“In Christ” Testimony of Dan Barry, Dallas Texas
Fay, my wife, and I became Christians in 1980 at a point of crisis in our marriage of 5 years. As is common with new Christians, we were very enthusiastic after being saved. I had a strong desire to do all I could for Jesus. We spoke with much excitement to our parents about our salvation. I recall my mother telling me “not to be too zealous.” Wow, she had just thrown water on my fire!
At that same time we were seeking a church home. One Saturday, after visiting a local church, the pastor dropped by and asked us if we knew about living by grace. He began to explain how, as Christians, we were now in union with Christ. He said we no longer had to be subject to sin, such as anger. He told us Christ could give us direction in all areas of our lives and enable us to meet all trials. In fact, he began to answer all the questions raised in our Bible study that very week. Fay and I were astounded! God had sent the answers we were seeking right to our doorstep in the form of David Kuykendall, the pastor of the church we visited the Sunday before. We couldn’t wait to join the church!
Many of the young couples we became friends with had husbands attending seminary. They all planned to be preachers or missionaries and time spent with them only refueled my fire. Again I wanted to do all I could for the Lord. I began to feel convicted about surrendering to full time ministry. I prayed about it and when I shared my conviction with Fay, she calmly said that God hadn’t told her. Bam, another cold pail of water.
I had been a Christian for only a few months and already two people close to me seemed to be holding me back. What was wrong? I had the best of intentions. I was dedicated! Surely God wanted me to get out there and start working for Him.
Over the succeeding years, I learned that God wants availability not dedication. God desires that we be completely available to Him at all times. Only then can He guide and empower us to do His will.
An over-simplified explanation of sin is–we think we know better than God. My problem as a new Christian was that I still thought I knew better than God. I wasn’t being rebellious but I was trying to do it all myself instead of waiting on God to show me what to do. Even Jesus limited himself to doing only what the Father showed him (John 5:19). Although dedicated, I really wasn’t available and had no idea what God wanted me to do even though He had already made plans for me (Eph. 2:10).
I learned to relax and wait on God to lead me. I studied His Word (not enough) to help prepare myself. And God has blessed me by bringing my two daughters and my father (after over twenty years of sharing with him and only one year before his death) to salvation. God has also blessed me by allowing me to conduct several Bible studies, work in a Christian organization for the past eleven years, and teach at a Christian university for the past two years.
I never became a pastor or missionary, but God still uses me in full-time ministry. You see, at first I didn’t realize that all Christians are called into full time ministry as He leads and guides our lives daily. Christ shouldn’t just fill the “religious part” of our life; Christ should be our life (Phil. 1:21).
Dan Barry is Department Head of Information Services of the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and Adjunct Professor in the College of Business, Dallas Baptist University.
This testimony is featured in the In Christ newsletter (vol 5, #1) published quarterly by David Kuykendall Ministries, 318 North Brighton, Dallas, Texas 75208 214-943-4473. www.living-by-grace.org : “In the past several months our ministry has been contacted by several people from across the nation who are living out the life of grace. We have heard from some who have been experiencing their union with Christ for many years. Others have lived out the exchanged life for only months. Still others are desiring materials for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the message. Whatever the background, our mail is indicating a deep hunger and thirst for righteousness. And Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. And righteousness, of course, is what the New Testament promises for those who live out the life of grace.”