TCM Baptist Church

Lincoln

Where everyone is someone and Jesus Christ is Lord!

Changed Lives

Testimonies from baptismal services at TCM

Including AmandaJonathan, JoannaMartin, Kirsty, Emily, Michael, Inga, and others.

Amanda

Amanda BernardiMy Christian life had a few ups and downs. I was born catholic, baptised when I was 6 years old in a Presbyterian Church. During my teens, sometimes I wanted to be involved with the church, sometimes I didn’t. Between 19 and 25 I had lived a half christian/half worldly life. I wanted the best of both worlds. I was happy about going to church every other Sunday.

As good half christian, I was dividing my life in departments and I had agreed that God would look after a few of the departments while I was handling the others, and I don’t know why but God wasn’t doing his part. But deep inside I always knew that the departments of my life I didn’t want to give it to God were the ones I was doing wrong in them. I always knew He wasn’t fully working in my life because I wasn’t fully allowing Him. And one day my life suddenly changed.

I wish I could say that I open the door of my bedroom and I encounter Jesus, or that I heard God calling my name from a burning bush in my backyard, or that I climb a mountain and I saw His glory passing before me! But the day when I realized the authority of God over my life, it was not a supernatural experience, it was just a decision. It is like I always had a present that someone left for me, and I knew it was for me, I knew it was there, so then I decided to open it and have it.

So I had decided, in December 2016, that the following year, since I’d be in UK being only a student, not having to work and having more free time, that I would seek intimacy with God. A lot has happened since this decision:

First, I had the sad realization that God’s existence is not obvious to everyone. So I started to look for confrontation, not confirmation. I wanted to evaluate the other’s people arguments against my beliefs and see if any of them was making any sense.

Second, I realized that having the message and not being able to be the messenger was worthless.

Third, as deeper I was going in my Bible understanding, more exposed I was to my flaws, my sins, my wrongdoing. On one hand, the Bible was revealing me. On the other hand, was making my existence dependable of that truth.

  • I stopped to see God as the stick I was holding and I started to use God as the rock I was standing on;

  • I stopped to wait for the best God could give me and I started to live acknowledging that what I have now is the best God has for me;

  • I started to see my prayers being answered. I started to be more careful of what I was praying for;

  • I asked to be a blessing in my city, in my community;

  • I asked for opportunities to honor my parents, and to give them peace and tranquility in my conduct;

  • I understood that the Bible is a portion of God's revelation, it is the maximum that a human life can absorb, and that my whole life will not be enough to understand it. And that as much as I love what is written on it, just believing the word is not enough, I must also believe in the power of the spirit;

  • The power of the spirit that can do so much more than could have been recorded in the Bible, therefore, the word is the beginning, is basic, is the basement, is the ground floor of God’s power. And most of Christians are not even there;

  • I stopped trying to discover my calling and I began to prepare myself for any kind of calling God could have for me. I began to want to be prepared and ready for God to use me in whatever way He wanted, when He wanted and whatever He wanted. I understood that I am a missionary, and that my ministry is here and now. And as I grow in spirit, I will be perfected and shaped for other uses, according to God's plan;

  • I started to have an enormous heart for the lost. Seeing the way most of the people live meaningless life, walking towards death every day, hurts me profoundly;

  • I started to enjoy every single day to the full. I started to go to bed at night looking forward to the day to come. Jumping out of my bed every single morning, excited, extremely happy, fully aware that I was alive and I couldn’t just spend another day, I would need to make it worthy;

  • I started to want to travel more, to do more adventures things, feel alive, feel the creation, be with my friends, enjoy the kingdom of God here on earth;

  • I changed even the way I spend my money.

I could give you more than one hundred things that changed in my life when I decided to seriously walk with God. So, what I want you to know is that all those things make me scratch the surface of what God has for me, and I want more, I want life to the full.

If you want an easy comfortable life and just peace in your heart and warm feelings, I recommend you to be a Buddhist, they are really good in finding inner peace. But if you want the truth, I’m not asking to believe of what I’m saying, I’m asking you to come and see by yourself.

