Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What is Your Testimony?

My husband's Testimony -July13th, 2013

I used to think I had one of those “regular ordinary salvation stories.”  I was 10, at church camp, and the preacher said to everyone, “If you don’t want to go to hell when you die, you must be saved.  Come on up to the front and we’ll show you how to do it!”  So with some hesitation…I did.  I went to the front where some man took me and a few other kids to the side and asked us if we “believed Jesus was the Son of God?”…yes.   “Did Jesus get crucified on the cross for our sins?”…yes, “die?”…yes, and “was three days later raised from the grave?”…yes.  “Do you want to go to hell?”…ye…err…no.  “Great, repeat this prayer after me and ask Jesus into your heart”.  Whew, I was saved.  I didn’t feel any different except I was glad I had stamped my ticket to heaven.   Now all that was left was to live a good Christian life and be good…I can do that, right? I mean, after all everyone is a sinner, so if I sin it’s ok.  I’ve got Jesus in my heart …he’ll forgive me…right?  Time to get baptized! 

Fast forward 24 years later.  I’ve married a beautiful Godly woman who was saved a few years back, we have an incredible daughter.  I have a job that pays the bills which allows my wife to stay home.  I try to be a good husband and good father.  I try to be a good manager at work, a good server at church and still working on trying to be a good Christian.  All the things I’m supposed to be doing.  Everything was going smooth until one day my wife asked me what my testimony was.  I told her, “I may or may not have been saved back when I was 10 at church camp.”  She refused to accept that answer and persisted until I gave her…In case I wasn’t, I’ve repeated the process about 400 times in the last 24 years just to make sure.”  To which she again refused to accept that answer and persisted until I gave her…  “I think it truly happened sometime about a year and a half ago when I prayed again and asked God to give me comfort if I were truly saved.  I was comforted.”  She finally responded with, “So when did you get saved?”  “I don’t know…but I know I’m saved.  I believe everything I’m supposed to, I’ve asked Jesus into my heart, I’ve even repented.”  I’m going to stop right now to tell you a little about my wife.  I love her more than anything.  She has the spiritual gift of prophecy.  That doesn’t mean she can tell the future.  Although sometimes I think she can.  A prophet’s basic motivational drive is to apply the Word of God to a situation so that sin is exposed, which basically means she can (and has) call me out over every bit of BS I’ve ever tried to lay at her feet since we’ve met.  It’s been surprisingly good for our marriage.  So my wife asked me, “What does repent mean to you?”  That’s easy, bible 101 easy, “to turn away from sin!”  Her response, “I’ll pray for you.”  What does that mean?  She doesn’t think I’m saved?  I mean my wife is usually right about everything…maybe this is the one exception to that…it can’t be.  I know I’m saved.  I’ll prove it to her.  I prayed that God would show me how to show someone I’m saved.  This is where I’ll caution you to be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.

I started researching what the steps are to get saved.  I wanted to show her I’ve got a check mark in each box.  So I searched in the bible…no check-list, on google…no check-list, I listened to sermons…no check-list.  Somebody’s got to have a check-list so I can prove that I’m saved.    During this time we repeated the above conversation another five or six times.  Each time I was more determined to prove that I got saved. 

How did I get saved?  How did I get saved?  I was sitting in my office at work on June 26th 2013 asking myself this question.  All those years in the church listening to sermons, all the books I’ve read all the head knowledge I have and I couldn’t come up with the answer to the most important question each person has to ask themself.  I was broken.  The weight of everything I had been working on crashed down on me.  I wasn’t being a good husband, father, boss, server and definitely not a good Christian.  I was confused.  I was a hypocrite.  I couldn’t do it anymore.  I just couldn’t do it.  Then I felt the answer.  I was right.  I couldn’t do it.  I can’t get saved, I can’t make myself a good husband or father or anything else for that matter.  I was done.  I quit.  I can’t save myself.  Only God can.  Right there I cried out to God for help.  He needed to do a work in me, because I couldn’t.  I gave up 34 years of pride that I could do it myself.  I asked for forgiveness and God gave it to me.  Then I waited.  I sought after God and I waited.   Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”  I asked, I sought and I knocked, waiting for God to open up salvation for me.  Over the next week and a half God kept hitting me with His word.  Right between the eyes, everyone I spoke to, every sermon I heard, ever bit of scripture I read was a knock up side my head and a tug at my heart.  “Continue to seek me it said…have faith.”  What is faith?  I’ve spent my whole life hearing the verse in Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not that of yourselves:” but I’ve always missed the last six words, “it is the gift of God.”  It is a gift of God that saves me, by grace through faith.  Ok, so how do you get faith?  Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  What exactly is faith?  It took a work of God for me to get a meeting with John (our pastor’s son, pastor himself and missionary whom God has called him, his wife and their 8 children to Zambia, Africa) in his one free hour during the last 5 months.  As we sat in the front pew of the church between services I told John everything I’ve just previously said.  Then he asked what faith was to me.  If you are saved by grace through faith…what is faith?  I answered, “It’s a feeling inside.”  Then he smiled, stood up and explained this to me.  “Imagine your child is a few steps above you.  She looks at your with a big smile and her arms stretched out wide.  You tell her to jump, you’ll catch her.  So she does…and you do.”  She has to have faith that you will catch her.  It’s nothing magical, it’s not this strange little feeling she gets inside.  It’s her believing 100%, not just in her head (she knows logically I will catch her) but in her heart (she has to trust it too) that I will catch her…It’s me not just believing in my head…but also trusting in my heart that everything I hear in the Word of God is true.  Peter describes it best in 2Peter 1:16-19 where he talks about not only walking with, talking to and touching a living breathing real Jesus, but also twice hearing the voice of the almighty God Himself.  First at the baptism of Jesus and then on the holy mount during the transfiguration, that we “have a more sure word of prophecy”.  More than Peter relying on his eyes, his ears or some gut feeling…He’s telling us that faith, belief and trust, comes through hearing the Word of God... the Bible.  Half way through John’s explanation of faith, the moment I understood it, everything fell into place.  I had the overwhelming feeling of peace and comfort.  All of my head knowledge, 24 years of studying and listening and learning… moved to my heart.  It was a work of the Holy Spirit filling me.  I was saved.

