Even a Bathtub,
Looking back, I know I was very fortunate to be raised from a young age in Bible believing churches. They taught me about the Bible and my need for Christ to save me from my sins. I really began to feel that need in my early teens. Unfortunately, I had the idea that to "be saved", I had to walk down that aisle and tell the Pastor when he gave the "invitation". I cannot tell you the number of times that I wanted to step out but was always too afraid. That became how I lived for a long time, always afraid. I was especially afraid of dying because I knew I would go to hell and I used to pray to God that He would be patient with me. It wasn't until I was 30 years old that things changed. My life was not working out the way I had planned and everything was falling apart. One night, I was sitting in the bathtub crying because I knew that if something didn't change I was going to have a nervous breakdown. That is the lowest I have ever felt and I remember crying out to Jesus to help me and take control of my life. I felt such a sense of relief from that moment on. Were the problems still there in my life? Yes, but gradually I got through them with God's help and best of all I wasn't afraid anymore. I wish I had realized sooner that God wasn't waiting for me to walk down an aisle, He was just waiting for me to open my heart and ask Him in. He's willing to meet us anywhere to make that happen, even a bathtub.
Minding my own business,
I would like to begin with mentioning my past.
I grew up in the church. My family attended services three times a week. Everything about my youth revolved around the church and church activities. I believed in God. I knew He sent his Son into the world to be our Savior. I was baptized before I was 12. I called myself a christian. I was completely content with my christian life.
Fortunately, as I got older I still enjoyed listening to preachers on the radio or a gospel song now and then. Amazingly, this enjoyment of listening to preachers was going to drastically change my life.
In March of 2007 I was driving across Pennsylvania on Interstate 80. I was employed as a truck driver at that time so I spent many hours in solitude listening to the radio. This particular evening I was listening to a preacher give a message on the night before Jesus was crucified. A simple message. Jesus was with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was praying to the Father about what was about to happen. This would have been an hour or so before Judas arrived with the Jewish leaders to arrest Jesus.
This was a portion of scripture which I had heard preached on many times throughout my life. However, on this particular evening I suddenly began to hear it in a much different way. Something had changed. I was hearing it in a more personal meaningful way. It seemed like Jesus himself was saying Andrew, I've done this for you. It was almost like I was seeing Jesus kneeling down praying to His Father, making it clear that by him I also could have access to the Father.
While this was happening I suddenly began to feel horrible about being a sinner and my past sins. I felt this strong need to be forgiven and to get right with God. My heart began to ache to invite Jesus in my life and ask him to save me from my sins.
Something had drastically changed inside of me. It wasn’t a feeling or an emotion. It had completely changed who I was. It was as if a blindfold of darkness had been lifted off my eyes and I could clearly see the truth for the first time.
As I drove my truck the last three hours back to work I prayed that I would live the last three hours just to get back so I could get right with God.
When I got back to work I went out to my car and began to pray and get right with God. I prayed that night like I had never prayed before. For the first time, I truly asked Jesus to save me from my sins and come into my life as my Lord and Savior.
I have never been the same since. I have peace, Joy and Hope now. A peace that you cannot possibly have until you are right with God. In Romans 10:17 God declares; Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I truly experienced that. Hearing the Word of God that evening opened my eyes to the truth and showed me I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I give thanks to the Lord everyday that His Word spoke to my heart that evening and I asked him to be my Savior.
Thank you for letting me share my testimony.
My Personal Testimony,
What I was like before I began living for Christ?
Before I was born again in Christ, nurturing a relationship with Him was definitely not a priority. I selfishly focused on my educational pursuits and career aspirations, attributing my success to my own intelligence, hard work and perseverance. I thought that I could handle it all by myself, and I only called on Jesus as a last resort. As my career flourished, I made horrible choices in my personal life, ending in a downward spiral of bitterness and loneliness. As a result, I turned back to Jesus many times, but it was always short-lived. I called myself a Christian—but I was an unrepentant sinner whose life was spinning totally out of control. I was struggling with deep depression, incredible guilt and self-loathing. I knew that my sin was separating me from God and ruining my life, but I was still unwilling to give up control and change. I felt lost and completely confused on where my life was headed.
How did I come to know Christ?
