Ben's Restored Story • The Greatest Restoration...
Park was my grandpa’s brother, and he owned the 1941 chevy pickup I used to play in when I was a kid. I spent hours in his barn pretending to drive it. When I was 40, he asked me if I wanted the truck. It was pretty beat up, but it still ran and my love for the old pickup caused me to say “yes” to Park’s offer. I trailered it home where it sat in the brush for the next 15 years!
The old truck was a beauty when she rolled off the assembly line in 1941 — God tells us that when He created mankind, He made us in His own beautiful image. Genesis 1:27
We possess many of His traits and characteristics; but not wanting us to be robots that must serve Him, He desired that we have FREE CHOICE to love and obey Him, or not.
Park’s old truck started out pristine, but over time, and sitting out in the elements, the ’41 began to age and fade in color until one day, rust began its cancerous assault on the body of the Chevy.
The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, chose to follow their own desires and disobeyed God. From that moment on, sin, like rust, entered into all mankind. Having free choice comes with consequences. Romans 5:12
Left unattended for years out in the backyard, rust continued to eat away at the metal. Only serious restoration could prevent a total loss of the vehicle.
Sin, like rust, always leads to death, but God does not desire that anyone should end up on the scrapheap. Just like the old truck we were helpless to save ourselves, so God sent the one and only Restorer that could make us better than new. Romans 6:23
God led me to the classic car restorers, who worked hard at turning around the effects of time and rust. God provides The Ultimate Restorer, His Son Jesus Christ, to make our lives completely new. Romans 5:8
All we need to do is, like the ’41 Chevy, submit ourselves and accept the ultimate restoration plan that’s offered to everyone.
Here’s how you can receive God’s Ultimate Restoration for you! Romans 10:9-10, 13
FIRST, Admit there’s rust. Tell God you’re a sinner in need of forgiveness and a life-restoration.
SECOND, Trust the Restorer. Tell Jesus you want to receive the restoration work He did by dying on the cross and paying for your sins.
THIRD, Accept the restoration work. Give your life to the risen Savior, Jesus Christ; accept Christ’s payment, made for your sins on the cross.
If you’ve done this, God has forgiven you and restored you to Him! BUT DON’T STOP HERE......
DETAILING Now God has a plan for removing the outward appearances of the rust and dents in your life.
It begins by reading the Bible; God’s plan of restoration for mankind. Romans 10:17
NEXT, find a Bible teaching church in your area and begin attending it so you can be encouraged and equipped for the work God has for you to do! Ephesians 2:10
Finally, begin praying; thanking God for His restoration, and asking Him to help you live the way He desires for you to live.
I Thessalonians 5:17
-Pastor Ben Harris, Restored Community Church
“I was on my way to the depths below, but You restored my life.” Psalm 30:3
Charles’s Restored Story
July 7, 2019
I grew up in a divided home in which God and the Bible were not evident. Yet, I went to a nearby church anyway, attended Sunday school and church, played on the church’s softball team, and attended a catechism class of sorts. I had my own Bible but little instruction at home and very little encouragement. In essence, I was on my own throughout my childhood and teen years, especially since my dad was a full‑blown alcoholic.
While serving with the Navy and Marine Corps in the jungles of Vietnam in 1968, during the Ten Offensive, I heard the Navy Chaplains preach every Sunday morning when we weren’t being fired upon or rocketed. As a result, I became very interested in knowing more about God and I sporadically read the Bible.
After that, I was on the move a great deal with the Navy for several decades occasionally attending church. It was during that time that I gradually began to “understand” more about God and Jesus. But, I did not “know” them. Upon marrying Irene, I found myself going to church regularly, attending Bible study, and praying more and more…. especially as Irene was attending Precept and other Bible studies. She is a really great role model.
While in San Diego in 1998 as a Navy CAPT, a Commanding Officer, and attending Shadow Mountain, I formally prayed for God to be my God and His son, Jesus, to be my Lord and Savior. I also accepted Pastor Jeremiah’s challenge to actually read the Bible.
My favorite verse: John 14:2-3 NIV “My Father’s house has many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Brad's Restored Story
At 37 years, it seems to me that life can be a roller coaster of ups and downs. Challenges and bliss. As a child and young man, during those seasons, I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. I did not know who he was aside from the childhood stories I had heard and read. In Catholic school I memorized routines and prayers, but the meaning was lost. It seemed that it was more about the process than the meaning and purpose, and I soon lost interest.
In the 5th grade, I found a pornography magazine, and it blurred any sense and wonder of the true blessings of Love and sex, and it destroyed it's meaning.
My high school and college years were lost in trying to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. I don't recall once considering whom I belonged to.
As an adult, I met my wife Sheri and soon became overwhelmed with Love for her. But, I had brought all of my sinful ways into our relationship and I destroyed the trust and bonds that are created when you don't love someone God's way. We were married and began having children. I loved being a husband and father but I had little spiritual foundation and I struggled to rise above my sin-full nature. It felt like I was doing it alone, in control, out of control. I thought I was the solution. Oh how I was wrong.
On October 27th 2014, we found out that our second child Aden had a cancerous tumor in his chest. It was an aggressive form of Lymphoma, and our world seemed to fall apart. We struggled to grasp the future and our marriage seemed like someone or something was tearing it apart. We were consumed in worry and anxiety as waves of emotion poured through us.
