Friday, July 6, 2012

If you die today, where will you go?

My Christian walk started early on in life. Since I was a child I was raised in a Christian household and followed the example of my mother, a devout Christian woman.  Although I knew Christ and attended church regularly it wasn't until age nine that I recited the sinner's prayer and became a true Christian. Danny, a youth pastor in a Baptist church my family was attending at the time, played a major part in my decision.  He was always handing out Christian pamphlets that showed a young cartoon man who lived his life with and without Christ.
Jeff wrote this testimony to share how Christ has worked in his life since he was a kid. He currently lives and goes to work in the Boston area. He loves God, and hopes that you'll get real with your faith as well.
On one side of the pamphlet you see the man being born, committing sin, never coming to Christ, and eventually dying and going to hell. As you can imagine hell wasn't depicted as a place you'd want to visit. On the other side of the pamphlet the young man leads basically the same life with one major exception. After the young man sins this time he finds Christ, ask for forgiveness, and although he still dies he enters into the gates of Heaven. Looking at that depiction of Heaven in that pamphlet I decided, "yep that's definitely where I wanted to go."

One Sunday morning during Sunday school our teacher asked the class a very scary question, "If you died today where will you go." At such a young age I wasn't thinking about death let alone what happens after it. The question was scary to me because I had no idea where I would go. I always assumed the answer was we died and went to Heaven but I didn't know for sure. Our teacher eventually revealed a guaranteed way to get into Heaven that absolutely intrigued me. He told the class if they confess that they were sinners, accepted Christ as their personal Savior, and followed Him for the rest of their lives they will be guaranteed a place in Heaven.  After completing the lesson our teacher had an altar call asking who wanted to pray the sinners' prayer and give their life to Jesus right there.  Most of the kids were hesitant; some wanted to see if it was ok with their parents, but not me. I was thinking, "Hey I could die on my way home from church; I better get this done now."

After becoming a Christian, and getting my ticket into Heaven, I was extremely excited. The only question I had was, "who am I going to hang out with when I get there?" I realized in order for me to be fully content in Heaven I would have to make sure all my friends were there with me and the only way they were going to get there is if they were saved. Upon making this realization I set out to convince all my friends to repeat the Sinner's prayer and become Christian. I practically had everybody in my neighborhood, my age or younger, saved within a week [I think I might have even surpassed Danny's record].

At this point in my life it may have seemed like I was the quintessential example of a Christian, but my faith had two major flaws. First, although my life was headed in the right direction (saved by nine baptized by sixteen), I never truly understood what it meant to be Christian. Secondly, up to this point my faith has never been tested however that was about to change.

Throughout Junior High and High School I was very introverted; I made very few friends and really didn't hang out much. I didn't really start coming of age until my early college years. At this point in my life I discovered a dangerous talent, "I was exceptionally good at speaking to woman."  In itself there was really nothing wrong with this talent as it never led me to do anything sexually immoral. However, as individuals around me started to realize this talent they decided they can leverage it in their favor to get around different girls. Before I knew it I went from barely ever going out to attending every club and party imaginable from Rhode Island to Vermont.

From the outside looking in most people would say, "Hey you were having fun nothing wrong with that."  Being that Christianity was ingrained in me from such a young age I didn't get into most of the mayhem most of my friends were getting into; however my relationship with Christ was completely eradicated. I barely attended church, since I was too busy having "FUN", and never read my Bible.  My mother was constantly lecturing me on the path I was following but I didn't see any wrong with it and decided not to listen until one summer night in July.

I was dropping off all my friends late one night July 3rd after watching the fireworks show.  It was just like any other night. My friend lived on a dead end alley street so I backed in to drop him off.  As me and the rest of my friends were discussing our plans for the next day a grey colored Maxima (that resembled my brother's girlfriend car) blocked us in.  The windows came down and I started to see sparks fly. Since I didn't hear any loud noises, and being that it was the 3rd off July, I automatically assumed somebody was pranking us with fireworks.  It wasn't until the next morning after seeing the size of the holes in my hood and headlight that I realized how close I came to losing my life that night. We called the police and confirmed it was bullet holes.  At that very moment I thought back to that Sunday school question, "If you died today where will you go?"

That Sunday I rededicated my life to Christ. I watch my life completely turn around. I started leading prayer services, reading Bible regularly, and led Sunday school. My zeal didn't stop there I went back and tried to re-claim a number of the friends that I was having "FUN" with, but surprisingly not many followed.  Today I am much stronger in Christ and feel like I truly know what it means to be Christian. Although I still may stumble and falter (since we all know nobody's perfect), that episode in my life made me realize His infallible Grace for me and no matter how far I drift I now know He will never leave me.

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3 comments:

  1. Great job on your testimony Jeff! Really inspirational and truthful to what God can do in people's lives.

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  2. great testimony, u see how far JESUS will go to save His children, all praises be to GOD.

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  3. Thanks for your encouragement Jeff. God is good. Praise the Lord for him adopting us.

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