My name is Bob Hanna. I was born in Freeport, ME and grew up in Freeport and Pownal, ME. I was a lobsterman most of my life, while also working in woodworking and as a cook.
SOMETHING WAS MISSING
So many things in my life were great, or least they seemed that way; but something was always missing. I tried to fill the emptiness in my life with everything I could think of to make my life happy. Nevertheless, my life was going downhill. I started losing everything – my house, my possessions; even my family was falling apart. All my efforts to be happy had failed.
It was during this troublesome time in my life that a friend invited me to go to church. I went alone, without the rest of my family. Wow! The whole sermon was about me. I wanted to crawl under the pew. I had an emotional, religious experience that day, and came out of that service feeling 200 lbs lighter. I had gone to church and now I was “good,” and I felt good. The only problem was, I continued down the same sinful road. There was no real and lasting change in my life. My sin was increasing, and my good feeling was decreasing. So, to try to suppress the empty feeling I had inside and to find happiness, I became more sinful.
One day, a new family moved to town. The man came over and introduced himself. He was a really nice guy, but when he said he was the Pastor of Royal River Baptist Church, I was like, “Oh boy, a religious dude!” I listened to what he had to say and then let him know that I was all set. He said that was fine and that he had just wanted to share some good news with me.
NOT OF WORKS
Well, time passed, and who do you think should show up again – the Pastor. I was like, “Here we go again.” We went to the back porch and chatted a while. He was really a decent guy. He briefly gave me the gospel message from the Bible. This time he said something that I couldn’t get away from. He told me that Jesus was sent to die for us because we don’t have enough righteousness to get to heaven on our own. Jesus bore all our sins on the cross, and all we need to do is repent of our sin and accept Him. I told him that I was a good man and did good things for people. He said, “I’m sure you do, but in Ephesians 2:8-9 the Bile says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.” I thought if I was a good person I would go to heaven. The problem was, the good works I was doing was my attempt to make up for, and cover-up the sins I was committing. For some reason I could not get rid of what he told me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
More time passed, and one of my neighbors passed away. Being the good neighbor I was, I filled my BBQ pit for them for the Celebration of Life gathering that followed the funeral. The Pastor, also being a neighbor of the grieving family, had preached the graveside service and had offered to let them use his house and property for the gathering after the service. The whole time I was at the Celebration of Life on Saturday, I didn’t feel well. To add to my misery was the conviction I felt watching the Pastor and his family. How they got along, the respect the children had for their mother and father, and for one another, deeply troubled me. I loved my wife and my children with all my life, but not like this, not the way they did.
I WANTED TO DIE
The next day, on Sunday morning, I woke up wanting to die. Anyway, I felt like I was going to die. My wife told me to go to the hospital; but as usual, I just endured the pain. Then all at once, I thought my guts were going to spill out. The pain was horrible. I remember looking up at the clock, and the time was 10:25 a.m. (I will explain later why this time is significant). I never went to the hospital but continued to suffer throughout the day.
A NEW BEGINNING
At 4:00 p.m. I left the house. I didn’t know where I was going, but I wound up making my way to my father’s grave. I fell on my knees and cried like I have never cried before. I was screaming, “God, please help me. I have failed, failed, failed: failed myself, my wife, my children, and in my life. I can’t do it on my own any longer.” There were so many things I said to God; but the one thing I did was I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I didn’t know exactly what to say, but the Lord helps us with that. At that moment I felt all the burden of sin leaving me. The emotions I felt were unbelievable. When I left the cemetery that day I could have gone to a friend’s house, but for some reason I felt I was supposed to go to the Pastor’s house. As I pulled into his driveway, he was standing on the front lawn, almost like he was waiting. He looked at me and started weeping. He knew what had happened to me. I fell apart again, and began to cry. My strength was gone. I had poured out my soul before the Lord that day, and He had heard my prayer and saved me from my sin. That was the beginning of my new life in Christ on Sunday, June 26, 2016.
PRAYER & CONVICTION
I was later told by one of the members of the Royal River Baptist Church, that at 10:25 a.m. the Pastor had stopped the service weeping and told the church that they needed to pray for Bob Hanna to be saved; and so they prayed. The Holy Spirit was carving me up. The church was praying that the Lord would save me and during that same time is when I felt the worse. I did not realize until after I was saved that my “sickness” was actually the Holy Spirit convincing me of my sinfulness and my need of God’s righteousness. This is not a fairy tale. This is my true personal experience.
One week after my salvation I was baptized in the Royal River. What a day! Then, four months later I was called by God to preach his Word. Let me tell you, when God wants something, you will know it! His call wrapped my entire being. It consumed all of my thoughts, and who I was and who I was going to be. God’s decision was made. I was going to be his preacher.
