What was life like before you met Jesus?
My life before coming to Christ was best described as selfish and focused on comfort and pleasure. I believed that religion was created by man to scare the masses into living "right". I believed I did not need religion to live "right"; that I could live right on my own. I felt that I had lived a good life and if I were to die, I felt that I had "gotten my money's worth" out of this life. I now recognize the thinness of my soul in those days and how little I cared for my fellow man.
How did you meet Jesus?
Upon hearing my outlook on life and death, my friend and coworker Donna, whose wisdom I truly respect, took the bold step of enlightening me that if I was not saved by the grace of Jesus Christ that I was actually condemned to eternal punishment. Indeed, it would not be a simple lights-out when I died, it would instead be an eternity of torment and punishment for my sinful ways. Donna went on to explain that Jesus died to cover our sins, if we would just place our faith in Him as our Lord and savior. This message really caused me to think about how I was living and how I was facing a horrible eternity. Over a few months, I lowered my barriers to believing in God. On the early morning of Sunday, August 21, I happened upon a news article stating that the day before one of Donna and my coworkers was critically injured in a farming accident. I sent that article to Donna, who was deeply affected. She recognized that I was not saved and that at any time a similar accident could end my life before I could be saved. She invited me to join her and her husband Wes at Veritas to just give it a chance that morning. During the 11 AM service, I heard the account of Peter and John healing a lame beggar, and unapologetically stating that it was Jesus that gave them the power to do so. The message of that sermon was so crystal clear, so utterly moving that I came to believe with all my heart that Jesus did live, that Jesus was sent by God to bring the New Covenant to pay the debt owed by sinners, and that Jesus was willing to be MY savior! I then witnessed believers around me taking communion with Jesus and praying in their own family groups in a beautifully authentic way that I had never experienced before. Following communion, the song "Thank You Jesus For the Blood Applied" was sung, and it stepped right through exactly what was happening to me, and led me right up to giving my full faith and life to Jesus! I felt the Holy Spirit enter my head, neck and back with a warm electric energy; I wept for the rest of the service out of a joyous gratitude that I cannot come close to describing. I am immeasurably grateful to have received Jesus' free gift of salvation, and I believe the following verses capture His divine grace and love so elegantly. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 14:6-7 says “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."”
After being saved by Jesus, what is your life like now?
I truly have not been the same person since being saved during that service on the balcony at Veritas! I began studying the Bible diligently from that day forward. The Bible now makes such clear sense to me, its words jump to life for me with a clarity that it never did prior to receiving the Holy Spirit. I have joined a Bible study group along with Donna and Wes that is hosted by some of their friends. I have spent significant hours in prayer worshiping God, expressing gratitude for the blessings I have received in my life, and requesting His guiding hand to show me how to best represent Him. Wes and I traveled to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum for a weekend of building our understanding and faith in God and building our friendship with one another on the bedrock of Christ. I will be forever grateful to Donna for reaching me with the message of Jesus and sending me on my path to redemption and everlasting life! I have been welcomed with open arms into the Veritas family of believers. My amazing experience and story of salvation has inspired a revival in faith for all whom I have had the opportunity to share it with. For that, I am so thankful for this initial way that God is using me to shine the light of his unending love and glory! I feel with certainty a comfort that Jesus is with me as I do my best to navigate my way through the decisions of how to live each day in a way that glorifies God. Until such time as I am granted entry to his heavenly kingdom, I will be ever faithful in sharing the good news of Jesus with any who have ears to hear it and a heart of flesh to feel it so as to bring another soul back to the Lord! Mark 8:34-35 says “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it."”