Jason’s Journal | Part 1 of 7

[styled_image size=”blog” align=”left” link=”” icon=”” lightbox=”” alt=”Grace Blog”]http://www.greenvillegrace.org/ggbc_files/Web/Graphics/HEADER_BLOG_JASON_DR.jpg[/styled_image]

[headline h=”1″]Introduction[/headline]

At the beginning of March, I had the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic with 32 other people; some for our church, others from other churches and some from Cedarville University. I have to admit, I had been on short term missions trips before and been fairly disappointed; I had an expectation that short term missions trips were a front row seat to what God was really doing in the world. This time, I tempered my expectations. Perhaps God wouldn’t show Himself through tongues of fire, though He could if He wanted to. What He did show me though was that He works in the Dominican Republic much like He works in Greenville, Ohio; through men and women submitted to Him, abiding in Him and bearing fruit accordingly (John 15).

While we were on our trip, I took the time to try my hand at journaling. I had my iphone and the notes app and would try to write down what I was thinking from time to time. Often, it would be on the bus ride back to our hotel or in the morning after finishing my time in the Word.

Regardless, I wanted to post those thoughts here. Admittedly, I had to go back and polish up some of the spelling and even make sure that what I was saying made sense. But, the point of it all is three-fold;

  1. I want to encourage those who are thinking about going to the DR.
  2. I want to remind our church (as I was reminded) that God doesn’t just work in Greenville, Ohio but all over the world
  3. I wanted to give a brief window into what Bob and Anna Nilsen (our missionaries in the DR) and the teams we send down every year are doing.

I hope that you enjoy what you read. I’ve posted the thoughts consecutively so that you can get a perspective on what is happening. We’ll be sure to spread the posts out over a 3 day period so as to not overwhelm the reader.

I hope that God continues to allow our church to enjoy these trips and see fruit from them. We don’t go to the DR to help an impoverished country get health care or have better facilities.  We go to the DR to see the gospel bear fruit (Col. 1:6)—in us and in them. I hope that you get that sense as you read.


[styled_image size=”small” align=”left” link=”” icon=”” lightbox=”” alt=”Grace Blog”]http://www.greenvillegrace.org/ggbc_files/Web/Graphics/BRADSHAW_JASON_MUG.png[/styled_image]Jason Bradshaw currently serves as the Pastor of Worship and Counseling at Greenville Grace Church in Greenville, OH where he resides. We have had the joy of benefiting from his giftedness as a musician and resident theologian for a little over 8 years. It is our prayer that what you read conveys his love for the body of Christ…wherever she finds herself. If  you’d like to interact more with Jason, feel free to contact the church office at office@greenvillegrace.org and we’ll get you in touch with him.

[sub_title]Thanks for stopping by.[/sub_title]

Brooke Yost’s Baptisim Testimony

[styled_image size=”blog” align=”left” link=”” icon=”” lightbox=”” alt=””]http://www.greenvillegrace.org/ggbc_files/Web/photos/BrookeYost.jpg[/styled_image]

I grew up knowing who God was, went to church all my life and was baptized when I was 11 but I was just going through the motions. I wanted to change the way I looked and the German Baptist church did that for me. I looked like a believer on the outside but on the inside I was broken and lost.

Because of past things that had happened in my life I wanted nothing to do with God. I turned to guys, partying and drugs. Anything I could do to prove just how much I hated god. Just to prove I could do everything on my own and be happy. And for the most part I was happy but it wasn’t a lasting happiness.

I always thought “when I have my life together and everything figured out THEN I’ll get right with god” or “when God actually shows me that he loves me then I’ll believe” but I was just running from God and straight to hell as fast as I could.

On September 21st at the True Woman conference I realized I’m never going to have it all together or figured out and that’s ok because God loves me right where I am at. At that moment He opened my eyes to His grace and love. He showed his love for me by sending his son Jesus to die on the cross in my place for my sins and rise again 3 days later so that I don’t have to be perfect or have it all figured out. God accepts me as I am, broken and lost. I now know that God sees me and he loves me and because of that I am made brand new.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” So today I am getting baptized not to be saved because that has already been done but I am getting baptized as an outward confession of faith.

I asked God into my life at the True Woman conference as Joni Eareckson Tada sang these words… Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but NOW I see.

LoriAnn Filbrun’s Baptism Testimony

About a year ago I was starting to look more into God’s word. The more I looked, the more I realized I am a big sinner! Without Christ, I am filthy! I would go to hell forever if Jesus was not King of my life. I do not want to go to hell. I do not want satan in my life.

