I only went to church about twice a year, I was christened, went through all the classes when I was 8, but all that told me was about God not who he was. And soon I was 15 doing all the things the world tells you to get acceptance, and doing things the world told me to do in general, but it just left me feeling empty, broken, sick, and tired. I got to the point where I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, and then I met this girl, me and this girl had some great conversations. She talked to me about her relationship with Jesus, and I was very curious about that. I really wanted to get to know Him, and I was wondering, “Well, what’s the best way to get to know God, what’s the best religion?” She said, “There isn’t one, the only way to get to know God is through Jesus”. And I thought, “Well okay, so how do I get to know Jesus?”. She said, “you pray”. “Okay, well how do I pray?”. She said, “just talk to Him like He’s your friend.” And you know, Catholic background, that was really weird for me. I never got to see that, never got to see that example. And I got to see that example in her dad, and he actually shared with me God’s heart, God’s unconditional love, and how much God truly loved me. After, I finally got to know God and His heart, and I went to church with her and her family, and that first time I went I gave my life to the Lord.
Back when I lived in Montana, my wife and I didn’t have a specific church we went to, we had left the church we were going to and instead, doing home fellowships, which was great because we were making relationships with the other families. My wife, Caitlin, our 6 month old and I, later moved to Washington State, and we started church hunting, hopping from church to church, trying to find that right fit, knowing that I wasn’t going to find a perfect church, but really looking for a place to call home. It wasn’t until 2020, possibly the hardest, most unlikely time to find a church, I just literally put my hands up, and surrendered and said “Lord, I’m done looking, where would you have us?” Long story short, we ended up in Experience Church back in July, and stayed ever since. From the moment i stepped into Experience Church i felt at home, the people, the hugs the handshakes just made us feel invited and welcomed; the sermon was on point, it was biblical and it applied the Bible to current times, which really attracted me to stay here, as well as Pastor Dennis’ podcasts. Experience Church has taken that intimacy we craved and multiplied it, and I’m grateful to be a part of this family.
After coming to Experience Church, one of the things God laid on my heart to do was to tithe, along with not coming to church consistently, before Experience Church, we didn’t tithe consistently either. And last year, financially, was the hardest year for my family and many other families; and in my line of work, we were closed for about a month and a half, and after that, it was really slow, and it took a long time for it to pick up. But, in a time where we didn’t have anything to give, we made the decision that we were going to start giving, God spoke to us directly in His Word, ‘we can’t out give Him’. So anytime, no matter what the amount was, I’d say “Thank you Lord, that we can’t out give You”. And the first time we gave, it was an amount that we really couldn’t afford, a week later we had an opportunity to make double what we gave. So that was a huge victory. A couple other things that have really kept us, and helped us grow roots into the church was the association. As a man, being around other men, other fathers, having that accountability, and having those great examples in my life. I found that here, in men that were far further along than me in life, that were more successful than me in a lot of areas in life. Just seeing the family life, the kids, the unity in the family, and just seeing my wife protected, in a safe environment where she can also build relationships, those were all things that were very important to me. Also with our kids, I’ve never felt more confident bringing our kids into KEC, than anywhere I can think of, outside of family. So that’s been a huge security, and just being able to see our kids grow. Pastor asked a question in his Father’s Day sermon, “do your kids hear you pray?” and that suck with me because that’s one thing that’s very important to my wife and I is praying with our kids at night, and hearing my daughter pray, and hearing my daughter share the different experiences, and what she’s learning in church, and having these questions, and filling a need and a gap that working 40-60 hours a week that, at this particular time I’m not able to do. But to have that, and to help bring us closer together as a family, it’s incredible.
If there was one thing I could tell a person that is looking for a church, or maybe doesn’t know God, I would say, Find the right environment. Find the right growth environment. The place for you, your family — you, your spouse, and your kids — to where you can grow, and become the best version that God has created and designed you to be.
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