As a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Joe thought he was a Christian. As The Navigators helped him see what the Bible says it means to be a Christian, Joe had more questions. He had already “tried God,” sort of, but it had not worked for him.
Joe tells his story:
Growing up, I was the youngest child in my family, and my family had several challenging realities. Feeling like the more responsible person in this difficult environment, I also tried to hold everything and everyone together. But as hard as I tried, I could not. Everything fell apart. I felt like a failure.
Feeling lost and broken inside, I thought God did not love me. Because if God loved me, why did I have such a difficult family growing up?
While a freshman at UNL, I started to go to a Navigator Bible study and to NavNites. God began working in my life more. My Bible study leader Ben, who was with The Navigators, also invited me to go to our fall conference called the Main Event. But the Nebraska-Texas football game was the same weekend, and no way was I going to miss the biggest football game of the year!
At our last NavNite before the conference, Ben came up to me. He said, “Joe, you are going to Main Event because of (this and that). So go and register for it.” Ben’s straightforwardness was what I needed to hear.
I wondered if the conference would be just another “spiritual high” like I experienced in high school on summer trips. What struck me right away was the genuine love shown to me by Ben and others. Ben was with me the entire weekend. Before Ben, I had not had a positive male role model in my life.
The speaker said something like, “When you give your life to Christ, that implies that you actually give your life to Christ!” That hit me like a ton of bricks. Although I had “prayed the prayer,” I had never actually given Jesus control and lordship over my life. Could I trust God? Does He love me? How can I give my life to Him when I have so many questions about Him? How can I give up control?
But I knew I needed something.
I was being invited into a real, life-giving relationship with the God of the universe who loved me. I truly gave my life to Christ that night. I felt love, acceptance and a peace that I had never felt before!
Going to The Navigators’ conference was probably the most significant weekend of my life! Accepting Christ personally, I began to let Him have Lordship in my life. I started to see change happen in my life for the first time.
I’m still growing but it has not been easy. I’m grateful that He is showing me who I am in Christ. All the glory goes to Him! This fall, I’m also excited to serve with The Navigators’ EDGE Corps.
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