B.C....the first time
Before Christ...why the "first time"? Because although I became a christian at age 13, I didn't start really "walking" with God until about 10 years later....
So here goes wth my story. I don't consider my testimony much of a story, because I don't a lot of past baggage that God had to miraculously shed from me (e.g. drugs, crime, etc.), but it is my story just the same and I hope that others can relate to it. I grew up in Independence, MO, not far from where I live now. I should say that I grew up in a Christian home and was taught good solid values ever since I can remember. I always knew that God was watching me, but didn't really have a concept of a real two-way relationship with God until after my college years. Ah...I mustn't get ahead of myself.
We went to church as a family off and on as long as I can remember growing up. I think we even attended a summer vacation bible school a couple of times, but I don't remember much about that. What I do remember though about my church attendance as a youth was that :
1) Mom and Dad were not involved in the church. Sunday attendance a couple time a month was good enough for them.
2) I didn't like going to Sunday school because due to our sporadic attendance, we weren't there often enough to make friends and thus felt uncomfortable. The church service was okay because I could blend in.
3) My brother and I figured out that if we stayed in bed until 9:00am on Sunday mornings and pretended to be sleeping, we wouldn't have to go to church.
Did I mention that I was a good kid? I never caused any problems, other than the occasional fight with my mom over what to wear, and I made straight A's. I think the type A personality has always been there with me. :)
Back to the story. At an approximate age of 13, my mom decided that my brother and I needed to become members of our church (Ridgeview Christian Church - Disciples of Christ) so we participated in a confirmation class with the pastor. Ironically, until a couple of years ago, I never knew that the class had a name! What I do remember though was that although I don't recall all of the details, I know we learned about Jesus and how He died for me.
I wish I knew the exact date that I became a Christian. At the time, I'm not sure I totally realized how important that decision was for me, other than that I know I didn't want to go to hell when I died. I remember being baptized after I confessed to our pastor in front of the church on an Easter Sunday that I believed that Jesus was the Son of God who came to rescue me (or save me) from an eternal lifetime in hell. I understood that without personally asking Jesus into my life, even though I was a good kid, I could not go to heaven when I died because I had not lived a perfectly sinless life as He had. I had lied, disobeyed, and even stole (a hotwheels car from a friends house, which I had to return - embarrassing - I was probably 4.). As a consequence, without Jesus, I knew I couldn't be with God. The biggest part for me though, was that "fire insurance"...I was terrifed of hell, and rightfully so.
Did my life change after this experience? I don't really think so. Remember, I was a pretty good kid anyway. I don't recall anyone following up to get me started with my new life. Do I remember a huge peace settling over me at my time of decision? I don't really remember that either. Remmber, I was focused on not going to hell! Maybe I had the peace in knowing that. Did I think that my baptism saved me? Honestly, I don't think so. I've always been a deep thinker, so I'm sure that I would have thought that a dunk in a baptismal couldn't have done the trick. Looking back, I think I realized that being baptized was a way to share publicly my belief in Jesus.
Here is the bottom line about what I did that day approximately 26 years ago:
Romans 10:9 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 confessions is made unto salvation...13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
I believed, I asked, and I received. I was saved.