My Testimony

Thank you for reading this page. For whatever reason you came, whether it be general interest or sheer curiosity, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming here. This page is my purpose for life. It does me an amazing privilege to be able to share it with you.

In the beginning of the year 1999, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. It’s such a powerful thing for me to say, yet so many people have no idea what it means. Up until that point, for seventeen years of my life, I had no idea what it meant either. I was born and raised in a Christian home, with parents who taught me right from wrong, and who took me to church every Sunday since I was old enough to ride in a car. I didn’t come from a life of crime, or the grip of drugs. I was a good kid in a Christian home. And yet, up until that point in my senior year of high school, I was totally and utterly lost.

You see, up until that point, I hoped I would go to Heaven. I justified this in so many ways. I was a good son to my parents, I obeyed the rules of civilization, and I studied and made good grades. As simple as those things sound, they were the basis for my salvation. I wasn’t a murderer. I wasn’t a thief. Surely I was good enough to “get in.” The problem was that I just didn’t know for sure.

Then one night, that changed…

Though the numerical date of that night has long since left my memory, the details of it are forever etched in my mind. It was well-known in my church that I was a guitarist, and it was the hope of one of my friends in the church youth group that I would join her in a performance of special music. She eagerly gave me a CD to listen to after one of our weekly youth meetings, with the hope that I would find a song there that interested me. I took it out of sheer politeness. When I say that I had no intention of plugging it in, I mean it completely. Through my nodding and smiling as I accepted the CD, and through my “sure, I’ll give it a listen” answer, I was thinking to myself, “not a chance.”

Up until this point, this has been a generic story. It’s been true, but it’s been generic, and I know that there are people reading this who are thinking that this sounds like every other testimony they’ve ever had the patience to endure. Rest assured—I know. It is not what leads to salvation that demands to be heard. It is the act of salvation. More substantially, it is what happens after salvation. And we’re almost there.

I remember the ride home from church that night. I was driving my pickup truck down the long country road that leads to my house, and there wasn’t another car in sight. For a reason that at the time I didn’t understand, though now realize was God’s intervention, there was not a thing to listen to that night. Every radio station was disappointing me, even the ones that I traditionally loved, and my CDs weren’t available to plug in. The only thing I could listen to—my only option—was that CD given to me at church. Against every impulse in my body, I reluctantly plugged it in, expecting the worst. How wrong I was.

It took five songs to break me. It took four songs to stir at my heart, and a fifth song to rip it wide open. Was it the songs themselves that stirred me? No. It was the fact that, for the first time in a long time, I was considering my relationship with God. The songs didn’t show me the door. They reminded me that the door was still there.

That moment—that instant—will be in my memory forever. I felt an emptiness inside of me that twisted my stomach in knots. It was more than pain. It was the deepest sadness I’d felt in years. But why? The music was uplifting. I had no reason to feel sad. I was a good kid. Yet there I was, driving my truck as a seventeen year old boy, crying my eyes out. It hit me right then, and I understood for the first time what people meant when they’d say, “God spoke to me.” For in that moment, God spoke. It wasn’t an audible voice, and I don’t think it’s anything I could possibly explain. But I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was the voice of God in my heart. And I knew exactly what he was saying.

“Lee…I’ve given you so much. Why won’t you live for Me?”

That night, when I arrived at my house, I ran upstairs to my bedroom. For the first time in my life, this church-raised, good-natured, law-abiding boy knelt at his bedside, cried his eyes out, and asked Jesus Christ into his life. “Come in, please, and take me. I’m sorry it took me so long. I want You in charge of my life.”

I did everything I had always heard that I needed to do. For the first time—I did everything. I confessed my sins, I believed Him, and I asked Him into my heart.

I am going to try to explain this, but I’m well aware that I might not be able to. Take joy—the concept and definition of joy—and personify it in the form of a man. The moment I accepted Christ with that prayer, I became that personification. To this day, there has only been one sensation that has come close to matching the joy I felt that day, and that is the joy I feel when I’m able to lead someone else to it. It was indescribable. I cried still, but for a different reason. There were no longer tears of sadness and regret. There were tears of relief, of happiness. There was no more question: I knew, right then and there, that my future rested in Heaven. And that feeling is almost beyond belief.

Then, something amazing happened. It’s something that I’ve reflected on since that very day, and outside of all things spiritual, I have been unable to explain it. It can only be described as a miracle.

