Testimony: I Heard The Whisper
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Mark Koerner's testimony "I Heard The Whisper" on 6/18/2012, 8:26am...
My Personal Testimony.
I am very pleased to present to you my faith story. Because to be honest with you itís the best part of Mark Koerner. He has clearly made me the person I am today and for all my days to come. But more importantly, where would I be without it. Where would any of us be without a story of redemption. I love to look back and remember. God tells us to remember what he has done for us.
My story really starts at a youth retreat when I was in junior high school. Sure I had a great time doing all of the fun things kids do on a retreat on a lake in Minnesota. But God started to reveal himself to me there in that place. I donít remember one lesson plan, there wasnít one word or song or prayer spoken that made an impression on me. What did touch my soul was the flicker of the camp fire and the gentle steady flow of waves lapping upon the sandy shore. The natural elements surrounding me in that place and a few moments of sitting still was Godís special way to whisper my name. For even today I am constantly in awe of the simple beauty and the incredible creative hand of God. No decisions were made for me that week at camp but I know that as I look back on my journey it was a key moment.
My teen years growing up in New Hope and attending Cooper high school were spent playing a lot of sports and partying with friends. I was not a good student and I didnít really care about getting an education. Cruising with friends, jamming to music, drinking beer and smoking doobies was where it was at. Oh and checking out the chicks was pretty fun too. I did graduate but just barely. So there I was, graduated from high school and working different jobs: a stock room clerk, siding houses, installing carpet, laying concrete. All the while enjoying the party scene. But I began to feel that uneasiness in my gut that all of us have felt at one time or another. Is this all there is to life? Does my life mean anything ? Can I continue living like this? Do I want too. God is the master of uneasy feelings, itís how we respond that makes all the difference in our journey. So this is where my story getís good.
One of my friends just moved into a new apartment and so we were celebrating in his new apartment. Sooner or later I had to relieve myself so I made my way to the bathroom in his new apartment and as I stood over the bowl doing my thing, I noticed a picture of a cute puppy dog on the back of the toilet with a caption that read like this ďJesus is ComingĒ. Hmm, Jesus is coming? What! Jesus is coming? What did that mean? Was it true? I knew that he had lived here once before and died on the cross but why in the world would he come back. So I began to contemplate the life of Jesus in a deeper way. One thing that stood out to me about the life of Jesus was the fact that time changed in reference to his life and death and to me that could not happen unless God had intervened into the matters of man. It seemed stupid to me that perhaps one man or even a counsel of people declared on a certain day that I think we will start the calendar all over again and we will do it because Jesus died.
So there I was, you should now get the image of a very ripe piece of fruit ready and I mean ready for harvest, I am thinking a plump juicy grape. Itís sad to think what may have happened if nobody came along to pluck me. If I would have simply fallen to the ground, burst from my skin and all the good juices spilling out on the hardened ground. But God had a plan. One evening I was sitting on a bench at Ridgedale shopping mall. When a women in here mid twenties approached me, she sat down beside me and said to me ďGod sent me to talk to youĒ. Yes! Yes he did, I absolutely knew that she was sent by God and that she was being faithful to the call. She presented the good news to me there on that mall bench. The truth sunk in a little more that night but it wasnít completely clear yet. Again no final decision was made that night. Godís plan was still unfolding. (I have to interject here. That woman who bravely came to speak to me about the treasures of God doesnít know the rest of the story. We both walked away from the bench never to meet again. She didnít get to taste the fruit! She doesnít know that my life would soon change for ever and that she played a role in it. Many times we never know the impact we have in others lives, what cuts thru and reaches fertile soil and what falls to rocky ground.)
I have twin sisters that are 6 years older than me. Kathy lives in Maple Grove and Kandy lives in Grand Rapids. Just a couple of days after my encounter on the mall bench my sister Kathy called me very excited and began telling me about guess who, Jesus. About forgiveness of my sins, his death on the cross, the rising from the grave and yes that Jesus is coming back some day. A woman at Kathyís work had been telling her the good news at the very same time I was contemplating these things myself. It getís better! My other sister Kandy, living in Grand Rapids was also hearing the gospel from a friend. All 3 of us at the same time. I canít help but think who might have been praying for us.
The life and death of Christ now made perfect sense to me, I got it. The puzzle pieces had all been put together. Now it was up to me. Remember how I said earlier that it is how we respond to the uneasy prodding of God that makes a difference in our lives. So God whispered my name. And one night as I crept into my dark bedroom (I kept the lights off) I got down on my knees and I whispered his name and started an eternal relationship with God almighty, the one who spoke the sun, the earth and moon into existence, who thru the stars in the heavens like they were grains of sand on the beach, who colored the sky blue and grass green, who put birds in the air and fish in the sea. Heís the same one who made the water and then came to walk on it, turned it to wine, mixed it to make mud and used it to heal the blind. The same one who loves Markís soul. I have NEVER been the same since. My life made sense. Peace and hope took over and the icky things of my life dissipated. AND I AM SO VERY GRATEFUL.
I finish my story with my favorite bible story. Luke 23: 38-43.
There was a written notice above him, which read: ďThis is the king of the jewsĒ. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him; ďArenít you the Christ? Save yourself and us! But the other criminal rebuked him. Donít you fear God, he said, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. (wait a second, how did he know that Jesus was innocent. He was a thief not a disciple. He had either been in jail or out stealing. How could he of known that Jesus was innocent? The crowds called him guilty.) Then he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. (What!!! Again I ask how did he possibly know that? They were about to die. What kingdom? A kingdom after they die? Jesus disciples did not see a coming kingdom at this point. All they could see was their leader on the cross and their own fear of the future.) Jesus answered him, I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise. Thatís the best part isnít it? ďwith me in paradiseĒ I love that part. Thatís where I want to be ďwith HIM in paradiseĒ. And when I get there I will fall at his feet, I will sing of his praises. In fact Iím warming up for that right now. Because just like the thief on the cross whose eternal destiny changed in the final breathes of his life. Because the same God who was so gracious to open his eyes to the truth, Did it also for me. AND I AM SO VERY GRATEFUL.
Thatís my story and Iím stickin to it.
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