Why I Chose Jesus – A Testimony and a Challenge (video and transcript)

One, two, one, two. Is this thing on? All right. My name is Ernest Almond, I’m the senior/lead pastor at Higher Definition Church, founding pastor. Today I issued a challenge, today is the first Sunday in June 2015, I issued a challenge to everybody in attendance, and I’m issuing the same challenge to you if you’re watching this video.

That challenge is simply to share your faith. Talk about it, explain, reiterate, whatever, how you came to know Jesus, how did you come to follow Jesus, how did you get saved, is basically the question. In church talk, how did you get saved? Being the one that issued the challenge, what I need to do is be faithful to execute the challenge myself and so I’m going to talk about how I got saved. This is my story of salvation, it’s kind of two parts. First part is when I got saved as a kid, as a teenager, and the second one is how I came to follow Jesus as an adult and began really walking in a serious way.

I was brought up in a church, my father was a pastor, a preacher, my mom was a daughter of deacon, so I had two church folks that I grew up with. I grew up kind of in church and I was pretty faithful to it because I wanted to live in their house. So I grew up and as I got older, it really stopped appealing to me. I knew that there was a God; I was really confident in that by the time I was a teenager. I had doubts when I was younger but by the time I was a teenager, I was pretty confident that there was a God, that God existed. I just hadn’t made any type of commitment to him.

Once I got about 16, I went to this event with the girl that I was talking to and her family was at the church event, it was something called the Covenant House, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the name but I definitely won’t forget the events. Basically, it was this dramatization of the end times. In Revelation and other parts of the Bible, it talks about how terrible things will become – this apocalyptic prophecy. They did their best to act it out, like scene by scene, room by room, you go to a room and see the horrible future that awaits and these things that are terrible. Just people’s horrible treatment and it’s all based in biblical prophecy, so it was all sound biblically to them and it was just their way of addressing that in a way that people could understand.

Afterwards, you’re in a quiet room. After you’ve gone through basically the gauntlet of scenes (it’s kind of like a walking play) you’ve gone through the gauntlet of scenes and they sit you down in a room and they say, they kind of breakdown in a soft voice and they say, you see what is waiting for us, those of us that are in this world, waiting for Jesus to come before he gets here, these are the things that may happen. And so who wants to know Jesus, who wants to avoid hell, who wants to see heaven? It was kind of the way that they phrased it. So when they asked the question, “just put your hand up”, I threw my hand up real quick. There’s no parts in me that want the kind of hell that they described, the kind of hell that they showed us, no parts of me that wanted that.

So I raised my hand. I prayed a prayer. I went home, I told my mom, “Mom, I got saved.” She was saying, “I knew there was something different.” Because I didn’t tell her immediately but she’s like, “I knew there was something different.”

So I was saved. I knew who Jesus was, he was my Lord, He was my savior. The only thing was, because my life was so controlled and I was a pretty obedient kid, my faith hadn’t really been tested. My faith didn’t start getting tested until college. Well, college, you know college, college I failed the faith test a lot of times and in flying colors. I was happy to be an F in faith in college because my faith was in me and doing my thing and whatever, whatever.

After I got out of college, I graduated from college, I knew God was real (still). I just wasn’t really trying to hear him, I was just trying to do me. Life started beating me up a little bit. I graduated from collage from UNC Chapel Hill (go Tar Heels. Tar Heel for life). I needed a job. I went into a field that I didn’t study for. I heard God tell me to go into teaching, I had never taken education class, and so I didn’t know how that was going to happen but I started interviewing.

Getting a job was kind of tough. I had had some interviews but nobody was calling back. So I went to church, hadn’t gone in a long time and I started going back. You know, that’s what we do, we go to church when we need something. I went to church, wrote something about praying for a job on my offering envelope. The pastor called me on like a Tuesday and prayed with me for a job and that Wednesday, I got two offers from the same school, two different positions they were willing to give me. This was in July, so it was about time for school to start.

Anyway, school starts, I got this new job. You know, “thanks God but I’m still doing me”. My car that I love gets totaled and they’re saying, “if you had been in this position, that position, you would have been under the car”, because my car flipped. I had some relationships that were starting to get bad. Too many relationships that were too superficial, they were based in the wrong stuff. So I was running through those relationships real quickly and I was getting this sense of emptiness. My father was sick and he was getting sicker and sicker.

I was just confused. My job teaching teenagers – if you’ve never been in a room full of teenagers trying to get them to understand a concept, it’s hard. So I was challenged with teaching, challenged with life, challenged with my family because my father is nearing the end of his life. So December 17th 2001, I was just at a breaking point and one of my frat brothers, Dominque Hill, calls me and begins to talk to me just about life and about situation, because we try to keep up and gets to a point where he begin speaking through the Spirit.

Now, this hadn’t really happened to me before but he began talking about basically speaking from God’s voice. Talking about my relationship with my grandmother, my relationship with my father and speaking things about those relationships that he didn’t know and couldn’t know because I didn’t really talk about them. Kind of just led me through this process, the conversation just led me to this process of just opening my eyes to the fact that Jesus had a plan and a purpose for me, for the experiences that I had, for where I was going, and a call on my life. Basically saying like “Ernest, I got something for you to do, something for you to be.”

December 17 2001, in tears after the phone call, after he hung up, I was just in tears, I was just hands up, “I surrender God. Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it, I know that you’re calling me for more, I know that you’re calling me toward ministry and that this isn’t a direction I was trying to go in, but, you know what, I’m tired of trying to fight this battle on my own and trying to do this thing my way. God, I want to be yours.” I really was just thankful and grateful for the opportunity and so when I came to this mature adult level of faith after I’d been tested and after I failed, it stuck. I never just let it go again. I never just stopped and was like,” yeah I’ll use this thing later”. I haven’t been perfect but I haven’t stopped walking since.

So that’s my story. That’s my reborn identity, that’s how I came to life in higher definition, how I came to salvation. My challenge to you is share yours. Let somebody know how did Jesus come into your life. God bless.

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