I know that only through Jesus Christ, I am saved, through faith. I know only God can forgive my sins. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that He died on a cross and rose again for us. I want the world to know this!

Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist to set an example for all of His followers to be baptized. I want to be like Jesus. I know that baptizing me does not save me. By being baptized today, I can express to the world my love to God and that I am a saved Christian. I no longer live in fear. I have everlasting life!

Queko (Eneko) Izaguirre’s Baptism Testimony

When I was five years old my mother passed away and during this time people would tell me that she was in a better place and that I would see her again someday. Everybody would tell me that she was in a place called heaven. This event caused me to ask questions about this place, I wanted to know about it and I wanted to know how to get there so I could be with my mother again. My dad told me that the only way to get to heaven is by believing in God, because of my age I did not completely understand the importance of the Gospel of Christ, but I knew that God existed, so I said the sinner’s prayer and thought that I was saved. I started to attend a Catholic church even though I did not really understand the message. At that moment I only wanted to have a relationship with God because I had been told that it was what I was supposed to do to go to heaven and be with my mother again, this was my only motivation. But when I was seven years old God used my grandmother to make me realize that my motivation for having a relationship with Him was wrong, and that my only motivation should be what he did in the cross for us. This was the moment when I started to realize how important that was, when I started to understand the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, though I was still too young to understand some things. I was eager to know more about Him, and my grandmother taught me many things about God, one of the most memorable things that she taught me is that I did not need a priest to talk to God, that I could do it myself. This is the main reason why I stopped attending Catholic Church. I could not go to any Christian churches because there weren’t any close to where I live. Even though I stopped attending church, I did not stop having a relationship with God.

When I was fifteen years old I decided to become an exchange student, and by God’s grace I ended up living in Greenville, with a family that had just started attending Greenville Grace Church. This church has helped me to fully understand the importance of the Gospel. In only eight months I have learned more about Jesus Christ than what I had before in my whole life. I know that I did not end up leaving (living) in Greenville just by chance, I know that he wanted me to know more about Him, and that this was the right place to do it. I also got the opportunity to serve Him during a mission trip in the Dominican Republic last March, where I got to know other people from this church that I had never met before, I got to share the Gospel with people that had never heard it, and I also worked with a medical team.

I got baptized when I was a baby, but the reason why I am doing it today is because I want everybody to know how thankful I am for Jesus dying on the cross to save me from my sin. God has been watching over me for my entire life. He brought me here so I could learn more about Him, and has always been so good to me.


Rebecca Leensvaart’s Baptism Testimony

Revelation 29:11 says “…they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony…” I stand before you today to testify that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is not just a story of something that happened a couple thousand years ago. This gospel that you hear preached Sunday after Sunday still has the power to change lives. I would like to share with you how this Jesus has changed my life.

I grew up going to church; my parents tried to teach us the bible. But for whatever reason, I viewed God as a harsh judge; angry, distant and not pleased with me. At a very young age, I began to fear this God…not a healthy fear, but a “he might strike me dead at any moment” kind of fear. I lived in constant dread of His wrath.

When I was nine years old, I remember sitting at the table one night; my dad was reading the bible. Suddenly, I had this strange realization that I was not just flesh and blood, but an eternal soul. I got this panicky feeling that started in my stomach worked throughout my body. I knew in that moment that though my flesh would die, my soul would live forever. And I didn’t know where I would spend that forever…though I had a pretty good idea. This is where my quest began; my quest to appease an angry God.

I started reading my bible, thinking that would please God. Problem is, I was programmed to read the bible as a list of rules. So I concluded that I just needed to try harder to be good; to stop doing bad things. And I did try really hard…for a of couple weeks. But I couldn’t keep it up. This started a pattern in my life. Try really hard to be good…fail…despair…then try hard again. This always ended in failure and defeat.

So I began to resent God for having such rigorous standards. I didn’t see myself as that bad of a person…in fact; I thought I was pretty good compared to other kids around me. I had no understanding of the fact that I was a sinner in need of grace. And since I didn’t know I was a sinner, I didn’t know I needed a savior either. I was just trying to stay out of hell.

When I was 15, I decided to get baptized. I thought maybe getting baptized and joining church would take away the guilt and fear. Maybe then God would be pleased with me. Of a truth, I went into the water a dry sinner and came out a wet one. Now my life was governed by a new set of rules…codes of dress and an exhaustive list of does and don’ts added to the ones already in the bible. The weight and burden of all I had to live up to was getting heavier and heavier as I sank deeper into despair. Jason Grey puts it so well in one of his songs: “all that religion ever made of me, was a sinner with a stone tied to my feet…it never set me free.”

