The day that forver changed my life.

This my testimony of becoming a Christian. Unlike some, my story can be linked to a day and time. I know exactly when God did the redeeming work in me and adopted me as a son. I understand that not everyone is like that and has that story.

By my senior year of high school, I was being recruited to many different schools around the country…..mostly on the east coast. So my dad and I took a trip from NJ to Vermont visiting different colleges. We looked at state schools, private schools, a Christian college, a catholic school, all different types of colleges. I remember getting to the one school called Eastern Nazarene College and sitting down with the Director of Admissions and he began to tell me that this school was much different than other schools that I had visited. At this college there was No Smoking, No drugs, No alcohol, No sex, No girls in our dorms, and all these other rules that I thought were crazy. You have to understand….I was a kid that had never been to church in my entire life, and all of the things that I was looking forward to do in college, this guy is telling me that I cant do them at his school.

With all of that being said this is the college that I decided to go to. The fact that I chose this school was crazy when I think back because I wasn’t given any scholarship money or financial aid and other schools were offering me better packages. I get to this school and immediately, I thinking that Christians are crazy. They sing songs to God, they go to chapel 3 times a week, they pray (and not just before meals).

My roommate was the craziest of them all because he would try to share Jesus Christ with me. He actually told e one time that his church back home was praying for me and I was on their prayer list. If you ever want to terrify a lost kid, that's one way to do it. Eventually, I became friends with Ricky Grant. Ricky was a Christian but didn’t try to convert me, preach to me or tell me how terrible of a person I was. Rick simply focused on being my friend. We had a lot in common, growing up in broken homes and loving basketball. Rick and I were the two freshman who were actually fight for starting positions on the team.

Eventually Ricky and I became best friends and found ourselves doing everything together. One day on my way to a practice, I noticed that I had an infected gland in my groin area. My gland blew up to the size of a golf ball and hard as a rock. My coach dropped Ricky and I off at the hospital and we waited in there for the Doctor to get me. Finally my name was called and Ricky said, “I’ll pray for you while you're in there”. I thought to myself, "whatever".

I go into the patient's room and the Doctor is taking all kind of tests and cant figure out why the gland was so infected. Their taking blood, checking my prostate, EKG, urine test, etc. The Doctor finally comes back in and starts asking me questions about my sexual past. At this time I’m all freaked out because I was sexually active at a young age. After I answer all of his questions, he leaves and I’m sitting there in the room all alone.

That was the very first time I ever prayed. It was the type of prayer that we all pray when something bad is going on. It's something like” God, why is this happening to me? I promise that I will never do anything wrong again. Please help me.” As I was praying though, something in my heart began to shift. For the first time in my life, I realized I had a need that I could not fill. Almost at the same exact moment, I also received an overwhelming feeling of love, comfort, peace. It was a feeling that I had never felt before and haven’t felt since. I was just sure that everything was going to be OK.

After a few minutes, the nurse comes into the room and tells me to get dressed and I can leave….they would have the final test results in a few days. So I get dressed and go out to the waiting room where Ricky is laying there fast asleep. I go over, shake him and he gets up and we leave. When we get outside, he’s asking me what the the doctor said and how it went; so I’m telling him. Out of nowhere I look at Ricky and ask him “Ricky, What’s it mean to be saved?” (Being at a Christian school you hear people talking about being saved and praying for the lost.) So I said “What does it mean to be saved?”

Never in my life have I seen a black guy turn white in the face but Ricky did. He looked at me with this confused look and said, "What did you say?” So I repeated my question. He looked at me and said. “If I told you what just happened, you wouldn’t believe me.” Now I'm really confused, so I said, "What?" Ricky said, “When I was sleeping in the waiting room, God came to me in a dream and told me that you were going to ask me that exact question and that I needed to be prepared to answer it.”

At that moment, Ricky walked me through the gospel. He told me about sin, separation from God, Jesus incarnated, the cross, the atonement, salvation, obedience, etc. It was a lot to take in and all of it was stuff I never heard before. Then he asked me a question that forever changed my life, he said, “Is that something that you feel God is calling you into?" Not knowing how this works, I asked “Do I need to go to church and do this? Do I have to go and have holy water thrown at me?" I was literally clueless.

Ricky's response was incredible...He said “Nope, all you have to do is believe. You can do this right now; Just believe and God promises to be faithful to finish the work in you.” That night September 11, 2000 I believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and entered into a lifelong relationship with my Savior. Since then God has continued to fulfill Phil 1:6 and is doing a progressive sanctifying work in me. I am grateful to Christ for pouring his grace onto me and Ricky being an ambassador of reconciliation and a mouthpiece for Jesus. To God be all glory, honor and fame.


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DannyO said...

Hey Matt!
Rejoicing in another who was clobbered over the head with the grace mallet! "One Rainy Sunday" back in the day for this guy...

Keep on preaching grace as it reaches in every direction: down, up, in and out!

Danny O