We are looking for people to share their testimonies or faith stories in Christ. Making your faith journey known is a great way to encourage others and an opportunity for us to remember where God started with us and where He has brought us to!
Surely one of my greatest blessings in life is that I had a wonderful mother who believed in God, and therefore from a very early age I believed in Him also. I made my choice to serve God in 1968 at age 16. I was the typical, carefree teenager. Death seemed far away and besides that only happened to old people. In July of that year, I had the sobering experience of attending three funerals within a very short time--all people I knew well. One was a young girl of 14 from a sudden blood clot, one was a neighbor boy from a car accident at age 21, and one was an old man in his '80s. I became very fearful of death, and was sure that my own death was imminent. So my choice to serve God was mostly from fear, because I didn't want to die without God. But yet I also loved God and wanted to please Him. My mother's parents (and my dad's mother) had joined a faith back in the 1920s that was very legalistic, although I didn't realize it at the time. We were told repeatedly that it was the ONLY TRUE WAY, that all other faiths were false. We met in homes because that is what the New Testament church did and "God didn't dwell in temples made by hands." My mother also believed in this faith but she was a bit more liberal and not judgmental. She felt that God alone should judge if a person was saved. My mother did her best to comfort me during this trying time, and encouraged me to read John 14, "Let not your heart be troubled..." At our annual church convention that August when the invitation was given, I stood to my feet. I tried to live the Christian life as best I could. I didn't have much joy but felt that perhaps in this life we weren't to have much joy. And we weren't supposed to feel saved. In my faith, we would ridicule those people who felt they were saved. I am so thankful that I met and married my husband, a wonderful man who believed in God and converted to my faith, though he didn't fully buy into the ONLY TRUE WAY business.
My dear mother passed away in 2000. In 2003, one of our church friends shared some information about this faith and its early history. Say what? Our faith was from the beginning or so I had been led to believe! I discovered it did have a founder and was started near the end of the 19th century! I was dumbfounded! I started doing research, and then started listening to Dr. J. Vernon McGee's "Thru the Bible" radio program, and I can honestly say that that was when I truly heard and understood the gospel! It is Jesus’ work on the cross! That was what He meant by "It is finished" (I used to think that was just when His agony ended and He died). That seems so simple now, but you have to understand what I had heard my entire life. In 2004, we finally left this faith after a scary but thrilling year, and started going to various churches in town. We ended up at Creekside and are so thankful we did! I still had many questions and concerns, but I will never forget when Pastor Terry asked one time, "Who does the work of salvation in our lives?" I started to think that it's our works, but it was then I realized how absurd and futile that was! How was I to know when I had done enough? Today I am so thankful to God and His precious Son! I love the Lord and am so happy to have found joy and peace in my life!
The story of K.G.
One evening (1969) during VBS I was blindfolded and led through a gauntlet in the basement of our training building at my home church by my Grandfather. I remember banging my legs and knees up and thinking this is not much fun. When I returned to the classroom, my Grandfather explained that the gauntlet represents life and having my hand held and being guided through the gauntlet represents my salvation in Christ and the walk I will have...
The story of C.W.
I came from a very godly family. Some of my relatives came to Michigan from Germany to share the Gospel with the Indians. Both my grandfathers were Lutheran school teachers. I attended parochial school, church and Sunday School. I knew all the Bible stories, I thought I was a good person and better than most, but I didn’t feel like God was real in my life. Somehow, I missed the idea that God really answers prayer and is interested in my everyday life.
I attended a Lutheran teacher’s college in Chicago for four years and it was during this time that my closest brother drowned in Lake Tahoe. I didn’t get to attend the funeral which had emotional repercussions later on.
I quit college after four years because I knew that I couldn’t handle a classroom and I had become involved in liberal politics as a way to right society’s wrongs. I was devastated when Martin Luther King was shot that same year. At the Democratic Convention of 1968, I was part of the group that confronted the police and was arrested. For the next seven years I alternated between working in the family business and traveling in search of adventure. I lived a very selfish lifestyle and did only what I wanted to do.
One of those trips I was in Miami and my depression was overwhelming. I felt there must be more to life than this or life wasn’t worth much. I called my parents and they brought me back to Napa. They were very excited about the Bill Gothard Seminars, so I dragged myself to one with them. I was very impressed by Bill’s testimony on the value of memorizing Scripture. I responded when he gave an invitation to follow Christ. My parents were attending NVEFC (Creekside) so I bought a second hand suit and went with them. After four years I met and married my wife.
My spiritual growth has been slow. Recently I asked the Lord for a desire to read His Word. I was surprised when the He answered my prayer. He also gave me two wonderful daughters who love music and love Jesus. I’m amazed at how much He’s forgiven and much He’s blessed me. I feel at peace now and don’t feel driven to seek adventure.
The story of M.H.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
As the girl walked by the stucco building, she rubbed her hand against its rough surface. To some, it may have been a plain, sand-colored wall. But to that thirteen-year-old, the building represented warmth, purpose and truth. With her dad's drinking on the increase, she, her sister and mother had begun spending time at the corner church. Though they were ignorant of the Bible, the congregation extended unconditional love to them. That girl was me, and I still remember the deeply-veined hands of Mabel, an elderly woman who gently folded my hands in hers and asked how she could pray for me.
After several months, I decided to become a Christian. My Sunday School teacher told me I should go to a Bible study, so I did. Every Monday night for the next eight years I went to the home of a couple in our church. Tom, a young architect, and his wife, Judy, hosted and taught the study. Reading the bible was amazing. i was surprised to find that many familiar phrases, such as Golden Rule or the Good Samaritan, were from the Bible. Then, there was heaven. I'd accepted Christ because I wanted to be right with God and to have Jesus' spirit inside me. To realize that I also got to go to heaven - Wow! What a bonus!
Next, I was encouraged to serve. At sixteen I began teaching a pre-school Sunday School class. At nineteen, my boyfriend (and future husband) and I began leading Sunday night Jr. Youth Group and week night Bible studies for the boys and girls. Somehow, God made full-time college, a part-time job, the Jr. High groups and helping with our College group all work out. Since then, 1Thessalonians 5:11 has deeply influenced my life.
"Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
Living out that and other verses within God's Word continues to provide life's sweetest blessings.
The story of M.B..
I was raised in a home where right and wrongs were understood and loving boundaries were a part of the fabric of family life. I was a typical first child. I had a great desire to follow the rules and please the parental units. That worked and worked well until I was 14. At a Youth Day at our church, I was challenged by a statement, "don't be satisfied with doing everything right, but rather to satisfy God by being in right standing with Him." This comment threw a wrench in the works for me. I , like many, had a satisfying smugness of doing more right than wrong. That afternoon, I screwed up the courage to go ask some questions of the youth leader who had challenged me to think about life differently. That very day, I came to understand that Christ was the way to a "right standing with God" and responded to God's offer to place my faith in Christ.
Much of the rest is known to many. The call to ministry, a wife who is a blessing every day, two children that I love, and a church family that is loving, supportive and gracious in all ways. Through all the years that followed "my trusting in Christ" and by the grace of God, the years to come, God continues to work on satisfying my soul, in part through the certainty of heaven in the future and reality of "the abundant life" today.
The story of T.B.