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Friday, June 11, 2010

What's Your Story?

Recently I had the opportunity to teach a class at my church that focuses on our journey with God and realizing how He has put us together, worked in our lives and uniquely designed us to serve Him.

In the class I asked the attendees to reflect on an aspect of God’s character that really resonates with them, and then share why that aspect means so much to them.

Each member of the class went around and shared and it was so cool to hear How God is so multi-dimensional in His approach to each of us.

Then one of the ladies shared that the aspect of God’s grace and forgiveness is what she will never get over. She began to get emotional as she recounted her salvation experience and shared with us how her life was so far from God when He found her.

She was openly crying as she shared about the time when she dropped to her knees and cried out to God to save her! It was so awesome to see her passionate recollection of God’s life changing grace and free gift in her life, we were all moved and encouraged to not forget and not take our stories for granted.

So, I thought I would post my salvation story for those of you who have never heard it, and I encourage you to reflect and be blown away again with what God has done in your life.

Here it is…My Story…

My name is Brent Carl, and I have been a believer in Jesus for 29 years. I attended a Christian school, and was always in church from as far back as I can remember. My mother and my grandmother made many sacrifices to see that my brother and I were surrounded with positive, Godly input and mentors.

At the age of 5 I’ve been told that I accepted Jesus as my savior, and became a Christian. That is when some would say I began my journey with Christ; the only problem is that I don’t remember that at all. So for years I would tell people that I became a Christian at age 5, but deep down inside I wasn’t really sure if it was true, because I couldn’t remember it.

The school I attended was a Christian school whose focus was on building up and training Christian kids in the faith. I guess I must have signed something or verbalized that I was a Christian in Kindergarten but again, I don’t remember.

So, with that backdrop in mind, the day I became a true believer is even more of a miraculous event. You see, every week our school brought in various speakers to share the Word at an all school chapel service.

They brought in Pastors, Missionaries, Teachers and anyone who had a passion for God and a heart to challenge young people with God’s word.

I remember the chapel services always being informative and challenging, but usually coming from the assumption that the entire audience was already saved, and needed training and building up in their faith. I don’t recall ever hearing a salvation message in chapel during my younger days in school.

All of that changed one day when I was in 7th grade. I filed into the chapel like I had done every week and took my seat, took out my Bible, notebook and pen and prepared myself to listen and take notes on the sermon, because we always got graded and quizzed later in Bible class.

The speaker was introduced and he stepped up to the podium and started out like all the others had done before him…”Good morning students, I would like you take out your Bible, Notebooks and pens, and prepare to listen to what the Lord has given me to share this morning.”

He said, “first of all I’d like you to draw a dot on the left hand side of your paper, then another dot on the right hand side of your paper.” He went on to say “the left hand dot represents the day you were born, and the right hand dot represents the day you will die, or Christ comes back, whichever comes first.”

Now I would like you to connect the dots with a line, which represents the days you have on this earth. The two dots represent things that we have no control over. The line represents something you can choose to live for yourself or live for God…it’s up to you.

Now I want you to close your notebooks because that is all the note taking you will have to do today, for the next few minutes I want you to know that I know that you always get challenged to grow in your faith in chapels because the assumption is that you are all believers in Jesus. Well, today I’m not going to operate from that assumption because only God knows the heart.”

At this point, I was riveted on what he was saying, I couldn’t recall a speaker in chapel coming at a message with this approach, and for the next 40 minutes or so he clearly explained the gospel, why it was needed, and why I needed to make a personal decision to follow Christ, and not rely on what others have said or think or whatever.

It was amazing, and as he spoke the Spirit really challenged my heart to make a personal decision to ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins, to become Lord of my life, and save me from the direction that my life was heading without him. I asked Jesus to be my Savior that day in the middle of a Christian school at the age of 13.

At the end of the message he gave an invitation to come forward and pray to anyone who had received Christ as their Savior. I thought about it, I looked around, and thought about it some more, then decided to step out and proclaim that this day, I choose to follow God for myself, in essence I was saying, “I now own my belief in Jesus.”

I thought I would be the only one, but as it turned out many others joined me as well…God was working in our lives, and in our school, it was an incredible day!

That decision began my journey with Jesus, that has included many ups and downs over the years, but I can honestly say with full assurance that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, not because of anything I have done, but because of His amazing sacrifice and totally FREE gift of salvation. Praise Jesus!

What’s your story? How has He been alive and active in your life? Do you own your belief in Jesus?
His Grace is Amazing and His gift is Free!

“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, my God my Savior ransomed me and like a flood His mercy rains unending love Amazing Grace.”

That’s my story…and I’m sticking to it!

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