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my parents and I sitting in a Church pew listening to the Word of God. My parents were both very active in our Church, and our lives basically revolved around it. When I was 8 years old, God spoke to my heart, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My Daddy and I both formally professed our faith to the members of our Church, and I was so happy. Just a few short months later, however, my parents separated, and none of us attended Church again after that day for many, many years. As an adult, I went back and forth to Jesus—repenting for my sin, only to repeat those same sins over and over again. I finally realized that the huge void in my soul was the relationship with Jesus that I had abandoned in favor of living life “my way.”
A couple of years ago, I had finally hit rock bottom, and I was literally laying on the floor begging God to forgive me and help me to change. I vowed to turn away from my sinful ways, and to focus on my relationship with Jesus.
What “warning signs” did God give to me that I needed to repent, turn away from my sin, and turn onto Him?
Much of my adult life has been like a roller coaster. If things were going smoothly, I would stop turning to Jesus; but, when life’s problems would inevitably arise, I would repent and seek God’s forgiveness and mercy. I kept repeating this same vicious cycle for literally years; and, eventually, it caught up to me. I was engaging in very self-destructive behaviors, and I honestly got to the point where I did not care if I lived or died. I hated myself and what I had become. The biggest “warning signs” came in the form of failed marriages and divorces, infertility and miscarriage, my Mom’s stroke, losing my job when our firm closed, my debilitating depression, and total financial ruin. Each of these “signs” presented a perfect opportunity to turn to God, but I continued to live in sin until I honestly reached the point where I did not care if I lived or died. The one and only thing that kept me from completely self-destructing was my love and responsibility to care for my Mom.
What has my life been like since I was born again as a new creation in Christ?
My life has gone from caring about nothing, to caring about Jesus, who is everything. I finally gave my whole life to Christ, My entire outlook has changed, and I have never been more joyous and hopeful. My personal relationship with Jesus is the single most important thing in my life. I have turned away from my self-destructive tendencies, and I have put my complete trust and faith in the Lord and His plan for my life. I know that with Him, I have nothing to fear. I still occasionally struggle with depression; however, I try to maintain a very positive attitude, and I am comforted by the fact that the Lord loves me, that He will care and provide for me, that He will never abandon me, that His holy Word is the truth, and that I will be able to spend an eternity praising and rejoicing in Him.
Did you ever go out for a car battery?
And end up getting saved?
I grew up in life like most kids in the Catholic Church. I went to a catholic school from kindergarten to 12th grade. I learned about JESUS CHRIST in school, but never had it sink all the way into my head in those days, because of all the extra other things I had trouble dealing with in the catholic religion at the time. I could not get my head around the fact that I needed to tell a priest my sins to receive forgiveness, and that would be the only way to keep my salvation. Also if I did not follow the church doctrines and all the sacraments to the letter, I could lose my salvation at any time. Things just did not make sense to me. That’s not how it is written in the Bible. But instead of looking for a different way to worship the LORD, I just stopped practicing my faith. I still believed in the LORD, but did not follow his word too well. Just another Laps Catholic I guess!
I led my life by my rules, being a tough guy I could handle it by my rules. “I knew best” was my motto. I never thought I was a bad person, I did try to help others, and I tried never to cause too much trouble. But I was never totally right inside; I never was satisfied or truly happy. I spent my life trying to get rid of the emptiness. I kept filling my life with things, and I never enjoyed the things I should have. I treated my family okay, but not how I wish I would have now (that still hurts me). Life was just living day to day. I lived but did not grow inside. Always empty with no hope to fill the hole inside of me.
Then one day this January, I had to get a battery for my work car at a local tire and auto center. I was sitting in the waiting area and a guy saw the “Happy Happy Happy” ball cap I was wearing. He asked me if I enjoyed watching Duck Dynasty. I told him I did, and he asked me why I liked it. I said the show was funny, but it ended with a good message every time. I liked the fact they believed in CHRIST. It is better than all the other shows out there with no message, just lots of trash. So the guy told me that he runs a prison ministry, and he had met Phil Roberson. He told me that he met him through a program he runs giving bibles out to prisoners. He then explained to me how he came to JESUS CHRIST, and now he tries to bring others to salvation in the LORD. As we talked he gave me a small pocket bible (I still carry it everywhere I go, in my right back pocket). He also gave me a large coin with the ten commandments on it ( it is still in my left front pocket). Then as we were still talking about Christ as our Lord and our only way to salvation, he gave me a million dollar bill (it is still in my wallet). I read the back of it and it said that, even this much money will not buy your way into heaven.
