My Testimony

On April 27, 1983, I was born to my par­ents. I entered into this world with a body that was born in sin. Though I was new­ly alive, I was as good as dead. Well, that is until August 11, 2001, when by the grace of God I was born again! Whether you believe, doubt, or scoff, I pray that as you read my sto­ry you will be both inspired and uplifted.

I first went to church when I was in either the sec­ond or third grade. The church was Cal­vary Bap­tist Church in Con­nersville, IN, and although I nev­er became a bap­tized mem­ber, I did make a pro­fes­sion of faith at one of their vaca­tion Bible school ser­vices. If I remem­ber cor­rect­ly, my “sal­va­tion” was pret­ty much “1−2−3 repeat after me,” and I nev­er tru­ly had a faith­ful and pen­i­tent heart. Of course, as a naïve child I claimed to be saved when­ev­er the top­ic of reli­gion would come up and did so for many years until I was eighteen. 

Through­out my life from that point, I knew I want­ed to do good, but for me it was always so I would be good enough to get to heav­en. Look­ing back, I real­ize I could­n’t have been saved because I nev­er placed com­plete trust in the Lord to take me to Heav­en on his right­eous­ness, not mine. Any­way, I spent many nights pray­ing — in vain — that I would be good enough to go to Heav­en. Oh, I also made sure to say the famous “Now I lay me down to sleep…” prayer. I was casu­al­ly reli­gious and try­ing to stay out of trou­ble, but I was unknow­ing­ly still just a heart­beat away from an eter­ni­ty in Hell. Thank­ful­ly, that “heart­beat” nev­er came, though, as the Lord saw me through sev­er­al events where I’ve almost died and gone to Hell. In ’99, I was almost pulled off of life sup­port because the doc­tors did­n’t think I’d sur­vive. Praise God my mom would­n’t let them!

When I began mid­dle school, I began to be real­ly inter­est­ed in the para­nor­mal and any­thing that was “weird.” UFOs, ghosts, para­psy­chol­o­gy (psy­chics and stuff), mythol­o­gy, vam­pires and oth­er myth­i­cal crea­tures, and even Wic­ca were some of the things my friends and I read about and stud­ied. Dur­ing that time, I went to Full Gospel Trin­i­ty Church for a few months with my friend Jason. Full Gospel Trin­i­ty was the first Pen­te­costal church I had ever been too, and even­tu­al­ly the goings-on of that place just became too unset­tling for me to keep going.

Even­tu­al­ly high school began, and my inter­ests changed from the super­nat­ur­al to the nat­ur­al as I became very inter­est­ed in pop­u­lar sci­ence. I did­n’t attend church for years, but in twelfth grade, God brought a girl about the same as me named Tiffany into my life as a friend. She was my first new Chris­t­ian friend in a long while, and she also invit­ed me to church a cou­ple of times. It was through her that I would meet the fam­i­ly that would help change my life forever.

It was at the end of May ’01, and I had start­ed talk­ing to anoth­er girl, Rebec­ca, online. I had met her briefly at Tiffany’s church, but she and her fam­i­ly had since been led to a new church. Any­way, on May 21, I start­ed talk­ing to who I thought was Rebec­ca but it turned out to be Bon­nie, her moth­er — I guess that’s one of those “Inter­net chat risks” I hear so much about. At first Bon­nie did­n’t know who I was, but after Rebec­ca told her, she invit­ed me to church. Of course, it was­n’t until a few days lat­er when I “offi­cial­ly” met them in real life did I find out that I was talk­ing to Bon­nie. Either way, that Wednes­day, they picked me up for church, and for the first time ever at a church, I real­ly enjoyed myself. I enjoyed the music, the peo­ple, the preach­ing — every­thing! I was “bap­tized” into Gar­ri­son Creek Bap­tist Church two months lat­er on July 19, still think­ing that I was saved from many years before. I became great friends with Rebec­ca and her fam­i­ly, and I fell in love with the church. I stayed faith­ful, and when August came, every­thing took off in a big way when the church had camp meeting.

