The Story of my Christian Life

Casey from Iowa asks,

Bill-I've watched MWW for years and appreciate what you've done. Was watching your interview with Huntr on youtube and your comment about saying what you want and without worrying about keeping all sponsors happy. I've always respected how over the years you've had pastor paul or others with devotionals. I love deer hunting and has controlled my life until accepting Christ as my Lord and savior 6 years ago. I still battle hunting as am idol in my life and try to take opportunities to reach other hunters with that common interest to share the gospel and lead others to Christ. With your following I'd love to hear more about your story and using your platform or I'd love to help in anyway you can think of to share the gospel to a group of hunters. I think as we look at the world we live in we can see the need for this. Have a great day, Casey

Bill responds,

Topic: The Story of my Christian Life:

Christian Life

This photo is from a mule deer hunt I had in southern UT. God reveals himself to us as hunters every single day through this amazingly complex and ordered natural world that He created. His true goal, however, is to bring us into His arms. That can only happen through a spiritual conversion that many call being “saved” or “born again”.


Thanks for your support. I appreciate it. I grew up going to church and I always took the sermons seriously but our pastor never really spelled out clearly what the Bible said about the need to be “born again”. If he did, I never caught it. 

I also never bought into the idea that we evolved.  This world and its many varied occupants are way too complexly made and fitted together to ever come from nothing/dust.  To me, that required way more faith than to think it was created. So, just by looking around, I already knew that God was real.

Several events led to my spiritual transformation.  I remember going to Canada on a fishing trip. It was the middle of the night and I was driving and my friend’s dad was sitting in the seat next to me to keep me company (and no doubt to keep me awake).  Everyone else was sleeping. 

We got to talking about “the meaning of life”. I asked him what he thought and he said, “It is to know God and use our lives and abilities to show his glory and make him known to other people”.

It was not what I expected to hear and I couldn’t quite wrap my arms around it.  What does that mean? It sure didn’t sound fulfilling enough to me.  But it definitely got me to thinking and wondering. God used that question, I believe, to open the next spiritual door.

I was in college at that time (between my freshman and sophomore year). The following semester a teaching assistant in one of my classes called me to his office after the discussion group one day. I figured it was to ask me if I had any questions or needed any special help with the subject.

Instead, he told me that someone from my hometown church (he told me the name) had been praying for me and had gotten in touch with the campus Christian organization (this one was called Navigators) and asked if someone could find me and reach out to me.  That is what Lon was doing.  Amazing isn’t it?

Anyway, Lon went on to show me verses from the Bible about how sin had separated us from God and that God had a plan to bring us back to him but it required that he send his son to earth to eventually die as the sacrifice for our sins (there were all kinds of sacrifices in the Old Testament days that were supposed to do this prior to Jesus but it wasn’t bringing them closer to God). 

Lon explained that my response to this sacrifice had to be on the spiritual level since physical sacrifices were no longer required by God since Jesus came.  Jesus’ sacrifice was the bridge between us and a perfect God.

Being born again meant the need to feel remorse about our fallen condition and our lack of relationship with God. That was called repentance – a death to ourselves. We needed to repent and ask God to forgive our sinful life.  Then we needed a spiritual change (which creates a heart change – the new life) and that was only possible by allowing God to kill our old nature (our old spirit) and bring us back (born again) as a new person with a new spirit. 

We had to “accept Christ”, as some call it, which is really to accept the gift of Christ’s new spirit.  And, because Jesus rose from the dead, that spirit is eternal. Through this, one of the miraculous parts of this new relationship was that it was eternal, it doesn’t die when our body dies.

Accepting this new spirit is not a default condition of being human. We have to do this through a specific choice: repent, die to ourselves, ask for the new spirit. God doesn’t force anything on us. We are free to choose this path.

I remember walking away heading back toward my dorm thinking, “I don’t really understand all this stuff, but I did see the verses in the Bible that were very clear – and I sure don’t want to miss something.”  So, I told God then that I wanted to see what it was all about and asked God to forgive me and give me a new spirit (and a new heart).  I don’t believe that I really died to my old spirit at that time. 

