James Paul Talbert “Coach”

James Talbert     My name is James Paul Talbert. I spent thirty-two years in education, of which twenty-three years as a head football coach and Athletic Director – nine as an assistant football coach and four of those at the college level. I received a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard Payne University (HPU), played football for them and had an athletic scholarship and majored in Physical Education and History.

My wife Susan is also an educator of twenty-three years and currently a Middle School Counselor at Commerce I.S.D.

 

   I have three adult daughters from a previous marriage, and Susan has two sons from her previous marriage. We are currently residing in Commerce, in an apartment until mid-December. We’re building a home in Greenville.

   Susan and I have been attending multiple churches and are searching for a new church home.

   I’m honored to tell you my personal testimony and have prayed many hours in preparation for this opportunity. I’m asking that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will fill my body with the Holy Spirit, and that His words will come from my lips and inspire all who hear these words, will strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ.

   My story begins with being raised in a good Christian home. My parents were both caring and loving Christians. They always saw that we were at church and Sunday School. We attended church functions as a family. I especially enjoyed the covered dish lunches or suppers.

   In the fourth grade my older brother David and I attended confirmation class and joined the church. Going to church was a part of my life in every place I lived. This lifestyle continued for me with many ups and downs until the morning of May 2nd, 2012, when I suffered my second heart attack in a little less than five years.

   At this point, I would like to fill in many of the gaps between my joining the church in the fourth grade and publicly professing my faith in Jesus Christ. My stumbling block from having a loving real relationship with Jesus Christ, His Father, and His Holy Spirit, was “Me.”

   I continued to attend church through junior high and high school. I stayed out late on most Saturday nights with my friends but managed to make the eleven o’clock church service. My motivation for church was that mom was an awesome cook! The best meal of the week was after church, and the “House Rules” were if you don’t go to church, you’re not welcomed to share in that meal.

   I attended college on a football scholarship that I earned as a walk on at Range Junior College (RJC). It was a big deal because my parents came from a long line of “Hard Workers – Salt of the earth.” Most of my family members were just high school graduates. But not my dad, he had an eight grade education. I was the first one in my family to go to college and received an Associate Degree at RJC and a Bachelor’s at Howard Payne.

   I married my first wife while still in college at the age of twenty, which was just fifteen day’s before my twenty-first birthday. Three years later, I was blessed with my first daughter and by 1984, had two more beautiful daughters. They were, and still are and will always be a true blessing to me.

   At this point, I will move rather quickly through the next twenty-five years. My wife and I were both loving and caring parents. We always put our children first. They were all three baptized and attended church regularly as a family. So what happened? What was lacking in my life?

   I was both a good player in college and team captain. All four years, I received some accolades along the way. I even signed a two-year contract with the Houston Oilers with legendary head coach Bum Phillips. I suffered my third knee ACL injury and was unable to play anymore. I coached for the next thirty-two years and had a deep passion for coaching and the players I worked with. I have many great memories of teams, players and my coaching brothers on those staffs.

   However, with all that was good in my life, I still had a disconnect with my relationship with Christ. I made many poor choices, personal choices about how I would live my life. I believe my chain of priorities would have gone something like this: 1. my kids, 2. my career, 3. my marriage, 4. things that gave me pleasure, 5. and my faith. As we all know, that order of prioritizing is a pathway to hell. Christ has to be number one – The relationship with our Heavenly Father must be first in everything that we do. Truthfully, my relationship with Christ was a convenience at best.

   I was the fixer in my home, in my marriage, and the head coach on the field. It was only in my darkest and harder times that I would go to Christ for help or an answer. But because of deep guilt for all the sins that I had committed, and really not knowing how to pray, my life was incomplete. I never had true peace. I never felt good about myself and who I was. Why? Because although I was a believer, my actions were selfish and my choices were poor. That being said, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I had no real relationship.

   At fifty-two years old, I retired from coaching. I had enough years in at that time and truthfully began to realize that my health was suffering. Shortly after that, I suffered my first heart attack. It was a bad one, but luckily just nine days earlier my girlfriend and I moved into an apartment about two miles from a major cardio hospital in Grapevine. I was there quickly and treated with great care. I received two stints and began my journey with heart disease treatment and all the medications.

