Thursday, October 9, 2014

Presbyterian Testimonies

These testimonies come from the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church website.

"When I was 13, I questioned whether God was real. I asked, 'How can he be? People say you can feel his presence, but I never have.'  ...I started to pray throughout the day letting God know what I was thinking, though really, he already knows. I committed to reading the Bible every day. It wasn’t always easy but I stuck to it.
At age 15, I spent 2 weeks on a summer mission trip, working at the ECHO (Educational Concern for Hunger Organization) farm in N. Fort Myers, Florida. Alongside my friends, I pulled weeds, hauled dirt and planted crops. It was stifling hot. During several jobs, I had to cry out to God, asking for his strength, knowing I had no strength to work on my own. Each time, I felt a surge of energy beyond myself and was able to complete the task. I was amazed. Right then, I knew that the God I’d heard about sitting criss cross apple sauce in Sunday school is in fact real. I returned from ECHO. Summer ended.
...Looking back on my young, six year old self, I see that I didn’t understand what it meant to be a Christian. I learned about God through Bible stories, verses, etc…but as a child, that’s all Christianity was for me, facts about God. I was wrong. Through my summer experience at ECHO, my junior high Sunday school teacher’s advice and my friendship with Mary, God’s shown me that he IS real.
I’ve fallen in love with the same God I thought was cold and distant. He’s taught me that Christianity is not about the knowledge in my head; it’s about the knowledge in my heart. Christianity is about believing that God really exists. 'But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.'  ...He breathed his last for me and for that I will love him eternally."

-Laura Mangan's Testimony

"When I heard about Jesus, his love and what he could do for me, I was eager to know him and belong to him.  His offer was attractive … come to him, believe and receive abundant life.  He could give me rest … and I was so weary.  He could make me good … and I was tired of trying to be good on my own.  He would make me feel safe … and conquer my fears.  He would give me purpose in living … I needed a reason to go on.  I would not be lonely again because he would never leave me nor forsake me.
I heard this gospel preached at our local church and responded to the invitation given by the pastor, to come down front and kneel at the altar to pray; confess sin, profess belief in Jesus and be saved.  I recall that others prayed with me and for me.  There was bright sunlight and peace surrounding me when I opened my eyes after praying.  Jesus is the light of the world.  I was eleven.
...[Later, in college, she was introduced to] reformed doctrine, Calvinism and the Reformed Presbyterian church.
As I struggled to reconcile my former teaching with this new view, I began to experience spiritual growth and joy that I had never had before.  Bible study was new to me and very exciting.  I thought I was 'gifted' in Bible study.  And truly I was because it was the gift of the Holy Spirit who enlightened me with truths of Scripture!
...I have not always agreed with God in the moment, but He has proven right in every disagreement.  Truly he knows what is best for me even when it does not fit with my own or other’s expectations.  I am grateful that he has called me to himself and keeps me close to him in spite of the challenges of living in a fallen body in a fallen world."

-Claudia Britt's Testimony

"I had never really thought of the idea of Christianity as a child.
...The turning point, however, really came during my freshman year of high school. A group of friends and I decided to have a prayer circle, and during this prayer circle, was when I really felt the presence of God in the room. There were many things being said and done in that room which really showed me God was personally there, and I realized that I wanted an actual, personal relationship with God. I needed to get closer to Him.
[She describes numerous difficulties, and how turning to God helped her overcome them]
...Over the last few months, I have experienced the glory of God in my own life, and all I can do is praise Him. It is so evident that it is Christ who needs to be Lord over our lives. Going to church, doing good deeds, picking up the Bible every now and then, these will not get you anywhere as a true Christian; you have to have accepted Christ fully and completely in to your heart. It was amazing how my desires changed once I brought Jesus in to my life. I never knew how important and beautiful the Word of God could be, but now I have a hunger for it, a desire to read and study it like I never have before. I have witnessed firsthand what a life is like without God, and what it is like to be transformed by God. Knowing that I have been given a free gift, even though I don’t deserve it at all, even though I knew just how much of a sinner I actually was, changed my desires completely around. I know now just how precious these gifts are: the gift of grace, the gift of eternal salvation, to those who rest in Christ. We are all sinners and will have to face the wrath of God one day. But, if we put our trust and faith in Christ, who gave His life for us, we will be declared innocent."

-Rylie Robinson's Testimony

These testimonies come from the First Presbyterian Church website.

