Taking a leaf from David’s book (as ever) I decided it was time to tell you MY story. I may do this in several parts but hopefully not however many his will end up as!
I was fortunate enough to be born to Christian parents. In fact the story goes back further than that- on both sides my grandparents (and I think their parents etc…) were all christians. They went to solid evangelical churches- in the case of my fathers parents the Open Brethern.
My Grandfather had lost his father when he was relatively young and my uncle tells a story of how my grandad Edwin Millington Warnock was called into his fathers room to be told of Prov 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths.” This is a verse that has been precious to my family- it was mentioned at my uncles wedding and I had the reference inscribed on the inside of my wedding ring, but we are rushing ahead which would never do as I am following in the footsteps of my blogging partner David’s excelent and honest attempts at telling his story.
Anyway, my grandfather became a tent preacher and was involved in Rutherglen in lantern shows in the Evangelical church there. He drove around the scottish countryside with a tent and set it up to preach. Then, he felt called to come to pagan England and share the gospel. He came to Suffolk and preached there. In village after village he was involved in helping to establish local assemblies. These groups aimed to reflect biblical doctrine and practice, they had elders, body ministry and (yes David) BELIEVERS baptism. He spoke of going where God called him to preach.
Sadly by the time I was old enough to remember him, he was suffering from Parkingsons and dementia. He would rarely say anything much but we enjoyed plaing hand games with him. I only have one vivid memory of him which I will describe later.
My father and his brothers have all preached, some more than others. So much so that there is one church that including me and my cousins has had some seven Warnock’s preaching there over the years!
My other grandfather was also a preacher and at served as an elder in one church. The extended family were a little concerned about my parents, however as when I was really very young there were already beginging to attend Bible Weeks such as Capel Bible week- which was of course a hotbet of the dreaded “charismatics”.
At the age of four, one good friday I asked my dad “Why is it caled Good friday?”. Dad answered “because Jesus died”. I couldnt understand that and asked how could it be good if someone died?
My father told me that God would one day punish everyone for all the wrong they had done. Some people say it will be as though a video screen plays back all those hidden things we have said, done or even thought. The whole universe will see, nothing will be kept secret and the bible says that all will be made to pay for their wrongdoing.
On the outside you and I may seem good people, but inside lies, like a caged animal all the desires that produce outwardly evil men. Although I am generally a “good person”, I realise that my own heart is just as evil as that of any other human being. The constrainst of our society limits these desires, and I thank God that it does. Our TVs often show us what happens when law and order breaks down. At those times, we see horrific scenes as ordinary people loose all restraint. No one can watch the news and then tell me Man is basicaly good! No,until you face the facts, there is no answer to the terrible problem we all share: oursleves.To find the cure, every Doctor knows you must first have the diagnosis. The message my father explained simply to me that day is a radical one, cutting our respectability to the core.
Jesus himself showed the religious people in his time how much further they had to go. Love God first, and love your neighbour as yourself. Do you? You simply can’t be good enough for God. If we are not able to be perfect just like God is then we can’t get to heaven on our own effort.
We all stand deserving separation from a holy God. What do we and this perfect God have in common? Search the world for an answer to the problem of our guilt before God. You will find none that satisfactorily deals witht the guilt we secretly all feel other than the one my father went on to describe.
Jesus was perfect and had done no wrong. He was punished in our place. Because of this you can know that God has forgiven you. The video can be wiped clean. You can be let off. There is a way out.
How can you be saved from God’s punishment? Just admit to God all those wrong things you have done, and ask him to forgive you and take over your life. I did that day, and my life has never been the same since.
I am sure you would agree that knowing that you are going to heaven would be good news. It certainly changes your life. God starts to change you on the inside. You actually find you want to do good now! You realise just how much your sin cost God and out of gratitude want to live like Jesus did.
Other people will notice, too. Some will like it, but others will hate it. Through the centuries many have even died for Christ. A message like this divides people. You have to decide: Which side of the fence are you on?
Don’t just take my word for it, read the Bible and you’ll find its all in there. For example, John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
If you are not a Christian right now why not ask him, like I did to forgive you and give you a new start with him in the driving seat of your life- do drop me a line and let me know if you want to begin a life of following him.
But of course the moment I decided to follow Jesus was just the begining of my story, but although it was my earliest memory there is no doubt that it changed the rest of my life. If you just made that choice, then trust me it will change your life as well.
My story continues at Part 2