Steve – Extended Story
Through the rollercoaster of adolescence I had my heart broken by a couple of girls I really liked and felt really rejected. It wasn’t their fault, but both break ups hurt me really deeply. I was also pretty zitty and got plenty of grief at school suffering some bullying for my Christian faith, my refusal to doss around in classes and desire to please people in authority by trying to get along well in class. That didn’t go down well with most of the guys in my school so I was the ‘creep’, ‘boffin’, ‘vicar’, ‘gaylord’ and whatever other daft names get thrown around at that. So I guess my confidence and self esteem took a bit of a battering and it was in those teenage years I began to lean on God, talk to God personally and relate to Him as more than just some big guy up in the sky. I found genuine, consistent peace, security and unconditional love in all the rejections I faced and made the decision to call God ‘THE BOSS’ in my life. God was going to be my unshakeable foundation who would never reject me.
I remember specifically after being rejected on one really painful occasion I was in tears and crying out to God for comfort. I felt prompted to open my bible and found this amazing bible passage that’s stuck with me ever since from Isaiah 43:18-21, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.’ It was amazing and the first of numerous ‘coincidences’ in my life where I’ve opened up the bible and read stuff that was directly relevant to what I was struggling with at the time. Not coincidences at all! When we cry out to God He speaks to us, if we really want to hear the answers! That’s my experience anyway.
When I got to around 19 I felt God challenge me about how much I trusted Him with my future. I had grown to love God very deeply, been given some great experiences through my local church and going around with my dad seeing the power of God bringing healing, miracles, freedom from emotional and demonic oppression for numerous people. But now God was asking me ‘if I don’t want you to ever get married will you say yes to me and trust that I have your best interests at heart.’ That was a huge call for me and I took a few weeks to think and pray. I got to the place where I gave God my answer. ‘God you know how much I want to get married, but I love you, you are my rock, my BOSS and if you don’t want me to get married ever then I trust that you know best.’ I really did mean that and left it with God.
I could ramble on for days about all the ways God has proved Himself repeatedly to be the rock of our lives since our wedding but 2 examples in the last few years of God’s wisdom and care for us come to mind. The first was a few years back when we looking to move from our first home to a larger house. We had looked around lots and found a place we thought was ideal. We prayed about it, put a bid in and it was accepted. Everything seemed spot on. But the weeks dragged by and then the whole house move fell apart. We had prayed, trusted God, felt it was right and it had all gone belly up. What was God up to? Well the short story is that we ended up with a bigger place for the same price in the same area of Gloucester that suited our long term needs far better than the original place we had lined up. When the first move all went wrong we were stressed and didn’t get it. But we kept praying and looking, tried to trust God’s wisdom and plans and they prevailed yet again. God knows what He’s doing!
The second thing was in 2007 when I had worked for a few years as a part-time youth worker at a local church. We felt God calling us to become foster carers and needed to make some tough decisions to prepare for that, including me resigning from the job as youth worker. We were all set for me to find a full-time job and for Julie to be the full-time carer at home once we started fostering and then this ‘perfect’ job came up for me to apply for, full time school chaplain. I went for the interview feeling strangely relaxed and confident for me. I waited for the verdict and got some great feedback from the headmaster there. He said I had really impressed them but hadn’t got the job. I was their second choice and had come very close. I was very confused and that old ‘what are you up to God?’ question came up for us both again big-time. It’s only in hindsight that I can genuinely see how a promise from God in the bible from Romans 8:28 is always so true, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ The job wasn’t right for me and God’s wisdom prevailed as we ended up both going part-time and sharing the role as foster carers for our boys, that we continue to share with a real sense of partnership rather than one of us being the carer and the other the breadwinner. That’s unquestionably been better for us and better for our boys, but we would never have gone that way if I’d been given that job.
So my life’s been pretty ‘ordinary’ in some ways, no major sex, drugs and rock n roll I guess. But I could write an encyclopaedia about all the many times Jesus has been so much more than just a ‘crutch’ for me to lean on in life. Jesus is, and has been for the last 25 years, the power and purpose to helping me to make the most of the God-given potential in my life. I have experienced God’s love personally, powerfully, life-changingly and see God working in the lives of people around me all the time. Jesus came to this earth to give us ‘life to the full’ (John 10:10) and my whole life to this time has just proved to me personally how real God is. Being a Christian is an incredible adventure living in relationship with my rock, Jesus Christ!
My dad was a great bloke but not much of a father.
Throughout my life I have battled the twin challenges of Asthma and Eczema, using running and singing to try and improve my fitness.
I earned a degree from a top university but felt that my life lacked focus when I was growing up. It was not until I gave my life to Jesus in my room at the YMCA in Cheltenham that things started to take shape.
In my forties I learned to play Bass Guitar having dabbled with Guitars for many years.
The young people around me at One Church and their “can-do” attitude inspire me. I am gradually finding out what I am good at.
Lately I have been thinking about how young eagles leave the nest and flap their wings in order to soar. That’s how I’m seeing my life with Jesus now.
