Stories are incredibly important. Besides helping us get to know someone, stories bring us understanding, they can encourage us, challenge us, and help us remember that we’re not alone as we journey through a messy life. That’s why we want to hear your story. We want to know about you and what life has been like for you so far.
You’ll find some stories below from a few people around FCC. These are stories we’ve been given permission to share. We think that sharing these stories will remind all of us that we’re all individuals, we’re all different, we all experience life differently, and we can make a difference in each other’s lives.
Here is my story. I am a recovering drug addict. I should not be alive right now but the Lord obviously wants me hear. I am now 31 yrs. old and have been a drug addict for about 15 yrs. I’ve tried rehab after rehab and never succeeded. I gave it one more shot to get in to a place it takes people months to get in to. The Lord touched those people and I got in that day. On top of that the same doctor took my wife also. Miracle. I have not paid my mortgage in a year or so due to my addiction. My wife and I are now 153 days sober and started attending FCC. My house was up for a foreclosure sale on January 22. We tried everything to postpone it – never got anywhere. We started praying and filled out a prayer card at FCC and about 4 days ago we were told they are cancelling the sale. There is no reason for them to. We couldn’t even get it post-poned. It was a huge huge miracle. I can confidently say the Lord is working in our family in so many ways!! I just want to give all praise to him and THANK YOU guys for the prayers. Just thank the good Lord. I don’t even know if this is where I should put this story but had to share.
Most people that know me have defined me by the politics that I have consistently engaged since I was a young adult. As a married father of two young children, my family’s concern for our country’s direction over the last ten years has been, to keep in a pithy manner, more than troublesome. The demise of our culture has seemed to grow in an exponential way. I was not prompted to come to First Christian out of personal problems, sickness, job loss, or any other personal issues with myself or my family. Quite honestly, God has blessed us in ways that at many times have seemed undeserving, but appreciated. The issue that seemed to consume my thoughts over the years is the yearning to be free, in the classical sense of our founding fathers. As an amateur student of history, I spent the past ten years reading the writings of John Locke, Plato’s Republic and the Perfect Society, Thomas More’s Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, The Federalist Papers, and the history of Marxism on the demise of culture and freedom. I spent time rereading the history of our great country which brought me up to the Great Awakening in the United States and the restoration movement. For most people, this next idea is simple and common sense. But for me? Not so much. The mind tends to hide the needs of one’s heart. And most times, I cannot stress enough, the things that are in plain view tend to be the most hidden. Yes, God has a way of using all things for His glory and purpose.
I had driven into First Christian’s parking lot on Sunday several times over the last two to three years. I had driven around the parking lot on weekdays even many more times. But I never could get out of my car and walk in. Every excuse and lack of logic directed me to quite wasting my time and leave. Why? I didn’t know. “Surely though, this could not be God directing me to leave a church,” I thought. If this is true, then what is my reservation? After all, apparently I was looking for something to answer this confusing question that has enveloped my thoughts for so many years. But I did leave again…and again…again…
I went back to my reading and realized that all through history (HIS STORY) wars have been fought and people defended in the name of religion. Human conditions such as poverty, illiteracy, shelter, and physical protection have improved in the name of religion. So perhaps there was something more to this. I find it amazing how Judaism at 3800 years old, and Christianity at 2000 years old, historically, has always been attacked by many in the world’s long gone and current societies. All the while, the two faiths have done more to liberate the minds, hearts, and bodies of men than any government or groups of people have in their own human drawn thoughts, ideas, speeches, writings, actions, or governments. Though the course of time, people have embraced their secular religions and daily practices and held them up in the name of political correctness, as a new and improved version of our outdated beliefs. Even without faith, it doesn’t take a genius to know which religions build the souls of men and liberty, and which man made actions prune the hearts of men with shackles.
