I was born into a Lutheran home in Grand Forks, ND, the son of a well-respected educator. To this day, I am thankful my parents instilled in me the knowledge of a Creator. I was taken to Sunday school, sent to Bible Camp, and I participated in Luther League meetings.
However, with the teens years came new temptations that challenged the reality of my faith. Personal struggles compelled me to do some serious soul-searching. I sincerely questioned the purpose and meaning of life. I found no satisfying answers, but one thing I did know for sure: I feared death; I feared the judgment of a holy God, and I feared the consequences of my sins in the next world. I tried to give myself hope by taking spiritual inventory: “I was christened as an infant. I was confirmed in the faith. I received holy communion. I recited the Lord’s Prayer. I desired to please God and my parents.”
Yes! All of these things were true, and yet “something” was seriously missing in the depths of my soul. All of my religious activity and zeal had failed to bring me true, lasting peace with God. I was void of any real assurance of salvation. I believed in a God “out there, somewhere,” but I did not KNOW God in my heart, neither did I sense His presence in the deepest recesses of my soul and spirit. There was no connection between me and God. I was religious on the outside, but hopelessly lost on the inside. In utter desperation, I began to call upon God to reveal Himself to me. I was at a serious breaking point. I despaired even of life and wanted to die, and at only 19 years of age.
After I finished my freshman year at the University of North Dakota, the Lord brought a truly saved man into my life, Mike Custer, who possessed the knowledge and wisdom of God. At my urgent request, he sat down with me one evening and showed me three important truths from the Bible: Why must Scott be born again? What does it mean to be born again? And HOW can Scott be born again? For the first time in my life, my blinded eyes were finally opened. I now UNDERSTOOD how to be saved, and all from the Word of God. Real salvation was no longer a hidden mystery to me, or some unattainable hope. The kingdom of heaven was at hand! God was drawing me to Himself, through the powerful influence of the Bible. The Spirit of God was convicting me of my sin. The Lord Jesus was inviting me to come to Him and be saved.
That evening, on June 22, 1982, with a broken and remorseful heart, I repented of ME, “Scott, the sinner!” I confessed to the Lord my sins, acknowledging my unworthiness of anything good. I willingly gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and by faith, received Him and His free gift of salvation, purchased with His blood on Calvary’s cross. I genuinely experienced a second birth- the “new birth,” spoken of by Christ in John 3, when He told Nicodemus about being “born again”- a spiritual birth from above that makes one a child of God. I called upon the name of the resurrected Lord and was instantaneously forgiven, born again, saved, redeemed, transformed and converted, and ALL by God’s love, mercy, and grace. That night, God gave me peace in my soul. For the first time in my life, I now knew in my heart that God was MY Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ was MY Saviour, and heaven was MY home! (And all of that is still true today. Salvation is eternal!)