If it wasn’t because of TCM, I would not be ready to move forward. I call TCM “Wonderland” because inside this church I was, I am, the happiest human being that have ever walked on this earth. I had so much joy here. I learnt. I had fun. But most important, I felt that I was part of it. I was adopted by TCM. From this day on my name is Amanda Harris Chevli Moffett Murray Northern Irish Rock Solid Welcome Team Bernardi. Because of TCM I've never felt helpless. And guess what, I have something to tell you, there are more Amandas out there. There are more sheeps needing adoption. TCM is too good to be found only inside these walls (and now I mean physical walls). The world needs you, and is asking for you, as it has asked for me. I’m carrying TCM everywhere I go and If what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts.

My testimony is: Jesus Christ has chosen me,
He is with me.
He is my God.
He has strengthen me.
He has helped me.
He upholds me with his righteous hand.
And I dead to sin, and I live to Christ.

Jonathan

Jonathan JaegerGrowing up in a Christian family and in the church, I always knew that there is heaven and hell and that I’m deserving of hell.

Actually, I always seemed to be a very nice and well-behaved guy, I was very shy so I didn’t cause big problems. Since I grew up in a Christian family, I knew very well what was right and when I did things wrong. But I was selfish and a hypocrite.

I was sick of my hypocritical and selfish life, and often I’ve been thinking about the fact that I would be lost if I would die, or if Jesus would come back. But I was too ashamed to admit my sinfulness and accept Jesus as my Savior.

On one Sunday in 2009 there was a preacher preaching about sin and Hell. I got scared a lot about the possibility that this could have been my last opportunity to come to faith. And in this situation my fear of eternal death was bigger than my shame, so I asked Jesus to forgive my sins.

From there on I tried to live a “better” Christian life and to please God, but realised I still struggle with the same problems and my life didn’t really change. Whenever I saw success in living a good life, I pretty soon realised that it was just temporary. And when I saw my sinfulness again I was doubting whether I was saved or not.

I knew the verse from 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”, but still I thought that I have to life a good life to stay saved and that when I sin I’m in an unsaved state until I would ask God again to forgive my sin. I was like one of the Israelites who focused not to be bit by the snakes around them, instead of focusing on the bronze snake and being healed. The problem was I only saw my sinfulness and the consequence, but I didn’t understand the unending, unconditional grace of God.

Only years later I started to understand that there is nothing that I can do to make God love me more or less, or to forgive me more or less, but that I only have to believe and trust in his finished work on the cross. I understood that Jesus not only forgives sins of the past, but that he already forgave the sins of my future. There is nothing that can separate me from God and his unending love. I understood that there is nothing good in me but that Jesus even died for me while I was a sinner.

The more I understood God’s amazing grace and what Jesus really did on the cross, I could see how God was changing me and freeing me from my sinful life. I learned that I can’t change my life by striving to be good, but that I have to depend on the finished work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. As it says in Romans 8:2 “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death ”.

Now I can be sure that whenever I die, I will meet Jesus in heaven and will worship him face to face with all my other brothers and sisters in Christ!

Now as long as he gives me time now on this earth I want to share with others his love, forgiveness and grace, with people who are desperate and slaves to sin. I want to live only for Christ and make him known to others, so that they will learn to enjoy God forever.

Joanna

Joanna HumphreyStories.

You hear all these amazing, spectacular stories of how people decided to make Jesus their Lord and Saviour. Mine is not so spectacular but is still the most amazing experience of my life. I was at my Scripture Union camp in 2017 and on the 31 st of July, God told me He loved me. It wasn’t some amazing death defying experience but it was special to me. If God can make time to talk to me, even if it was only a few words, it shows his amazing power and love for me and all his children. Being as it was the first time I ever heard him, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness.

Due to this, I decided that I wanted to live my life with Jesus. But, I wasn’t 100% sure how to do it. Debbie has helped with our sessions; we went through Isiah 43: 2-3 which reads:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God."

This helped me to understand that wherever I am, whatever state of mind I am in, however I feel, God will always be with me and love me eternally.

