The Word of Their Testimony
Easter Sunday at Missio Dei Church
Revelation 12:11 says "And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death".
Our testimony is a story God has given to us; a weapon to remember His unfailing love and extravagant goodness toward us. It is only through the gospel of Jesus that we can be given a story worth telling, worth fighting for, worth dying for. Our story is only made possible, because Jesus’ story is given to us through faith in Him. It’s His empty grave that enables our empty lives to be filled with His unfailing love.
He is still creating stories today. Will yours be the next one told?
Stories of Jesus’ life changing power.
"Before Christ, my heart was very hard, scared, wary, lonely. I didn't find approval or assurance from home so I sought it elsewhere: people, boys, friends, in how I looked, in my performance. I began seeking my own glory, building my own kingdom. I was seeking for my identity in something that would be praised.
I felt I wasn't good enough and needed to be proven otherwise. Well, that never happened. I'm still not good enough. But I have been made worthy of God's calling and quickening on my life with Christ's infinite, unconditional, free, and freeing love poured out over me, in place of me on the cross. I am free to serve a loving and merciful King.
Christ makes me worthy, fit to be the daughter of the King. That is better than any standing or status here on earth. It is not what I do to earn favor, but what Christ has already done for me. Not by my power, but by the power of God working through me. I am free from the chains of performing for others, from the works of building my own kingdom, from the works that would have lead to my death.
The truth that God chose me, the Father of creation, that Christ died for me, perfect Lord over all and that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me, makes me new. They fill me to make me enough, to make me whole."
“When I look back on the past 27 years of my life it’s impossible to not notice the Lord’s enduring pursuit of me.
At age 15 I started abusing painkillers due to a knee injury I got playing football. By the end of a disappointing high school football career, I had a total of three different knee surgeries and a growing dependence on opiates. By 18 I couldn’t go to school without some form of opiate, which led to me in the last few months of high school trying intravenous heroin, a much cheaper alternative. The next several years consisted of wrecked vehicles, apartment evictions, lost jobs, rehab stays, and many many relationships ruined. Eventually, I started selling drugs to support my habit. In March of 2013 I was set up by someone I was using drugs with and sold heroin to an undercover cop. Six months later a warrant was issued for my arrest and I turned myself in. Selling heroin in the state of Indiana has AA recommended prison sentence of 5-15 years. I sat in the county jail for over a year until I was finally sentenced for my crime. During my time in jail, I saw a lot of very terrible things that I can never forget. I struggled with periods of complete hopelessness, uncertainty, and deep depression. But I also experienced periods of peace and acceptance. I laughed almost every day, something I hadn’t done since my adolescence. Most importantly, I finally stopped running and submitted to God. I realized he put me in this situation to keep me from killing myself with drugs. I began reading my Bible and praying daily and going to Bible study every night I could. For the first time, I was sober and healthy and my mind was clear.
When the day came for me to be sentenced, I was given a gift that not too many drug dealers get. I was court-ordered to City Gospel Mission’s Exodus Program; a year-long Christian rehab program in downtown Cincinnati. Instead of going to an Indiana prison, I graduated from the Exodus program in October of 2015. I stayed in the program for 2 years and eventually was offered a job working for City Gospel Mission. Missio Dei was one of the churches we visited once a month during my first year in Exodus. Pastor Kurt and Justin volunteered to lead a Bible study Wednesday mornings for the Exodus guys. While I was transitioning out of the program I met my wife Aimee, and God just continued to bless me in ways I could have never imagined. The day I moved out of transitional housing I asked her to marry me. Today we’ve been married for two years and have two children, Alexis and Easton.
There is not a day that goes by where I do not think about the life I was delivered from. Since I moved to Cincinnati at least ten people from my hometown have died due to heroin overdoses, but I’ve also been able to help a few get into rehab and get clean. Today I spend all my time with three people who don’t know the old me. My babies will never know their father as an addict or dealer, and I thank God every day for that. All those nights I spent behind bars, in my prayers I’d ask God for two things: a wife and family one day, and my freedom from drugs and prison. He’s given me just that and so much more.”
“As a young teenager, I came to Christ with some rudimentary understanding of the work He did on the cross. I knew Christ was the atonement for my sins. However, during that same time period in my life, I was living in a home filled with abuse at the hands of my father, both towards my mother and us 6 kids.
To flee this abuse, I sought counsel and comfort from a close family friend who claimed to have the same belief in Christ as I did. I was lured by him, and he proceeded to sexually abuse me for a period of 2 weeks during a summer at his family home. I chose to ignore the profound damage of this abuse and just move on with my life. Eventually, I married and started having children. I continued to choose to ignore the abuse and eventually it came back with a vengeance. I began to distance myself from those that loved me and I eventually became a mere shell of a person. Then I had a revelation that if I started swallowing pills all my troubles miraculously seemed to disappear. The past abuse didn't seem to bother me and I felt normal again.
I soon became addicted to painkillers and couldn't stop using. The highs were short lived. The hatred and bitterness that I had towards my abuser, as well as my parents, started to explode and consume me. I started to blame the God who loved me and cleansed me of my sins so many years ago. I hated myself for allowing the abuse to take place. I felt lost and alone. The drug addiction got so bad that eventually, I went away to a 28-day drug rehab center. I did the program and got clean only to pick up a few months later. I eventually lost my job as a result of my relapse, and that day was the last day I used. After a horrible few weeks of going through withdrawals and coping with depression, I decided I needed help and began seeing a Christian therapist.
He helped me work through the truth of genuine, Godly, forgiveness. To forgive those who hurt and abused me but also to forgive myself. It was a long and difficult process and I fought this idea of forgiveness intensely. I didn’t want to forgive anyone, most of all myself. It wasn't until I fully realized the forgiveness that God displayed toward me that I was able to fully forgive myself and the others that had harmed me. I finally clung to the scripture "Forgive one another as God has forgiven you."
Once I was able to display forgiveness, I was free of my bitterness and hatred of myself as well as others. It saddens me that for so long I chose to reject the great truths of what God has done for me and instead to lean on my own so-called wisdom. But by God's grace, I am not longer that person. I am no longer an addict or an abuse victim but I am now a "Child of the One True King.""
Missio Dei Central
Gathering Times • 8:30a, 10:00a, & 11:30a
Missio Dei North
Gathering Time • 10:00a
The Blood of the Lamb
Good Friday at Missio Dei Church
Our conquering of sin and death does not come without Jesus’ sacrifice for sin and death in our place. Join us as we reflect on what it cost for us to become conquerors, for us to be able to be given a new story of life.
Gatherings at Missio Dei Central • 7:00p & 8:30p