My Testimony- written in 2009

Found this on my Facebook notes; thought I’d share it! I wrote it in December during my first Senior year at TCU…that’s right, I had a victory lap :).

 

I was born in Wichita Falls, TX and lived there for the first 11 years of my life with my family, which included an older sister and a younger brother. I got baptized at 5 years old in First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls. After turning 11, my family moved to a small town outside of Wichita Falls called Iowa Park, TX. This is where I lived until I graduated high school and went to TCU.

When we first moved to Iowa Park, my family became a part of Faith Baptist Church, and it was here that I first realized that I was a sinner in need of forgiveness. So during a Sunday evening service, I went down to the front and told the pastor that I wasn’t born-again. So he prayed a prayer with me, encouraged me, and once again I was baptized at 11 years old.

Up to the time I was 15 years old, I understood sin and the fact that I was a sinner. But I never embraced Christ by repenting and putting my faith and trust in Him. I was ok with Him being my Savior, but I was not ok with Him being my Lord. So at this point, I had been baptized twice, and yet still was not born-again. I guess this is part of the reason that I am now so passionate about clarity when it comes to the Gospel!

During the summer after my freshman year of high school, I attended camp put on by LifeWay called “Centrifuge,” in Glorietta, New Mexico. It was here that the camp pastor explained the meaning of Matthew 7:21-23, which says this:

  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “

 

He then went on to explain what the Bible says about being “born-again” (John 15). He explained the nature of repentance, turning away from sin and to Christ. He explained that grace is an absolutely free gift from God, and that even the faith we have in God is a gift from Him (Ephesians 2:8) He explained how you can’t separate Christ’s function as Savior with His function as Lord (James 2). He explained the Gospel that I had thought I understood. That day not only did I truly understand what the Gospel of Jesus Christ was, but I also heartily embraced it for the very first time.

A camp that I been to two times before, God used this time to bring myself to Him. After that, I wasn’t individually mentored or discipled until I got to college. But what I did start doing is reading the Bible. Within 3 months I had read through the entire Bible. While I didn’t meditate much or wrestle with difficult passages, I did grow immensely in my understanding of the world. The reality of Scripture changed so many misunderstandings I had. Not only that, but it challenged me to eradicate some sins and follow through with some commandments that took me years to actually apply to my life.

Within the next year, I started teaching Bible studies, teaching the youth group occasionally and even preached to the whole church on a few Sunday mornings for Youth Sundays. I was learning and growing immensely, learning basic theology from reading Scripture, and learning how to apply and share my faith effectively. By my senior year, I had surrendered to the ministry and knew that I wanted to do some sort of ministry for the rest of my life.

In the midst of all this, I was heavily involved in junior high and high school sports as well as music. I played football, basketball, track, club soccer (indoor and outdoor), and did powerlifting. I was in the marching band, jazz band, and show choir. I ended up going to TCU for music composition with a minor in religion.

The Music department has been the ideal sphere of influence for me and other Christians, specifically within the band, to invest in people and share our faith. Since I got to TCU, I’ve been attending Southcliff Baptist Church, and have been mentored for 3 and half years now by the college minister there, Spencer Plumlee. I praise God for putting me at a church where I’ve been pushed ever since I got there. I came into college thinking I knew my stuff (perhaps being a bit arrogant when it comes to Bible knowledge), only to have Spencer gently but sternly call me out. I value this so much. Since then, Southcliff has pushed me both theologically and practically. My understanding of apologetics has grown immensely (which should happen with anyone wanting to reach a religiously liberal university with the Gospel), my prayer-life has become so much more consistent, I’ve had many sins that I’ve had to repent from and eradicate from my life, and I’ve been a part of a college ministry and church that is truly seeking to teach its members the weight and the glory of God as explained in Scripture, as well as what that means practically within our everyday lives.

I’m still growing immensely. And every time I think I can’t grow or learn as much as I have in the previous year, God amazes me even more with the following year. From struggling through difficult passages of Scripture, to meditating upon impossible-to-understand truths about God’s character (like His timelessness for one-John 8:58), to being broken over a lost friend who is so close to embracing Christ, to rejoicing with dancing and laughter because of someone embracing Christ for the first time, I have learned that God’s Glory can never be completely understood or explained, but can be proclaimed with what He has revealed to us about Himself in Scripture!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. dave carter says:

    Ryan, I like your testimony.
    I recently spoke to the youth about life’s 3 most important decisions.
    Number one is to follow Christ.
    I explained that we have a shallow idea of what it means to “believe”, as compared to scripture. I illustrated with the words “I Believe”. The first level is just normal size. The next level is twice as big, and the 3rd level is huge.
    Your testimony is a good example of this. I have observed this to be the case in many Christian’s lives, my own as well.
    So many begin with the “mind belief” – God, Jesus, crucified for sin, resurrection. Far too many stay at this point. Next comes a real conviction of sin, usually with a “re-dedication”.
    Real belief comes with total repentance, and sold out commitment to follow Christ.
    It is unfortunate that many that reach this point do not get the discipleship that they need.
    Your testimony is a good illustration of all these points.
    Trusting the Holy Spirit to continue to mature you,
    dave carter

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