My Testimony (How I got Saved)

    Hello, my name is Scott, and this is my story. I grew up going to church most my life, if you count all the church hopping, skipping, and changing that is. Up until my early teens I was a pretty good kid, only getting into expected problems for a energetic child. Once I hit my teen years, I wasn't really made to go to church anymore, so I didn't. Not that it really meant anything to me at all, the stories were nice, and the snacks, but it was like going to school, another day of the week, and school was something I didn't like. Anyhow, I didn't get into any major trouble until I was about 16, (not counting the starting to mess and fool around with girls at about 13-14), when I started to drive, and started to claim my freedom. By the time I was 17 I was skipping school and smoking pot, which soon lead me to drop out of school. Lucky I was able to get out of that cycle right before I was 18. However, as one stage and cycle of my life was ending, another one soon took its place, and toll on my life.

    Now being 18, I was able to get into under/over clubs and bars, and my drinking period started, not that I was a drunk, but going to clubs, and bars, every single weekend, had its impact on my life. However I was never stupid enough to drive when I had been drinking. Let me back up a tad, right after I had dropped out of school, I got my first computer and knew nothing about it, but having been playing video games and being into electronics, my whole life, it wasn't long before I was addicted. And when the internet first became publicly available in town, I was hooked, and getting into my own share of trouble and mischief online. Up to this time, all my jobs had been, a paperboy, working selling programs in a local baseball stadium, dish room, and waiter. That was my work record till I was 18 and was currently doing the dining room thing at an adult residence. 

    During most my older teen years, something was different, I was not the always happy, charismatic, and energetic person I grew up as. Something was different it seemed, I was almost depressed, in self pity, and sorrow, I was hurting inside and didn't know why, or what it meant, or how to get rid of it. I knew it meant I was missing something in my life, but I took that meant love, and hence I needed a girlfriend. All my previous relationships hadn't been too serious, just alot of fooling around. When I was 19, I meet, and soon started dating, lets call her Liz to protect her somewhat. This turned into my first, longest, and most serious relationship. Things went ok, went to my first prom with her, but when she went of to college things got bad, and we soon broke up - just before we would have been 1 year going out. Time for another major change in my life, as I had also quit my last dining room job.

    I finally got the job I had thought I always wanted a few months before I was 20: selling computers in a major department store. I had become quite knowledgeable about computers, having been self taught, and had so many problems with them, and not having anyone to help me. I had to learn to fix them myself, both software and hardware. So selling computers came easy and naturally to me, and soon I was top in sales, in my department, and later the whole store. So suddenly I found myself, at 20, making alot of money, off of working part time hours. Hence money soon became the new idol of my life. Working the holidays, on commission came big money, and lots of new electronic toys, and greed. The easy big time money couldn't last forever, and it didn't, and I soon found myself with little paychecks, and needing to fill my greed wallet. And with other situations going on in my life, including the need for some transportation, I sunk to a new low.

    The first time was difficult, but it got easier each time, as the dollar amounts increased, and it added up quickly. Guilty and knowing it was wrong, and could mean big trouble, I had been stealing money from the company, and wiring it into my bank account. After a while, I got scared, and swore not to do it again, and a few months went by with nothing happening I thought I had gotten away with it. A few days after Halloween, and winning the 2nd prize gift certificate for the employee costume contest, I was approached by the store manager, and the head of security. They didn't waste much time, and I knew they had me, there had been a paper trail that pointed directly to me, and having thought I had gotten away with it for months, I had no excuses, so I came totally clean about everything, and how I had done it. What surprised me, was that the amount had added up to over four thousand dollars. Soon after giving them a signed confession, and being officially terminated, I was then arrested by the police, for 3rd degree grand larceny, a class D felony.

