The Vault

Heaven or Hell? Which One Will You Choose?

When I was a Christian, I managed to amass a large collection of tracts, short pamphlets designed to designed to get across a message. And in the case of those that I had, those messages ranged from pointed gospel messages to out-of-left-field messages disparaging certain Bible translations.

I’d do a lot with these tracts: leave them in public places, tuck them away in library books, and of course hand them out door to door with friends of mine — all of this after I meticulously branded the back of each one with not only the address of my church but often, this website’s address back when I wrote as a Christian. This branding was done by hand for thousands of them before eventually investing in a custom stamp. Yes, there was plenty else I could have done with my time; you don’t have to remind me!

I don’t recall finding too many other tracts in the areas I’d frequent back then, but over the past couple of years, I’ve found them with increasing frequency. But now I look at them from a completely different perspective — that of an outsider to their religious message, that of a skeptic, that of (to be honest…) the “target audience” of the tracts.

Rather than grab-and-recycle the tracts as I spot them, I’ll be bringing them to you, the & Secular Now audience, beginning with “Heaven or Hell: Which One Will You Choose?”


60 Questions from a Muslim to Christians … Answered! (Part 2: Salvation)

Mr. Hussein Khalid Al-Hussein has written an interesting list of 60 Questions for Christians, which I will endeavor to answer here. If you have an apologetics blog or have an interest in defending the faith, answer these questions for yourself as well, and share the answers with your brethren. The more defense of the truth that we have, the better off the church will be.


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. 


The Testimony of Sarah Brown

sarah The following is the testimony of my dear friend Sarah Brown, which she has shared with me so that I might share it with all of you.

On Friday night (well, Saturday morning, August 18, 2001) between 12:00A.M. and 12:30 A.M. I got saved! For 12 years I thought I was saved, though. Then for a little over a year I had doubts about my salvation. I didn’t think too much about it because I was in denial. I went to Rebecca’s house on August 16 and spent the weekend with her. Something was said that night of the 16th that made me doubt my salvation. I couldn’t help but think, “Am I really saved?” I just ignored it because I thought that I had gotten saved when I was five. Friday night they (the Moore Family) had some other people over. We had a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and stuff. Jonathan, after everyone was finished eating, preached a short message for us. During that message I felt conviction, and God pulling on my heart. I didn’t know what was going on at first, so after Jonathan was finished preaching Rebecca and I talked about it. She had asked me if I was 100% sure that if I were to die that I would go to heaven. For the first time in my life I didn’t know. That scared me! We talked about it for a while, then I realized that I wasn’t saved. At that time we both started to pray silently to ourselves.

I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. Right after I said, “Save me,” it was like God answered me back and said, “You are”. What JOY and PEACE!

Even though I had just gotten saved, the Devil was already fighting me. He was telling me that I had gotten saved when I was five. The truth was I didn’t get saved then. I knew that and so I let the mean ol’ Devil know it too!

After I told everyone at Becca’s house that I had just gotten saved, I couldn’t wait to tell the world! Something that few other people know is that night when I was all alone I cried and prayed and I cried because I was so happy! It scared me to think that my whole life up to that point I was lost. At any time I could have died and gone to hell. I prayed because I wanted to thank the Lord for my salvation and for His Son, Jesus Christ.

Now that you’ve heard my testimony I have just one question for you. Are you 100% sure that if you were to die today that you would go to heaven???? If you’re not then all you have to do is repent of your sins to Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart and save you and forgive you of all your sins.

If we coness our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us rom all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9, King James Version

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The Testimony of Kristina Rogers

The following is the testimony of my dear friend Kristina Rogers, which she has shared with me so that I might share it with all of you.

Throughout my teenage years, I’ve struggled with many things. I attended a public school, where I was more interested in fitting in and being “popular,” than with anything else, especially having a Christ-centered life, or being a beacon of light to my lost friends. I live in a home where Christian values are far from taught, let alone enforced. I go to a church where my sister, my brother, and I are the only kids whose parents do not attend the services. This path of mine is not as easy as one may think, and many times, I’m the one who has made it difficult for myself.

