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Biblical authority, General

My testimony

I was born into a single parent home.  My mother raised me with a strong foundation in Christianity.  We visited many different kinds of churches and by a very young age I have been told I greeted people with “Praise the Lord”.  At the age of seven I went to a Christian camp where I specifically asked God to forgive me of my sins and that I wanted to live for him.  I anticipated going to this camp each year as I could really feel God’s presence and a renewed passion for him.

I was baptized at the age of 12 at a David & the Giants Christian concert.  Shortly after, while attending a Pentecostal church, I received the Holy Spirit and the ability to speak in tongues.  It was a very fluid experience for me.  I wondered if I was just blabbering, but my mom asked me one clarifying question: “could you do it yesterday”?  No, this was something different.  My spirit told me this was the language of Heaven and that I was communing with God directly without the barrier of earthly-created English. 

I was very spiritual throughout my high school years leading my youth group and looking forward to intelligent discussions of faith and Bible study.  I remember struggling for many years during this time of this concept of serving God at all times without ceasing.  I felt like I was turning my back on God whenever I went after my own desires or interests.  It was also during this time that I met my future wife.  Her Mormon faith challenged me and led me to my first serious religious research project, and very poor times of debate.

After high school, I went to undergraduate school at Bethel College, a private school of the Missionary denomination.  While there I not only received in-depth instruction on Old Testament, New Testament, and Biblical authority, but also a love and desire to do praise and worship music.  Music had always played a major role in my life, but this was a bigger way for me to express not only my love for God, but also use my talents at the same time. 

I took a couple years off school to accept a position to go work for the Christian camp I had grown up in.  This was a dream job, but a very difficult one too.  Spiritual warfare became very real for me there.  I saw the reality of dark forces at work, we all did.  Prayers were answered very specifically while there, and it was very faith-building.  While there, I realized the same process I use to gauge whether a child has accepted Christ was not the same I was using to judge my Mormon girlfriend.  I now had no more reason to hold off and we were married.

After the time at camp and the wedding, I spent several years away from church.  I felt the church was too compromised and watered down for me; I wanted more out of it.  After much encouragement and patience from my wife I was encouraged to try it again.  God revealed to me that I was looking for the wrong thing.  I shouldn’t be looking for what I can get out of it, but what I can give: my talents.  Shortly thereafter I began leading worship and teaching a teen Sunday school class weekly at a Wesleyan church.  Denomination affiliation was never a big deal for me.  I was only interested in Bible-believing teaching and a genuine attitude/hospitality.  I’ve been there ever since.  God also used my wife to encourage me to break several bad habits such as holding back on tithing.  I have now seen the wonders of submitting financially to God!

God has blessed us with three beautiful miracle children whom my wife has the amazing ability and patience to homeschool.  Four years ago my wife and I started a music ministry called UNITY.  We’ve always written music and worked separately, but decided to join our efforts.  God has used this decision to not only bless others but also strengthen our marriage at a weak point.  Two years ago we decided to take a family trip to the Creation Museum, something I had heard quite a bit about.  The experience changed our lives.

I had always had a hard time reconciling the confusing themes of the Old Testament to the gospel message.  The museum took us on a walk through Biblical history starting in Genesis.  I’d always avoided origin issues just for the muddiness and confusion they offered.  The museum not only cleared up all that confusion, but also showed how a correct Biblical understanding was necessary for the gospel message to even make sense!  This changed everything for me.  I had been craving real Biblically-based truths.  I had questions I didn’t even realize I had, and there were answers I didn’t even realize had always been there!  I immediately became a believer and couldn’t keep these truths to myself.  Since then I have started an apologetics blog (gracewithsalt.com) to help spread the truth of these answers, have spoken in churches and concerts, as well as daily debating others online.

Around the same time God called me back to school through a junk e-mail.  I had been wanting more out of my life, and I got an email asking “Do you want more for your life”.  I now attend Liberty University Online getting my masters in professional counseling.  I have a life plan to graduate, get my license, eventually go for a doctorate, and possibly even a seminary degree to enter the pastorate. 

God has now answered that questioning I experienced in high school about serving him without ceasing.  It’s a process that I am still working towards, and sometimes difficult.  I now know that true joy only comes through the things of God.  He can strip everything else away and I may be sad for a moment, but still have that eternal joy.  I am an eternal being here temporarily, and because of that I must learn to and continue filtering EVERYTHING through my Christian worldview to decide if it is worth my time and resources.  I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God is real, that he created this world perfectly and entrusted it to us.  After that we rebelled against God which brought things on this planet God never wanted for us: disease, corruption, suffering, and death.  It had to occur in that order (perfection to corruption) for the necessity of a savior.  Many ask “why doesn’t God just come down and fix it all”?  I believe he did 2000 years ago through my savior and best friend who I know and interact with on a personal level just as I do any other of my friends: Jesus Christ!

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

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