We All Have A Story To Tell

And when we share it, God can use our story to encourage, comfort, and even change the lives of those who read it. Take a moment to share your story with us below. Tell us about how you came to know Jesus or about something awesome God has done in your life, and let your story shine for someone else.

Tell Your Story Here



Crystal

| 15-Jun-2014

I’ve learned that people live out their faith in different ways – for example, some people’s faith is primarily emotional, and some, logical. I have always had a logical faith. Evidence of God is easily found in reviewing His creation. Evidence of His Son Jesus is easily found in comparing the Old Testament prophecies to the account of Jesus in the New Testament. That’s not to say that I’ve never been emotional about my faith – just that primarily, my faith is logic-driven.

The church I grew up in, however, was filled with folks who had a very emotional faith. This created quite the dichotomy in me. While I stayed up late frequently reading through my Bible and analyzing the passages and writing analyses in my journals, the folks in my congregation sang, danced, laughed, and cried about their overwhelming gratefulness that they had been forgiven, sinful as they were, they were still forgiven and free and loved. I thought it was beautiful to see so many people so touched by God, but it also left me confused. I fought to do everything in my life literally by the Book. What sin did I have? I never felt that overwhelming thankfulness that my own sins had been forgiven. Though I knew they were, I had no experiences of my own to generate the kinds of reactions these folks around me displayed so readily week after week. I found myself thanking God for whatever it was he forgave me for that week and moving on to studying His Word to help prepare me to make all the right choices once again the following week. But I also began to feel contempt grow in my heart for those emotional worshipers around me as I felt more and more isolated by them for my seemingly inferior faith to theirs, as I grew to realize I would never jump around and scream, shout, and cry the way they did. I decided that their out-of-control emotions were what drove them to sin so badly week after week, and began to cut myself away from my own emotions and rely more and more heavily on my sense of logic.

And so the cycle continued for quite some time. It grew deeper as I watched those around me with care, and turned to the Bible as my safety net, my guarantee that my life wouldn’t get as messed up as they said theirs had. Gradually, little by now, I can see in retrospect how I began talking with God less and less as I read His Word, and began offering bargains to Him more and more. The conversations became one-sided. ‘Well, God, my desire is to honor You, so I know you’re going to bless me.’ I had learned to trust my ability to make decisions so completely, knowing I had always depended on His Word for guidance in the past and had seen that steer me well then, until I slowly stopped consulting with God at all when it came time to make a decision. Sometimes, I would let Him know what my decisions were. ‘I’m going to do this now, because I think this is a great way to please You. I know you’ll bless me because I want to please You and this is all for you anyway. I was drifting away from Him, and I didn’t even realize it.

Before long, I began to get some negative feedback from friends and family. I found their questioning my choices highly insulting. Now, I began to use the Bible not just to bargain for what I wanted, but also to justify my own pride. I didn’t need anyone else to talk to God for me. I can talk to God myself.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being laser-focused on God’s direction in your life. But when you’re actively talking with God and pursuing Him, you will have habits that will reflect your relationship with Him, you will have relationships with folks who can mentor you and keep you accountable, and you will welcome these things. You’ll know whose opinions you should heed and whose you should ignore. At this time in my life, I was becoming more and more isolated from everybody – friends, family, even church altogether – I had stopped reading my Bible (I knew everything it said already anyway, why read it again?), I had stopped my regular talks with God, and I had stopped tithing completely. My habits were deteriorating, and I was accountable to no one.

I will never forget when I first had the realization that something was wrong. I was several years fully into trying to do life my way and then claiming that it was somehow all for God’s glory. Things were starting to go wrong. Very, very wrong. For the first time in a long time, I found myself thinking to myself the smallest, quickest little prayer – a prayer of fear and desperation – ‘God, why aren’t you blessing my efforts?’ Instantly, tithing came to mind, and shocked, I began to reason with God. ‘That couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it. I can’t tithe right now, I have no money. You know I’m planning to tithe extra one day when I’m able to tithe again.’ But this was the first time I had even tried to talk to God in a good while, and this time, with things going sour, my eyes were a little more open than before. I saw the truth of the entire situation in that moment. I saw that God had been put up on a shelf to sit and wait for me to make my life match the view I had in my own head of what it should be, and that none of the decisions I was making at that point were truly honoring Him. I cried, for the first time in a very long time, and begged God for forgiveness.

