| How/When Were You Saved?|
For no purpose other than building each other up and glorifying God, how/when were you saved?
I grew up in a home with one slightly older brother and an older half sister, with no church involvement at all, in a single parent home on welfare and food stamps and lived in housing projects and apartments and trailer parks. Weekends were spent stepping over passed out drunk men and women of various ages in the floor of wherever we lived. I compensated by being on my best behavior and trying hard in school and I did well.
When I was 16 and a junior in high school, I met my future wife when she joined the school newspaper. I was editor. We started dating the January after I'd graduated. She was a PK. A condition of my dating her was that I had to go to church somewhere. Her dad said, "You don't have to go to church with her, but if you are going to see her here or go on a date, you'll be in church that Sunday." I was thrilled because I wanted to be made to go to church, frankly. I said, "Well, I may as well go with her." So I did. That was 1986.
My wife's mother was an old-school holiness woman who was full of the Holy Ghost. If there were ever a crayon made in the color of the love of God, the name of it would be "Audrey". She was the sweetest soul who ever lived. She would gently but firmly preach to me about the Lord, His goodness, His holiness, His grace, His provision. She would tell me all the time of stories of her younger years (she was 42 when my wife was born, so she had a lot of life behind her by the time I got to know her) in ministry with my wife's dad, all their adventurous giving of themselves to others to win them to Jesus. I'd like to say I took it all in and loved it all the time, but I was an 18, 19, 20 year old who was NOT yet in love with Jesus. But, in time, it took a toll on me.
The pastor was a solid, expositional type of teacher who was so clear to me. (That wasn't my future father in law. He'd retired by the time I came into the picture, for health reasons. He died 4 months after we married, in Sept. 1988.) I didn't understand everything, of course, as a carnal kid but I was drawn by the preaching. I'll never forget the one Sunday where I'd read something in the bible earlier in the week and he actually QUOTED it in his sermon that day! I was blown away and even started talking to my girlfriend in church, "Hey, I just READ that!" :)
By spring of 1987, the Lord was dealing with me. I'd found a local AM station that had just changed its format to CCM. I was working as a 20 year old manager of a rent-to-own store. In the office, I snuck the radio to that station and listened. Margaret Becker's song "Never for Nothing" came on the radio. (She sounded SO much like Annie Wilson of Heart.) There was a lyric in that song that grabbed me, man. "Hold on to that holy promise that says/No labor of love is in vain." I didn't know it was from a bible verse, but the idea seized me. I asked the Lord to save me to that promise, to save me period, right there in my office. I wanted to live what that verse was about. I still do, brothers. I teared up for a minute in my office, wiped my face and went on working. But I was born again.
Soon, I was baptized and became a member of that church. Later that year, my wife and I were engaged and we married in April, 1988. One night late in 1987, I was praying at church and I started speaking in tongues. In the spring of 1988, not long after my wife and I married, I had a series of times in prayer, a deep conviction and sense of calling, comments from others, and even a series of dreams that lead me to conclude I was being called to the ministry. I started preaching in our local church and submitted myself to the credentialing process of that time. My wife and I moved to Cleveland, TN in 1990 to go to our church college and that same year I was licensed as a minister. Years later, I surrendered those credentials and went down a path of disobedience that still has repercussions, mainly my choice to go to law school and become an attorney.
God has been faithful to us. After two miscarriages early in our marriage, in 1996 my wife was told she would never be able to bear a child. We were deeply hurt. We formed a friendship with a fellow who volunteered at the agency where my wife was a social worker and we started going to his SS class and church while I was finishing law school. He was instrumental in setting us on a path to reconciliation with God, and I treasure his friendship to this day, 19 years later. (He has since retired from his line of work, went on to pastor 3 churches himself from Oregon to S. Carolina and is on sabbatical after his wife and he have both fought cancer diagnoses.) In 2003, my wife told me she thought she might be pregnant. By God's merciful grace, He gave to us a beautiful, bright daughter that same year. God was right, doctors were wrong, and we had been reconciled with the Lord.
This past April, 2014, my sweet mother in law passed away after a four year losing battle with Alzheimer's. And, the Lord not only has sustained but gave my wife peace that passes all understanding. His goodness continues to us.
| 2015/1/12 12:22||Profile|
| Re: How/When Were You Saved?|
I grew up in a Christian home, learning about the Lord from the time I was born. I was eight years old and we were having a series of revival services. I don't remember much about the sermon but I do remember that several other youth my age went forward and began to pray at the altars. I recall sitting in a pew weeping. I knew that I was a sinner. My great aunt came to my side and asked me if I would like her to go forward with me. I remember kneeling at a pew in the front of the church, crying out to God in repentance and asking Him to forgive me of my sins. I am not sure how long it was. To me it seemed like 20 minutes; it might have been 5. But I do remember the moment that I knew beyond a doubt that my sins were gone and that I was forgiven. I felt as if a million pound weight had been lifted from my heart. I with I could say that I did it all right after that day, but I have always sought the Lord, and I never looked back. I remember persecution in elementary school and later in High School because I was a believer. I praise God for what He has done for me. I cannot imagine what my life would be like had I not surrendered to the Lord at eight years old.
| 2015/1/12 12:41||Profile|
| Re: How/When Were You Saved?|
I grew up in a strong Christian family- everyone on both sides were church going Christians, all Brethren. My mom and dad met at Grace College in Winona Lake IN. Several cousins etc attended there.
