My Testimony

Hi! My name is Jim and I make a joyful noise! Some folks may not call what I do playin' and singin'! Born on May 5th, 1952, at Maxwell Air Force Base, in Montgomery, AL, the son of an Air Force Medic. Shortly after being "hatched", the family returned to Texas. Later, Dad went to work for the Texas Prison system and Mom for a bank, and my sister, Cheryl and I were raised on a Prison Farm near Brazoria, TX. I began to make noise on the guitar when I was 9 or 10 years old on a "Gene Autry" guitar, given to me by my Grandmother. I graduated from Brazosport High School in Freeport, TX in 1970 and went to work for the Texas Prison system for a short time. In 1971, Uncle Sam called (we had a draft lottery back then, and my number was 41)and before I was drafted, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. I spent 8 years as a Military Policeman, serving at several different Army Posts within the boundries of the United States and also spent tours in Vietnam and Thailand. I was released from active service in December of 1978, and went to work for the Dow Chemical Company, in Freeport, TX in January of 1979, where I have been employed for the past 20 years. I currently work for the Fire & Security Department as a Dispatcher.

I was raised in the Baptist and Episcopal Denominations, attending the Baptist Church when visiting my Grandparents and the Episcopal Church when at home. I was "confirmed" and Baptised at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, in Freeport, TX when I was 10 years old. This meant that I had been through some Bible classes and had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that now, I could receive Holy Communion (or the Lords Supper). After this, I rarely attended church, but believed strongly in the Bible and in Jesus. He was ever with me and He knew that I would one day truly come to Him and into His Service, and in September of 1985, I did. A good friend had been witnessing to me, and because of the call of the Holy Spirit, I had made up my mind to read the Bible. At the time, I was working the night shift at Dow and had been reading a lot. Reading the King James Version, I had made it into Psalms(finally!) and had been saying to God, "Lord, these are great stories, but what do they have to do with me?" Well, one night, the Lord woke me at 3:30 AM and spoke to my heart, saying that I was not saved. I argued with Him, (imagine that!) repeating my church history to Him. But He, with great Love and Patience, told me again that I was not saved. As all of you know, you're not about to win an arguement with God, and soon I fell under terrible conviction, and judged myself truly to be worthy of death and hell. My Lord called me then, and I was Born Again and as I made Jesus the Lord of my Life, was filled with the Holy Spirit and my name was forevermore written in the Lamb's Book of Life, never to be removed! That night, my Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Tonight, I have answered your Grandmother's prayer." The next day, I couldn't wait to tell folks what Jesus had done for me in the night! Suddenly, His Word came alive and I had my answer about the Bible!

Southern Praise was formed sometime later, after I grew for a few years in Christ and was called into ministry to Him. You see, I believe that when we minister to someone else, in any way, we are really ministering to Him. He said that, "if you do this unto the least of my people, you do it to me." Well, I believe His Word, and when ministering to someone that I might find undesirable (Lord, please forgive me for judging), if I remember who it is that I am truly ministering to, then His ministry becomes constructive and good, and I am Blessed beyond measure.

Paula and I were married in April of 1993. Together, we have 4 children. From oldest to youngest they are Melissa, Craig, John, and Lee. Melissa and Craig are grown, and John and Lee are still at home. We are members of 2nd Baptist Church of Lake Jackson, TX. Our Pastor is Jim Way and Associate Pastor is Ronnie Whitehead. I am very thankful for my 2nd Family, my Church Family, but I am most thankful to You, Lord Jesus, for Your birth, death, and resurrection and for my precious hope in You! Because the good work that you have started in me, I know, You will surely finish!

God Bless you all!

In His Service,

Jim Barnes

Visit Jim's Website - Southern Praise