It was a nice time talking to him, but it was not sinking in too far. I had told him when we were talking that I had been passing this little white church near my house for the last twenty-five years, but never went in. I said I thought about it from time to time, but that was it. When I was leaving after my car was fixed, he said to me that I should go to that church on Sunday. Then out of the blue he said “NO YOU NEED TO GO THERE ON SUNDAY!” I smiled said good bye, and went on my way. Well I only got a mile down the road and it felt like something came through the windshield and hit me square in the chest. I started to panic, I started to feel the weight of all the sins I had ever committed crushing me. I kept seeing and hearing myself saying the LORD’S name in vain. Out of everything that I was seeing running through my mind that hurt the most.
I thought I was losing my mind at first, and then I realized it was GOD showing me what I had done against him in my life. The pain inside of me was unbelievable; I don’t know how I drove home. I went in the house, and into my office. I started praying like I never prayed before in my life. I begged GOD to please forgive me. I read the bible for the first time in years. I was shaking like a leaf; I thought it was all over with. I still can’t believe how I was able to work for those next three days. The guy I spoke with at the tire and auto center, sent me more things to read by next day mail to help me try to understand what was going on inside me. I read it all, and then I found this “prayer for salvation.” I did not read it right then, because I wanted to be totally sure that this was what I wanted. I knew better than to just to say the words and not be sure. So I prayed all night and the following day between working. When I got home that night I was still a mess inside, but I sat down nice and quiet in my office. I closed the door, and I read the prayer for salvation out loud to the LORD. It was a true prayer coming from my heart, and the LORD must have received it. When I was done praying a strange calm feeling came over me. I felt so different, I had never felt this calm in my life. All my fear was gone, and I did not feel empty inside. I slept that night better than I had ever slept before. The HOLY SPIRIT had taken up residency in me, the empty spot I had before was now over flowing with the SPIRIT.
That Sunday I walked through the doors of the Blooming Grove Baptist Church. Everyone said hello to me like I had been going there for years. The service started, and the sermon was “The Prodical Son Returns.” Now tell me that GOD does not speak to us when we need it the most! I know that He spoke to me that Sunday morning! He said welcome home my son, I still love you!!!
Since that day I have been baptized, and my life has truly changed for the better. I live with JESUS CHRIST as my LORD; he fills my heart and soul to the brim. His Grace and Love is unbelievable. I see things in life clearer, I love more, I know I’m not alone; I appreciate all the gifts He has given to me now. The LORD JESUS CHRIST has given me a “second chance” in life; he has paid the price for my sins.
Every day from here on out might not be filled with sunshine and calm waters, but with JESUS CHRIST as my LORD I have nothing to fear. I hope whoever reads these words, if you are not a believer in the LORD. I pray that you will think long and hard, and pray to Him that He will enter your heart as he did mine. Our lives here are short, but HELL will be forever. Don’t you really want to choose HEAVEN instead?
MAY GOD BLESS YOU!
My Personal Testimony
From the age of 2 weeks until I was 10 years old, I was raised by a wonderful Grandmama. Although she could not read or write, she knew enough about Jesus and the Bible to tell me about the love of Christ. Since transportation was a problem, we rarely attended Church. So, this was basically my life before the Lord changed me.
At 10 years of age, my parents brought me to their house to live. It was a strange house in a strange town. The sadness and loneliness was so great that I found myself calling upon Jesus often just for “help.” Thanks to our Lord, an Aunt who lived nearby insisted that I go to Church with her and her daughters. My parents would not attend, but I felt that my prayers were answered. I made friends at the Church and faithfully attended each service.
By the time I was 13 years old, I began to have a sick, nagging feeling each time the Pastor would urge us to give our hearts to the Lord. At one Sunday evening service, a very special Sunday School teacher recognized my struggles and encouraged me to pray with her. Jesus finally got my attention, with that sick, guilty heart, and I got on my knees and began to live with the Lord forever! Jesus forgave my sins, and He made me clean, unburdened, unafraid, free and able to forgive. He made me His!
I have disappointed Jesus many times since that wonderful night in that little Nazarene Church. But, praise the Lord, He never left me, and never gave up on me. Today, my Lord is my Savior who died for me. Only by His grace am I able to worship and adore Him. I hope that He will use me to serve His will.
Looking For A Good Man
I was a catholic girl. I went to church each Sunday and sang in the church choir since age 10. But, I attended church to sing, not to praise the Lord. Oh, I knew Jesus existed, but I had no interest in following him. Whenever anyone would mention God, I was like… Yeah, Yeah, whatever… Not interested.