It felt great to be talking to Him again, but that encounter didn’t end the way you’d think it would have. Because when I looked ahead at the life I’d built around me, and about all the changes I’d have to make to fix my mistakes and rebuild a relationship with God – a real one – and I was horrified. And believe it or not, the conversation ended with a bargain once more. Let me finish these things I’ve already started, God. Then I’ll fix it. You’ll see. I’ll fix everything.

In the next few years, I learned that reading Christian self-help books is not the same as reading the Bible and having a relationship with God. The Bible can be an instruction manual in some ways, but it is not a simple checklist. Nothing it says matters if you don’t have a relationship with the author of it all, turns out. And so a few years later, I found myself divorced, in debt, and living with my son in my mother’s house once again. If you haven’t been through it, it’s impossible to understand the magnitude of that situation. I was going to be the one to go out and do life right. I was going to be the one to make my marriage last forever, because I was going to do it the way God says. Yet my situation was not an overly emotional one for me even then. I got into those situations by going through the motions, without vesting much emotionally into them, except for maybe my own pride in the successes I expected myself to achieve. And so I was primarily frustrated at my own failures, and began going through the motions once again to try to fix things. (yeah, some people just never learn, you know it?)

That is how I found myself back at church, at Soul Purpose Church meeting in my old high school in Bealeton, and that is how I found myself working on the One Month To Live small group study book one night. The assignment was to write a letter to God, and tell Him why you’re angry with Him. I balked at it, completely. What? Angry with God?? This obviously wasn’t one of the more poignant assignments for me – I had no beef with God. But to check off the little box that I had completed that day’s assignment, I sat down at my computer and began to type. ‘Today’s assignment is to write to God and tell Him why I’m angry with Him. That’s odd – I’m not angry at anything, really.’ And I began to type all my justifications, and explain why I was okay with my situation, because I knew I was following God and doing my best to honor Him, and I knew I was living by His Word…yada yada. All the same old crap that I had been telling myself for years, untrue as it all was. But this time, it clicked, and hard. As I began to type all the ways I felt I had been a good girl and done what God wanted me to do, I began to feel a sting in my eyes as hot tears began to form and fall. I began to feel *actual* anger rising in me with every self-justification I shared. Before long, I was sobbing with the realization that I had suppressed all along. I finally had a real talk with God, with an open heart. I ended with apologies and repentance again this time, and decided that I had a new focus. I wasn’t going to pursue all the things that I thought would make it look like I was being faithful to God to those around me anymore. I was going to pursue God, plain and simple.

The change in my heart and in my life was immediate. It felt great to connect with God again, and then to start watching Him put the pieces of my life back together, instead of doing it myself my own way and messing it all up. It even felt great to be able to see my own sins and feel repentant and grateful for grace in my own life.

I am still very much so a primarily logical faith kind of person. I love theology and Bible study and exploring how God’s Word and science fit together. But I have also learned to allow myself to feel, how to be in a real relationship with God. I know I can talk to Him, whether it’s about how He designed our complex bodies, or about why He would let my kids struggle with some challenge in their lives. I am so thankful for Grace, that I can reconcile all those years lost into a beautiful, meaningful relationship with my Savior and Creator.


