Brothers answer divine call

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Features Editor

May 22, 2000 10 PM

Two brothers arrived at the same place. They came by different routes; they came at different times but they met at the crossroads and now they journey as one.

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These brothers attracted a lot of attention over the weekend as they made their way through the county on foot north along Highway 231.

They might have traveled almost unnoticed except one of them shouldered a 12-foot wooden cross.

"It’s a living billboard for Jesus," said Paul Layton, as he gently lowered the cross to the ground. "It’s message to the people along the way is that God is real and that He loves them. It’s as simple as that."

Paul and his brother Justin are on a pilgrimage to some place that God will make known to them. They will go where God leads them and until He tells them to stop. That will be the place.

Paul began the journey as a messenger of God’s word less than two months ago.

God had called him more than two years ago but he didn’t listen.

"I was into drugs and a lot of other things you get into when you’re not right with God" Paul said. "I knew I was doing wrong and I knew God was calling me but I didn’t want to hear him and I wouldn’t listen. I kept stumbling and stumbling, As long as I didn’t obey him, I stumbled."

Not only was God working in Paul’s life, he was also working in the lives of his family.

Their home was not a happy one. It was an ungodly home. His father drank heavily and a split between him and his wife seemed certain.

Justin was also into drugs and fighting heavy bouts with depression.

"Too many worldly things -" Justin said. "I wanted too many material things. They were most important to me. And, there were too many expectations. I couldn’t handle it all."

"We grew up going to church but them we all walked away from it," Paul said. "But my dad found his way back to church and back to God. I saw the change in him. He was no longer a drunk. He was my father again. All of a sudden, it made sense. God loved me."

Even though, Paul had found his way back to God, he wasn’t ready to give his life over to him completely. He opened his heart to God but closed his ears to God’s call.

Justin also saw the changes that God had made in his family. All of the problems were beginning to be fixed. His parents were together again and there was happiness in their house.

But Justin needed a Damascus Road experience to turn his life completely around.

He was sitting in the garage listening to Christian music on the radio and all of a sudden he fell face-down on the floor.

"There was this inner voice – a spiritual voice – but it was very clear," Justin said. "It was God speaking to me. He said He is the one who put the stars in the sky and set their course. He is the one to

whom the trees grow in praise. He said so many things to me that day. I knew then, without a shadow of doubt, that nothing is a problem as long as God is with me."

God was working in

both of the brothers’ lives but Paul was the first to obey his call to go and witness for Him.

Two months ago, he took up the cross and began a journey from his home in Deland, Fla. to some point in Tennessee.

"That is where I felt God was leading me," he said. More than 300 miles into his journey, his brother joined him. "He followed God; I followed him and God," Justin said, with a smile.

As they walk along the roadways, the cross is the message and they are the messengers and they will gladly share the message of God’s love and salvation to those who "draw near" to them.

"Sometimes we will walk through a whole city and no one person will approach us," Paul said. "Other times, we will be out in the middle of nowhere and people will stop and share with us. We know we are doing what God wants us to do and he is preparing the way for us. There are those along the way who need to hear God’s message and that’s the reason we are out here on the roadside. We know what God has done in our lives and we know what He can do in the lives of others. Just how long he wants us to carry the cross for Him, we don’t know but we won’t stop until He tells us it’s time. We’ll go as long as He wants us to go and are far as He leads us."