certificate.
Growing up in my new adopted country , music was my comfort and the guitar was my companion. I began to play in Rock Bands, which led me to a life style of sin, self and sensuality. Usually we performed till late and then spent the rest of the night at some nightspot.
In 1976, I was seriously searching for purpose in life while sincerely seeking to find my path thru music and personal relationships. Trying to keep up with those whom I highly esteemed and looked up to as my heroes, I was turning every which way to follow closely in their footsteps. On the work front, I was carving a promising career in the sales industry and steadily working my way up the ladder of success. In short I was lost, lonely and looking.
Four months before my twenty-first birthday – on the 25th of March, a most unusual event took place that challenged my desire here on earth and changed my destiny hereafter in eternity. That blessed Thursday evening I was confronted with the eternal truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The choice before me, from the Holy Bible, was simple and clear:
In the sight of the Holiness of God, I stood eternally condemned and hopelessly lost.
In the light of His grace and mercy I could be redeemed, released and really set free.
That night I realised for the first time in my life, a truth, which I either had never heard in all of my religious instruction days or it had not registered in my heart before. This gospel truth was simply this: God, in HIS precious word, was graciously and mercifully extending HIS offer of salvation for my offence of sin.
In bookkeeping terms – my debt of sin, which is an overdue unpaid account, can be immediately settled upon repentance of my sin and faith in HIS Son. I also learned that the Saviour had already paid in full my debt of sin, a debt that I could not even service or take care of the interest repayment, when He died in my place on the cross of Calvary. In other words God was saying thru His saving word that all of my sin will be put into Christ’s account, and all His goodness will be placed into mine. WOW what an offer!
His eternal word assured my heart that, as I turn away and repent from sin and self and turn to and receive the Saviour in sincere faith, I will be saved. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”(Romans 10:13).
Because of my sinful lifestyle, which amongst other dark activities and destructive habits included living in a defacto marriage relationship at the time, I was easily convicted. That night, I trusted my soul to the Saviour’s grace and mercy as I totally rested in the love of Christ on Calvary. I received freely God’s gift of everlasting life, as I believed his promise of eternal salvation. In short, according to God’s precious word and because of what Jesus has done for me, I was accepted on the merits of Christ alone, and like millions before me, I too entered into a new and dynamic relationship with the true and Living God.
Hallelujah, Eternity was secured, and my heart rejoiced and gave thanks.
In Closing – The Lord Jesus Christ is still inviting people, just like you, today. He says: “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”(John 5:24)
The invitation is still open to all to receive His free and forever grace. Do not delay; call on God’s mercy today because the book one day will close and tomorrow may be too late. And you know what is really amazing is that once you are In Christ; His sustaining joy will continue to faithfully lead you in your spiritual journey until you reach your final destination in Heaven.
Here is a suggested prayer:
Dear God: I am sorry that I have sinned against you; I turn away from my sins.
Please forgive me, and be merciful to me a sinner.
Thankyou for saving me and giving me a new life.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen
life through me and to make me the person that You want me to be.
In Jesus Name, I pray,
Come Now Today, From Near And Far, Come To The Saviour, Just As You Are
He Died For You; On Calvary.
His Precious Blood Will Set You Free, And Saves You For Eternity.
Receive Freely, His Grace, Love and Mercy
Then Go In Peace, Grow In Grace, Your New Master, Give Him First Place
Love Him So, With All Your Might.
Walk By Faith And Not By Sight, Trust Him In Your Darkest Night,
And Be True In What You Think, Say Or Do.
Keep Looking Up, The Lord Of Lords, Is Coming Back With His Rewards.
Work Patiently, He Won’t Be Long,
But Until Then, In Him Be Strong, When You’re Feeling Down, Sing A New Song,
Give Thanks And Pray, Then Rejoice Every Day.
With the love of Christ
Pastor- Inner West Baptist Church