(Rev 12:11 NIV)
I “called” myself a Christian. I had the same problem that many people in church have today. I was religious but not born again. I lived my life trying to be good. I was trying, by my own efforts, to get “straight” so God would love and accept me. People go to church as scripture says, .......“having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Tim 3:5 Some very religious people know in their head the facts about Jesus but are still living a life in the flesh. They may even have prayed the sinners prayer to ask Jesus into their lives but are not born of the Spirit of God. They hold on to sin, lust, greed, power, position, fame, wealth and not wanting to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. They are trying to eat from two tables. The Bible says, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons” (1 Cor 10:21)
I did not realize until later that I was one of those people who was trying to eat from “the Lord's table and the table of demons.” You see, I was brought up in the church but was not taught about John 3:3-5 and the requirement to be reborn or born again. I joined the church at 13. I called myself a Christian, prayed, went to church, served the church, believed the facts about Jesus and I was so very close but so very far from being born again of the Spirit of God. I went about living a lie and thinking I was a better Christian than most. But God says, "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. (Romans 3: 10-11) I was living a life “having a form of godliness”.
My mother’s name was Anne. Anne met Bill just before he went overseas in WW II. After the war was over they settled down to raise their family. Mama and Daddy had five children, Linda, Reid, John, Lamar and Sandy. Mother was strict on us and always tried to make us behave while loving us, dearly. Mama tried to impart wisdom to her children because the Word of God says in Proverbs 29:15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. With that many kids, there was never a dull moment in our house. Dad traveled and sold textiles and mother stayed home with the kids. We went to church every Sunday without fail.
My mother went through the “change of life,” they call it, and during those trying years, mother took a rifle, put it to her head and that was it. Dad rode in the ambalance as they rushed mother to Emory Hospital in Atlanta. She died on the way. We were all brought from school and told the horrible news. Dad would arrive later to reassure us that things would be all right and we would carry-on without mother. Dad prayed and asked God for help. We all wept bitterly together, crushed by the news of mothers’ death. My poor father was left without a wife and five kids to raise. Grandmother Callaway had been notified and leaving her job, was on her way to be with us. God had provided the most Godly Grandmother anyone could ever hope to have. She had raised four boys herself and was again ready for this job, by the grace of God. She raised us like her own children with a God- fearing iron hand. Grandmother made us go to church without fail every Sunday, a family tradition we had learned from our youth up. She poured the love of Jesus into us in deed and not word only. She loved Jesus with every bone in her body. Grandmother Callaway never fully explained the relationship you needed to have with Jesus to see and enter the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5) “But Lord, thank you for your servants like grandmother who “let their light so shine before men” that we can see God in them and give you all the Praise, Glory and Honor.” She prayed for us daily and lived a life of service to others.
Growing up, I had been a star athlete in football, baseball and track for my small Georgia high school. I would have played basketball but spent the winter months loving the outdoors and hunting. I was a good kid in high school, staying away from smoking, drinking and sex. When I went off to college I was introduced to the sinful lifestyle. I didn’t apply myself in college and having no root in Christ, was kicked out of school for drinking during the height of the Vietnam War in 1966.
After loosing my college deferment I preferred joining the Army, rather than being drafted into the infantry. Scoring very high on my entry testing, I was pulled aside and offered an opportunity to go into Army Intelligence and Officers Candidate School but I turned them down because it would require a longer stay in the military. Wanting to glean something from my Army years, I elected to go to crane school. I had learned to operate bulldozers at the age of 16 and this would add to that experience. By the summer of 1967 I was sent to Vietnam with the combat engineers as a “rough-terrain” crane operator. I was later sent to a Special Forces “A-Team” intelligence gathering outpost on the Cambodian boarder. Because of all the incoming artillery and rockets, I operated a bulldozer digging holes so that everything (vehicles, artillery, men, supplies and equipment) would be underground. I was exposed to drugs, and much more while serving in Vietnam. I almost lost my life on several occasions but by the grace of God, my life was spared. I prayed and trusted God to protect me. God had allowed me to know in my spirit that, somehow, I would make it. You see, the Callaway family has had thirty-eight (38) Baptist preachers - from father to son - for generations. I am convinced now, that it was the prayers of God fearing men and women in my family, both past and present, that built a hedge of protection around me, by God’s grace, for such a time as this.
I survived the immoral sex, drugs, death, dirt and war of Vietnam to return home. I stopped using drugs and can remember taking two baths a day for 30 days to get all of the dirt out of the pores of my skin. I was sick those thirty days and thought it was the food change that was the problem. God allowed me to realize, years later, that it was caused by drug withdrawals from the opium and other drugs I had been using.
After I was back for about six months or so I went back to that same sinful lifestyle, all over again. I became involved with a girl, got her pregnant and married her. God caused me to name my daughter Hope. God always offers us Hope. Without any root in Christ, the marriage was in trouble and soon ended in fighting and divorce. I began to sell drugs and run with the street people of Atlanta but soon found that was not for me. I moved to Miami thinking thing would change but everywhere I ran, Reid was there. I moved back to Atlanta. I was running from God’s call on my life, just like Jonah did. I had to go through the “belly of the whale experience” like Jonah to see how much God really loved me. God’s protecting hand was ever near. Praise God for the Hounds of Heaven and their relentless pursuit after me.