My life changed.

Please, I ask that you consider those three words that I’ve written. Consider what those words mean. Consider how powerful they are. My life changed. Not my night, or my week, or even my year.

My life.

Feelings stir in me when previously there were none. Convictions stir in me when conviction wasn’t a part of my vocabulary. I experience things that I can only explain as divine instinct. I see things in life that I never saw before, that I was never instructed to see. I feel connected to God. There is an absolute, undeniable difference in me, both inwardly and outwardly. It was literally as if the old me died, and a new one took his place. This transformation happened.

There’s something I want you to know about me. It’s something you need to know before you read anything further. I am an educated, rational, reasonable human being. I understand the consequences of actions, I appreciate the value of common sense, and I realize that I know less than I don’t know. The pursuit of knowledge is fervent in me. I want to understand what I don’t.

I have tried, for years, to understand what happened to me that night. I’ve tried. I’ve racked my brain with questions to debunk it. Was it emotion? Was I caught in a moment? Did I perform self-psychology? And for the life of me—me, a man who appreciates knowledge—I cannot explain it with emotion, or psychology, or science. I can only give it one explanation. It was the same explanation that transformed Saul into Paul, and turned a group of cowardly disciples into men who courageously died for their beliefs. It was God.

God is real.

This is my hope and prayer for you. I don’t know where you are in life, and I may not even know who you are at all. But I do know this: if you seek God, you will find Him. My hope and prayer for you is that you seek Him with all of your heart. If you think you believe, but aren’t sure, know that you can sleep tonight with total certainty that your future waits in Paradise. God is the embodiment of Holiness, and we live our lives drenched in sin. Our sin cannot co-exist with God’s righteousness. That is why He sent Jesus Christ to live a sinless life and die as an atonement for all sins, past, present, and future. If you think you believe, then you’ve already heard this before. Now, do the one thing it takes to know for sure: ask Him to come in. Believe that what the Bible says is true: if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Believe it—then you will feel it. And everything I’ve said will make sense.

But what if you don’t think you believe? What if you know you don’t believe? What if you think everything I’ve said is pure foolishness?

That’s your right. It’s okay to feel that way. That’s called having a mind of your own.

So if that’s the case, and you can’t bring yourself to believe this, I have but one thing to ask of you. Ask God to reveal Himself. There is absolutely no harm that can come from a simple, honest request. “God, I’m not sure that You’re real. Maybe I don’t believe in You at all. So I am asking You, with a heart filled with doubt, to show me if You’re there. Show me if there’s a reason for me to believe.”

I know that if you genuinely ask this, and genuinely search for an answer, you will find it. I say that with one hundred percent confidence. I won’t hit you with scripture, because if you have doubts about all this, then scripture probably won’t change your mind anyway. But just pose the question. “Are You real?” You see, that’s what seeking is. When you find Him, then there comes the decision: do you want Him inside you? And if you do, then ask Him to come in. Yes, it really is that simple.

This is where the journey of Christianity begins. Make no mistake…the Christian life is not easy. You will be presented with challenges and convictions that you never fathomed before. You will see yourself transform, and you will see others’ perception of you transform, too. Sometimes, that’s not always pleasant. In fact, becoming a Christian could become one of the most unpleasant life decisions you’ve ever made. But the reward will be fulfillment and hope. It’s a reward I wouldn’t trade for anything—pleasantries of the world included.

I would encourage everyone who is beginning their Christian walk (or looking to build on their current one) to locate a good church. This can be a very difficult task, but hopefully you can find assistance here. There is an excellent church locator at http://www.dts.edu/alumni/findachurch/ . Be sure to expand your search to at least 25 miles after typing in your zip code. These are Bible-based churches that I know can assist your spiritual growth. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a church, I would encourage you to visit different ones until you find the one that feels best to you. Fellowship is essential to spiritual growth—this isn’t something you want to underestimate or shortcut.

I am well aware that not everyone has had a good experience with church. For those who fall into this category, I request one more thing. See us as who we are. Imperfect. Forgive the faults of the messengers, because we surely have many of them. Focus your heart on the message.

If this testimony has helped you, I would love to know! Please feel free to send me an email at lee@epicuniverse.com, or a physical letter to:

Lee Stephen
P.O. Box 1100
Hahnville, LA  70057

God bless!
Lee Stephen