Lance Duvall’s Incredible Salvation Story

This is Lance Duvall’s story of salvation.

Hello, my name is Lance Duvall. I would like to tell you about something exciting that happened to me many years ago, in the summer of 1965. I have described this occurrence many times since then. However, I believe that it is only in the last few weeks that I have truly understood the meaning of that day.

I graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit in June and accepted an offer as a teaching assistant in the physics department at Clemson University. This was my first experience of living away from home. A couple of weeks after arriving at Clemson, I was invited by several fellow grad students to join them on a ride to see Caesar’s Head.

As some of you are probably aware, Caesars Head is a large granite mountain that rises to 3,200 feet above sea level. It is located about 20 miles north of Greenville, SC. There is a panoramic view of upstate from near its summit, and an iron fence encloses the viewing area to prevent anyone from falling over the nearby cliff.

On one side there are sheer granite cliffs which fall 600 feet straight down, but as young men are prone to do, we decided that there was an even better view if we were to just climb over that fence and walk along a narrow dirt trail (18-24 inches wide) that went along the edge of the cliff. There were no park rangers to keep us from our risky adventure.

As we carefully picked our way along this forbidden trail, we had the cliff to our left, and to our right, there was a granite face that sloped upwards. That’s when I had a very dumb idea.

I decided to climb up that slope to “get a better view”. Because the granite face was smooth, with only an occasional small indentation from lightning strikes, I was forced to ease my way up backward, sitting on the smooth surface and pushing myself upwards with the soles of my shoes and the palms of my hands. Do any of you see a potential problem with this behavior? After I had moved up the granite slope for about 20-25 feet, I suddenly started to slip a little.

In spite of my pushing down harder with my hands and feet, I began to slide faster, and then I was quickly sliding back down to where I had started. I could see the small path at the base of the incline rapidly approaching, but there were no trees or bushes along the path that I could grab onto. With an utter sense of horror, I realized that I would hit the path and bounce over the edge of the cliff and fall to my doom. My death seemed certain, there was nothing I could do to save myself.

I had gotten myself into this mess and couldn’t get myself out of it!

Then something unexpected and miraculous happened. Bill McCanless, one of my fellow grad students saw me sliding, and without the slightest hesitation, he ran to the spot on the path where I was headed. Just as I was about to hit the path, Bill leaped upwards and landed forcefully on top of me. Between his upward momentum and the increase in friction due to his weight on top of mine, my forward progress stopped. We disentangled ourselves from one another, then stood back onto the trail.

Though visibly shaking, I carefully picked my way back along the trail and climbed over the fence. I thanked Bill for his quick response, and we rode back to Clemson. Bill had just graduated from the Citadel that summer, and I have always believed that his military training played a big part in his decisive action. Both Bill and I graduated from Clemson in 1971 with our Physics PhDs, and I lost track of him. But I have told this story to every Citadel graduate I have met since then, telling them why I have such deep respect for their school and its graduates.

Coming to Salvation

But that is not the end of the story. For the last 3-4 weeks, that summer day in 1965 has been on my heart, and I didn’t know why—until I heard a sermon by a guest pastor at our church. Dr. Dennis Nunn is an evangelical pastor, and I had heard him preach the gospel before and was very impressed by him. He truly believes that every believer is a witness.

But when I read the title of his sermon this time, “Can You Do It?”, it seemed that a fog lifted from my mind, and I could understand why I had been reliving this story and why I had felt called to try to contact Bill after all these years. Bill had risked his life to save mine.

If his action had not stopped my forward progress, we both would have gone over the edge to our deaths. He wasn’t throwing me a life preserver; he was my life preserver. So, I wanted to thank him again for his heroic act, because without it, all that I have done in my life since then, would not have happened. Now I realize that this event had a deeper religious meaning. This was god telling me how I was wasting my life.