I lived here for years, keeping up the façade that everything was fine. I looked and talked like a Christian; I went to church. But inside I was dead. I really did want to be free, to be good, to stop messing up…I just didn’t have the power to do it.

It took getting married and having kids for me to really start to see my sin. After 5 years of marriage, everything started falling apart. I came to the end of myself…I simply didn’t have anything left to live for. All the things I’d used to try and fill the void in my heart just didn’t satisfy anymore. I had the husband, the house, the kids, all the stuff I thought would make me happy. The lure of pleasure and entertainment didn’t take away the loneliness, the emptiness. I longed for something more.

Two and a half years ago, God brought a woman into my life…someone who cared about all the pain and confusion in my heart. David and I spent a week with her and her husband…and this is where my story begins to change. Because that week, I met Jesus.

For the first time in my life, I was able to talk about some really hard things that had happened in my childhood; things that kept my heart locked up. I had so much anger and bitterness inside that was controlling my life. You see, I thought that holding on to these things would make me stronger. But in reality, it was killing me.

As we talked that first day, they invited me to lay all the shattered pieces of my life at the feet of Jesus. All I had to do was surrender, let go. Bowing my head, I began to pray. Tentatively at first; then, like a flood, all the pain, frustration, anger, confusion…it all came rushing out. Like Jonah 2:2 says “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress and He answered me”. Jesus met me there, in my brokenness, and for the first time in my life, I felt His love, His grace, His abundant mercy.

As I prayed, I pictured Jesus taking all my ugliness, all my sin and carrying it to the cross; while I walked away pardoned, cleansed, forgiven. Immediately, I felt the burden of my sin lift. Gone was the fear that had governed my life. Gone the guilt and shame. In its place peace, joy…

It was like scales fell away from my eyes and I saw God for who He really is; not distant or angry…but compassionate, gracious and full of mercy.

That was the day I began falling in love with Jesus. Not a “box of chocolates” kind of love, like Danny mentioned, but a deep, unmovable, satisfying love. A love that makes me want to give up everything to follow Him. Falling in love with Jesus broke the chains from me.

And so today… I live because He died. I have hope because He rose…and I will overcome because He lives inside of me. Thank you Jesus!


Diane Gayman’s Baptism Testimony

It was about three years ago that God opened my eyes to His gospel and I repented and placed my trust in Jesus Christ.

I was actually baptized around ten years ago as a teenager.  At the time I was going through severe depression.  The gospel I heard preached to me then was a life enhancing gospel.  It was a message that was watered down in its content.  The problem with this gospel was that it could not save me.  It had only deceived me into thinking I was saved.  Whether I realized it at the time or not, I was very works righteous.  Inside I felt like a hypocrite because I could never be good enough.

It was three years ago when I listened to a sermon from a preacher on YouTube, talking about a God who was just and punished law breakers.  I realized I had broken God’s law.  The Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die, and then judgement (Heb. 9:27).  I was aware that I would have to give an account to God for my sins.  I also heard how this God who was both holy and just was also rich in mercy.  He sent His very own Son, the God Man Jesus the Christ into the world.  Jesus kept the laws that I broke and lived a life of obedience.  He willingly sacrificed Himself on the cross and died to pay for my sins.  The Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down ones life for his friend” (John 15:13).  God poured out His wrath on Jesus so it didn’t have to be poured out on me.  Jesus not only died for my sins, but three days later rose again from the grave.  The Bible says, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

It was God’s kindness that led me to repentance.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  It was this gospel of grace that saved me.  My sins were forgiven and God made me a new creature in Christ.  That is why I am being baptized.

Alex Dearing’s Baptism Testimony

This is not the first time I will have been baptized.  I was baptized about 10 years ago but I feel like I didn’t know what it meant to be a Christian.  I know now that God doesn’t protect you from bad things but instead puts you through them to strengthen your relationship with him.

I grew up in a Christian home and always went to Sunday school and didn’t think much about heaven or hell.  I realize that we also live through a hell on this earth that is covered in sin.

When I was entering the sixth grade, I was at my weakest in my relationship with God, my parents split and new temptations had come to me.  After that terrible year I didn’t think anything was gonna get better and I wasn’t looking towards God for the answer.

During my first year at the Junior High, kids started getting into new things like parties where they relied on drugs and alcohol.  I avoided it because I was scared and I didn’t know what to do because I was alone.

