All Blogs at Grace

Kyle and Libby Lehman’s Testimony

I was raised in a good Christian home; church was a Sunday morning activity to me and not much more.  I went to Sunday school and learned about different stories in the Bible, but to me they were just stories in a book.  I knew that sin was bad and that Jesus died for my sins, but I thought that I could avoid sinning just by being good.  When I did sin, I wasn’t too concerned because I learned in Sunday school that everyone sins so I thought “what’s the big deal?” And, on the occasion I was concerned about sin, I thought as long as I dealt with it before I died I was fine.  And, I was just a child; I wasn’t going to die anytime soon.

It wasn’t until I was about 14 or 15 years old that I truly began to understand sin – what it was and what I deserved because of the sin in my life. I realized that there was only one way to deal with my sin; I repented and put my faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

I struggled for a long time with the fact that I did not have this unbelievable story to go along with my testimony.  I wanted that wow factor when I told people my story.  What I didn’t realize was that every life saved by Jesus is an unbelievable gift and my story is special.  Jesus died for my sins and allows me to have a relationship with God.  I do not deserve anything that He has given freely to me.  It is by the grace of God that I am here today knowing with 100% certainty who my savior is and where I will be when I die.

I am being baptized today as an outward display and testament to the faith that is within me.

This may sound like just another story.  But it isn’t.  It’s my story.  And not even so much that, it’s His story.  It’s His story of redemption played out in my life.

And yet, I haven’t always been fond of it.  Crazy as it sounds; it wasn’t dramatic enough for me.  I thought I needed more sin, more rebellion.  Little did I know I had more than taken care of that requirement.  What I think I really wanted though was a turning point, a definite spot in time where I can say that I turned from death to life.  I had heard other people recount dates and times, but I didn’t know mine.   Wouldn’t I remember something like that?  And if I didn’t, does that mean that it never happened?

I was raised in the church and I knew the story of Jesus’ death on the cross for my sin.  What I didn’t know then is that I didn’t understand it.  I was a good kid by most standards.  My parents may disagree, but, then again, maybe they wouldn’t.  They were the main ones I aimed to please.  I wasn’t trying to get them to just think I was good and secretly rebel; I simply liked to please them.  To that end, my behavior, my deeds, my work naturally became important.  And that, naturally, seeped into my relationship with God.  Albeit dysfunctional in hindsight, my relationship to God began fairly young.   Clear now is that I thought I could (and needed to) earn God’s favor by supplementing Jesus’ death on the cross with my actions and behavior.  I so wanted to make him happy; that he might be pleased with me.  So I read, and I prayed, and I mustered up every bit of gumption….and I often failed.  And I found new tools and new ways to help me be more disciplined, and I read and I prayed, and I failed.

One middle-of-the-night, in the quiet of our little apartment in St. Louis, after being introduced to an entirely new way of thinking, an entirely different set of standards, my mind was spinning.  My heart raced as I thought of what this meant; how many years had I not been following, not been pleasing, God?  If what I had thought wasn’t right, then what was?  I crumbled.  And then I heard, as clear as audible, these words.  “By grace, through faith.” Repeatedly.

It was fairly basic; a concept I knew but apparently didn’t understand.  ” For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  God was asking me to believe that He is who He says He is, He did what He said he would do, and that His grace given through Jesus’ death on the cross is enough just as He says it is.  Nothing added.

I was born on July 6, 1983 but I do not remember that day.  No details, no memories.  Praise the Lord, right?  I only know the day because someone else recorded it.  Yet even without it, I would know that I was born and am alive.  There is evidence of it.  I’m here.  I’m breathing.  I have a pulse.

God has graciously allowed me to see the same is true with my life in Him.  From my vantage point now, I can see His work in my life throughout every circumstance and situation, drawing me to Himself and yet I still don’t know the date that I was rescued from the death of my sin into life in Him.  Maybe it was during that middle-of-the-night encounter, maybe, as I believe, it was before.  I don’t really know.  Yet even without that, I know that I was; I have been.  There is evidence of it.  I’m here.  By grace, through faith in the work of Christ alone.  He has granted me the ability to believe; to hold fast to the words he gave me so clearly that night in the stillness…it is by grace, through faith.  And now I delight in the work of His son; the son in whom He is well pleased.

Charlie and Sarah Billenstein’s Testimony

I have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I understand that God sent his only son to die on the cross for me a rebellious sinner, it is through his blood my sins are washed away. I find that so humbling that I can’t put into words how I feel. I know that it’s only through Gods grace that I’m even here and live the life that he allows me to have. Everything I am, have, or do is all for his glory.

My journey with Christ began at a young age.  My brother, sister, and I would spend the weekend with our grandparents and church on Sunday morning was a part of the package.  Grandma taught Sunday school occasionally and prayer started the dinner hour.  As I grew up, spending the night with Grandma lost its appeal and I stopped going to church.  Looking back, I find that while my belief in the Trinity never wavered, I never reached spirituality on a heart level.  Mine was more on a historical level.  I learned the stories of the bible as any good student would but completely missed the fact that Christ died FOR ME!