Adam Moyer

| 30-May-2014

Before I came to Christ, I was self-destructive and unfocused. I have always cared for others more than myself. I was raised in a Christian household and my parents did the best they could with me. Truth is the older I got, God became less and less a part of my focus in life. Whether he was there or not was irrelevant. I was determined to make my own path through life, with or without Him. There has been too many downtimes and I'm ashamed to admit that these were the only times I prayed for almost two decades, even when God has repeatedly made Himself known in my life by answering prayers and events I've experienced. For the most part, I dedicated my life to the things nearest and dearest to me; Sarah who is now my wife, my friends, and my music. What happened six years ago in my life took a toll on all three. I lost two close friends of mine within several weeks of one another, one of whom was a best friend. Death became a reality to me. I alienated my family. I was angry to even be alive. Especially when I started to see how others chose to cope with the deaths of our friends. Things I thought were dishonorable. I alienated them. I became a hermit, and stayed home when I was off work and chose to stay only around my friends that were also angry about their deaths. I immersed myself into music and sought out to get the meanest and fastest sounds known to man. Over the next three years, Sarah was away at Blacksburg for school, and I was alone in this mentality. I thought I was alone. As I roamed around in this dark cloud of stubborn self-righteousness for the first year, a couple events took place that I was unable to ignore. The first event took place when I was on my way home from dropping a friend off at his house. It was late at night and I had worked a long day and had been losing lots of sleep. I started fighting to stay awake by blaring the CD I had in, which proved to be pointless, cause I woke up to it several minutes later. A soft part of the song was playing and woke me up. The singer was singing, "The seasons whither away." I never put a whole lot of thought into those lyrics until that moment, because that's when I realized how many seasons do go by, and that mine should've been over. I was stopped in the opposite shoulder of the road from which I'd been driving with one wheel in the grass. As I looked up I began to flip out because until now I hadn't realized that I'd fallen asleep behind the wheel. I was staring at a metal guardrail, a telephone pole, and elevated train tracks that would have made me and my car like a spiraling football through the air. When I began to stir my car moved. My car was still in drive and my foot was on the brake, which is the direct opposite from where I last remembered it being, which was stomping on the gas. As I pulled away slowly still unable to believe what had just happened, I asked God what I did to deserve such love. Part of me was wishing it would have happened. The other part of me stayed wondering why it hadn't. I buried this emotion, however, and kept on trucking the way I had been going, and the next two years I became worse.

