Well...I grew up in a Christian home. Sound familiar? Well to me it does because for most of my friends this is the case in their life as it is with me. But that means nothing. Granted it’s a huge blessing having a father and mother who love God with their whole heart, but it doesn’t automatically grant you salvation. I guess I thought it did.
I was born on a Christian university to Christian parents where we went to a Christian church and I went to a Christian school my whole life. Still there too. Needless to say I knew that Gospel (that Jesus came because we all sinned, died for our sin, rose again victorious over sin and death, ascended into heaven where He is now interceding on our behalf before the Father, and our hope is built on that He will return someday and take us to heaven to be with God forever) but when you accept this it changes you. I never accepted it.
I thought I did when I was 4. Went forward because I saw someone else do it and I thought it would be cool. No idea what I was doing. Again the Gospel changes a person’s life. No change in my life though. Fast forward through elementary school and stop in junior high school. My life would look something like this: Put on the “christian” face while at church, school, and before my parents, but when I was with my friends I knew I could “trust” or I was alone I was filling my head with TV shows that whet my appetite for sex. Sin satisfies for a season then it’s gone leaving you wanting more. I went to movies for satisfaction. Again it didn’t last. Then I discover the internet which has no end it seems. I was filling my head with pornography. My relationships with others and my parents was horrible. It became a normal habit and I always felt that people knew, so I lived my life in fear of people finding out.
This is never a fun way to live life. Wouldn’t recommend it for those of you wondering. I was caught multiple times but couldn’t get away from it. I was always trying to find ways to get around my parents. This lifestyle went on for 5 years.
Junior year of high school was a very awkward time for me because I was starting to grow up and realizing my life was a wreck. I lived for the next high. My dad is over all the fine arts at the university that my high school was connected to. I was always the sports dude. Got to impress the ladies right? Fine arts people can’t do that I thought. But I have to make the old man proud right? So I tried out for a play at school. With no intention of making it. But God had different plans for me. I made it...
God is good.
It was from that, that I started to see Christian brothers and sister love each other. When we were at rehearsal they had a ton of fun, but also talked about what they were learning about God. They were truly happy and satisfied in God! I started meeting with my youth pastor with some other guys in my youth group during the time I was in the play. The play went well but I still had not been changed by the Gospel. My youth pastor decided to meet with some of the leaders in youth group. I wasn’t much of a spiritual leader, though I did lead worship on the guitar. But for whatever reason God saw fit for me to be in that group. Little did my youth pastor know that through his words the Holy Spirit would convict me and show me my need for a Savior. I remember the night like it happened yesterday. I can’t tell you the date or anything but I was driving home after one of the meetings and I opened up and talked to God for the first time in a while. I had grown up in a christian home my whole life...I knew what I had to do to be saved. I could tell you in my sleep. But it finally became real to me! I asked Jesus into my heart and decided to follow Him with my life.
Having a head knowledge of God doesn’t get you to heaven. It’s by the grace of God that anyone can have eternal life. My life was transformed into a new creature in Christ on that night. I had the desire to be in His Word. I started having burdens for people that I knew. My Bible teacher at school and I started meeting on a regular basis going through Spiritual Leadership. At the end of that year I got elected as an officer over my senior class. I don’t say this to brag but to show how God gave me huge opportunities right at the start of my walk with Him. Still not sure why.
Come to the start of my senior year. My whole senior year is filled with growth and opportunities. First, being an officer involves that you talk in front of people. Before I was in that play I wasn’t a big fan of it. But through the play really started to enjoy it. A little bit.... I started to have opportunities to talk in front of people quite a bit. The student body organization asked me to preach in front of the whole school, I got asked to be in another play, and I had opportunities to preach at prayer meeting at school. Why do I say all this?
I started to feel the call to preach through all of this. One day before chapel I asked God to show me if He wanted me to use my voice for Him. I don’t know how Biblical it is to ask for a sign, but I did. And God answered very clearly. The sermon right after I asked was called “Using Your Voice for God.” You can’t tell me that happened by chance. God started to give me the desire to be in the ministry. At the end of my senior year God gave me the opportunity to work at Woodlands Camp in GA. Changed my life again there as I was with people who knew a lot about God and really loved Him with all their heart. Continual growth here in my life is a pattern that wasn’t there before.
After camp, I had the burden to start a Bible study at the college that I was going to attend. It happened and it grew very fast to about 50 people! Only by God’s grace. I am so unqualified as a leader and God graciously provided very godly people to work with who are so much better as leaders than myself. It was a growing time for all of us as we all had different circumstances that came up due to the size of the group. But a lasting impression that God left on me was that I sort of planted a little church...to an extent. But through all that God has given me a desire to plant a church in California, a love that has always been there in my life. I was starting to realize that God put that love there for a reason.
So presently I am studying to be a pastor. And again my life is constant growth. I don’t say any of this to brag, except to brag on my God and what He has done in and through me. Through Christ I have victory. It’s not to say that I’m not tempted cause I am. But by the grace of God, He keeps me from it. And when I choose to go my own way there are mercies anew from Him.
We all need Jesus. Do you know Him? Do you really know and love Him?
All the glory to my Father in heaven,