A NEW HOME
As I previously said, I had failed my wife and children in so many ways. One night while watching a Christian movie entitled War Room, I came face to face with my failures. I began to cry uncontrollably. I knew what I needed to do. I got on my knees before my wife and my children and begged them to forgive me for failing them, and for not being the husband and the father that I needed to be. That was the beginning of a whole new adventure in our house. Not long after that, my middle son Alex got saved; my mother was next. Then my seven year old son, who I thought had not been paying attention in church and did not understand, very clearly did understand and wanted Jesus to come into his life. Since that time, my wife and my mother’s friend have both made professions of faith, and God is working in my oldest son’s life.
I wish I could tell you more, much more. I cannot express the change that Jesus has made in my life. He will do the same for you, if you truly want a change. We are constantly bombarded with bad news and tragic events on the TV and the radio. What most often comes out of these tragedies are people blaming guns, blaming other people, blaming the school, and many blame God. I’ve learned to stop blaming others and to start leading by example. Even though we all go to church and learn, it is my responsibility to carry it out and live it in the home or wherever I am. Being a Christian doesn’t stop when I walk out the door of the church. Being a Christian isn’t about the religion of man. It’s about a relationship with the Heavenly Father; through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ - His Eternal Son. That is what the Bible says.
POWER FROM ABOVE
Being a Christian isn’t easy life – it is a battle every day, just as it was before I got saved. The difference is that I now have peace and a blessed assurance. I not only have the confidence to stand firmly for what I believe and feel, but I am willing to die for it. As human beings, we sometimes fight against ourselves. We are often our own worst enemy. Don’t get me wrong. Although I’m eternally saved, being a Christian doesn’t mean I have arrived. Rather, being God’s child gives me the ability to learn what my faults are, and to know how to correct them. God enables us to do what we cannot do in our own power. Then He empowers us to show others how to have a relationship with Him. So many people want to blame everyone else for their problems rather than looking in the mirror and acknowledging who they really are. We often want everything and everyone else to change but us.
A NEW PERSON
Since I have become a Christian, God has changed my desires. I ask daily to die to self and for the Lord to take my life and use it as He wishes. I also pray that He will allow me to talk to someone daily; not just any one, but someone searching. Since that day, God has not failed to answer that prayer. We sometimes fail, but God never fails.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
I’m not naïve enough to believe that my words alone can change your life, only God can do that. I’m simply sharing what God has done and is doing in my life. This is only a small sample of all that God has done. I am not ashamed of who or what I have become. Some think I have gone wacky, that I’ve been brainwashed, that I drank the “Kool-Aid,” and so on. That’s okay. No one has brainwashed me or drugged me. For the first time in my life I have discovered true happiness. I am resting in Jesus’ love and forgiveness. I finally know what it is like to really live. The devil gives nothing that lasts. He is a liar. His promises of pleasure are temporary. However, God’s promises are true and everlasting. He invites you to know Him and to know His peace and forgiveness.
Will you accept his invitation?
Mat 11:28-30, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
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My name is Calvin Bridges. I was born into a good family that faithfully attended church. As a child I enjoyed going to West Kennebunk Methodist Church in Southern Maine. I loved the Bible characters and stories, and I looked up to the ministers who led the church. The Bible stories I learned during my childhood gave me a foundation for faith in God.
Life Was Good, But…
For the first ten years of my life, most of my days were carefree. All of my needs were met, weekends brought family camping trips, and Sundays were filled with family fellowship and activities at our church. Life was good. However, as I grew older I began to push the envelope at home. My dad, being somewhat blind about how to lovingly correct me, attempted to put me in my place by frustratingly giving me lashes with his belt. His harsh attempts to correct my waywardness only caused me to become bitter and rebellion began to rise in my spirit.
The Downward Spiral
In school things did not always go as I desired. I had a difficult time making friends and was the odd kid on the playground, often being bullied by the older boys. During this time, when I was around 13 years old, I walked away from church and began to rebel against all authority in my life, especially my family. Arrogance crept into my life.
My high school years were filled with trying to live up to my brother’s sports legacy, which I could never accomplish. I had little interest in good grades.
My dad pleaded with me to go to Technical School, which I did. At Technical School I experienced some incredible opportunities to go places and see things I never could have without the school.
Life seemed to be getting better. I was working two jobs and found that I could buy whatever I chose. I entered into a relationship with a young lady and was married. However, by the age of 24 I was already divorced, and had entered into several other relationships that I knew were wrong.
A Turning Point
I decided to enter into Law Enforcement. After becoming an Officer I poured myself into my work. I knew that serving others was what I was meant to do. Not long after becoming an Officer, a godly young lady came into my life. She was just a friend, but she and her wonderful Christian family took an interest in my soul and in my personal well-being. They began to mentor and pour their lives into me. Through this family’s influence I learned what it meant to be a man of integrity, even before I truly understood what it meant to be a Christian. It was during this time, while working for the Kennebunkport Police Department that I arrested George W. Bush (this was years before he would become President of the United States) for operating under the influence of alcohol.1 I was not a born again Christian at this time, but I had a keen sense of right and wrong, and desired to be a man of integrity.
