ccm Cross 0176
Tuesday July 31, 2018

Jacobson Community Church
Jacobson, Minnesota
ccm Cross 0176

GPS/DMS 47° 0′ 10.03″ N 93° 15′ 53.6″ W

Additional Photos after Testimony

4649 cdd When It’s Time
Cyber Daily Devotion
Volume 19 Number 158

Today’s Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born” NKJV

Hello, my name is Pastor George Collins, and everyone calls me Pastor Boomer. I was born in Deer River, Minnesota. I like horseshoes, my guitar, barbecues, fellowship and Bible Studies. I do have a passion for short-term mission work.

I grew up the youngest of ten children. Five girls and five boys. Our dad was a unique farmer while mom helped him do everything and raised us. We were not a church family although going back 300 years my forefathers were all preachers — except my dad. When dad was not farming he learned to play music by ear. He became a master musician and entertainer. As a child his musical roots were anchored in future Country Music Royalty. His first cousins were Crystal Gayle (Webb) and her sister Loretta Lynn (Webb). He kept us fed by trapping wolves and beaver and hunting.

This is my Cross testimony of how Jesus never gave up on me even when I was at my furthest point from Him. I was tired and ashamed of myself because of all the names that my classmates called me in school, while bullying me. My self-esteem was so low I cared not if I lived or died.  I decided that I would end my life.  But somehow the bullet that was intended for my head ended up going through my arm.  I had brought disgrace and shame upon my family.

I left home and school at the age of fourteen and a half and went to work in Remer, Minnesota, at a logging camp, in 1965.  I had become a professional lumberjack and a drunk by the age of eighteen and married my wife Dorothy. God was just beginning to get my attention!

My Cross story begins with a prayer even though you could say I had no idea who I was talking to: “God, if you’re real, you’ll help me out of this mess!” I used to say that every night after I had finished doing chores.  My wife Dorothy and I had four horses and we enjoyed riding and training them.  It was usually dark by the time I got home from lumberjacking, so I went out and did the chores before coming in to eat.  I would always have a few nips of stashed alcohol before coming into the house.  I was miserable, bitter and angry all the time.

After the first two years of marriage we had our first son, Scottie. We were excited to be parents.  But our excitement was soon to be tested.

Eleven months after Scottie was born, we had another baby born two months prematurely.  It was one o’clock in the morning in December 1970 when Dorothy was seven months pregnant. She burst into our bedroom from caring for Scottie screaming as loud as she could “FIRE!”  The scream startled me, and I jumped up in bed surrounded by flames and smoke!  I hollered for Dorothy to grab the baby and diaper bag.  The floor was caving in behind us as we ran down the hallway.  

We passed by our third bedroom hollering at her cousin Dennis, who was living with us at the time, to get out.  We made it into the living room and Dorothy stumbled over the coffee table.  Scottie went flying from her arms!  But thank God Dennis was there and caught him before he hit the floor. 

The flames were making a mad rush down the hallway and the roof was now caving in. The floor was buckling up in the back of the trailer house.  Light bulbs were popping, the furnace exploded, and the only door left that we could exit was warped on its hinges!  It was stuck so tight that I could not budge it.  The flames were getting mighty hot and the smoke was black and thick. Breathing was becoming extremely difficult.

I prayed. “Please God!  If you’re there, you gotta help us!”  Then I gave the door one final jerk and it was yanked off its hinges by a force much greater than my own strength. When I looked down there was a good foot of new snow on the ground.

We all ran for the car and drove as fast as we could through the snow dropping everyone off at my in-law’s house. Then we called the fire department. By the time I returned to the fire there was nothing but a pile of ashes and a swollen propane tank. Minutes later the tank exploded like a rifle shot.

Seven hours later, in the wee hours of that morning, Dorothy went into labor. Greg our second son, was born. The ordeal of the fire and stumbling over the coffee table had brought on labor pains two months early.  

Greg was born that morning and we discovered that our fiery trial wasn’t over yet.  He was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. The doctor informed us that the birth had revealed that during the pregnancy Dorothy had been bleeding internally. If the fire hadn’t have happened, both Greg and Dorothy would have died before she could have given birth!  The fire saved both their lives.

Greg was born with a severe cleft palate and cleft lip!  He would have to brave it through several surgeries before he would be even close to normal by the time he reached the age of eighteen. God was turning up the heat!

Two years later, in 1972, we were still not over the trauma of the fire and surgery on Greg had already started. My drinking was out of control. We once again faced another horrible nightmare.