My mom was raised in a Catholic home, but after running away as a teenager, never went back to the Roman Catholic ways. My mom met my dad through my aunt’s boyfriend; they were in prison together. My mom was 19, and my dad was 35 when they were married in the Montana State Prison. Three years later, I was born. Between the birth and the age of two, my parents lived in virtually every state on the West Coast, and several others between Montana and Mexico because my dad was on the run from the government. My little brother was born in Washington, and my little sister was born after we moved back to Montana. My dad went back to prison, and after that I saw him for one summer between second and third grade, and I haven’t seen him since. He is still wanted by the federal government. I never really knew why he was in prison until much later in my teenage years.

When I was in fourth grade, we moved across town into our first real “house.” My neighbors had a daughter only a couple years older than I am. For two months, she begged us to go to church with her and her family, but we didn’t go. Vacation Bible School came around, and my mom decided to let us attend. I was saved that first night in June of 1994. Three weeks after that, we began riding the Sunday school bus faithfully. I was baptized in the early (and freezing) spring of 1995.

In the summer of 1996, my new bus captain and his family invited me to start attending youth group with their foster daughter. Instead of going home on Sundays after the bus, I would go to their home, then to a rest home, youth group, and Sunday evening church with them. Eventually, I began to attend all the regular services at my church. Then, the next summer, I attended my first youth conference at Hammond, Indiana. I had never seen anything like it. I decided then that Hyles-Anderson College was the only place for me. Satan would use everything in his power to sway me from this decision.

That same summer (1997), my church decided to start a school. My mom would not allow me to go. I stayed up for five nights praying that God would allow me to go to the school. I told my pastor I would clean the toilets at church to pay my school bill. When we went clothes shopping, I bought nothing but dresses. At the register, my mom turned to me, and said, “I’m still not going to let you go to that school, and that’s final!” I wasn’t sure that she was going to let me either, but I continued to pray. A week before school started, my mom decided to let me go. God really does answer your prayers! As an eighth grader, I learned that even I mattered to God.

On November 10, 1997, during evangelistic meetings at my church, I got assurance of my salvation and again, I was baptized. That year, I began singing in the choir and getting involved in teen soul winning and other church ministries. At our annual missions’ conference, on February 10, 1998, I surrendered to be a missionary’s wife.

That next school year, God made it possible for my sister and my brother to attend Heritage Baptist School as well. Our school Christmas play was about Lottie Moon, a missionary to China. On the night of the program, I begged God to get my step dad saved. I knew if I could get him saved, then my mom would follow. At the end of the play, I stood in the back of our auditorium begging God to do something. I watched, as my step dad walked the aisle and received Christ as his Savior. I began to cry so hard, I had to leave the building and go out in the parking lot. My mom wasn’t saved that night, but the next Sunday at our Sunday school program, she walked forward, received Christ, and got baptized. I thought for sure now I finally had the Christian home I’d dreamed about. I was wrong.

My parents didn’t start attending church, or praying, or doing anything different than they had been doing. That Easter, my mom got mad at the church and took us out of the school, and out of the church. That was on April 5, 1999. One month later, on Wednesday, May 5, 1999, in answer to an unspoken prayer, we were back in church for the first time. My parents would not allow us to go back to the school, but we were back in church, and at the time, that was all I cared about.

At school, I began to sidetrack myself. I became part of the “popular crowd.” I was highly involved in the music program and extra-curricular activities. God gave me a talent that I was just beginning to discover, and with the help of my orchestra teacher, I was well on my way to several music schools across the nation. In 10th grade, I was in two orchestras and choir, as well as writing my own music on the side. God’s plans for me were getting in my way, so I decided to stop going to church because I couldn’t go to church and be in God’s will, and pursue my own dreams as well.

