Special Forces — Cordova, TN

Jim Van GelderenSpecial Forces Updates

In the early 1970s a family came to my home church in Illinois. One of the young people in that family is now the pastor at Heritage Baptist Church in Cordova, TN. We have been with him several times and appreciate the opportunity to minister here.

We were grateful for the wonderful Gospel emphasis we were able to have. We recorded 23 young people who professed salvation and more who claimed to have settled assurance.

One young man was a student in the Christian school. I noticed he responded on Thursday night to the Gospel invitation. On Friday he gave this testimony,

“God showed me last night that I could die any night, last night, going on my way back home, or tonight on my way back home or going to school. Last night I chose to get saved because I know that last night might of been my last night here and I knew I was Hell-bound. . . I would like to thank Him for washing away my sins and showing me His ways.”

Xavier came first night and got saved. He went home and told his older brother he had gotten saved. He brought him the next night and his brother got saved, too. It kind of sounds like Andrew in the Bible!

On Wednesday after chapel a young lady in school responded to the invitation. She was circling a lot of things on her verses sheet, when Jessica asked her, “Do you know for sure you are on your way to heaven?” “No,” she answered. “Well, we have to get that settled first. You can’t have victory over sin until Jesus is in you.” She was able to lead her to the Lord and then guide her to Biblical principles of victory in Christ.

Several young people dealt with sin in their lives. One young man testified of getting assurance and then dealing with a sin issue.

“This week has done so much for me. I wasn’t really sure that I was saved for a little bit there, but that first day when they were talking about assurance, I knew that I was saved that day. So, that took a load off my back.
And recently I’ve been doing some pretty wrong sin. I have nothing to burn, except the site where I got that filth from…! I WISH I could throw that in the fire, but I can’t!…I can’t…. Also I learned how much confession can do for a person. I finally confessed my sins to my parents and now I am SO much more relieved! So much more happy now! I’m starting to turn back around, I hope. I hope I never come back to what I used to do before ever AGAIN…EVER! Never to hide anything from my parents ever again!”

Another young man testified of being convicted of selfishness and particularly self-dependence.

“The Lord this week just really impressed on my heart just about how selfish I am. You know, I value myself much higher than I value God. The core root of sin is a wrong view of God. If we really viewed God for Who He was, we wouldn’t sin. . . I haven’t been relying on Him for anything in my entire life. I’ve been trying to do it in my own strength. I’ve been trying to escape from my sin. I’ve been trying to escape all the things that I shouldn’t be doing. I’ve been trying to do right for Him all by myself. Mr. Van Gelderen preached about a girl who’d been trying to read her Bible in her own strength. I’ve been doing that, too. I haven’t been asking God, “God, what can You teach me?” I’ve been asking myself, “What can I teach myself?” And so the Lord’s just been working on me on that.”

Well, that is a great lesson to learn.

One young man admitted later to fighting God’s conviction all week long. In fact on Friday he stayed home from school. He was debating whether or not he should come on Friday night. He came and after the testimony service and preaching, he came to a friend and said, “I gotta go home and take care of some things.” He went home and got right with his mother. He also took the TV out of his bedroom because he had been watching things he knew he shouldn’t be watching. Afterwards, he called Wyatt, his team captain, and said he had taken care of things. He remarked that he was going to sleep well that night!

One young lady testified of dealing with bitterness.

“This week Dr. Jim Van Gelderen talked about bitterness and letting go and trusting God. And several times in my life I’ve been seriously hurt and it is changed the course of my life. And I look back on it tonight and I think, if those people hadn’t done what they did, I would not be standing here right now. I would not be going to Heritage. I would not have the great friends that I have here. And God just really impressed on my heart to let go of the bitterness that I’ve been holding on to in my heart. And right here I have a list of the people that have hurt me and have changed the course of my life and I don’t want that bitterness anymore.” At that point she threw the list into the fire.

Three young people came to church there the next Sunday! That was a blessing to hear.

About the Author
Jim Van Gelderen

Jim Van Gelderen

Dr. Jim Van Gelderen is president of Minutemen Ministries, vice-president of Baptist College of Ministry, and evangelist out of Falls Baptist Church. He and his wife, Rhonda, travel the country in evangelism. They have three daughters.