Dennis J. Gentz - Dunkerton, IA

Dennis J. Gentz - Dunkerton, IA

How A Country Boy Came To Christ

I was raised in an Iowa farm family in which I had many privileges. Growing up on a farm in northeast Iowa and being the second of six children, there were many things to do and learn together. The benefits of things such as learning the value of work, being provided with more than basic needs, getting an education, and getting along with one another are just a few. However, the greatest privilege was that of being brought up under the consistent exposure to the truthful teaching of the Bible. Before I was born, my parents, grand parents and great grand parents were saved and Bible believing Christians. I attended Sunday school and gospel meetings from an early age and learned the truths of God’s Word. I soon understood that, even though I was nurtured in the Word of God, this put me no closer to heaven and I was still an ungodly sinner that needed to be saved. With this foundation, it was the sincere heart desire of my parents that I would be saved young in life and then live my life for the glory of God.

For many years I did not think very seriously about my sins or the reality that some day I would meet God. Occasionally there would be something that would happen that would speak to me about my need of being ready to meet God. At the funeral of my great grandmother I remember thinking, “If it were my body in the casket instead of hers, where would I be?” I was continually reminded of death through farm accidents, car crashes, illnesses and other tragedies. When I was 10 years old my older brother was saved. This caused me to think about my need of salvation although I could not understand how to be saved and nothing seemed to make sense. Later, as others I knew were getting saved, I became more interested but still put off being serious about this most important matter. My interest in sports and the desire to be accepted by classmates led me to join the seventh grade basketball team. My parents allowed my participation in basketball but I knew they really didn’t think it was a very good thing for me to do. About halfway through the season a special series of gospel meetings began in our area so I had to quit the team. This was not an easy thing to do, especially since the coach promised to put me on the starting lineup if I stayed on the team. I never did tell the coach the real reason for my quitting the team. The gospel meetings came and went and I was still in my sins and on the way to hell.

There were three things that bothered me most about the Bible and the fact that I was not saved. First, I knew that I was not ready to meet God and if I died in that condition I would be eternally lost in hell and the Lake of Fire. Death was a fear to me since I had no guarantee of another day and knew not what a day would bring forth. On the farm I had several near death experiences while driving tractors that brought this truth home to me in a very personal way. Secondly, I knew that the Lord could return at any moment for those who were saved and if that happened I would be left behind to face the awful wrath of a righteous and holy God whom I had willfully neglected for so many years. Several times when arriving home from school to an empty house I wondered if the Lord had come and I had missed God’s salvation forever. And thirdly, I pondered the possibility of losing the desire to be saved and living a life without another serious thought of meeting God. Then to die without knowing my sins forgiven and to be cast into outer darkness forever!

In June of 1967 the six-day war between Israel and its neighboring countries was going on. I understood that Israel had a very special place in the events of the days before the return of Jesus Christ and so I followed these events with great interest. For some reason I had convinced myself that immediately after this war was over the Lord would come back for all those who were truly born again Christians. We were finishing milking our cows at 7:00 P.M. on Saturday evening, June 10, when the headlines of the news came over the radio that was playing in our barn, “The war in the Mideast is over!” This news hit me like a ton of bricks. I was stunned, confused and afraid. With weak knees, trembling legs and troubled heart I went outside to the back of the barn where I looked into the sky and cried out to God to save me. I tried to believe, to trust or to do anything I could think of to be saved but nothing happened. Since I knew the gospel story so well I had thought I could get saved anytime I wanted to, but it didn’t work. After several minutes I went back into the barn, finished the milking and other chores, wondering when the Lord would come. What a feeling of hopelessness! After a while this concern seemed to go away and the urgency of the moment lost its grip.

In the fall of 1970 another series of gospel meetings was scheduled for our area. I went with little urgency for my need for salvation until one night mention was made by one of the preachers of the prophecies about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament that had been fulfilled to the very letter. This simple yet profound statement caught my attention and caused me to think seriously about the reality of God, His Word, and it’s inerrant truth. It made me realize that God was real and that I would meet Him someday either as my Saviour or Judge. This began my serious search for peace with God and for knowing that my sins were forgiven. I began reading my Bible and gospel tracts and listening more attentively to the word being preached. Finally on December 4 that search ended. After coming home from the gospel meeting I went to my room and continued to read Bible verses and tracts. I still could not understand and all seemed hopeless. This brought me to the conclusion that I was completely lost, without strength to save myself, and that I would have to go to hell since there was no hope for a sinner like me. At that moment a verse from the Bible came to my mind, one that I had heard dozens of times as a child. It was John 6:37, “Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” That moment in my heart I said to God, “Then I’ll come to Jesus right now.” What I understood for the first time in my life was that Jesus Christ had paid the debt of my sins in full and could thereby say to me, “Come to me. I will not turn you away.” This and many other scriptures from God’s word have given me assurance that the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ alone has satisfied God for the full payment of my sins. Therefore, by faith I go on my way rejoicing in the knowledge of my sins being completely and eternally forgiven.

Can you say along with this country boy that you are sure of heaven? Do you know without a doubt that you are ready to meet God and dwell with Him forever? Are you willing to place your trust alone in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ? God’s Word says, “When we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6, 8.” Trust Him now! He alone is worthy of your trust.