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100 Word Essay

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If you’re joining us in the middle of all these posts let me explain what 100 Word Essay is all about.  About 80 people are taking a class on sharing the Gospel called Intersections.  Each week we challenge participants to step up to something practical they can do to build their skills and confidence.  Last week the challenge was to compose their 100 Word Essay – the rough and ready short version of their spiritual journey of coming to faith in Jesus.  If you’ve tripped onto this blog, you’ll find tons of stories as you scroll down.  You’ll also see the 100 Word Essay tag to the right on this page.  That will direct you to more stories from past participants.  Enjoy!  The guy going down on an airplane is admittedly the only one like it I’ve ever read.  And I’ve read a lot of these!  Thank goodness that’s not everyone’s spiritual journey.  But so glad God worked in Dave’s life!  Makes you wonder how may other people on that flight prayed that same prayer…. and where makes you wonder where they are today!  Keep reading!  If you get inspired send me YOUR 100 Word Essay!  timp@cccomaha.org

 

Did the ark have a water-pump?

I come to a relationship with Christ through a friend who devoted all his extra time to doing things with me.  Once when he and I were working on his car replacing his water pump he asked from underneath the car,  “Do you think the ark had a water pump?”  I asked him why he would even ask me such a question since I wasn’t very mechanical. This started my journey to ask and search for answers that he could always answer. That was 1985.

In February of that year I was at a believers baptism at the Evangelical Free Church in Fremont.  An 85 yr old lady whose lawn I mowed decided to get baptized.  She said some nice things about how I’d helped her.  When she was submerged, I felt like I rose 2 ft off my chair.  My wife asked me if I felt OK.   I told her what happened and she told my friend who was sitting there.  He stepped out with me and as we prayed I asked Jesus into my heart. Crazy huh?

-Ken

 

Raised Catholic, never read my Bible.

I was raised a Catholic,never read my bible, trying to earn my way to heaven,always thinking I was never going to make it.  A friend invited me to Faith Evangelical free  Church.  I learned a lot & invited Jesus Christ into my life in 1983.  I hungered to learn the Bible.   God used people, bible studies, & books to help me. I  had miracles, a lot of answered prayers, dreams from God that came true & the Holy Spirit has helped me, used me to witness, & help others.  I have a personal relationship with our Amazing God.  I have learned God has more love than humans & will never leave me.

-Betty

 

I needed a Savior – 302 Words!

My life was one of joy but laced with unbalanced pain experienced from the past. My shattered heart ached and was hardened. I felt rejected, unloved and devalued. I promoted myself to king and ruled over my kingdom with anger, an unforgiving spirit, pride, shame, and guilt . I followed religion, embraced materialism, and gambled my eternity on good works.  Only by God’s grace and His love led myself and my free will to CCC.  Once there, my eyes were opened to a wounded heart that needed rescued, redeemed, and restored. I needed a Savior.

My first encounter with Jesus at CCC were the many nameless faces that directed traffic, poured the coffee, passed the collection plate, whispered prayers, led bible studies, sang songs, and preached the good news. I observed and listened intently. I saw and heard the voice of love and acceptance in the church. Jesus was in this place.. After much prayer, journey groups, and devotion to scripture, I met Jesus in the Word- loving, leading, reaping, teaching, rebelling, praying, pleasing, serving, sacrificing, dying, and resurrecting for me- a sinner. My savior is love..

After hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, I opened my heart and repented, accepted, believed, trusted in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Baptized shortly after, I died to my self and became a new creation in Christ. I am healed, forgiven by His blood, and granted eternal life through His death and resurrection.. I have removed myself from the self imposed throne of pride and I kneel at His feet. My Savior reigns.

Everybody is born into this world under the reign of a King who is past, present, and future. Everybody leaves this world whether or not he chooses to be under the King’s reign or not. I follow Jesus. My Savior is Eternal.

-Barb

 

I thought I would someday become a Catholic Priest.

I feel I have always been with the Lord.  I was raised as a Catholic in a mostly Catholic neighborhood of South Omaha.  During grade school and high school, I thought I would become a Catholic priest.  During my senior year in high school, my religion teacher started me thinking deeply about the Catholic faith. For the first time that I remember, I started questioning.

Trice, my wife and I met and wanted to be married.  Trice didn’t want to marry in the Catholic Church so Trice and I started searching for another church.  We found that the Lutheran Church was close to what the Catholics believed so we were married there.  After awhile we started searching because we didn’t feel comfortable.

We walked into Community Covenant Church close to our home and were very warmly welcomed.  This made us feel uncomfortable because this was an atmosphere we weren’t use to.  After awhile we knew we were at the right place for us.  Over the years, Community Cov has helped me to come closer to Christ in many ways. I think it was and is mostly the people in the Covenant that taught me about what the bible might really be saying.

