Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Testimony

God called me to salvation by His Loving Grace through my faith in Christ Jesus' death in my stead for my sin and my just eternal punishment in hell because of that sin and His Resurrection from the dead after 3 days in the tomb assuring me of eternal life--all by the working of the Holy Spirit in my soul who then came into me to dwell and sanctify me until the day of my receiving a new glorious body devoid of sin or weakness or fault and empower for the keeping of the faith, hope, and love to the Glory of the Holy Trinity forever and ever and the good works that God has pre-ordained for all the elect.
He did this when I was 3 almost 4 years old. It was a sunny day in late spring or early summer, but I was inside and my mother was preparing a Sunday School lesson with cutouts. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit reached inside of my wicked soul and convicted me of my current destiny of hell because of my sin and my need therefore of Jesus as my Savior. I did not want to hell for sure, so I told Jesus that I did not want to go to hell and I told Him that I really did believe that He died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. I asked Him to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart and give me eternal life in heaven. At that moment I felt the burden of my sins fall of my soul and the Spirit come in--Peace in the best and purest sense, Peace. For the next several years I grew little by little and I was baptized at age 7 if I remember accurately in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I had a mean streak however, according to my mother, which indeed I did and it lasted for a while. When I was about 12-13 I started actually listening to the sermons at church instead of drawing and personally pursuing God actively on my own with desire rather than just the passive pursuit that I had mostly had, although I served at church, prayed, memorized scripture, and read my Bible before then--I would say that I go more serious about things around that time. Puberty and all that agony was soon in full swing, which unfortunately meant that keeping my heart and mind in pure places was suddenly a great difficult. That turbulence was ironically a time of great growth in spite of the grotesque amounts of lust sin at the same time--I am living proof God is gracious and does not treat us in the way our sins deserve. Pastor Craig Parrow was my mentor and is still a good friend. He, God used to teach me much. Most of this is my retrospective analysis; God is good! This time full of darkness and growth lasted I was aged 16, then I surprise turn about came.
God called me to be a pastor. From then on the whole lust issue was more of a non-issue--God is so gracious. God intervened several times in the following eight months to reveal to me great truths and initiate great growth. I stepped up in the youth group and started leading--someday I will have to write out the story of my pastoral calling and subsequent affirming months--and was even given opportunities to teach. When the weather got warmer, I started evangelizing on the street every oppotunity I could get. That summer I got to teach the VBS several times. Oh right, I forgot to mention, my dad got a new job which required my familty to move from Cleveland, Ohio to Le Roy, Illinois. I was very active in the youth group and the church up until we left when I was 17 in September-October.
There is more to the testimony--I am almost 21 after all--but it will have to wait for another time. I know, sort of a cliff-hanger, but oh well...

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