I contacted a close friend of mine and told her I was ready to take the next step. Her open answer was simple, “Meet me at 9am Sunday”…..at First Christian, so I thought… I have been coming to First Christian for about five months now. My wife and children also started attending with me on their own accord, to my surprise, completely without me asking them. Over the course of the last few months, my childhood friend would text me during the service asking me where I was sitting, how I like the sermon, are you running late, sorry I missed you after the service, etc. I always responded in kind, sharing the enjoyment and learning that I was receiving. I never understood why her responses were confusing to me. Last week I messaged her and let her know I finally took the leap of faith and started attending the classes for becoming a member of First Christian. She responded that was not the church she attended. “What? Did you leave that Church? Am I alone here? No wonder I never enjoyed your company and friendship on Sunday, I thought. Are you just another hypocrite? Is this typical of church going people? Do you just leave a church for another for no reason?” “No. She replied. I attend another church and always have, but I believe you are in the right place,” she joyfully retorted. I just started to understand. After the short term shock and flush embarrassment, it occurred to me that it really was not my idea to attend First Christian, but a solid prompting. After all, I did feebly attempt to walk into the building for three years prior to having my conversation with my dear friend.
I am grateful that God’s Spirit has directed me in this manner, for myself, my family, and the opportunity for new friends and life. In the short term, I have been blessed with a blind faith. I have finally found freedom. The answer truly lies and lives within each of us, if we will take the simple step of faith. Christ is not a burden, but a liberator. I now understand. What a simple, yet perfect solution that has taken me just over forty years to embrace. This is not my full story. This is just my beginning.
I think God has brought me here to North Canton, and more specifically First Christian Church. After 14 years in the Army, three combat tours, a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and a Medal for Valor – I am still alive because God wanted more for me, and I’m finding more with each service I attend at FCC. After so many years of pain and suffering, I truly believe I have been led here by God to find healing. I suffer from PTSD, and usually find it very difficult to be in public places, particularly places with many people (such as church, a market, etc…), but find comfort and safety at FCC.
The Lord does indeed work in ways that we as humans can never understand, but I have found out over my lifetime that if you just trust in Him, your answers will be given to you in time.
I am single mother. I have two daughters, 17 and 19 years old. My husband died ten years ago when I was 38 and my daughters were 9 and 7 years old. My husband was the bread winner and when a friend called me telling that my husband died, I [cried]. What was in my mind is how we will survive – I am jobless.
After the burial, I was always crying. I did not know where to move first. But I always pray to God to give me hope, to give me more faith, more trust to Him. I kept on praying and serving the Lord through my cooking ministry. Even though we are poor, I alway trust God.
One time, I enrolled my daughter in school and a teacher told me, “Do you think you can afford to send your daughter to school?” I said, “Yes, with God’s help.” Now my daughters are all in college. I never lost hope to send them to school, even when I didn’t have enough money. I knew God always supports me. What God wants is [for you] to give all your trust to Him. God loves the widows. PSALM 118:9 It is better to Trust in the LORD than put your confidence in man.
I grew up in a Christian family, but did not attend Church regularly… since my mom worked seven days a week. I fell out of the Christian faith quickly after attending Middle and High School, due to a lack of Christian teaching and morals. It wasn’t until I met a girl (now my wife) in college while attending The University of Akron in 2008. She quickly started shoveling the Word over and under me, while I was somewhat befuddled by it all. I started attending church with her family in Malvern, Ohio shortly after we began dating.
I never truly believed in the Power and Grace of God, and the meaning of devoting your life to Jesus until I was baptized years later, but in the meantime, I was stubborn. I didn’t want to wake up early to go to a place full of people I did not know. It was uncomfortable. As I began reading the Bible more and more, the less I’d fight my girlfriend to go to church. I began looking forward to going every weekend, regardless the forty-five minute drive. We were married last September, shortly after I had began attending First Christian (which was introduced to me via my brother in law).
Only a few short weeks after our marriage began, I was let go from my career as a Surgical Assistant at Mercy Medical Center. We were crushed. It was supposed to be the happiest time of our lives. We had looked forward to being married for so long. Once the dust settled, I recalled a conversation my wife and I had, as well as prayers I had prayed to God. The topic: how unhappy I was at my job. The people were not Christian people. I felt persecuted every day; silenced by their gossip and negative comments about Christians and Christian life. I prayed to God, “Please God, I can see very clearly that this is not a good place for me. Maybe you have me here for a reason, but please, I ask that whatever your will, your plan for me is, let it be done the way you would like it to be done. Please take my hands and use them as your own.”
