Stephen’s Testimony

I came to a saving knowledge in Jesus Christ when I was 34 years old. I was a cultural Christian growing up and then oscillated between agnosticism and atheism in my early adulthood. My testimony is not one of hardship and struggle leading me to a dependence on God. I had so much in life and yet wasn’t satisfied. I made the Olympic trials in swimming, swam and played water polo for UC Berkeley, sang the lead role in South Pacific and The Pirates of Penzance and toured Europe and recorded a CD with an a cappella singing group. I’ve been sky diving, hang gliding, scuba diving, hiking in the Swiss Alps and swimming in the Andaman sea off the coast of Thailand. My life has been filled with great friends, fun times, and a loving, devoted family. Yet it always seemed incomplete.

I gave up a career in economic consulting to become a teacher, thinking that perhaps if I just chose the right profession I could achieve self-fulfillment and satisfaction…but it didn’t satisfy my search for deeper meaning in my life. I decided that if I just met the right woman it would make me whole and happy, so I started attending one of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church’s fellowship groups to find a wife. Thankfully, God had so much more in store for me before being married. While getting to know true Christian believers and developing relationships with committed followers of Jesus Christ, I was more comfortable with investigating Christianity.

It dawned on me in the year 2000 that I had never really investigated who Jesus was or the main tenets of the Christian faith. Though I had spent much of my life openly ridiculing those who called themselves Christian and completely rejecting the truth of the Bible, I had never read an entire gospel with an open mind. I had rejected Christianity not because I had investigated it and found it lacking, but because I simply didn’t like what I perceived it to be. I would encourage anyone who doesn’t believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, to honestly and openly ask God to reveal Himself to them and then read the Gospel of John. If Christianity is true, it has eternal significance. Isn’t it worth dedicating some time to truly investigate who Jesus claimed to be and with an open mind, learn about the Christian faith? Click on this link to locate an Alpha class near you and take an 11-week course on the foundational truths of the Christian faith.

Lee Strobel’s books, the Case for Christ and the Case for Faith, were also instrumental in breaking down some walls that I had put up to the truth. Through taking the Alpha class and reading various books, I was finally given enough faith to commit my life to Jesus and ask for Him to reveal Himself to me in a real way.

God is so good to us and faithful in answering prayer when we seek His will for our lives. On April 16th, 2001 the Lord answered that baby step of faith that I took in a huge and abundant way. I woke up at 4:30am and felt an overwhelming desire to read the Bible. Although I had read bits and pieces of Scripture, I had not yet read a gospel in its entirety. During my reading of John’s gospel, I couldn’t put the book down. This amazing depth of understanding and knowledge of the truth of those words literally came to life inside me. It was not just a head knowledge of the truth either, but an experiential knowledge of the truth. I experienced the very presence of God Himself in my heart through His Holy Spirit in a life altering, transforming, way that will forever solidify my trust, confidence and belief in the Lord.

If given a choice, I would throw away all of my life’s accomplishments–activities, fun times, great adventures, achievements, the sum total of every worldly joy I’ve ever experienced in life–for that one day after Easter where God revealed Himself to me and opened my eyes to the truth. Everything else is relatively meaningless compared to a personal relationship with God by His Holy Spirit living in us through belief in Jesus Christ. And this was just the beginning of that relationship. Since coming to Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit, my life has been totally transformed with the fruits of the Spirit. I was finally shown the meaning of life.

All praise and glory to God for coming to earth in the person of Jesus Christ who died to set us free from the bonds of sin in our lives through the transforming power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Praise God!