Now I had knowledge of God's presence, but I was in denial about it. I hid this, because I was a much desired drummer for the thrash and death metal worlds. People wanted fast, and I could only go faster. To me, it was a win-win scenario. In the winter of 2010, my best friend Jeremy and I went to see a fellow metal-head who lived on the top of a mountain on a gravel road. It was after the blizzard and the roads were all clear; except the gravel road he lived on. Knowing I had to work the next day I was anxious to get out of there before the temperature dropped in the evening, which happens a little sooner in the mountains. Bottom line - we were stuck, and my ambition to get off the mountain was blinding my common sense from seeing we could very well die with the stunt I was about to pull, which was gassing down the frozen hill and up over the other side. There were no guardrails on this road and I felt uneasy about this but unwilling to back away from this. I switched seats with Jeremy because I felt a whole lot better about him driving instead of me, even if it was to our doom. I've known Jeremy all my life which had to be why I was comfortable in doing something in front of him that I hadn't done in years. Something that at that time was clearly not metal, which was a prayer. I said it aloud. Until this moment I had kept my faith a secret, which was easy, because I thought I only had a little. The next series of events that took place I would've never imagined as a possibility; to be honest, to this day they still seem unclear as to how they could've happened. Needless to say the "punch it down the hill and up the other side" plan didn't work. In fact, we got close to the top till the other car came up over the opposite side of the hill and we swerved to miss it. With the loss of traction we began sliding down the hill and towards the edge when the car backed into something. We hit it hard and rolled forward away from the edge of the cliff to a stop. There was nothing there. Nothing that would've stopped the car from going over the edge, that is. In fact, every last detail I can remember over the course of one hour after I said my prayer led to us getting off of what I still call 'Ice Mountain". Including a mountain man who happened to have all the knowledge in the world about chaining tired, and even a spare set of chains he was willing to let two people whom he'd never met in his life, borrow. Still, to this day, we cannot get over how bizarre that night was. By this time, I was now telling people that I was a Christian. Even the people I was in bands with. Some thought it was weird, some thought it was cool I wasn't willing to sell out my beliefs and I gained their respect. I started thinking this was good, and that I could be a light in a very dark place, maybe even help a few out of the dark. Unfortunately, I didn't have all of the "tools" required for this undertaking. I realized this in April 2013 a few months after the last death metal band I was in disbanded. I wanted to find a new band, and not to mention a few new friends for a new start. Something Sarah said to be impossible without the Internet, which I don't even use. She said, it's not like somebody is just going to walk by when you're playing one day and knock on the door; which was almost exactly what happened two weeks later when I opened the door to see Charles standing in my front lawn. This person not only was the most amazing guitarist I've ever met, but the first Christian friend I had made in a decade. Whether or not he knew it, he had reawakened my love of talking about God, and randomly reading from the Bible. The jams were amazing, but nearly paled in comparison to our frequent God-talks, which I enjoyed more and more each time. That summer, Sarah and I had made plans to be married and we were referred to Pastor Matt. I was a little uneasy about this cause I had absolutely no desire whatsoever to go to a church, let alone talk to a pastor. The more we talked to him, though, the more genuine he seemed, and in August he married us. One month later, I was invited to Soul Purpose Community Church for teh 2nd time; the 1st invitation was from Pastor Matt during the premarital counseling. This time, though, the invitation came from my brother, who I have always looked up to, no matter how different we are. I turned down the invite because it came during my dark time in the fall due to the anniversaries of my friends whom have passed. However, Justin wouldn't give up on me so easily. He took me to a metal show for my birthday, and little did he know he was about to change my life forever. I knew Justin had begun the process of studying to become a pastor, what I didn't know was how he was about to show me not only how much he knew, but also how much better he was than me at being the very thing I had aspired to be 4 years before, "the light in a very dark place." Without going into any detail, I just want to say that this night is talked about often in my house, and referred to as "Justin was Jesus at a metal show." Not even a week after this I told Sarah that I wanted to attend a service at Justin's church, and Sarah nearly fell out of her chair. I had been missing something about being a Christian. The most important thing there is, Jesus the Christ, the one and only true Messiah. We started attending regularly after our first visit, and the first time I came here without Sarah I knew something weird was going on. That weird is spiritual fulfillment, and it never ceases to amaze me, and I have made a promise to Pastor Matt, and to myself, that it never will. I wish this same amazement of fulfillment upon all who have come to Christ, and to all who have yet to come to him. Amen. Since I have invited Christ into my life, I have been more relaxed, I worry about things less. Jesus is a common conversational topic in our house now and my wife and I read the Bible together every night. I have become more focused on the things that matter and pay more attention to the important things in life. Having Jesus in my life has changed my attitude about so many things and brought a peace to my life. I pray that these changes continue and my relationship with Christ continues to grow.


Clint Woods

| 30-May-2014

I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was 12 years old. By the time I was 15, you never would have guessed by my actions that I was a Christian. I was using drugs and drinking most every day. Most of the time it was fun; for me. Nearly 30 years later it was no longer fun. Although I had stopped using drugs several years earlier, my alcohol use increased greatly. So here I was 30 years later 2 divorces, 2 DUI’s, and several totaled cars unable to quit drinking. I tried lots of times to quit but unsuccessfully. Most of this time I attended church all the while trying to hide my addiction.

I started praying that God would just take my desire to drink away. Every year since I’ve been attending SPCC, we’ve had a day set aside for 24 hours of prayer. Pastor Matt and Pastor Allen asked us to take an hour to come to the church and pray. My wife Cathy and I always try to go pray for an hour. Some people wrote out their prayers and pinned them to a cross, for other members to pray over. Three years ago I didn’t need an hour. Fed up and broken and smelling like alcohol I wrote my prayer down and stuck it directly in the center of that cross. It simply said, “I’m a drunk and can’t quit”; (unaware that my wife had written down her prayer 1 year earlier asking God to make me quit drinking and stuck it right in the middle of that same cross.)

