I am 10 years old and I decided to accept Jesus as my personal Savior when I was 9. Before Christ was a part of my life, I was afraid of things I didn't need to be afraid of. One night, I asked God to be leader of the rest of my life and all the hard things I will have to overcome in the future.
Now that I believe Jesus died on the cross for all our sins and rose from the dead for me, I don't get scared like I used to. But when I do have fear, I ask him to help me and he always does. He has got me through everything hard I have to face. I want to follow Jesus because he has always been there for me when I need him and I love him. Philippians 4:13 says, "For I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. The verse shows be how powerful and loving God is to me.
I remember growing up and going to Sunday school in a Lutheran church. I was baptized as a baby and got confirmed when I came to faith in Jesus At that point I continued going to church and remember thinking that it was a weekly ‘history’ lesson. I believed in God, prayed to him, but never had the idea of ‘having an ongoing relationship with him.
I have a close girlfriend that always talked about ‘putting things in God’s hands’, God having a plan for us, and just a sense of being at peace. I didn’t understand why I didn’t get that message while going to church and she did. I figured I must have missed something really big. With some stressful things going on in my life, I wanted what she had! I spent a couple years church shopping, then finally tried Christ Community Church. I walked in the front door and was greeted by Pastor Jon Culver. I got such a tremendous sense that this was the place I was looking for! I left each Sunday service feeling so good, I wished every day was Sunday.
I have been attending about four years now. I have learned God has a plan for me and has known me from early on. Now I am finally knowing him. Life is better being in a relationship with Jesus!
My name is Jacob. I am 9 years old. As a child, I was Catholic and baptized as an infant. I never really understood the whole God and Jesus thing. Of course, I knew there was a God, I just never understood it. Then when we started coming here to Christ Community Church, things were different.
To start, my parents were kind of weirded out by everyone’s cheerfulness and kindness. I wasn’t comfortable going into KidsWorld because, in the Catholic church, I normally sat with my parents. When I started going to KidsWorld, people like Mr. Charlie, Colin, and many more taught me many things that I never knew from the Bible. Now, I love going to KidsWorld. There could never be a better church. One Sunday morning, a KidsWorld leader was talking about surrendering life to Christ and what that meant. Later that night, I decided I was going accept Jesus as my Savior. I prayed for God to forgive me and wash me clean. Finding Christ Community was a help to me and my family a lot. Getting baptized will show that I am a follower of Christ.
Though I grew up in a Christian home and occasionally went to church when I was a kid, I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be a Christian until I started regularly attending Christ Community Church. I knew there was something missing in my life, and while I have a beautiful and loving wife, two wonderful daughters (with a third on the way), and a job that I’m passionate about, there was still a void that I couldn’t explain.
I knew that Jesus had died on the cross for sins, but I began to realize internally after listening to Nik Wallenda’s Wow Weekend interview that God loved me so much that Jesus died for me. I also began to see the full extent of sin my life. It was that Sunday when I first picked up the God’s Good News booklet at the Welcome Center and prayed, asking Jesus to come into my life and be my Lord. I surrendered my life to him and now I know my sins were forgiven and I have a purpose for living and an inner peace. I am here today to let you know Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.
Before I came to Christ Community Church, I wasn’t really connected with God. I wasn’t getting the full experience out of my other church. God had always been in my life, since I was little, but I needed to know more about him to give my life to him.
Moving to Christ Community Church was crucial to coming closer to God. Genesis (the middle school ministry) was a very large factor in my recent decision to give my life to him. My small group leaders, Bri and Ashlyn, have played major roles in my growth. Whatever it was, praying with me, encouraging me to come and bring friends every week, or telling me to go out into the world and share the good news of God. I am very appreciative of the work they did in my life.
Knowing that Christ is there for me every day is an amazing feeling. He is using me to share his good news with others. I used to worry about how people thought about me, but now it doesn’t bother me. I volunteer at the church in KidsWorld. It is a beautiful sight to see the young children learning about who God is and what he has done for us. My sister comes home and already has half of her memory verse memorized. I love to see her getting closer to God. I just want to thank all the people who helped me get here now: my parents, Cyndi and Bryan; my small group leaders, Bri and Ashlyn; and my sisters, Julia and Jennifer.
I grew up having a void in my life. No matter what I did, it was never filled. I always hoped God was real but actually believing in him was something I never did. A few years ago, I lost my little brother and I went off the deep end. I was drinking, doing drugs, being promiscuous, and living to numb the pain I had inside. I would curse God and blame him for taking my brother away from me. My life got so bad I just wanted to die. There were many times I contemplated suicide just to be able to feel nothing.
One day my dad (Dale) challenged me to begin praying. Not long after, my boss Jesse Siebold reached out to me and over time, we became friends and began to meet regularly. The more I found out about God the more I wanted to learn. I started getting answers to my big questions and then one night when I met with Jessie, I decided it was time to give my life to Christ. I asked Him to forgive my sin and come into my life.
Now I have been going to church regularly, praying daily and reading the Bible. Not only have I seen a change in my life but so have others. I have become a joyful person who has now been able to let go of his anger and hatred and that void I felt is gone. It's been filled with love. The love of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to forgive my sins. I am now a believer and a follower of Jesus. I am thankful.
As long as I can remember, I loved going to church. I gave my life to Christ at an early age and I knew that I had faith, but I couldn’t explain or defend by beliefs to those who questioned or challenged me. I was baptized as a baby and attended church off and on my entire life, but I didn’t really completely understand the Gospel and God’s grace.
I don’t remember any one thing that caused me to decide to surrender to Christ, but I do remember telling my husband that I need to be me and that meant that I needed to attend church on a regular basis and not be afraid to read the Bible openly.
Three years ago, I began looking for a Bible study group. My good friend, Donna Richardson, invited me to attend Christ Community with her. I was the only one in the group who didn’t attend church here, but I immediately felt welcomed. There was genuine care for each other and it was a place where people can be themselves without judgment and learn about God through Bible study. We share, encourage, and pray for each other through life issues. I have now made Blackberry my church home. I, like all other people, continue to mess up, but I know that God is a loving and forgiving God and I am so grateful that he has put me in this place.
I grew up not knowing Jesus and not going to church on a regular basis. The belief in God was there in the back of my mind, yet I never pursued faith. Being in control was my mantra.
There had always been an ache, a void in my heart. That ache got stronger in the last four years. But then to my surprise, my daughter, son-in-law, and oldest grandson were baptized almost a year ago, and during that service, I realized the answer to the ache and void in my heart was needing Jesus and having a relationship with him.
The next few days found me kneeling alone in my apartment asking Jesus to forgive my sins, and handing over all control of my life. The anger, bitterness, emptiness in my heart left and a feeling of calm and peacefulness took it's place. The person you're looking at is not the person I once was.
I feel that Blackberry Creek is an integral part of this journey. On Sundays, I'm up and ready for church. I am looking to join a 60s Community Group to grow with other Christ followers.
There are some very special people I would like to thank, who have gently encouraged me on this huge change in my life. My daughter Tara, my dear friends, Anna, Bernadine, Hassie, and my work-friend Barb. Thanks for leading by example. I love you.
I was baptized as an infant but now I am choosing to be baptized because I have put my trust in Jesus and want everyone to know this outward expression is from an inward personal decision.
There was a time in my life when God put someone in my path, then that someone left, and my faith in God diminished. I kept yhinking, "How could God do that when I needed him the most?"
After a while of struggling with everyday issues, my friend Nancy noticed I had changed and suggested I come to church with her just to try it out to see if I would enjoy it. With the feeling of community and love throughout, I decided God was just waiting for me to follow him. I know I have sinned by my thoughts and he died for those sins. Since he rose again, taking my sins from my past, I knew he was waiting for me to accept him back into my life. I chose to make Jesus my Savior and King. Since accepting him as my Lord and King, my life has turned completely around and I no longer struggle. When I feel a bit overwhelmed, I just ask him for guidance and follow in his path he has chosen for me.
Before I knew Jesus and trusted in him, I was living in the dark, consumed by the Internet and others around me.
My life changed forever when I heard the song 'Baby Boy' by For King and Country on the radio. I felt something and suddenly knew I belonged to someone. When I surrendered, it wasn't a moment where I fell on my knees and wept, but a moment where I felt clean, felt my anxieties melt away, and a moment where I knew Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life!
Since then, my life has become so much more meaningful. I've trusted in Jesus to take my anxieties away. I used to be at a point where anxiety, stress, and the Internet consumed me so much that I couldn't leave the house. I’ve come back to church, got onto the worship team, shared my story, and have begun to perform and write music for and about him. Psalm 95:1 says,“Come let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation.” I am not perfect since I have been saved, but, I am Madison Gilbreth and I'm a child of The One True King.
Growing up, I had a basic understanding of the Christian faith, but didn't know God personally. In sixth grade, I was baptized for my own selfish needs and because it seemed like the cool thing to do. Over the next 4 years, I claimed a personal relationship with God to the world, but that's not what was in my heart. During this time, God seemed miles away. This caused me to feel unloved leading to a self-harm addiction out of unjustified anger towards God.
Near the beginning of my sophomore year, a good friend of mine shared his testimony at church. It was evident in how he lived that the love he had in his heart for Jesus gave him great joy. I realized that I wanted and needed to pursue a meaningful relationship with God.
I grew up in a Christian home, but I was a child who did not care about God. I had given my life to Christ and got baptized at a young age for the wrong reasons. I lived my life my way and was happy that way.
My junior year of high school started very stressfully, but I had also started attending House Group, our church’s youth group. After a few weeks of curiosity about God during House Group teachings and discussions, I had a moment of complete understanding. I felt God embrace me with a blanket of love. In October of that year, I surrendered my life to Christ. Every situation that had seemed stressful throughout the year so far was no longer a stress I had to face. As it says in Psalm 94:19, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
God has a plan for me that I see him in motion every day. Every day, I will live my life according to his word and plan for me.
I grew up in a Christian home and I knew who God was from a very young age. I prayed the prayer to give my life to Christ with my parents but I did not understand what that meant.
As I grew up in the church, it was a place that I didn't feel I belonged because I was trying to live my life my way. Growing older, I started understanding more and more of who God is and what he is doing in my life but I was still living a me-first lifestyle. During my seventh grade year, I went to the summer camp, Silver Birch Ranch, where I met some of my closest friends and I made the decision to follow Jesus.
Ever since then, I’ve been trying to follow the example Jesus has left for us. I have been given the opportunity to go to Brazil this summer to spread the name of Jesus as I continue to grow in my faith.
I have always been a follower of Christ even at a young age. My mom and I always have gone to Christ Community Church. The first time God really stepped into my life was about three years ago.
My family was having financial problems as well as marriage problems. Each day it got worse and worse and worse until it was almost at the breaking point. I didn’t think anything could fix what had been done. After about a week had passed, things drastically changed for my family. My parents started fighting less and less. The financial problems faded away. I knew no one other than the Lord and Savior could have fixed this.
That week, my eyes really opened to a new light as God had performed another miracle. After this had happened, I decided to get baptized to really prove to God and to myself, that he has saved more than just typical things. He saved my family from a world of pain and suffering and I am truly grateful.
Growing up, we went to church every Sunday. I remember going to Awana at my grandmother’s church. I thought,”Wow, this is the best.” As I got older, my family did not continue to attend church regularly. Our attendance dwindled off to not going at all. I was married young at age 18. My husband joined the Navy and we moved to California. He was gone for months at a time and we lived completely separate lives. My best friend, Kay Vierra, asked me to attend church with her. I was reluctant but said yes. We would go sporadically. Then it was time to move again. I was angry and sad because I had to leave my best friends that had become my family. I moved to Maine and had my son, Christian, shortly thereafter. My husband was gone again for the military. My mother died in 2003 of cancer. I was so angry and hurt. I did not fully grieve for the loss of my mother due to my husband being absent I had an infant to care for. Church, and especially God, were put on the hold. My husband decided to get out of the Navy and again, I find myself moving to Arizona. He accepted a job when we were expecting a second child, Dominick. Shortly after moving, my husband lost his job and we moved back to Illinois. I was so angry that he and I had put so much into the military, and now he’d been laid off. We had two kids, no money, and were living with my father. We hit rock bottom and hit it hard.
I was going through all of the boxes and came across a bookmark my mother had bought for me when I was going to Awana with the poem “Footprints in the Sand.” I completely lost it. I missed my mom so much. I could not pick up the pieces of my life and make it work. I started going to Willow Creek Church to make friends and take my children. I started to find different excuses as to why I could not go such as it is too far from home, my children can’t go, or I have something to do. I was not committed to God. My children were getting older and I was getting more and more angry. My marriage was always rocky because of the military and my husband will not attend church. I started searching for churches near my home in order to make friends and be with good people. I found Christ Community Church. I decided to check it out. When I arrived with my kids, I thought “Wow, this place is so big and I am so tiny!” For weeks, I listened to Pastor Jim talk about getting connected, that God has my back, and to not be ashamed to come to the kneelers at the front of the church and lay it all out for God. At that point, I took a deep breath and went to the front. Knowing that everyone was watching, I knelt down and cried while praying I can’t do this on my own. I need you. God save me. “The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me,” Psalm 116:6.
Since I accepted Christ, I was inspired to do check- in and check-out in KidsWorld and Awana and I joined a Community Group. I rekindled a relationship with my sister, Laurie Vanbogaert, that was broken. I talk about God with her every chance we get. Every time I find myself in a trial or tribulation, which there will always be, God helps me through it. I asked him “God, why am I a paralegal?” “What good am I doing?” Then, I saw our Community Impact partner Administer Justice quoting the scripture “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another'” (Zechariah 7:9). I went to the meeting and starting volunteering at AJ through Christ Community Church. Thank you to Dee Arnold and Barbara Bronars who always inspire me to be the best I can and let me know that you always have a friend in Christ’s family.
You are never alone even when you feel lonely. The path of life is extremely hard. God does not guarantee that it will be easy or painless, but he does guarantee that he will be there every step of the way to carry us and sustain us. Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you”. When life gets you down, do what Pastor Clayton told us to do: shake your fist at God and ask why. When you accept Christ, you know he will be there.
My name is Catessa Ballines. I am 8 years old and have been going to Christ Community since I was 2. I started trusting God to be my Savior and my Lord when I was 6 years old. Pastor Randy and my leaders in Awana and small group helped me to learn about God, through the big God Story. One of my favorite verses is Exodus 20:3, “You should have no other God’s before me.” Jesus Christ is my one and true Savior. I truly believe Jesus died on the cross for me and everyone.
Even though he did not sin once, Jesus took our sin and saved us so we can live better lives. God helps me when I ask for help and gets me through the toughest moments like when I had strep throat and he healed me. He gives me direction with my life. My favorite scriptures from the Bible are Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is lord, and believe in your heart that GOD raised him from the dead you will be saved.” And John 1:12, “Yet all who received him, to those who believed in his name he gave the right to become children of God.”
My most favorite story in the Bible is when John the Baptist baptized Jesus. He told Jesus that he wasn’t worthy to baptize him. Jesus still got baptized by John and the heavens opened up and the Spirit of God descended on Him. God said, “This is my Son, Whom I love and I am pleased.” This is my story. What is your story?
I was raised by parents that are God-loving and God-fearing people. As an infant, I was baptized because my parents wanted me to belong to the family of Christ. Attending weekly mass is something that I remember from my childhood. As a teenager I started skipping service and chose to do other things. Hanging out with friends or watching television became, not more important, but at the time, priority. I felt that my belief in Christ was enough to please God. My language was foul. I lied, stole, did not honor my parents and committed other sins. As a young adult I met a wonderful girl who then became my wife. We had a child before being married. Our relationship was okay, but not great. I still wanted to be young and go out and have, what at the time, I called fun.
My wife and I started attending the church that she belonged to as a child. We would go to church but were not committed to living a life for Christ. During one of the services, the pastor gave a message that really stuck to me. He read scriptures on how the man in the family should be the one to introduce Christ to his children. The man should honor Christ and live as an example for his wife and children. I was not that man that the Bible wrote about. That service stuck to me and I wrestled with the scriptures for a few weeks. I then realized that I had to be the one that would instill in my family the love and Christian faith. I made the decision to leave the small church and go to Christ Community. It is something that I prayed about. The choice to leave the church that made me realize that I need to be the one to follow Christ was based on time, distance, and children’s activities. The small church offered one service. At the time, my family and I would sometimes miss a service because of running late or doing other activities during that one service slot. With the three services offered at Christ Community, I knew that it would be difficult to make excuses on why we would miss a service. I no longer had the same excuses and it would force me to become the man that my family needed to drive them to one of the three services.
Attending church regularly has helped me find a relationship with God. I am not the person I was before who was quick to get angry. Before committing to truly follow the Lord, I felt that tithing was not something I could financially afford. I decided to put faith in the Lord. I have been blessed with being able to give back what God has allowed me to have through tithing.( “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver,” says 2 Corinthians 9:7.) It has been a pleasure to watch my children grow up in the church. I see what they do and how they act. At their age, their relationship with God is far better than mine was at those ages. My relationship with my wife is now great, she is my best friend. Like all, I still have troubles and struggles. Knowing that I am a member of God’s family helps me get through those tough times. Although I was baptized as a child, I am now getting baptized again. This time by my choice to fulfill the example that Jesus left for us. Matthew 3:16 reads, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water, at that moment the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.”
Before I trusted in Jesus, I felt very lost and lonely. I focused on everything but Jesus to try and distract myself from the pain I felt inside.
In December 2014, I had gone through a difficult time. This opened my eyes to start needing to know Jesus, like I had always wanted. Instead put him on the back burner. I decided that month to start giving Jesus my time and started, over a year and half, a process to start getting to know him.
Since then, my life has changed in many ways. My fiancé and I have been going to church regularly with my mom. We attend Alpha and volunteer in KidsWorld. I never knew being involved at church would bring so much happiness into my life. I cannot say every day is perfect, but I am grateful for the good things Jesus has brought into my life and for giving me a fiancé just as willing as I am to know Jesus.
Before putting my trust and faith in Jesus, I only cared about myself and my family. I'd focus on what made me happy instead of what made God happy.
I visited my grandfather and asked him about God and Jesus. He got me interested so I got myself a Bible, not to become a full on Christian but to learn about the religion. I began to read the Bible and then started praying. Then one day my fiancé asked me if we could start going to church. That's when we came to Christ Community Church about 2 years ago and we chose to become Christians after coming here and hearing about God and Jesus Christ.
Since coming here and putting all my trust and faith in the lord Jesus Christ, my life has changed. My fiancé and I pray all the time. Then we see not only our prayers get answered but others prayers as well. We now help out a couple times a month in the nursery at Christ Community Church. We also have joined Alpha recently and I was touched by the Holy Spirit while praying with a leader. My heart had a warm feeling around it and I knew it was from God. My life and the way I act has changed for the better since I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Before I followed Jesus, I thought my education was the most important thing. That now makes me mad I ever thought of that. I wish I thought differently. But then my moms friend told us about Christ Community Church. And my life changed from there.
I learned that Jesus died on the cross for me, a person who wasn't even alive yet. That was very special to me. I also saw I sin and that sin divided us from God. Then I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and take control of my life. Now I know Jesus mended the bond between us people and God.
I've gone to Genesis every Wednesday night. I enjoy seeing my friends every day and having them pray for me. I pray for them and my group is the best group anyone could ever have. What's cool about my group is that before we got together, I only knew Savannah. Now, our whole group is tight. This baptism is going to show everyone that I believe in God and he is my savior.
My family moved here from Colorado in 2009 and we started attending Christ Community Church. We stopped going though and hadn’t attended for a few years. Earlier this year, my dad rededicated his life to the Lord and started taking our family back to church.
At the Easter Sunday service, Pastor Jim asked who had made the decision to follow Jesus. I realized at this moment that I was a sinner and that I needed salvation through Jesus Christ. I decided that morning that I wanted to be saved and I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.
Since then, my life has taken a real turn. I have been going to church with my family and praying and reading the Bible regularly. My Dad, brother, and I also went to Feed My Starving Children on Second Saturday with the church group. Since I made my decision to follow Jesus, I am focused on making my relationship with Jesus stronger than ever before.
Before I decided to follow Jesus, I was focused on the things I wanted rather than what he wanted for me.
At Easter, I realized I was a sinner and needed salvation through Jesus Christ. I decided that morning to follow Jesus and surrender my life to him. I prayed to him that morning in church to forgive me of my sins and I accepted him as my Savior.
Since then, I have been focused on building a personal relationship with God through reading his Word, praying to him, and attending church. I now want to be baptized to follow the example and instruction of Jesus as a demonstration of my commitment to him.
A lot of times when I am in the car with my mom, I ask her questions about God and Jesus. I ask her questions that I didn't understand like, “why did Jesus die on the cross for us?” She always says, “Because he loves us so much.” I didn't know a lot about God and I didn't think much of it. After a while of asking my mom, I started to look in a Bible about the questions I had and soon became interested in the stories it had to tell and kept reading. One service, the pastor was talking about how if you think you were ready to become a Christ follower to stand up and then grab a next step packet. I didn't stand up. I was too shy. But I did get a Next Step packet.
I started to read the Bible they had given me in the Next Step packet at school because school was the only time I wanted to read it because I would not have time at home. A couple months later, I stopped reading my Bible at school. That meant I wasn’t reading it at all. I found myself sinning a lot and having more and more problems in my life that I knew I needed God to help me with. I started to pray to God to help me become closer to him. I could feel myself getting closer to him and knew I wanted to do more because he has already done so much for me in my life.
When I saw in the Weekly Welcome that baptism was coming, I went home and talked with my mom about it. She told me it was a great idea. I have to thank my mom--she has taught me so much about God and I am so happy for that because God is a big part of me now and I love him and need him in my life.
I’ve attended Christ Community Church since I was born. I’ve learned so much through all the programs that I’ve been involved in here. KidsWorld, Awana, and HotU have given me many opportunities to get to know Jesus Christ and hear the gospel message. I asked God to forgive me and be my Savior during a prayer in one of the KidsWorld services. I realized that I was a sinner and needed to be forgiven so God could help me to follow him.
I know that God will always be with me and that I can always count on him to be there for me. I want to follow Jesus because I know he is my Savior and he died for me so that I could be with him in heaven.
My mom and dad have been a big influence in helping me take the step to be baptized. They encourage me to make good choices that would honor God and they remind me to remember who I belong to – God! They have made going to church on Sundays an important part of our family life.
Being baptized means that I can show I believe in Jesus and that I want to follow him. My life will be different because I will always know that Jesus is there for me and that I am his and I will never be alone. I’m excited to take this step to show how much I love Jesus and am thankful for dying for me.
Before Christ changed my life, I used to say that Doubting Thomas was gullible. I started attending Christ Community in 1996 with my wife and I immediately referred to it as Church-lite. My wife persuaded me to join a couples Bible study and we met a great group of people. While I still couldn’t reconcile all of my doubts and questions, I was more open to listening. I guess, God had started the process of softening my heart. It was only after my daughter had a stroke at age four that I started to see Christ at work in others. The Church provided meals for weeks, Elders came to the hospital to pray, people took donations, and they even painted my daughter’s room. God was definitely at work. You never know how the things you do might have an impact on someone!
I finally surrendered my life to Christ a couple of weeks after meeting with Pastor Jim. My wife and I met with him at a Starbucks. We wanted to talk to him about what happened to our daughter. At some point, the subject of my doubts came up. He listened to me talk about my doubts and when I was done, he said that the chances were that I’d never have all of the answers I was seeking here on earth. He said he would much rather live for Christ now than to find out he was wrong later. But he really convicted me when he said that sometimes people just don’t want to follow Christ and you have to be willing to own that too.
I am much more content with my life now. I tend to look at life through a scripture-based filter. Situations that arise or decisions I have to make are measured against what the Bible says. There’s a sense of peace in knowing that your eternity is secure because of the sacrifice of Jesus. Even though my life is far from perfect it’s okay because I know God is in control.
I was raised in a strict, Catholic family where I learned it is by faith you are saved and not by works and where I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It wasn’t until college, however, where I began to learn about having a personal relationship with Jesus when I joined Navigators. After college, I focused on my career and my relationship with Jesus stalled. After I married, my husband and I started attending Christ Community and I recommitted my life to Christ.
It wasn’t until my daughter faced a life-threatening medical condition that my personal relationship with God began to grow significantly. I am involved in a wonderful women’s Community Group and actively serve in KidsWorld. I spend time with God in prayer daily and when I don’t I definitely notice a difference in my day. I have continued to grow spiritually, trusting in God and his plans for my family and I. It isn’t always easy but I know that God is always with me.
One area where I haven’t followed God is in baptism. I have been a believer for a really long time and haven’t been baptized as an adult. I could give you a multitude of reasons why I haven’t been baptized yet, but, for me it’s simply disobedience. The Holy Spirit has been encouraging me to get baptized for quite a while and I have just avoided it. I have finally surrendered in this area and I am truly grateful for God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.
I first came to hear about Jesus when my family attended Apostolic Church. I was young and didn’t really understand what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus.
My parents decided that we were going to move to Christ Community Church. At first I was nervous about being in a new place. It did not take long to connect with the pastors of this church and the story of how Jesus died for my sins. I learned that Jesus is always with me, guiding me, and teaching how to be more like him. When I was in fifth grade, I surrendered my life to Christ.
I really began to understand what it feels like to be a Christ-follower when I attended a Christian youth camp last summer. I grew so much meeting other girls and learning how to keep Jesus in the center of my life and to let my light shine. God has given me the courage to share the story of Jesus with my friends and serve in Kids World. I want God in my life for the rest of my life.
I can never remember not knowing Jesus. As a small child, I was known for riding my tricycle up and down the sidewalk singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of my lungs. As an adult I had fallen away from keeping Jesus the center of my life and I was very caught up in the ways and ambitions of the world. When my marriage ended and my world came crashing down, my sister and aunt gave me words of comfort, from the Bible, and the recognition and desire to recommit myself to Jesus and to accept him back into my life.
I’ve been able to go on mission trips and to serve with my Community Group; but I have also had many trials, which I am still going through.
I get comfort and hope in knowing that I have prayer support and reading passages like James 1:12, that says, “blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.’”
My name is Dylan Isola. I am 10 years old. I have known God for a long time but when I chose to follow him was in second or third grade in the auditorium. In church, the pastor asked if we wanted to put our faith and trust in Jesus. And I put my faith and trust in Jesus right there.
God is a role model to me. He helped me forgive people that are hard to forgive. I want to follow Jesus because he saves us from our sins. People that have helped me know Jesus are my mom and my dad, Mrs. Liz Kruse, Kyle Farley, and my friends at church.
God has helped me through rough times like when I split my heel open. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to walk again. I am being baptized to publicly show that I am following Jesus and want to spend eternity with God.
When I ask God to help me, it makes me feel better even in the rough times. God has helped me when my grandpa died. Plus, he brushes my tears away.
Why do I follow Jesus? Well, because he is the only one who can forgive my sins. He makes me happy. My Mom and Dad, my church leaders, and my Grandmas and Grandpas have all helped me follow Jesus. A new beginning is what it feels like for to me to get baptized. I know that one day I will be with Jesus. Also, I will read the Bible every day.
My name is Maddy Lee. I am turning 10 years old today (6/12/16). I wanted to get baptized on my birthday because it kinda means that I am getting reborn and becoming a child of God. Baptism to me is showing people in the world that I am a Christian and that I am a child of God. God leads me, loves me, cares for me, and forgives me. I was born in a Christian home so I always knew who Jesus was but I remember on one Halloween day in second or third grade, as I was putting my socks on, I trusted Jesus to forgive me. This was the moment I remember asking Jesus to be my personal savior. My Dad, my Mom, and Ms. Courtney from KidsWorld are the people who have helped me take important steps in my life as a follower of Jesus.
I want to follow Jesus because he loves me and he died on the cross for my sins. No one else could do that.
Before Jesus was the most important thing in my life, I only appreciated how others saw me and worried what I was going to do with my life once I graduate. Then, I met the Parkos family who slowly showed me that it was okay to put my faith in the hands of God. I began to think more about church, the Bible and God.
After visiting Mayo Clinic for a chronic illness, I had been practically cured. I realized at that point, that Jesus was on my side. I asked Jesus to forgive me for pushing him away for so long. Since that experience, I know that Jesus walks with me and has a plan for me.
I no longer need to worry that what I choose to do in college will not work out because I have faith that if things do not go as I planned, they are going how God planned. If God’s plan for me is good enough for him, it is more than good enough for me.
I am Melanie Mejdrich and this is my baptism story. I started going to Christ Community Church when I was real little with my family. We came and saw the Veggie Tales Live show. From there, we went to church every weekend. I attended KidsWorld and Awana. My parents served in KidsWorld. That inspired me to also start serving in the KidsWorld nursery in sixth grade.
Also in sixth grade, II went to Genesis. One night in Genesis, Pastor Pete said something about baptism class, so I thought about it. After thinking about it, I noticed how much I led the way and not God. So that night, I prayed and asked God to be my leader.
From then on I am trusting God as my leader because I realize how much he did for us. He has showed me that I can do more with him. That is why I decided to give my life to Christ and get baptized.
I'm Shane McCoy I am 11 years old and I have been going to Christ Community Church for 1 year. I have grown up in a Christian home and have been going to church my whole life.
When I was 5, I was at a church day camp. I was interested in Jesus so there I decided to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. After the day cam,p I started going to Awana and then Genesis.
I am in sixth grade and I now understand what it means to have a relationship with Jesus and I am ready to be baptized.
I placed my faith in Jesus as a teenager, but I did not completely surrender my all to him at that time. I was running the show, making my own decision, and thinking I had it all under control.
I sent my kids to a Christian school where I met my good friend and the best prayer warrior I know, Lois Dahlstrom. She had both of my kids as their fifth grade teacher. I saw how she prayed and followed God. My world came crashing down when my son died at the age of 12. When you are sitting at the bottom of a dark pit and find the hand of Jesus reaching out and it's your only choice, you realize that is all you have and it's the only thing that really matters. God loved and comforted me through people like Lois.
I now know that no matter what comes my way, Jesus will be right beside me. Isaiah 40:31 says: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.” Because of Jesus death on the cross, I know that I will be reunited with my son in Heaven. As Pastor Clayton likes to say, the most important thing about me is that I am loved by God and there is nothing that can take that away from me. What a blessing that is!
My name is Aaron. I am 11 years old. On March 20, 2016, my mom and I were talking about Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross. We had talked about this many times before, but she told me that if Jesus came back that day and I had not made my choice to accept Jesus, I would go to hell. That really caught me off guard, and I was scared.
So on that day, I chose Jesus. I wrote out my prayer, ”Dear Jesus, I have chosen you to save me from my sins, so I can have eternal life in heaven and not go to hell.” As soon as I finished my prayer, all my fears were gone right away.
God has washed all my sins away and made my heart pure. God is my Savior, Hero, Forever Friend, and Protector. I want to be baptized to say, “Everybody look! I have chosen Jesus!”
I was raised to believe in God and that he sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. However, as I grew older, I had questions which were left unanswered. This led me to become unguided and stray from the path God set before me. But although I strayed, it was a verse from the Bible that kept me from straying too far: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (Thessalonians 5:18).
When I met Bethany Weathers, she invited me to Christ Community Church. It felt different from the churches I’d attended until then. Here, I felt more accepted and welcomed. She also introduced me to a Community Group where I instantly became friends with the other members. I knew I wanted to walk on the right path again.
It was at the Christmas Eve service this past year where I decided to take charge of my spiritual life. I surrendered my life to Christ during the open invitation Pastor Jim offered at the end of the service. Immediately following, I picked up a Next Steps packet in the welcome center. A few weeks later, I enrolled in Alpha and then Begin to Belong. My community group participated in the Week of Prayer by praying for the Creative Arts Team. It was through the weekend services series "Back to Plan A" and "Playlist," where my life began to change. The Holy Spirit revealed new knowledge to me about how God is working in my life and my faith began to grow. I feel my relationship with Jesus is now stronger than ever.
Before Christ, I was selfish and greedy. I only cared about myself. I used drugs and alcohol. Now I know I need Christ in my life because I cannot fight this alone.
My mother introduced me to Christ Community Church. When I entered through the doors, I had been in a bad way, living a sinful life and needed to change to get into the heavenly gates. God has changed my life completely and helps me become the person I was meant to be.
Since I have been going to church, I have noticed the little things have changed. I pray to God and he gives me happiness. I have friends and family who love me and cannot ask for more. Thank you Jesus! I will follow in his name and praise him. Eph 2: 8-9 says "it is from grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works. So that no one can boast.
I need Jesus and I need his guidance to go in the right direction. I've always felt a great love from Jesus since Sunday school as a kid. From attending Christ Community, I have learned that the love is real. I want to be obedient to Jesus.
Jesus has taught me that it's not my job to fight earthly battles. I put my faith in him, his words, and what he's done for us. I'm stronger, smarter, more confident and most of all....able to Love and Protect others. We are ALL God's children. Our Father knows what is best for us!
Before I gave my full heart to Jesus, I would walk through life with respect and faith in him, but not fully accepting him. I would go to church periodically, I would pray when I wanted something to happen; but ultimately I believed that my journey and my future depended solely on what I put into it versus his love and plans for me.
My decision to fully surrender my life to him was when I lost my firstborn son. At first, I had a lot of anger, but I quickly realized that I would not be able to get through my grieving on my own. I needed a greater love and deeper faith to begin my healing. I gave my life to Christ through a prayer. Surrender to me was to give all of my worries and my full heart to Jesus and allowing him to take control of my life and trust him through all of life's moments.
After accepting Christ, I started attending church more frequently, praying more often, and gave my burdens to the lord. Matthew 5:4 says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” I now can go through life knowing that our plans may not always work out the way they intended, and when they don’t, we will never be alone. Deuteronomy 31:8 states.
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
The further I was from Jesus, the worse my life was. The moment I accepted Jesus, relationships in my life were strengthened and renewed. My mother and I became close again and my life had more focus.
I remember feeling like I was at rock bottom and alone. There were many bad things that I knew were wrong, but yet I kept doing them. I needed more from life and needed to change. I began to pray and I knew the Lord was listening to me and he immediately comforted me. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds," says Psalm 147:3. When I accepted Jesus, I prayed in my room alone and believed that Jesus was my Lord and Savior. I felt comforted and knew he forgave me of my sins.
Following Christ has been a journey and I've strayed and made mistakes. One truth I know is that the closer to Jesus I get, the more blessings that seem to happen in my life. I definitely feel a purpose to help others, share the good news, and be the best person I can be for Jesus and my family. "Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given" (John 1:16).
Before I realized I needed Christ in my life, I was feeling very sad, anxious, lonely, and depressed. I thought it was strange because I was surrounded by family and friends who love me. I tried going to Church to find comfort and relief. But I always left feeling just as lonely as before.
I went to see my OB-GYN, Dr. Jonathan Song of TLC Medical Group. After patiently listening to my concerns and reasons for why I thought I had PPD after 19 months, he told me that he didn't think I was suffering from PPD like I thought I was. He believed I was lacking faith and a community of like-minded people. He said he would write me a low-dose prescription for an anti-depressant. But my real prescription, he said, was to find a church that spoke to me and that I could find a community within, and where my talents could be more utilized. I went to Christ Community Church to learn more about teaching Financial Peace University. After an interview with Ami in the Financial Freedom ministry, I decided to take the Begin to Belong class and joined a Community Group to meet more people. I never attended a Bible study before and it was nice to actually learn about the stories in the Bible and how they can apply to my own life. I learned from pastor Eric Liechty in Begin to Belong that Christ had to die for our sins so that we could get into heaven. I felt that Christ was working through all these people to send me a lifeline. I have been searching for Christ most of my life, and now I know he found me and I know and think about all of my sins that he was sacrificed for so that I could live again in heaven. I did say a prayer to God asking him to help me find a place where I felt like I could belong and feel safe asking the questions that I never felt safe asking at the Catholic Church. I was asking him to help me find my way to Jesus.
Since then, I have been praying to God every day and I feel so much closer to him and Christ now. It's still a relationship I know I need to work on. But I really feel like he has been reaching out to me for a long time and I was always too scared to trust the people he was trying to get to me through. I no longer feel all alone because when I start to feel that way, I just start having a conversation with God in my mind, and I know he is in my heart and always with me and I am never alone. (Psalm 27:10)
I was raised catholic. I was taught Jesus died for us and that God is our creator, but never understood the true meaning. I was not raised to go to church although I did the sacraments. I was never disciplined and was rebellious. I would listen to heavy metal music and wore clothing with symbols of the devil. I did whatever I wanted and did not have a care in the world.
I surrendered my life to Jesus after I received a video from a Christian friend, a man who had worshiped the devil for 25 years. He found Jesus through his wife. His name is John Ramirez. In his video he talked about how the devil and his demons seek out for us and destroy us and reveal all of his schemes. I came to realize the music I listened to and the clothes that I wore kept the door cracked open for the enemy to get in. I cried for a couple of days and felt like I had died. Now I know the meaning of being reborn in Christ. I immediately threw out my CDs and pictures and all the clothing I wore and went through the house finding little things around my home that symbolized any kind of evil. I would ask myself, “Would Jesus wear this? Would Jesus have this?” All the answers were no so I threw everything away . I never knew how real the devil was and how he puts his demons to work.
Now that I know cannot live without Jesus, I know I am not able to fight the powers of darkness alone. I am teaching my kids more and am helping coworkers get closer to our Creator and Jesus Christ who died for us to give us eternal life with him in his beautiful kingdom. I listen to the word of God and try and do what he tells us to do. It is so amazing how this spiritual world works and glorifies the works of our Lord. Now I know to put on my armor of God to fight the powers of darkness.
Growing up, I lived a very mainstream life--including my faith. I seemed to go through the motions only because I was forced to. I focused on how I was perceived by other people rather than how The Lord looked at me and how I was living my life.
Then, I came across Christ Community. I started to attend service and began to grow my faith. Though I was only in high school at the time, this decision I made for myself resulted in me going every Sunday alone. But I never felt alone when I walked through the doors of Christ Community. I was welcomed with love and compassion and found a side of myself that I had never seen. I knew I needed to commit my life to Christ.
Since then, I have chosen to get to know God and accept him in my life as my Lord and Savior. Every day, I am faced with new challenges that test my faith and ideals as a person, but by continually devoting myself to God I am able to overcome anything with the support of my church and relationship with God. Psalm 73:14 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
My name is Hannah. I am 10 years old. I have grown up in the church and put my faith in Christ during worship in KidsWorld. God is my Savior and he helped and he is helping me a lot in my grief. My mom and my family have helped me to trust in God during this time. My brother Ben died in September after he battled brain cancer. I know that God is good, he is real, and he loves me. I want to be baptized just like Jesus and to live my life for him. And to be united with Ben in eternity.
My name is Tobin. I am 11 years old. I grew up going to church. Since I was little, I have been learning about God in Sunday School in our previous church and in Kidsworld at Christ Community. I have also learned a lot about God through learning Bible stories.
One Sunday, Michael Jr. came to Christ Community Church to speak for a WOW weekend. I loved his message and I realized at that time, that I was a sinner and if I follow Jesus, He would help me through hard times and would forgive me for my sins. I said a prayer and put my trust in God to live on the inside of my heart.
Since that time, my cousin Savanna has helped guide me through some hard things and she is always there for me. My mom and my dad have taught me about Jesus since I was a baby and also help comfort me when there are things I am afraid of going through. I still struggle with sin in my life, but now I pray to God for help and he answers my prayers and helps me do the right things. Throughout my life, God has helped keep my family healthy and safe. I want to be baptized so I can show everyone that I love Jesus and want to be more like him. Since the time that I put my faith in Jesus, I have felt like he has my back and I can ask him anything. I think everyone should be baptized because that’s what God wants us to do.
My name is Zak. I am 11 years old. I grew up in this church. I accepted Christ last summer at Camp Commotion. God is Holy. He has given me a deep understanding of his word and a peace that people may not understand. He has helped me so much in dealing with the death of my twin brother Ben. I KNOW Ben is in paradise with Jesus. I want to follow Jesus because if I do, I can go to heaven. I know God can do all things including miracles. This church has been a big part of my faith story. I want to be baptized because I want everyone to know that I want to follow Jesus and I want them to know him too!
I grew up always believing in the existence of God, but I was never really sure what it truly meant to be a follower of Christ. Then my friend Erica invited me to Christ Community’s House Groups for High School students at the beginning of my sophomore year. It was the most life-altering invitation I've ever received. At House Group, I was introduced to the true meaning of being a Christian and why it is so important that Jesus died on the cross for me. I became connected with a great group of people that were always encouraging and supporting me. After attending house groups for awhile, I decided that I wanted to put my faith in Jesus and it is the best decision I've ever made.
Over the past two years, I have continued to grow in my relationship with Christ every single day. I have become more confident and less worrisome. More joyful and less fearful. I am less concerned with the judgments of other people because as Galatians 1:10 says, "If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." I now love being a small group leader in KidsWorld every weekend and having the opportunity to help kids meet Jesus.
Courtney Wilson is continually encouraging me as a leader and inspiring me to change the lives of children. This summer, I'm working at Camp Commotion and I cannot wait to see how God uses me, challenges me, and strengthens me alongside hundreds of kids.
Having been raised in a church, I knew from an early age what it meant to be a follower of Christ. I attended church services on the weekends and participated in youth groups on Wednesdays. At these events, I learned more and more about Jesus and what he did on the cross for us. Although I intellectually knew that there was nothing we could do to earn forgiveness and God’s love, I always felt that I needed to earn it.
As a natural perfectionist it was hard for me to grasp the concept that as humans we are incapable of following God’s decrees perfectly. However, at a recent House Group I fully understood that I could not achieve God’s salvation by my own works.Therefore, it was only myself who was holding me back from a stronger relationship with God.
Having since come to this revelation, I have decided to take the next step in my faith by being baptized. This symbolic representation of Jesus’ death will help remind me that I belong with Christ and his people.I know that there may be future struggles, but as long as I have God by my side, I know I can face any hardship.
What caused me to see that I needed Christ was that I realized I was unable to make decisions on my own. I need God to be in my life to help me make those life decisions.
My decision to surrender to Christ started back when my mom married my stepdad, Mike. They used to fight and yell all the time at each and at me and my brothers. Then they invested all of their lives with Jesus. I have seen with my own eyes the change in my mom and stepdad in how happy they are and how different our house has been ever since. I decided that I wanted to experience that in my life. One weekend at Christ Community, Pastor Jim offered that if anyone wanted to accept Jesus, to say a prayer with him and I did.
Since then, I have started praying, talking to God, going to church, and helping out in the community. I am committed to reading the Bible and learning all of the things God wants to teach me. Living my life for God makes me feel like I can take on anything that life throws at me one step at a time because Jesus will always be at my side.
My name is Jason. I am 11 years old. When I was in church on Easter, Pastor Jim said a prayer that meant you surrender your life to Jesus and that is exactly what I did. I even stood up like Pastor Jim asked. I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and I put my trust in Him.
God has done everything for me. I want to follow Jesus because I can put my life in Jesus. My mom and stepdad along with the Holy Spirit, helped me see how Jesus can change my life. My mom’s marriage wasn’t so great until mom and Mike went to God and their whole marriage changed.
Being baptized means telling everyone that my life will be for Jesus and he will take care of me forever. I can give my worries and problems to him because I know I can trust God to take care of me.
My name is Caden. I am almost 10 years old. Some people who helped me learn about Christ our Savior along the way is my Nonie who has taken me to church and Awana for many years. Also my brother, Arie, along with my church leaders and Awana leaders, Jeremy and Paul. I've been going to church since I was about 4 yrs old. I accepted Christ last year with my leader in KidsWorld. He prayed with me and I believe that God is my Savior and that Jesus died on the cross to redeem our sins to save us.
My name is Ivana. I'm 8 years old. When I was young, I had anger issues and it was hard for me. When I was in 1st grade, my mom said she was going to read the Bible to me. After that, I felt like I knew God a lot better. Then I became a follower of God. He helped me with my anger. Now I want to show I'm a Christian by being baptized.
Laurie Van Bogaert
Before I accepted Jesus, I lived my life as if I was in charge and in control of the outcome. By during this, my relationship with my Dad and sister went astray. My career as well as my personal life started falling apart. At that time my husband and I were attending weekend services at Christ Community on and off. On a Wow Weekend (with Matthew Luhn of Pixar), Pastor Jim ended the service by saying that if you have never asked God into your life, you may do so now by praying this prayer with me. At that time, I asked God to forgive my sins and accepted him into my life. I went to get my Next Steps packet.
Since accepting Christ into my life, my husband and I routinely attend Christ Community. We have joined the third Saturday serving team as ushers/greeters. My relationship with my sister, Dawn Andrew, has grown stronger. We can talk about God and will not be judged or criticized. I have learned to trust in God and live a more peaceful life. Although I have challenges, I know that I will never be alone. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight.”
Timothy Van Den Akker
Due to my bitterness and anger and pride, I ran away from God for almost 30 years. God used me destroying my marriage to be completely broken. I realized I needed him in my life. I cannot do this on my own.
During my divorce, my wife Nancy told me again that I was filling a void. In my complete brokenness, I heard what she was saying. I felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction upon my heart. On April 5, 2016, I rededicated my life to Christ with Pastor Mike Hurn from Christ Community. I realized that I can no longer control my life. I needed him in my life. I am worthy regardless.
Since rededicating my life, I have started praying again. There is an inner peace as I am seeking and spending time in God’s Word. I, for once, feel like I belong to the body of Christ and Christians here at Christ Community. One of the Tuesday Night Care small groups is helping me realize the void I was filling. While I know I may have spiritual warfare battles, I put my trust in him.
Before I put my trust in Jesus, I cared about other things that weren't important such as how I looked everyday and what others thought of me.
I started going to church when I was young but I never really understood it. I just would go because my parents did. Three years ago, I went to Silver Birch Ranch (SBR) with our Student Ministries and that is when I first began to understand God’s Good News found in Jesus. I had alone time with God and I learned a lot about him and who he is. Then, I decided I wanted to become closer and trusted in my savior, Jesus.
Since my first year at SBR, I can truly say that I live my life more like Jesus would want me too. I speak freely to others about God’s Word and I also pray a lot more. I am learning not to worry a lot about life because Jesus is always there for me even when I'm at my worst. I also don't really worry about impressing others because the only opinion that matters to me is God’s.
Hi, my name is Jed Wilson. I am 10 years old. I grew up in a Christian home and then one day, I decided to put my trust in Jesus for myself. So my parents and the rest of my family all prayed with me.
Since then, I’ve known that I can rely on God and that he is my friend. Some people who have helped me are my family and my pastors. I want to be baptized because I want to show that I trust in God.