I Was Arrested
Through the testimony of the Christian family mentioned above, I was confronted with the reality that I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The stories I had learned as a boy had taught me about Jesus, but I realized I did not know him. Although I sought to be a man of integrity, the Holy Spirit began to reveal to me that I had broken God’s law and deserved to be punished for my crimes against him and his Word. I had been arrested by the Lord, and had to face my faults.
I had started attending a Baptist church with this family, and begun to realize that I truly wanted what they had – a deep conviction about life and a personal relationship with God. The love of God was demonstrated by that congregation in such a vivid and scriptural way that it was as if their lives were painting a beautiful picture of what it meant to be a Bible believing Christian. I longed to have their kind of understanding of the Bible and of the Savior. I realized that I was a sinful man, going through life to get what life would give me, and having no satisfaction in any of it.
One evening, in the home of my young friend, her dad sat me down in his living room and asked me what I believed about Hell. I told him that I believed Hell was what I was living in here on earth, and that when I died that I would go to Heaven because I was not a really bad person. He very calmly opened the scriptures (the source of the same truths I was hearing each Sunday) and made them real to me – painfully real. He used the illustration of a bottomless canyon to show me how I was separated from God. He told me that the only way for me to get from my life to a life with God was to repent of my sins and accept Jesus’ death and resurrection as the payment for my sins. The cross of Christ was the only bridge to get across the canyon and experience a new life with God.
From that time forward I grew in my understanding of what Jesus did for me, and of what I needed to do for him to come into my life. Nevertheless, every time an invitation at church was given to accept Jesus as my Savior, I was too proud to walk forward and give myself fully to Him. You see, I felt everybody saw me as already being saved. My feet literally were stuck to the floor, and my mind would not allow me to walk the aisle to accept Jesus.
One wonderful winter day, January 15th, 1977, I was broken as we stood for the invitation. “Just as I am, without one plea” was being sung, and I began to weep. I broke my feet loose from the floor, and walked forward to the church altar and asked Jesus to forgive me for my years of pride and sin, and to become my Lord and Savior. The Pastor and I stood face to face and cried tears of joy over Jesus’ victory in my life. Nothing had ever so uplifted my spirit and been so unmistakably real as to know that Jesus had forgiven me for every sin that I had ever committed or ever will commit. I now had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Finding God’s Purpose
God continued to lead me in my professional career as a police officer, and laid it on my heart to obtain a Christian Education to serve him and the public with greater integrity and purpose, both in and out of the uniform. I took an educational leave from the Police Department and enrolled in the Administration of Justice program at Barrington Christian College. It was there that I met my wife and started my new family.
I later took a patrol position with the Cumberland Police Department. I was soon nicknamed “The Preacher” by the Chief of Police because of my Christian convictions and integrity to strive to do what was right.
A Presidential Honor
In 1993, I signed onto a Secret Service detail for a gathering for former President George H. Bush hosted by his friend Gruff Truesdale. When the former president learned that the man who had arrested his son back in 1976 was there, he and his wife Barbara came out to meet me. They thanked me for having arrested their son, and shared with me that I had a place in changing their son George W.’s life for the better. I was humbled by their sincere gratitude. God is the one who deserves all of the credit for changing lives. Nevertheless, I am grateful that the Lord used my desire to be an officer of integrity as an instrument to change another person’s life.
Temptations come in all shapes and sizes. In the year 2000, 4 days before the Presidential Election, I was approached by a multitude of local and national news outlets to share the story about my 1976 arrest of George W. Bush. The media wanted to use me to try to smear his character by bringing up his past. I knew that would not be the right thing to do, because I would not want that done to me. The Bible clearly teaches in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” God gave me great grace and strength to overcome the temptation to publicize the details, although a great deal of pressure was put upon me to do so.
A Lasting Relationship
The Lord Jesus, through the convincing work of the Holy Spirit, drew me into a true relationship with himself. I am forever his child. I am not sinless. Nevertheless, because I’m his child, I strive each day to sin less. I know that I am eternally forgiven by Jesus Christ my Lord, and one day I will spend eternity with him in Heaven. My wife and I are now members of the Royal River Baptist Church in Yarmouth, Maine, where we faithfully serve in various aspects of the ministry. I would encourage you to sincerely consider what you have read in this brochure. Please do not make the mistake of believing that you have received my personal story by accident. Wherever you are in your journey of life, we have crossed paths for a purpose. Perhaps we’ve experienced some of the same heartaches and challenges. We have probably had some of the same desires for ourselves and our families. Regardless of where you are at in life, will you consider Jesus? Will you consider what he did for you when he died on the cross for your sins and was resurrected from the dead? He died for you because he loves you and wants to deliver you from a place of eternal torment called Hell. If you will repent and put your faith in him he will save you. Won’t you call on him today?
Will You Accept His Invitation?
1Co 6:9-11, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Isaiah 55:6-7, Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For more information on how you can be transformed by the power of the gospel, simply click on the "God's Gift For You" button below.
1 New York: Crown Publishing 2010, Decision Points by George W. Bush, Pg.25