I lost my job two days later. It was tough. But this allowed me to learn something that many 23-year-old men don’t get to learn… behind every positive and negative circumstance is a lesson that God wants to teach you. If you neglect to learn, you have missed out on a miraculous opportunity.
Months later, I had received a phone call from the Cleveland Clinic. I was scheduled for an interview the following Thursday. I received the job the following morning, less than twenty-four hours later. I am much happier, as I am free to express my Christian attitude and lifestyle.
Prayer works. But only if you are willing to receive what God is willing to give you, positive or negative. I know that I can make it through any circumstance with him, and I have placed my entire trust and faith into him. Something I wasn’t sure I could do before. I just wish it wouldn’t have took me so long to understand that I was being a stubborn jerk. :)
Scott is awesome.
My husband, three children, and I started going to FCC the first week of the Great Recovery back in January. We enrolled in and completed Financial Peace University and it changed our world very much for the better! Each week we were so very impressed and moved by the entire package that is FCC. The Worship team, specifically Kevin, you are sooo very talented. Thank you for sharing your gifts week after week with everyone. You are so obviously doing what God has called you to do. No matter how “hard” my previous week had been, when I come to your worship service, I get chills and can feel the Holy Spirit fill the room. :) And Pastor Rosen, Thank YOU so very much for your honesty and amazing ability to connect with everyday people and make us feel welcome, understood, and inspired. I don’t have to be perfect when I walk through your doors, and I LOVE that. You are all an amazing group of talented individuals and I am happy to call FCC our family’s church home.
My great recovery started 3 years ago. My husband was just laid off and we were in a bad place in our marriage. He suggested we go back to church. Honestly, I didn’t want to, but the thought of saying I don’t want to go to church didn’t seem right, so I went. Shortly after we went back he joined a starting point class. I didn’t think I needed that at first, because I wasn’t “new” to church, but decided to join him. That fall my step daughter (then 14) decided to live with us temporarily (later turned permanent) because her mom moved 3 hours away. This was an answer to a long time prayer! It wasn’t as easy as we planned but something we ALWAYS wanted.
After Starting Point was complete we wanted to join a life group. I got in contact with Jerry Seger and she got me in touch with Scott Rosen who invited us to his life group. That was late fall 2009. I am happy to say we are still part of that life group and we LOVE it. I am not sure what we would do (or did) without it. We have made so many great connections. One of my fears about such a large church, was just getting lost in the numbers, but we have met and made connections with so many wonderful people and I don’t think this would have happen without Starting Point and our TERRIFIC life group. My life has changed so much since February of 2009. I had accepted Jesus in my heart as a teenager, but wasn’t living the life. I learned what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus and I learned what it meant to have Jesus live in, with and through you. Slowly my life started to change. I started learning more and more what it meant to be a Christian and the path God wanted me on.
A year ago we decided that my place was in the home and not in the work force. We had several reasons for it. At the end of the day, we just felt led that my place was at home. God’s perfect timing showed itself when I was laid off the day I was going to tell my boss, that I was leaving in 2 months. It has been such a blessing to be able to stay home with them. It made us learn to sacrifice, but we have never regretted that decision. I am very pleased to be able to use my time to raise my children and teach them about Jesus way more than I could working full time.
I am trying to make some changes in our eating habits because I have had such awesome, knowledgeable people in my life, teaching me things about food I never knew.
Now we are considering homeschooling both our children next fall. I currently home school my preschooler. I can honestly said I would have bet money I would never be the person that home schooled their kids. A year ago, I would have said no way. God is amazing!
My life has been one great recovery, since February 2009. Some things took a lot of time, but again, all in God’s perfect timing. There are times I think I should be further along in my journey, but I try to look at where I came from, not how far I need to go.