"I was raised in the Catholic Church.
...My parents began growing in their faith, and began searching for a home church different than the one we had been attending for years.  At the same time, the first (and only) kids to approach me in that first week of school were from the youth group of a local Nazarene church.  We decided to go, and I ended up being exposed to something I had never experienced: a group of teens so on fire for the Lord that their behavior could be explained in no other way.  My heart changed as a result of knowing those teens, and the Holy Spirit brought me into the fold on a Sunday morning during a revival service.  I don’t remember the topic or the words of the Preacher, I only remember the feeling as the Spirit changed my heart and carried me to the altar…and the love poured out by those teens as they knelt and prayed with me.
Since being saved by faith in Christ through the work of the Spirit, I’ve found that life doesn’t get easier...  The work of God does not stop at salvation.  He is continually showing me things in my life that need correction, that need to be removed by that refiner’s fire.  I am so thankful that He found me worthy of His work."

-Aaron Baldauff's Testimony

"Our merciful Heavenly Father saw fit to lift me from the ashes. He took my battered spirit and broken body away from the heat of the battle. He set me in a safe and peaceful place, and then He breathed into me His Holy Spirit.
For once, my faith was my own. It was not the faith of my parents, nor of my Sunday school teachers, nor of the church – it was mine, because Christ was mine. I finally knew Him. I no longer had a knowledge about Him; rather, I was His and He was mine.
...Many people can point to a specific moment in their history when they acknowledged the power of the Lord over the sin in their life and made a commitment to Him. I cannot. Mine has been a tortuous and arduous path spanning years of silent pain. Yet in that pain I can see Christ more clearly.
...I know – I know – that my God is with me. He is not distant, and He is not uncaring. Do I know all of the answers about Him? No. Do I have any clue about His specific will for me life? No. But that is a part of the Divine Mystery I have learned to accept: I don’t need any more knowledge about Him; I just need Him."

-Paul Smith's Testimony

"My plan was to just go to church and come back home. Little did we know the plans that God had for us! I began attending church regularly and then Luke came with me on Christmas Eve. We both started reading our Bibles and searching scripture. I began to realize that I knew about Jesus but did not really KNOW Him. Bill preached about having a personal relationship with Him and I had never really heard that before. I believed and knew what he did for me but did not realize that he wanted this personal intimate relationship with me!  At receiving the invitation to accept Christ in my heart, wanting to get to know him more, God changed so much about out lives...  Of course, I do believe it was all in God's plan! God seemed to open and close doors for us and everything just fell into place."

-Wendy Russell's Testimony

"I began to be convicted... I did not have an immediate conversion. It took years before I realized that God had granted me His grace through Christ. I had doubts about it for a long time but finally my head knowledge became heart knowledge.
...I learned that when we are weak or in deep waters, we are constantly in His presence and we will not drown. In His presence we are secure, we find strength, comfort and safety.
The Lord is truly active in our church."

-Nan Stiles' Testimony

These testimonies come from the Covenant Presbyterian Church.

"One night, a couple days after his death, the group met. I stayed after and talked with the wife. I asked a lot of questions about where he would be spending eternity and where I would be if I died. That evening at the age of 26 I gave my life to Christ.
Everything about my life has changed and I became a different person, including what I like and what I am interested in. Some areas that I struggled with, God just removed from my life and when presented with them, there is now no struggle. Other areas, I am still working out, but now I am able to because I have Christ in my life. That void I had and yearned to fill in all the wrong ways, is now filled with the love of God and the peace that only He can provide. My life may not be perfect but I know where I am going when I die and I no longer fear death. I look forward to the day I will meet my Maker in heaven face to face and hope to meet a lot of family and friends there too, many of whom are currently unsaved."

-Stephanie's Testimony

"Our son's teenage life, my search for meaning in my own life, and our lack of an authoritative and spiritual basis from which to guide our children, led to a determined search for a church where God was honored and the Bible was taught.
We finally found a church like this, and over a period of time I came to understand and accept Christ as the central focus of life itself and for my life. This was not sudden, but gradual. God used several resources to bring me to the point of making Christ the boss of my life: My emotional connection through worship at our church; Many respected friends who told me about their faith in Christ, and encouragement to give my life to Christ...  My reading and re-reading of The Case for Christ was critical since it gave me answers which significantly helped lead to my intellectual acceptance of Christ.
Eventually I did give my life over to Christ. I have not regretted it. I experience more joy and appreciation for a purposeful life and the wonder of eternal life yet to come. I also gained an intensity to teach my kids and other kids about Christ, and also reach out to my extended family with my beliefs. It has been quite a transformation. I fairly consistently re-examine my life and my works in light of what the Bible teaches. I have an increased desire to share my Christian faith with others (though I'm somewhat scared of others' reactions to my expression of my faith beliefs). I have a more sincere and life changing sorrow for my sins."