Almost a year later, I got another DUI on my way home from work. Sitting in jail that night, thinking that the 3rd divorce was coming along with the financial destruction that a DUI usually brings; I prayed again, and again (there’s plenty of time for that in jail) for help to quit drinking. When they let me out the next day, I went home, opened the fridge and threw out all the beer, found my stash whiskey and threw that out also. That was over 2 years ago. I haven’t had or wanted a drink since then. God gave me a new life.


Justin Moyer

| 30-May-2014

Introduction I’ve been a Christian as long as I can remember. It can be a blessing to grow up surrounded by the ideals and knowledge that a Christian lifestyle brings, and I know dozens of people that would give their lives to have had the opportunity to know before their adulthood what I knew in my childhood. But it can a bit of a curse, as well, for one can become accustomed to the ideals and knowledge and principles and not know how to take them seriously or apply them. That’s my story, which I’ll tell here. How I had fallen asleep at the wheel of my life, and how God reawakened me. Time and time again.

The Beginning: Childhood

My parents were decent Christians when I was born – they only had a couple of residual bad habits left over from their 1980′s-style rebellion and those were easily overcome before I could remember them. Until I was in middle school, we went to a Lutheran church. My father’s side of the family were Lutherans, and as far as we knew, there were only subtle differences between the other Christian denominations.

During my elementary school years, I watched my father grow from a regular, run-of-the-mill Sunday church-goer into a full-fledged soldier of God. This growth was in no small way prompted by my mother leaving in 1994 for about a year. This threw my dad into a deep depression, and he turned to the Bible for answers. The habits he formed during this period set the tone for the rest of his life. He began nightly studies. He continued the bible studies, with the church. The man had been touched by the fire of God and could not be quenched. Gradually, he would become more and more vocal in bible studies, he would go deeper and deeper into study at night, and he took on more and more roles in the church. After a year, my mother returned home and the two worked out their problems and fully trusted in God to help their struggling marriage.

Meanwhile, the church began to take on more and more problems. There were the beginnings of vast divisions forming and we went through a period of time where we had a different pastor every month. This building tension in the church eventually erupted in a crisis moment that involved the current pastor (fresh out of seminary with a questionable worldview) that caused several families to bail out of the church and left behind a worn and tattered core group of people. Our family was in the group left behind, and we kept the church alive for another few months before looking elsewhere out of sheer exhaustion. As I understand it, the church is still in existence today, although it had to join forces with a Methodist church to stay alive.

The Middle: Adolescence and Early Adulthood We tried several different churches in the coming months, but never really found a fit. Finally, during the summer of 1999, we found Christian Fellowship Church of the Piedmont, or CFCP, lead by a wonderful man named Pastor Ed Heppe. I wished to stay at CFCP because a lot of the kids in the youth group were my friends from elementary school. We attended CFCP through my senior year, and I was active in their youth program. We were very normal Christian teens. We knew all the answers to the questions our youth group leader asked, but still went to school and kept our Christianity secret from everyone else. We never held each other accountable for our actions, and we all developed separate lifestyles at church and school. At this point in our lives, we were all accustomed to the “act” of being a Christian. Near the end of high school, some disagreements my parents had with the pastor regarding my brother’s identity crisis led them to seek another church. I wanted to stay, but I went with my parents and joined a startup church in Culpeper. It was small, and met in an old nightclub. I only went for a couple of months until school ended.