That came a few weeks later, believe it or not, when I was playing a pick up basketball game at the field house. I was so angry about something one of the other players was doing and was actually cussing at him – four letter words. Then it hit me like a revelation – a spiritual bolt of lightning.  I just stopped and I knew, “Wait, this isn’t how this is supposed to go.”

I knew then that I was holding onto my old spirit. I didn’t want to be that person any longer. I killed the old spirit right then while running up the basketball court! I literally felt the change as I was running!

When God looks at me now he sees the new man (the new spiritual man that he gave me) and not the old sinful one that I created.  I am not perfect in action, but he doesn’t ask for perfection, just submission to the new spirit that now drives me and changes my heart.

Some people have radical conversions and some have only incremental changes.  My Christian life after that was a series of incremental changes. I knew something had happened, (I could feel it in my heart/spirit). I felt as if a weight had been lifted – a chain removed. It was not imagined. It was a tangible thing. I was free.

But I didn’t know what to do next. I started spending time reading the Bible every day until I had read through the New Testament (God’s new deal after Christ became the sacrifice for all). I read it through several times. This roadmap for human existence was fascinating.

At the same time, I got involved with a campus ministry group (again it was the Navigators) and learned even more about this great gift of a new heart/spirit that God had given me.

Little by little, I learned that the real benefit (and God’s goal) is an actual spirit-to-spirit relationship between myself and God.  I admit that I sometimes can’t understand how it all works, but it is there – a closeness to God and a peace that comes from that which was not present before.  Believe it or not, what God actually seeks is what any good earthly parent seeks with their children – a close and intimate relationship – a meshing of spirits.  Since God is only spirit and not flesh, this relationship is a purely spiritual one.

This is nothing spooky or strange or cultish, the relationship is pure and natural based on God’s love for us.  He created us for this reason!  The chain of events was also simple: a new spirit creates a new heart which creates a new person with new and better motives and behaviors and a will to connect with God.  Thus the “conversion” of the old man to the new man – being born again!

God created us to interact with him, and this world, in a certain way that is both pure and natural.  The sinful condition of man over the centuries eroded that simplicity so God sent Jesus to bring us back through a single great sacrifice to end all sacrifices.

Yes, it sure seems weird doesn’t it – like my friend’s dad’s comments to me these many years ago.  But there is a simple way to find out where you fit; if anyone is wondering how this works, just ask God to reveal himself and show the truth. Again, nothing spooky or weird. If it’s true, God will be there on the other side of the door to meet you wherever you are at and in whatever condition you find yourself. You can’t be good enough, so don’t even try. It is all about the new spirit.

God is the great father wanting to bring his sons and daughters individually into his arms no matter how far they have strayed from what he had in mind for them.

That’s my story. It is hard once you really grasp all this truth and miraculous reality to think that deer hunting really matters in the grand scheme of things!

Have a great day and God bless (5/3/21)


Comments (8)

  1. Jamie

    Amazing story Bill! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Bill Winke

      Thanks Jamie. I appreciate the note. Have a great day.

  2. Robert Rollins

    Thanks for clearly laying out the gospel and your testimony. To God be the glory!

    1. Bill Winke

      Amen, Robert. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Rick Dillard

    Great testimony Bill! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Bill Winke

      Thanks for the comment Rick. I hope you have a great day.

  4. Brandon Schowalter


    I want to thank you for your testimony and Casey for the original post. This was eye-opening for me and as silly as it may sound, I will never forget the day I read it – you have brought me magnitudes closer to Christ and I want you to know it is changing my life. God bless.

    1. Bill Winke

      Brandon, I appreciate the note and I am excited that you are on the path to a deeper relationship with God that is only possible through Jesus. We just celebrated His birth and it makes me sad to think how many people never really understand why we celebrated it. What is so special about this one person that we still celebrate His birth centuries later? It’s because He wasn’t really just a person, but He was God’s son – the only way to redeem a fallen world. If that is true, then don’t we owe it to ourselves and our families to understand what his redemption is all about? Keep it simple: Christ came to bridge the gap between us and God. Our part is just to repent and allow God to work change within us. It is called “accepting Christ” but really is just us letting God work in our hearts and spirits and bring us closer to what he created us to be. That is definitely worth celebrating!

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