I grew up in a very small town in central Indiana. In that town, everybody went to church. You showed up so that you kept your reputation as the “good Christian family”. I went to church every Sunday because I had no other choice, it was part of my family’s weekly routine. I would participate in Sunday school but would never fully understand what I was doing. To me, it felt a lot like I was in school and most kids didn’t like school. As my family moved state to state, our chances of finding a permanent church was becoming quite slim. We ended up in another small town just right above Columbus, OH. As a 7th grader who just moved away from everyone I knew, I was eager to make everlasting friendships. Our family got acclimated to Ohio’s ways quite quickly and to be honest, I love it here.
I never understood what God meant to me until the last few months of high school. Friendships dwindled, packing for college became stressful, and I really didn’t care about anything. School was hard and that seemed to be all that I was doing at the time. My neighbor asked me to join her for youth group one night. I was hesitant because my normal schedule didn’t involve me leaving the house. That night, I was taught for the first time how and why Jesus died for us. The youth pastor gave us a worksheet and told us kids to work through it in groups. I was blown away! Before that, I had never heard about God’s love for me. I went home that night baffled. Let me tell you, it still blows my mind! When I went off to college, my focus went right to my studies. I was in a very competitive field and thought all my time needed to be spent studying and getting good grades. Before the end of my first semester, I realized how tired I was. I spent so much effort trying to keep my grades up and I was slowly killing myself with stress and work. I was invited to life group one night (see the pattern?) by my good friend, Callie. The night ended with myself telling my story and I cried for like forty minutes. I didn’t even know these people I was with and I just cried in front of all of them! Although I had no idea who they were, they were some of the most loving people I have ever met. I left that night feeling so loved… by total strangers! What was this?
I ended up giving my life to Christ that next semester by getting baptized at a local church in Bowling Green, OH. After accepting Him, I realized how much he has been working in my life. I realized that my identity wasn’t in my studies; it was with Him! His love for me is so vast and I am truly thankful that I have God in my life. He has blessed me with amazing friends whom I love so much. Looking back on my freshman year, I realized that I have grown so much in my faith. I was blessed with a leadership position in CRU where I have the ability to teach others about God and how he wants to be involved in our lives. My relationship with Jesus is as strong as ever and I love knowing that I get to spend eternity with the one who created me! I don’t deserve any of His love, yet He gives me such joy and happiness. Being a Christian isn’t always easy, though. It’s been a bumpy journey for me these past few years but it’s in the hard times where He finds you and brings you to life… a life so great because Jesus gave his life for ours! Praise God I was saved!
Just like you heard a story of a life changed by Jesus, This could be your story too and it begins by inviting Jesus Christ into your life by faith. The greatest story happened two thousand years ago when God sent his son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, and to die as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This righteousness of God is given “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:22) so that we can have a personal relationship with God both now and after we die in heaven.
Your story could change in a moment. The Bible says “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This could be your story. You can receive Jesus Christ right now by faith. Romans 10:9 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You can invite Jesus into your life right now by praying this prayer.