I grew up in a Christian home. We went to Church every Sunday and Wednesday. I learned Bible stories, how to give tithes and offerings. We memorized Scripture, we sang songs. These are all great things but along with these things I was taught "The List".
This list is made up of things that you are suppose to do and not suppose to do. There is a lot more emphasis put on what you are not to do than what you are to do. Some things on the list were good things and some of them even came out of the Bible. This list can be as long as the imaginations of men, or the traditions of the Church. We were taught to walk "straight down the line." If I was to walk "straight down the line", then I could feel good about myself and the supposed relationship that I had with God.
This kind of belief gave me a Spiritual Arrogance and Spiritual deadness at the same time. Along with this arrogance comes a feeling of being better than others. Portraying Spirituality through appearance also is prevalent. This is one of the things that are taught threw the "List" , and appearance becomes more important than what is going on inside of me. It is outward conformity not inward transformation. Peace, Love, Joy are non existent in this type of scenario and for me they were just words in scripture that didn't have much meaning.
As a legalist I spent a lot of time evaluating others instead of examining myself. I would judge others based on how they looked or if there standards were as high as mine. This kind of self righteousness brought arrogance as well as discontentment to me. I always felt a need to condemn others. This has been an ongoing problem for me but by God's Grace He is been revealing to me Truth, changing me and the future of my family. I am extremely Grateful. I am growing in Grace and learning to love others and know what it means to have an abundant life in Christ the he offers. My obedience to Christ is not a performance based relationship where I attempt to keep the "list". My obedience to Christ is out of love for Him and what He has done for me, for His Forgiveness, Mercy and Love.
Since realizing my error and asking God for forgiveness there has been amazing growth in my relationship with Christ, my heart, my wife, my kids, as well as others. I still have tendencies to fall back into legalism which I have been around and known most of my life. I have been blessed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit guiding me into Truth and away from my error. I also have been blessed with a great Pastor and group of fellow believers that are patient with me, forgiving, and loving toward me no matter how i "perform". I hope to one day be an encouragement and a blessing to them as they are to me.
1 TIMOTHY 1:5
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
I realized about a year ago or so that my understanding of what Christian love is all about was incorrect. Through the inner working of the Holy Spirit and a flash of enlightenment I began a new journey in my relationship with Christ where he would teach me about unfeigned love. In the short amount of time that I have lived as a born again Christian the Holy Spirit has convicted me of my offensive and hateful words and actions. I have been dogmatic, arrogant, prideful, divisive, unloving etc, and I did all these things while hiding behind the idea that I was rejected by people and i was offensive because of the "Truth" that I stood for. I lived in the delusion that the most loving thing that I could do as a Christian is to tell someone the "Truth". Notice that I have parenthesized "Truth" because what that really entailed was going out into the world and bringing shame to the name of Christ through a judgmental and condemning spirit. Judging others, as well as those in the Church by how they dress, how they talk, there economic status, there haircut, color of there skin, type of church they attend, kind of music they listen too, what translation of the Bible that they use etc, etc. The list of conformities can be as long as the imaginations and preferences of men. However, things are changing and God is working in my heart and therefore/also in my home and in my relationships with others. I desire to have love that comes from a pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith. As I examine myself and stop spending so much time examining others I have noticed that many things have begun to change. My relationship with my wife has been improving greatly. My relationship with the kids, family, other Christians and new acquaintances have improved as i can now (truly) speak of my Faith and Love for Christ. I am starting to have real relationships with other Christians and that is wonderful, but most important of all my relationship with Christ is growing. I have been strongly led by God to make several changes in the course of this, therefore impacting the present and future. I feel optimistic about where God is taking me and my family. I desire for myself, my wife and kids to know what a relationship with Christ and his people is all about and to carry that to the next generation. I can hear my Savior calling, where he leads me I will follow...... 1 JOHN 3:18 LITTLE CHILDREN, LET US NOT LOVE IN WORD OR TALK BUT IN DEED AND IN TRUTH.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I was talking with my brother this evening and he was telling me about how he was encouraged today by a man that witnessed to him and gave him a Gospel tract. My brother told me that he could not remember anyone ever witnessing to him like that in the first 26 years of his life when he was unregenerate and in need of Christ. That got me thinking and I too cannot recall anyone ever witnessing to me or handing me a Gospel tract in all of my first 30 years of life as a sinner headed for Hell. As I thought about that more, it doesn't seem like that should be possible with 73% of Americans claiming to be Christians. My brother was excited to have someone approach him and witness to him. I too was encouraged just by listening to the story. Soul-winning is dear to the heart of God and so, it is also dear to my heart. What a joy and a privilege to take the Word of God to a dying world. If I can walk this earth hell bound for 30 years and my brother for 26 and never have anyone hand us a tract and witness to us, then how many others could there be right here in the Bible belt? I have determined to GO and be a witness and I do not have to do it alone. Why would I want to? Christ promises to go with me. Charles Spurgeon once said: "Have you no wish for others to be Saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that."
Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
When I was young, maybe around 8 years old. I went forward during the invitation at Fundamental Baptist Church. I remember being scared that I would die and burn in hell if I did not get Saved. This was the topic of the Sermon that I had just heard and I was scared. Being scared of burning in hell was really my only reason for going forward and I did not understand Salvation. I said a prayer but it was not a belief of the Heart and I just repeated what I was led to say.
