For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Joshua. Some of you might know me as that guy who plays the guitar at church every second week. For those of you who do know me, you know that I’m one of the resident ‘pastor’s kids’. But anyways, the reason why I still serve by leading music on Sundays, and the reason why I’m still around to be used as a sermon illustration by my dad a few times a year, is because I’m a Christian. So today I’m going to tell you my testimony, the story of how I became and why I am a Christian, someone who follows Jesus.
I want to start by saying that my testimony is only ‘kind of’ about me. When writing up my testimony, I realized how little of a part I play in it. I know it’s a bit of a testimony trope, but God is 100% the main character in the story of how I became a Christian. It is only by His sovereignty that I came to know him. But what I’ve also come to realize is that God has truly brought me to faith through the faithfulness of his people, my family, and friends at the GracePoint church community.
So, I am unashamedly a church kid. Raised at Gracepoint as far back as I can remember, I attended Sunday school and Extreme Youth weekly. Now, I weekly attend Sunday worship services and our Friday night university students ministry called ACG. And when I look back on the past 21 years of church life that I’ve been a part of, I really cannot identify a specific point at which my heart was changed by God where I, then and there, devoted my life to God.
I can say with certainty in the now that I am someone who loves God. I can say that I am someone who recognizes Jesus as the saviour who died on the cross for my sins. I can also am someone who wants to live my life for him. Though I don’t know when that specifically happened. But what I’ve come to realize is that there doesn’t necessarily need to be that specific moment. It surely happens for some, but I think that in my case faith grows through long moments. Long moments of continually learning about who God is and long moments of growing greater affection for Him. My whole life from a young age has been a continual deepening of my knowledge of God, a deepening love for him, and a deepening desire to live my life for him.
God surely worked in my heart to turn me to the gospel, believe in the gospel, and live out the gospel. But he did so through his people. God used his people, the church, to teach me the truths of Scripture, to encourage and rebuke me, and to model godly living to me.
And I think that the people who have done all of those these things the most in my life are my parents, Mum and Dad. They are the ones who probably first introduced me to Scripture, they’ve been encouraging me in my Christian walk, rebuking me of my sinfulness, and showing me what it looks like to live with humility and godliness my entire life. From the devotionals and prayers before bed when I was a kid to the theological car conversations we had driving to and from school (though only when I wasn’t asleep), they have just shown me so much of what Christianity is and what it looks like lived out. I am so blessed to have been born into a Christian family because it means that I have known who Christ is my entire life, and that’s pretty cool. I often get asked whether I feel a lot of pressure being a pastor’s kid, but to be honest, I think it’s actually been incredibly advantageous. Imagine having 24/7 access to the knowledge and wisdom of a man who’s studied the Bible full time for 30 years!
But my parents aren’t the only ones who God has worked through to bring me to Christ. My Sunday school teachers taught me all those Bible stories which demonstrate how powerful and good God is. My Extreme leaders taught me simple yet foundational truths about who Jesus is, what he has done for us, why it’s important, and what the Christian life should be like. My ACG leaders taught me the richness of Christian theology and the importance of sharing life with others so that I might grow in godliness. And my fellow peers at church have encouraged me in showing me that the Christian walk, though difficult at times, is not one that I have to tread alone.
There’s also all those church aunties and uncles who’ve been at church since before I was born. Seeing them all faithfully attend and serve at church has taught me that perseverance is possible and that zealousness to serve Christ and learn from scripture is a posture that shouldn’t be outgrown. At church camp, a few aunties and uncles told me that it’s such an encouragement to see me grow up from being a little kid to someone who continues to attend and serve at church. But I want to UNO reverse card this on them and tell them that I think it is such an encouragement to see them, the church aunties and uncles! It’s a privilege witnessing them continue meeting with other Christians, learning from scripture, and serving at church for the amount of time that I’ve been alive and probably for years… and maybe decades before I existed.
I could name the many leaders and aunties and uncles and peers at church who have been godly influences on me, all of whom are my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but it would take way too long because there are so many of them. But, it is through God’s people that He has shown me how great His love is for me! It is through His people that I have been shown the richness of scripture and what a joy it is to live according to it. It is through His people that I know that the only way to find lasting satisfaction and rest is in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, who died so that I might have an eternal relationship with Him. God in his sovereignty had chosen me before time began to be one of his children, and it was through this imperfect gathering of his people, the church, including my leaders, uncles and aunties, my peers, and of course, my parents, that He brought me to Himself.