10-12-2009, 08:44 PM
Ok, finally wanted to share this with you guys, it is lenghty, with mistakes and not as eloquent as I would like nor nearly as coherent and powerful as I would like it to be.
Just to say I have come to Christ and to thank this forum for its part in that. And that many who I argued with ad felt distraught at, I now see in a clear beautiful light.
10-12-2009, 08:45 PM
As some of you know I am from London, England and although brought up in a Church of England school, I have waked far from Jesus. However Jesus has been wooing me for quite a while and as many of you will be aware, once he plants that seed, it’s only a matter of time, your coming to him!
And come to Jesus I did, I know try to be godly, I love Jesus immensely and he has transformed me and so now I am saved. What I wanted to do is just to share it with some of you guys whether as believers or atheist or agnostic. It even more poignant for me as this message board has been part of that journey and it was your wonderful nation that culminated in me finally being saved and able to truly “confess with my mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in my heart that god raised him from the dead” [Romans 10:9]
I’m not sure why I drifted from God from an early age, I guess it seemed stale and old and boring. There was some cool Old Testament stories we were told but it seemed all so far removed from me and my life. In England, I feel we are private and don’t share emotions, we keep things spiritually to ourselves. And so, peer pressure at my school deemed loving Jesus meant you were a geek. All before me, God, the church, Jesus is mocked and laughed at. But not even with conviction, just a complete indifference that you feel you can’t even make an argument back for it is fruitless. So whilst I believed in a God, and I was pretty sure it was my Christian God I had been told about and kind of knew, I never persued or investigated in any kind of way. I’m a good guy, I’m polite and moral. I was content in that and quite simply any further spiritually digging questions were quelled and stuffed down because there was no one open to talk about it.
So I guess to a Christian I lived a life of sin, I am a drunkard and have since 16 gone out on weekends and drunk beer with friends. I have had brilliant nights out filled with laughter, but also alcohol has probably been the cause of many nasty things I have done in my life because I had got so drunk and wouldn’t act as my normal self. I was sexually immoral, sleeping with my girlfriends, who I did love and was in a relationship and fornicated without any thought for that matter. Only now can I see some of the failings and emptiness of that sex that God saved for me to enjoy in marriage. I have taken drugs; I have been in jail cells for getting caught up in football violence. I have been quick to rise to anger and been impatient, I have been selfish and a idolater. All those things I have been and still many I struggle with now.
Well at 18, I sat in my darkest moments, in a prison cell, languishing on my own there for over 48 hours. And I hit a bottom. All that stuff about friends and camaraderie, being there for each other. It meant nothing because here I was alone and abandoned and who did I turn to GOD! In the end he was the only one there left. And I got through it, was released without charge and from then I changed many of my ways, my anger, my violence, my drinking. I vowed to amend the way I thought and acted and I did. And I was first wooed again back to God. Because I still prayed to God, still thought about it but hid it and kept it on my terms. Only asking and never listening. And only going towards him in times of desperation, not ever thanking him or only out of guilt because I knew I was being selfish.
Then, 19 in Egypt I saw the Sunrise and it blew me away, it was like I could touch it and I could walk right through it and straight to god. From there I had no question that there was a god, I knew he was there and so I continued in my own way.
So my interest in God and in actually having a relationship was kindled at these points and around about this time I joined this messageboard. Here I probed around the Christianity section and asked my questions and made comments. Many of the things said here I bridled at and found impossible to reconcile to my thoughts. For example, I could not see how sin can be seen as equal. I could not see how thinking a thought is a sin and therefore the same as acting it. I could not figure that out and felt angry at people like NateR and others who said this. I did not agree and effectively made myself God in whom I judge would make it to Heaven and how it all worked.
There are moments when I would look at them times and wish that some offered their thoughts with less malice and spite or anger. I felt some pushed me further from my journey and could have been kinder but in the end I put off and put off reading the bible to discern for myself. So I made it bitter for myself as I couldn’t or wouldn’t use the tools to decide on my own. I loathed the use of quoted scripture to hammer home points that I could not reference back. Let me just say, anyone who wishes to investigate Jesus, just read the bible and get in the word. For once I begun to read, it all changed.
So I was searching for God and knew it was coming, I had that conviction that I it was coming and I just needed to pour into the word. I had learnt about devotion to him from the early to medieval church and great people who gave glory to God. And I defended it against sceptics and criticisms; I yearned to know more about what I wished to defend. So I had planned on completion of my degree to go to America and travel. I would travel across your wonderful country and Texas would be my hub where my girlfriend who loves Jesus also lives. Another example of how God was guiding me on my path and placing things in my life. And so in my heart I knew America was where I could come and was going to really come to know Jesus.
