Lee Kohler's testimony
1: Before I became a believer in Jesus
I did not grow up in a church going family, in fact my parents did not even attend church at Easter and Christmas. I never attended Sunday School and could not understand why one of my primary school friends used to go. I thought, surely five days of school per week was enough and even worse, he was going to a religious class!
As a young adult I had a regular day time job but was trying to make it the music industry. The band I worked with had a down town practice studio where we kept our equipment and rehearsed. We were getting better and better gigs at night clubs and pubs, radio interviews were happening and we were recording. My life style included parties where there was lots if alcohol and drugs. My language was rough with a lot of swearing including using the Lord’s name in vain. I was an agnostic, that is somebody who does not believe in God because I had never experienced Him.
2: How I became a believer in Jesus
I remember playing the best night club in the city and although it was a great gig, big sound, lots of lights, fantastic performance as a band and an enthusiastic crowd, however, I came off stage feeling a bit empty. I thought to myself that I should be really excited, we were living the dream, but rather than that I felt like something was missing. Was there more to life than the bricks and mortar, technology and music of my world? Was there a spiritual dimension to life? I spoke some words into space late that night saying, “God, I don’t know if you are real or not, help me know if you are real, reveal yourself to me.”
The Lord started to answer that prayer. I happened to hear a radio broadcast late one night on a main stream radio station, the show was titled “Insight for Living.”
The speaker was Chuck Swindoll and what he said about life issues made a lot of sense. I commenced listening to him regularly. I recognized that he constantly quoted the Bible. I decided I would read it myself. I knew I was given one in year 7 high school but had never read it. But I had kept it. I explored a few boxes in my apartment and eventually found the little red Gideons Bible. Much of what I read I did not understand but every so often a series of words would jump off the page and seemed as if God was highlighting them to me. There were moments when I tried to talk to God and definitely felt some sort of supernatural presence.
The preacher Charles Swindoll talked about the importance of Christian fellowship and I knew none of my friends were Christians. I knelt down in my apartment with my head to the carpet (I thought that was how you are supposed to pray) and made a request. “God, the preacher Chuck Swindoll has taught about the importance of Christian fellowship. Could you help me meet a Christian?”
As I prayed I received a phone call, I picked up and it was about a position I had not applied for. I went to the interview, was employed by the company and there met a Christian guy. The Lord answered me immediately as I prayed. The guy’s name was Mark Williams and he had many conversations with me about Jesus and the Bible. He asked me many times to come along to a young adults Bible study he went to. I eventually got there. The Senior Pastor of the church lead this one and I found it very interesting.
The pastor met with me regularly to complete a discipleship course and it wasn’t long before I had accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour. That is the one who will lead and guide my life and the one who could wipe away all my short comings and sins because of Jesus supernatural work on the cross. God by his Holy Spirit became a relational reality in my life. I invited Jesus into my life and experienced dramatic change.
3: How my life changed after becoming a Christian.
I found myself thinking about Jesus and the Word of God (the Bible) regularly. I realised that I was enjoying time alone with God’s Spirit in the Bible and prayer more than I was playing the guitar and learning new licks. I was enjoying church services more than getting up on the stage playing a gig. I was enjoying Christian fellowship, that is hanging out with Christians more than I was the party scene. A metamorphosis had taken place which Jesus called “born again” John 3:3.
I had been transformed by God’s Spirit. My value system had changed.
I attended three church services a Sunday, two Bible study groups every fortnight and a weekly discipleship course. I started to getting involved in evangelism, each month would spend a day and night in prayer, I became a part of the worship leading roster at church and the pastor felt I had a preaching gift and made a part his preaching team. Within a year I had felt a call into the ministry and with the support of my pastor and church elders within 18 months went to Bible College.
Over the last 25 years I have planted edgy emerging churches, pastored large established churches and served on the pastoral staff of a mega church. Having recently returned from serving in a Baptist church in the UK I look forward to then next season of ministry with Templestowe Baptist Church.
My pretty wife’s name is Pamela and I have four fantastic children; Evangeline, Seth, Zoe, and Zac. One of my teenagers mentioned this verse to me recently and it is a great to live our lives by.
8 Keep the words of the Bible always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.