I left my parents home around 17 years old, I had already been engaged in pre-marital sex, smoking, drinking, partying, rock music, looking at pornography, etc etc. I have always been a good employee and had a good job. Most days when I got off of work I would drink, I would party, chase women and I lived like a heathen because I was one. In the world as it is now, there wasn't much difference in my life and a lot of people including the professing Christians that I knew, (so I fit right in). I continued this way till I was 30 years old and divorced. I had two kiddos with two separate women that I was not married too. It was on May 23rd 2010 that I went to Church at First Baptist Church of Cottondale because my Mom was wanting me to go and had been asking me to. I listened to Bro Schimmel Preach a Salvation message on David and Goliath that morning. I felt the Holy Spirit convict my Heart that I was lost and needed Christ. I stood in my place during the invitation and argued with myself and God in my mind whether I was Saved or not. (After all), I had said a Prayer back when I was a kid.
After morning service I spoke with Bro Schimmel and asked him some questions about being Saved and my situation. I still was unsure about my salvation and went home with the thoughts rushing thru my mind. For the next two days I sat in my living room and read my Bible as the Lord continued to convict me and speak to my Heart. I read how I was a sinner and how Christ loved me so, that He died for me and paid my sin debt. I read that I needed to believe in my Heart that He did that and that I needed to put my Faith in Him and repent (turn from my sin). I fully understood that I was lost and headed for hell. It was hard for me to realize this because I had been around Church my whole childhood and attended the Christian School growing up. My parents were Christians and I assumed that made me a Christian. Plus, I had once repeated a Prayer when I was young.
That night on May 25th, 2010 I knew what I needed to do. The Holy Spirit was calling me and I closed my Bible, I got on my knees in the floor of my living room I bowed my head and I spoke with my mouth in Prayer to the Lord. This time the Words were coming from my Heart. I asked the Lord to forgive me of my sin, I asked Jesus Christ to Save me from death and hell, I told Him that I believed in my Heart that He died for me and that He would Save me. I asked Him to enter my Heart and to be my Lord and take me to Heaven. I told Christ that I would love Him and I would live for Him from that day forward.
I got up from my knees I stood there in my living room and I knew that I was Saved, I knew that Christ was my Lord and Saviour and that he was in my Heart. He forgave me of my sin and had adopted me as a Son. I felt such Joy and desire to follow Christ that I immediately felt moved to make some changes.
I had a case of beer in the ice box, a pack of cigarettes on the kitchen counter. They went in the trash. (Haven’t had either since that day). I immediately went thru my movies and music and threw almost all of it in the trash. I felt like anything that was offensive to my Lord, had to go. I was His child now and I had turned from the world and sin. I had to literally erase and recover my hard drive on my laptop because of how infested it was with pornography and filth that dishonored my Lord. These things and others are worldly influences that I sought to immediately destroy as I began my walk with Christ. I desired to Purify myself and be separated unto God.
I was born Spiritually that day. A lot of things have changed about me and it all came about from what changed inside of me. Before I was Saved, I would hear Preachers speak about how the Lord talked to them or how the Holy Spirit had led them in there life, decisions, convictions, etc. Before I was Saved I just thought that these men were making up such things and telling stories. Boy, was I wrong! Since the Holy Spirit came into my Heart He is there guiding me everyday. I have desired nothing more than to know my Saviour and serve Him with my life since the day He Saved me and changed me. I am a servant of my Lord Jesus Christ. I desire everyday to rise out of bed and give Glory to God. Worthy is the lamb that was slain.
As I have followed Christ for over 2 years now. I have grown Spiritually but I know that I have much further to go and learn through Christ. I am still in need of a lot of molding and chastening by my Lord. I am certain that He has a plan for me and as long as I do not quench the Holy Spirit I will be able to be used for His purpose and His Glory.
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Romans 10:9-11 (KJV)
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
There is some days at work that I take a taxi back to the office from the airport. It usually takes an hour or so to make the trip with traffic and I always take this opportunity to get to know the cab driver and share the Gospel with them. In most of my taxi rides I have met many people of muslim faith. We usually discuss Jesus Christ and who He is. I have given tracts and been given tracts by many muslims. None of the muslims that I have met believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, The Truth, The Life. He is not the Saviour to them, He is just a prophet and a good man. I have talked to and listened to these drivers for only about an hour at a time but based on what they tell me i believe they are seeking God and want to know God with there heart. They are headed in the wrong direction but honestly want to know God. They seem to be consumed with the task of earning God's favor through various religious systems and traditions. I share with them what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, Who He is and What He has Done for all who Believe. I usually give them my testimony and persuade them to consider Christ. Our conversations have always been very pleasant and informative. I Pray for these men and I hope that they will turn there heart to Christ and accept Him as Lord and Saviour.
1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
I want to Thank You for visiting my website. I am adding things as I go and there will be more Preaching to come. This website is meant to be an encouragement to Christians.
I received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour on May 25th, 2010.
As my life has changed dramatically so has my desires and interests.
I spend a lot of time during the day reading, Praying, and listening to Preaching. Listening to sermons as well as Christian music have become a replacement in my everyday life where television and radio use to be. Expository Preaching and Christ Honoring Music are a tremendous blessing to me and I am thankful to have such an endless amount of material right at the touch of my fingers. The internet can be a great thing when used properly. I hope the Preaching that has greatly influenced my life will be a blessing to you as well.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.