My family started attending CedarCreek Church 21 years ago when our two daughters were in preschool and kindergarten. Although I had accepted Jesus as my Savior as a young girl, I would have considered myself “saved” but not in a relationship with Jesus. My husband, Jeff, was raised not to believe in God. He was taught that all a church wanted was your money. He attended CedarCreek for about a year and read his Bible, but he made the choice not to believe in Christianity. At that time, the Bible didn’t make sense to him, and he just wasn’t interested.
My husband is a wonderful man. He’s always had strong morals. He is an excellent husband and father. He knew how important church was to me and he completely supported me raising our girls in the Christian faith. Out of respect for me, he would attend with us on Christmas and Easter.
I remember once when the girls were teenagers, we went to North Myrtle Beach during spring break. I wanted our family to go to a sunrise Easter service on the beach. My daughters had a fit because they didn’t want to get up early. I remember him telling them, “You are Christians, and I am not. I am going because it is important to your mom. And you are going too!”
Although my husband was not a Christ follower, he always appreciated all that CedarCreek did for the community, and he encouraged me to support CedarCreek financially. I remember one Christmas, about five years ago, CedarCreek asked for financial giving at the end of the year. I went to Jeff and asked him if I could give more than we had allotted; he said, “No.” During the Christmas Eve service, they discussed how a church that CedarCreek was partnering with, Rock City, made a difference in their community. They showed a clip of a young woman who was pregnant. She was not receiving support from her parents, and one parent was encouraging her to have an abortion. She felt defeated, but after attending a Rock City church service, she felt so much love and support that she decided against it. Then a picture of this woman’s daughter was displayed—she was beautiful! My husband was so touched by the difference a church made in this woman’s life that he leaned over and whispered, “You can give whatever you want.”
That Christmas Eve service affected him so much that Jeff began attending church with me a few weeks later. He didn’t go because he believed—he went because he thought the services made him a better man, husband, and father. He went for many Sundays, and slowly, God began to reach him. After years of praying for him (thank you to the many people at CedarCreek who also prayed for him), Jeff accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. He was baptized on August 28, 2016, by Tom Martin and me. I was overjoyed! I know the angels in heaven were celebrating.
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
This weekend, Lead Pastor Ben said, “we are driven by God’s relentless heart for the lost.” This has been one of the themes throughout CedarCreek’s story. I praise God that he never gave up on my husband. I praise God for the wonderful people at CedarCreek who loved and supported him and me. I love that I belong to and serve at a church that does anything short of sin to win people to Christ.
What is your CedarCreek story? How has your life been blessed by God through CedarCreek? What are you doing to help the people in your life find Christ?
Invite someone to church. Be prepared to tell them your life change story. Pray for Christ followers to step out and tell others about their hope in Jesus. Pray for God to soften the hearts of the unchurched so they may be saved. Pray that CedarCreek will continue to bring glory to God.
Jesus, I am amazed and overjoyed that CedarCreek is celebrating its 25th anniversary. I praise you, Jesus, that you have a relentless heart for the lost. I rejoice in all who have come to know you, been saved by you, and serve you at CedarCreek. Thank you for using us to reach the lost. Fill us with your love and compassion for each other and the lost. Please, help CedarCreek to continue to fulfill your mission. Help our church to continue to bring glory to you. Amen.
This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.
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