If you aren’t in a life group, I encourage you to join one. I honestly can’t tell you what an impact it has had in our lives and I don’t know what we would do with out the people in our life group! You may think you don’t need it, or it isn’t for you, or you don’t have time, but you will not be sorry!
As I said, I became a Christian when I was a teen, but in the last 3 years I have seen my husband and step daughter be baptized and my 5 year old, ask me to help her pray to ask Jesus in her heart. When all is said and done, what more can I ask for?
I pray that the great recovery my family is on will continue.
We recently finished our last lesson in the Financial Peace University class. What a blessing this class has been to my husband and me! I originally debated taking the class because I was afraid (and embarrassed) to talk about our financial situation. Putting our total debt on paper was very scary for me. But by following Dave Ramsey’s very practical steps, we found that having a budget and tackling our debt was not as scary as we had made it out to be. I totally understand now the “peace” part. We still have a few debts to pay off, but we will eventually be DEBT FREE and able to greatly BLESS others! For anyone who is unsure about the class, I would highly recommend taking it. It is definitely worth the investment. I can’t begin to imagine the blessing and impact our church would have on the community if everyone was able to participate. Thank you for making this available to us!
I jumped into the Great Recovery with no particular area in mind. The wealth of information from the pulpit, from the Wed RenewU classes, plus the many other things I learned along the Journey has changed me. I definitely “tore off a roof” and decided to lead a mission group back to Haiti next April. Due to changes in my job I have decided to retire earlier than planned. Much of the information learned in the Financial Peace class is helping me with the financial part of retiring. I went to many Nutritional classes and lectures, read a couple of books, and have made some major changes in how and what I eat. Even though I have met many challenges in my health in the past few weeks, I think the new knowledge of foods will help my body to repair and recover… And what fun we had working with our Life Group to amass our points! Praying that we all can take what we have learned, continue in the many new habits we have formed, and be better equipped to move out of our comfort zones, our old ways of doing things, and be ready to jump into new ways of bringing hope to the hurting around us.
As the Great Recovery ends this week I took time to reflect on what happened to my heart, participating in this with FCC. I softened enough to receive Christian love from many here at FCC and to be pulled into a great family of believers. Many activities I shared in with the Great Recovery brought me to a place where I felt God speaking more clearly to me about my life. But what really has been awesome and very true of the Sunday 11:00 service I attended today (April 1), is how very present God has been in this church. I think I have felt this because I have come to a peace that has quieted me enough to feel and hear him though the music, the words of Pastor Scott.
I am blessed with all those who helped me through the Great Recovery and look forward to Easter, renewed life in my heart and being a part of this family of believers.
God bless to all!
When I went to my first Great Recovery meeting I learned about the points thing and how I can gain points for doing simple things like community service. With this being said I have really gone out on a limb and stuck my neck out to help LOTS of military families at Fort Riley. My husband is a part of the 1-16 Infantry Bandido Charlie Company of Fort Riley, Kansas. Every company has a FRG (Family Readiness Group) Leader. I am proud to announce that I was appointed this position. I quickly learned how to speak “Army Lingo” and over 500 hours of community service done in 2 & 1/2 months later I am proud to announce I was Awarded The Commanders Award for Public Service!!! Signed by the COL, AR Command of the United States Army!!!! This is the highest award a civilian can receive by the Army! I was SOO pleased that I received this award at such a young age (21)!!! I thank God for this Award!! It makes me remember that he is proud of me.
My story gave me a Chapter on losing a soulmate unexpectedly, 7 years ago, when I felt grounded and secure with my partner as well as my relationship with God. That ripped out the passion and drive I had for life and it took a long time to pick up the pieces and move on. It caused me such heartache to bounce around and not feel a peace in my heart, only when I came to a point where I was exhausted and too tired to continue did God open my heart to joy.
That is when The Great Recovery crossed my path and it has given me the drive to gain the happiness that only God can give. It has been a holistic approach and I look forward to building relationships with other FCC members, serving and filling my time and energy in giving back to who and what has helped me to get to this point.
