Jocelyn Andersen's Testimony

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"I was finished with God, Jesus, Heaven,Hell, Christianity, and anything that had to do with it.

God truly found me at a time when I was not looking for him..."

I was only six years old the day I decided I wanted to belong to Jesus Christ.I went home feeling a sense of euphoric joy at what had happened that morning.A sense of joy that was not to last...

I don't remember the sermon topic. Theology wasn't a concern at the time. Ionly knew that when the Pastor gave the invitation to "join the church," Iwanted to. And as he counseled with me and prayed with me, my six year oldfaith connected to God through belief in his resurrected Son, and I knew thatsomething special had happened to me.

I would like to say that I was faithful to God after that, but I wasn't always.

My Mother made sure we were at Church almost every Sunday, and I said myprayers at night sometimes, but I never made Jesus a real part of my life. Ihad no idea how to do that.

As an adolescent, I went my own way and stopped going to Church altogether.

A fear of dying and going to hell descended on me and stayed there for the nextthirteen years. The only thing I knew about being a Christian was that you weresupposed to go to Church and live a certain way, and I didn't want to do that.To be perfectly honest; church bored me.

As a young adult, I began living a lifestyle that I could not reconcile with myconscience and with what I had been taught in Church and in Sunday Schoolthrough-out my childhood.

In 1979 I couldn't bear the guilt and fear any longer, and I decided I didn'twant to believe in hell anymore.

The only logical way that I could accomplish that, was to stop believing inGod.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I was very serious about it. I reasoned withmyself that if the scriptures were true and there was a God, then there surelywas a hell, and in spite of my profession of faith at age six, I was certain Iwas going there.

I could not think of a single reason why I should be granted eternal life whenI died. I didn't understand that it was faith in what Christ did and not my owngood works that saved me.

I'll never forget the first time I announced to another person that I did notthink I believed in God. The words shocked us both. But nothing awful happened,and I was encouraged to pursue my goal of becoming an atheist..

Between 1979 and 1981 I worked very hard at it. Sometimes, during the day withall its distractions, I was somewhat successful. But at night, when the silencedescended, I couldn't squelch the conviction of the Holy Spirit that thescriptures were true and God was real.

In 1981 I was invited to go to church with some friends and family, and I went.I didn't go to worship God that Sunday morning. My goal was to discounteverything the preacher said and prove that Christianity was a myth and acrutch for weak-minded people to lean on.

I successfully (to my own satisfaction) shredded everything the preacher saidthat morning. I sat through the songs, prayers, preaching and alter calluntouched emotionally or spiritually. I walked out of church unchanged and verysatisfied with myself.

I went back again the next week. I knew that if I could sit through one moresermon and alter call unmoved, as before, that I would be free forever fromthis Christianity that I found so tormenting.

I planned on walking away from God that morning and never looking back.

I sat down on the very back pew; the one closest to the exit, and waited forthe service to begin. The congregation stood up, said a few prayers and sang afew hymns, then sat down.

I felt nothing - so far so good.

Then the preacher (who did not know me) raised his arm and pointed his fingerdirectly at me and thundered the first words of his sermon.

"And God gave them up!"

When he uttered the last word of that sentence, something came out of the endof his finger and slammed straight into my heart. In that moment all myatheistic defenses were shattered, and I became acutely aware of the existenceof my God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Immediately I cried out to him in my heart. I told him that I knew he was real,and I was sorry for ever denying him. I don't remember anything else thepreacher said that morning, but I was the first one to reach the alter when hefinished preaching.

I picked up my Bible that very afternoon and began reading the New Testamentbook of Matthew. I have been reading my Bible daily for over twenty years now.I read my Bible straight through, over and over, always picking up today whereI left off yesterday. It has changed my life.

It took me almost twenty years to pick up where I left off when I was six, butI know that God allowed a little child to come to him, and then held on to herand mercifully revealed his awesome presence, even as she tried with all hermight to deny him.

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