I became a born-again Christian 28 years ago, when I was 15 years old. A youth Bible study leader, at my Southern Baptist church, led me to Christ. This was during the "Jesus People" years -- when there was meaningful music I could relate to as a teen, "Jesus is #1" necklaces, Smiley faces saying "God loves you," etc. I went to weekly Bible studies with some friends, was active in my church youth group, and grew in my faith. When I was a young, impressionable 17 years old, I began dating someone who had both a positive and a negative influence on me. On the up side, he helped cement some of my Scriptural beliefs, and his unwavering, strict beliefs pointed me over and over to the Word as the ultimate authority. However, along with this, some legalism seeped in, i.e. you can't swim on Sundays, women should not go to college, etc. I will admit that it took me years to overcome this legalism, and even to this day, I see evidences every now and then!
My husband Richard -- at the time, my boyfriend -- took a course on Calvinism, and shared with me what he learned. We realized that the principles of Calvinism dovetailed with what we believed! So we finally had a name to put on our beliefs, and thus we are Presbyterians, since Presbyterianism was grounded in Calvin's tenets.
I had an life-changing experience in 1984. I had a serious bladder problem, and there was a possibility it could be cancer. In that brief period of a couple of months of excruciating pain, treating infections and then minor surgery, the fear that I would be dying soon, really changed my life. It sent me running to God more than I ever had, and it gave me a sense of perspective about life. I already read the Bible every day, but I started reading more often. And of course I begged God that it not be cancer. Every time I went out into our yard, I thought "I wonder if I will be around next year to enjoy the trees, etc." The new sense of perspective made me realize the triviality of things like broken dishwashers, minor issues we sometimes fight about, etc. I realized then, that relationships were the most important part of life -- relationships with Christ, and also family and friends. I have never been the same.
Another life-changing experience for me, was serving as a Stephen Minister at our previous church. In that ministry, my gift of leadership was brought out, and my gift of encouragement was refined. Also, I learned for the first time about depending on the Holy Spirit. And I learned that God can use me even when I make mistakes, and that often He uses me in spite of myself. : )
Currently, my husband and I are members of a Presbyterian Church U.S. A. (PCUSA) congregation. Some reasons I chose and remain in this denomination, even with its faults, are (1) its main driving force is missions, (2) it is getting more and more back to Scriptures, (3) The PCUSA is based on Calvinism, and (4) I love the accountability built into the denomination. I serve as a Sunday School teacher, choir member, head of a refugee resettlement effort and on four committees. Online, I am also the head of an e-mail fellowship that has around 80 members. In addition, I have returned to college, to complete my degree. I hope that you will be as blessed by reading the devotionals, as I have been by writing them and working with my fellow writers.
: ) Jan
This page is a personal outreach of Webservants Ministries. We are a group of individuals who want only to share the gospel with the lost and equip the body of Christ in growing and reaching a lost world for Jesus Christ. If we can do anything to further assist you, or you have a reference you would like to share, please feel free to drop us a line at Webservants@cfdevotionals.org. Peace.