-Joe's Testimony

"Then one day in January of 1974, when I was in college, I had an experience that changed my attitude. I can't describe it any other way than to say that God opened my eyes to what was really happening with me. Instead of seeing myself in relation to my friends, I began to see myself based on God's standard.
...This realization shook me to the roots of my being.
...While discussing my life's problems with a fellow fraternity brother who I respected, he began to tell me the good news of God's love and forgiveness found in Christ. I began to see that God designed me and expected me to center my life on Him. My focus in life was on my personal fulfillment. I was not pleasing to God at all; in fact, I was in the enemy camp. My lifestyle was hostile to God. I had no peace in my life because I was not at peace with God. That night in his room I saw that Jesus Christ was the only way to have peace with God, and I submitted my life to Him.
Having given my life over to indulging the sinful desires, I had--like Christian of Pilgrim's Progress--heaped a load of sin and guilt upon myself. When I confessed my sin to God and placed my hope and trust in Christ alone, I experienced a release from that guilt of sin as if someone had taken a heavy burden off my back. And things began to change. Some things changed immediately and dramatically--like my filthy mouth and sour attitude about life--while other things were more subtle and slow in changing--like loving difficult people or honoring my Dad.
But that did change, too.
...I'm 49 years old now, and have a wife and three children. I'm so thankful to Jesus Christ for all that He has done for me. I have followed Jesus Christ for 30 years now. There have been very painful times as well as great and awesome times. Following Christ has sometimes cost me in friends and career. But I would not give it up for anything. The words of Jesus' disciple describe where I'm coming from. He said to Jesus, 'You have the words of eternal life. Where else could we go?'"

-Maurice's Testimony

"As my neighbors loved me unconditionally, I came to see my need for a Savior. I saw families where love was the main ingredient in the home: love for God and love for one another. As a child I knew nothing of this in my own home. I lived my life in quiet desperation. I wanted what my neighbors had, and I saw that it was centered in an unconditional surrender to Jesus Christ. Out of desperate need, and at a young age, I surrendered my life to Christ.
Everything did not get better. I changed, but my home life was still very miserable. Yet God was with me, and saw me through those tough times.
...I'm thankful my children have very different childhood memories, but I do not regret my past. Jesus took my ugly past and turned it into something very beautiful."

-Jackie's Testimony

"I became aware of God through Roman Catholic Christianity. I realized from a very early age that the worship houses of the Christian God were much more pleasant than the Chinese temples. I was always uneasy at Chinese temples. An unpleasant fear was a dominant underlying emotion. The temples were dark, oppressive, and scary. The cathedrals, in contrast, were pleasant and peaceful. I wanted to be baptized as a Roman Catholic, but my father disallowed it.
...I remember a lucid moment in time when I realized I had to find out and be 100% sure if Christianity was real...  I decided to try Jesus Christ. That was in 1979.
What a decision! I now know it was the right decision. He led me down that road in making that all-important decision. How do I know that? With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, I can see God continued to intervene in my life at various crossroads.
...I met Mark who was on staff with an organization called the Navigators. Through that friendship, I learned the root of my troubles was that my understanding of God was not based on the Bible but on my feelings, emotions and what other men had to say. God, through Mark, taught me to base my faith in the Bible. I learned to let the Holy Spirit guide me through life with the Bible as the instruction manual. I relearned to pray to God regularly and I saw God answer my prayers! Wow!
...God has given us successes in many ways and an unexplainable joy even when things were tough. The Bible says in Ps 34:8, 'Taste and see that the Lord is good'. It is true! I can say that has characterized my experience in life. I was invited to taste God in 1979 and I have seen and can testify that indeed, the Lord is good. The second part of that verse says, 'Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.' I have learned to take refuge in Him. I have been blessed. I thank God."

-Richard's Testimony

This testimony is from Fanwood Presbyterian Church.

"I know the Lord has been with me, leading and guiding me every step of my journey. He was with me as I sang hymns in my childhood Sunday School and is with me as I sing or play hymns in church today. God was with me the day I met Bruce in the 1970's and was with us the day we were married in 2008.  It was God who brough the Jehovah's Witnesses to Bruce's door and God who brought me through the doors of FPC.  God led me to become a Deacon and is with me each time I visit a shut-in or do some other service in His name.  He is with me today as I speak to you, and will be with me on the day I die."

-Kris Adams' Testimony

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