Since becoming an adult, I've always felt I needed a man for my life for it to be complete. I married at age 23, got divorced at 30. Re-married at age 33, which also ended in divorce, but now I had 2 children to raise on my own. That’s when I went down the wrong path. I was angry with all that had happened to me. I stopped going to Church, I went to bars, on-line dating and had a lot of blind dates. I was living my life recklessly and I knew it.
There was one date in particular that changed my life. But, at the time, it was very upsetting to me.
A man invited me out to dinner. I was looking forward to a nice evening out at a restaurant. I drove to his house and he decided that we would eat his leftovers, instead. He then proceeded to fall asleep and started snoring in his recliner. I got up and left. As I drove away, I was crying. On the way home, I prayed angrily at the top of my lungs, saying..."God, I am SO done with men. I leave this up to You. You pick the man for me or leave me single for the rest of my life. I’m not looking anymore!" I was serious! The walls were up and I had decided I would be content with raising my children alone.
I never realized how much my life would change from that night forward, because God heard me…
The very next night, I met Robert. At first, I had no interest in getting to know him at all, but God had other plans. He was a Christian. 3 weeks after we met, we attended the Sunday Service at the Blooming Grove Baptist Church. It felt like I was coming home for the first time. I gave my life to Christ 3 months later and was baptized at this church. I am a new creation since I gave my life to Christ. Praying has become a very important part of my life. When I pray, I always start with “Lord, if it is your will… Please…”, then if what I prayed about doesn’t happen, I know it was not in God’s plan. My faith is strong and the Holy Spirit guides me with every step I take. I am walking the path that the Lord wants me to follow. It is all through Christ. When storms brew, I look to the Lord to keep me strong as I hold on tight to the side of the boat. The storms always pass and I am stronger afterwards because the Lord gives me strength.
I had a problem with forgiving myself for past sins. God’s word says - in Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” I know I am a sinner, not a saint, and I will sin and make mistakes. But, I know deep in my soul that I am forgiven. Jesus died on the cross and He paid the price for my sins.
I kept looking for a Good Man… That man… was Jesus Christ! He is my stronghold and my Savior.
“With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 - So, What happened with Robert? As time passed, I kept thinking… “God, are you leading me to this man? Is this the man you pick for me?” 2 years after we met, Robert and I got married. I couldn’t be happier!
I’ve Been Born Again!
When I got married my wife and I knew we needed a better church, so we went to at least 6 different churches, the last one being a Baptist church. We heard a message about being saved. I knew from then on what was missing from my life was knowing God and believing in Christ. I had a pretty good life but knew I needed something else. We joined this church. We had a lot of things to pray about and 99% of our prayers were answered.
When I was just a young man I wrestled with something within my soul, something I couldn't resolve on my own. I had been taught what was right, but my spirit wanted to do something else, something I believed would make me happy. Yet I had the nagging sense that there was something more to life than satisfying myself.
Gods forgiveness has the power to cleanse us. This is why the Bible says we must be born again.
John 3:7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
It took me a while to understand the truth as a young man, my head resisted what my soul longed for. The Bible teaches that belief in Him changes a person. Since accepting Jesus I have a hope for tomorrow and eternal life. The Bible says "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans10:13).
LEARN HOW TO FOLLOW JESUS
What you have been reading are the real life stories of men and women in our fellowship who have counted the cost and have committed themselves to following Jesus Christ. It was He who said, Luke 14:27-30 "Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish."
Has God been speaking to your heart? Do you sense that He is calling you to follow Him? Here is how you can make the same commitment which many have made before you.
We must decide who Jesus Christ is. Is He the Son of the living God, "the way, the truth, and the life?" (John 14:6). Is He the embodiment of all truth as He claimed to be - all scientific truth, psychological truth, moral truth, spiritual truth? That is a decision that you have to make about Jesus Christ - an intellectual decision.
The mind is important. But remember that your mind has been affected by sin. You cannot come to Jesus Christ intellectually alone. That step has to be taken by faith. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
It was by faith that I said, "Lord Jesus, I believe You are who You claim to be, the The living God, God in human flesh, the Creator of the universe, Who took on the form of a human being and died on the cross for my sins and rose again for my justification. I believe You are coming back to set up Your Kingdom. I know that You are my Savior, and by faith I accept You." When I did that, Jesus came into my heart and made me a new person. And He longs to do the same for you.