Maurice has also helped me along my journey. Since starting to take notes on the sermonsat TCM  I have understood the Bible more and its overpowering message of truth and love and overall greatness.

Messages such as: “There is only one God, only one true saviour”, and “Great Joy can only be found in Christ” and “With no Jesus, there is no peace. To know Jesus means to know peace, so we should know the Prince of Peace.”

But doubt can cloud even the strongest and most determined minds. School is a hard place for a person like me and people like us, Christians who want to share the word of God. I get criticized, picked on and nicknamed for what I believe, leading me to dark places and sadness that I have had to and am still overcoming. But thanks to my amazing family, supportive Christians who I have found at school and the remarkable people in my church family, these wounds have started to knit themselves back together.

I have decided to be baptised because I feel that I am becoming a confident young woman who can spread the word of God truthfully with the help of courses, like the evangelism courses put on by John and Living waters, and the amazing church family that I am now becoming a part of. But also because I want to become closer to our Lord and Saviour, I pray that he’ll guide me through my life and walk alongside me for eternity, showing me and helping me through my darkest times, showing me the light round the shadowy corners of our bendy path to heaven.

Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Here I am, coming to you LORD.

I promise to encourage, give hope and help others in my Christian life, just as Peter is telling Timothy to be in 2 Timothy 1:16-18.

Martin

My journey to faith has been a 15-year roller-coaster of resistance and avoidance and, up until the last two years, I think I was just going through the motions to pacify people around me.

I was brought up in Middlesbrough in a family with mixed beliefs and priorities with regards to church life. As I child I was in the cubs and scouts and therefore was expected to attend church once a month. At other times I would go with my cousins as my Aunty Pauline and Uncle Geoff were heavily involved in a local church. I would attend Sunday School there and had a Bible presented to me for my participation which was covered in stickers. I was very pleased with it but to be honest was more pleased when it was all over and I could get back outside and play football with my friends. At home my mam would call herself a Christian but really the closest she got was attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve and singing all the wrong words on a Sunday evening to Songs of Praise, much to my and my dad’s amusement. As I became older it became a standing joke with the lads that I would break out into a sweat if I came anywhere near a church.

Then along came Helen. We couldn’t have been any more different – with her Christian family upbringing and my resistance to pretty much everything, including Christianity – but somehow (and I now know why!) we just worked. We have had many trials and tribulations over the years but Helen has never given up on me, although at times she could have easily just walked away and seen me as a lost cause. When Giulietta was born I started attending church regularly and would listen intently to
the sermons but would still come away feeling I knew better and it couldn’t all be that simple. But I didn’t know what I was waiting for – maybe a Damascas Road experience? Well, I got it!

Three years ago we went on a family holiday to Scotland and literally in the middle of nowhere the car developed a fault. We began to lose battery power and we started rolling down a hill, with no power at all. So I asked God for help. I was being kind of derogatory, like ‘Come on then. I need Your help here. Show me what you can do.’ The car rolled to a stop across a driveway – in the middle of nowhere! I went into the house, explained we had broken down and the guy told me he had just
had his van returned to him that very day with the exact same problem.

He towed us to the house we were staying at, rang his friend who owned the local garage. The car was towed to the garage, I was given a courtesy car and the following day our car was fixed. As I drove back to the house I realised there was no other way all of that situation could have come together unless God was in control of it all - He truly was watching over us. What could have been a nightmare situation couldn’t have worked out any better.

From then on I pushed myself harder for something to click. I know that to others around me I was beginning to act like a Christian, even talking to friends and colleagues about Jesus, but I would often become frustrated at still not feeling I was there yet. I felt like I was still sitting on the fence. When I told my good friend Jez how I felt he replied, ‘You’re telling others about Jesus. You’re not sitting on the fence – you’re on the other side, cutting the grass, mate! What are you waiting for?’

