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Other LWF Stories
Meet Dr. Mark Castellaw
My days are spent going from room to room, seeing patients. Like most doctors, my office is busy. Handing my nurse a chart, I turned to enter the next room, took the chart from the door holder and glanced at the name. “ROGERS.” Didn't think much about it, but as I opened the door, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see Adrian Rogers. It caught me by surprise. “Oh my goodness, what's Adrian Rogers doing seeing me?”
I’d grown up in Memphis. After med school, my wife, Pam, and I were looking for a church. We’d watched Dr. Rogers on TV and one Sunday we decided to visit. After the first service, we sat through the second, just to hear it twice. We couldn't get enough.
We were already saved when we joined, but just baby Christians. We needed solid food. My office was near the church then. Dr. Rogers wanted me to be his doctor. That was the start of a relationship like I had never had before. We just hit it off and became good friends. He went with me and others on hunting trips. We had the same sense of humor and loved to laugh.
The backbone of what I learned about the Bible, I learned under Adrian. I started teaching and the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.
Adrian was a role model in teaching men how to be good fathers and husbands. I tried to emulate that and pass it down to our three boys. They grew up hearing his sermons. My little boys understood him as well as I did. They’re the men they are today because of what they learned. Even today they quote Adrian.
People might wonder, “Could this guy really be what he seems?” I knew the man literally inside and out. I was with him from the early 1980s until I stood at his bedside the moment he passed away. We developed a strong friendship, more than doctor-patient. He was my spiritual father. And I'll tell you right now, Adrian Rogers was 110% genuine. How he preached is how he lived. I saw it in so many different venues.
In later years when Dr. Rogers developed some health issues, we walked dark paths together. At one point he was about to undergo a surgical procedure in which he would be put to sleep. We were talking, and I said, "Everything's going to be fine. "He said, "Mark, you know, it's a win-win either way. I come out of this and continue to preach the gospel or I meet Jesus.” He went into surgery smiling.
Later, he developed another illness. He could have asked, "God, why are You doing this to me?" But he never did. He was true to his belief that God is going to do what's best for you. Even in the darkest hour, he trusted, knowing God would take care of the situation.
I remember the night he passed away. My memory went back to when he’d hold the Pastor Training Institute and wanted me to speak; he’d always introduce me as “the man who’ll be holding onto my feet when I’m trying to go to glory.” That night as he was passing, I went down to the foot of his bed, grabbed hold of his feet and held them. I know the moment he passed away.
I know Heaven opened wide the gates and throngs of people welcomed Adrian—people he led to the Lord and influenced over the years.
Even in the latter days of his life, we talked a lot about his legacy through LWF. It was so important to him for LWF to continue. And because of LWF, I can still listen to and watch his sermons. LWF is such an important arm of Adrian's ministry. People are still getting saved. I see patients every day who say, “I watch every week or I listen every day on Christian radio.”
The sermons I watch or hear on LWF now—I was usually there when he preached them. What he said then is still as relevant in 2018 as the day they were preached! It’s like he just spoke them today. Nothing is dated. Everything about him and his sermons are eternal.
I’m Dr. Mark Castellaw, and that is my LWF story.
A New Road
From the cab of our 18-wheeler, the Rockies sped past. December on Colorado highways filled every window with beauty. But something more beautiful was taking place in my heart.
My name is Vanessa Shepherd, and this is my story.
My husband Rick and I were truck drivers—we drove as a team. But before we left this time, Rick’s mother did something she’d never done. She gave me a book to read: What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers. She’s a Christian and thought I was too.
But I wasn’t living it. I didn’t go to church. Weekends when we were home, I didn’t spend quality time with my kids. I did whatever anyone wanted, including drinking and even some drugs. But I was tired of the life I was living—so tired. I was even tired of truck-driving in spite of the income and the beauty we saw.
When it was finally my turn to sleep that winter day, I picked up Dr. Rogers’ book. Every chapter spoke to me. Then I came to the chapter about salvation. I always thought I was saved. But then I realized I’d never asked the Lord to come into my heart or be Lord of my life. Lying there, I told the Lord I was a sinner, asked Him to forgive and change me. At once peace came over me like I’d never felt—right in that truck as we went through those Colorado mountains.
After I stopped crying, I kept reading. I learned about spiritual gifts—that you need to be in a church to find your spiritual gift because that’s what it’s for—serving others. The Lord plainly spoke in my spirit: “Get off this truck. I don’t want you here. I want you able to go to church.” It started me thinking: When can I do this?
Leaving Colorado, we headed into Northern California. There I got a very severe infection—so painful I needed to call an ambulance. Doctors said it would keep happening if I didn’t come off the road for good. “When we get home,” I told Rick, “I’m not going back out.” We arrived home on a Christmas Eve.
I wish I could say everything was suddenly rosy. But it wasn’t. Because I couldn’t drive, our income dropped. We couldn’t pay our rent. Soon we had to move. We had nothing. But I knew the One who told me to get off the truck was going to provide.
At one point we stayed in a barn. Outside we had a little table. I bought a new Bible. Every morning I sat there reading it. I was in church every Sunday morning, night, and Wednesday nights, so close to the Lord, just trusting Him.
I got a job and found a small apartment. My little church helped us get the utilities turned on. My walk with the Lord grew—He even took away my desire to smoke.
But Rick and I still struggled. When he came in off the road, he wanted to drink, not go to church. Unfortunately, sometimes I jumped ahead of God. I tried talking Rick out of drinking, nagging him about church, trying to take care of things myself. The more I tried to change him, the worse it got. God closed the door on all of it. I asked the Lord what to do. He said, “Get out of My way. Let me do this for Rick.” It was so hard just to step back, let Him do it, and love Rick when he was being so unlovable.
I just loved him and prayed for him. At night when he fell asleep, I put my hand on his arm and prayed for God to change his heart.
Before long he quit driving and became an instructor. His drinking began tapering off. One Sunday as I got dressed for church, he did too. Now he goes with me. If you’re praying for someone, don’t stop. Keep praying until something happens in God’s time and God’s way. He changed Rick.
And He also changed me. My walk with the Lord has grown. I love Him more now than I ever have. He has done so much for me, all because of that book by Adrian Rogers.
Everyone should read it, even if you’ve been a Christian 25 years. It will speak to you. Read it with an open heart. Ask God to lead you through it. It’s an awesome book.
Stories Worth Telling is a series of feature articles sharing the personal impact Love Worth Finding is having in lives all over the world through the preaching/teaching of Adrian Rogers. Perhaps you have a story you would like to share. Email us at email@example.com, share your story online at lwf.org/my-story, or write us at Love Worth Finding Ministries, PO Box 38300, Memphis, TN 38183. God bless you.