Hello, everyone. My name is Chad, I’m the main blogger here at Eternal Disciple. I’ve been a follower of Jesus since July 1, 2000. It’s been a bumpy ride, to say the least, and I’ll share that journey through the many articles and pages found on this website. But let me start by sharing my personal testimony.
Everyone has a story. And this is mine. This is the story of how I came to a REAL relationship with God, through Jesus. And to all who have helped, led, encouraged, and challenged me over the years, I humbly say…thank you.
I grew up in a good home. A God-believing home, though we never went to church. I remember being taught to always pray before going to bed, (“Now I lay me down to sleep…”) to try and keep the 10 commandments, and that God knows “my every thought.” I guess for as long as I can remember I have never doubted the existence of God and have always believed that He had a Son named Jesus who died for my sins.
But believing that for acknowledgment sake and believing that to the point of allowing it to change my life were two totally different things. I remember in high school I was trying to debate the accuracy of the Bible and I had never even read it. It was just an all out respect for God. Something that He gave me and my parents had gently watered a bit.
I was far from the perfect child. I had issues with stealing, lying, and I despised most of my classmates and stopped at nothing to frame them into trouble.
I was very selfish and very naive. I believed that I would never get caught. The truth is, I always got caught. And my dad would bring me back to the giant coffee table sized Bible that we had in our home. He would open up the book of Exodus and show me how God commands that we don’t steal, lie, etc.
I even went to the point of scratching profanity into the hood of my parent’s car to watch the neighbor kids get into trouble. After being caught my dad threatened to take me to the juvenile detention center. He said, “maybe it’s time you need to see what it’s like to be walking down the halls of juvenile hall”. We never really went, but he had me in the car and on the way. At my age, even the thought of it was enough to scare me senseless.
Nonetheless, I cherish those moments. They were major character builders for me. We finally changed school districts and I was removed from the kids I hated. I still have amends to make with some of them to this day.
Changing schools certainly helped get me on a better path. All of sudden I had friends and was even a little popular with girls. In 7th grade, I actually met who is now my wife Tiffany. Although that is a story perhaps for a different time I can say this: I know with absolute certainty that God placed her in my life. She has stood by me in all of my years of evil, darkness, and sin. She’s a precious jewel and an amazing woman and I am forever thankful for her. No other woman would put up with the things I’ve done.
A woman named Ruth
When I was 16 I got my first car and the job to pay for it. I began working at a local department store where I met the woman who got me started on my journey. Her name is Ruth.
Anyway, she was upset one evening and was telling me about her son who had gotten into a lot of trouble. Above all else, she was worried about his salvation.
“What in the world is salvation?” I wondered.
Then she was talking about an old family member of hers who was on their deathbed. She was talking with this person and they had told her not to worry because they were “saved”.
“Saved? What does that mean?”
Then she explained that this person had asked Jesus Christ to come into their heart and save them. And that in doing so they wouldn’t go to Hell.
So I decided that I wanted that too! I didn’t want to go to Hell! So that night, I went home and prayed my version of “the sinner’s prayer”. And then the next night, and the next night, and the next night. You know, just in case Jesus didn’t hear me the first time. I remember being overjoyed in saying that prayer. But yet, nothing changed in my life. Perhaps there was more to it than just a prayer?
My family is very tradition oriented. Every Easter we would go over to my grandparent’s house and my grandfather would go and hide eggs. He should have won awards for how hard his eggs were to find!
After the egg hunt, it was time to redeem the prizes. Over there, you had your standard goodies (candy, a small amount of money, etc), but there were always some nicer toys that my grandmother would bring to us after the hunt. (Kites, other toys, etc.) Well one year, they had said that this year my grandfather had something “extra special” to give us. I’m thinking, “Big toy this year, or a load of cash!” Well once again I was wrong, but I’m so thankful that I was. That was the day I received my most cherished earthly possession to date. My very first bible. When I first got it, I thought, “wow this is really cool and looks great sitting on top of my dresser.”