At the time this happened, I was not a believer; I was an agnostic. I didn’t deny that God existed, I just wasn’t convinced. Maybe I was a seeker of God in my own way. I came from a family that did not attend church. At the time of the incident on Caesar’s Head, my life was sliding downhill. I was self-centered and prideful. I was drinking too much and was way too reckless, as you have just heard. I was pursuing the desires of the flesh, not of the spirit. The warning was this:

That just as there was someone to stop my slide down Caesar’s Head, at the risk of his own life, there also was someone who had already sacrificed his life so that my downward spiral to doom could be stopped. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had given his life to save mine, and when I eventually repented of my sinful life and came to believe that He was the Messiah, the very Son of God, and that He had died for me, and that God raised Him from the dead, then I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.

That’s when my life was really saved.

As the apostle John wrote in chapter 3, verse 16 of his gospel:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Now, as I look back on my life, I recognize multiple times where God was drawing me closer to him. It took many years before I was saved, but God was faithful, and as I drew closer to Him, He drew closer to me. If you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, I urge you to examine your own life.

Are you spiraling downwards to eternal doom? Are there times in your life where you can feel God drawing you closer to Him? God doesn’t want you to go over the edge. He has paid the price for your eternal salvation.

He wasn’t held to the cross by iron nails, He was held there by His love for you and me. Draw nearer to Him as He draws nearer to you.

Share the Clear Gospel Message Every Week!

This article is primarily for those who preach, teach, or speak to an audience on a regular basis, but if you don’t fall into that category please keep reading! This is too important for any of us to pass up.

It is easy to assume things. How many times have we assumed something simple and realized later it caused a complicated mess? As ministers of the Gospel, it can be easy to assume way too much each week as we stand and deliver the message. It is easy to assume that those listening know what it means to be “saved”, “come to Jesus”, or “trust Christ.” The truth is, many in our culture today may have no idea what we are talking about. That’s why it is crucial that we give a clear Gospel message every time. Yes, …every single time. No matter what the text or the topic, by the end of the message we should always make time to tie in the Cross. And not just to say, “if you’re lost we invite you to come accept Jesus today.” That has the best of intentions in it, I know, but people today are much less likely to understand and respond. Here are 3 reasons we MUST share the clear Gospel message every time we have the opportunity.

1. The Gospel (not our preaching) is the power.

In Romans 1:16, Paul says the Gospel is the “power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.” What is the Gospel? Paul answers that for us as well in 1 Corinthians 15—it is described as the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every week, every time we preach—people need to hear the Gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation! They need to hear how Jesus lived the perfect life that none of us could ever live and died the death that we all deserved. But the story doesn’t end there (thank God)! We must tell them how He came back to life and how they can receive this wonderful (free) gift of salvation! While the Gospel doesn’t have to be the topic of every message, every message needs the Gospel in it (or at the end of it).

2. Faith comes by hearing.

Romans 10:17 says “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God.” They must hear the Gospel, then they can have the faith to believe and receive the power of God in their lives to save and set them free forever.

There’s a quote I’ve seen floating around on social media for some time now, you may have seen it, too. It says, “Preach Jesus, and if necessary, use words.” I understand that this is trying to make a point, but unfortunately, it is a bad one. If the Gospel is the power of God, and their faith comes by hearing it, then we must use our words to share the Word! I finally saw an awesome comeback to this horrible quote the other day, “Feed the hungry, and if necessary, use food.” Ridiculous, right? Yep…you get the point.

3. Many have never heard.

It’s true, and I’m not just talking about the many who live in other parts of the world or country. I’m talking about those who live in your community. Sure, they may have heard about Jesus, but many of them have heard the wrong information or made their own assumptions about Him. Sadly, many of them have never heard the truth. When I was pastoring in Berea, KY, I met a young couple, Tim and Storm. They grew up in “the Bible belt” a county over from where I grew up. They had heard about the Jesus of Christmas, but they had never heard the Gospel of grace. I shared with them how going to Heaven had nothing to do with a work that we could achieve, but a gift that we receive—the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! The looks on their faces said it all…they were amazed and shocked. I asked them gently, “Have you ever heard this before?” They simply said, “No, sir…never.” Praise God that both Tim and Storm trusted Christ as their Savior afterward, and I got to serve as their pastor. It still troubles me deeply to think about how they had never heard, though.