The week of camp meet­ing would have to be the best week, spir­i­tu­al­ly, I’ve ever had in my life. Tues­day of that week, God opened up my eyes to a lot of things I nev­er would have expect­ed him to, and one of those things was my sal­va­tion. I did­n’t under­stand what he was try­ing to tell me at that time, though, and it was­n’t until Fri­day night that I got the mes­sage clear­ly. That Fri­day morn­ing (I wish I could have been at this ser­vice, but I missed it), sev­er­al dear friends of mine felt the draw of God through the Holy Spir­it and accept­ed Jesus Christ as their Sav­ior. Rebec­ca, her sis­ter Jen­nifer, and her Aunt Dyan all were washed in the pre­cious blood of Christ that morn­ing! Talk­ing online Fri­day night, Rebec­ca told me the sto­ry of their sal­va­tion and what made them real­ize they weren’t real­ly saved. It hit me… The truth hit me. I felt God pulling at my heart so hard I could­n’t bear not to come to the deci­sion that was ten years in the mak­ing: I was­n’t, nor have I ever been, tru­ly saved by grace through Christ. It was around 1:30 AM Fri­day night when I real­ized that. I told it to Rebec­ca, and she went and woke up her mom. She offered to come over to my house that same night to talk to me. When she came over, every­thing she told me only made me feel the pull stronger and stronger. I could­n’t cry, I could­n’t express my feel­ings, I could bare­ly act… All I knew at that moment was that there was a hole in my soul, and at that minute God want­ed to fill it. At around 2:30 AM, I prayed to God repent­ing of my sins and ask­ing for Christ’s sal­va­tion. If I died this minute, tomor­row, or thir­ty years from now I can tru­ly say that I will go to Heav­en; nev­er again will I have to doubt or ques­tion my sal­va­tion because this time I know it’s real! I thank God for bless­ing my life with Bon­nie and Rebec­ca, and I thank him for send­ing them to my house that ear­ly August 11th morn­ing. Were it not for them and their tes­ti­mo­ny, I’d prob­a­bly still be hold­ing on to my “sal­va­tion” from so many years ear­li­er. Thank you, God, for nev­er giv­ing up on me, and thank you for sav­ing my mom lat­er that very same night (Sat­ur­day, August 11)! GLORY TO GOD!

Also, just so some of you out there don’t take my tes­ti­mo­ny the wrong way, I in no way mean to say that you can lose your sal­va­tion. Once saved always saved. What I am try­ing to say in this is that I was nev­er saved in the first place until August 11, 2001. You can’t get saved because you want to. Think of the thieves hang­ing to the sides of Christ on their own cross­es at Cal­vary (thanks to Jen­nifer for teach­ing me this:). One thief only saw him­self. He want­ed to get off the cross and not die. He feared death for him­self, and in doing so he still died. The oth­er thief did­n’t think of him­self. He saw Christ hang­ing in between him and the oth­er thief. He believed on Christ right then and there. That very same day that thief, who thought not of him­self but believed on Jesus, was accept­ed into Heav­en through Jesus. If you feel the draw­ing of God, don’t put it off. Don’t repeat some­one else’s prayer unless you tru­ly mean it. That’s what I did. I thought some­one else’s words could save me. I did­n’t believe or under­stand half of what I repeat­ed, and I know I nev­er felt God draw­ing my heart. I felt fear for Hell, and that’s it. Eter­ni­ty’s a long time, and I urge you to make the right deci­sion when God tells you to. It does­n’t mat­ter how many times you have to hit the altar. Don’t wor­ry about what oth­er peo­ple think, make sure of your sal­va­tion, regard­less of how many times it takes for you to be 100% sure. Because bap­tism comes only after sal­va­tion, you may have to be bap­tized sev­er­al dif­fer­ent times. That’s OK. God does­n’t mind that, so why should you? If peo­ple talk, let them. Unless you can say you’re com­plete­ly sure, then I pray you do some­thing so that you can say that. May God bless and keep you all.

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Rick Beckman