Senior Pastor: Stacy Smith
Youth Pastor: Andrew Simpson
I grew up in a Christian family, with a Christian parents and grandparents. My parents have been involved in Christian missionary work for as long as I can remember, and because of that they were very intentional about making the Bible a priority. For much of my young life I was homeschooled by my parents and a part of their curriculum was the Bible. I had every opportunity as a kid to place my faith in Jesus, and there was even one point where I can remember saying a prayer with my grandma; but to be honest, I’m not sure exactly what I believed or why I said the prayer. I know now that there is no special prayer that saves a person when it is spoken. The Bible makes it very clear that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9).
To be honest, I may have genuinely believed in Jesus when I said that prayer. Salvation is not contingent on us or our behavior, but rather on God and His grace. He gives ever-lasting life to everyone who believes, but He also tells us that when a person is saved their life will begin to change for the better because it is no longer merely us who live but, Christ who lives in us; and the life which we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). Jesus begins to make changes in a person’s life.
I knew the gospel and I knew many of the stories throughout the Bible, but in my own life at that time there was very little evidence of my faith – at least from my own perspective as I look back. My life didn’t seem to change much until several years later after I was confronted with a very serious question: “do you know where you will go when you die?” I was fifteen years old, and I was applying to go to Christian training camp called – Christian Youth Action – and a part of that process was filling out your personal testimony. Even though I grew up surrounded by the gospel message, I didn’t understand what it meant to have a testimony, and so I asked my older sister – who is also one of the contributors to this website – and she explained to me what a testimony was and how it related to the gospel. She shared with me the gospel message and then asked me the question that sparked a change in my life. I did not know where I would spend eternity and it scared me to think that I would be separated from everyone I loved if died without Jesus. It was at that point that I truly understood what Jesus did for me and why He did it. It was at that point that my sin problem became obvious and real to me. I knew that I didn’t deserve to be forgiven and saved, but I believed that Jesus didn’t die because I deserved it. He died because He loved me and wanted to free me from the hold that sin had on me.
The Bible says:
Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
He saved me from the punishment I deserved and began to open my eyes to the calling He had on my life.