Jack A.

Jack A.

from KS
Story #268
At a very young age I understood that there was so much more to this world than just myself. In my head I knew that there was a creator of the Universe, but in my heart I did not know what that meant. Did he love me? Was I created for a specific purpose? The problem was I didn't have someone who answered these questions, so they just became after thoughts. I did not grow up going to church every Sunday, but I also did not grow up resenting the church. It was simply that my family just didn't go to church, there were no exterior reasons. This really helped my spiritual walk because when I answered those questions that I had for so long I wanted to go to church and learn more about Jesus and what he meant for my life. I made the choice for myself. Of course I wish that I would of grown up going to church, but that was just not my story. My story is something that I hold very close to my heart, it's my personal testimony of how I came to know the Lord. A beautiful love story.

Well, I was going into my senior year of high school and 2 weeks before classes started I decided that I wanted to move schools. The question I had for myself was, " Do I want my high school experience to be average, or do I want something that will change my life forever?" Which later in my life I realized that this is the same question people should ask when debating on whether or not to give their lives to Christ, do I want my life to be full of love, truth, and meaning? Or do I never want to reach my full potential? So, I went with my gut and decided to switch schools. Marantha Academy was it's names and it sure did change my life forever. Immediately I felt an overwhelming love that I had never experienced before. It was like there was a new world that I had never been exposed to, a world that was just waiting for my arrival, similar to how Jesus waits for the arrival of his people. But the real change in my life did not happen right away, yes I was feeling a love that I had never experienced before, but I hadn't found that one friend who was going to walk alongside me. I was not fully committed to God and I wasn't taking away destructive patterns that I had in my life. It took a few months until I met the most christ-like man that I had ever encountered in my life. His name was Zeru Fitsum and he was a man who always strived to know the Lord more and more... and serve his kingdom in anyway he could. Zeru was also looking for that friend who would walk alongside him and be that accountability partner that he needed. He saw me and saw the potential that I had, and he was one of the first person's to ever share the gospel with me. Zeru cared about my walk as much as he cared about his own, which is so special and so so rare in this world. Instantly Christ formed this bond between us that could never be broken. The passion that I saw in Zeru was what sparked a fire in my soul to get to know Jesus more. And the most important part was that Zeru answered those questions that I had sitting inside me for so long. He taught me about the love that Jesus has for his children and he showed me the purpose that I have in life, which is to bring others to the amazing realization that Christ is present, he is alive and we can have a PERSONAL relationship with him. I began to form a PERSONAL relationship with christ and he became my best friend. Something that I never knew was possible. After all of this realization I wanted to go to church and learn more and more. I was on fire for God and was chasing after him with all of my heart. I came to a point of awakening, and it was time for me to take away destructive patterns in my life and add new life-giving patterns that will help the personal relationship grow. This is where the change happened. When I decided to let go of what I was holding onto and let God take over. I knew it wasn't my strength that was going to change my life, but that I had to rely on the strength of Christ. The beautiful thing about this love story is its all about what Christ did to change my life, not about what I did to change my life. My story is a story about what Christ can do when we trust Him. And I always want people to look at my life and see Him, not Jack Allen. There are so many other people who played a role in my transformation, my girlfriend who challenges me to be a better man everyday, my bible teacher who has supported me throughout my spiritual walk, and my friends who give me the confidence in the Man that I am. All of these people share something in common, something very important. These people have Christ in their hearts and the love they gave me taught me about the love that Christ has for me. I am so grateful for the people that God put in my life that had such a big impact on me.

So, where am I now? Is life a lot easier now that Christ dwells within me? Do I still struggle with the same things that I did before? The first answer is No. In fact, I would say that my life is a lot harder now that I have Christ in my heart because of the persecution that comes along with that. But nobody said that the christian life would be easy, just look at Jesus' life. But it is worth it. There has never been a day that I regret living for my savior, it is the most rewarding choice I have ever made. The people that I have came in contact with because of Christ makes it all worth it. Knowing the true meaning of Love makes it all worth it. Clearly, living the Christian life is unpopular, unconventional, and unsettling. In fact, it can be nearly unbearable. The apostle Paul states, “Five different times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned . . .” (2 Corinthians 11:24–25). And yet Paul repeatedly focuses on his joy and rejoicing 16 times in Philippians -- while he’s chained in prison! That is how I want to live! No matter what is happening in my life I want to be able to have joy, joy because of the hope that I have. The hope that Christ gives me everyday. The answer to the second question is yes. I still struggle with the same things that I did before I came to know the Lord. But the difference is that more times than not, I choose to do good. This doesn't mean that I won't fall, but it means that even if I fall seven times I will get back up every time. No more do I have to try and battle things in life alone, I can battle them with Christ at my side. And the beauty of all of it is that in the end I can never do anything that will change how much God loves me. No matter how "good" I am or how sinful I am, God's love is unconditional, it remains constant. At this point in my life I am trying to be that "Zeru" to someone else. I want to come alongside other brothers and sisters who are lost and help them find a home. I want them to know how much they are loved by their father in heaven and that their life has a specific purpose. No matter where they are at in their life I want to try and meet them at a common ground, I want to relate with them. And the only way I can do this is by loving them. By showing them the light of Christ that I see in them no matter how they see themselves. There is nothing that I am more passionate about than God's word and I want to preach it for the rest of my life. I want people to see what Christ did in my life and what He can do in theirs. His love brought me to my knees and left me speechless, it brought me to tears. And everyday I still find myself in awe of that Love.