Who am I? I am simply a man who by grace has come into a real relationship with God.
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
Why go to Church?
As a 15 year old growing up in the City of Coventry I had one main focus in life. Cycling was my passion. Every day I would be out with the local cycling club training or being involved with time trials. I was not really that good but I just loved the sport. It therefore came as a surprise when a good friend of mine who had for a long time had been a “Church goer!” invited me along to her church youth group. I politely declined. I had never even considered whether there was a God or not and I had no concept as to what a Christian might be.
My friend however persisted and eventually found a key to get me along. It was Christmas time and another interest had started to develop in my experience. Girls: she told me that there were some nice girls there and so I agreed to go along to the Christmas party.
My friend was right, there were some really attractive girls at the party and so it was no real difficulty to be there. I still had no concept of what Christianity was about and there was no epilogue to conclude the party. BUT I was impressed by something on that night that caused me to want to go again. There was a lad 3 years older than me who at the end of the party invited me to follow him. Dutifully I followed because there was something about him that fascinated me. He led me into the kitchen, threw a tea towel to me and told me that he and I were doing the washing up. I might have thought that this would have put me off church for life. After all whoever heard of a 15 year old voluntarily washing up?? Ian (the young man) was so much fun that I was impressed by his character and so it seemed only natural to agree to attend the next young people’s meeting.
I went along on the first Wednesday of the New Year to the “Crusader” group, where a man called Dave led what to me seemed like a Church service. It was all very odd but I was sat next to my new found friend and of course there were an number of girls to “eye up.” The meeting consisted of singing a few “choruses” (I could never understand where the verses were!) a bible reading and then Dave spoke about Jesus from the bible. This was the very first time that I had been confronted with religion and I remember thinking to myself “why do I need religion” but that was thrown into confusion by Ian who clearly had got it!
A time to decide.
I became a regular attender of the group and I confess that I really did enjoy all that went on there. The message from the front seemed to make sense and Ian seemed to me to be living proof of all that was being taught. Deep inside I knew that I did not have what was being “preached” and that I wanted it. It was at an inter church meeting in Rugby that an older man spoke about the need for personal salvation that God the Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin within. God extended His grace towards me and I was not saved!!! I was in a state of confusion and unhappiness for a few months. Was I one of those who had rejected the free offer of the gospel, would it ever be offered by God in such a way again? Theses thoughts were my constant companion.
An evangelist called Arthur Dean came to the special youth weekend and after the evening service he spoke directly to the youth group. He asked each one in turn to give testimony to salvation in Christ. I was towards the back of the meeting and was urgently trying to think of what to say. When my turn came I could do no more than say that I was not a Christian. What came next surprised me. The speaker asked me if I wanted to be a Christian. At that moment the conviction that had felt in Rugby returned and so I said with great conviction that I did. I went into another room with a leader and prayed and received Christ as Saviour. My sin was dealt with, my heart was removed of the burden and I was saved! God had gifted me with something very special. That was of course a long time ago, many things have passed under the bridge and now I have been the Pastor of the church in Ogmore-by-Sea in South Wales. Recently I have moved to Looe led by God's Spirit to manage the Rusty Bucket Christian Resourse Centre.
How does all of this happen?
The ongoing story!
Space on this blog does not allow me to fill in the details which have taken more than 40 years to reach this point and so I will develop this testimony elsewhere in my blog. I will however say along with the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:8 that my salvation is God’s gift of grace to me. I did not deserve it. Even though I was relatively young when converted the bible told me that I am a sinner and God confirmed that in my heart through the preaching of the gospel. By faith I believed, repented of my sins and became a follower of Jesus.
Jesus told His followers that we should be impressive to others, just as Ian had been to me. This had a profound effect on me and eventually many years later felt that I should train for “the ministry” and teach others what Ian had taught me: that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”1 Timothy 1:15
Why not you?
A similar story is true of many people in Churches around the world. God so loves this world that He sent Jesus that He might save us from the penalty deserved due to our personal sin. He does not delight in punishing the wicked but He wants all to be saved (see John 3:16-17). All have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard and so we all need saving.
Why not read the bible for yourself and ask God to reveal truth to you through His Word? If you need any help in these things please e-mail through the comments and I will help in any way that I can. For part 2 of my testimony: http://rbcrc.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/testimony-part-2.html or look in the archive of 2009.