Hugh Hill said to me during a one-to-one that I just needed to get off the throne of Martin, and this really niggled at me for quite some time. In September last year I attended an evening church service in the back hall and we watched a short film called The Biggest Story, which is an overview of the whole Bible and explains God’s plan for salvation. When I got home, Helen asked me if I’d enjoyed the evening and I said, ‘Yes, the film was good. But Maurice asked us all to explain what the film really meant and everyone was coming out with big explanations and long theological words. But actually it’s not about the fancy words. It’s about God giving the children of Israel opportunity after opportunity to get it right and sort themselves out – but they couldn’t. Because they needed Jesus. It’s as simple as that. We just need Jesus.’ I looked at Helen. She looked at me. So I did what all self-respecting husbands do and, instead of talking to my wife about it I said, ‘I need to go and ring Maurice.’ I knew then that it was as simple as accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour and trusting Him with my life. In the past I had always made it so complicated in my head. But my advice to people in my job is don’t over-complicate things. Keep it simple. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck. It was time to take my own advice.

I don’t know the exact date that I became a Christian. But eventually it did all just click for me and I realised during a communion service last October that Jesus died for me. I needed to be reconciled with God, through Jesus Christ. None of us is able to make ourselves right with God but if we believe in Jesus, ask for forgiveness and throw ourselves down at His feet, through His mercy and in His grace He gives us a way back to God. And here I am today.

Kirsty

BaptismJesus spoke on baptism in Matthew 3:15 saying, ‘It is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ It was at this point that Jesus, Himself, was baptised by John, and God looked upon Him with favour. I have been truly blessed and privileged to have been brought up surrounded by a loving, Christian family, committed to the Lord. I did not always see this and found it difficult to profess my faith as my family did, even though I gave my life to the Lord at a young age. I don’t have a date or anything overwhelming to tell about the moment I became a follower of Jesus, other than the overwhelming sense of His love and acceptance of me, and that is enough. Since that moment I have endeavoured to live a life for Christ, but this has not always been easy.

There have been times through my Christian walk where I have felt completely alone and wondered if God even was with me, but each time He intervened and reminded me how steadfast His love is. In particular, at a time when I had lost someone very close, I questioned God’s intentions and cried out to Him for understanding. In His mercy, He showed me that His peace passes all understanding. The sufferings that we face are nothing compared to what He bore on the cross.

Despite the fact that God was constantly revealing Himself to me and that I love Him very much, I was finding it incredibly difficult to share my faith with others around me. I just thought that if God wanted me to reveal I was a Christian, He’d really prompt me to say so, and I wouldn’t feel like I needed to keep it to myself. And this is probably the reason I shied away from baptism. It wasn’t something I originally thought was a necessary part of a Christian’s journey, but reading Matthew and many other teachings of baptism and realising it was necessary, I thought it was best to wait until I was giving God my everything and was more ‘qualified’ as a Christian. I remember at one point praying to God and asking for a sign that I wasn’t living completely for Him by my attitudes and actions, and kept thinking He wasn’t answering so I must be okay. Then I realised that the burden I felt was Christ telling me I wasn’t doing things right and I wasn’t living for Him or serving Him. Part of that service is sharing His love with others and whilst at this turning point the fear of sharing Him with others still existed, He is slowly helping me to overcome this and as He pushes me out of my comfort zone, I realise more and more what a great privilege it is to be able to share His love with others – and it’s really not that scary!

We’re never going to be ‘qualified’ enough, and none of us is perfect. But His love is perfect and casts out all fear. He’s chosen to love me just as I am and walk with me. I cannot deny such love. That’s why I need to be baptised: because the Father wants all of me. All sin was taken to the cross, so all my life must be dedicated to Him. We don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes in front of Him and this baptism will not mean I won’t continue to make mistakes, but God fills our imperfections with His grace. I’ve been brought into a new life through Christ and I will serve Him through this and, more importantly, after this.

Emily

I was brought up in a family that held Christian values, attending church regularly with my mum and then my dad too when he later became a Christian. At the age of 11 I was confirmed with a strong belief that God had made me and everything in creation. All in all life was really great. I loved my family, I loved my church and I loved God.

It was during secondary school that I began to inwardly struggle. Sharing my faith with friends became tough as doubts crept in and I wasn’t really sure what I actually knew about what I believed. As I saw people around me come to know the Lord and have their lives completely transformed I began to wonder whether I really was saved. I had never experienced a dramatic conversion or a spiritual encounter which I began to long for more and more.

