Back in the early 90’s I was at enmity with God. I worshipped self and the flesh. I could be found @ 34 yrs old in a bar at 3am on a Thursday drinking straight Vodka in a glass with no ice in it, with only one goal in mind, to find a woman to hook up with. I was a pot smoker. Used steroids. Cheated and stole of the opportunity arose. Lied routinely. Abused my eyes and flesh. Embraced my sin. Disregarded my responsibility as a parent. Essentially a son of the devil.
I went to a gym to train in my town. There I met a female, Margie O’Brien Hanner who I was initially interested in as only another conquest. She shared Christ with me on a number of occasions; I mocked Christ in that I told her I was a Buddhist and in my prior life I was a tree imbedded in a valley between two large mountains, surrounded by peace. I knew the Gospel as I was brought up in a Roman Catholic background. Many times I had heard the gospel in local churches that I would sporadically attend from time to time. Well, in the process of time, my membership ended at that gym and I transitioned to a another gym close by. Some time passed and I ran into her again at this gym. She invited me to church; initially I said yes, but at that particular moment, God began working on me and I confessed to her that I wouldn’t agree to go because my intentions were wrong. Weeks later, we ran into each other again and she again invited me; I again said no. We concluded our conversation and I turned to walk away. After about 5 steps, God turned me in my tracks and I called her name and replied, ‘You know what, I will meet you at church tonight.’ It is my belief that God regenerated me right there in that gym; Not converted me, but regenerated me so that I would be inclined to spiritual things and His Gospel of truth.
I went to the church. It was a *Calvary Chapel. I had to park down the street as there was absolutely no parking spaces anywhere to be had. When I went in, it was like a rock concert. The majority of people were my age. Happy people. Once the time of worship began, i started noticing that people began standing up and raising their hands to the heavens. I didn’t really know what that meant per se, but the spirit of God inclined me to believe it was appropriate. I saw people crying. Clasped hands praying. Seeking God. Beautiful music. The meeting ended and I left. Can’t really say I heard anything particularly that evening.
I again attended the following Saturday evening and heard the gospel message; repented of my sin and accepted Christ. When I walked out of that meeting, I must tell you, something had occurred in me that I cannot explain in words. I was overflowing with a joy that is indescribable. Physically, I was at a pitch. Pulse rate up, emotionally spilling over. Beaming. Radiant. I gathered afterwards with a bunch of people; I believe Margie was there, but can’t really recall. Someone asked me, ‘Are you ok?’ I answered, ‘You have no idea!’. I believe God converted me this night.
From this moment on, I was no longer the Scott Bushey I once knew. I became a mouthpiece for God. I pursued holiness. I searched the scriptures relentlessly. I recall praying to God one day, ‘Please Lord, show me the truth’.
6 months down the road, I had a conversation with my sister in law on the phone where she said to me, “I don’t know you anymore. You’re not the person I knew!’. It frightened me. After hanging up from the call, I thought about what she said and I had an anxiety attack. MY pulse raced. My palms were sweaty. The enemy had begun to wage war on me. I began walking around my apartment thinking, ‘You know what, she is right, I don’t even know myself anymore!’. I started using the ‘F’ word in my apartment speaking out loud; this was a main element in my personality before Christ and since I recalled that I was a cusser, I resorted to cussing, thinking that that would help me recall who I used to be. Shortly after, an hour or so, I regained my composure.
All I can say is that God took possession of what was His on that Saturday evening. I was well aware of His sovereignty, power, grace and purpose from that moment on. Sure, I couldn’t explain it all or use deep theological terms, but I knew it in my heart and spirit. 22 years later, I recall this great day. It remains as paramount and pivotal in the life of Scott Bushey. It is with great gratitude that I give thanks to my King and Lord on this day of Thanksgiving.
*We deeper thinkers have much to say in regard to liberal churches or churches that are unlike those we frequent. I acknowledge the differences between a reformed congregation and a Calvary Chapel. They are at two different ends of the spectrums. Consider that Rome is apostate. However, the elect come from every tribe, tongue and nation; hence, there are elect individuals in even the Roman church as well as JW’s and Mormons; Most will be lead out of these aberrant settings to biblical ones if they are truly elect. Rome reads the gospel in their gatherings. Surely God can use that reading to save His elect; same with the other groups mentioned.
My wife and I met at this particular CC. We attended for 5 years. We learned many profitable things while we were there which, even today, is a foundation for how we walk. The bible study that we do was emphasized in great measures and it has made me the man I am in God. They taught us that holiness and love are primary goals of Christ. We do not say this to advocate for the CC movement, but that we believe God was doing a work back then that cannot be denied as we are living proof of that work. Most of the people I was close with, I am still close with today; Jerry Negrotto,Margie O’Brien Hanner, Jim Young, Douglas Cumbow; they would agree that something occurred back then that is no longer happening like it did then. Whatever the case, it was a tender time in our walks and we give the result, credence and how God used it.
~A response by Margie:
“Margie O’Brien Hanner “I couldn’t explain it all or use deep theological terms but I knew in my heart and spirit, ” your quote Scott, but to continue with that quote my little details – I am not the person I think God would first call to evangelize, but I believe God chose me for this unusual circumstance, at least to me it was so unusual, out of character for me. I could not tell you why I was drawn to you. I remember Patricia saying to me that first time we met in the gym, ” why are you talking with him?” You know your tattoos, your tough look. I guess I liked that “bad boy” image. Lol. At the next gym, what I remember, I heard God clearly speak, not audible of course. Talk with him, tell him about me. No Lord no,he already said no. I was so nervous. I remember I spoke with you but not necessarily about Christ. Then when I was leaving the gym, my heart started racing, again God speaking, do not leave, go back and ask him to church. I did. That I remember, you saying no, but as I was walking away, you said you would. I was sweating! Lol. Yes all the glory to Christ who could do more than we would ever hope, dream or imagine! I am so proud to be a part of “your story.” I am so, so happy, so, so thankful that God chose to save me. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. We Must get together! I have 2 girls who would love to play with your 1.”