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Terri Spencer recently shared a testimony at IMPACT195’s Spring 2014 Open House event. Read her testimony here.
“Hi, my name is Terri and I have been blessed to be apart of the founding team of IMPACT195 and now oversee the Outreach Department, along with serving on the IMPACT195 Advisory Board.
Today, I want you to know that knowing Jesus is all about a relationship. Being in control of your life and your religion won’t get you into heaven.
Matthew 7.22-23 says ‘Many will say to Me in that day Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name and done many wonders in Your name?’ ‘And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
I grew up Catholic but then I chose not to be Catholic because I was a rebel and their rules didn’t fit my lifestyle at the time. However, I got married in the church, had two beautiful children and then got divorced. I was not born again. I knew who God was but I had no relationship with Him. I had a good job, I was in control and life was good according to the world’s standards, which were my standards too. I knew the Ten Commandments and I had not broken all of them yet…at least, not that I could recall.
I was a good person. I shared what I had and never really intended to hurt anyone.
I was like those Jesus talked about in Matthew 7.22-23. I did good stuff, I was a good person, but I was not going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
But God loved me enough to show me the truth. He doesn’t let us settle for what we think is the ‘good life’.
With His chords of loving kindness, He drew me to an event very similar to the one you are sitting in now to open my eyes. God wanted a relationship with me; not just religion.
A lady I knew kept bugging me to come check out this discipleship program. The only reason I came was so I could say I checked it out. It wasn’t my thing and I wanted her to in a sense stop ‘harassing’ me! I don’t even know what the speakers said the day I went, but I knew that Holy Spirit was calling me to more. As I sat in chairs, like the ones you are sitting in now, I knew that I desperately needed more of Jesus in my life.
I wrestled with God. I told Him that I had a job, two employees, two kids and that there was no way I could afford to be at school four hours a day, five days a week. I had graduated college, attained all my professional degrees. I had a career.
I had all that the world had to offer.
God so gently reminded me of how He had given me that job. I did nothing really to deserve it. He had given me the brains to graduate college and He had provided the money for my schooling even if I had to pay it back. He gave me my employees and even my children; they were His first. He made them and blessed me by allowing me to be their mother.
God gives and God takes away. I knew that, and at this time in my life, I had just lost both my parents and I was only 40.
It was becoming very clear to me - I thought I was in control, but I wasn’t.
So I took a risk. I stepped out in faith trusting that God would fulfil His promises. I bargained with God. I told Him that I would go to school to learn more about Him, but I reasoned with Him that He needed to take care of all the important stuff in my life I couldn’t do while I was at school. This was over seven years ago.
I still have my business, my employees and I’ve realized now all the ‘stuff’ that I thought was so important and that I thought only ‘I could do’… God took care of that stuff far better than me!
By giving God this year of my life in this capacity, I learned and am continuing to learn how to pray for His Kingdom to come.
I have so many awesome memories or ‘stones of remembrance’ from experiencing God through my discipleship school and every day since then. But the best part that has changed my life was experiencing it all within the context of an amazing community.
With God's provision we fed fifty people Thanksgiving dinner in Jerusalem. We had only purchased food for twenty-five! We’ve fed 1000 homeless people in Las Vegas in one day and watched God multiply the food. We've taught bible stories to Gypsy children in Romania and washed the feet of handicapped people in Haiti. And on an island in the Middle East, I had the blessing of participating in one of the largest Christian prayer gatherings there within the last one hundred years.
Where we go and what we do is just an opportunity to love others as God loves us in and through each other. The people God has brought into my life as a result of going to the discipleship school have changed my life forever. Never have I received so much love, peace, kindness, mercy, grace and had so much fun!
Just come hang out with us for a while and you will see what I mean.
And this is my challenge to you – you can choose to live your life your way at the work of your hands and ‘do good’ or you can choose to get to know God and give Him the reigns.
I want to invite you to invest one year of your life to seek God, to get a deeper understanding of why He made you. By His instruction you can do the will of our Father in Heaven. You can spend eternity with the all-loving, all-powerful, all-majestic Creator of the universe.
You don’t need to go to a discipleship school to get to know Jesus, but for me, it changed my life from a career to a calling.
In the past, I thought I was good and that was enough, but now that I have experienced God’s love in a relationship with Him and experienced His love through His body of believers, now I know this is a life worth living.
Are you certain you are going to heaven? I encourage you to do a heart check: are you in a relationship with Jesus or just a religion?”