After high school ended, I allowed some poor decisions I had made to make me bitter and I began my rebellion against anything that looked like authority. I had missed out on a free ride through a Christian private university and began working. I moved out of my home and in with my girlfriend and began an appalling lifestyle of living in sin, on credit, and full of cigarettes, alcohol, and loud music. My character changed into a disgusting, bullying, nasty, awful person. I became one of the biggest jerks anyone’s ever met – likely the product of having low confidence during my childhood. I did amazingly terrible things. If I encountered someone walking on side of the road while I was driving, I’d try to hit them with trash I’d throw out the window. It’s incredibly embarrassing, and the behavior was completely contradictory to who I was growing up, but it happened. As if this kind of behavior wasn’t bad enough, I also began to do REALLY stupid things, like race cars down backroads and drive my pickup over ramps and through fields without any regard for safety, mine or anyone else’s. I felt like I was invincible. There were times that I’m sure I should have been taken to a hospital for alcohol poisoning. After these particular events, I was out of commission for 2-3 days trying to recover. It’s a wonder that I’m still alive today. As sad as it is, a lot of young people don’t make it through this period in their lives.

My parents split up again during this time frame, for good this time. My dad joined a new church after the one I had left fizzled out. He started going to another “fellowship” church in Culpeper, but this one was very Pentecostal. He also grew in his faith and started taking Theology classes at the college the church housed. I moved back in with Dad after my relationship with my girlfriend fell apart, and even started going to church with him, but I kept up my stupid lifestyle outside of church. I started playing on the worship team, only adding to the duality that I had become. Many, many Sunday morning worship services at that church featured a very, very hungover Justin on the guitar. I was a sad and miserable replica of who I felt like I should be at age 19.

While playing in the worship team at the Pentecostal church, I saw some amazing things. I saw God’s power come into a room and take it by force. I have no doubt that a lot of what I saw in terms of healing, prophesy, and worship were true, real, actual forces of the Almighty. Even though I was seeing and experiencing these wonderful things, I still continued to act like a fool outside of church. I was still drinking, partying, and trying anything I could to be sexual with any girl I met. I was a disgusting mess, but I still had the desire to do God’s work. I don’t think I had the ability at the time, but I definitely had the desire. I tried to ignore it while not at church, and would usually feel terribly guilty while at church for my behavior, but it didn’t change me after church was over.

It was also during this time that I began to develop my biggest doubts toward God and the church. I began to wonder at some of the things I was seeing. For example, the same people came to the altar call every week, which I thought was weird. Didn’t you give your life to Jesus last week? Why are you here again? Should I be giving myself to Jesus every week, too? And it always seemed to be the same people who were “so affected by the Holy Spirit” that they would pass out in the aisle ways. And what if a new person, someone who didn’t know Jesus, walked into our Sunday morning worship service? They’d hear the shouting, the babbling in tongues, the shofar horns, see the people passing out, and would likely run out of that crazy place! I wondered if the kind of worship we were doing wasn’t tripping our attempts at evangelism. Even in my debaucherous stupor, I realized that the church I was attending was more interested in worshiping God than they were in spreading His message and good news. These doubts eventually came to a head and sparked my longest period spent away from the church. After being asked to step down from the worship team by the pastor (over something related to my lifestyle), I never went back to that church. My faith in God was real, but it was shaken to the core. I began to lose sight of who God was, and gradually stopped trying to have any relationship with Him at all.

The Now: Adulthood Around the time I left the Pentecostal church, I started dating the girl who would eventually be the mother of my first child. She left for Virginia Tech the summer after we met and it looked like the end of the relationship. The distance was difficult and both had interests outside of our relationship. Meanwhile, I lost my job (for the 4th time that year, I was such a mess). Since I had some free time, I traveled down to the college to break up with her. So picture this: I was out of work, I had no money to speak of, I was in Blacksburg to break up with my girlfriend, and I was 20 years old. Then, I found out that she was pregnant with my child. I stuck through the awful relationship and moved down to Roanoke to support her, the whole time having to encourage her and persuade her and a few members of my family that an abortion wasn’t the right thing to do.

