The Church in Pullman


TESTIMONIES

A Real Touch with the Lord and the Church

I grew up in a Christian family, received the Lord when I was eight, and heard a lot about God and Jesus Christ and Godís purpose. But until I was about sixteen or seventeen years of age these were just words to me. Sure, I believed what I was taught; but I didnít really experience anything or understand much in a personal way. My Dad always told me that no matter how much he talked about Jesus Christ and taught me things from the Bible, I still needed to come in contact with God in Christ in a real and personal way. I didnít really understand this at that time, and as I was growing up things around meómy friends at school, mainlyóstarted drawing me to other things. I started to make a name for myself at school. I was the short kid that always got in fights and hung around with the tough ďstonersĒ (these were guys that listened to Heavy Metal music and took drugs). I was really starting to go downhill.

At fifteen, I ran away from home and left a note to my parents saying ďyou said if I wanted the world then to go and get it. Well, Iím going to get it.Ē I got kicked out of a couple of friendsí houses and then eventually a friendís mom said I could stay with them. My mom was ready to call the police the moment I left, but my dad wouldnít let her. I was smart enough to continue going to school, although I think I made Fís and Dís. I was gone for about 4 months. The interesting thing was that unlike a lot of kids who leave home because their parents are mean or are abusing them and so on, my parents were actually very good to me and my brothers and sisters. I just didnít want to hear so much about God and I didnít like the restrictions put on me. I wanted to ďpartyĒ with my friends and have an image at school. Then one day my friend and I were talking in his room and he brought up the subject of God because he was in the same predicament as I was. I didnít know how to answer him, so I went and saw my dad. My dad took me out for coffee and helped me to understand some things. I would go back and tell my friend and then my friend would have some other questions that I didnít know how to answer and so I would go back to my dad and he would help me again. This and some other circumstances helped me to come back home. My friend was helped and did believe in the Lord Jesus. This was a beginning for me.

After that I had a lot of questions and I wasnít concerned so much with my old friends; I even dropped out of school. Although that may not sound so good, because of the image that I had made for myself and the influence on me, it was probably the best thing I could have done. I went to work full-time and started going out to restaurants with my dad for coffee and reading the Bible with him. Something was beginning to change within me, but I still remembered my dad telling me that I need to touch the Lord Jesus in a personal way, not just in a doctrinal way. One night I went out about midnight and took a walk. I stopped under a bridge and climbed up it until I was just under the freeway. I sat down and started calling on the name of the Lord as it says in Romans 10:9-13 in the Bible. As I called, tears came running down my face and I called louder. At that time, though I had known that there was a God, I came in contact with Him. From that moment no one could tell me that there was no God, for I had met Him.

After this, although I was still reading the Bible, I started to slip back into the world, though not as I had before. When I was seventeen, I met my wife who was not a believer in Jesus Christ. I realized that if we were to get married and have two different views our marriage wouldnít last, so I started to speak with her about Jesus, and eventually she wanted to experience Him also. She was saved by calling on the name of the Lord about three months after we met. About five months later we married, and three months after that followed my parents to move to Moscow, Idaho. Up to this point I knew there was a God and that I could experience Him in a real way by calling on His name and talking with Him, but I didnít really know what Godís purpose was with me on earth. When I was about nineteen, I met a brother who loved the Lord and seemed concerned for me. He would visit me and bring me to some meetings with other Christians where we would sing together and fellowship together. I was slowly starting to realize that Godís purpose wasnít just to save me from my sins and enter into me as my life, but that I also needed to be built up in a spiritual way with other Christians. Godís purpose is with the Church, which is just an enlargement of Himself (Ephesians 1:22-23). I also realized that the Church wasnít a building where believers went. Nor was it just a kind of a group of people who had the same doctrine such as the Presbyterian, the Baptists, and so on. Nor was it based upon the name of spiritual leaders in history such as the Lutherans (Martin Luther) or the Wesleyans (John Wesley). These are just divisions people meeting according to their likes and dislikes. Although to our minds this doesnít seem like anything bad, according to Godís mind it is. He wants all his believers to be joined together in unity, based not on personal likes or preferences, nor as a social thing, but based upon His life within them, so that He can have a corporate expression on this earth. I really started to see this purpose of God when I was invited on a college spring break tour with about fifteen Christian college students through Idaho, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington. We stopped and visited the Christians meeting as the local church in each of the cities we stopped at. It was during this time that the Lord gave me a vision of Christ and the Church, and the practical way to meet as the church in each locality. In every church we visited I was clear that the believers were all the same, having the same life within them, and expressing the same Christ. May the Lord continue to grow within me and build me up with the other members of His Body so that He may have His heartís desire on the earth today.

James Kennedy

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