The sin in my life reached its max last summer.  My lifestyle almost cost me my family.  There were many tears, many broken hearts, mine included.  At my lowest point, when I was utterly and completely broken, Jesus stepped in and lifted me from the pit, revealing his love for me and showing me the error of my ways.  It was like flipping a switch.  I stopped running away from the trials in my life; stopped seeing adversity around every corner and started to put my complete and absolute faith in Jesus Christ.  A love I never fully understood now made sense and I was finally able to grasp the meaning of unconditional love.

Today, I am a new woman, filled with a peace and an overwhelming need to weave my life around Christ.  I still marvel at the concept of Grace.  I DO NOT DESERVE IT!  But that is the beauty of it; grace literally means “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.  What a magnificent gift.

April Mendenhal’s Testimony

I was a lost sinner, and I had no hope for the future or for eternity. I was lost in myself and my narrow minded ways…Trying hard to control my life as it was getting more and more out of control. I was not into drugs or crime, but I was guilty of thinking that if I tried harder, then I could make things happen for me and my family. Boy, was I wrong…No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it.

I grew up going to church on and off with my grandparents. I enjoyed the songs and bible stories. But, once I got older, I didn’t really believe in them. I thought of the stories and the bible as a story or books that were not real. I believed in the theory of evolution and what I was learning in science class. So, as I grew up, I had mixed feelings on religion and my beliefs. As an adult, I lived my life as if I was the one in control of it all.

Last spring, that all started to change. I began attending Grace on Easter Sunday. I took the summer bible study, started doing Sunday school lessons with a friend, and began reading the bible more often. Through it all, the Holy Spirit was working in me, softening my heart. God showed me that I was born a sinner, that I deserved to spend eternity in Hell, and that nothing I could do would change that. Only through the work that Christ did on the Cross would my sins be forgiven and by faith alone I would be saved. So, by God’s grace, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I believed!

I am still a sinner, but I am so thankful that I can repent and get a chance to try again! I praise God for all He has done in my life. I thank Him for leading me to Greenville Grace, and for my new family here. I thank God that you allowed Him to work in your lives to bring me to where I am today!

Jeff Beavins Testimony

Jeff Beavins

Hi, my name is Jeff Beavins. I’ve been attending Grace for 2 ½ years.

As a kid, my grandparents took me and my siblings to church. That was the only knowledge of Christ I had. I did not grow up in a believing home and didn’t grow up hearing the Bible.

Even my marriage began under sinful circumstances, having had children outside of marriage. As sins continued to build, my life and marriage became more difficult. God used those difficult circumstances, however, to show me my need for Christ.

These sins caused me to lose my marriage and struggle through separation from my family. I knew things needed to change. I sought out a person I thought was religious, and asked about attending their church. By God’s grace, this person told me not to come to their church—which I later found out didn’t preach the gospel—but instead sent me down the street to ask a family who attends Greenville Grace. I started receiving counseling and realized my problem was not life circumstances, but my sins before God.

By God’s grace, He revealed my need for Jesus Christ to pay for my sins. In the last couple years, I have lost my marriage, nearly died in an accident two years ago, and struggled through other difficult circumstances. Yet, God has shown me I have received more than I deserve, I have salvation through His Son.

Note:  We were blessed to hear testimony of God’s faithfulness to six brothers and sisters this past Sunday at their baptism.  It is our joy to share their testimonies with you and will be posting one testimony a day this week for each individual or couple.

Praying for Dan & Jeni Berger

We want to continue to encourage the body to support the Berger family through prayer.  At this time, Dan’s surgery is scheduled for March 20th.  The date for his surgery could possibly move up, but as of right now, it has not.  Therefore, we’ve organized two ways to support the Berger family in prayer:

Concert of Prayer: We will be having a “Concert of Prayer” at Grace from 6:30 – 8:00pm on Tuesday evening, March 16th.  We invite you to come, and invite others who might know Dr. Berger, to join us for a season of praying for him and the family.  We will also spend time praying for others who are struggling through physical difficulties at this time.

Day of Prayer and Fasting: We would like to encourage those who are physically capable, to consider taking a day next week to pray and fast for the Lord’s work in the Berger’s lives.  If your schedule permits, we’re encouraging people to consider March 19th, the day before Dan’s surgery (currently March 20th).

As Elders, we encourage you to consult your doctor about whether you are physically capable of observing a fast.  If you have any questions about fasting, please contact the office for more information.  We also understand there are many others in the congregation who are struggling through disease, cancer and other heart breaking effects of the curse of sin.  We do not wish for these members to feel marginalized, but want you to know we are praying for you as well.  We feel this time of prayer is an excellent way for our Body to honor the time Dan spent serving our church as an elder.

to the praise of the glory of His grace!

Danny Wright