I was taught and read myself about what Jesus said about “believing in Him”. We (I) can’t be good enough to please a perfect being. We (I) need to stop trying and accept the gift He gave us (me). This I have done.

-Ken

100 Word Essay

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As the plane was diving, I laid my sins in God’s hands!

During the Viet Nam war we were leaving Japan for Thailand on an Air Force plane with 52 people on board. Three  minutes after take off we were still climbing  when one of the engines exploded trailing flames for many feet.  The plane started a serious dive for the ocean at a very high rate of speed and a steep dive angle, which would have ended in certain death. With God’s help the Pilot was able to extinguish the flames and regained control of the airplane within 100 feet of the ocean. During the dive  I laid my sins and prayers in God’s hands.  The effect of prayer was immediate and very calming. The return to Japan was uneventful but the moment was unforgettable.

-David

 

I liked the teaching, but didn’t want to pay the price.

I was raised in a Christian home.  I liked the teaching but didn’t want to pay the price.  I struggled to believe.  I tried to hide from God, expecting punishment for doing that.  In love, grace, mercy, and blessings, He pursued me.  One day, without thinking much about my Spiritual status, my mouth confessed; my heart believed, and I knew that it is finished.  My life got out of control soon after.  In brokenness and surrendered.  I found my freedom and God gave me new mercy everyday to get back up where I was failing.  He saves me from who I am and He shapes me to whom He wants me to be.

-Tini

 

Surrendered!

It was in the 1980s – my wife and  I were raising a family of 4 boys.  Money was very tight, our marriage was struggling and I began drinking more frequent.  We attended Trinity Baptist church off and on and Pastor Weightman took attention to me and my family.  Sometimes he would stop over to see us and talk to me about life.  He told me how Jesus loves us all and how he died for our sins.  Some weeks later during service the song “COME AS YOU ARE” played and Pastor called for people to step into the light of Jesus.  I finally broke down and came forward to surrender my life to Jesus.

-Thomas

 

100 Word Essays…

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I sincerely believed I was a Christian.

After graduating from Bible School I took a job in my home church as the Christian EducationDirector. While there I felt an increasing great emptiness and void in my life.  I had  been somewhat aware of this during the years in Bible School and even before.

I sincerely believed that I was a Christian. I knew I was a sinner and that Jesus died for my sins so I assumed I was was “saved”.  I knew He was the creator of everything. However, the God I experienced was a far off God – way up there someplace looking down from heaven.  Kind of like a rancher admiring his huge herd of cattle.  I was just one of the herd.  He never paid much attention to me.

God brought the scripture to my mind, “Ask and you shall receive,…”  So that’s what I did.  I asked that the emptiness and void I felt be filled.  Through the years He has bountifully answered!  I began to notice some changes.  The Bible was beginning to come alive!  I began to realize that GOD LOVED ME!! Little ‘ole me!  If I’d been the only sinner there ever was Jesus would have given his life for just me!  I realized that I had never ever KNOWN HIM personally before.  I knew ABOUT Him, but now I KNOW Him.  He is my friend and He is always with me.

-Lela

 

Parents divorced, car accident, lost my daughter.  God’s still at work!

I grew up in a family that didn’t go to church or read the Bible.  My  parents ended up divorcing and that was the start of a  change in my life.  We started  moving around a lot.  When I was in high school I was  invited to a Campus Life group. That was my first encounter of  learning  about God.  The seed was planted there.  Than we  moved again and all that got left behind.

Later in life I was in a car accident with my brother driving.  He ended up in jail believing I was dead.  I was taken to the hospital where one of the first things I remembered was the doctor saying I was lucky to be alive.  I started  going to different churches to learn more about  God – a change in the pathway of my life.

I look  back and know I am only here because of  God at work in my life.  It took till later in life (after my daughter passed away) that I was finally baptized.  I’ve left a lot of details out, otherwise this would be a book!  One thought always keeps coming to my mind:  “God do not  tell me  you  are there  if you are not.”  You’ve got to think hard about the meaning of that!

-Pat

 

No Defining Moment

I’m part of theat 80% of believers who doesn’t have a defining moment of becoming a believer.  There is no date, there is no substance abuse, there is no broken relationship, there is no “hitting bottom”.  Rather my coming to faith has been a life-long journey.  I grew up in a Christian home, attended Sunday School and church services every week.  I have a stack of perfect attendance certificates from years of Sunday School.  I grew up learning Bible stories, memorizing Bible verses, attending three years of catechism, being confirmed, and having my first communion.