A young man named Kenny and his mother who were shirt tail relatives came to Remer, Minnesota, to hunt deer and stay with my in-laws. Dorothy and I had a previously arranged for her and the kids to stay with them while I was hunting with my brother.

I was in the woods 46 miles from Remer when I heard a siren and thought that it was strange to hear since I was well over a mile and a half into the woods stalking a deer. Then I heard a voice. It was just a whisper over the moan of the wind. I stopped to listen waiting a few seconds and sure enough I heard it again: “George!  George!  Hurry, there’s been an accident!”

I started running toward the voice, my heart was pounding. The woods, hills and brush did not slow me down. I ran through those woods and hills all the way to the car. There was a Sheriff’s car waiting for me and I took off my hunting clothes while the deputy was explaining what happened. I jumped into my brother’s car and the Deputy Sheriff gave us an escort the 46 miles to Remer.

All I knew was that something had happened; there had been an accident and that I needed to be there. When I arrived at my in-law’s house, there were two police cars and a state highway patrol car in the driveway. By this time, I was panicky. I knew in my heart that something had happened to one of my children. As I walked through the door of the house the County Sheriff took hold of my arm. He was a friend. But something didn’t seem right – there was something out of place, something or someone missing. It was Scottie!

When I heard our son had been shot, my heart almost stopped. Dorothy met me at the door and went into great sobs as I asked in a frozen sort of voice, “Who did it?” The Sheriff said, “Kenny, the young man sitting by his mother.” I looked over at him and just the sight of what I must have looked like only added to his fear. I came unglued! I literally exploded out of the Sheriff’s grip and bounded toward this child killer, but a Deputy grabbed me and then there were two of them holding me and a third stood in front of me. I wanted revenge now!

They took me aside and then hauled Kenny out the door into a squad car. I spent the rest of the weekend plotting what I would do to the young man if I could get at him.

Monday morning came, and I received a call from the Sheriff’s department. “Mr. Collins? This is the Cass County Sheriff’s Department. “The young man has been released over to the Crow Wing County authorities and has been put in the custody of their Mental Hospital. We are advising you to stay out of Crow Wing County unless you inform us of your whereabouts.” He hung up.

I was completely devastated! Dorothy ended up in the hospital in a state of depression and my anger and bitterness mushroomed. I started drinking more. Often, in a drunken state of mind, I would reflect on my past, and the direction my life had taken. What I had become I hated. Now this! I let the anger and bitterness overtake me.

A week after Scotties funeral, I was told that Kenny spent just two weeks in the mental hospital. He was released and told to never come into Cass County where we live unless he had permission to do so.

I immediately began a manhunt! For the next five years I relentlessly hunted for Kenny with premeditated vengeance. In the process I had become a full-blown alcoholic despising anyone and everyone. I didn’t care who I hurt or who I walked over to get where I was going. I had only one thought, one aim, one goal – to kill the person that killed our son. Meanwhile, my family was falling apart.

It was the spring of 1977 when I finally came face-to-face with Kenny in a room full of people. It took five years, but I found him at last. I was carrying my .357 Magnum. I had hand-loaded all my ammo with several more drams of powder than was recommended. I also had the bullets drilled out and the leads filled with tin and mercury. It was payback time!

All that time meticulously preparing my ammo I thought of what one shot would do as I looked Kenny in the eyes. I took one shell out of my pocket and tossed it to him to see if he could guess what it was and what it could do.

While he was looking at it, my mind flashed back to that morning of the opening of deer hunting season in November of 1972. Kenny ‘s mother said that he was being ornery, and she had told him to go outside and cool off. He stomped out of the house saying, “I ought to kill you.” Once outside, in rage, he picked up his 12-guage shotgun and fired a slug through the wall of the house. The heavy piece of lead hit a spike in the wall and it mushroomed as it made its deadly path toward its intended victim. But his mother was holding our son Scottie. The expanded hunk of lead entered Scottie’s left chest cavity just under his armpit and exited under the right armpit, piercing his heart.

I thought of the blood, the mess, the shock it had to have made in Scotties mind, not understanding what had happened, and then dying there in that awful mess. And this young man I was looking at only spent two nights in a county jail and two weeks in a mental hospital before being released. Kenny, who was also responsible for cutting his mother with a knife several times over the years was still walking as a free man.

There was no justice in the system. It was now time for justice. I wanted him to suffer pain and torment. I wanted to brutally rip this person apart inch by inch until he couldn’t scream from the pain and agony anymore.

