I’ve never tried to be known as the good kid or some kind of holy roller. Believe me, I am not Saint Scott. I’ve had the speeding ticket. During my glory days at NC State, my guys and I planned a birthday/ back-to-school party for our roommate, Andrew “Bird” Robinson — a party aptly named Birdapalooza. It was eventually shut down for noise and a wee bit of a traffic jam it caused in the area. When the police arrived, they told us, “Look, boys, we have to give you a ticket, but this is impressive.”
My point in sharing the above is to tell you I’m a normal guy. If you’re looking for Mr. Perfect, well, it’s not me.
I do, however, know what my values are. These have come from my family and the church I’ve grown up attending. Those two things led me to finding the one Person I turn to for strength, guidance, and forgiveness.
I learned about Him at First Baptist in Garner.
All kids who grow up in a Christian church, of course, learn about Jesus. How He was born in a manger and why we celebrate Christmas. How Jesus healed the sick and gave to the poor. How Jesus died and rose again from the dead and that’s why we celebrate Easter. I was taught these things and sang about them, but these things became personal at a youth retreat when I was around twelve.
Some may feel the Bible is full of fairy tales or is only for superstitious people. Not me. In my church group, we said the letters of B-I-B-L-E stood for “Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.” I thought that was kinda cool.
To me, the Bible is a guidebook, not a rule book.
I also learned the Bible is a history book, as well as a book of prophecies fulfilled through Jesus. For example, the Old Testament book of Micah says a ruler will be born in Bethlehem. Isaiah says the Messiah will be from “the house of David.” Well, both Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ earthly parents, were descendants of King David. Isaiah 53 says the Messiah will be
despised and rejected by mankind… pierced for our transgressions
and “by his wounds we are healed.” To me that’s full-on talking about Jesus. Doesn’t get more real than that.
So at age twelve, while at this retreat, I knew I believed in Jesus, but I finally understood what it meant to be a sinner. Yeah, even good ole Scotty is a sinner. I realized Jesus Christ was born and lived on this earth to die for me. In the Old Testament, you read about people making animal sacrifices and giving offerings to God to atone for their sins. In the New Testament, we learn God sent Jesus, who would sacrifice Himself for our sins. Suddenly, Christmas and Easter — especially Easter — took on a whole new meaning.
I thought about Christ on the cross taking on my sins, and that’s when I turned my life over to Him.
I know there are all sorts of doubters who wonder where God is in our world. I’ve wondered the same thing at times. But God is in the same place He was when His Son died on the cross. Watching, waiting, hurting. I know people ask why God lets bad things happen. Why is God hard on us sometimes? I gotta believe it’s because God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. There are lessons in our struggles. Some lessons we figure out; some we might not figure out until we’re on the other side of Heaven.
When I got back from the retreat, I told my pastor what happened and how I wanted others to know about my decision to follow Jesus. The next Sunday, I walked forward and made my commitment public. That’s how we do it in a Southern Baptist church, anyway.
I didn’t realize walking down that church aisle was the first of many times I’d show my faith in front of others. I didn’t know all the things my decision meant at the time. All I knew was I was trusting God with my life and I was committed to following Him.
I think of the words of Jeremiah 29:11:
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
Hope. A future.
These words encouraged me from a very young age. And even years later, during Hollywood Week, I’m thinking of them again. I remind myself that God has plans, and they’re good ones.
Excerpted with permission from Go Big or Go Home by Scotty McCreery, copyright Scotty McCreery.
Bonus: Free Download
Curious about the stories behind the songs? Download this FREE PDF of track-by-track commentary by Scotty McCreery.
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What’s your story of salvation? Scotty’s happened when he was young. When did you take Jesus as your Savior? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts and comments on our blog!