When I was 16, I was excited about being 18 in two years, and I had planned everything I had to have for my birthday, but nothing I really needed. Sometimes we think have it all figured out, but God actually planned it out already.
When I was born, I had a dad; Brent. But before I was a year old, he left us. Mom and I were alone for nearly 7 years until she met David. They married when I was 8. Then my brother was born when I was 10, my sister was born when I was 11. Life was good. But, unbeknownst to my mom and I, David had some problems. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, and then… another woman. After 14 years, they divorced. During this time, my mother talked to me like I was a girlfriend, sharing her hurt, fears and regrets. We cried together and I was her rock. However, during the time of late night talks, my mother confessed something that really changed me; the “Brent” whom I thought was my father my whole life, was NOT. She proceeded to tell me “her story” and how I came into this world. I came from a one-night stand, born out of too much alcohol between two good friends (God really wanted me in this world!!). She never told my real father because he was “a good catholic boy and would have married her out of obligation.” Hmmm.
Well, how do you go forward in life after that? But I did. Too many details to type here. But yes, I met my real father, it’s a long story. He didn’t know I was his daughter when I met him, but I gave him a letter explaining things. He never contacted me. After 11 years of hoping he’d call, I guess you can’t miss what you never had. Many years later, my mother re-married; a good Catholic boy. After a few years, I started to call him “Dad.” And he truly is the best dad I ever had!
I have lots of details of near-misses in my life. Poor choices that could have led to pregnancy, kidnapping or my doom; feeling alone, afraid, neglected, etc. It truly is by the Grace of God that I’m here today; healthy and alive. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to be the person God intended for me. My experiences don’t define who I am, they make me stronger and more compassionate towards others. One of my favorite quotes is not to judge others because everyone is going through something. That’s one of my stories.
As I entered the auditorium last Sunday, my heart was weary, my body was physically tired, my brain had been overworked and my emotions had been on overload. I have a job that I dearly love and feel called to. I am the Secondary Lead Teacher at Heritage Christian School. I have a fantastic staff all of which love the Lord. The enemy is afraid when we are doing what is right and he had been pounding us down with one discipline problem at a time, one hurting student at a time, one tragedy at a time…
I was beginning to wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew. Was I able to lead the staff and the students into God’s light and love? “Ripping the Roof Off” was just for me on Sunday. God spoke right into my heart. It was the boost I needed to face another Monday and to recognize Satan for who and what he is, to trust God and his wisdom and know that HE is with me/us every step of the way, throughout every second of the day.
This week ended with some very exciting things starting to take shape, all which are by the very hand of God. We, at HCS want to do whatever it takes to get our kids in front of Jesus.
I thought my Great Recovery story would be about weight loss! Turns out it is about relationships! I sat down in the beginning of The Great Recovery and made myself a new “life plan” which included several elements. One area I wanted to include was reinvesting in friendships that I have neglected. It is so easy for me to get so caught up in my work and family responsibilities that I do not take time for fun and friendship. The Lord led me to reconnect with a dear friend whom I had allowed life to crowd out. She is faithful and true, and the passing of time had not eroded our spiritual connection with one another. We prayed together once a week for 20 years on behalf of our children, and have had many spiritual adventures together. So, even though she is not a member of First Christian Church, I asked her to join me on this latest adventure of the Great Recovery. The Lord had already called her to her own recovery this year, so she readily accepted and dove right in! She is so excited about FPU that she invited another couple from our area to join her! So, the Great Recovery has spread to another county! I have been so blessed by interacting on a daily basis with this friend as we are holding each other accountable for the diciplines we committed to. We have rediscovered God’s purpose for our friendship and rejoice that He has seen fit to “pick up the stitches” of our lives and again knit us together in the afghan of friendship and faith. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12.
As I attend more and more at FCC I feel God’s presence tugging at my heart and His love filling my heart. The music is awesome and lifts me closer to Him, the words of Pastor Scott just puts icing on the cake.