Months prior to Aden's diagnosis, I was going through a difficult time. On my knees one evening alone, I had prayed to God for a powerful change. Something that would disrupt the way I was seeing myself and the world. Looking back now, I can see that God had a plan for me and He was faithful to my request. I just didn't know how powerful of a change he had in mind.
As Aden started Chemotherapy, we soon found out the he had a blood clot in his brain. We were really struggling to grasp the situation and our marriage was struggling. I again found myself at the side of my bed crying out to God for his guidance and strength. I opened my Bible to a random page and began reading. It was Psalm 23;
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His names sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil,
For you are with me
Your rod and your staff they comfort me”
What a timely and powerful message. Was it a coincidence that this was one of two scriptures that I had memorized as a child? I don't believe so. I could have turned to any page in the Bible, but there was a purpose for this. I was being led and pursued. He was teaching me that life is not an assortment of random events. It is His plan and His design.
When I look back He was leading us right where we needed to be. Not on our timing but his. Setting His plan perfectly in place. His mercy and grace pouring out upon us. He has rebuilt family relationships and created new friendships during this trial. People from all over the world were praying for Aden and our family.
I once heard someone tell a story, which I remember vaguely. It was from a saved man who had had a vision of an oncoming powerful and dark storm. Wanting to turn and run he soon realized that there was no outrunning this storm. Although terrified of the thought of entering the storm alone, he was overcome with emotion and heard a message from God to turn and face it.
This vision was a metaphor for the storms we face in life. He is asking us to turn towards the storm and face it. Have faith in Him who has faced the storm and overcome it. He who has bought and paid for, all of the sins of man, and freely offers a love in the purest form. All He asks from us is to turn from our sin, ask for forgiveness, and walk a different path. Because on the other-side of the storm is something He needs us to know about who He is and what he has in store for us.
Revelations 3:5 says;
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garmets and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels”.
He has poured out His mercy infinitely, beyond my worthiness and my understanding. He has healed my marriage, my family, and cancer. And although the seasons of life can change at a moments notice, I know now that my life is not a coincidence and that I am loved and cared for in a way that only God can. I know who I belong to and where I am going.
In the rest of Psalm 23, David says;
“You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”
Today I start a new beginning, I invite the Holy Spirit to live within me, to guide me, to strengthen me.
I turn from sin, and I ask God for His forgiveness. - Amen
Deb's Restored Story
I feel very blessed and fortunate not only to have been raised in a godly home from the cradle, but also to have been called to the cross at such an early age. I was 7 when I realized that Jesus died on the cross “just for me” and in childlike faith walked forward to put my trust in Him and accept the free gift of Himself into my heart!
Being very active in our small church, at age 13, I rededicated my life to God when I realized that being a Christian went beyond receiving a gift, but also demanded a response from me. I guess you could say I “fell in love” at age 13 with my Lord and Savior and began to explore ways to have a relationship with Him, using a Bible and notebook that I still have today!
After standing firm through high school, leading in my youth group, and attending a Bible College to complete a 1 year Bible program, I was asked to join a revival ministry called LIGHT Ministries. God was providing a place for me to learn the disciplines of the Christian life like I had never known them before, and I stayed with this ministry as Administrative Assistant to the Director for four years where I learned to love God, His Word and people.
After marrying and together serving on the leadership team for the college group at Shadow Mountain (then Scott Memorial) I had the privilege of raising 3 beautiful children. I enjoyed sharing my faith with them and raising them to know and love and serve the same Jesus I did! Their father unexpectedly turned his back on us and on the Lord after 10 years in a mid-life crisis, and we all found ourselves leaning on the Everlasting Arms, while in the deepest pain. But God does not waste anything, as I have seen Him use the comfort and strength that He poured out on us in the lives of others as we have shared how He held us as we remained faithful to Him (II Cor 1:3). I have never been so close to my Heavenly Father as during this season of pruning. He was so very faithful to me!
A second storm in life, which gave me a 4th child and 2nd divorce, tested me deeper and I faced it proclaiming that I would be “unshaken” for Him (Ps 15). I was serving at Skyline at the time and am so grateful that my Pastor believed in me through this storm and allowed me to continue leading women to the Word as I coordinated Women’s Bible Study for two years. God was able to use me even during g this time because I trusted Him to lead and He used it as an opportunity to showcase Himself to many women (II Chron 16:9). My childlike “trust” and life time verse (Prov 3:5-6) became my mantle as I made conscious effort to “not focus on my unbelievable circumstances, but rather on my unbelievable God.!” I was asked to be a workshop speaker for a women’s event in our church and saw many women drawn into the Bible Study. God uses our brokenness to show Himself very real!
In 2004, I was relocated through God’s providence to Turning Point and to Shadow Mountain - it felt like coming “home!” I served as Altar Counselor and Administrative Assistant for Precept. Once introduced to Precept, I knew it was a life long adventure in His Word, and God allowed me to broaden my sphere by allowing me to teach. I was the Precept Teaching Director for 9 years. I have a great love for the Word and for women, and a great desire to see them “understand and respond” to the amazing Word of God.
God has found a way to increase my usefulness for His kingdom by gifting me with a wonderful husband who loves and serves the Lord as I do (and two more children too)! We both experienced similar storms and God used that to bond us. We are both in love with the Lord and His Word and have a desire to reproduce ourselves in others.
God has turned my “ashes into beauty, my mourning in to gladness, and my despair into praise and I will forever display his splendor” until I see Him face to face! (Isaiah 61).