As I’ve matured, I realize this was all a good base to start, but I also realize my journey is continually growing, stretching, expanding, challenging, and will never end.  My love for Jesus will never be complete because I’m constantly learning more.  My life verse:  Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

– Douglas

 

Missing something but didn’t know what it was.

I was not raised in the church. In my late 20’s and early 30’s I felt like I was missing something but didn’t know what it was.  I tried “church” for a few years but judged myself and everyone else by the ability to follow Gods laws.  Don’t break the rules. Unhappy and disappointed, I walked away.  For the next several years I even doubted God was real.  Even after my marriage was on the brink of divorce I doubted.  My husband, Jeff and I decided to try to make things work.  He began attending CCC.  I still doubted.  I started watching online about 6 months later and eventually started attending most weekends with Jeff, although still questioning.  I began to see real changes in Jeff and begged for God to speak to me so I could understand Him more.  We went to Hawaii for our 20th wedding anniversary as part of a Christian retreat and while we were worshiping one afternoon near the beach with a few members from the group Mercy Me.  They sang a new song that had not been released yet, Wishful Thinking.  During that song it was if God was singing it to me himself.  I turned to Jeff and said “I get it now”.

-Angie

 

Finally realized how magnificent God is!

Two men at the place where I worked started a Bible study class during our lunch hour, so I joined.  We studied the book Corinthians.  I’d never read the Bible before as I was raised Catholic, but I saw my mother’s amazing faith everyday.   Then a friend asked if I wanted to visit some folks with her.  That night in their kitchen I asked Christ into my heart, I cried like a baby.  Since then I did a lot of backsliding.  Years ago I had a dream that my dad told me he disowned me and he never wanted to see me again.  I’ve never cried so hard, these were gut cries right to my soul thinking that my dad would turn away from me.  Never had I felt so alone.  I had to call him just to hear him tell me he did love me, but that dream never left me.

It wasn’t until I started going to Christ Community women’s Bible studies and services that I really deep down in my heart realized how magnificent God really was.  Here’s the thing, whenever I read about Jesus dying on the cross and His Father turning away from Him holding my sins, THAT had to be the most excruciating pain Jesus must have gone through…for me….for you…for all.

-Sue

100 Word Essay…

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At Intersections tonight we’re going to be talking about the importance of telling your story.  In the next week, our goal is to mob this CCC Blog with as many 100 word essays as we can – workshop participants will be writing up their stories and submitting them as a part of their homework.

Sharing our story of coming to faith in Christ is the big, red Easy-Button of evangelism.  It should just flow out of us.  Like a glass of water filled to the very tippy top.  Just bump us…and out it should come.  Here’s what Jesus means to me…  Here’s the story of how I went from not knowing or following Jesus, to Jesus being the very center of my identity!  Within a few days you’re gonna see tons of examples, but here are a couple from the dozens and dozens of stories I have archived.  As you read, think to yourself – I wonder what my 100 word story would read like?  If you feel adventuresome, send me yours via E-mail:  timp@cccomaha.org

According to my own bylaws!

Before I decided to trust in God, I lived my life according to my own bylaws.   I made mistake after mistake, until it led me to a 3 night stay in jail. Going through all that humiliation made me decide to turn back to school and take it seriously.  School led me to the woman of my dreams and she in return led me back to God. When I became a Christian again, everything just seemed to begin to fall into place. All of this has led me to this moment in my life where I want to get baptized.

-Jeff

I accepted Jesus when I was in high school.

I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was in high school. I have walked with God for over four decades.  Recently I began a journey of becoming closer to God; listening to Him and discerning His voice. I have a desire for God to dwell in me. Like David did in Psalm 17:8, I asked God to draw me so close that I would be the apple of His eye. God has spoken to my heart and told me to be baptized. I cannot help but to obey.  So today I come joyfully to be baptized as an act of obedience, to demonstrate my love for God, to publicly declare my faith in God and to affirm my identity with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.    Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psa 17:8 NIV)

-Barb

Wanna read more stories?  Just look over to the right and hit on the 100 Word Essay tag, and bunches of them will pop up!

Intersections is coming!

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One week from today we kick off a four-week training experience called Intersections.  Intersections is a way to grow in every aspect of being a more effective spokesperson for the Christian faith.  We’ll look at how to use our story in sharing the Gospel with others.  We’ll check out a new tool called Big Story that summarizes the message of Christianity in a convenient app that you can download to your device. We’ll practice simple skills like asking good questions.  We’ll also unbox a seeker discussion group tool called Christianity Explored.  With all this packed in to the workshop, we have to charge a mere $10 for the materials participants will receive and use.  The link to register on-line is below.  If you don’t yet have a MyCCC Account with Christ Community, it’s worth the couple extra minutes to sign up so you can pay on-line and be ready to go for the workshop.  If you have any questions about Intersections, feel free to give me a shout.  Tim Perry – timp@cccomaha.org

To register for Intersections:  http://cccomaha.org/newsfeed.php?id=1790

 

Fellow cancer patient led me to Christ.

