by Claude Thomas


Introduction: Testimony of Dallas magnate, Sam Evans, in Guideposts, February 1985. His life of workaholism started when he ran away from home at 14. On learning he couldn't become successful without an education, he worked his way through school and law school at night. He started working 18-hour days, and started his own business. He gained a net worth of 70 million dollars, a 14,000 square foot house on 1,000 acres of land with a Learjet waiting outside.

His accountant in Dallas told him if he was ever in Atlanta he should go to Mt. Paran Church. Sam thought this was peculiar because he never went to church. Then shuffling through the Atlanta airport to a connecting flight from England to Dallas, he was greeted by two young women who handed him a Bible. He asked them, "What in the world are you out here handing out Bibles in the dead of night?" They answered "Because of love; Jesus loves you." As he turned to leave, one said, "Come visit our church sometime. It's the Mt. Paran Church.." That was the second time in less than two weeks he had been urged to visit that same church.

Shortly after that, the recession of the 70's hit. His empire seemed to crumble overnight. All he had left was a patent on a system that had been developed in Atlanta. He went out on a limb and moved his family there. His secretary was persuaded to move with them. One day out of the blue she said, "I've found a wonderful church, Mt. Paran." Not long afterward, she returned to Dallas, and he hired another secretary. She invited him and his family to, yes, Mt. Paran Church. His business just didn't seem to get off the ground. While buying a home from an Atlanta lawyer, Sam and his wife were invited yet again to Mt. Paran Church.

They finally went, and as the preacher spoke, it seemed to be directed at Sam. He felt the peeling away of the protective layers of his old, hard-nosed business self. Part of him wanted to bolt and run, and part n ...

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