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, but I do want the reader to understand the reality of my life both before and after becoming a Christian. My aim in this is that God be glorified, my brothers and sisters edified and the non-Christian persuaded by the testimony of the grace of God by this sinner.
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 LDS or Mormons. If you’d like a better understanding of the differences Bill McKeever has a good article on this subject. I was brought up with the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the KJV Bible. As well as believing that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I come from a line of RLDS from my great grandmother on my mother’s side down through all of the relatives on that side of the family. My father’s side didn’t really have any religious affiliation. Eventually, both of my parents were ordained as RLDS ministers.
I was baptized in the RLDS church at 8 years old. I was raised to believe that in order to go to heaven I had to be good, just about perfect it seemed, as well as be part of the one true church which was the RLDS church. I believed that if I said a cuss word or had a drop of alcohol that I was on my way to hell. I had no concept of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. I started falling away from the RLDS beliefs in high school. Once I started slipping with the language via cussing that was it. I figured that was it. I’m done and keep moving away from religion. Being a good person still sort of stuck with me and I still believed there was a god, some sort of god, but that was about it.
Through my teen years I had been involved in martial arts which I started at 14 years old. Martial Arts combined with not knowing God, started an attraction to meditation and eastern religions. There was still that element of being good and thinking I deserved more for my goodness. So 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, seemingly 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 and thoroughly enjoying the flesh. My life, in no particular order, was studying, partying and athletics. There’s no need to further describe my lifestyle. Just imagine a movie about college partying. However, 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 who didn’t know Jesus Christ. At this point, I just worked and partied though the partying was kept to a minimum. I had a different set 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, but 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.
Eventually, 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 continued seeking satisfaction in partying and all that goes with it only to wake up weekend after weekend empty.
One day as I was driving around listening to talk radio stations that I enjoyed, I came upon a Christian talk station. I started listening to preaching on the radio and got curious. At around the same time I re-connected with my good friend Russ who was still living in Savannah. 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 hung out together occasionally.
Let me give some background as to what happened at this time. One weekend when I was back in Savannah after re-connecting with Russ, we had a day on the golf course I won’t forget. Three of us who’d been friends since high school golfed that day. Russ was a Christian, the other guy and I was not. We two non-Christians were 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 cannot 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 at him for his beliefs.
So as I was driving around listening to sermons on the radio I wanted to read the Bible, but didn’t have any direction. 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 that I get an NIV translation and read the book of John. I did that and continued listening to sermons on the radio for a few months afterwards.
Now, I lived alone with my closest Christian friend about 280 miles away. One night, sometime in August or Sept. 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 then knew that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior. It was awesome!
Today, the Lord has blessed me with a wonderful wife and daughter. I understand that my life is not my own, but is lived for Jesus Christ.
That’s my testimony in a nutshell.
You can download an audio version if you like here: My Christian Testimony
As I wrap up let me briefly present the Gospel.
The Triune God who is holy and perfect made us in His image to love, know and obey Him. We break God’s law through sin by disobeying and turning away from Him. This condemns us to death and eternal punishment. In love, Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to us as a man, lived a sinless life keeping God’s law perfectly. He died on the cross for sinners, rising to life after three days defeating death, taking the punishment for sins. We are to turn from our sin to Jesus in faith that He took the punishment for our sins on the cross. This is the grace of God through which we are born-again into a new and eternal life with God.
That’s my brief explanation of the Gospel. I appreciate you listening and I hope it was edifying and uplifting.
Thank you Lord.
What is the Gospel? See below and read here.
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