I began blogging in August of 2012, and I’m not even sure why, but I had been reading other Christian blogs and things would run through my mind that I desired to share. I thought “you know, I think I could do that also”. I expect a lot of people get started this way, and so I began a blog. Since then I’ve thought about sharing God’s testimony in my life often, but to actually post this is a real struggle for me.
I’m 48 years old, I’ve been married for nearly 23 years, I have four children, all girls, fourteen, twelve, two and four months. You will notice the age spread and this is where God’s story really begins in my life. I’m a follower of Reformed Baptist teaching, we are members of a Reformed, Family-Integrated Church and I’m a lover of Puritan teachings. We believe in God’s Sovereignty in children, but that has not always been the case.
My wife and I were both saved in July of 2009. I grew up in a Pentecostal church (Assembly of God), and like every good AG kid, I was saved because my parents were. I was a relatively moral kid, until I finished my senior year of high school wrestling. I was one of the top kids in the state that year (1984) and I would never allow myself to get in much trouble. I was a nice kid.
After wrestling season I began to get drunk and then all hell broke loose. I moved to Albuquerque NM to attend college. I lived a life that is well described in 1 Peter 4:3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. And any other sort of malaise you could imagine.
This is the life I led and I’m very saddened to consider the people I hurt and disappointed, but when it’s all about you it just doesn’t matter, this is where sin leads. I was far from the “nice kid” people thought I was and I was an exceptionally good liar and deceiver. It’s a very painful exercise for me to even write these words, because I’m disgusted by who I was.
In 1991 Jen and I married, it seemed like it was the next step in life, but I really had no idea how to be a husband or even a man for that matter. She’s still my wife and by God’s grace we love each other more every day. It was about three years ago I confessed some repressed sins to my wife and it was an incredible God honoring decision (James 5:16). It wasn’t easy, but God has used that to show me my pride and bring me to a continued place of repentance and mourning over my depravity.
In 1999 our beautiful Grace Marie was born and I said to myself, “I think you should raise your daughter in the church”. My wife had been begging me to attend church and I wasn’t buying it. I hated it. I couldn’t stand the old music, I hated the speaking in tongues at AG and it just wasn’t for me. She became the member of a local old guard denomination, a very liberal one with a professing and practicing homosexual minister of music. After we had Grace “baptized” the pastor called us in and said, your wife and daughter are members here why not you? We walked out the door and I said to Jen, “I’ll go to church but not that one…” So we began our church search. We tried lots of them, and finally settled on a “seeker” church. Loved the music, loved the pastor. He had great skits, funny stories and an all around good time. Then he was booted, so we now knew what we wanted and we found a United Methodist church with a similar deal. Great youth ministry, cool youth pastor and gifted Senior Pastor. Great music, great skits and they immediately saw my amazing talents and invited me into leadership. Cough, cough…. Was I qualified by the Bible’s standards, of course not but I had some understanding of practical worldly things so it was logical and pragmatic.
Fast forward a few years and the youth pastor had a vision to plant a church in the inner city and my glorious wife was more than happy to lead me to that church as we were going to save the inner city and win them to Christ. Meanwhile, the whole thing blew up and the original launch pastor never ended up being the pastor due to some indiscretions in his life. I still love and care for him but God had other plans. The church bumped around for a while and then….
Along comes Pastor Mike Reid.
We began to hear preaching from the Bible. He preached expositionally, verse by verse and went through doctrine “gasp”. What is doctrine? I was completely and willfully ignorant to anything about God. But I missed the music, and I missed the “other guy’s” wonderful, life applicable lessons. He was so smooth…
Pastor Mike on the other hand was loud, and abrasive, and in your face. He wielded the sword of God like it was a hundred pound hammer, carving and slicing me open and making me face my sins. Jen and I would walk out of the place saying what was that all about? We hated it. We wondered if we should stay, but we couldn’t leave. Something was holding us there, and I just couldn’t get my mind around this predestination stuff, but when I went to talk to the Pastor, and every verse I threw at him that was “free will” oriented he shot down like he was pulling off a simple hip-shot and laughing at the clay pigeons as they fell. Not literally, he never laughed, and he was patient and kind, but he explained to me the doctrines of grace that I could understand. He showed me what it means (biblically) to believe. Not just head knowledge. I was still not saved.
Summer of 2009 we take a marriage class. The Exemplary Husband – Stuart Scott, and The Excellent Wife – Martha Peace. I thought “Hey, our marriage could definitely stand to be better.” So the first week we went to the class and my wife came home that night, (we went together but meet in separate rooms, guys with guys, gals with gals) and when we came home that night I didn’t know who she was.
She started asking me questions like “what I wanted for dinner”, and “what can I help you with? “
“Who are you, and what happened to my wife?”
We both saw in that study that the ‘god’ we were serving was not the God of Scripture. I was saved sitting on my back porch, reading Scripture passages and having to write out what this says about God.
I couldn’t believe it. “How did I miss this”, I said to myself. God did that? That’s not my god?”
Correct, that was not my god, and in the opening of the Scripture I came face to face with the Sovereign Creator of the World. He crushed my spirit, and broke my pride slowly over the next 6 months, but my heart was regenerated sitting right there on my porch. My heart of stone had instantaneously turned to a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). I was born again (John 3:7) and became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I had several times after that when I faced my pride like a ton of bricks and broke down sobbing in a hotel room, as I faced my nastiness. I was mourning over my sin as Jesus says in Matthew 5 and as James says weep, mourn, let your laughter be turned to gloom (James 4:8-10). This is how salvation occurs, understanding our wretched condition, with no hope outside of Christ. Turning to Him, with nothing of ourselves to offer, and begging and pleading for mercy.
I’ve come a long way since then, and I’ve struggled with many things, mostly understanding what the church is for (Ephesians 4:11-12) and how to willingly place myself under the authority of the church (Hebrews 13:17). I am a wicked, nasty, vile and depraved piece of human debris, and the only hope I have, is in the blood and atoning work of Jesus Christ.
He saw me long before I was made, and chose to love me for no reason other than His good pleasure (Ephesians 1:4-6). Now that I’m saved I realize my value to Christ is to live an obedient life of a humble slave, doing the will of my Lord out of humility and obedience to His word.
This is my calling… I desire to live a holy life and that life, will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).
I love to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and call sinners to repentance (Acts 2:38). I desire to start street preaching someday soon, and have a desire to be a leader in my church (1 Timothy 3:1), an elder, if the leadership thinks I have teaching ability and can rule my home well and not traveling 40 weekends per year. Outside of that I will raise my children in the fear and admonition of the Lord to the best of my ability (Ephesians 6:4).
May the Lord use these words for His glory that He may be exalted above all things.
Words are cheap. It is by costly, self-denying Christian practice that we show the reality of our faith. —Jonathan Edwards