Just before starting university all this doubt led me to think God had given up on me. I couldn’t hear him speak to me and doubted whether his existence was relevant to me at all. At university I decided to give it one last chance and attended the Christian Union. Here I met a great bunch of young Christians, many of whom had very similar upbringings to me and yet there was something so different about them, they were so on fire for God and so eager to tell people about him. Instantly, I wanted to know more. The CU put on a church search which led me to TCM, a church quite different from what I was used to, but after some time God made it quite clear that was where I was supposed to be. Between TCM and the Christian Union, the gospel was given to me so clearly and spoke to me in a way I had never experienced before.

It took me a while to realise that I really was a sinner. I had always been the good child in the family and I thought I was up there near perfect. I soon realised despite this I would never meet God’s standards, I needed to take off my judgmental cap and realise I was the one that needed a Saviour. Grace became a whole new concept to me and I became more excited to read God’s Word. My previous longing for a more spiritual encounter began to disappear as I began to realise I would never get to know God fully just by attending services and singing some songs. I learnt God had already revealed himself to me in his Word. Before, I had just been too blind to see this. Through one-to-ones with friends, meeting with wiser Christians and by serving in the church and CU, my faith began to flourish. I started to put God at the centre of my life and put my faith in him.

Helping out in the children and youth ministry was also a huge encouragement to me. It was, and continues to be, such a privilege to watch and serve young people as they commit to Christ and the church. For me it was impossible to be alongside these young people as they grew in their faith and not grow in my own.

At the end of university I was a little bit lost as to the next steps in my life but I knew I could trust in what the Lord had planned for me. God is continuing to reveal himself to me through his Word, moulding and shaping me, protecting but challenging me so I can lead a life pleasing to him. Today, I’m now facing the many challenges, as well as the joys, of being married and I am thankful to God I have a great man by my side to lead us through those. I also just want to say a huge thank you to everybody at TCM, for the part you have played and will continue to play in my testimony. I am so thankful that God led me here to a loving church family that welcomed me as a wandering young student and lovingly nurtured me and continues to do so today.

Michael

My name is Michael Baker and I became a Christian on 17th August 2015 at Brecon Sports Camp.

I was brought up in a Christian home. Most of my relatives are Christians and it wasn’t unusual to hear about God. I went to church most Sundays. I was fine with the concept of God until the end of primary school when, in about year 6, I started to learn about science. This produced conflict in my mind with school vs home and God vs science.

I went to Brecon and the first year was a really good year but I didn’t take an interest in the Christian side – I was there for the sport, not for God, although that was how it was meant to be. I was getting taught the gospel but I wasn’t soaking it in like I should have been – I forgot about it almost instantly.

Next year came around and it was the same approach as the previous year, except I felt different when I got there – instead of not paying attention and not caring, I listened and made notes and wanted to know more and didn’t try to avoid the seminars. I think I can mention two names – Rob Burns and Kieran Joseph – who really helped me get to understand the concept and made me realise that actually God is the only person I need in my life and I could have eternal life with Him. On the Thursday night I felt God come to me and say, ‘Come on Michael, it’s time to come to Me now.’ When I heard that, I instantly knew what I needed to do. In the future all I want to do is praise Him, read the Bible and go to church.

Inga

Ingaphoto for testimonyI was not born into a Christian family and my family did not speak about God. I lived a life contrary to what God intended. I had children first and then was married. Everything was against what the Bible says. My brother became a Christian first in my family and he invited me to church. I think at that time God began gradually to enter my life. However, I did not understand. My way to God was very slow and very long for almost 20 years. I looked everywhere for fulfilment apart from to God. I watched my brother’s life and it was the opposite of mine. I would cling to his words and was in awe of God. But my life did not change.

Occasionally, I went to the church but lived my worldly life. Then my personal life collapsed and my marriage fell apart. It was a very difficult period of my life. I fell into depression but at the same time internally I felt the ability to forgive others. At that time, of course, I did not understand that this was God’s love.

