Tell Us Your Story: Larry Anspach

Tell Us Your Story: Larry Anspach

March 8, 2021 | Matthew Morken

Transcription

Matthew Morken

Well hey my name is Matthew. I'm a pastor on the adult ministry team and I'm here with Larry Ansbach. And Larry is just going to share his story with us and it's a good one so I would love to have you listen along with us. Larry what has God been doing in your life?


Larry Ansbach

Well maybe the best place to start is at the beginning share a little bit with you about how I came to know Jesus and to be honest with you it's been kind of a long and kind of a rough road. So let me start out by saying that I went to church and attended church on a regular basis for almost twenty years before I actually came to accept Jesus as my savior. And that may sound odd to some people I know different testimonies will happen you know conversions and stuff like that happen in different ways but it's just kind of the way it rolled out for me and maybe I can trace that back to my childhood. The family that I grew up in — I guess you would call them kind of an unchurched family. And what I mean by that is not that they didn't go to church we did go to church on occasion on holidays but church was on Sunday. So at home we never actually talked about Jesus. We never read the Bible. And so I kind of came to look at church as a kid as something that good people did, and that they did it mostly on Sunday so kind of that that narrative in that that approach towards church and towards Jesus really played out through even into my young adult life. I can actually remember my first wife and I decided to attend church on a regular basis because we were gonna adopt a child and we thought it would look good on the adoption application. So that really kind of plays into you know how we view church and you know I attended church again like I said for almost twenty years and then Sylvia, my wife now, and I started to attend a church that was strongly rooted in the Bible. And just they actually had people that went to that church that brought their Bibles with them what a novel idea you know? And so — and they also kind of talked about the sin thing you know and it was, I remember the tagline for that church was “no perfect people allowed”. And that was me at the time. So a lot of struggles throughout those years but really that was the starting point for me when I turned my life over to Jesus. Both Sylvia and I got baptized there just before we got married.


Matthew Morken

Sweet. So what was the decisive moment or I mean again we don't always remember moments and stuff like that but what was surrounding that situation in your life that really brought you to your knees in a sense?


Larry Ansbach

Well to be honest with you that was like I said that was really the starting point and it would take a little while for me to get brought to my knees. You know I knew who I was and I finally started to learn about who Jesus was. But I was still pretty much leaning on my own power and my own strength to get through things. Sylvia and I came from divorces both of us and so we had blended families so we brought our own baggage with us. And right out of the chute after we got married we faced some really tough tough struggles. My stepson was diagnosed with a neurological disease that resulted in some pretty significant disabilities. We had to spend three months up at the University of Minnesota when he got a bone marrow transplant — been a lot of stressors on the family. But I think the thing that really really triggered me and took out a different path was my daughter Jennifer. Jennifer had struggled with depression for quite a few years as a teenager and then decided to take her life in 2008 and that just completely crushed me. And even though I can say that I was a Christian at the time, I will tell you I did not respond really out of my Christian faith — just reach reached real real dark spot in my life turned to some addictions turned to alcohol and just things got really really messy for quite a long time. But that was also the first time that I found the courage to walk through the doors of the church not for worship in the morning but for recovery. And that's really the pivotal point in my life in terms of my discipleship.


Matthew Morken

And those are some really hard serious paths I mean even considering those hardships and just — what have you seen Jesus do in the years since then? And if we can contain it here to a few minutes.


Larry Ansbach

[Laughter] Do you have another hour? [Laughter] It really is pretty amazing, and it was a process — it was a work in process. It's not like I didn't continue to have struggles or that we didn't continue maybe to respond in the wrong ways, but increasingly I got comfortable with who I was. I didn't feel like I had to prove myself to other people. And I looked at myself differently I looked at the brokenness of the world differently. Even looked at my own sin differently. And through others actually through their testimony I saw amazing stories of people who were just utterly you know just crushed that were able to come back to life and restore their families and things and I became one of those stories in all honesty things —


Matthew Morken 

Praise God.


Larry Ansbach

Yeah. Praise God. Things really did change. I went from being a participant in recovery to being a co-leader in recovery and I've just I've just enjoyed serving in that capacity since then.


Matthew Morken

So you serve with us regularly now. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how even to this day — I mean one of the things I love about Larry and his wife Sylvia who isn't here right now but is just your continued growth. So how have you seen God like in the last two years working in you?


Larry Ansbach

It's even hard to describe that. The one thing that STEPS has made clear to me is that you know our salvation and the work of God in us is not a one and done thing. I've been through STEPS what now five times and every time I go through it I learn something new — and I think that's because and this is this is super important to me is that STEPS is rooted in the Gospel. Okay? And once I started getting that perspective even as I looked at the Bible even the Bible itself started to sink together, things lined up. It wasn't like we had an old testament and the New Testament that kind of informed each other and I saw this now as a bigger picture of God's people and the story of how he interacted with them and how we interact with him. And so that all those stories of redemption I would call them stories where people discover themselves off track and they come to a point where where they can confess and go through just kind of self-examination and confession and repentance and ultimately reconciliation. And we've seen that — it's just happened to us time and time. My wife our marriage right now is as strong as it's ever been. And so yeah I'm I'm in a pretty sweet spot right now.


Matthew Morken

That's great. Well thanks Larry so much for sharing a little bit of your story with us and a lot of hard times, but God's been faithful and we love hearing his testimony in you.


Larry Ansbach

Thanks.


Matthew Morken

We appreciate you.


Larry Ansbach

I've been happy to share things.


Matthew Morken

Biblical Counseling Leader (Pastor)