    I coached two more years after that – one as an assistant college coach and one as a head coach at a private school in the metroplex. I believe I became a much better person overall and was in a committed relationship with my wife, but still the faith relationship that I needed with Christ was not there. Still, the faith relationship that I needed was not there. I still had to deal with one more major catastrophe to get where I needed to be spiritually.

  On May the 2nd, 2012, my wife and I entered the gym at 4:15 A.M. Little did I know that I was fixing to get hit hard, harder than at any point in my life. We finished our workout and I began to feel sick. I was having heart attack symptoms, and was hoping to get my wife off to work and then drive myself to the hospital, to see what was going on with my heart. But that was not to be. The pain became unbearable and severe. I had nausea and started vomiting. I had tightness in my neck, jaw, arms, and chest. I cried out for my wife. I was lying at the bottom of the stairs in vomit, coming in and out of consciousness for what seemed forever; while waiting for the ambulance. We lived about twenty minutes away from the hospital at that time.

   I continued to fight the anxiety and the pain. This was a terrible heart attack that would leave me with a severely damaged heart.

   I asked the paramedics, “Am I going to make it?”

   The look on his face was extremely negative, and the tone of his voice was not very confident. He said, “We’re doing all that we can!”

   At that moment, I began to pray, and I surrendered my life 100% to Christ and peace came over me like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

   While coming out of the anesthesia, I could hear my daughters’ voices. Two worked in Bismarck, North Dakota, at the time. I was wondering if I was dead or what was happening. My wife’s voice was engaging with my three girls. I slowly began to realize that I was still alive. Trust me, I felt the Holy Spirit within my heart and didn’t know what my future held. Butat that moment realized who held my future. It was the Lord Jesus Christ.

   The procedure and stents saved my life. However my number two artery was severely blocked and the surgeons suggested a more difficult procedure the next day to correct the problem. That evening, I texted many of my lifelong friends and family to pray for me. I was a changed man and my relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had begun. At fifty-five years old, I now was a true believer in Christ. Although I had always believed in Him, I never truly surrendered my life to Him. I was entering into something greater and more special than anything I had ever done before.

   Today, I’m a true born-again Christian. It’s been ten years since my heart troubles began, and I have ten stints and over 50% of my heart is non-functioning, I’m here. I read Scripture daily, and go to God in prayer. I wake up giving thanks, and I go to bed giving thanks. My relationship with Christ is like I begin a phone conversation in the morning, and continues until I fall asleep at night. I try to live a “Purpose Driven Life,” which is to spread the Word of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel that I’ve grown over the past seven years in my walk with Christ. I realize that I still have a very long way to go and still wrestle with temptation daily. The flesh is weak, but when I turn to prayer or scripture and focus with meditation; Christ deliveries me from the temptation and gives me a way out.

   For the past thirteen months, my wife Susan has battled with invasive ductile carcinoma, a type of breast cancer. She went through a double mastectomy and lymph node surgery to remove the cancer. Our church family and friends have given us much comfort with their prayers as well. Going through this trial, has made us better people. God does have a plan for each of us. We must throw everything at His feet. Christ will not fail you!

   I am giving witness daily to any who will listen about my walk with Jesus and how the Holy Spirit guides me through each day. I realize now that my guilt, heavy guilt I lived with because I was taught the way by true God loving parents. I chose to trust in myself more than what God’s path for me has been.

   We are not worthy of God’s grace and mercy. It is truly a gift from God that can only be received through our total surrender through true faith. The kind of faith that consumes us to the point that we put that faith into actions daily spreading this wonderful message of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. That faith decision has proven to be the best decision I ever made. To God Be the Glory!

   YOU CAN START YOUR NEW LIFE WITH CHRIST

   You can have real, lasting peace today through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Start your four-step journey now!

Step 1 – God loves you and has a plan for you!

   The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

   Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”—a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10).

But here’s the problem:

Step 2 – Man is sinful and separated from God.

   We have all done, thought or said bad things, which the Bible calls “sin.” The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

   The result of sin is death, spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).

The good news?

Step 3 – God sent His Son to die for your sins!

    Jesus died in our place so we could have a relationship with God and be with Him forever.

   “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

    But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives!

   “Christ died for our sins. … He was buried. … He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

   Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

Step 4 – Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness?

   We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty.

   Please follow me in prayer to accept Christ as your Savior:

"Dear God,

   I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness.

   I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sins and that You raised Him to life.

   I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will.

   I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen."

 

James Paul Talbert Hearing His Voice Testimony

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