My grandfather became terminally ill. When he was still able to get up and around he had one request of the family and that was that we all visit a church with him. He had been attending a church and fell in love the people and the pastor. This pastor was being called out of state into another ministry. But he wanted that pastor to do his funeral for him and for us to meet him. So, we went. A few months later my grandfather passed away.
The pastor he wanted to do his funeral was unavailable at the time, but we had met the new pastor of the church that my grandfather invited us to visit. He was an amazing pastor who was a great fit for the funeral. We started attending that church regularly, although, to be honest, I wasn’t all that thrilled to be there most of the time.
The first spark
June 30th, 2000. My parents had made the decision to get baptized the next day. I wasn’t down with that yet. I didn’t think I was ready. However, that night I had a very vivid dream. The rapture had taken place and God had a bowl with names in it of those were to be raptured away. My name was one of the last names to be taken.
I, of course, woke up before I got to see what happened. But that stirred something in me. I decided I wanted to be baptized that next day with my parents. My sister joined as well.
So, on July 1, 2000, I confessed Jesus as my Savior and was baptized with my family.
Something was different after that day. It wasn’t like the times I prayed the prayer. Something had changed, but I didn’t know what, just yet, and had no clue what discipleship or obedience was, yet. Maybe if I had gone to church a little more and actually paid attention I would have saved myself a LOT of trouble and issues.
My first meeting with the Holy Spirit
Before I get too far ahead of myself. During all of this: I’m working in a factory, cursing like a sailor, lusting and addicted to pornography, in a secular “dark, but not evil” metal band, drinking, partying, I’m a compulsive liar, I would go out of my way to provoke people and stir up trouble, most of my co-workers hated me, and I didn’t care about anyone or anything other than myself. I was the most selfish person I knew and didn’t bat an eye to the way I was living.
One night while working in the factory, with the ability to out cuss anyone, I got angry over something stupid and took God’s name in vain. At that very moment, I discovered my new friend. The Holy Spirit! He brought me to a broken state I had never felt before. It was all I could do not to drop to my knees and weep right there on the assembly line.
I repented and took a vow to never deliberately take His name in vain again. While I have fallen short in every other area of my life, that moment had such a profound impact on me that I have never forgotten it and have kept my word.
At the moment of my baptism, I decided to enter a new era of my life, I didn’t want to faithfully attend church and have people tell me what I could or couldn’t do. I’m going to be what I called a “modern day Christian.” I even had friends from work cheering on this new “version” of Christianity that I had “discovered”.
Modern day Christian – n. A Christian who doesn’t have to read the bible, doesn’t have to go to church, doesn’t have to listen to sermons, ignores any kind of accountability, just “believes” and everything will be okay in the end. All of that stuff is for the older generations, anyway. This person uses John 3:16 to explain away everything that person does and lives carefree with no rules or boundaries.
My sister at that time was 100% on fire for the Lord. She was in youth group, reading her bible, trying to show me of my poor music choices, etc. While she doesn’t realize this today, she had a huge impact on my life. I remember seeing that fire and watching from a distance, yet I still didn’t want anything to do with it. I couldn’t stand church. I hated singing the hymns (I was a metal head), the getting up early on Sundays, you name it. I used every excuse in the book. So I rebelled. I can remember one night the secular band I was in had recorded a new song filled with profanity and evil, I couldn’t wait to bring it home to her so she could hear it. What a wretched man I was.
What about a “Christian” rock band?
I was in this band with a man who has been my best friend since 1999. This man’s name is Douglas. Now at the time of this band, he was not saved. Not even close, very evil, very lost.
But during the later stages of this band, he became saved. I mean REALLY became saved. Not like what I thought being saved was. Certainly not my “modern day Christian”, nonsense. But he became saved to the point of conforming his life to God’s Word. He was going to church. He was serving. He was changing before my very eyes. “What in the world is going on here?” Eventually, it got to a point where God convicted him of being in the band. So he left. I stayed for several months longer until the other guitar player quit. So once the band was finished I was sitting around wondering what I was going to do next. I had an offer to join the guitar player and go out on tour with the new band he was in.