That old church camp preacher was half right.  “If you don’t want to go to hell when you die, you must be saved!”  But the problem is he was half wrong as well.  Satan has no problem using a half-truth to get to you…because he knows that a half-truth is still a whole lie.  There is no check-list to get saved…no special formula.  Just turn away from your flesh, repent and turn to God.  It sounds easy enough…so easy I can’t count the number of times I’ve done it.  It really is easy, though…you just have to want it.  Really, really want it.  You have to want it so bad that you throw yourself at the feet of God your face to the ground and beg Him to do it.  And the awesome part is; if you do…He will be faithful.

That’s my testimony.  The reality is that I thought I had an ordinary story, but there is no ordinary story…God’s power is in each redemption and a supernatural rebirth can never be ordinary. After all…it’s all for His glory.  I am so grateful for God’s patience and His omniscient ability to know just what everyone needs at the exact right time.  Now, it’s time to get baptized!

Are you sure you're saved?
How sure?
What's your testimony?


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What The Cross of Christ Really Means


As I new believer I desired to know all there was to know about this good news I had just discovered and become the beneficiary of...this gospel...this cross...this salvation.  Paul Washer brings a depth of understanding to the subject like I have never heard.  I am grateful for the clarity God has given through these sermons. I pray they are a blessing to you as well:

Understanding the Curse


Understanding the Gospel

Monday, June 17, 2013

Betrothal: A Better Way

I wish I had a copy of this documentary to share with every young person I know!  It is the story of a couple who did it right. Who found a different way...a better way.  They followed the biblical model of marriage and took their covenant seriously as it was designed to be honored.  What a beautiful example of Christ's love and commitment to His Bride, the church. 
 You are going to want a copy of this to share with your sons and daughters - BEFORE they get lost in the dating game. 
Just click on the photo for a link to the website to purchase a copy!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Challenge for Truth - A Search For Reverence

I have watched 3 episodes of The Bible (on the History channel) and one scene stands apart from the rest:  A yielded man kneeling before his god, head bowed.  A reverent prayer spoken in faith. Who is this old testament hero – a picture of reverence and devotion?  Not Moses, Abraham, or David.  It is a Philistine praying to Dagon, a pagan idol.  And according to the script, his god delivers.

And so I think, If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom than The Bible Mini-series on the History channel is the beginning of foolishness.   There is something drastically absent from this wicked collection of fables: truth.  It is a story turned and twisted...and told without the main character.   An omission of God's presence, His power, and any scrap of reverence for His existence. 

Reverence toward God is essential in building a foundational understanding of His nature.  Satan knows this.  Without proper reverence (and a healthy fear) we cannot truly understand our position against a Holy God.  Now, we know that reverence in any form reveals an esteem that is foreign (and mostly offensive) to this lawless generation...especially toward an unseen authority.   This $22 million dollar compromise is evidence of that.   And for most, (sadly) it will be enough to see a godless tale of broken heroes and powerless victories.   But, for those interested in the truth, here is a challenge:
  This (incomplete) list from the first 3 episodes of The Bible mini-series catalogs missed opportunities to reveal reverence toward God.  In some cases it was removed all together and in others, replaced with arrogant, human-centered banter.  Please click the links beside each point and read God’s Holy Word for yourself.  Compare notes and make the judgement: was this an intentional attack on an ignorant audience, or a few minor errors by well-meaning tv producers?  Either way, don't be another victim of the devil's devices. 

Were “wrong choices and wrong decisions." really the reason for the flood? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Abraham really feel guilty for “convincing Lot to come” on his random excursion? (FIND OUT HERE)

When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, did he really yell, “haven’t I shown you enough faith?!” (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Abraham arrogantly confront Jesus about Sodom and demand justice? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Isaac really fight his father, hold a grudge against him, and run to Mommy for protection? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Moses really stare into the burning bush and asks the mysterious voice, “you’re real?” (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Moses really approach the pharaoh on his own authority and demand, “Let MY people go” (FIND OUT HERE)

Did the Pharaoh really blame Moses for the plagues and make no appeal about God’s involvement? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Moses really lead the people across the desert with no protection or guidance? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did the 10 commandments really shake loose from a mountain side? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Joshua really pray to the The Ark of the Covenant, while sitting in the shade under a small awning? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Joshua chat casually with the visitor with the sword? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Saul really believe that he "served faithfully and yet is seems it is not enough." Did he demand a response, shouting, "God! Do you hear your servant?” (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Nathan tell David “God will take your son.” And did David really reply,“We shall see!” ? (FIND OUT HERE)
Did Daniel’s friends really chant in a meditative stance while being lit on fire by Nebachenezzer? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did Daniel really pray standing in a meditative stance? (FIND OUT HERE)

Did John the Baptist  really arrive on the scene without a formal introduction? (FIND OUT HERE)

Was Jesus really baptized without the arrival of the Holy spirit or the approval of the Father? (FIND OUT HERE)
Did Jesus really answer Satan with off-the-cuff remarks when tempted in the desert? (FIND OUT HERE)

I am still compiling a list for episodes 4 and 5. If you have any contributions to this one, please let me know, so I can add them in!