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God came looking for me, in a pub

God came looking for me, in a pub

God came looking for me, in a pub

Allan Kerr says he apologised to God after reading John 3:16. Photo: South Burnett Online

By Allan Kerr

When a young Salvation Army woman came into my pub and told me that God loved me and so did she, I told her that both she and God were idiots.

I wasn’t interested in God. I was sent to Sunday school as a kid, but that was it. I didn’t know God and didn’t even care.

As far as I was concerned, she was invading my space. She was wasting my time and hers talking to me about God. I was around 25 at the time, living in Katoomba. Grog and drugs were my god.

Anyway, I was unlovable, so why would she and God – even if he existed – love me? My drinking partner in the local pub was another young man by the name of Steven Metcher. The young woman – then Julia Mann – was praying for both Steven and me.

Eventually I moved away from Katoomba. Steven stayed and one night he walked into a Salvation Army hall and gave his life to God.

When I went back and visited Steven in Katoomba, I saw him as a god-botherer. He and Julia became good friends and got engaged.

Before they got married, Steven and I went on a road trip of Australia. He took his Bible and I took my drugs. After a while, because he seemed so happy, I asked him what substance [drugs] he was on.

He said his substance was Jesus. Oh, yeah, I thought. Jesus, aye?

“That’s your imaginary friend,” I said to Steven. After a while Steven said I should check out Jesus in the Bible. He told me to read the Gospel of John. I got to Chapter 3 and verse 16 and read that God loved us all so much that he sent his son, Jesus, to die for us and to save us from our sin.

"That got to me. I apologised to God. I felt responsible that God had to send his son to die for me. I told God that if he could make me like my friend [Steven], then I was prepared to believe in him.

And, so the journey began. We were back in Sydney and Steven was preparing to study for Salvation Army ministry with Julia.

He had been helping a single mother with personal issues. When study for him got a bit heavy, he asked me to help the woman.

That woman [Carolyn] became my wife. We joined The Salvation Army and became envoys, then captains and majors.

I retired on 28 February. Carolyn is already retired. Julia conducted my retirement service.

No, Julia wasn’t an idiot, as I told her way back in 1981. Nor was God. They both knew what they were doing. I didn’t go looking for God. He came looking for me.

I am still amazed at God’s love that he would come looking for a lost sheep, as I was. I am evidence that God is for everyone. So is my mate Steven.

We started as drinking mates in a Katoomba pub when were young men. Despite who we were, God came looking for us.

We both discovered God and followed similar paths of service in The Salvation Army. How amazing is that!

Written in association with Bill Simpson.

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