For three months, I chased my own dreams. A scholarship to Berklee School of music snagged me. At the age of 16, I became the youngest ever to receive a full-ridden scholarship to Berklee. However, Halloween 2000, God knocked me flat on my face in a hospital bed with the only person I could look to being Christ. Out of school for a month, I returned to school amidst rumors and stories of why I was gone. Two days after returning to CM Russell High School, I went back to my church’s school.

It’s been almost two years since then, and still, Satan has tried his hardest to move me. I work in many of my church’s ministries now, including the bus ministry and the rest homes. My parents still do not attend church and have decided to again take my brother and sister out of Heritage Baptist School. They also still believe that I’ve been brainwashed by a cult. My mom believes I belong on Broadway. Many times, he has used my past to influence the decisions I make now. However, God has given me great opportunities and talents that I know now can only be used for him. I may not be able to do something great for Him, but I owe as much to Him for allowing me the talents He has given me, to give them back to Him. Therefore, in August of this year, I will be attending Hyles-Anderson College. My hope and prayer is that God will do something with me, or with my future husband: that God will allow me to be a part of some great work somewhere, whether it’s here or across the sea as a pastor’s wife, missionary’s wife, deacon’s wife, or layman’s wife.

Here is a poem Kristina wrote which she has allowed me to share as well, entitled “The Lighthouse”:

I never asked to be a lighthouse
Nor to be a shining star
I haven't asked to be the moon
Because it's just too far
But if I can be one tiny ray
Of sunshine for a soul
Who's tossed and turned upon life's sea
Lord, let this be my goal:
To show Your love in all I do
In everything I say
For I may be the only "Jesus"
They see along their way.
Help me face each trial
With courage, hope, and love
And help me to remember
You're watching from above.
I see my journey's ending
My races have been run
But there are others after me
Whose journey's just begun.
They will need the hope You give
And Your gentle care
They will need to lean on You
To know You're always there
But who will show them all these things
'Cause no one else can know
Unless they've fought the battles
And received the scars to show.
Lord, let me be that light for them
Because (through You) I know the way.
Grant me the years to touch these souls
My Jesus, this only I pray.

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The Testimony of Rebecca Moore

RebeccaThe following is the testimony of my dear friend Rebecca Moore, which she has shared with me so that I might share it with all of you.

Well, for a long time I thought that I was saved. I looked and acted just like a Christian. I read my Bible everyday, prayed everyday, went to church every Sunday and Wednesday, went to revivals, attended as many church activities as possible, went on visitation, sang at nursing homes, and helped with the van ministry. I would’ve done anything if I thought it was pleasing to God.

I didn’t write all that to brag on myself but to let those of you who think you can get to Heaven by works: you can’t. I have done plenty of good deeds, but none of that meant that I was saved. Yes, I had a strong desire to serve God. I was even planning on going to a Christian college and becoming a missionary. However, not even my desire to serve God meant that I was going to Heaven.

I had the desire to serve God put in me as a little kid. My grandpa was a preacher and I went to his church as I was growing up. Him, my parents, and other people in that church taught me to want to serve God. Just because I loved God, though, did not mean that I was saved.

I had my doubts for a long time whether or not I was saved. I’ve heard my pastor say many times, “How can something as big as God be in you and you not know it?” Well, I didn’t know it. You may say, “Why didn’t you do anything about it?” I didn’t because I knew there was nothing that I could do until the Holy Ghost started convicting me. You can’t become saved anytime you want; the Holy Ghost has to draw you (“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:” John 6:44). The only thing I thought to do was to pray and say to God, “If I’m lost, show me.

Well, about six or more months had went by and I started giving up. I thought that since God hadn’t given me an answer that He just didn’t want me. I did the only thing I knew to do: I quit looking for the answer. I gave up completely. I didn’t care about anything anymore. I started telling myself that religion and Christianity are fake and that God couldn’t be real because He never showed me if I was really saved.