Recently on a flight to Texas, I had a great conversation with a Muslim named Emily. She was flying there to meet her fiance whom she had never met and to marry him that day. She had never heard the true Gospel before. She listened carefully as I shared and although she didn’t put her faith in Christ, she said she would look more into it as I handed her a tract. Then she said something that blew my mind, “I grew up in church, and I have never heard this before. IF I had heard it, I don’t think I would have become a Muslim.” WOW! I pray that Emily, who has now heard the Gospel, will trust in Christ alone for salvation. I have hope that she will, but how had she never heard before??

The truth is, there are MANY out there who have never heard a clear Gospel message. They’ve gotta hear it, and we’ve gotta tell them! Ephesians 4:15 says to “speak the truth in love.” There are so many false gospels out there. There are many who are being tossed around by “every wind of doctrine.” We have a responsibility, a calling, and a duty. We must give them the clear, true gospel every single time we speak, preach, or teach. We never know when someone may hear the truth for the first time.

Will you commit to sharing the clear Gospel in your messages every week? You won’t be sorry that you did. You won’t have any regrets. You will have to be intentional about doing it, though. You love Jesus, but you are human. It is easy to get excited about teaching something “fresh” from our studies, and then to just skim over the part we may assume everyone has already heard. We must share it every week, every time, without fail. Don’t worry about sounding like a broken record, because the best part to put on repeat is the power of God…the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Jon Burdette

Changes, Challenges, and Victories.

These last few months have been amazing, challenging, and life changing. After serving on a church staff in some capacity for 17 years, we are now missionaries right here in America. I am on the road constantly as an evangelist: preaching, speaking, training, and equipping. It has been a major adjustment, and such a shift from our ministry “normal”. This change is taking time to adapt to, and spiritual warfare is more intense than we’ve ever experienced. The enemy is NOT happy about what we’re doing and his attempts to discourage and distract us have been nonstop. But…GOD!!! God is blessing in ways that we’ve never experienced before in our lives, and there’s a deep joy that we simply cannot explain. Even though change is difficult, there is so much affirmation that this is what we’ve been called to do…and being in the middle of HIS work is always exhilarating!! In four short months, there have been countless professions of faith, numerous believers mobilized with the Gospel message, and many lives miraculously transformed by the power of God!! Lately, the Lord has answered prayers that my wife and I have been praying for several years. We’ve experienced breakthroughs in our family recently that can only be explained by the presence of an omnipotent God…and can only be answered with our praise and adoration. ALL praise and glory to God!!! He has affirmed His call on us for this new adventure with divine revelation, and we are humbled and overjoyed. God is so much bigger than what we could ever imagine. He is always working around us, and working things out in ways we may never expect.

There are so many of who you are partnering with us through prayer, encouragement, and financial support. I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you. You are making a difference in so many lives and in so many ministries by supporting us and our ministry. We are so thankful for you! We are also asking for more supporters. Sure, if God leads you to support us financially we would be grateful and God will surely honor your giving (more info on that here). However, my main focus here is prayer. As we continue to see the gospel advanced in so many ways (even some new ways on the horizon 😊), we ask that you would join our prayer team. Please contact me personally at if you sense a calling to be a part of our team of “inner circle intercessors”. This is a group of people who commit to praying for us daily and for specific requests. If you choose not to commit to that level of involvement, would you please consider praying for us regularly? You don’t have to contact me for that, just add an alarm/reminder on your phone/calendar to pray for us weekly, monthly…however God leads you. We know and value the power of intercessory prayer, and we appreciate your commitment! Your partnership means more than we could ever fully express, and be assured that your support is making major Kingdom impact! Once again, thank you for your love and support. Keep shining and sharing!

Jon Burdette

Next Generation Leader

A Message From Next Generation Leader Jon Burdette

Happy New Year! The phrase “new year” took on a whole new meaning for me and my family this year. After serving on staff in wonderful churches as youth pastor and senior pastor over the last 17 years, we now embark on a new missionary journey. We stepped out in faith and answered the call to evangelism in September 2018. We entered a time of transition that was filled with excitement, anticipation, and if I’m totally honest, fear of the unknown. We have trusted God to direct our steps and He has been faithful, as always. Our focus for the remainder of 2018 was to have a healthy leadership transition from a church plant that I pastored the last four years. The church has been so gracious and supportive every step of the way, and we are so grateful for such a loving church family at New Heights.  We thank God for His great faithfulness and provision during this transition, and we also thank YOU for your prayers and support. Many of you I have never met, and you don’t even really know me yet. But you know the heart of Dennis Nunn and the vision of Every Believer a Witness, and you have prayed for me and my family. THANK YOU!