I’ve been a Christian since age 9 and through some ups and downs since then I truly know that God is my solid foundation. He brings;
Peace – I know that my sins are forgiven through Jesus and that God understands and loves me no matter what. All I have to do is believe, ask for forgiveness and I’m clean!
Purpose - I’m not drifting aimlessly, or frantically struggling to make sense of it all. I know that I have a destiny and that the Holy Spirit enables me to apply gifts and talents both within the church and in everyday life.
Pleasure - Serving God and others brings pleasure to God and real personal fulfilment. It’s great to look beyond the ‘I want’ culture that typifies our consumer-driven age. I really appreciate good things, but pursuing these doesn’t consume me.
It’s a great journey!
My Dad was a minister so I grew up thinking church was just a normal part of everyday life for everyone. However, when I hit my teens I realised there was way more to it than attending a building and singing songs – this wasn’t something everyone did but a life of faith, fullness and endless opportunity is something everyone could choose to be a part of.
Why have I chosen to be a Christian? Because ever since I have, I’ve never suffered that empty feeling that “there must be something more to life than this”. It’s fulfilling, it’s taken me around the world and it’s connected me with hundreds of friends. Knowing you are part of something so much greater than what we see constantly brings a fresh perspective to the way I live my life.
I only get one shot at life, I’m not going to miss out on the reason I am here.
I was brought up in a Christian home and at a young age decided to follow God but never gave God everything. By the time I got to my teens I was drinking and smoking and going out clubbing but still going to church trying to live two lives.
At the age of 28, married with two kids, by now I just stopped going to church but my parents still took our kids. It was twelve years later when my eldest daughter was being baptized that I realised what a mess I had made with my life so I prayed that God would give me something real and change me and he did.
Even in really difficult times he has always helped me through it and I will never look back. Give God a try and prove him for yourself, he will not let you down.
I was thinking one night and asked myself, is there any prayers or requests God did not give me? I started from the day I became a Christian to this present time. And I realised he did not miss even one. Yes, I did wait but it was worth waiting for and I know ’til now my prayers are being answered every day!
Sometimes we often think that we are being forgotten or ignored but the truth is God is taking time to answer our prayers and requests because He wants it to be perfect for us. Titus 2:13
What do you call someone whose life was bound by depression, anxiety and an eating disorder by 14 years of age; a person with an irrational fear of death, whose first marriage resulted in domestic violence and then went on to suffer with OCD living life in fear of everything and everyone?
15 years ago a colleague took me to church and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of peace and love – the presence of Jesus. That night I said a prayer to invite Jesus in to my life and was adopted into the family of God.
Life still has its ups and downs but each and every day Jesus is doing life right beside me. I am now remarried with a great family and I’m free to be the person God intended me to be, living a life of excitement, fulfilment and happiness!
As I grew up I soon realised how hard life could be. I was bullied at school for many years. This affected my whole life, knocking my confidence and how I see myself. As I was searching for something I tried different things but nothing filled the emptiness inside of me. I started to go to a church near where I live but didn’t stay.
I bumped into some old friends who had become Christians and they invited me to their baptism.
The service was different to anything I had experienced before. I felt that God was there and I realised that Jesus was what I was looking for. The emptiness was filled.
God has done so much for me and I am much happier now God is in my life. I feel that God has fixed me from the inside out and I am not broken anymore. I am whole and God can use me to make a difference in someone else’s life.
I grew up in a loving family where my parents struggled to provide the best they could for my brother and I.
From an early age I was taught about God and the Bible, but merely learning about someone and something in church can be no different than learning history at school.
It is only when the realisation hits home that God is more than “someone out there;” rather He wants to develop a relationship with you. This will change your life!
This reality doesn’t insulate you from life’s difficulties, or from the hurts of watching family suffer the effects of illness or injury.
But life with God gives an inner peace and a hope despite the circumstances. More than that, God has a plan for each of us. Finding my place in Him has brought fulfilment and an excitement for the future. He’s waiting for you to come to the same realisation.
I always believed in God and thought as long as I did more good than bad then I would be ok with Him. That was how I lived my life until at 22yrs old I heard that God wasn’t impressed with my efforts to “balance the books”. I read that the very best of my efforts were like filthy rags in God’s eyes! But the good news was that all God wanted from me was that I believe and accept that His son Jesus died on the cross instead of me, being punished for all my actions that had offended God. With sincerity I apologised to God and immediately felt a peace I’d never known before – his forgiveness. Since that time I’ve gone through life with troubles still there, but I know God’s there too. He’s always worth a try!!
I love my life!
But it hasn’t always been that way, a few years ago I hit rock bottom when I had no self esteem and would have preferred to live my life hidden away from reality. I listened to the negativity spoken over my life and allowed myself to believe that to fit in I needed to conform to society’s view of what was normal and beautiful.
