I came to college thinking that I was an overall good kid. I had always listened to my parents, done well in school and never really gotten into any big trouble. I also thought that I had a fairly strong belief in god and thought of myself as a religious person. It was not until I got to know my next door neighbor in my dorms though that I really put my faith into question and started asking myself questions about my faith and beliefs. She was a Christian and would question my beliefs and it would make me question myself. When I really thought about it though, I had no understanding of who God was or what was going to happen to me when I died. That’s when I began to want to know more about Christianity. I found out about Grace Alive because of a ministry called REAL (Runners Excited About Life) which I am now starting up this fall.
I then was invited to Grace Alive and when I met some of the people, I was just struck at how they worshiped God and just lived out a life that was worth living because they were walking with Christ. I then started going to church and was a regular at Grace Alive. I was complacent with where I was in my beliefs and my life, although in reality I was really not a Christian or living a Christian life. I was living a half-hearted life; I had one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity. God had to crumble my life and shut every door possible for me to see the wickedness of my sin and how empty a life that I was living. I describe it to people as if I were in a deep pit and the only way that I could have gotten out was to grab hold of God and put my whole life in his hands. I had to see the reality of what the consequences of my sin were, because before I was living as if god was not a just and holy God. When I did see the wickedness of my sin and the emptiness of this half hearted Christian life though, my whole life changed. I put my whole trust in God and started to try to seek his will in everything that I did.
It was a dramatic change in my life. It is something that I have to look to god daily and be in his word so that I may have the wisdom to make the decisions that are necessary for me to make to become a man of God. I tell people how this past year has been one of the most difficult times that I have gone through because of facing temptation in my everyday life, seeing my sin, and religiously seeking God’s will but at the same time it has been the most rewarding and I can say that I live a life of peace and daily joy. I have the peace of knowing that my life is in the hands of an awesome god who has a plan that is so much better than anything that I could think of. It’s not an easy life, that of a Christian, but it is the most rewarding and it’s something that I don’t think is worth trading for worldly things. I also see how I could not have gone through all of this without a church that preaches the whole gospel, the amazing Christian fellowship from Grace Alive, and the leadership of the elders from my church and Grace Alive.
year at UCD and grew up in a Christian home. From a young age, I learned that obeying authorities made my life easier so I never committed any “big” sins and I got to thinking that I was a pretty good guy because of it. I prayed to receive Christ at a young age but it wasn’t real and I lowered my defenses to allow my pride in being a “good Christian” kid to swell. In God’s mercy, he allowed me to break out of my shell of hypocrisy that had grown so thick over the years that even I could not see through it and do something stupid. After that I realized I wasn’t such a good kid after all and that I had a lot of internal, hidden sins that I had not dealt with. I couldn’t fix these problems myself, but God granted me the humility to trust him to deal with my sin and give me the grace to overcome. I don’t know when exactly I was saved, but it was before college.
Joining Grace Alive my freshman year was a huge blessing because I could see people who were truly interested in seeking God, and though I was still cautious to jump in, there were people there to befriend me and encourage me to run after God. In the last couple years of college I have been blessed to see God working in my life and in Grace Alive. I now have dear brothers in the Lord who I barely spoke to in high school because we were going down our own wrong paths, but now we are united in the Lord. I can’t exaggerate the blessing that the constant oversight of Mr. Perry and the other leaders in the church bringing me back when I stray and pointing me in the right direction has been. Being in Grace Alive has helped me grow in Christ and has nurtured an excitement to see what God has in store both for Grace Alive and for me. Praise God for his mercy and grace!
I’m excited to be a part of Grace Alive because I believe that in our college years, we have a unique opportunity to make a firm choice to devote ourselves to serving Christ. Grace Alive has greatly helped me to pursue my relationship with Jesus and stop being conformed to the pattern of this world.
I grew up in a Christian home where we attended a great church and I heard the full gospel preached at least twice a week for my entire childhood. All this preaching and guidance helped me to stay out of trouble and made me feel very smart and very good about myself, and so I concluded I must be a true Christian because I was so very good and smart (at least compared to most of my peers). I would have gone on in this empty hypocrisy for my whole life, if God had not intervened in my life and in my family.
God used a few very painful trials in my life that shattered my elaborately hypocritical facade. When these trials came, they brought to light the deep darkness in my sinful heart and proved who I really was. I became more and more depressed, and more and more hateful of all authorities in my life. This rebellion and depression had been festering in me for years, and now they surfaced and consumed me. I was proud, sarcastic, unmotivated, unwilling to listen to anyone, and very depressed. But I blamed all these problems on my circumstances, concluded that my depression was genetic, and decided that to be happy I had to get away from my parents and just take some pills.
Then the summer before I started my second year of junior college, God saved me by bringing a powerful word to me through one of the leaders in Grace Alive. Through the Holy Spirit, this leader told me that I was dead towards God and that the root of my problem was rejection of Jesus’ Lordship in my life. Although I had claimed him as Lord, I had clung to my own autonomy and ‘individuality’. For the first time ever I saw that my whole life was a lie, and that the reason I was miserable was because I would not submit to Christ. I saw that the choice before me was that I could either continue to live however I wanted to, or I could choose to surrender to Jesus.
By grace, I was able to see that surrendering to Jesus was my only option. I could see that by giving my life to him, I was not loosing anything, but gaining everything. Surrendering to Jesus is hard, because it means giving up your entire identity in order to belong to Jesus, and most people cannot submit themselves to a Lord who demands this complete and unconditional surrender. But I have found that it was worth it! I gave truly gave my life to Christ and found that all I was loosing was my sin, misery, and death, and that I was gaining true knowledge and love of God, eternal life, joy, and peace.
Ever since I truly committed my life to Christ, I have never been depressed as I once was. Yes, I am often prone to depressing thoughts and attitudes, but now through Jesus’ name, I have the power to fight it, and God gives me more and more peace and joy the more and more I learn to trust and submit to his good, perfect, and pleasing will.