Sunday, Dec. 9 services at Charlotte and Lake Park are cancelled.
That’s how Josh describes his current walk with the Lord versus the place he was in four years ago.
Growing up a pastor’s son in a very traditional church, Josh came to know Christ at a young age. But like many others raised in Christian homes, Josh strayed from the Lord for a season.
In Josh’s case, it was a rather lengthy season.
“I accepted Jesus into my life when I was maybe 12,” Josh says. “But a lot happens between 12 and 35. I was a boy when I was 12. I fell completely away from any type of relationship with Jesus from the time I was 17 years old until I was 33. I didn’t pick up the Bible, I didn’t read the Bible, I didn’t go to church unless it was Mother’s Day, Christmas or Easter — and that was to please my mother. There was no relationship with God. Even though I was saved, I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.”
It was during this season of distance from God that Josh met Caroline — the love of his life and his future wife. The two dated for awhile and were married on May 5, 2015.
But before Josh said “I do” to Caroline, God had begun to do a work in his heart. Little did he realize at first that God was using Caroline and her family to draw him back to the One with whom he walked in fellowship as a boy — Jesus Christ.
Caroline and her parents were members of Central Church and invited Josh to join them for Sunday services. Josh visited for the first time about three years ago, and started attending on a pretty regular basis. Many weeks passed, however, before a particular moment in time when Josh remembers fully surrendering his life to Christ.
He hasn’t been the same since.
“There were many Sundays when I was in the pew and wanted to go forward to rededicate my life and take that next step, and I felt Him pushing me, but I resisted,” Josh says. “The one sermon that I did finally walk forward was on the simplicity of grace and about how no matter what you do and how far you fall out, Jesus loves you and wants you — that lost sheep. I believed these things that I was hearing, but I lacked the commitment, and I wanted to make it public and do it in front of people. I needed to do that to take the next step.”
This summer, Josh plans to take another public step when formally becomes a member of Central Church — a place that he believes God used to get him back on the right path. Now a 36-year-old father of one, Josh can’t wait to get to church to see what the Lord has in store for himself and his family.
“Sunday is the best day of the week,” Josh says. “You’re fed on Sunday and you have that spiritual food that I’ve never had before. It keeps you going and it makes you feel blessed when Sunday service is over with. It makes you understand that God chose you and you’re here listening to this because of Him and now it’s your responsibility to go out and spread His Word through the way you act, treat people, through what you say. You’re endorsing Him.
“It’s a blessing to hear the music and the message,” Josh says. “Half the time during the service, you shed a tear and it's not a tear of sadness; it’s a tear of joy and encouragement because you are reminded of what Jesus Christ did for us all.”
Josh hopes his transformation — from spiritually dead to hungry for more of God — can be an inspiration to others who might have strayed off course.
“I don’t want to live ‘my’ life anymore,” he says. “I want to live for Him. I don’t want to live for myself and whatever my pleasures are, because that’s not what He wants.”