I believe that in being a Christian, having a testimony that you can share with other people is very vital. It’s the one way of saying, “Yeah…I’ve been there.” It shows you that you infact are a real person. That you had (and still having) struggles. That your life has been changed in a whole new way.
The most important thing if a testimony is to show there was a before and an after. The greatest thing about this, is there is definitely a future. A future that is forever. So here is my testimony and how the most important living person in the history of our existence in this universe that we share has changed my life.
This of which is forever:
This is a detailed testimony so if you need to take a break you can save your spot and come back later.
Have you ever heard of a false profession of faith? Many people might know what that “church” term might be, so let me put it into perspective for you. It’s when you think with your mind that you are a Christian, but with your heart you are as lost as a wild donkey. This is something that happened to me at a very young age. I remember my accounts for my false profession, and then the real conversion into the “light.”
I attended this particular church in my hometown at a very young age. You know when you are at a young age you don’t understand the whole picture. More things are games to you than being serious like most adults. It was a service at Church one Sunday, and I remember the preacher speaking about something that jarbled my heart. He was probably scaring me more than anything.
However, it all started out as crying. Then ended with the preacher coming up to me and asked if I wanted to be a Christian. I said yes. However, I never actually said the prayer. While becoming a Christian, you don’t have some “default” prayer that you should pray in order to be in the Book of Life. The main point is that I never said with my mouth that I would follow Jesus for the rest of my life, and announce him as Lord and Savior.
I thought if I cried, and the preacher prayed over me then I was a Christian.
However, things would change within years to come.
This part is the most dramatic event that has ever happened into my life. I’ll try not to bore you – but give you a good understanding of what happened.
Like I said, for years I thought that I was Christian. Blindly following through the motions with laughter, good times, and most of all a hollow faith that had no meaning.
Not trying to sound too cliche, but it was the summer of 2002. When you think of a hot day, there is generally one thing that you would probably want to do. Swimming of course!
Okay, and now I admit that I am not the best swimmer out there. I am not the Michael Jordan at basketball. I am more like the Michael Jordan at baseball. (If you catch my drift, he was terrible!)
Anyways, one Saturday during that summer my cousin called me asking if I wanted to go swimming in a lake named Davenport Lake. I agreed and we made our way over to the lake later on that afternoon. I remember looking at this enormous lake. I wondered how many gallons of water could be there. It was in a very remote area. My cousin and I were left there to be picked up later that day for about two hours of play.
I noticed that there was a canoe with two paddles in it. The plan was to get into the canoe and to row ourselves to the middle of the lake to jump off into the water. If you were in the middle of this lake, it would probably put you about 100 yards away from the shore. Being so nervous of being so far away from safety I still went with my cousin.
We had a great time for about 30 minutes until we thought of an idea that would change my life forever. We decided that we would try to tip the boat over.
Dumb idea right?
So there we were. The boat is upside down and we are both underneath it clinching to the sides in this air pocket. At this point we have lost both of our paddles, and are in the middle of this lake. The only option was to swim back.
Being very nervous I started to swim back to the shore. Then it happened. Just as I got enough courage to swim back, about halfway through something happened.
It was as if all the energy was sucked from my body.
I started to sink.
I started to scream out to my cousin to come and save me.
I started to hear God’s voice. You know when you have those times in your life you don’t have a “for sure” answer, but the other times when the answer is sticking you right in the eye? This was the time in my life that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was lost. If I were to drown at this very second I would be splitting hell wide open. These thoughts rushed through my heads within nano seconds. I have never been more scared in my life with the aspect of the “moment” and the “eternal” part of my life.
So instead of screaming out to my cousin.
I screamed out to God. I’m getting cold chills just writing this.
I knew that God was the only person that could save me from this. At this point was the climax in the story. I knew that I was lost. I told God that I would forever live for Him. Only, if He would get me out of this situation.
Then it came. Something so calm. So peaceful. It might remind you of those images that are burned into your head. It’s what we would call “Flash-bulb Memory.” I remember looking up at the sky. The textures of the clouds, the smoothness. It calmed me down faster than a lightning bolt.
This was a sign from God saying, “It will be okay my son.”
