Before Anthem Church, there was very little spiritual growth for me. I was stuck on a plateau with nowhere to turn. My past was very dark and many times I had been tempted to turn back to those days where I was comfortable and was never challenged to think about what was to come in the future. I had many ups and downs trying to get my life together but seemed to be drawn back to the darkness.
At the age of sixteen, I was arrested for grand theft auto after spending the summer hanging around a group of guys I should not have been with. As punishment, I spent time in juvy and on house arrest. After I got out I thought I had it all figured out. I was going to get myself together and do something with my life. It only took a year before I once again tried to fill my emptiness with things other than God. This led to trying out different drugs and partying a lot. I went down an extremely dark path and I didn’t know how it would end. A few times I got much too close to going over the edge and ending my life. This wasn’t intentional; I just didn’t love myself enough to stop it from happening. This led me to not only using but selling to get by. This is where God stepped in and put my wife in the picture to pull my head above water so that I could slowly start turning around and get out of that life style.
My wife Bridget and I were attending another church in town when we were invited to come to Anthem by some family, and after one week we were already considering making it our home. We had decided to give it one month; if at the end we didn’t think it was for us, we were going to go back to our other church. Week two came and at the end of the service we both looked at each other and knew that we weren’t going anywhere. God had called us to this church so that we could grow spiritually with amazing people surrounding us.
We quickly fell into a connection group with people that would soon become our best friends. We hang out with these people many times throughout the week and couldn’t imagine our lives without them now. The very first connection group we went to I met Matthew. I cannot say enough about this man - he is the strongest person I know. He took me aside that night and just talked to me, slowly transitioning it to my spiritual life. He asked a simple question, “If you died tonight where would you go?” I answered, “I’m pretty sure I would go to heaven. I hope I have done enough good to outweigh my evils.” He told me that's just not how it works, that Jesus laid down His life for us, and if we allowed Him into our lives we would be saved. This has changed my life so much and put me on the path of following God.
I’m looking forward to growing in this community and allowing God to use me however He needs. So many things have become clear to me these last few months. Everything from where I should live to whom I surround myself with. I love these people and can’t wait to just grow with them. This August, my wife Bridget and I both proclaimed our love for Jesus in baptism. It was such an honor to be able to do this with the people that we love to fill our weeks with and grow with in our faith. Thank you Anthem family for everything you have done for me and helping me grow in my spiritual life.