     Handcuffed, arrested, and riding in the back of a police car to the station, nothing could explain the thoughts, pains, regret, desperation, and sorrows, going through my heart, mind, and body. Placed in a small holding cell for 2 hours, all I could think was "why is this happening, what had I allowed myself to do? Was I that stupid? That evil and bad of a person? A thief? A criminal? Arrested and in Jail?" I knew something had to happen in my life, something had to change in my life, I could not let my life continue to go into a downward spiral, leading to nothingness, sorrow, emptiness, and despair. I remember how I cried out, to  myself, to God, to anything that I could think of. What could possibly help me in this situation I had gotten myself into. Finally a detective took me to a questioning room, still unsure if I was about to get locked up for the rest of my life, something some people would think had been long time deserved, I didn't know. The detective assured me this wasn't too bad, everyone is allowed to make one mistake legally but then if you do it again, they lock you up forever. To my surprise, after another couple hours of questioning, and giving a sworn deposition of everything I had done, I was released on my own reconnaissance. Wondering what was going to possibly happen in  my life now, I knew I had to be a better person, and try to be good, and not make anymore mistakes, boy was I wrong.

    The next month, when I was supposed to be this new good improved person, was worse than I could have possibly known. I don't know what was worse, having to sit down with my mother, and tell her that her innocent baby boy, had lost his job, stolen some money, and gotten arrested, and was about to be facing some major criminal charges. Or the fact that I was to afraid to call and tell my father, and he had to find out by being called by his brother, my uncle, who had read it in the newspaper 2 days after it all had happened. Then my father calling me wondering why I couldn't have told him. I had also been involved in a not so great relationship with someone I shouldn't have really been going out with to begin with, I knew it, I just had a bad feeling about it, and it ended even worse. Something was not working with this new found commitment to be a good and better person. Almost like I felt I could not do it on my own, yet I knew another relationship with some girl was not the answer either.    

    I had about given up on anything and everything, for the first time I didn't really know what to do, or who to turn to. Lucky for me, someone had been watching out for, and over me. I had liked a few girls in my retail job days, one of which, was this cute girl who worked in clothing, and I just sensed something different about her, special, like I had to know what it was. I took this as meaning I had a crush on her and gave my attempt at hitting on her and failed miserably, she wasn't really interested in any relationships, and I had found out, was a Christian, and anyone for her to get involved with would have to be also. No problem I thought, I had done the church thing growing up. Any plans on hooking up with her failed when I was arrested, fired, and banned from the store. Oh well, nothing was going to happen anyway.

    Except suddenly now a month later, she was online asking me how I was doing, I knew something had to be up. I found that yes she had heard and found out about my grand arrest, being dragged out of the store fighting kicking and screaming by dozens of police - as if - it had been a tad buffed up, and she wanted to hear the truth of what really happened from me. It really didn't surprise me, that after I had told her what had happened to me, right away she told me I just needed to get right with God and hand the situation over to him, and she invited me to her church again, something she had done before. I had joked about recently about wanting to get back into doing the church thing, not even knowing why I was saying it, so I had no reason not to go. And figuring now I had nothing to lose, I showed up at church that next Sunday morning. And yes, for the record, I did go to church, just to try pick up, and hit on a girl, except someone still had other plans for me.

    Now here I was just a few months before I was 21, walking into a church, for the first time in years it seemed, wondering what in the world was I doing. I had been in alot of churches growing up, all Christian, alot of different denominations though, from Assemblies, Baptist, Charismatic, Holiness, to Methodist, Non-denominational, and Pentecostal. Surprised how small of a church and building it was, I was overwhelmed with people welcoming me, inquiring about me, and asking me how I was, as if they knew me, weird, but nice. When she arrived with her family, big family, a lot of kids, her mother welcomed me, like she knew exactly who I was, I found out later that the family had been praying for me. I started to get the feeling something was going on more than I knew. As soon as worship started, I realized I was in one of those Non-denominational, Pentecostal, Charismatic churches. Which I didn't mind, if I was going to be in a church, I would rather it be a lively and upbeat one, also realized the girl I liked played piano. In my attempt to try to sing the songs, something started to happen. Someone started to speak to me, and remind me of something that had happened a long time ago.

