Steve

Steve Steve KGF

By the grace of God, I have no significant conversion experience. I know that I am born again but, to be honest, I have always felt that way.  One of my earliest childhood memories is a particular moment of looking around at my God-fearing family and knowing that I needed Jesus and needed Him right away.  I vaguely recall that our church was teaching a sinner's prayer to us four-year-olds, which I prayed at that moment in my bedroom.  In fact, I prayed it twice, just in case God didn't know I was serious.

I grew up as the son of a pastor.  They say that pastor's kids always turn out terrible.  Again by the grace of God, that is not the case with me, although my mother confessed to me once that I was the worst-behaved of the four siblings.  I benefited from two excellent role models in my parents as well as deep theological teaching both in the home and in the church.  My faith was unshakeable, but it also lacked passion.

 

My mind has always been a logical one.  Throughout my childhood, I never "felt" God, despite always being certain of Him.  I often prayed and asked God why this was the case.  I worried that I was broken since I had never been miraculously healed of any malady or seen a burning bush.  Why didn't I see angels like every missionary to Africa apparently does?  I made many attempts to rationalize my "deficiency," such as telling myself that the Holy Spirit was for Apostles only and not for me.

Three things happened to change my mindset.  The first was following a time I had spent praying.  I had asked God to keep me healthy so that I could travel.  (There are few things worse that flying with the flu, right?)  I completed my trip without a sniffle and felt very grateful, but my reaction was more "thank goodness" than "thank God."  In one instant it struck me that if I was asking God for things and He was providing them, why was I so ready to write it off to coincidence?  In hindsight it was a trivial matter, but for the first time that day I took notice of the work God was doing in my life.  Now, I am skeptical of coincidence and, boy, have I ever seen some miracles!

The second thing that changed me was my discovery of the Spirit-filled church. Through an inter-church young adult Bible study I learned what a fully-functioning community of believers should look like.  I had never loved or been loved by brothers and sisters like that before.  I discovered my gifts of teacher and exhorter and put them to use through Bible study leadership and mentoring (although, to be honest, I didn't view them as that - I simply thought I was doing what needed to be done in a way that I was good at).  All of this set me on a road to seeking a deeper relationship with Christ, deeper knowledge of His way, and deeper commitment to His calling that continues today with a burning passion that is unlike any other fire inside me.

The third thing was time.  Dramatic experiences aside, I have witnessed the subtlety of God's grace in my life so many times that I have started taking it for granted. My wife and I have always had "just enough," by the grace of God.  I have succeeded in areas of challenge truly despite myself, by the grace of God.  When I have failed, I have been given the strength to stand back up, by the grace of God.  Most important, Jesus has saved me, by the grace of God!  More than any miracle or gift, it is God's grace that has convinced me of what Jesus said in John 14:6: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

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