With the beginning of 2019 our family has launched into a new beginning of our own. I am absolutely thrilled to be on board as the Next Generation Leader of Every Believer a Witness!! God has affirmed my calling to full time evangelism in various ways, but none greater than with my own family. I am blessed with a beautiful wife of 15 years and two children, Evan (13) and Shailynn (12). They take this calling seriously, and they have embraced and modeled a Gospel advancing lifestyle in their own circles of influence. Along with my personal commitment to share the Good News of Jesus, my wife and children also have Gospel conversations regularly and have all led someone to faith in Christ recently (praise God)!  I could not do this without the love and support of my family, and their response has been the most inspiring part of this journey (and it should be)! Why does my family have such an urgency? Because God has used Every Believer a Witness to challenge and impact them personally. How are they able to share the Gospel so fluently? Because they have been trained and equipped! With every new person I talk to about our ministry, I hear a deep concern from them about the spiritual condition of their family, friends, and co-workers. With every pastor I meet with, I see a holy discontent in them about how most of our churches and leaders are not prioritizing what matters most. This is the reality across our country, which is why we have set a God-sized goal of training 50,000 pastors by the year 2026! By the grace of God, we plan to accomplish this with our development of online training and the multiplication of church-wide and pastor equipping conferences. Pray with us and this bold vision that can only be accomplished by the power of God through the radical obedience of his people! God is up to something massive in our midst, and YOU are a part of this as you partner with us in prayer and financial support. I sense revival brewing, and God knows we need it now more than ever. Please join me in calling down the fire of revival from Heaven! Only God can send it, but I believe He is looking and longing for living sacrifices like us. In our response to God in praying, giving, and sharing the Gospel, may our actions echo the cry of Isaiah: “Here am I! Send me!”

God bless you and thank you for your partnership in the Gospel!

94-Year-Old Veteran Trusts Christ

If you receive our monthly newsletter you may recognize this story. I received the  following from Dr. Alex  Duvall of Georgetown, South Carolina in April:

Hank Winter, a retired U. S. naval captain, is a 94- year-old veteran of both WWI and Korea where he served as a fighter pilot. He is my  wife’s grandfather,  and I have known him for about 20 years. He has always epitomized gentlemanly behavior, generosity, and graciousness. For the past few years, he attended church regularly, but if you asked him about his faith, he would honestly admit that he was not a believer in Jesus Christ. About two years ago, we had a conversation about his objections to belief from an apologetics approach, and it went nowhere. My wife and  her  sister  both  wrote letters encouraging Hank to come to faith. While appreciated, these letters did not bring him to faith in Jesus Christ.

Then in the fall of 2016, my local church hosted Every Believer a Witness with Dennis Nunn for their annual revival week. Despite being a believer for many years, evangelism was a great struggle for me. I was hoping this event would be a help in  that department; boy, I was not disappointed! Never had I encountered such an encouraging, Biblically-based, and practical teaching on the reason and way to be a faithful witness for Jesus Christ. Over the course of five sessions, I gained both the easy-to-understand methods and the opportunity to practice  witnessing that  made filling the Great Commission in my daily life seem not only possible but even rewarding! I continued to not only pray for those who God had laid on my heart for salvation but to look for ways to witness to them. Hank was at the top of my list, as well as on several others’ prayer lists, and it was not long before it appeared  time was running out for him to accept  Christ.

In January of 2017, the heart failure that for so many years had not been able to slow down Captain Hank Winter began to take its toll. He was hospitalized twice that month with trouble breathing and also had an infection in his lungs and blood stream. He would have periods of time  where  he  was short of breath even sitting in a chair, and despite good medical care, he had minimal improvement. During both his hospitalizations, I took my Bible and with his permission read various  passages to  him  and  discussed  the  gospel.  I concentrated  on passages such as the  sinner on the cross and the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard to  emphasize  that the grace offered through Christ is available to latecomers just as much as those who accept it early in life. We discussed these  spiritual matters  for awhile, and  although he  considered them more seriously, still belief eluded  him.