Deep in my heart, though, I knew He was real. I’d get scared when the thought entered my mind that He wasn’t because I knew He was; I was scared of not believing in Him.I stopped looking for God, but He started looking for me. He knew that I had given up; He wanted me that way. If He’d drawn me before I was defeated, I more than likely wouldn’t have listened because I would’ve tried to do things my own way.

Well, it was on a Friday (August 10, 2001), that God chose to knock on my heart’s door. The worst thing I believe in this world is to be lost and know it. It’ll scare you to death. We had camp meeting all that week and there had been various messages preached on hell but through them all I didn’t feel a thing. Like I said, I had given up and didn’t expect an answer anymore.

Well, that Friday morning we had some guest singers go up and sing a few songs. It was about the middle of the second song that I saw my sister Jennifer go up to the altar. I knew that she had doubted her salvation as well, so I went up to pray for her. I don’t even know why I did it because I knew that God couldn’t hear the prayers of the lost but I knew that I had to go up there. I no sooner hit the altar about ready to pray for my sister when I heard a voice say, “What about you? Are you saved?” It was such a small voice, but I knew it was God and I wasn’t saved.

My mom was on one side of my sister while Preacher’s wife was on the other side praying with her. I managed somehow to get my mom’s attention and she came over to me. I told her that I knew I wasn’t saved and that I wasn’t leaving the altar until I knew without a doubt that I was. My mom read me some verses and I just started crying. I had read those very same verse so many times, yet they meant so much more to me then.

I prayed to Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to come into my heart and save me. For some reason, I was expecting a big change right then or a big thing to happen. It didn’t happen like I thought; instead, I got such a peace in my heart right then I couldn’t even begin to explain. I wish I could explain it… How I felt right then… Oh, what a peace! I then knew without a doubt that I was saved. I don’t worry about things I used to anymore, and it now doesn’t feel like my prayers are just hitting the ceiling. I now know that God hears me! There just isn’t anything like being saved, and I thank God for not giving up on me!

I know that for almost 18 years that I could’ve died at any time and I would’ve went to a devil’s hell. Thank God that He didn’t give up on me when I gave up on Him! Now that’s a merciful God!

I’m also very grateful that He saved my Aunt Dyan and my sister that same morning; Rick, one of my best friends, later that night; and Rick’s mom Saturday night! A week later (August 17), the Lord blessed me again by allowing me to lead Sarah, another one of my best friends, to Christ! God has really been good to me, and He will to anyone who will accept Him. He wants to bless people if they’ll let Him.

As for right now, I still plan to attend Heritage Baptist University, but I’m not sure what God will have me to do with my life yet. No matter what it is, though, I’ll do it if He wants me to! I think the next best thing to being saved is to be serving the One who saved me, and whatever He calls me to do, I pray that I’ll do it. My worst fear is that I’d backslide so far or be so rebellious that I couldn’t be used of God — that He’d just put me on a shelf. I never want that to happen. I hope that whoever reads this will pray me to find God’s will for my life. That’s the only thing that matters in life is God and what He’d have you to do. Nothing else in this world is going to amount to anything.

I know people don’t hear many teenagers say this, but I’m looking forward to the Rapture (if God doesn’t call me home before then). I can’t wait to be with Him in Heaven, my true home! I have a grandpa up there waiting on me… He preached on Heaven all those years, and now he’s finally there. I can’t wait to see him again! I especially can’t wait to see Jesus!!

I pray that whoever might be reading this that you’ll ask yourself these questions: “Do you have loved ones up in Heaven? Will you ever see them again?” Maybe you don’t know if you have loved ones in Heaven. Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard about salvation. If it is, I pray that you will become saved before it’s everlasting too late, and if you want to know more about it or you want to talk to me about it, you can (I’m more than happy to help you)! If you ever feel God knocking at your heart’s door, please don’t shove God away — it might be your last chance. I thank you for reading my testimony, and I pray that it has been a blessing to you. God bless you!

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5, King James Version

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