Here are the stories of a few of our members:
Our great and glorious God uses so many diverse and amazing ways of bringing sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. I was brought up in a happy family atmosphere but I was not taught about the Lord as a child. However I did have a sense that there was a God though I had no understanding of what He might be like.
Our happy family was devastated by the very sudden death of my Father when I was just seven years old. Circumstances prevailed which meant a move of house and location and eventually my Mother had to go out to work to provide for herself, my brother and I.
Her employer was a Christian and through his witness Mother and I both came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour on the same day in 1966. So, I can say that the Lord intervened through such a painful experience and difficult period to convince us both of our need for forgiveness of sins committed against a pure and holy God. We learned that Jesus Christ, God’s Son had come into the world because of His great love for sinful men and women. He lived the sinless life that we couldn’t live and died an unjust, horrific, painful death on a cross to bear away those sins which separated us from Him and His heavenly Father. To do this He faced separation from His Father who cannot look upon sin.
As I look back, I am so thankful for the Lord’s leading over the years especially since joining Shrewsbury Evangelical Church. I have been taught to love and understand the Word of God more and been encouraged by a Christian community which demonstrates Christ’s love in very practical ways.
I knew that Andy, our son, was a Christian; he occasionally invited me to church, but I would always make excuses as to why I could not attend. In 2011 Andy had a serious accident and was hospitalised for seven days. Terry [Maggie’s husband] and I were devastated! Terry telephoned Andy’s church to let them know about his accident as we realised how important that would be to our son.
Andy’s minister and other church people visited him in the hospital and Terry and I were struck at the total love for our son and support for our family even though we were not Christians. I would say ‘goodness shone out’ from these folks but I did not know them. I became curious and started to think about ‘God’ and this church Andy attended.
Andy started to improve and eventually went back to work and his church life. He invited me to a service again and this time I accepted and received a very warm welcome, felt very inspired by the sermon but still resisted and once again only attended church on the odd occasion. Work got in the way sometimes, but other times excuses were easily forthcoming on my part. But ‘God’ still persisted with me. I started to hunger for the Gospel and how it brought me closer to the Lord. I started to realise that God wanted me, and that all my sinful ways, past, present and future with His great love and sacrifice on the cross, I will be saved. For me this was a wonderful revelation.
As I get older I find it difficult if not impossible to imagine what life, and the anticipation of its end, would be like if I weren’t a Christian. I’d probably be anxious to do all the things I’ve long wanted to do, knowing that this will be my last chance to enjoy life and find some fulfilment. The knowledge that to be in the immediate presence of Christ Jesus in a renewed and pristine earth and heavens in a perfect body free from all the troubles, anxieties, tears and sadness of this world is an absolute and guaranteed certainty, is not wishful thinking but as the Bible says, “a sure and certain hope”.
This is not to say that I can just sit back and wait to die! God will have me become more and more like His Son Jesus, and I need to ask for the help of the Holy Spirit daily to help me resist temptations and to imitate Christ. I’ve broken all of God’s commandments in one way or another, if not in deed then certainly in thought, so my only claim to God’s favour is that Jesus broke into history as a man specifically to bear God’s righteous and just anger and punishment for my sinful disobedience – a simple but deeply profound truth for which I give thanks to God. It’s all of His doing; He took the initiative to rescue me from a futile existence. Let all the credit be His!