Shortly after coming home from the hospital for the second time, Hank went to his doctor who is a Christian partner of mine and had prayed for Hank and witnessed to him in the past. Hank was given the choice to go to the hospital yet again with little chance of significant improvement or to take a palliative approach to his illness by concentrating on his quality of life at home with hospice.  Hank  chose  the  latter option. I visited with him a few times at his  home and had some good discussions, but Hank was still unconverted. I remembered Dennis teaching that we are just as faithful when we share the gospel with those who reject it as we are with those who accept it; salvation is of the Lord. However, I, along with many others, sure was praying hard for Hank’s conversion, including my young children  who  knew  the stakes.  All the  while, Hank’s health continued  to be precarious.

Then in the course of just a few days, I experienced a barrage of adverse events that started with a brand new generator suddenly breaking with no explanation and culminating on a Wednesday at work with me having the most crushing day in over a decade of practicing medicine. I recalled what Dennis had said in his last session: if you are serious about sharing the gospel, expect some resistance from Satan. I almost was not surprised, and looking back, God had prepared  me  for it.  How do you respond to the worst day you have ever had at work? Comfort food or drink? Sulk? Retreat to a circle of close family and friends? Exercise? Listen to music?  In and of themselves, most of these are not bad things, but perhaps something bigger was going on, and I felt the Lord had shown me what it was. In a strange way, I was encouraged because if there was truly spiritual warfare  at play  and  all this  trouble had suddenly appeared, Hank must be close to salvation. I responded in the  only way I felt was truly fighting back; after work, I went back to Hank’s with my Bible and witnessed to him again. He did not convert then, but I felt I had  responded faithfully and that God would not lay Hank’s eternal soul on so many hearts without plans to show His power to save.

After hearing that Hank had further declined, I went back over to his house the following Sunday evening. There were no high and holy prayers or notable special preparations; I just went. Hank had a lot of questions about dying and was having fears about death and hell now that he felt he was staring over the edge of the cliff. I read a few passages emphasizing the open invitation to come to the One who gives peace and takes away the sting of death.  I,  along with my  believing mother-in-law who is his ever-present caretaker, held his  hands  and  prayed.  The  Holy Spirit did  the work only He can do, and Hank Winter repented of his  sins  and  called  on the Lord to accept him. When he opened his eyes, his fear and shortness of breath had passed.  At 94 years old, his spiritual man had just risen from the  dead.

I am sharing Hank’s conversion story with his permission. He may be late to the fight, but Captain Hank Winter made the decision to be faithful  to  his  Lord’s  order from Acts that “you will be my witnesses.” He  has  fired  one  last missile  despite being unable to leave home and struggles to even walk to his  front door. It just goes  to show, every believer can be a witness.


Alex Duvall

From Dennis: “Don’t give up on sharing your faith with your family and friends!”

EVANGELISM – “Come and see” OR “Go and tell”

As I read the history of Israel and her kings, I am reminded that there is a great difference in evangelism methodology in the Old Testament (Covenant) and the New Testament (Covenant).

In the Old Testament, Israel was God’s chosen nation. When the temple was built in Jerusalem for his Name, God’s presence dwelt visibly in the Holy of Holies. Outsiders (foreigners, non-Jews, gentiles) were welcome to come and worship Jehovah in Jerusalem. When Solomon prayed his prayer of dedication, he said:

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.”

Even when Jesus was in his earthly ministry, it was still “come and see”; e.g. Andrew & Peter and Philip & Nathanael (John 1) and the woman at the well (John 4).

But when Jesus gave what we refer to as “The Great Commission” to his disciples, He told them “go”, “I am sending you”, and “be witnesses” in various locations to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

The most common philosophy today in our churches is more like the Old Covenant than the New Covenant. Many Pastors exhort their people to invite their friends to church. I read on one church web site where members were exhorted to “get them here and we will share the Gospel with them”. And while we certainly should invite our friends to church, this should NOT be our primary focus, but rather one method.

The primary focus should be exhorting and training our people to share Jesus in the “as you are going” of life.