Today we had two services that revolved around the GOSPEL. The day was spent thinking of Christ. His death. His resurrection. His grace and mercy poured out on us at Calvary. A day of true worship of our amazing God.
The highlight of the day was a testimony shared in our Sunday night service. A friend of ours who has been coming to the church for the last two years. He has an amazing testimony and I was in tears again as he shared it in our service tonight. I want to share some of it with you (with permission).
Brian was born as one of a set of identical twins. As a toddler his grandmother tried to share with him Jesus. She would talk about Jesus and even took him to church as a little boy. She was planting a seed. As Brian grew older him and his brother were inseparable. His mom even said as long as they had each other they didn’t even need her to be there.
As he grew older he started to get into a little trouble here and there with friends. However, soon the little things like smoking a little pot, and cutting school became bigger things, and then bigger things. Eventually, Brian became a hard core addict. He started to sell drugs in order to get more money to do drugs. By this time Brian had three kids. Being a father didn’t change his lifestyle. He felt guilty for what he was doing with his life. While laying awake at night he would remember the things he learned about God as a child. But, he thought church and God were for good people. Not him. Never him.
One day he went to see his brother (who was also on drugs). He saw his brother was at rock bottom. So, he took his brother in. However, a few weeks later, his two youngest children found his brother dead in Brian’s bread. He died of a drug overdose. At this point Brian hit rock bottom. He decided life was not worth living himself. He took some pills and laid down to die. Thankfully, his oldest daughter found him before it was too late and ran down the block to get a neighbor to help her. God saved his life that night.
Unfortunately the story has to get a little worse before it can get better. Brian lost his children to Child Protective Services. He lost his house, his income, and began living on the street. He was basically living as an animal. Eating out of garbage cans, sleeping where he could. Scrounging enough money for his next fix. He took his car and rode out of Philly. He pulled over to a beat up motel and decided to rent a room for the night with the little money he had. He realized he had no ID on him so he paid a man a few dollars to rent a room for him. When the man came out with the key card he handed it to Brian. Little did he know that the motel was a hub of drug deals and prostitution. It was being cased by cops. So, when the cops spotted a black man handing a key card to Brian (a white man) at a motel with a car that was from out of state, they thought they just saw a drug deal go down. Of course, Brian’s thinking, of all the illegal activity he has ever done now (when he wasn’t doing anything illegal) he would get inspected by cops. The cops searched his car and found some illegal substances. They arrested Brian on the spot.
Brian spent a few months in jail and it was there that his life would change forever. His head was finally clear to think. God brought an evangelist to share the gospel with Brian. He again remembered his childhood and realized he knew about Jesus but had never accepted Him for himself. He gave his life over to Christ and was never the same again.
Once he got out he found a job, got a house, and got his children back.God provided in special ways. One day when trying to get his kids back he was told he could have his youngest two kids back once he moved into a 3 bedroom house. Brian was currently in a two bedroom. He needed 3 bedrooms because he had a boy and girl and they couldn’t share a room. He began to pray that the Lord would provide. After a week he got a phone call from a case worker who informed him that his government housing came through and that he could move into his 3 bedroom house at any time. He doesn’t remember ever filling out any paperwork for government housing. God provided a house.
God worked all those circumstances to bring Brian to salvation. He was working all things for good and is still working for Brian’s good and God’s glory. We have had the opportunity to spend some time with Brian’s two youngest kids. They come over about 3 times a week after school since Brian works 2nd shift and can’t be there. It is so great to see how God has put this family together again. He ended his testimony with this statement, “I’m not the man I want to be yet, but by God’s grace I’m not the man I was.”
God is still in the business of changing lives. If I was reading this I would think I was reading a script you would see for a Hollywood movie, or a fictional book, but all of this is true. God can take any life and change it. He can use anyone to bring Himself the glory He rightly deserves. Thank God for the Gospel. Thank God that He saved Brian and that He saved me.
I hope you enjoy and that this is encouraging to you as you read it. I hope to have more Trophies of Grace stories to share with you. Our church is full of them. I just have to get their permission. But I love working here in the inner city. There is never a shortage of the Amazing Grace of God being shown in the lives of His believers.