My story is one of finding peace one babystep at a time. God has been directing me to seek peace and health in all phases of my life. Spiritual, emotional, physical and personal, including fiancés. I am far from being where I want to be but with the help of my friend (who invited me to join her in the Great recovery team) and God (without whom I could do nothing) I am headed toward a goal.
Everywhere I turn this year God shows me He wants me to have peace. Even though I am older, I have joined an exercising program at the Y (with my husband). I have joined the FPU classes and most of all I have put God first in my daily life. Spending time with him and my devotional time comes first. I’m not where I should be but I am taking baby steps everyday to become what God would have me to be.
A little story before the story: http://kent.patch.com/articles/a-tribute-to-robert-wood
When I read this link that my son sent to me on Facebook last night, it took me back 40 years to my college days. It made me think how Scott is always telling us that we are a church that wants to just love people and accept them where they’re at. Well, this story is an example of exactly that.
The man in the story is Robert Wood. Back in the 60′s and 70′s he was an icon at Kent State and around Kent. He had some mental health issues and I believe was a Vietnam vet. College students being what they are, made fun of him and his disabilities. He could be seen in downtown Kent frequently standing on street corners. Kids would drive by and yell obscenities at him just to see him flip them off. Hence he became known far and wide as “F#%$-you Bob”. So this scenario went on for literally decades. I was a student at Akron U and even WE all knew about “Bob”. Kids would drive over to Kent just to spot him and have him flip them off. Everyone assumed he was crazy and wrote him off.
Well, fast-forward 25 years.
Interestingly enough, my son lived in Kent while going to school and attended the Vineyard Church there. He came home one weekend and told us about this man he had befriended named Robert and how people used to make fun of him and call him names. I knew immediately who he was talking about. He proceeded to tell me how the Vineyard had reached out to Robert (he didn’t like to be called Bob!) and befriended him and gave him a place to set up his art studio. Turns out Robert was an extremely talented artist and a very well-read, intelligent man.
I remember giving my son an Old Navy bookbag for Christmas one year since his was falling apart. The next time he came home, he still had his old ratty bookbag so I questioned him. He said ‘Oh mom, Robert fell in love with the bookbag you got me so I just had to give it to him”. I couldn’t have agreed more.
With the encouragement of many new friends and a church who truly loved him, Robert was able to start to sell some of his artwork. Many others in the community helped give him housing, food, support and most importantly, friendship and acceptance. Every time I visited the services at the Vineyard, there was Robert painting or drawing in his special spot while the minister preached. I watched people interact and just love Robert, in spite of what anyone thought. They were a blessing to him and he in turned blessed them beyond words. I am encouraged that my son’s generation seems to be so much more tolerant of those that are “different” in the world’s eyes than my generation ever was. What my generation made fun of, theirs loves and accepts as one of their own.
I attached the link in the Kent Patch because it sums up a lot of what Robert was. The Vineyard church had ceased to exist in Kent and I wondered what happened to Robert. He apparently had formed enough connections that many were looking out for him. Amazing what a little love will do, isn’t it? Anyway, thought I’d share that just because I believe it’s what we as a church are trying to emulate. I hope we can have our own “Robert” stories to pass on. As Mother Teresa said ” we will never see God until we can see God in everybody”.
I have something to share I hope you find interesting. I was recently in South Carolina for my niece’s public high school graduation. The speeches made by the salutatorian and valedictorian must be no longer than five minutes and must be approved by one of the principals. The salutatorian delivered a typical graduation speech. It was good, funny, but typical. The valedictorian, Zachary Morrow, started his speech by saying this wasn’t going to be a typical speech. Zach then gave his statement of faith, encouraged his classmates in their careers to be of service which may include sacrifice, and ended by reminding everyone of the sacrifices of the apostles. I think the applause he received was as long as his speech.
The thing that struck me most was his poise. This was not a practiced speech. It was definately a speech from the heart. My words don’t do this occasion justice – but God put it on my heart to post this. I hope in some way this blesses you. Thanks for reading.