[Note: This testimony was written for my baptism into College Park Church, Indianapolis, Indiana on Feb 22, 2002.]
I grew up going to church. I believed that I was a Christian. I went to church and Sunday school every week. I mostly obeyed my parents (probably better than other kids). I helped out at home when I could (I had plenty of opportunity with three siblings who where much younger). I didn’t curse (much). I didn’t lie (much). I didn’t hurt people. I was basically a good kid.
I remember listening to a televangelist one day. I really don’t remember the message but I remember that evening that I was in bed and I was convicted of my sin and asked God to forgive me. At the time, it was more fear of hell than knowing that Jesus loved me.
In middle school, I started going to Youth for Christ. I was not very popular and people accepted me there. I continued going to YFC in high school and was eventually part of the student staff. I was teased at school ( I was called monk by some) and I really just wanted to fit in. I met Michelle during this time. I was at a point in my life that I could have walked away from God. Then I saw the change that happened in Michelle’s life. She says that I introduced her to Jesus. She helped me not to fall away.
At some point during high school, I talked with of some of the staff of YFC and asked how I could be sure that I was saved? I prayed the sinner’s prayer. I realized at that time that I was a sinner and I hurt God went I sinned. I realized that Jesus died on the Cross and took the punishment for my sin.
In college is when I really started to learn to trust in God and to love Jesus. I think the turning point for me was the end of my sophomore year. I needed a job for the summer and I wanted a summer internship close to home. I tried to get several different ones, but nothing was panning out. I decided to turn in my application for the co-op program, which would require me to work during normal school semesters. Michelle and I were very close and she would start going to Purdue the next fall. I remember sitting on the steps of the house where I lived and praying that I would be willing to go wherever God would send me. Well the Friday after I turned in my application, I got a call from the co-op coordinator about a position available in Oregon. I didn’t want to go past the Mississippi, but I told him to go ahead and send my information. The next Friday I had to miss a class due to weather problems and I got a phone interview during the time I was at the house. The next Friday, I got an offer for the position.
I realized that it was God’s hand at work and I accepted the position and drove 2400 miles from home (and missed Michelle’s high school graduation) to a place where I didn’t know a soul. However, God was preparing me to meet the Bremer family. I stayed with them for 6 months and that experience has changed my life. I would not be the same person I am today. Ron Bremer showed me how to lead a family by prayer and devotion.
However, I have had difficulty living up to that standard. I have not always been a good steward of my spiritual relationship. I have let sin hurt my relationship with Jesus. I have not been the spiritual leader in my family. One of the first steps for me is to be under the biblical authority of a strong church where my family will be taught the bible, where we will be admonished to follow Jesus every day of our lives, and were we can serve the saints with the gifts God has given us.
Recently, we have been admonished to work out our faith with fear and trembling. We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone. I have to be careful that I don’t become complacent with my faith or to become drawn away by the worries and distractions of life. A verse from this study has really hit me:
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 says: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”
I want to hold on firmly to the gospel. I am so weak in my understanding of Jesus and his words to me. I don’t want to be one whose says, “Lord, Lord” and he replies, “I never knew you.” I need to be obedient to him and his church. I want to be baptized.