Jake Each Welcome. This is tell us your story and I'm here with Matt Thede a good buddy of mine. Matt is an elder here. Matt has been a worship leader here. Matt and I go on fishing trips together. So this is just a good time to sit down for you to get to know Matt a little bit and hear his story and we'll try not to ramble on too long.
Matt Thede Is that a reminder for me?
Jake Each It’s a reminder for both of us whenever we get together. But tell us how did you become a follower of Jesus?
Matt Thede Yeah that's a really good question. You know God put a hunger in my heart. I remember when I was in high school and my aunt would and my grandma my step grandma actually and she would tell me that you're so blessed and my aunt well you know I had this desire to go to church with her every time we were up there at Christmas. I loved going to Aunt Cathy's church and and there was just something inside of me and I didn't quite grasp the gospel or the good news I just knew was the right thing to do to go to church and so fast forward high school years later high school years I remember asking God for forgiveness not sure exactly what that meant, had heard of Jesus but didn't know who he was hadn't put everything together and really parents hadn't let out in that way. And so I get to college and an interest in in ladies you know comes with any secular male and college you know and I remember I was I really liked this girl and I'd find myself she told me she liked me as a friend.
Jake Each Oh you were in the friend zone?
Matt Thede Yes the friend zone and I remember though going over and just hanging out just a good group of people and and they talk to me about church and going to church and I started asking questions about that and I remember just sitting out in the hall and asking questions about what that meant and things started to get more clear as as I asked more questions. And it really started embarrassingly a homecoming morning that was really cold. God made it rain God made it cold we started drinking. They canceled the parade. I was on the baseball team and we were going to march in the parade and and like I said we had started drinking really early in the morning. And this girl said Hey do you want to come to the main event at UNI an event put on by the Navigators and college ministry and you know we had stopped drinking that morning because there was no parade for homecoming because the rain. And I said sure. My parents had actually come up for the night to actually go to the bars with all of my friends and everything that night and I ditched them all went to the main event at UNI and I heard a guy preach the gospel. I remember going in there with this girl. She went with her friends. I was sitting there by myself at this place and I sat there and I thought there's a thousand people in this room and this guy speaking to me and he clearly explained who Jesus was and he started naming off sins and I'm like Yeah that's me yeah that's me that's me. And like I was like well what's the answer. Tell me what the answer is if you're a name off all these things and he talked about the divide that sin caused and he talked about the solution of knowing who Jesus was and the forgiveness that was there. And that was I remember I said I'm in. I am I'm all in. And I remember falling on my knees and I got angry that I felt like nobody had shared that with me before. And and then in tears then the tears came and then I felt actually like four of my friends that were there and on the baseball team and I prayed for the first time with somebody there that night and I experienced forgiveness didn't even see the girl that night but end up telling them about the next day and my roommate wondered what happened to me I made a 180 change and my mom thought I was in a cult and it all came with the good news of knowing who Jesus was and that was a night I will never forget 1998 October 10th.
Jake Each So what difference has following Jesus made in your life?
Matt Thede Yeah. Well immediate changes were I mean it were like Yeah no Wednesdays and Saturdays at the bar. It was you know hanging out with friends and telling them you know and being a listening ear to them you know when they wanted to talk about things and being willing to share. But the difference it made is the lens by which I approach life. You know my parents shortly after I started going to church and my sister and people had an understanding I had several conversations about who Jesus was and but the lens by which I viewed life you know completely changed. You know so Jesus was the filter now by everything by which I approach that life and anything from you know praying before baseball games and using baseball. The purpose wasn't baseball anymore. The purpose was sharing Jesus through the lens you know through baseball. And so so God in Christ became the lens by which I did everything by which I you know selected a you know try to find a wife you know so my wife Jess you know is a strong believer you. And I think one of the differences is you think back to it is not only in the life of you and your wife but, but now my kids and now the people that I'm you know in authority over like at school or on my friends and you know any groups I'm a part of it's just the lens by which we do things and it's the commonality by which you know we do everything that we do. You know we go to the Boundary Waters together we talk about God, you know we at home you know we talk about God. You know we it's the lens by which we do all of that stuff. And this morning you know just even taking communion. My oldest son. You know to see him. He said Dad I want to take communion this morning and so we always ask him first. And he's like you I want to take communion and normally we pray together and Jess is like she looked at me and said should we grab Maddox and pray and we look over there and he's got his head down and he's praying and he is he knows what it means to take communion what he's supposed to do before take taking and he knows what the body and the blood stand for and just tears welled up just because that is the fruit of a life lived for Christ. And you know sharing it with others you know.
Jake Each Yeah. Thanks. Well hopefully you got to know Matt a little bit more. He is such an important part of this church and leadership. And if you're ever alone in a canoe with Matt I guarantee you you're going to end up praying by the end of your canoe ride and he's going to ask you questions about his life your life just because that's who you are. Dear brother dear friend leader in this church. So we love you. Thankful for you. And thanks for sharing your story.
Matt Thede Thanks. Do we hug after this or?