Very soon after that I came to live in England. I often went to church, and even then felt such internal peace. I would also pray but I did not know the need to develop a personal relationship with God.

After almost two years I went back to Latvia for a few months and also attended church there. After one of these church services I went with my sister to step out to the front of the church in repentance. It was 24th October 2008. My sister became a Christian but I continued to live my worldly life to seek fulfilment in wrong worldly things. I was involved socially in Latvian events in England but that did not bring fulfilment and I felt internally that there was something more. I believe that all this time God worked in me and protected me from doing even more wrong things.

I came back to Lincoln and continued my attendance at church services, but again my life did not change. In April 2013 I was even baptised and now when I look back I know that in all this God was with me and was working in me. Shortly before I became a Christian I felt that there was nothing that I liked about what I did, even the music I listened to. Then I started to listen to Christian music, started watching worship and church services on line and realised that this was what I had been looking for. I know that this is when my commitment to Jesus had begun. This was March 2014.

I had begun my Christian life. It was so beautiful and wonderful. I realised that here on this earth where I live is another life compared to the life I had been living – until now I thought my life was okay but in reality it was not. My life was full of wrong thinking.

God changed my life from night to day. In my life came peace, harmony and discipline. God cherishes me. I had become like a new-born born child of God. He cleaned me out of my old life. He speaks to me through sermons, through people and their testimonies. I threw out all of my old things including horoscope books and prayed for forgiveness. After a few months, things happened – one morning I woke up hearing a loud cry for help, like a dream and it was horrible. And I saw unclean spirits, like black clouds, exit from me. It was terrible but then I had such a wonderful feeling of freedom. It is only possible with God. God did lots of miracles in my life. God supernaturally straightened my life – my personality and my character. I used to rush around trying to get everything done, but God has taught me gentleness and peace. My life was chaotic, now everything is organised and disciplined. Being a mum is a great blessing and I thank God for giving me children to bring up. Being a single mum isn’t easy – having to be both mum and dad simultaneously – but God gives such wonderful wisdom and strength. He is a wonderful Father to my children. If I wasn’t here, I am sure that they would be safe in our Heavenly Father’s hands.

God has changed so many things in my life. I enjoy fellowship with people. God has also changed my surrounding community. Now around me are people who love Jesus too. Of course it is not easy if you have been living in the world for so long but:

  • I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Every Christian needs a loving church and I am very happy that I am part of TCM!

Bethan

BethanIt was a big step for me when I came to Lincoln to start my degree at university, and I’m sure the same is true for most people. We often see it as a new start, a chance to have some freedom, to do whatever we want to do. For some it’s also an opportunity to prove our worth through our achievements and grades. When I arrived at Lincoln uni I was excited at the prospect of study and independence and maybe a little nervous about meeting new people and fitting in.

I grew up in a loving home with a wonderful family, never really in want of anything or with any big worries. All in all I was happy. There was, however, always a desire in me to go to church. I’d often find myself with questions about God: who was He? Did I really need Him in my life? It’s not that I’d never been to church before; in fact I’d had experience of Sunday school at a young age. But church, God, that was a Sunday thing; this God I was being taught about didn’t seem to fit into the rest of my week or as a part of the life I wanted to live.

After speaking to some Christian Union members during Freshers Week, I decided to go along to one of their Tuesday evening meetings. I was nervous about going and unsure what to expect – there was, after all, the possibility that Christians just weren’t the kind of people I wanted to spend time with. What I was to find, however, was a beautiful family prepared to love and accept someone without conditions. There was no need for me to prove myself. It was through a member of the Christian Union that I ended up here at TCM.

Over a period of weeks I grew to understand the gospel – that God loves us so much He sent His Son to die on the cross to forgive our sins, to rise from the dead, conquering death, allowing us to have a personal relationship with Him. It took time, but in understanding who God was, who Jesus was, and what He had done for me, I began feeling a love so powerfully beautiful and unconditional that I couldn’t help but be excited, joyous and somewhat in awe that although I’m far from perfect, and often get things wrong, through God’s grace all those wrong doings, those sins are forgiven. God was no longer a concept that I couldn’t relate to, but a loving Father with whom I would forever find love, acceptance and forgiveness.

