Mike Overd of Xpand Christianity:
It was at the age of 41 that by the grace of God alone I became a believer in His Son, Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.
As an unbeliever in God I never could get my head around the Theory of Evolution that said there was once a big bang and something came from nothing. I’d worked with explosives for several years whilst in the army and never saw order come from blowing things up. Only chaos ensued. The world was to perfect for it to all have happened by chance. To also be told we came from apes was an insult to me. I knew there must be a god of sorts but it was a god I’d made up in my own mind. When I died and came before my god I was going to tell him what a good person I was and he was going to let me into his heaven. I was a drunkard, a liar, a fornicator and a blasphemer and they were just a few of God’s commands I had broken. I am an ex paratrooper and I could be a very violent man at times. I had a terrible problem with road rage. Worst of all though I did not believe or follow the One who died for my sin on the cross, Jesus Christ.
I used to keep in touch with a childhood friend of mine called Rachel Westlake. I used to visit her from time to time. In Dec 2004 I visited her and after asked her if she’d like to go out for a drink. Rachel is a believer and she knew that this was difficult for her to do as to be shackled to an unbeliever breaks the Word of God. When I visited though she felt the LORD say to her “he’s ready” but she did not understand what He meant. I was ready. I was a broken man brought low by the LORD with a crippling back condition which I have to this day. I’d had two nervous breakdowns to that point and I was in a bad way. I needed to be broken though and it took six years to get to this point. God is love and when you belong to Him He never gives up on you. That evening went well and we continued to see each other. Rachel gave me some ground rules which I found quite amusing but was willing to go along with. I’d never had a woman give me such rules in a relationship before.
Rachel was very involved with her local church working with the youth, singing and various other things. She didn’t used to speak about it much and eventually I got a bit frustrated with it all and invited myself to her church. Watch out though to anybody who was going to talk to me about God! How ridiculous was that? I was going to be in a church for goodness sake. That’s sin for you. I thought the church was ok. They were kind and I got a nice cup of tea and cake as well. I was lonely and it seemed an ok place to be. I never got convicted of sin whilst there though. I wouldn’t sing the songs because I didn’t believe in the One they were singing about. God was already working in me though. I had a very dysfunctional relationship with my family. It was a love hate type. I was softening to them all and beginning to love them as I should. Jesus was changing me. He absolutely loves family.
Three months later I was saved. One day on leaving church I picked up a booklet called Just Grace. It was good and it explained the Gospel quite clearly but it didn’t actually go into what sin was and what a sinner I was. God would set me straight on that later. By the time I got to the end of the booklet I was on my knees with tears streaming down my face, declaring to God that I would follow Him and His Son. I believed that Christ died for me and that He had risen from the grave. I believed He was coming again. I was serious with God but I needed Him to prove Himself to me by helping me with my road rage. I used to be a lorry driver so my day to day life was horrendous on the road. That evening on becoming a believer I had a wonderful sense of peace come upon me and a real feeling of belonging. It was wonderful but then God is.
The next morning was a beautiful one. The sun was shining and the sky didn’t seem to have a cloud in it. I stood on the drivers side of my lorry with tears streaming again, asking God to prove Himself and help me with my terrible, destructive road rage. He did it and took it out of me. That was the best days driving I’d ever had and I’ve never suffered with this same sin again. The colours were so sharp that day and I drove with a smile constantly on my face. What a day that was! What a LORD He is.
Life has not been the same since. I shared with Rachel and others how I now believed and loved God. Rachel and I became married and I later was baptised in the same church. Since becoming a believer life has greatly changed. A different set of problems have come but God is by my side. He has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. To Jesus goes all the glory and credit. He is my Lord.
I now preach on the streets of Taunton sharing the Good News with sinners of how the Saviour died for them if they would but believe. Ten years ago if someone had come to me and told me that I was going to be a believer in Jesus and preaching His Gospel on the streets of my home town I would have thought they were crazy! God’s ways are not our ways. He is the Almighty. To God be the glory. Great things he has done. Gen 1:1, 1 Cor 15:3-9.