Then I reached out from the flash back remembering the bullet I had tossed to Kenny and took it back. As I did, I raised my revolver pulling the hammer back. He knew what I intended to do. His knees buckled as he slid down the wall; his face turned as white as snow; his mouth was wide open, spit was running down the sides of his cheeks; his eyes were sunken in their sockets and filled with terror; he knew what was about to happen. Everyone in that room knew what was about to happen. But nobody was prepared for what did happen.

I squeezed the trigger and it went click. The sound was magnified in my ears like a loud bang when a hammer is pounded on steel. It had misfired! Instead I heard my grandfather, but that was impossible. His voice had power in it. The house shook and the ground trembled. He said, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord!”

I looked at all the people who were frozen in time around us. They were all staring at me in shock at my purpose. I thought I was just hearing things, so I pulled the hammer back a second time, immediately squeezing the trigger. The house shook, the ground trembled a second time. I fired again and heard the thunderous click. Then the voice, closer, but so far away and even more powerful and filled with greater intent than before: “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord!” A second time I looked around and nothing changed. Everyone was still positioned where they were with the same look of terror on their faces as they stared at me in absolute unbelief.

The only time I had ever heard those words were when my grandfather would read his King James Bible to me when I was a kid growing up. Every day for many years he would read to me the Word of God. I hauled the hammer of that deadly .357 back the third time and squeezed the trigger only to hear a booming click a third time!

I fell to my knees and thought to myself, “Oh, God, what’s going on here?” and at that moment, God spoke to my heart. He told me to look close at the young man I wanted to kill. And as I looked into Kenny’s eyes, God said, “He is already suffering for what he had done and if you kill this man, it will be murder and you will end up in jail for the rest of your life. Plus, you’ll face Me on judgment day for it.” I released the hammer of the pistol and stood up. When I did, everyone returned to real time. I said to my brother-in-law, “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

In the car he looked at me and asked, “What in tarnation happened back there?” I proceeded to tell him what had taken place and what I heard. The only thing he saw and heard was rumbling and the house shaking with the gun in my hand. Then we were on our way out the door. It had all happened so fast. I unloaded my weapon a few minutes down the road and there were three bullets which showed a dent in the primers but did not discharge! I re-loaded them in my revolver and shot three times. It worked perfectly.

I put this all behind me, so I thought, and went back to my life as a lumberjack and a drunk. God was not done with me yet!

The following spring in 1978 I was working under my car, a 1972 Ford LTD Ranch Wagon. The 3×10 planks holding the car on the blocks broke. The car fell on me, pinning me to the ground, breaking my right shoulder and snapping all my ribs on the right side. I lay there in shock! I could feel blood run inside my body; my right arm was totally useless – the muscles had all been pulled loose from my neck to my hip on the right side, also. Then there was an immensely bright, bluish light that surrounded me and the car. The light was so bright that I could not even see the car which was on top of me that was pushing my broken, bleeding body into the dirt.

Dorothy came running outside; her sister and one of her brothers were there; my in-laws were there and had seen it happen. But strangely they didn’t see the bright, blinding light. What they saw was the car being pushed up (they were amazed and thought I was doing it) as I moved my body out from under the car.

It wasn’t me at all! I was totally helpless under there with nearly 5,000 pounds of metal laying on top of me. It was that bright light. Now God was getting serious!

The light bulb was turned on! Why was it that I could see and hear these things and nobody else could see and hear them? Why was God allowing me to go through all these catastrophes? Why all the pain; all the hardship; all the trauma?

I began to question God like never before. I don’t ever remember asking Him into my life. But maybe my grandfather had something to do with it from when he would read his Bible to me. Or my mother, perhaps – I don’t know. But somehow God’s Word had gotten implanted in my heart and during those times of rebellion and crises, the Holy Spirit would bring Biblical words to my mind with great conviction. And I would pray for help!

From all these calamities if God really did exist, why all this trouble in my life? But life went on and now, for the next two years at least, I had prescription drugs to mix with my boozing. Wow! What a dummy I was! It only intensified all the bitterness and pain and anger I had inside me. God did not give up on me!

The Lord gave us two more children. Crystal and Sarah but by the time January of 1980 came along, I wanted a divorce. I was too involved with myself to care about family or friends anymore. I came home late one night drunk and a babysitter was there with the kids. She said that Dorothy had gone to church. My wife’s brother was with me. We ate a cold supper and were laughing about Dorothy going to church!

