Michael Osborne's Christian Testimony

My grandmother and grandfather (on my father's side) were going to Third Church of the Nazarene (now Trinity) until it moved from East Nashville to South Nashville in the 1930's. So, they decided to begin going to First Church of the Nazarene in East Nashville in the mid 1930's. My father and mother were married in 1954 at First Church of the Nazarene because my father already attended there. He had attended First Church since he was very young. I was born in 1956 and have been attending First Church ever since. I 've told people that I've been going to First Church since before I was born. You can probably guess that I was reared in a Christian home. When was I young, my parents took us to Church every Sunday morning and every Sunday night. My dad's mother was a real prayer warrior and a deeply religious lady. She experienced a personal revival in the early sixties and joined the choir and started going to Church on Sunday night on a constant basis instead of an occasional basis.

I turned over my life to my Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 12 years in a Children's Church service and we were singing Love Lifted Me. I went to the altar and prayed and asked the Lord to forgive me of my sins. My parents divorced when I was 14 years old and within a few months, I had let my anger over it turn to rebellion. I started to cuss at school which I had never done before. I also started to believe that that I could do whatever I wanted without acknowledging the rules that I knew so well telling me that what I was doing was wrong. I eventually tried several more things that teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 seem to want to try when they don't want to follow the Lord Jesus. Once, I drove home drunk and barely missed having an accident. I now know that the Lord was protecting me even while I was away from His fellowship.

In the fall of 1973, a group called 'Christ is the Answer' drove in to Nashville in 18 wheelers and set up a tent on an empty lot in downtown Nashville. They started holding nightly meetings at 7:30 PM and were singing what is now called Comptemporary Christian music, but was called Gospel Rock back then. They had long hair and wore jeans and T shirts and the newspapers said that they looked like hippies. They would go to the local high schools and witness to the students. Some of them even went to jail for witnessing to students because the School Board and city told them that they could not stand on school property and some of them did while they were talking to students. My mom had a very low opinion of them. She told me not to ever go to one of their meetings. Since I was 17 and had a job and my own car, I decided that if she didn't want me to go there, then I was going.

One Friday in December, 1973, I asked my cousin Steve if he would want to go and he agreed that we should go and check it out. We were not really ready for what we saw. There had been rumors of drug use (from my mom and others). We saw authentic Christians worshipping, singing and praising the Lord Jesus Christ. After the singing, a member of the band began to speak. In church, we would have called it preaching, but he was very informal and down to earth with the words that he used. It seemed like everything he said was directed at me. It was as if he knew me better than anyone else. I felt guilty for the things I had done and I knew that I had been doing wrong. I knew that I had wronged God and needed to be forgiven. When he asked if anyone would want to come up front and pray and and ask forgiveness of their sins. I practically ran up front to pray. I asked the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive me and come into my heart.