Then something happened halfway through my 7th grade year, my cousin, Ike Sowers, invited me to youth group here at the church.  I didn’t know what to think but I thought I would give it a try to get him off my back.  I went and it was the first time I met Matt Strader who didn’t make a good first impression being a Michigan and Florida Gators fan.  If you ask anyone at youth (especially Matt or Justin Palmer) they will tell you that I was a complete spaz in Junior High and even my freshman year, but when I reached my sophomore year after going on a few trips with the youth, I realized that I shouldn’t go to youth to hang out with friends, I should go to let my faith and my relationship with Christ grow.

These past couple years have made a huge impact on my life, especially now that I feel called to ministry After getting into the Word with youth group, church, guys I meet with, and just myself reading and learning, then praying and asking God for guidance and wisdom, I realize that it isn’t anything that I do that saves me.  It is only because I believe that an all powerful, merciful God sent His only Son, born of a virgin to live the perfect life that I could not [live] and then sent Him to die and even die on the cross.

I know that I have a lot to learn and I want to learn everything I can about my Savior so that I can tell others that they don’t have to go through the suffering of hell and share with them that we can’t be perfect, but then again we don’t have to be because of Jesus.  God has asked us to do one thing and that is to make disciples of all nations which will bring glory and honor to Him.  I know that what I’m doing here today isn’t what is saving me but it is a way to show to all of you that I have trusted in Jesus Christ.  As I continue to grow in Christ, I will need each of you, the children of God, to remind me to be humble and keep me accountable.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of your who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ.  If you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to promise.” – Galatians 3:26-29

Crystal Fourman’s Testimony

All my life I have been searching for something, I didn’t know what. I was always trying to fill this void in my life with everything you can think of from relationships and material things to drugs. Nothing ever satisfied me. It was great for a little while but then the exitement would wear off and I would move on to the next thing. I didn’t realize until this past summer that Jesus Christ was all I ever needed, he filled that void inside of me.What I was searching for was my soul and he alone made me alive inside. I know now that I was spiritually dead in my sin and I needed a Savior. When Jesus went to the cross for me he took my sin with him and I have been forgiven. I am a witness to his resurrection because I feel the Holy Spirit alive inside of me. I no longer have to carry my shame or guilt of my past life because I have been born again In Christ. By the grace of GOD I have been choosen and will someday live eternally with my precious Father in heaven.

Rachel Wright’s Testimony

I’m getting baptized because I believe in Christ and want everyone to know. To me, getting baptized means telling everyone that I love Jesus and want to follow Him. A few months, I was starting to doubt that Jesus was real. I talked to one of my teachers and she said to keep believing. Then, I started praying about it and God helped me to have faith. I believe that Jesus is my Savior and He is the only way to heaven. I believe Jesus had to die for our sins or we would have to die. I also believe Jesus is God’s Son and died and rose three days later. I’m thankful God has given us His grace so, if we believe, we can go to heaven.

Frank and Stephanie Szymanski’s Testimonies

I do not see my baptism as the end but only the beginning of my journey with Jesus Christ.

Today I confess my sins before my brothers and sisters and before God.  I ask for your guidance in my Christian walk through accountability, wisdom and the word.

For many years I struggled with faith.  I never felt worthy of joining a church community.  Since attending at Grace my life has changed for the better.  I understand now, I am saved by the death of Jesus on the cross.  He died for my sins and his death is my death.  His resurrection is the resurrection of my soul away from eternal death, to eternal life.  I know now that it is by God’s grace alone we are saved.

I observe examples of the man I aspire to be, by observing the men God has placed here to shepherd me.  Just as in Matthew 3, Jesus’ Baptism opened heaven for all mankind; I feel this church community has opened my heart to Jesus as never before.

My sins died on the cross, a debt I can never repay.  I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I ask for Baptism today both for repentance, and as an outward sign of my faith and commitment.

I was raised in a loving home with good, hard-working parents.  My dad took us to the Catholic Church every Sunday.  But when I was 16, I started going to the Bible-believing church.  I continued going there through high school and became very interested in the things of God.  After high school I attended Cedarville.  It was at that time I had been struggling with the question of was I saved?  I wasn’t really sure.  I became convinced that I needed the Lord as my savior and accepted Him.  All these good and right things I had in my life were not enough to save me.  So after the conference, when I was 18 I had accepted Him as my savior from my sin and Him alone.

About twelve years ago, I was baptized by sprinkling in another church I attended.  But now that we have been attending Grace for about three years, I wanted to be baptized by immersion with my husband to follow Christ’s example because it represents His death and resurrection.

Romans 6:3-5 states that, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.”

Christ is that newness of life for me.