Jesus Christ demands first place in everything and that means everything without exception. You come to Christ realizing that you will have to pay a price. You can't drag your dirty sins along with you as you follow Jesus. You will have to quit lying. You will have to quit sleeping with that woman or man who is not your spouse. You will have to quit cheating in school or at work. You will have to stop engaging in behavior which is harming your body which becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. You will have to invest time studying the Word of God to show yourself "approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed" (2 Timothy 2:15). All of these things are costly. Are you willing to pay the price?
You can't live a clean life today, except by one way: with Jesus Christ in your heart, living His life through you. The Apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). The Bible says in Romans 6:14, "Sin shall not have dominion over you."
There was a time when sin ruled in your life. But when you come to Christ, sin no longer rules, you simply don’t have to obey it, you can become dead to it. With Christ living within you, you can choose to obey God instead of sin. And He can help you to meet the high standards that He sets in morality and ethics.
Coming to Christ isn't going to make you perfect. Suppose you accept Christ and you slip and fall. What happens? Immediately you need to say, "Lord, I'm sorry. Forgive me. I turn from that sin. I don't ever want to commit it again." You confess it, and He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin. If you have sinned, go to Him and say, "Lord, I have sinned. I'm sorry. I surrender that area of my life to You."
God wants to be the Master and Commander over your career, your marriage, your friendships, your morals - He wants everything surrendered to Him without exception.
God makes three calls to you. First, He calls you to the Person of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” Your sins can be made as white as snow because of the cross of Jesus Christ. He calls you to Himself.
Second, God calls you to consecration. The word consecration means to "set apart." We can do the dedicating, but only God can consecrate. Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God."
Think of your life as a house. You have a ring of keys to that house. When you respond to the call of Jesus to follow as His disciple, you give God the key to the front door of your house. You commit your life to Christ as your Savior and Lord. In response to God's call to consecration, you give the other keys to Him. For a mother or a father it means that you give your baby to Christ. For a businessman it means that you give God the key to your business. For a student it means that you give God the key to your education. You give God the key to your romance, to your future marriage. He becomes Lord. The Bible tells us “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Colossians 2:6).
Get to know the Bible. If you are going to be a dentist or a lawyer or a businessman, or whatever your vocation, get a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. I am asking you to commit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Count the cost, surrender all to Him, let Him be your Master. March for Jesus Christ, with love in your heart, surrendered and committed to Him and His plans.
Third, God calls you to serve. He wants you to say, "Lord, I'll go where You want me to go and be what You want me to be." God wants nurses, doctors, businessmen and women, politicians, ditch diggers and trash collectors. He wants Christian leaders who are ready to pay any price and step out and serve Christ. But you will have to make that first decision, you must take that first step. You will have to say, “Yes, by faith I receive You, Lord Jesus, into my heart."
I'm going to asking you to do just that. Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to do so right now? You know that you hear Christ calling you. Why don’t you respond to Him right now.
Would you like to receive Christ right now?
Jesus said that He is the only way to God. John 14:6 ... “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” He said that that if you do not place your trust in Him you will experience eternal death. John 8:23-24 “And He said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
The apostle Peter declared that Jesus is the only One who can save us. Acts 4:12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The apostle Paul declared the same thing. 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,”
If you follow Jesus, He will lead you to life - eternal and abundant. Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” John 10:7-10 ... “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Jesus said, Luke 13:3 “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” This means that we must turn away from our sins and receive Jesus Christ by faith as our Savior and Lord. Romans 10:9-10 “... if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
God’s salvation is available to all. Romans 10:13 “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
That means you! You can do this right now. Here’s how. Start by simply talking to God. You can pray a prayer like this:
“Dear God, I admit that I am a sinner. I am sorry for my sins. I want to turn from them, but I need Your help. Please forgive me. I believe that Jesus died for my sin and that You accepted His death in my place. I believe that You raised Him from the dead. I now trust in Jesus as my only Savior and I will follow Him as my Lord from this day on, forevermore. I surrender my life to You. Please come into my life and control me with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”
Were you sincere in praying that prayer? If you were, here is what Jesus says, John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
Look at that verse again. Did you hear God’s word? Do you believe God sent Jesus to be your Savior? Than what does He say you now have?
If you have made this decision to follow Jesus, we would love to know so that we can pray for you as you begin this life as a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Please contact us and let us know of your decision to follow Jesus. Better yet, come and worship with us if you can!
Amazed by Grace,
Pastor Doug Rhine
The Blooming Grove Baptist Church
550 Route 402
Blooming Grove, PA. 18428