I almost accepted the offer. To this day, I really don’t know what exactly kept me from joining that band. But I do know Who kept me from it. And I’m forever grateful because my wife and I have talked about where I would be today had God not intervened. With the road I was on at that time I would probably be single, a drug addict and nowhere near a church, and probably dead.
But, Douglas calls me up one night after a failed Christian band experience of his own and asks me “How would you like to start a Christian Rock band?” My heart leaped at the idea of it. “Absolutely” was my response. Yet I didn’t know exactly why. I just knew deep down that it was the right choice. That decision was a turning point for me and birthed the beginning of my REAL relationship with God. The name of the band was Driven Beyond and God used it for a few years to reach the youth in my hometown area.
Now, it wasn’t the music that changed me. It was the fellowship. We had decided to start doing a bible study together. I remember dusting off the bible that my Grandfather had given me and Douglas saying:
“Let’s start in the Gospels”. (What in the world is a Gospel?)
“Matthew” (Where in the world is Matthew? Who in the world is Matthew?)
So, the conviction set in that I needed to start reading. And so I read and read… I read the entire New Testament in a matter of a few short months.
My life began to change. I began to see how wrong I had been living and how I needed to repent of many things. If I was going to call myself a “Christian”, I needed to start actually BEING a Christian. I began to love the church. I began to love God’s people and had an overwhelming desire to serve God in any way that I could.
I’ve been deeply involved with many different churches and various denominations over the years within my local community. God has blessed me with a variety of different roles and helped me grow me every step of the way. I’ve grown in my relationship with Him and other believers over the years and have developed a deep love and respect for His Word and a strong passion for teaching, preaching, counseling and leading.
I’ve been happily married to my high school sweetheart since 2003 and just this past year we were finally blessed with our first child after years of being told it would never happen. But nothing is impossible for God.
I leave you with this. There is no such thing as a “modern day Christian”, at least in the way that I was using the term. I was a mess and it took many years for God to clean me up.
But here’s the deal. I’ve come to Him, I’ve rebelled, and I’ve come to Him again and again. I’m doing better than I have in the past but I’m still just a filthy sinner, saved by His love and grace. In my mind, I’m the true prodigal son, who’s left the family by my actions and choices many times and I’m done leaving. I’ve finally come home to stay and He’s a good, good Father who had every right to turn me away…yet didn’t.
Jesus tells us to come to Him as we are. Weary and heavy burdened. He will give us rest. You cannot clean yourself up before you come to Jesus. He wants you to come to Him now. While you are still filthy, wretched, and hurting. Just as I was and still am. I just try so much harder to live as He wants me to live because I love Him. Praise Jesus Christ for dying for us so that we can have a relationship with Him for all eternity. Amen.
The purpose of this website
In June of 2016, I discovered a passion for writing and blogging. That came as a huge surprise because I barely scraped by in my English and reading classes in high school. And I wouldn’t have made it through without the help of my wife and “borrowing” her homework.
I believe that God has lead me to share His word with people who are searching in the online world. I’m passionate about bible study, devotions, tools, books and resources, and finding simple ways to apply His word to our lives in this crazy and chaotic world that we live in.
A few months ago, I discovered something called minimalism. Now, my wife and I are in the process of simplifying our lives and getting rid of all of the clutter that gets in the way of our values and especially our walk with Jesus.
I will be sharing that journey with you as well.
The bottom line is that we all need His simple, uncomplicated truth now, more than ever. Jesus told His disciples:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
~ Matthew 28:18-20 ~
That wasn’t just for the 11 men who were standing there that day. That goes for all who call ourselves a follower of Jesus.
Don’t just read my words on these pages. Interact, comment, share and tell others to do the same. We are all called to follow, to grow and to lead by example.
Someone in your life needs to know about Jesus, and it’s not about preaching at people. It’s about sharing simple and timeless information that people can relate to. Like my messed up story above, there are people in your life that are just as messed up as I was. But, God never gave up on me and He wants to use us to reach those who are hurting.
Thank you for visiting this website. I pray that you find better ways to grow in your eternal relationship with Jesus.
Thank you for reading,