Well I came to America, and the first sermon I went to at the Village Church, Dallas, Texas, blew me away, http://denton.thevillagechurch.net/ . It is an amazing Church, and the first sermon I went to literally dealt exactly with my misconceptions of Church and being Christian. It was called Rewards, and it tore down the doctrine that I was taught as a child. That Sermon worked on my heart and as I was already working my way through the Gospel I begun to know god for the first time. Just to see the wisdom, kindness and love of Jesus in Matthew and Mark showed me Jesus again that I’d forgotten about. His majesty, his grace and the joy and wisdom that he brings to us. . Now for me, there was no sudden descent of the Holy Spirit, no sudden wash and I become super Christian. Over the 3 months, I continued to pour into the word in Dallas, Houston, College station, L.A, Denver, Colorado Springs, Moab, Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Boston, Washington, New York and many other places.
I just continued with it and was shocked at how the Lord kept talking to me through his word. I asked when/what made me truly saved, at what point did I hit that. The next day in a park outside Denver, I read the beautiful message of Romans and professed to being saved. In Washington after flirting with sexual immorality, the page literally turns to Corinthians. Man, I can tell you that weighed heavy on my heart. God hit me so hard through Paul who I just love!
My whole time there was filled with moments where the bible answered questions I held and it just shows God’s awesome power in speaking to us, 2009 years after he gave us his only son to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2 Corinthians 5:21). How amazing that his word can still resonate so strongly in us today. Sometimes I struggle to contain my joy in that.
So here I am now, still immersed in word, I now go to St Helens church in Bishopsgate and a bible study on Tuesdays. God is transforming me and I continually pursue him. However it is always with struggle, I recognise that I am fallen. I still struggle with many of my sins but believe me I am earnest in my repentance and my elimination of them. I am trying to walk with Jesus and become Godly. It is hard as I feel we naturally err from God. Look at the Israelites, barely out of captivity and witness to God’s countless displays of power and they disobey him and make a idol! Not even a strong one, a calf!!!!! Ha ha! I mean human nature is shown to us in Exodus. However I thank the lord for his grace and I submit myself to him for the joy and fulfilment he brings to me. I love Jesus!
In the end I just want to say, that many factors have played a part in my salvation. Firstly if Jesus begins to woo you to him, you may as well give up, his is going to get you!!!!!! I want to say that whilst I searched for truth and asked questions, this very forum helped in that and I owe a debt of gratitude to people like Dave, Nate Chuck, Denise, Pumbaa and many others that showed me love in their kindness but also their love of attacking my false beliefs. Brothers and Sisters, this board has been good to me and I thank you and praise the Lord for his majesty.
I want to urge anyone wanting to know about God, to keep asking questions but more than anything READ THE GOSPEL! Find out for yourself and read the Bible, simple as that. I thank America and its beauty and how God’s wonderful creation just humbled me. I thank that the friends I made in the great state of Texas care about me so much that we have an accountability group over Email. Many of my girlfriend’s friends love the lord deeply and press into him and have inspired me to also attain godliness and try to be Christlike, even though we are aware that we will all fall terribly short.
So thank you all and God Bless, I shall post up some pictures of my travels at some point.
Love you guys.
The Lord, he is the one who goes before you, he will be with you Deuteronomy 31:8
10-12-2009, 09:12 PM
Jon, that was actually an extremely powerful and moving testimony! This forum has done wonderful things for many people.
10-12-2009, 11:35 PM
that was a great post and a very interesting read Jon,thank you for sharing that.:)
10-13-2009, 02:35 AM
God is so good brother! Welcome to the family!!!
10-13-2009, 04:13 AM
Great testimony brother. Keep plugged into the Word and surround yourself with people that will keep you sharp .. :wink:
10-13-2009, 06:19 AM
Jon that is an awesome testimony. I listen to Matt Chandler from the village church quite often and you were very blessed to have been able to listen to Gods word there. I pray Jesus continues to search you, know you, break you and reveal to you his love each and every day.
10-13-2009, 08:31 AM
Nice read there Jon, thanks for sharing.
10-13-2009, 12:23 PM
Praise God. And I agree with Amy that this message board has been a blessing to many people.
10-14-2009, 08:22 PM
Thank you all for taking the Time to read it, I know its lenghty!!!!
Really appreciate it.
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