Simple Faith in
Growing up in the Pickl family was
joyful. We are a close-knit family with strong Roman Catholic beliefs and
roots. We did everything together, and continue to do so. Our parents
instilled in us a simple faith in Jesus: to emulate His ways, to be
helpful, and kind and loving--to "Do to others as you have them do to
you." (Luke 6:31)
Growing up in the Pickl family was joyful. We are a close-knit family with strong Roman Catholic beliefs and roots. We did everything together, and continue to do so. Our parents instilled in us a simple faith in Jesus: to emulate His ways, to be helpful, and kind and loving--to "Do to others as you have them do to you." (Luke 6:31)
I thank God for my parents, who both still love us and would do anything for us.
There were many times I brought pain to my parents, which I now regret: I was supposed to be an example to my brothers and sister, but fell short in many areas. I was a sinful boy, and later, a sinful man. My dad and mom wept and prayed many prayers for me, especially while attending college at the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth Minnesota.
"College Corrupts" goes the saying in the world: in my case, it was quite literally true. The first class on my first day was "Values Clarification" That class taught me to question every belief and moral I held dear, and wore me down to the point of having the attitude that "nothing matters" and that situational ethics and morals ruled, rather than the absolute truths I was taught in church and by my parents. I slid very far from the narrow path.
So I followed my heart, yielding to many wicked and evil ways. The details are not worthy to be published, but I was alcoholic, using drugs, promoted the antichrist and stole things for "fun." The Bible says:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
I needed a new heart. Only Jesus--the Creator--can do that!
Needed a New Heart...
There were many times when the "Jesus People" on campus reached out to me. They could see I was a lost soul and they tried to help. Jesus was reaching to me through them, and I thank God for every one of them who yielded to the Spirit of God, as they showed me His selfless love:
They were showing me what I had lost: Simple child-like faith in Jesus.
I was lost. And I knew it.
The Bible says: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. --Psalm 51:1-5
By the grace of God, in 1984 a professor took me to ONE Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and it scared me straight. Those people looked so ragged, talking about what alcohol did to them, how desperate they became: I was looking at my future. For two years, I refused to drink or do any drugs. God was still calling, reaching to and loving me.
In the summer of 1986 through Spring 1987, I was in the resume' writing business with two other men and while we worked very hard at it, it never succeeded. I was searching. Jesus was drawing me during this time. I became thousands of dollars in debt. No job. Penniless. My lifelong dream of being married and emulating my parents was almost dashed. I became depressed.
I finally came home and ended up living in my parents' house--again--at the same time my brother Terry was living there who was pretty much in the same situation. Terry started attending a local United Pentecostal Church, Elim Tabernacle, located in Greenfield, Wisconsin. One night in the spring of 1987, Terry led me to a place of repentance. I knelt down by the bed in a bedroom I slept in and prayed in many times as a child. Crying, I simply asked Jesus to forgive me. I turned from my wicked ways that night and turned to Jesus. A literal weight was lifted off my shoulders as I wept, thanking Him for loving me and reaching to me all of those years.
Shortly after that, Terry took me to Spirit-filled revival services at Elim Tabernacle. One Sunday night service in June 1987, we both received the gift of the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in other tongues, as the Spirit of God gives the utterance. (Read Acts, Chapter 2.)
Jesus gave me that new heart!
We started having a Bible study with a brother from the church, learning the ways of God. I relearned many things from my childhood, and learned many new things I was not taught. The Holy Ghost led me into all truth, including the need to be baptized.
"....Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:38-39)
On a Sunday night at the end of June 1987, Terry and I were baptized together at Elim Tabernacle by Pastor M.W. Rogers by full immersion in the glorious, magnificent --simple-- name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (See Acts 2:38, above). WOW! I have never felt so clean--on the inside!
My search was over--Jesus found me! He delivered me and saved me from my sins: I don't have to submit myself to alcohol, or drugs, or lying or stealing--Praise God! This scripture became true in my life: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John 3:5
In March 1988, I met my wife to be, Marsha. We were married April 22, 1989 and moved into our new home in September 1989. In September 1991 we started working in the Prison Ministry, teaching and witnessing together in many local facilities. Marsha and I are grandparents to 4 wonderful children--Kyle, Madeline, Samuel, Nolan and Matthew: Russ & Mischa have been busy! In November 1994 we became foster parents to the children of one of the ladies we met while working in the prison ministry, and adopted 2 daughters June 19, 1998. In 2001, we were led to unite our family with Russ & Mischa and their family at Abundant Life Apostolic Church, located in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The theme at our new church home is: "What we do, we do together!" To God be the glory!
God has consistently blessed us spiritually, and financially: my lifelong dream of having a family like I grew up in is true, every day: Thank You, Jesus.
Jesus is reaching to us, every day. He's reaching to you, right now. Don't wait--there's not much time left. He's returning soon. Repent of your sins--turn it all over to Jesus. Start going to church. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. He will lead you to be baptized in His Name and receive His gift of the Holy Spirit. As a child simply believes with simple faith:
Just do it.
It will be eternally worth it.
13, 1998 A.D.
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Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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