I worked in heavy construction for many years building bridges, highways, hotel, dams, clearing land etc.... All the while running from God and not wanting to give up the drugs and sinful lifestyle that were separating me from Him. In 1977, I inherited 84 acres of timber-land with a barn, lake and a beautiful house my grandfather had built. I fell in love with a beautiful girl name Kathy Wiedeman from Atlanta and we married six months later. We waited five years to have kids as we enjoyed life together without children. I started my own construction company in 1979. In 1980, I ran and won political office as Chairman of the Greene County Board of Commissioners. I had promised God to give up the drugs that so separated me from a true whole hearted relationship with Him, if He helped me win. Complete surrender is what God requires. I won the election but soon went back on my promise to quit drugs after God had given me the victory. So God went back on His promise to me. The Bible says, But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods (drugs) and bow down to them, the Lord's anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you." (Josh 23:15-16 NIV)
By 1983, God had humbled me by a series of events and taken away about everything that I thought mattered to me. I had been recalled from political office, my construction business was bankrupt, I had lost my home, my land and all my inheritance was gone. I had no job. My life was in shambles. Kathy had always said, she hadn’t married me for my money. Now I knew it must be true for she was still by my side after loosing everything. The future was very dim. By God’s grace, I was so far down I could only look up. I began to seek God with all of my heart. God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
One night after years of running from the Lord because I wanted to eat from both tables, I remembered, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons” (1 Cor 10:21) Yes, after years of eating at “the table of demons”, I began to see myself as God saw me. What a horrible sight it was. I cried out to God to Save me. I began to pray something like this........ “Father, I have made a mess of my life trying to run things by myself. You have protected me and loved me but I have not loved you. Father, forgive my sin. Come into my life Jesus, I am tired of trying to do it on my own. And I will serve you all the rest of my days.” God heard that prayer and came into my heart that night and started working on me. I was born again of the Spirit of God. I began to study God’s Word and seek God with all of my heart. I found where scripture says, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2) Nothing in my life has been the same since. My wife, Kathy, was born again a few years later. I understand now that all that matters to God is that He see His children born again, set free from the powers of darkness and the fear that Satan has bound them with. I once was blind but now I see. Like Jesus said, ...."I tell you the truth, no one can see (understand, be sure of, know) the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3 NIV)
When I was growing up, even before I was born again, the Lord spoke into my spirit these words. “There is no work worth doing, except my work”. At the time I thought that those words were in the Bible. But they aren’t. These were God’s words to Reid Callaway. About a year before I was born again the Lord gave me a vision of all the people that go to Hell each day on this planet. Men, women and children who were without hope or a Savior. I cried and wailed for almost an hour as I looked into the terrified faces of all those souls who were on their way to the pit of Hell. That vision from God will never be washed from my memory! As I grew in Christ these two revelations from God were further burned into my heart and spirit. I asked God for two things, a heart for the lost that I had seen in His vision to me and a hunger for His Holy Word. God is faithful and gave me both.
God called me to evangelism through prison ministry in 1990, as I sat listening to inmates speak at a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Advance at Rock Eagle in Eatonton, Georgia. I was baptized with the Holy Spirit one night in a hotel room in New York City while on business there. I received my prayer language a few months later. By 1991, several opportunities to minister the gospel of Christ had opened to me in state prisons, county jails and youth detention centers. I began by going to Fulton County Jail, Putnam County Boot Camp and then on to Rockdale County Jail and others. I sometimes took two services a week driving 120 miles round trip and buying my own Bibles and tracks. But, the Lord had put it in my heart to be faithful. Early on, I began praying for God to raise up Godly men to help me in prisons. Through the years he has raised up some men to help me but most only stayed for a short time. The cost is too great. Jesus warned us, "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' (Luke 14:28-30 NIV) Jesus said the cost of serving Him would be great. “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33 NIV) Jesus said,..... "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (Luke 10:2 NIV)
There have been too many Sunday’s that I have left men waiting to hear from God as I went to be with my own family, for lack of faithful men. And then there are the times I’ve stayed to do the work of three men and missed church altogether. I have ridden long distances only to have the services canceled or have the inmates in “lock-down” because of riots or drugs. I have gone when little or no inmates have shown up. God allowed me to afford a computer and I have written hundreds and hundreds of letters to boys in YDC’s and men in prison. I have given up most of my Saturdays for the last three years to help build a transition center for men to parole out to. When I wasn’t working on the transition center I would go to prison and visit men I had led to Christ. God has laid it on my heart to support about ten inmates each month, financially. The cost has been great to me and my family, in time and money etc. But God put it in my spirit, “there is no work worth doing, except my work”. God has allowed me to lead hundreds and hundreds of men and boys to Christ.
To God be all the Glory!God has blessed me four beautiful daughters, Hope, Sarah, Katy and Faith. God started with Hope and ended with Faith.
Pray that God will continue to raise up men and women to be faithful to Jesus and ...... go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Mat 28:19-20 NIV) People who will be willing to consider the very high cost and be willing to give up everything for Him. He will put it in their hearts to be faithful.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, ......... but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12 NIV)
In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Rev 5:12 NIV)
Jesus told us, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)
Warrior For Christ,
Praise you, Jesus!
You know exactly what I would be without you
and Love me anyway!
In His grace,
Prison Evangelist Reid Callaway
Brother Reid Callaway and the girls,
Kathy, Hope(26), Sarah(12), Katy(10), and Faith(3)
Email : Evang777@aol.com
Reid Callaway (father)
Sarah (12 years old)
Katy (10 years old)
Faith (3 years old)
Hope (26 years old - not in picture)
Picture taken with autumn leaves
in the North Georgia Mountains
with a waterfall
- Oct 1996