Blog - How To Get Saved Stories

How God used Holly to help Kerry come to Christ

July 29, 2009 - 2:03 PM

At church in the Park last Sunday, a sweet lady named Kerry stood up during the Open Mic time and shared that she was glad to have found a new church home.  After our potluck, I walked over to her and asked about her church background and faith.  She mentioned she had followed Christ on and off for most of her life, but was really seeking Him right now.  Upon further prompting, she mentioned she was only 80% sure she'd go to Heaven someday.

I immediately offered to show her how to be 100% sure, going through a "Do You Know For Certain" track.  After some lengthy explanations, lots of additional verses, and a few analogies, Kerry finally understood that there was nothing she could do to earn salvation.  I explained the magnitude of deciding to accept Christ's gift of salvation, and that it would be a hard road to walk, but that Christ was there to help us along the way.  She thought about it for a minute, and decided she wanted to trust Christ for her salvation and life.

Together, we prayed, and she asked Christ to be her personal Lord and Savior!  She was weeping and praising God.  Apparently she had prayed on the way to church that morning that she'd find Christ that day.  Praise Him for His faithfulness to answer our most sincere prayers!

So, Welcome, Kerry, into a new family of believers!  Though the summer project is officially over, I will be praying for you and I know I'm leaving you in good hands!

Bob's Tale

July 24, 2009 - 11:10 AM

I remember my days as a four-year-old waking up early so I could run out to the barn to see my dad. We had a dairy, ind that's where my dad was every morning, of course. I remember how hard it was to pull the big swinging door open. It was spring-loaded, and I'd struggle to pull it back far enough to get in. In my excitement to let Dad know I was there, I'd stick my head in the doorway as soon as there was enough room for it- before getting it open far enough for the rest of my body- and yell, "Poo Poo!" (My vocabulary wasn't very developed!) I just wanted Dad to know I was there. That was the fun of it.

The years rolled by, and my joy continued. My fourth grade teacher wrote on my report card, "Keep up the happy disposition." (I'd never heard that last word- my vocabulary still wasn't very developed!)

At home, I was becoming a responsible young lad who could manage a significant portion of our family dairy operation. From record keeping to animal health, and, yes, the morning and evening milking, I knew what was up and felt good about being trusted by my dad with responsibilities.

But as I entered high school, I started wondering about my future, and my smile faded into uncertainty. I still loved the dairy and my dad, but I had a nagging emptiness about my career's long-term value. Would I be happy? Would I be a success? Would I find it fulfilling?

I was sort of in free fall for a couple of years. I was lonely, a little confused, and very fearful of making wrong choices. Every scenario I played out in my mind seemed pointless and meaningless.

I entered college, enrolling in Animal Science, but still sensing a diminishing confidence that I would be happy with a career in it. Worse than that, I had no confidence I'd be happy in any other career, either. Something was missing.

Walking back to my dorm a couple of days into my freshman year, I stopped to receive a piece of paper from some people positioned along my sidewalk. I chatted with them for a bit, and invited them to visit me in my dorm room.

I don't remember what we talked about those first couple of times we talked; I was too busy observing them. They were genuinely happy, and it seemed to be coming from what they were doing. They had differing degrees and pursuits, but their joy didn't seem to be coming from their career choices.

About two weeks went by and I talked to my new friends many times. One Sunday evening I was trying to study, but my emptiness and their fullness invaded my mind and took over. I had to get to the bottom of this. If there was any way I could have what I saw in them, I wanted it.

By that time I had learned where some of the men were staying, so I went over t their house, interrupted what they were doing, and started pouring out my concerns to them. Why wasn't I happy? Why was I so fearful of the rest of my life? What about after life was over: could I be certain about any good then?

For the first time, as I listened to them, the Gospel of Jesus Christ sounded like good news that was relevant to me. They said that God was good and had a plan for my life. That sounded like the God I had heard about in my religious upbringing, so no problem there. But I felt so much outside of any satisfaction in knowing about Him. Inside I was in dark turmoil, feeling guilty about my private lust and sensing that I was God's enemy.

What really started to open up hope to me was the acceptance of two realities. One of them was that I was indeed a guilty sinner who had chosen to live against the standards of a hold God. I would have previously said that I was a sinner, but I had always softened that in my own mind by thinking in a general sense that everyone else was, too. I had never gathered up the courage and humility to say to the righteous Almighty God, "Yes, I am right now your enemy, by my own choice."

The second reality that came to me that night was just exactly what it meant to "believe in Jesus Christ." I had previously envisioned myself as a sincere person, hoping that my good intentions would merit consideration for Heaven. I had done the best I could, and I hoped that God would take it from there, that He would make up what was still lacking in my efforts. But that evening it became clear that nothing I could do would undo my past wrongs. There was no hope for me in my own efforts whatsoever.

