I've had many clicks on the 'My Testimony' link at the top of my blog. It's been empty for a while until now. I've written about the beginning of my journey. I say beginning because my testimony ends where my new life in Christ began which is when I came to faith in Jesus Christ. I didn't type, edit and re-type in any capacity. I just sat down and wrote it out. I just pray that it brings glory to God and, I say humbly, blesses the reader.
Believing the Gospel is the most important event that has ever happened in my life so I don't want to take this lightly. I am not sure where to begin so I'm just going to say it. I want the reader to understand the realness of my life before and after. My aim is that the glory of the Triune God is shown in the grace He's given in my life.
I was raised in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) which is now known as Community of Christ. The RLDS is not to be confused with the Mormons or LDS. If you'd like a better understanding of the differences Bill McKeever has a good article on this subject. I came from a long line of RLDS from my great grandmother on my mother's side to my grandmother and all of the relatives on that side of the family. My father's side didn't really have any religious affiliation. Both of my parents were eventually ordained RLDS ministers.
I was baptized in the RLDS church at 8 years old. I was raised to believe I had to be good to go to heaven as well as be part of the one true church which was the RLDS. I thought if I said a cuss word or had a drop of alcohol I was on my way to hell. I had no concept of salvation through Christ. I starting falling away from these beliefs in high school. Once I started slipping with the language that was it. I figured that was it and keep going forward away from religion. Being good still sort of stuck with me and I still believed there was a god, but that was about it.
Since I had been involved in karate and kick boxing since I was 14 years old and not knowing God I started being attracted to meditation and eastern religions. Again, there was that element of being good. I was looking for that mystical experience that would empower me and take me to that next plane of spirituality. All I really got were some empty, peaceful, quiet moments.
In college I still believed a god existed and that was about it. I lived in and loved the world. I was your typical lost college student living in the flesh. My life, in no particular order, was studying, partying and athletics. There's no need to go further. I do cherish the memories of my friends from that time and still keep in touch with many of them.
After college I was still a blind man. Now I just worked and partied though the partying was kept to a minimum. I had a different type of responsibilities now. This is where I started picking up self-help books and trying to better myself and get more out of life. I still could not find any satisfaction. I even joined the Masonic Lodge. I became a third degree Master Mason in the Blue Lodge and never went any further. There was a certain brotherhood and connection in the Lodge. I believe you get that connection by taking the same blood oaths while half-dressed in front of everyone. That experience will certainly bind you to other Masons. Not that the Masonic Lodge promised me anything spiritually, but I was still unsatisfied.
I moved to Atlanta, GA from the Savannah, GA area where I lived since I was 12. I also continued reading self-help and eastern thought types of books. I also continued seeking satisfaction in partying and all that goes with it. Only to wake up weekend after weekend empty.
Then, as I was driving around listening to talk radio as I enjoyed I came upon a Christian talk station. I started listening to preaching on the radio and got curious. A some point around this time I talked to or started talking to again my good friend Russ who was still living in Savannah. During that time, it had not been too long since Russ had come to faith in Christ. Russ and I went to middle school, high school and college together. After college we golfed together and one day on the golf course I can't forget. Russ was a Christian and I was not. Three of us who'd been friends from high school golfed that day. The other guy and I started giving Russ a hard time about Christianity. Russ didn't have the answers we wanted, but he was calm and listened to our objections. I can't forget the simple answers Russ gave which were basically, "I can't answer all of your questions right now. I just know what I believe and what the Bible says about Jesus." I have always appreciated his perseverance on that day as we poked fun and such.
So as I was driving around listening to sermons on the radio I wanted to read the Bible, but didn't know what to get. All I had was the RLDS Bible and I didn't want that one. I had no local Christian friends so I called Russ and another friend Heath. They recommended, if I recall correctly, to get an NIV and read the book of John. I did that and continued listening to sermons.
Now, I lived alone with no Christian friends. One night, sometime in Sept. or Oct. in 2000, the Lord opened my heart and gave me eyes to see and ears to hear. While reading the Bible I was convicted that Jesus Christ was the way, the truth and the life. I was convicted of my sin before a Holy God and came to faith in Jesus Christ on the spot. I knelt down with tears in my eyes and prayed. I prayed a prayer of repentance and faith. I repented of my sins and thanked Jesus for taking my sins on the cross and for saving me. I can't remember the exact date, but I remember feeling like the world had been lifted off of my shoulders. It was such a peace that I can't describe. I now knew the Lord and Savior.
Thank you Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and 4 that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures