Though I do now, I didnt always love the Lord. In fact for a long time I lived in rebellion to Him and His Word. I did not become a Christian until I was 21. Around that time I was depressed and contemplating the end. I lost my mom in a house fire when I was seventeen years old. I got out of the house; my mother did not. Because of this, I was haunted psychologically for years. After a time of depression and drug abuse I found myself alone without anyone around. I could not hold down a job and failed in many basic areas of life. I hated myself, and my life. What I needed was a Savior to come in. I sensed in those years that God would not abandon me. I began to pray that the true God would reveal Himself to me.
I realized I needed Jesus and received him into my life when, at the age of 21, someone entered into my life that led me to the Lord. Brandon was a strong Christian. Brandon was a friend that I used to party with. He tried to kill himself by overdosing on cocaine. When he woke up fine the next morning he knew that God had spared him. February 21st, 2001 Brandon came over to my house and shared with me the gospel; that Jesus died on the cross for my sin. I eagerly accepted Christ into my heart and life that night through prayer. I asked the Master to change me, take away my pain and my sin. I told the Lord that day that if he spared me from my darkness that I would serve Him in the ministry. I knew that if Christianity is genuine, and God could love a sinner like me with His unique, infinite love, that there was simply nothing else I could do with my life that would make it worthwhile. I refer to this as my call or surrender into ministry.
The biggest change I have noticed in my life is the absence of pain or insecurity that used to control my life. Almost instantly, within a couple of months, the Lord delivered me from my pain and frustration. He has replaced it with a love for Him and a love for His ministry. He has become my best friend, my Redeemer, my Savior and my Father. He replaced the joy that I lost He gave me purpose, passion and a reason to wake up in the morning, salvation, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Since being saved, the Lord has changed my life dramatically. He has provided me a beautiful wife and 4 awesome children, as well as many opportunities to serve Him. He gave me the means to go to college and seminary to work and train to lead a church. He sent me to be a youth pastor in Ames, IA for five years, and finally as senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Onslow, Iowa
May I share how something like what happened to me can happen to you? Christianity is not just a religion, it is a personal relationship with God. God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. When one trusts that sacrifice of Christ as payment for their sins, resulting in forgiveness, God wipes the slate clean. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” If you turn from your sins, surrender to let Christ have your life and place your trust in Christ’s death on the cross for your personal sins, then you will never perish but have eternal life. Furthermore, when one lets Christ have control of their life God takes your problems and turns them into something that glorifies Him, which is truly what is best. Placing your trust in Christ is the most important decision one could ever make. Do not put it off, you never know what may happen tomorrow. Place your faith in Him today.
To email me PastorMattRead@gmail.com