Yesterday at City on a Hill we had our first Baptism Service. I wanted to share with you the stories of two men that were baptized.
“Jesus Is Wonderful” by James Dixon
I would like to start out by saying my name is James. I would like to tell my story of how Jesus saved this sinner. I was raised up in a single parent home. When i was young i went to church with my grandparents every sunday and I was in Sunday schoool classes and also involed in church plays and other differnt activities. I was a decent student for most of my life until my dreded high school years. Thats when things went horribly wrong i got envolved with the wrong people. I started down a path of destruction when i was around the age of fourteen and I was introduced to drugs.
Soon my grades started dropping, then i started skipping class which led to me quitting school. I was partying every weekend and running the roads as fast as i could. When i was 18 i was arrested. That was when i thought I was going to change, but oh boy was i wrong . I served probation and payed my fines and then i was off to the races. I began hanging out with the same friends and doing the same thing then, it got so bad off that i went to the hospital and told the doctor ” if you cant get me help i am going to die”.
I was taken down to rehab by my own choice and did a 14 day program. When i was in rehab i befriend a marine which was a combat medic during the war in iraq. We became very close friends and every night we would read the Bible, pray and have discussions about the Bible. I felt this weight being lifted from me. The more and more i read the more and more i felt Jesus. One night we were reading and we came to Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners christ died for us “. I was blown away, I felt tears just start running down my face, but not tears of sorrow but of happiness. Jesus died for me. Right then i accepted what Jesus was putting on my heart.
I returned home and started reattending church with my grandparents. Then i began a relationship with my wonderful wife ashlyn. She has been a great blessing to me. Me and Ashlyn had been friends during younger years and had been reunited after my return home. We are on a winderful journey together. We got married September 21 2012. We found God was blessing us with a child in april of 2013. We are happy starting our family that God had planned for us. Jesus has worked many miracles in my life and i am so thankful words could never express. In ending i will say this, never think for a moment that Jesus can’t save you. Look where i came from to where i am now. Jesus is so amazing.
“Jesus Saved Me” by Richard Morgan
For those that do not know me, my name is Richard Morgan. I’m married to a beautiful woman, Renee, and have five children. Four of those five are girls, so I do believe God has one heck of a sense of humor.
My story isn’t an easy one to write or tell. My prideful side would love to omit some of the more dark, bleak moments in my life, but I do not believe I would be doing myself justice for doing so. So, let’s see how Jesus saved me, and exactly what that means.
I’m 34 years old, and for about 32 of those years, I lived completely apart from Christ. My father is an atheist and my mother is part of a pagan religion known as Santeria. They were divorced when I was four, so life wasn’t exactly easy from the start. My father re-married a wonderful woman who tried to keep me in a church, but none of it took at all. I don’t really remember much about it.
I wasn’t an especially easy child to deal with growing up as I was constantly fighting, constantly in rebellion, basically someone you do NOT want your daughter talking to, much less dating. In my teen years, I got into drugs, a lot of sinful sex and womanizing, for lack of a better word. I was slick tongued, fooled parents, and worse yet, fooled many young ladies.
There was a hole inside of me that I was constantly trying to fill. Drugs couldn’t do it, all the sex couldn’t do it, fighting couldn’t do it, and even as a young man in my 20’s, a marriage couldn’t do it. I battled depression, suicidal thoughts, a lot of anxiety, anger, and basically just self hate. I railed against God, (or what I thought God was), engaged Christians in debates that were ultimately pointless, and felt that all Christians were just stupid and naive.
During my divorce process and after it was final, I can say that I was seeking. I did not know then that it was the Holy Spirit regenerating me, I did not know it was Jesus beckoning me. The Lord knows I fought it. I started going to a church, puffed up with knowledge that I now know was utter foolishness, and thought I had become a Christian. Hey, after all, I was in a church! I was reading the Bible, going to a community group, working on my moral failings, listening to sermons on my IPod, and even got baptized via Methodist water sprinke! Man, oh man, I was being a moral good guy but was still dead inside. I did not know that then. However, Jesus will have what is His, and He sure let me know it.
A little over two years ago, after my wife and I had been fighting, I grabbed the Bible and turned to Ephesians. Looking back, I cannot remember exactly why I turned to that particular book. Heck, even now, it isn’t my favorite book in the Bible, but ultimately it wasn’t up to me, either way. I began reading the book and ended up in tears. Jesus used Chapter Two of Ephesians to grab my heart. I was utterly convicted of my sinful, dead condition. Trying to be a morally good guy had done me no good what-so-ever. As the text says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”. (Eph 2:10). Faith is a gift? Wow…truth bomb. Jesus grabbed me in that moment and hasn’t let me go since, even if my sinful tendencies have made me try to run from him at times.
Now, I am fully and completely in love with Jesus Christ. I still fail at times, but I now know that I am being renewed day by day. I have a new heart and new desires. I’m leading my wife and children instead of just checking out when I get home. I have a desire to preach and teach His Word. I now know what it means that Jesus become poor so that I may be rich. Oh, how His mercies abound.
To those here who do not know Jesus, I would tell you that He wants to know you. As the Psalmist says, taste and see that the Lord is good……