    I remembered one time when I was younger, just before my teens, I was in some special night church service. They had a special guest speaker, who was an evangelist, or a prophet or something special. He was calling people out of the congregation and praying for them. I remember he called me, and said something about I had a major ministry call on my life, and was going to use me significantly, but it wasn't going to be until later in my life, that meant nothing to me, except something started happening to my body, I was trembling, it felt like something was running through my body, almost like electricity or something, and at the time I had no clue what was going on, except it freaked me out, I was weeping, and I just wanted to leave, and my mom took me home. I knew something had happened, but had no clue at the time. That was to be my first of many times in Gods presence, and to feel his physical touch and anointing upon me.

    Now here, singing in church, God reminding me of his call on my life which I have always known deep within was there, but always ran from, and wanted nothing to do with. Then I felt as if in all my years of drinking and playing games in smoking pot, that he had protected me, from what could have happened, and saved me from the addictions when He did. I was starting to see and understand why stuff had happened in my life, that he had used them and even my current situation to direct me back to Him. And here I was, back in Gods presence, after almost a decade. Feeling exactly like a child who wanted to cry and fall to the floor in weeping and repentance. I suddenly knew what it was I was missing in my life to fill all the many years of hurting and rejection, and I could hear Him, He was now calling my name to come back to him, and this all happened during worship, before even hearing any preaching.

    Something  happened to me that day, Sunday December 6 1998. I don't know if it was during my personal encounter with God during worship.  Perhaps even what I had seen during worship in the natural, a small building full of people dancing, and praising God, singing out, clapping, lifting hands and crying out to God, like he was their everything, and they didn't have another care or worry in the world. I felt like I suddenly knew something that I had been missing out on, and was beginning to want. Then the pastor got up, I don't remember what is was about, or even if it had anything to do with salvation. But I had heard it before, Jesus, Son of God, died on the cross for my sins, He is the Way, the Truth, the Light, and the only way into Heaven. Yes, I had heard it all before, and even did the prayer thing a few times when I was little, but something was different now, it made sense, like I knew it was all true, and it was what I had to do, what I was missing, nothing about being religious, living good enough to try to please God, but actually knowing Him, and knowing his Son, Jesus.

    Over the next few weeks, a lot happened in my life. I started going to church, and read the Bible I have had since I was little. I wasn't exactly sure when in all this I gave my life to God, and accepted his Son Jesus into my life, not just as my savior to cover my sins, and keep me out of hell, but also to make Him Lord of my Life, to put Him in total control of myself, my life, and my current situation. But it happened, something changed, a physical change within me, I was not the same person I was, I was born  again, I felt different, some people would even say I looked different. I had a taste of life, of hope, something to trust in, and not just empty words of some religion or book. But the living God, Creator of the earth, had forgiven me of the sins in my life that had kept me separated from Him for so long. I wasn't instantly changed into perfection, but the One who is all perfection, I just knew, was living in me, and He was someone I could get to know, and talk to, closer then a friend and brother. That month of December 1998, was just the beginning of a new walk, and way of life, I was not alone anymore, and I had someone in control, guiding me, correcting me, and loving me. His name is Jesus, although it hasn't always been easy, and I have stumbled and fallen, and wanted to run away and give up, He has never left me. He replaced my hurting and emptiness with love, peace, joy, and his comfort.

    Almost 3 years later, after seeing and watching how he has worked and moved in my life, I know, without a doubt in me, I made the most important decision of my life, to give my life into the fathers hands. For the bible says, "He that loves his life in this world shall lose it; but he that hates the life of this world, shall gain life eternal, and rewards in heaven." I made that decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, by savior I mean knowing he died for your sins on the cross, and through him is the only way to be redeemed to the father, have eternal life. But by Lord, I mean making him lord of your life while still in this world, turning your self over to him, and trusting him to be in control of all areas of your life. All it takes is a simple prayer to acknowledge him as the Son of God, and that he died in your place, took your punishment for your sins. He was the gift of God's forgiving grace. We all know the bible says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Will you make this your day to start anew? 

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Revised - December 06, 2003