Happy Birthday to me!


Three days ago was my 40th spiritual birthday! At an altar on August 20, 1972 at about 11:30AM in a little Foursquare church building on 7th Avenue in Chico, California Jesus rushed like a torrent into my life! While on my knees at the front of the sanctuary I wept and wept and wept some more; the pastor patiently and quietly praying while I was getting my past forgiven and my future secured. I can’t fathom that four decades have passed since that mind-blowing day! I love my Friend more today than I did then.

I wrote in my journal – “I wonder if our first meeting was so dramatic because I might’ve fallen away from you otherwise. You made everything different when you came into my young life. I’m sure I have much of it obscured or forgotten, but it seems I can recall every detail. It was the greatest day of my life! Thank you, Lord. I love you!”

Sometimes I sing worship songs (I call them “Street Songs”) during our street ministries in the City. I have a few personal favorites. Here’s one…

O happy day, happy day

You washed my sin away

O happy day, happy day

I’ll never be the same!


Oh what a glorious day

What a glorious way

That you have saved me

Oh what a glorious day                        

What a glorious name



Another favorite street song…

So we are his portion and he is our prize,

Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes,

If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.

So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,

And my heart turns violently inside of my chest.

I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way…

Yea he loves us, oh how he loves us, oh how he loves us, oh how he loves.

I’d like to thank Michael (born-again hippie) for being the first to share Jesus with me while up in a tree smoking dope (I was in the tree and he was on the ground). Thank you, Vicki for modeling his life in front of me when we were kids in high school. Thank you, Joel for giving me my first Bible and predicting I would become a follower of Jesus. And thank you, Ray (already in heaven) for praying with this broken teenager to receive God’s life and love. Thank you, all of you who accepted me into your friendship and nurtured me along as I’ve haltingly tried to live well – with you and with him!

I don’t know about you, but I like conversions that you can’t forget, can’t deny, and can’t help but tell people about! It doesn’t have to be emotional or dramatic, but I love it when the heart is transformed and the old way of living is replaced by a new one! Each week in a Haight-Ashbury coffee shop, my friend Kevin and I are studying the book of Romans. Just the other day we were discussing the elements of salvation – what I call the “ations” – regeneration, justification, sanctification, reconciliation, glorification. A bunch of it’s already happened, a ton of it is in the process of happening, and a huge amount is yet to happen. For me, it all began on August 20, 1972 and I’m eternally grateful!

One last “Street Song” – you might recognize it as an old Beatles tune in which I’ve made a few minor “adjustments,” the title of which will remain unnamed so that I don’t incur any legal problems with an unnamed recording label. But do feel free to sing along…

Hey, Dude, don’t make it bad. Take a sad life and make it better.

Remember to let him into your heart, then you can start to be-come better.

Hey, Dude don’t be afraid. You were made so you’d come to know him.

The minute you let him cleanse you from sin, then you begin to be-come better.

And any time you feel the shame, hey, Dude refrain.

Don’t carry your sins upon your shoulders.

For well, you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool by making his heart a little colder.

Da da da da da da da….

(There’s another verse, but you get the point.)

Happy Birthday to me!

2 Replies to “Happy Birthday to me!”

  1. I was there and even though I was very young, I will never forget that day either. I loved you then and love you now. You are a good man Barney Wiget. I am proud to call you friend!


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