The Herald Bulletin

March 31, 2013

‘Brighter days ahead’

Pastor delivers message of hope through faith

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. —  Not too long ago, Wade Jackson Jr. was facing up to 20 years in prison on cocaine charges. But, the case was thrown out and Jackson was on a new path.

During his time in jail, he had turned to God because he “knew there was something else to life than what I was doing.”

His life had started to come together; God had brought good people into it to guide him, he said. And while he still faces difficult times, he noted his faith has allowed him to see from a new perspective.

“I knew I had to quit doing what I was doing to please myself and do what he (God) wanted me to do,” he said.

Jackson was one of several who shared their testimonies on cardboard signs Sunday morning at Celebration Church, 1120 Arrow Ave., during Easter service. One side of the sign reflected past hardships and sins, the other expressing where the individuals are today in their lives and faith.

Jackson’s said “teen dad, thief and convict” on one side, reading “saved husband and serving Jesus Christ” on the other.

Church members also performed a short drama skit that addressed a young girl skipping school because she felt misunderstood. Her parents, in the skit, assured her it wouldn’t always be that way.

All have gone through hardships — some more than others — and while one can try to do the right thing and keep control, “life happens,” the Rev. Mike Thigpen said.

“These are just circumstances,” he added. “No matter what you’re going through, there are brighter days ahead.”

God is here to guide individuals through those hardships, he said, and Jesus Christ died so that his resurrection would provide the revival of hope for sinners.

There will be more rough days ahead, Thigpen added, but God loves his people and has a plan for each.

He himself said he didn’t think he’d make it past 19 years of age, but is now 37 and has a life better than expected.

Barry E. Miller was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1977.

Polycystic kidney runs in his family, and after having some health issues, he got tested.

When he learned of the cancer, he said he asked the question many ask: Why me?

It was a period in his life that tested his strength and faith, but “with the blessing of the Lord, I passed the test.”

Miller’s doctor told him he’d do what he could, but that Miller needed to do what he could, too, and pray to God.

So that’s exactly what he did, and Miller said he’s been cancer-free ever since.

Find Dani Palmer on Facebook and @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.