Sid W.

Sid W.

from MO
Story #531
As a child, I found myself in church a lot. What I remember most about “Sunday School” was learning that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants were sacred Scripture no less inspired than the Bible itself, and that my church was the one true restored church on earth and all the other churches were wrong. I don’t ever remember hearing the true gospel message proclaimed. One time I asked my mother (who was an active lifelong member of the church) if she knew what the Bible was talking about when it referred to salvation, or being saved. She told me she did not know. Much later as an adult, I came to understand that the church of my childhood was a cult that stood far outside the bounds of orthodox Christianity.

For whatever reason, certainly through no effort of my own, God brought me out of this church and led me to a Baptist church where the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached. The Lord used His people to explain the gospel to me, and soon I was convinced and convicted of my sin and my need for Jesus to save me.

I distinctly remember the day when it happened. It was a Sunday morning worship service at First Baptist Church of Greenwood (now Fellowship Greenwood). The preacher that morning was Steve Hartwig. After the sermon Steve offered an invitation for people to respond. That’s when the miracle took place. Steve stood with open arms, inviting folks to come. For a very brief moment in time, I saw Jesus standing there instead of Steve, with His arms wide open inviting me to come. My life changed that day, and on May 29, 1988, at the age of 39, I was baptized. My two sons were baptized alongside me on that same day.

When I said my life changed that day, I meant it. God gave me a burning desire to study and understand the Scriptures. I worked hard, and the Holy Spirit helped me unpack all the baggage (false teaching) I had carried around for so many years. I was “on fire” for the Lord. Eventually, we sold our pharmacy that we owned in Kansas City and I entered seminary to prepare for the ministry. After I graduated from seminary, my wife and I served as missionaries in Madagascar. After coming home from the mission field I pastored a church in a small town northeast of St. Louis.

My purpose for telling “my story” is to lift up the name of Jesus. I give Him all the credit for the changes that took place in my life. For whatever reason, He saw fit to save a wretch like me. He revealed the truth of His Word to me, and gave me the desire to study and understand the Scriptures. He gave me the desire to serve in full-time Christian ministry. And if there is one thing I know for sure, it is this: the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16), and that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Him (Ephesians 2:8) who gave his life on a cross outside the walls of Jerusalem so that I might live forever (John 10:15, 27-28; Galatians 1:4; 1 John 4:10, 5:11-12).

Like the song says, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” What more can I say? Only this: I love you Jesus, because you first loved me. I will praise your name forever!

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