The Bible teaches us about that love in a passage in 1 John: This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9–10).

I remember the first time I read those words, I recall being stunned and turning to God and thanking Him for what He had done for me. With an overwhelming sense of forgiveness and love, I committed my life to Christ. I can now live every day in the knowledge that I am loved unconditionally, that I am held tightly in the hands of God, yet as I stand at the foot of the cross I find freedom from sin and the greatest love of all.

Martin

Martin Lumb deaconI grew up in South West London and as a young man attended my local church, engaging fully in the mission of the church with particular regard to Sunday School, Youth Work and the distribution of Christian publications. As I walked this path with the Lord I came to know Him personally as my Saviour and friend, and at the age of 17 made a public profession of faith and was confirmed.

During the following years God continued to use me as I worshipped and served Him at several churches according to where we were living, accepting office at district and parochial church councils and engaging with an ecumenical project serving the Lord alongside Christians of other churches and denominations.

In May 2008 I suffered a stroke and spent many months in hospital/nursing home, with family and friends praying for the Lord’s intervention. Miraculously, He heard our prayers and intervened, spared my life and enabled a substantial recovery, albeit with significant physical restrictions, but I returned home praising the Lord for all He had done for me.

It soon became apparent that a return to work was not going to be possible, but with the firm assurance that God’s hand had been upon me in this, and with total confidence that He had a plan for us and accepting that He knows all about us, including ‘every hair on our head’, we prayerfully asked for His guidance as to our future.

Gloriously, our prayers were again answered and He brought us to Lincoln, provided us with a home within sheltered accommodation and after further prayer the Lord led us here to TCM. We entered this church on the morning of the first Sunday in October 2011 and were overwhelmed at the obvious presence of the Lord. We knew at once that this was where the Lord wanted us to be and recognised that He had now provided our spiritual home also!

We further prayed that the Spirit would lead us, and slowly we were led to become involved in various groups and activities within TCM and with good causes in the community. Far from being placed into a premature retirement, we now find ourselves busier than we have ever been but at a pace dictated by God, accommodating our physical restrictions.

God has been good to us and I praise His Name! Philippians 2 tells us, ‘At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Him, King of Glory now!’  Well, the King of Glory has rocked my life in recent years, and as part of being baptised today I seek to publicly reaffirm the profession of faith I made at my confirmation and proclaim my faith in Him who knows us all personally and has a plan of His own for each of us.

In His Name, Amen.

Warren

Warren

I had very little idea of Christianity, Jesus or God whilst growing up. It wasn’t until my wife, Carol, gave her life to Jesus in 1990 that I slowly became aware of what it meant to be a Christian and for the next twenty years found every excuse not to ask Jesus into my life.

However, slowly I began to understand sin, I didn’t exhibit the outward appearance of a sinner, but inside what I thought were clever arguments of denial were just as bad. Pretending to be sinless on the outside but all the time denying the reason why Jesus came to earth and die for me was, I believe, an even worse sin. Looking back the utter arrogance of my thought process would be enough for Jesus to walk away and not bother.

I didn’t experience an overnight conversion, rather a slow realisation that every time I tried to turn and ignore the good news, I had this nagging feeling of knowing that what I was being told held true.

Slowly and painfully for my family and friends I came to the realisation that Jesus was there for me and that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t recite entire passages of the Bible or understand the Trinity. But what I did know was Jesus came to earth to save me, to pay for my sins now and forever. I simply had to accept the gift given to me for free by Jesus and trust in Him.

This happened in September 2010, here in TCM. I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I do remember an overwhelming feeling of understanding enough, enough to trust why Jesus died and in doing so saved me.

Although I’ve been a Christian for some time now, I still don’t fully understand and I still struggle to trust in Him. I struggle to pray, I struggle to share my faith at work and with my friends, but I do know that if I trust in His strength I’ll grow as a Christian and in time I’ll find the courage.

God has a plan for me, and if I trust and believe in His Son it will be alright. I’m still learning, still failing but I’m assured that in Him I’m saved.