It was during this time that God tried to awaken me the first time. Soon after finding out about the child, I collapsed in the stairwell of one of the dorms at Virginia Tech and fell apart. I realized I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. The thought of having to be responsible for a baby while doing the terrible things I was doing at the time scared me half to death. I sought God for the first time in a long time in prayer and asked for his help. People passed by me on the stairwell and thought I was crazy, but I barely noticed them. Over the next several winter months, I broke down and spent the time almost entirely alone living in my grandparent’s lakefront condo in Moneta, VA and working for a construction company. I realized during this time period that Jesus needed to be a focus in my life, and I needed to try to listen to his instruction. Doing things on my own wasn’t working out, and I was getting myself deeper and deeper into a hole. Following Christ was the only way I could see out.

After the fall semester was over, my girlfriend transferred to a school closer to our hometown and I moved in with her. We spent a miserable few months there before Kayla was born. I remember the first time I saw my daughter, I was awestruck. Until that moment, I wasn’t aware that I could love anything that much. I started thinking about how this must be how God loves me. And this thought was tough to bear, because I had turned my back on Him so many times. I couldn’t imagine my daughter forsaking me like I had been forsaking my Heavenly Father. It killed me on the inside.

Things were even less peachy after Kayla was born, and the fights I had with her mother got worse and worse. We started going to church at Soul Purpose Church, or SPC. I really liked the pastor there. He was down to earth and genuine. This only turned into another thing to fight about, though, as she didn’t like the church at all. It didn’t matter in the end, and what was inevitably coming eventually happened. After finding out about some constant online flirtations with someone else, I decided that enough was enough and moved back into my father’s house.

During this time, I still attended SPC and went to all of the men’s group Bible studies because, I figured, I’d need role models. I didn’t know the first thing about being a man, and at age 20, I was a single father. So it was time to start at least acting like a man, and that meant hanging out with them. They were all very gracious with me, and let me feel like a part of their group, even though some of them were more than 10 years my senior. I started to play in the worship team at this church, too, and had a blast doing it. I got deeper into the church, and frequently counseled with the pastor about how to handle the ex-girlfriend problems and so on.

I eventually moved out of my Dad’s house and got a place of my own. I slowly started to creep out of my un-Christian ways and began to start seeking a more Godly life. I think this is one of the biggest myths about Christianity. There’s nothing that says “when you trust in Jesus, you are immediately a good and holy person”. Sure, the process begins, but all of the desires and habits from the time before you began trusting in Jesus are still there. It takes time and work to overcome those behaviors. Sometimes, it takes a lot of time and a lot of work. The changes were slow, but constant. I met my wife during this period and began to court her. We didn’t make it a year before getting married! I felt like she was God’s gift from Heaven in my life.

After knowing her for a mere few months, I wasn’t sure how I had made it as far in life as I had without her. She was perfect, and she loved me and my daughter very much. She also provided an example to me as I learned to continually trust in Christ. After another couple of years of going to Soul Purpose (which eventually joined up with Community Christian Church to become Soul Purpose Community Church) and continually working on my character, I signed up for an ordination training class because I had wondered if my call to lead a Godly life wasn’t a call to something more. I still desired on the inside to do the Will of God, and I felt like that Will was to spread his Good News. I was challenged to read the entire New Testament, and to act like the words were “God’s love-letter to me” as opposed to acting like the words were “an instruction manual to life”. I was astonished at the result.

I was awakened again, this time more so than ever before in my life. I never read the Bible like that before, and even though I knew what it was going to say (for I had heard it many times before), I was deeply affected by the character of God, and began to feel like I knew Him for the first time. I really began to grasp how AWESOME and INCREDIBLE God is and how small I am. I became overwhelmed with the fact that someone so important and vastly huge could take the time and energy to show love and affection for me.

I flew through the Gospels and through the rest of the New Testament. I feel rejuvenated, and have begun to read anything I can to feed the desire I have to learn more about God. I started reading books that clarify the calling I have in my life so I can be sure I’m on the right track. I started reading books about purity so I can keep myself clean to be useful to God. I started reading books about living a Godly lifestyle. And, most importantly, I started reading the Bible every day.

I am alive. I have been reawakened, and I am making myself ready to do God’s good work with a purpose. This has been my story until now, and I would like to challenge all who read this to put your Christian walk story into words for others to be encouraged.


