Listen to the life changing testimony of Christopher Replogle
My testimony tells of some very wicked and evil things in my life. I do not tell this story to glorify sin in any capacity but rather to allow the people to connect to how good God is and how far He can and will bring a man if we are willing to submit to Him. This is not a story of my life but rather a story of Gods transforming power through the Blood of Christ! He draws us to Himself and I praise him for his wonderful mercy!
Not far from the border of Syria, along the Euphrates river in Iraq, I came upon a very large sign that spoke of Moses and the Israelite’s crossing the river near the area. I found it odd seeing that there was nothing else visible in any direction. It was in this odd spot, in the middle of nowhere, that the Lord began working on my heart.
I was a machine gunner in the Marine Corp. I was tough, arrogant, and a rebel. Few could convince me to do anything outside of my way. The Marines only increased my ego and before long, I was snubbing my nose at my superiors. I found myself as a favorite for the weekend “hazing” fun of the NCOs, because of my attitude. This hazing only made me rebel even more. Some weekends, my superiors would warn me of what they had planned and so I began leaving base until Monday morning formation. These weekends away left me with plenty of time to find trouble.
Despite my church upbringing and knowledge of the scriptures, I began drinking and partying with my new “friends” who thought I was a great American Hero. Small time drinking soon turned into full-fledged drunkenness. After returning from my second tour to Iraq, I depended on alcohol to make it through the week. My dependence became so great, I would fill up my camel-bak with whiskey and water just to make it through the grueling marches.
After facing a lot of trouble, the Marines decided to send me on my way (although I fought to go back to Iraq). I knew trouble awaited my release, yet I went back to drowning my troubles with alcohol. Now that I was out of the Marines, I no longer had any stop holds to keep my life in check. Within months, I began mixing drugs with my drunken stupor. I found myself happy while I used, and it would offset the alcohol, so I could party longer. Of course, when the high was gone, I was much worse than when I began.
I became very depressed. So, I found drugs that made me happy. They controlled my life. I soon found myself selling drugs to pay for my habit. As I began selling, I met people that said I had what it took to make it big in the business. They set me up in this vile work of selling drugs.
I took up gambling to kill time while going from city to city to make deals. Within a couple of years, I was spending thousands in poker and using drugs at a heart stopping rate to keep me alert. After a couple of bad deals, I was in trouble. I needed tens of thousands to pay my debt, but I squandered all my cash gambling. I decided to take it from others who had double crossed me. I gathered my gang and we went to their stash houses to robbed them. At one house, we kicked in the door and ran in. The guys at this house started pulling out guns. As everyone made it back to the car, I jumped in the drivers seat. I looked out the window and saw a gun, two feet from my face. Although the moment was only seconds long, I remembered these thoughts as I stared at the man behind the gun: “my grace is sufficient for thee” “come unto me all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” “it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgement”.
I hit rock bottom. I lost everything except my addictions and was soon sleeping under the stars. I began stealing and lying to get enough money to get high. I was homeless, helpless, and hopeless. All my friends were gone, except one.
I was walking down the street in a drunken stupor one day when a friend of mine from the Marine Corp drove by. She stopped and told me “get in, enough is enough”. She drove me to her friend’s house and paid for the room. She then went through town filling out applications for me. She stopped at Chick-fil-A and spoke with the General Manager. She explained my situation to him and he offered me a job. It looked as though, my life was finally started to get on track.
Soon after I started working at Chick-fil-A, I met Grace. She was my manager. I must have won her over with my delicious waffle fries, because we became inseparable friends. Little did I know, Grace would be the one that I would share my life with.
Through Grace’s influence and my mother’s relentless prayers, throughout the years, I finally came to the realization that I was sinner heading straight to hell if I was to die. I decided to call upon the name of the Lord. I asked Jesus to saved me and believed in my heart that he did! The change in my life began immediately.
In the weeks following my salvation, I regularly attended a local church and was discipled by the Pastor. Grace and I were married, and I was baptized Easter Sunday 2010 at Fellowship Baptist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. Over the next couple of weeks, I felt the call to preach and we began seeking God’s direction. I began preaching occasionally at our church, was actively involved with the church’s nursing home ministry, and continued getting mentored by my pastor. We soon decided our next step was to enroll in Bible College.
I knew a Bible degree would be a useful tool in ministry, however, I struggled. The years of drug and alcohol abuse severely damaged my ability to remember. I would become agitated easily and the anxiety only made it harder to remember. I soon realized I was not going to succeed in college and had to withdrawal (though I would return).
Even though I knew God had called me to preach, I did not see how I would ever be able to fulfill that calling since I could not even make it through Bible College. I became very discouraged and started working, working, and working. I focused my attention on my work to take my mind off the discouragement of not being able to fulfill the Lord’s calling. However, an unlikely acquaintance persuaded me to drive nearly an hour to his church. We fell in love with the church family and begin serving in any capacity.
I was recommended to a church in Florida as Associate Pastor and in October 2012, we accepted the position. Since 2012, I have had the opportunity to serve as an Associate Pastor in a couple of churches and we launched out into Evangelism. In 2014 we joined C.O.M.E International Baptist Ministry as Missionary Evangelism and I was C.O.M.E.’s Foreign Affiliates Coordinator. We do not take our calling lightly and we strive daily to fulfill the Great Commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” Matthew 28:19-20.
I am now the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Crestline, Ohio.