I don’t know how I made it across that lake without dying that day, but it was possible with God’s mercy.
Well after that had happened I had sort of “made an empty promise.” I continued to live my life as I had before. No real transformation here. Through the following months however I would have nightmares. THE EVENT would play over and over in my mind plaguing me. I would wake up every night sweating.
Am I saved? Am I lost? What am I God?
Help me find the answers.
This would happen every single night…
I finally reached out to my pastor and my father telling them of what happened. My father knew. My pastor knew. He had the Bible right there to show me the scriptures – but I never took advantage of it. The salvation that God was providing. Something that was free.
The date is November 11th, 2002. This is Veterans Day for those of you that don’t know. The Church that I was attending was having a revival. This is another Church term. A revival is usually a week long event that a church will put on kind of reviving the spirit of people, and getting people back on track with God.
The service was brilliant and unforgetable.
Tony McAllister was the guest preacher that night. He preached on some very tough subjects. Then it was over.
It was invitation time. This had went by so fast.
All the subjects he preached on I listened to closely.
Kind of reminds me of a child reading his favorite story – always being on edge and taking in every detail.
We were singing the song titled, “Just As I AM” which is a classic hymn for all churches to sing during invitational time. During this time, thoughts were racing through my mind. I knew that it was time.
I was ready. I was ready to become an authentic Christian. A Gift that only Jesus could give.
But I stalled. The hymns kept playing.
Most of these people thought I was a Christian. What would they say if I was to go up there and confess that I had been playing a part all these years?
The invitation song had finally ended. Before the closing prayer Tony made a very impactful statement that I will never forget and carry to my grave.
“If you walk out that door tonight lost, it’s like walking over Jesus’s blood.”
Are you serious? Why did he have to say that? I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s not worth rejecting Christ and going to Hell. The closing prayer was said. People got up and left.
THE ETERNAL EVENT
Even though all these people left. It was just me and my pastor. I told him about all the thoughts that had been crossing my mind. All the nightmares playing over and over like a broken record.
Of course he knew all this. We made it back to his office.
He opened the Holy Bible and showed me all the verses with me acknowledging each one. We read several verses through Romans.
He asked me if I was ready to become a Christian.
I replied with great joy. “YES!”
I confessed with my mouth that Jesus was Lord and savior. This was the time. This wasn’t anything fake. This was authentic. For the first time in my life starting on November 11th, 2002 I finally had something authentic.
People could take away my clothes, my money, friends, even my dignity. But they cannot take my salvation.
I was now a Christian.
It seemed like a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders. It was so peaceful.
I probably have never slept so easy in a night.
Now there was this relationship that my Creator had with me. He didn’t need me. He wanted me.
How amazing is that? You can’t compare to all the gold in the world to something so beautiful or worthy.
My conclusion is this. Satan has a very clever way of making you believe that you are a Christian, when in reality you are not.
Doubt is a very serious thing. If you are doubting, please seek someone.
I’ll talk to you for hours.
Another conclusion is that in order to become saved, we must first become lost. We have to realize that we need Jesus. It isn’t some type of magic. This is something that is authentic.
Jesus Christ is the greatest gift that I have ever recieved.
Update:I have also come to the realization that some people say that they found Jesus. For a long time I have concluded that I infact “found Jesus.” However, this is not the case! Jesus has never been lost. Salvation is also not just a cosmic game of hide and go seek. My point is that, Jesus Found Me! He was looking for me for a long time, and finally found me once I decided to come out of my dark hiding spot.
I never was looking for Jesus because I was engrossed in the sin of this world.
And if your not a Christian….
He wants to give you that gift aswell.
Now some people could probably say, “Randy when you were in the lake – that was a burst of adrenaline. It was just a natural response your body gave.” My response would be…”Put yourself in the same situation – then we’ll talk.”
Remember, there was a before and after.
Jesus Christ can change your life.
Jesus doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
He can take you from any situation that you are in and turn it around.
God has a reason for you to be here.
It would be crazy to take the world over Him.
He’s calling you. Are you answering?
Contact me if you have any questions. Seriously, even if it is something so small. Your salvation…better yet your eternity is the most important thing.
I’ll talk to you about anything.