It’s All About Jesus


I was blessed to grow up in a family where my parents knew Jesus and lived out their faith in Him. We were in church every time the doors were open, and they were open a lot in those days.

We attended a church of another denomination until we moved from Illinois to Florida when I was 14 years old. Spiritual mentors of my mom and dad had been to Shell Point Village, the Alliance church at Shell Point Retirement Community, and advised us to look for a Christian and Missionary Alliance church. A what? Despite never having heard of the C&MA, we started attending First Alliance Church in Port Charlotte, Florida.

Jesus Christ Our Savior

I had a positive experience in our previous church. In fact, I came to faith in Jesus in that church as a 13-year-old at the end of a Sunday-night service. It was an amazing encounter to meet Jesus Christ our Savior. I walked out of church that night feeling a hundred pounds lighter. I had been forgiven, and the guilt of my sin was gone! I knew that Jesus lived in me and that I would live with Him forever.

Terry and Ruth were both students at Toccoa Falls College.

However, the next year of my life was like a spiritual roller-coaster ride. I couldn’t seem to overcome peer pressure and the sinful behaviors it kept pulling me back into. It was Jesus’ mercy that moved my family 1,100 miles south and gave me a fresh start. And there was something different about this church with the unusual name that we now attended.

The preached Word of God came alive to me. The Holy Spirit began to do a deeper work in me and apparently in a lot of other people in the church, since the congregation was growing by leaps and bounds, and people seeking Jesus frequently lined the altar.

If one thing marked the life of that church in those days, it was the centrality of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday morning service began with our pastor, John Croston, proclaiming, “He is alive!” and the church family echoing, “He is alive!” A message our pastor preached that I still remember was on Jesus’ Transfiguration from Matthew 17. The words of verse 8 in the old King James Version will forever reverberate in my mind: “They saw no man, save Jesus only.”

I found myself falling in love with Jesus and experiencing more of what it meant that He lived in me. His influence on my life became stronger than the influence of my peers. I was beginning to experience what we call in The Alliance “progressive sanctification.” Little by little, I surrendered more of my life to Jesus and  started to hear His call to ministry. I began to die to my dreams for my life and embrace the plan that Jesus had for me.

Jesus Christ Our Sanctifier

While I was falling in love with Jesus, I was also falling in love with a young lady named Ruth who had started attending First Alliance. Our relationship began to form around Jesus calling us to pastoral ministry. Ruth had graduated from high school two years before me. Not wanting to take the risk of losing this one I loved, I graduated from high school one Friday night, and we got married the next Friday night. Just a few days later, off we went on a journey with Jesus to Toccoa Falls College (TFC), where I would pursue the education I needed to be a pastor in The Alliance.

Terry celebrated his graduation from Toccoa Falls College with Ruth and his parents.

However, I entered my senior year at TFC negotiating with the Lord about this whole ministry thing. I tried to convince Him to allow me to be a Christian businessman, promising that I would give lots of money to missions. He wasn’t buying the argument. In fact, He used this struggle to bring me into a series of experiences that ultimately deepened my commitment to Him.

That journey began in Greek class one day. We had achieved our highest goal and gotten the professor off topic. However, he started talking about the connection of a believer’s baptism to experiencing the fullness of the Spirit. I felt convicted that I had not obeyed Jesus in the matter of baptism. Back in our home church during fall break, I took care of this important matter.

A couple of months later, during spiritual emphasis meetings, I responded to the Holy Spirit’s tug on my heart to surrender everything to Jesus. On a Friday night, I threw some worldly stuff into a fire, but most importantly, I publicly declared, “All for Jesus!” This was my crisis experience of sanctification, where I yielded my whole life to Jesus so that His Spirit not only lived in me but now filled me. This brought me into a deepening experience of Jesus Christ our Sanctifier that continues to this day. From that moment on, I no longer struggled with His call on my life.

Jesus Christ Our Healer

I don’t remember seeing someone seek the Lord’s healing through being anointed with oil by the elders (James 5) until we started attending an Alliance church. The doctrine of healing seems to draw all sorts of extreme views—everything from “it doesn’t happen anymore” to “it has to happen every time.”

Terry and Ruth with Terry's parents sometime after his dad's life was saved through abdominal surgery

For me, the great thing about our Alliance doctrine of healing is that it focuses on the Person of Jesus Christ our Healer. It’s all about seeking Him in the James 5 way and seeing Him bring glory to Himself as He cares for His children’s needs.

Several years ago, in his mid-40s, my dad landed in the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Doctors didn’t seem to understand what was going on or what to do about it. On the third day, my dad called for his fellow elders to come to the hospital to anoint him with oil and pray. Just after that, the doctors decided to do exploratory surgery, still unsure of what they would find.

They found ruptured diverticulitis that was spreading serious infection throughout my dad’s abdominal region. Had they not done the surgery when they did, he might well have died at a premature age. Dad and the other elders had sought and experienced Jesus Christ our Healer.

Jesus Christ Our Coming King

As many views as there are on healing, surely there are even more on the return of Jesus Christ. Everyone draws their prophecy chart in a different way. I admit that my prophecy chart has lots of eraser marks on it. We really don’t know when Jesus is coming or precisely how all the prophetic details will work out. However, in The Alliance, we believe that Christ’s return is imminent—it could happen at any moment of any day.

Our founder, A. B. Simpson, tied Christ’s return to the completion of the mission that He assigned to us. We cling tightly to Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:14—“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

We don’t know exactly when Jesus is coming, but we do know exactly what we are to be doing until He returns. Jesus Christ our Coming King wants all of us to be urgently engaged in Great Commission work right up to the moment He comes.

Imagine that moment: to look up from what we are doing in His name to see His coming in the clouds, to see Him face-to-face, to see Him in all His glory. In the end and then for eternity, it’s all about Jesus.

4 responses to It’s All About Jesus

  1. Terry Smith along with his dear wife are both the real deal and are missed in Eastern PA where they last served as District Superintendent and wife.
    God’s hand is on them both only because of their living “All for Jesus”
    May we all live as they do and soon see our King Jesus!

  2. Hello Mrs. Corona,

    Thank you for inquiring about ways to best serve Jesus in your community. It is always best to start with your own pastor and church leaders in seeking this kind of guidance. If you would like additional information about most effective ways to serve in a broader area, you may want to call your C&MA district office.

    If you live in central or northern California, it would be best to contact Mr. Edgar Castro, who coordinates Hispanic ministries at the C&MA’s Central Pacific District Office. The CP District’s phone number is (530)662-2500 and its e-mail address is [email protected].

    If you live in southern California, it would be best to contact Mr. Moises Valentin, who coordinates Hispanic ministries at the South Pacific District Office. The SP District’s phone number is (951)719-1191 and its e-mail address is [email protected].

    I hope this helps!

  3. Hi I am Leticia Corona my husband and I are members of a Spanish CMA in California. We are gladly working on supporting the mission. We this year we trying to work on what God wants us to do for his kingdom,motivating the church the to spread the word in our community I will appreciate some advise thank you.

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