Biblical truth became my reality, that "all have sinned and fall short of the (standard) of God." I knew this was true for me. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He save(s) us." I knew that night that it was going to be His mercy or I was sunk. "The Lord has laid on (Jesus) the (sins) of us all." "Christ died for our sins." That made perfect sense to me, too, that a substitutionary payment was necessary. And, lastly, "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." I remember that being the hardest part of the change in me. Could I be saved in that way? Could it be that the responsibility for my eternal destiny was upon my own shoulders? But then I reasoned that if that was the route of salvation, then my new friends had been in my spot at one time, too, sensing their own need and calling out to make Jesus both Savior and Lord to them too. They urged me to make a decision to trust in Jesus, and I finally did!

Oh what a course I have been on! I did not find immediate joy. I had a lot of doubts that I had "believed right." But God has been entirely faithful to bring me into and through many stressful life situations which have heightened my trust in Him.

Over the last thirty-five years, my joy has increased to way beyond childhood levels, because I have given the controls of my life over to Him, and I know I can trust Him to do the best with my life. I have experienced a job loss, a few conflicts in marriage, and a few problems in my parenting, just like anyone else; but like an athlete who knows that success in the game depends upon appropriate training, even the problems in life have a purpose for me. They give me numerous opportunities to ask Him what to do and to trust Him to turn problems around for good. My wife and I have been married for going on thirty years, and we have raised five wonderful children. We are consistently happy. We have hope and confidence even in troubled times.

I believe we were made to have a relationship with God. Our sins separate us from Him. Jesus died to pay for those sins, and rose again to prove the debt was paid. Now He offers eternal life as a free gift. If you will confess your sins as I did, and tell Him you want the gift of eternal life, and turn from your old life as I did, you, too, will be granted eternal life.

Darcy's Dilema

July 24, 2009 - 11:06 AM

DarcyI was born in June 1976 into a family with two older sisters, and my parents. About four years later my little sister was born.  I grew up in a small town in Iowa where my family attended a small Methodist church every Sunday.  I was active in the youth group and was baptized as an infant and confirmed.  This gave me a set of values to follow as I was growing up.

Every summer since about 3rd grade while I was growing up I went to a church camp and I loved it!  I was a whole different person at camp then I was at home, I had friends, and I felt like people cared.  Every year at the end of the camp week they would give a sermon that told us that we were sinners and that we could know we were going to heaven and have a personal relationship with God.  After the sermon they would dim the lights and have everyone bow their heads and close their eyes and anyone could come up to the front who felt that they needed prayer or wanted to ask Christ into their lives.  I went forward my first year at camp, and then my second year when they did it again, I remember sitting in my chair and thinking "Is this something I need to do?" "I did it last year" "I don't really want to do it" "What are people going to think?"  In the process of thinking all of this, I felt a kick in the butt (literally) and the next thing I knew I was walking down the aisle to pray with someone.

Since I grew up going to church and I was already a "good girl" I didn't realize the impact of this decision until much later in my life or what these prayers meant.  I know looking back on my life that God really protected me until I could understand.  If I had gone to a bigger school where I would have had more opportunities to get involved in drugs, alcohol, or premarital sex, I probably would have taken advantage of those things to fill the void that I felt in my life and I would have been hurt.

After I graduated High school I went to a community college and began to experience what the real world was like.  Several of my friends in my first year of college enjoyed going to the bars and smoking. I never joined in, but hung out with them when they did it; I even remember once that one of my friends was afraid she was pregnant.  This was different than anything I had experienced before, and God once again protected me by giving me a conscience and helped me listen to it.

In the next two years I moved from one town to another and eventually I moved to Boone where my oldest sister and her family lived.  We had become pretty close over the last two or three years and became a support system for each other.

One day I was listening to the Christian radio station and heard about this thing called "see you at the flag pole", that was going to be at college, where the Christians at that school gather around the flag pole and pray.  I was excited to hear about this and decided that it was something I wanted to do.  When the day came I woke up early and started walking there, only to turn around and head back the way I came.  I indecisively started walking four times before finally arriving at the pole.

While I was there, I met a girl named Jen who later became one of my best friends. A few of us at the flag pole that day started a Bible study and an FCA group on our campus.  Jen was always inviting me to do fun things with her church friends like Halloween parties and canoe trips and ended up inviting me to go to church with her. It wasn't until I was actively involved with Stonebrook, Jen's church, that Jesus began to take on a real meaning and I realized "Jesus Loves Me" was not just a song, but the truth.