At a youth conference in 2006 I surrendered my worries and fears to God, since then I have learned how to love and respect myself. I cannot imagine going through life everyday without the faith I have in God, and the faith I have in the amazing future He has planned out for me. I want to live a life that impacts others, I know I will face difficulties but I’m not gonna hold back!
When I was younger my parents weren’t Christians so I attended church with my grandparents. I was such a shy person that I used to just sit at the back listen to the meeting and as soon as it was over I would go back home and settle back into “normal life.” I lived a double life, attending church to make my grandparents happy but not living like the Christian I pretended to be on a Sunday.
At the age of 14 I realised that my life was going no where so I decided to live fully for God, as I did this my parents noticed the change in me and when I was baptised they decided to come back to church!
I have now grown so much in my faith and have become more confident in who God made me to be!
I was brought up going to Church but it was only after some difficult times that I realised that this wasn’t just a social club, but that God really did care. We all have questions about life – ‘why did this happen?’ or ‘what’s the purpose in this?’
For me, Christianity provides the answers to those questions – having a relationship with a God who loves and wants the best for me. I may not always know it at the time, but when I look back it’s amazing to see how God has protected me, sent the right people across my path, or picked me up when I’ve made a complete and utter mess of it all! Becoming a Christian was the best decision I’ve ever made – giving me purpose and fulfilment in this life, with a lot of fun along the way!
I was born into a Christian family, and so I’d attended church all my life really. To be honest however, I never really grasped what Christianity was all about, and I never really thought much of my faith, at least not until I was about 15 or so when I decided I wasn’t really interested in God anymore. Although I still attended church, there was only really one reason for it; because I got to play bass guitar during the service, and music was the central focus of my life at that time.
However, in 2007 at a festival for young people called Soul Survivor, on the last day of the week-long event, for some reason the guy speaking that night made sense to me for the first time in a long while, and really turned my life around. Shortly after, I joined Robinswood Church, and things have just gotten better from there on!
A few years ago I was challenged when someone pointed out that people around you can see what you worship. I knew then that when people looked at me, they wouldn’t see Jesus, because I worshiped… Me! I was living by my own strength, and was saying “no” to Jesus by the lifestyle choices I was making. It was ugly! But I know God gave everything for me, and now I live to give it back to Him! So, where I had once said no to God, I began to say “YES!” That was all He needed! When I began to give what I had, my life actually became richer! As I learn to give back to God and trust in His understanding instead of my own, I realise that there is no better way, because God came to give life – not a mediocre life, but life to the FULL!
• Born into ‘church going’ family. I later learnt that ‘church going’ doesn’t mean anything.
• Ideal upbringing – loving family, amazing friends, great education.
• Thought ‘life is good’ but it got even better!
• Went to church youth group with mate one evening. Why not?
• Started going to church every Sunday.
• Realised that, actually, my life could be better.
• Became a Christian when realizing that, in fact, God thought of easy-going me when He died on the cross. Amazing. He thought of me?!
• Made some wise decisions in my life – A Levels, Uni, career, but none as wise as the decision that day.
• Since? God has brought me through potentially tough times – teen years, Uni, family worries.
• Learnt that God will, honestly, never leave you. You can only leave Him.
• He’s got me a job teaching and guiding children, just like God does to us.
I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. Being brought up in a Christian home meant that going to church on a Sunday and hearing people talk about God was part of everyday life.
When I was 12 it dawned on me the seriousness of what being a Christian, a ‘Christ Follower’, really meant. What would happen if I died right then? Would I go to heaven? At that point I knew I needed to know Jesus as my own saviour, and that that decision would impact the rest of my life.
Since that day I have never looked back, and my relationship with Jesus has been the most amazing adventure!!! I have travelled all over the world, seen miracles, heard God speak to me and never felt alone. He has never let me down… not even once! Go on, give it a try… What’s the worst that could happen?
As a child I used to dream of what I would be in the future it was always something exciting, famous and special. As I got older, circumstances took me further and further away from those dreams. I’d got into habits I couldn’t break and my self esteem was nearly zero. Despite trying to fill my life with travelling and parties something was missing from my life. Some nights I’d lie in my bed at night and think – there must be more to life than this. It was like I was living a 3 dimensional life in 2D and no matter what I tried, nothing seemed to hit the spot. When I experienced Jesus personally, I found the missing element to life. I felt completely loved, accepted and forgiven for the first time. Since that day I have a constant sense of fulfilment and a passion for the life I was designed to live.
I’ve always had an awareness of God. As a child my spiritual experiences were very real and meaningful. The real test came later in life when my faith clashed with my work friends and to be honest, I spent my teenage years trying to keep everyone happy. My values were all over the shop.
You can only live so long like that. I determined to discover the truth for myself and reconnected with Jesus Christ in my late teens. I’ve never looked back since. I am totally fulfilled. Life makes sense! Sure, I have my challenges, but I have purpose and live in destiny.
At the time, I worked for an investment company in London. Life took off in a great adventure that currently lands me in Gloucester and pastor of this fantastic church.