Sarah Moyer

| 30-May-2014

Before I came to Christ my life really didn't have a focus. I was wondering trying to find what I wanted to do with my life. People would have described me as a happy go lucky person. I was easily distracted and led by those around me. I was a very self centered person even though most around me would not have described me that way. Yes, I cared about others but I always did what was best for me also. I was raised Catholic so I went to church when I could and prayed when I remembered but I was unaware that there was supposed to be a closer relationship with Christ than that. God was still working in my life even though I didn't realize it. Looking back, I know he has saved my life and led me in the right direction many times. He changed my life the most when I went to Virginia Tech, now I know God sent me there so I could find Him again and bring me closer to Him. My first semester there was a major culture shock. No one really talked to one another and just passed each other by. My first week of classes I met a girl named Amber. She was from a small town like me and was shocked when I spoke to her. It was one of those things where two people just happen to be in the same place at the same time. We were instant friends and became very close very quickly. She was raised in a very strict religious home, and had a close relationship with Jesus. One day after we had been hanging out a lot, she came over to my apartment and told me she had a dream I had died and gone to hell. She asked me if I was saved, did I know that Jesus was my Lord and Savior. I told her we had talked about my upbringing and I knew Jesus died for me. She then asked, yes but have you told him that? I was speechless for a moment, I had to tell him? Didn't he already know? She explained to me what a real relationship with Jesus should be and offered to pray with me as I accepted him into my heart. I told Him I was sorry I had never accepted him before, that I did not know. I asked Him to forgive me and asked Him to come into my heart, that I knew he was my Savior and the only way to salvation. Since then I have been changing, though I did not change overnight, I look back and am amazed at the changes God has brought to my life and to those around me. I started by going back to church more often and praying more often. Though the most significant changes have happened very recently and I am praying they continue. I have seen God answer prayers I have been praying for a long time, especially for my Husband. We have found a new Church family, and are attending regularly. I have started to read my Bible more, and I find the more I read it the more I see Him working in my life through others and through his word.

Now this part I just feel led to tell you so I want to share it and hope that this speaks to some of you. The Biggest change I have seen happened very recently after I set myself a challenge to read the Bible all the way through. Well if any of you have tried to read the Bible all the way through, you know how hard it is, especially in the beginning. I was not even a quarter of the way through when I started thinking "God, I just need Jesus." "How much farther to the New Testament?" "I can't read this anymore." "When does the good stuff start happening, how does any of this apply to me today?" Well about that time it was nearing Christmas and we had just started coming here to Soul Purpose. Pastor Matt asked us to look at the different Gospels and see the differences in the way they portrayed Jesus. So I skipped to the New Testament and have been reading it ever since. When I started really reading the Bible every day I found myself praying more, looking for God's plan in my life, and relying on myself less. I started to listen to the Christian radio station and one day I heard them give a challenge to listen to nothing but Christian music for 30 days and see how it changes your life. I felt led to start reading Christian books instead of the normal junk I have always been addicted to. You may think that this sounds a little extreme and I know it is not for everyone, but just try to cut out some of the things that do not have good messages in them and see how addicting they really are. See how much time you actually spend thinking about the next episode of "True Blood" or the next sequel that may or may not be coming out for the "Twilight" series. I can guarantee it will come to mind more often than you think it will. They take up more and more of your time, become more important to you and eventually start to get in the way of the more important things in life. I also have found that even if I only have time to read a small amount of God's word every day, even if it is just a paragraph or even a sentence, it helps keep you connected and feel closer to God and Jesus. I have also found that God has a way of almost always making sure that what you are reading relates to something you are going through or you will find the next day that you will use that knowledge. These past few months I have felt closer to Jesus and to God than I have ever thought possible. I hope to be blessed enough that these changes will continue in the future and that my relationship with Christ and with God will continue to grow stronger. I have no idea what God has in my future but I look forward to it with a new found peace and faith that God will lead me where I need to go to fulfill His plan for my life.





 

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