I came to believe in Christ crucified for my sins on a Sunday morning at church. I had heard the gospel at home and at church as many times as I could remember. However, one Sunday morning, through the regular preaching of God’s word, I heard the gospel and realized it was for me. My heart was pierced with the truth of the gospel message of Jesus. My eyes were opened to see that it was not merely true that Jesus died for sinners, but that he died for me and I needed God’s grace. Thankfulness and faith filled my heart.
My dad was the pastor of our church. Having heard the same message many times from him I never wondered if I was just trying to please my dad. It wasn’t my dad that stirred my heart that day. It was the message. I believed that my sin was forgiven through Jesus’ death for me and I was baptized a few weeks later to publicly profess my faith.
I was young when I first believed and I first felt the call to ministry at a young age as well. I have not always walked closely with the Lord. Youthful passions have pulled me away from my calling and Christ—though in rebellion, always in his grasp. Church hasn’t always been a bulwark to me either. I’ve seen ugly parts of the church and had painful and disappointing experiences in the church.
But I’ve come to realize my pride and become aware of the ugly parts of me. I’ve come to realize that the church is not in the way of pastoral ministry, but is itself the pastor’s ministry (1 Cor 1-3).
My hope is that through the regular preaching of the word some might be saved like I was—like I am. I resonate deeply with Paul when he said to the church, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thess 2:13).