As a child growing up in St. Louis, I went to church every Sunday. My mother and father made sure of that. I remember that I always sang in the choir. Wearing those white silky robes and singing my heart out – I loved doing that.
I believed in Jesus Christ and knew He died for my sins, but I didn’t know I could have a personal relationship with Him. To tell you the truth, I don’t think that most people who know about Jesus know that they can have a personal relationship with Him. During my teenage years, I sang gospel songs up and down the road with a group, still knowing that Jesus Christ was my savior.
One day years later, I noticed my wife, Marilyn, going around the house reading the Bible. That was very strange. I asked myself, “What’s she doing with a Bible in her hands?” I had never seen that before. I knew we had a Bible in the house, but we never opened it up. It had sat in our library with an inch of dust on it until Marilyn picked it up.
I felt convicted because I’d been there before. I had grown up in the church. I had left the church to pursue my fame and fortune, and I’d never shared my faith with Marilyn or talked to her about spiritual things. We were too busy chasing our music careers, and she never showed much interest.
That’s why I was convicted when I saw Marilyn with the Bible – because I had totally abandoned what little faith I had in the Lord. I had made alcohol one of the main focal points of my life when it should have been Christ.
A month later, our friend Frank Wilson teamed up with fellow performers Phillip Bailey from Earth, Wind and Fire, Leon Patillo from Santana, singer Deniece Williams and others at a rock n’ roll club on Sunset Blvd. to share their faith. Marilyn & I decided to go and check it out. That was the night I renewed my relationship with the Lord. This time it was personal.