What was life like before you met Jesus?
I was raised in the Catholic Church until I was 12 and then my family switched to a Lutheran church. Throughout that time I never remember hearing anyone talk to me about a personal relationship with Jesus and salvation. I went through a very ritualistic relationship with God that did not draw me near to Him or build a desire within me to seek Jesus. I spent my teenage years and throughout my 20's seeking fulfillment through personal relationships, achievements, career, competition and worldly desires. I was never satisfied as they were all temporary. Fortunately, I had family members who were continually praying for me and had planted seeds that would soon take root.
How did you meet Jesus?
I am my father's son. My Dad was a driven man in a worldly sense and I followed in his footsteps seeking a similar path. Not surprisingly, he failed at marriage and in his mid-forties found himself alone and with some counsel, gave his life to Christ as his Savior. He started to mentor me and my young family, sharing his personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the salvation Christ provides. This was the beginning of my desire to explore a relationship with Jesus and seek understanding of what that really means. We started attending a non-denominational church in Cedar Rapids and immediately I knew this was different and there was a sense of peace that washed over me. The more we got engaged, the more my desire grew and in February of 2001, I publicly proclaimed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It was the beginning of a transformation that continues to this day. The scripture that was pivotal for me is 2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal.”
After being saved by Jesus what is your life like now?
When I was first saved I remember feeling a sense of peace that I had never felt before. I had trials and struggles throughout my life and never truly understood that seeking God through Jesus was the only way to have true peace. It took me a while to understand that this did not remove trials and struggles but provided a foundation to weather the storms knowing that He would always be with me. In the end, all things are possible with Christ. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." It wasn't so much that I could do all things – It was knowing that all I do can only be done with Christ. Throughout my life I thought it was up to me - the self-made man accomplishing worldly desires. It made me humble. It was not about me. It was about what God had planned for my life and a desire to glorify Him.