I met Deannie, a lover of Jesus and Christ Community Church worshiper, at my first chemo session November of 2008. Both of us had been diagnosed with breast cancer in September and both of us were patients of the same Oncologist. Chemo sessions are long and we soon discovered several common aspects of our lives. During one session, Deannie boldly asked me if I had faith and I said “not yet” without realizing what I had just said. We know now that our meeting was divinely arranged.

On May 12, 2009, sitting in Deannie’s kitchen, I asked Jesus into my life. Deannie led the prayer to God that has changed my life. I feel truly blessed, at peace and I feel that he is constantly watching over me. I continually study His Word and was baptized last June; my journey to grow deeper in Christ continues….

– Carol

White Bible with my name in gold letters.

I became a Christian one summer at Bible school.  I was in 6th grade.  I prayed with my teacher and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My parents gave me a white Bible with my name in gold letters on it. I started going to Bible Study on Wednesday nights.  Many years passed and I’m going to a Bible study every Monday night. It is a very good study and teaches daily Bible study and prayer.

Now it’s 2011 and I’m still studying my Bible, but I’m so tired [depressed] and don’t get up to go to church anymore. My husband still goes every Sunday. Finally I begin to go again. My husband suggests that we should go to a Journey Group.We did that and now are eager to get to church and meet with our friends to worship our LORD. Every day I walk with Jesus!     My devotional is Jesus Calling and it helps me stay close to Jesus.

– Velma

My church taught nothing about a relationship with Jesus.

All of my life I attended church, taught Sunday School, but always felt

empty.  In 1992 I was listening to Charles Stanley and realized what was

missing was Jesus.  I accepted Him into my life as Lord & Savior &

immediately felt changed.  My church taught nothing about a relationship

with Jesus, so I floated along.  Some time later this restless feeling came

over me and would not leave.  Finally  I asked God what was wrong

with me.  He let me know I was to leave that church and He showed me the

church where He wanted me to be.  Ever since,  my relationship with Jesus

has become the most important part of my life, not because of the “church”

but because of the teaching. 4 years ago I moved to Omaha and attend CCC.

I am truly blessed.

– Judy

Alcoholic Dad, Domineering Mom

I grew up in a very traditional Catholic Italian/ German family. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was very domineering. We were a very religious family. My sister was a nun and my uncle a priest. Every morning before school began, our class would start our day going to mass. As I looked around, I often thought and felt how dead these people were and this place was. I felt very alone, depressed and empty. I began to question.

On the weekends we would go to our cabin in the country. It was there that I think I first encountered God. I would go up on a hill back some distance behind the cabin where I would lay in the tall grass and look up in the sky and marvel at the clouds. I often wondered who this God was that made this vast sky. I would spend what seemed like forever looking and wondering. I didn’t want to come back down from my “mountain experience”. There was such a peace and serenity that I felt. Life continued on and I was a freshman at UNO.

In biology class as a student at UNO, a girl I had never seen before came up to me and asked me if I would like to study with her. I agreed. About three months into our friendship she began to share about Jesus. At that time on the weekends we would go to a coffee house called the “Eklesia” where college aged kids would meet together to play music, sing and listen to the gospel message. I knew something was missing in my life and I continued to wonder and think about things.

One weekend a group of us went to a christian concert up in Blair, NE. After the gospel message an invitation was given. I prayer along in prayer asking to receive Christ. I wasn’t certain if anything really had happened but when I returned home everything seemed different. As time went on it seemed that I couldn’t get enough of the bible. All I wanted to do was read the word. The teachings became alive to me and I was understanding the truths of scripture and identifying with them. All I wanted to do was be with others who knew the Jesus I knew and to talk about him. Jesus was my all in all. When you meet Jesus you are never the same. I knew that my life had changed forever.

– Janet

Came across a letter from my grandpa!

I grew up in a Christian home in a small town, but never really understood grace. I was baptized as a teenager out of obedience but I didn’t really understand what it meant to follow Jesus.

My grandpa wrote me a letter before he passed away, part of it was about making the Bible a daily part of my life – I read it at the time and said “that sounds like grandpa!” and forgot about it. A few years later I came across the letter and decided to give it a shot – all of a sudden the Jesus I heard about as a kid and read about in the scriptures was REAL! I had a friend at work that would speak the Good News to me everyday, and soon I got on my knees and sincerely gave my life to the true King.