Hi, my name is Charles. This is my last quarter here in Davis. I started going to church back in Los Altos during high school. I read the bible, went to church on Sundays and did what other Christians did, but I considered Christianity just another religion that teaches us how to be a better person.
I stopped going to church when I came to Davis. I thought I had learned enough about Christianity. I thought all religions were the same so I looked at different religions. I believed strongly that life had no meaning and there was no hope for me. You live, you work hard all your life, then you die. Oh well, I thought, nothing lasts forever. But God had pity on me and didn’t want me to stay hopeless forever.
He brought me to church through my friend Almon. I knew Almon before he became a Christian, and through Almon, He showed me that He can change people’s lives and give people hope. I saw how God brought hope, joy, and peace to other Christians too, even in times of trouble. But I was skeptical and so I was convinced that it wasn’t God who did these thing.
Then one time in CEF fellowship, PT gave us a lesson on how to share the gospel to non-believers clearly using the 2 bad news, 2 good news approach. Here’s basically how it goes: Bad news #1:God is a perfect God with perfect standards. We have all missed the mark and fall short of God’s standard. “For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” There is no one good, not even one. Bad news #2: God is perfectly righteous and cannot allow wickedness to go unpunished. The punishment for sin is death. Everyone deserves death, but there is good news also.
Good news #1: God loves us and He “demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ took the punishment which we deserved onto His innocent body and died in our place! He died in our place so that we don’t have to.
Good news #2 is God will give us eternal life as a gift if we accept and trust Jesus as our personal sin bearer. If we trust Christ and Christ alone to get us to heaven, not through any effort of our own, God will give us eternal life as a gift.
I had heard before that Jesus saves, but I didn’t know that Jesus died to take the penalty which we deserved. I had never heard anything so wonderful in my life. But I still did not believe. I asked a lot of questions, especially to Dave Huang. He answered anything I dared to ask him better than I expected him to every time. He showed me that the bible is logical, consistent and true. I came to realize that everything I read in the bible made sense. The only thing that did not make sense was me. It was totally illogical for me not to believe, but I could not believe. I began to understand what Jesus meant when He called us, “Ye of little faith!”
Then last year, I moved in with 4 Christians and I learned to read the bible everyday. One time I read in Mark chapter 9: 22-24 about a father who had a boy who was possessed by a spirit. The father told Jesus, “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” I wanted to cry when I read this because I felt like I was that man. I knew I needed Him and I wanted to trust Him for my salvation but I am not a trusting person. My motto was “trust nobody” just like in X files. So I asked God to let me believe. “Help me overcome my unbelief!” I told God. I asked Him to be my Lord, my savior, and to enter my life and take charge. I didn’t feel any different after that. I didn’t feel like became a Christian right away. But God gradually revealed to me who He was. He showed me that He is in control, not me. He showed me that I could depend on Him when everything else fails. That even if I can trust no one else, I could trust Him, the creator of the world. He showed me that although everything else changes, He does not change. He let me see that righteousness is absolute. And Because He forgives our imperfections, we can aim for the highest standard without being afraid of falling short, without compromising our values. He showed me the true meaning of Love. 1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He showed me that life has meaning. We have a purpose, because He made us with a purpose. As my faith grew, He became the source of my hope. And there is nothing more satisfying then to know that I can put my hope and trust in Him who loved us from the beginning?? He reassured me, telling me, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” He told me, me, who once was His enemy, that I am His Son because of what Christ has done for us.
I want everyone to have the hope that comes from God. But we have to realize we are hopeless without God. Christianity is not about rules as I once thought. It is a personal relationship with the creator God, who sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, so that we can have a relationship with Him. So now we have the right to call Him, Lord, Savior, brother, friend, and father God.I’d like to end with one of my favorite verses from the bible: Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.