Life Stories (214)
I grew up in a Catholic family. My parents were loving and caring but were “holiday” churchgoers. I knew they lived with a certain fear of God, and so adopted that attitude. I thought I knew who God was, but I did not know who Jesus was beyond a baby born at Christmas and the man who hung on the cross.
I was born into a large family being the 8th of 10 kids. Through high school, I lived for the weekend parties, sports and entertainment. I had some ethics and morals being raise in the Catholic Church but did not have a personal relationship with Christ.
I grew up, if you could say that, in a Christian home in Tsawwassen, BC (south of Vancouver). My family attended church fairly regularly, and my parents had family devotions at least once a week. My mom would read stories about missionaries etc. and my dad would read from the Bible like he was a pastor. I think he missed his calling, except at home of course. J
I was born and raised in a Christian home. When I was seven years old I remember sitting on my mom’s lap and giving my heart to Christ. We attended church on Sundays (Sunday school, then both morning and evening services), mid-week Bible Study and Youth when I grew older. My parents were involved in choir as well as teaching Sunday School. Yes, we were one of those families who seemed to live at the church.
I grew up in Kelowna and was raised in a family that follows Christ and values involvement in the local church. I made a decision to follow Jesus at a young age and the desire to figure out how to do that well has been a regular part of my life thus far. My journey has been filled with many blessings for which I am grateful to God. Being immersed into a positive church family for my entire childhood and adolescence is a life-giving foundation I cannot disregard and something I hope to provide for my own children.
My journey with Christ has been a blessed one as of late. Having had the opportunity to pursue two degrees in Biblical studies and then teach at a Christian College in Saskatchewan - not to mention pastor the faculty and serve as a spiritual advisor to a group of students and a handful of young Christian men - I have experienced Christ and the work of his Spirit in countless ways over the last several years. Having a family in the midst of this added to the blessing, to be sure, but also contributed to a new ways of thinking about what it meant to be a Christian family. More than anything else, this has been the question on my mind of late, and our arrival here at KGF a few months back was like a gift from God in this regard as so much of the Church's focus seems to be circling around this very question.
Growing up in a small farming community, I first heard of God when I was about 7. It was during a family campfire one night, that I asked my parents what happened to us after we die. I recall quite distinctly, my mother telling me that, if we lived a life for God, when we die we go to a place called Heaven. This event left an indelible print inside of me. As the years advance and I entered my mid to late teens, I had a hunger to know more about God. My family believed in God, but we were never members of a church and sadly, I don’t recall having a Bible in our home, either.
At 19, I left home to attend university on my own strength and understanding. I flopped. I struggled with what felt like a depression and my marks followed suit. After only 3 semesters, I was within an inch of failing. One evening, I went for a walk and lifted up my prayer to the Lord for rescue. He answered my prayer as I returned to school for the 4th semester and immediately I began to flourish. I made some great new friends and my marks improve substantially.
I cannot actually remember a time when Jesus was not a part of my life. Our relationship to the Lord was a part of our daily lives as a family from infancy. I grew up within a fairly insulated Mennonite Brethren community in Winnipeg. My main outings as a child were to church or to the MB Bible College where my Dad worked. Anyone in the neighbourhood who was not Mennonite, belonged to the big Catholic church across the street. The idea of anyone thinking that God did not exist, and that Jesus Christ his son had not saved us, didn’t become a realization for me until much later. There were regular revival meetings at church and I do remember going forward, but the first time I remember shaking and being totally convicted by the Holy Spirit was in Grade 7 at a Billy Graham rally in the football stadium in Winnipeg. I had to walk down in front of my friends and it made it feel like a real decision.
These days when in a reflective mood, I frequently walk around with 2 thoughts in my head and just as often with one song on my mind:
- my righteousness is Jesus, just Him (with the accompanying song…."my hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness")
- how amazing is grace !?!
"I believe in God so I must be a Christian." That's what I thought most of my life until I became an adult and started going to church then I realized what it meant to be a true Christ follower. I didn't grow up in a Christian home but I had the opportunity to go to church several times as a child, that is where my faith began. When I received a Bible in grade five I cherished it and started to read the Psalms. The Psalms spoke to me, I could relate them to my struggles in life and they gave me hope.