When Dorothy arrived home, there was something different about her – she had gone through a transformation. For the next year she was in church every Sunday and she made sure our kids were in Sunday school. Our son, Greg, at the age of eight, had asked Christ into his heart, one year before Dorothy. His Sunday school teachers had the privilege of leading him to the Lord and they were both praying for the rest of our family’s salvation. Then Dorothy accepted Jesus and now there were at least three people praying for me. With God, when it’s time it’s time! 

A year after Dorothy’s salvation experience, I went to church on a dare by her and some of her “Christian” friends. They had come to visit one evening when their church was having revival meetings. I had been drinking and showing off playing my banjo and guitar. They challenged me to come to church and listen to the evangelist and his wife sing and play their instruments. There was a part of me that really liked Southern and Blue Grass gospel music, so I went. That night, the Lord spoke to my heart again. Only this time it was different! He said, “All things are now ready, Come!” I went to the altar and wept. I was tired and lonely and bitter and angry inside, and I was living a meaningless life.

I was sitting in a pew way in the back of the church sweating with my heart pounding, my mind racing, my body weakened by all the turmoil and I could hear Grandpa’s voice say, “God’s a goin’ to git ahold a you one of these days, Judge, cuz He’s a plan fer ya, and He’s a goin’ to shake ya an He’s a goin’ ta use ya. So be ready, ya hear!” Only Grandpa called me Judge, for George. But he’s been nearly twenty years dead and buried. And yet that voice was pulling me, coaxing me, wooing me to go kneel at the altar and seek the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. And I couldn’t stop.

I knew in my heart and soul that it was the right thing to do, it was my time to meet the Lord. I walked up to that altar with shaking knees, tears in my eyes, heart pounding like 10,000 drums. I knew as I walked down that aisle that my grandfather was watching with a smile on his face.

Once again, a flash back to when I would spend hours out behind the barn these past few months talking to God, pleading with Him, begging Him to help me. I had tried to reach out in my own way and on my own terms but felt alone and unheard. And here, here in this little old country church, with time once again standing still, Jesus reached out and touched me with His mercy, grace and love. I was truly in a dark hour in my life and the situation was critical for the salvation of my soul – I needed help and Jesus was there for me!

I longed for sweet peace and rest and to be freed from all this bitterness and hatred and violence and anger and alcohol. But I didn’t know how or who to ask for help.

I was at the end of my rope and there wasn’t even a knot to hang on to. And this evangelist is basically telling me that Jesus has already paid the price for my sins by the shedding of His own blood. I was crying out to God at that moment, “O, God, have mercy on me a sinner!” I didn’t even know I had prayed a Biblical prayer, I just knew that that was what I needed to say. And at that very moment, God reached into my heart and soul and lifted the burdens, the pain, the guilt, the shame, the anger, the bitterness, the hatred, the violence and all desire for alcohol from me. I was truly delivered and regenerated in that moment. And for the very first time in my life I felt a peace, a sweet peace. I had, by faith, received Jesus Christ into my heart as my Personal Savior and as the Lord of my life. It was an instant miracle and I was delivered from all that I had become. Now the Lord was just beginning with me!

Seven months after receiving Jesus Christ as Lord Angels had to help me again. I was driving a big honking 14-wheeler logging truck when the front end buckled up and I could not steer. The crash resulted in a near death experience where I was confronted by Satan. When the dust settled I chose Jesus and Christ said, “BEHOLD, MY CHILD, DO NOT FEAR… GO AND PREPARE YOURSELF.”

Two weeks later I was out of the hospital. The Lord is good and over time I returned to lumberjacking. But it wasn’t long before a chain saw ripped through my leg. My leg was miraculously saved, and it was time for me to take my relationship with Jesus Christ to a new level.

I enrolled in Bible school and several years later graduated. Since then the Lord has used me and Dorothy for His Kingdom work. I have a compassion for souls and enjoy preaching and teaching on the short-term missionary field.

I spent a good part of my life running from God and hiding behind alcohol. All of that is behind me. It took quite a bit for the Lord to get my attention. But when I surrendered to Him my life has been fulfilling and anchored in His word which I’m passionate about sharing with others.

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 17:15. “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” NKJV

The Cross to me is God-centered. The life and death of Jesus is all about His love for us.

This Cross planted is a beacon of hope which draws people to Jesus Christ. Come here, ask questions and hear about eternal life. Come and see if it is your time!

Prayer: Father thank you that the forgiveness of Jesus covers all sins, all thoughts, all actions and everything from the beginning. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!