I have been writing posts for some time now, but have yet to share my own testimony. It may be beneficial to my few readers to understand where I'm coming from and who I really am. This is my story.
I was raised in church. I got "saved" at age 7; saved as in I prayed the prayer with my pastor and accepted Jesus into my heart. Unfortunately, no one ever cared to explain that knowing Jesus was more than accepting Him into my heart, attending church, not committing any horrible sins, and living a "good life." Anyway, For the next several years, my family continued to attend Baptist churches. When we moved to Nashville in 2007, we didn't know where to go to church. We discovered that almost every Baptist church was either very small or very large. We couldn't find a church around the size of 300-400 people, which was our preference. So we started going to the church where I played Upward basketball at, which was a megachurch. At this church, the youth group was very large. It was hard to fit in with so many people, and I didn't know which kids were godly and which weren't. I ended up getting mixed up with some very bad kids, and they rubbed off on me. My reason for going to church became the social life. Everything about it was wrong. I really didn't care about God, I only cared about all the Sunday School knowledge I could show off, and how many people I could impress with it. This continued for a year and a half. But in late April, my life was shaken. A close friend who meant a lot to me decided to not be my friend anymore, and I still don't know why that person told me to go away. That hurt very much and I was confused about a lot of things. Somehow though, God put a certain book in my life called Jesus Freaks 2: Revolutionaries written by dc Talk. Essentially, it was a book with dozens and dozens of stories about people in modern times who died because of their faith in Jesus. It shook me to the core like nothing ever has. I began to see Christianity as more than church and friends. I saw it as something real and tangible that could change a person so powerfully that that person would die for Him. It made no sense. I was thinking, "Do people actually do that?" I was shocked! Things started changing for me. First, I chose to go on a mission trip to Florida with my friend David Powell's youth group rather than go with my youth group. The theme of camp in Florida was to walk up to random people on the beach and tell them about Jesus. I began to grow as a leader and saw that it was more fun and satisfying to tell people about Jesus and help others grow closer to Him than it was to flirt with girls or act holy just for show. That camp ended, and I immediately started going to that church. I joined the church a few weeks later and am still going to that church, now a influential spiritual leader who runs powerpoint for second service and has a lot of respect.
Over the last year, my spiritual maturity has grown in leaps and bounds. It seems as if God chooses an area I need to grow in, and then uses a month to work on it. I've had months where I grow in the area of prayer, and months when I grow as a speaker in front of crowds, and months when I grow in the area of talking about Jesus to others. I've learned so much about so many things. Honestly, it seems as though every month, I'm totally different than I was the previous month. I feel closer to God, more influential, and more enflamed with God's Spirit each month, each day. I've made thousands, millions of mistakes in the past year, but I've learned how to love unloveable people, how to speak in front of crowds, pray, worship, change my youth group, start a blog, kick bad habits out of my life, run powerpoint for church, operate the dish pit of a kitchen and eventually become the leader of that kitchen, and build a reputation that earns respect from a lot of people. And that's just the things off the top of my head! Right now, I'm going through something where a friend has it rough, and I just feel for that person and am trying to help and be a godly friend. I'm also going through a rough period in youth group where attendance is very low and spiritual morale seems to be lower. But I'm learning new things every day. It seems as though one of my spiritual gifts is to learn like crazy and never stop chasing after God.
Even though I became a "Christian" at age 7, I never truly "got it" till I was 14, and didn't show any real spiritual fruit until then either. That's when I actually got close with God, and when I truly became a Christian.
Maybe over the next few weeks, I'll share situations where my maturity and knowledge were challenged and where I grew, even if I did wrong or failed. Who knows? Just keep checking back into my blog every week to see what I've written!