After living in Boone for two years I finally moved to Ames; this was the best move I had ever made at this point in my life.  This was the beginning of me making my own decisions and not doing everything I was told to do.  Another girl and I rented an apartment and got involved in small group Bible studies at Stonebrook.  I slowly began to change from a quiet, shy person into someone not so quiet and shy. One night towards the end of winter, I was on campus with a bunch of the students for a "free Friday flick" when Tim Borseth, one of the pastors, walked up to me and asked me if I would consider moving into the basement of the house that he and his family were buying.  I was scared out of mind that this guy whom I respected so much as a leader was asking ME to live with him.  I agreed, which was another great decision on my part. 

Somewhere within the two year time frame of living with the Borseth's my small group leader took me out for lunch at Fazoli's and we talked about baptism.  I had thought about this several times but had never fully decided to do it. I went home that day and asked with a huge smile on my face if Tim and Kristen would baptize me, and they of course said yes.  That night they baptized me in a hot tub that one of the other pastors owned.  I was excited to take this step of faith and show people what Christ had been doing in my life.

A few years later while I was at a retreat, I was reading my Bible and found Psalm 139.  I immediately claimed this as my life verse.  It reminds me of how intricately God knows me and how deep His love for me goes.  I often look back at it when I feel the world is crashing in around me and no one loves me or cares about me.  It's comforting to know that God loves me even when people fail me.

When I was asked about considering the church plant I had a few things that needed to work out in my life to feel like God was really leading me to do this, so I made a list of 7 things that God needed to do. Amazingly God came through with speed and in seemingly random ways.

A New Sister In Christ!

July 23, 2009 - 7:09 PM

Courtney at HQ

Jenny met a nice young lady named Courtney last Saturday on her walk.  Courtney is 19 years old, and grew up going to church on and off.  She never committed her life to Christ, however.  Well, on Wednesday night, Jenny & Darcy were praying with her, and she asked them to help pray for her salvation.  After explaining what Salvation was, Courtney decided she wanted to ask Christ to be her personal Lord and Savior.  So, Praise God, as He is so kind to us!  She is now going through the "Begin In Christ" series with Jenny, who will probably be staying here this fall!  I'm sure Jenny can fill everyone in on the rest of the details at a later date!  Praise God!

Adam's Story

July 17, 2009 - 3:59 PM

When I was in college I had a deep feeling of loneliness.  I hardly had any friends, didn't get out much, and had a longing to be loved.  I desperately searched for love by looking for a girl to date, I felt that would complete me and fill me up from the empty feeling I had.   During one summer, I met an interesting girl at work and started a relationship with her.  When I met her I was extremely happy at first and wanted to spend every moment with her.  I was very wrapped up in her, enough so, that I decided to transfer to the college she was going to.  Unfortunately, very quickly our relationship started getting very bumpy with all kinds of problems.  I didn't want to quit, no matter how hard it got.  I was convinced that this was my last chance to have a relationship with a girl, if this failed I would be alone forever.  So I worked hard to fix the problems in our relationship, unfortunately we both had issues that needed to be worked out and it hit a cracking point. 

During the first week at college I didn't know anyone except for my girlfriend, who was very busy and never even stopped by to see my dorm room.  I took a chance at the cafeteria and started chatting with some strangers.  They invited me to check out a Christian group on campus.  I didn't want to but decided to go.  At the event a lady spoke on how to understand when God speaks to us.  Her example was of God telling her to end a relationship and she refused to, but in the end the guy dumped her.  After the event I went back to my dorm.  My girlfriend called me up and told me we should end our relationship. 

From that moment on I spiraled down into a pit of depression.  I continued to go to the Christian group, which brought me some happiness but I started failing in my classes, and drinking heavily.  I continued to get depressed to the point of contemplating suicide.  I became friends with a guy named Brent, and we hanged out a lot.   One night I was hanging out with him at a party and was totally broken down thinking about my x girlfriend.  He took me for a long walk and talked me through some of the issues I had.  Then he shared with me who Jesus is, and answered a lot of questions on my heart.  He explained how we need Jesus to be able to connect to God, and how our separation from God will keep us from true happiness and peace.  I learned a lot that night and went back to the dorm where I prayed to give my life to Christ; I was at the point where it was either Christ, or death.  When I was done I felt God's holy spirit in me and tears of sorrow and desperation turned to tears of joy.  And God showed me many times where he had reached out to me in the past but I had turned away from him.

After that I started to be happier, but my grades were still poor, I was still struggling with depression, I was still looking for a girl, and I was an alcoholic and got drunk every other day.  Slowly, as I seeked God out, he worked things out.  By God's power I completely gave up drinking within a month.  I passed all my classes that semester somehow.  After a couple months I surrendered my longing for a relationship with a woman to God and he has given me complete peace in that area of my life.

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