We lived in a small town in western Ohio and attended a pretty vibrant church and when I was 9 the church had a guest preacher. I remember he was a black guy with glasses. What he said impacted me and later at home my mom and I had a discussion and I got saved.
I went through typical ups and downs and sort of did the things that college kids do in college but even after a night of carousing I would get back to my apartment and read the bible before I went to bed.
I really caught fire when I went to a youth worker conference with my wife in 2005 I believe. The leader was Richard Mull and he was going to teach us how to do the 40 Day Revolution with our youth group. Instead he was playing sermon compolations from the old fire on the altar website and a mini revival broke out. That is when the HS really filled us up.
I wish I still had that fire but I guess it is sort of like falling in love-- that super intensity of the very early stages does not, and perhaps should not last.
| 2015/1/12 12:52||Profile|
| Re: |
I grew up in a godly Christian home. My mind seemed to mature a little early and by the time I was seven yrs old, I was deeply concerned about my salvation. I found it so hard to know for sure if "praying the prayer" had really saved me or not. So I went to praying it over and over, hoping that one of the times it would "catch" and work. (confusion, yes) I tried to have faith that I was saved, but I had no peace. Over the years, I longed to know that God somehow heard my prayers, but to my despair, I never really saw any answers to MY prayers. (Looking back, I wanted a God I could control, like a puppet) By the time I was eleven yrs old, I was a very bitter, angry person. Angry at God for not answering me, angry at different circumstances I felt He had "forced" on me, angry that He hadn't given me a "better" life. I looked for inconsistencies and sins in the lives of Christians around me (and found them!) and rationalized that they were really no different from me--that God really hadn't changed them like they said. I came to the conclusion, that if God didn't work for ME, if He wouldn't have me, then I figured He wasn't the God everyone said He was. And so I convinced myself that there was no God, that He was only something some cruel person made up to bring fulfilment to their life. I purposed to not think about God anymore, gave up trying to be good, and decided to have fun in my sin, but I was too miserable to enjoy anything anymore. About a yr and a half later, I broke a bone that couldn't be "set" or "fixed" and was in a lot of pain. My first reaction was that this was God's fault...He was out to get me! Even though I wanted to believe He didn't exist, I blamed Him for everything. And in my heart I said, Ok God I'll give you ONE more try, if you're even there. And so I would preface my prayer with "Ok, God, if you're real, then..." I prayed and confessed, but nothing happened. So I would do it again and wonder how the heavens could mock me so when I was so earnest. I tried to threaten God with things like, look, do you want me to go out to the world and sin, or are you going to answer me? Long story short, I came to the absolute end of myself and God showed me the bitterness and anger in my heart as AGAINST GOD Himself. I'd never seen it that way, but I was guilty as charged, and I knew it was keeping me from salvation. And it was like I saw a picture in my mind of dirty old me contrasted to the striking beauty of holiness of Jesus Christ, DYING for me, who hated Him. It broke my hard heart and yet giving up that bitterness was the hardest thing for me to do--it felt like I was dying to give it up, to say, You're right, God and I'm wrong! But oh the peace, the joy, the sweetness of God's presence when I KNEW God had forgiven me...You who are saved know what I'm talking about; there is no way to fully describe it! I've never been the same since that day; God's word has become more and more alive as time goes on.
I shudder to think where I would be today had it not been for God's amazing GRACE. As you can see, even with my Christian upbringing, my heart fell into such bondage to the devil, that I have nothing to boast in, except in Jesus Christ. He is so worthy of our praise! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX_7j32zgNw
The more people I meet from Christian homes, the more I realize how widespread is the confusion caused by the easy believism of "praying the prayer." God's looking at the heart, prayer or no prayer, and how I wish this was communicated to more children/yng people growing up in Christian homes. I've never seen it put more clearly than in this article/message by Roy Daniel - http://www.prayerclub.net/index.php/literature/booklets/720-answers-for-those-who-grew-up-in-conservative-evangelical-christian-homes-who-are-struggling-to-find-assurance-of-salvation I think multitudes of yng people could be snatched from the flames if they were given this booklet. There's also an audio/video version, Do You Have a Testimony, and Faith Vs Feeling
| 2015/1/13 13:16||Profile|