Stories

 

Each of us have stories to tell.  We live in a storied world.  We communicate our true selves through story.  And our stories are often lived out in a greater story, the story about who God is and what he has done and still is doing.  Thus in an effort to share what God is doing, we want to share the miraculous stories of God at work in the lives of those who call Sunbury City Church their church home. 

 

The Power of Prayer 

Bekah Moyer

 

I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ as my Savior as a young child. I recognized my sin and that Jesus was the only way I could be right with God, but I didn’t turn to God for a lot of things. I learned early on that if I worked hard at something, I could be good at it. I was good at academics and sports. I loved to work and make money. I was living for my own glory and was self reliant and self righteous. I didn’t recognize my need for God daily. Until recently, I worked really hard in my job and loved hearing praise from others and receiving raises. I tried to find joy in my circumstances and from things outside of Christ. 

 

A couple months ago, I received a package in the mail from my aunt and uncle. It was out of the blue, I hadn’t expected it. It was a movie called the “War Room”. My husband and I decided we would watch it as a family. The movie was about discipleship and prayer and what discipleship and prayer can look like in life and the power it can have. 

 

Before watching the movie, I knew I should be praying. I was not praying often or for very long when I did pray. I was praying most often in response to difficult circumstances or when someone was sick or needing prayer.

 

Since being inspired by the movie, I cleaned out a large closet in my home and made a place where I can fall on my face before God. I was reminded that we are in a spiritual battle and prayer is an effective strategy to draw close to God and defeat the enemy. God’s given me greater joy in spending time with Him through prayer and reading the Bible.

 

I pray more often and for longer periods of time. My kids have left me little notes about what was on their hearts and for which they wanted me to pray. God has been giving me a desire to pray. I have seen God answer prayer. I have experienced increased understanding of who God is and what He has done. God has given me a greater love for Jesus and for others. God has revealed pride that I was blind to that was causing division in a family relationship. He revealed that I was relying on my career as a false identity. God is changing my mind and my heart.

 

My hope and my strength are in Christ. I have value in Christ, not in what I’ve done. I’ve been given freedom to work less and devote more time to teaching and loving my children and more joy in reaching out in my community. God has given me more peace and joy now than I have ever experienced before. I praise God for doing this good work in me!

 

I long to see others praying individually and with others. I long to see people recognizing their sin and turning to Jesus for freedom. I want to see God’s people individually experiencing the relationship that God wants to have with them. When we communicate and build relationships with other people, we talk to each other and we listen to each other. Prayer is one of the ways that we communicate and build a relationship with God. You can talk to Him and He hears you. You can listen to Him and He speaks to you.

 

I long to see others growing in their love for God and sharing what God is doing in their lives. I want to see my children, my family, my friends, my neighbors, and many others across this valley and across the world experiencing the hope and the joy and the peace that comes only from God through Jesus Christ.

 

Learning about Leading

Chris Bingaman

 

I have lived in the Kreamer area (Snyder County) all my life and in my childhood and teen years made many trips to Sunbury because it's Market Street stores were the center of activity for anyone in our area.  

I was blessed to have parents who were Christians and whose faith in Christ was the centerpiece of their lives, so I was constantly exposed to the Gospel message.  At around 6 years of age, with my parents by my side, I prayed to seek forgiveness for my sins and pledging my faith in Christ.  Throughout my teen years I was active in church, but viewed my relationship with God as one of duty, or works versus acceptance of His grace.  

However, my first year in college became a defining moment in my commitment.  The new freedom I experienced as a college freshman also brought decisions about what I really believed.  In a moment of misery over what I really believed, I received a letter from my father stating Matthew 6:33, "Seek first kingdom of God and his righteousness,” which put me on my knees to renew my commitment and pledge to serve God with my life.  

Another event that God used to shape my life was a terminal diagnosis with cancer when I was 34 years old and the father of 4 young daughters. It was a test of my faith and everything I claimed to believe.  I learned so much through that journey and will be eternally grateful for my wife, Heidi's encouragement and faithfulness, that sustained me through those most difficult days.  

Those events and other experiences with the living God were part of creating a desire in Heidi and me to begin praying about the next role God had for us to serve.  We were very happy at our church, Winfield Baptist, but felt a restlessness that God was calling us to something more.  When we learned about the concept of church planting in Sunbury, we attended the first meeting to support the group and out of curiosity about the plan, never expecting that we would be here today.  Being a founding family of Sunbury City Church has been an incredible adventure with God. 

During this time I became an elder here, which has been part of the adventure.  I never gave much thought as to how we would structure this new church but as we planned to launch.  It was evident we needed a Biblical leadership structure if we were going to have a church and I was asked to be an elder.  But at the time I had a very limited view on eldership. I knew the Biblical requirements Paul had given to Titus and Timothy but didn't understand the seriousness of his commitment.  A couple years in our new Pastor, Derek Van Ruler, helped expose me to the role of a Biblical elder through books he gave me to read, and a defining experience attending a conference on eldership at Capitol Hill Baptist in DC.  

Since that time I now feel a greater responsibility to protect and care for this church.  As an elder I have had to search the scriptures on issues that we have faced and prayerfully think about the steps God is calling us to take to care for each individual attending and how we can help them grow in their love for God.  That has changed me.

As an elder, I am so grateful for those of you who have chosen to make Sunbury City Church your home.  I love you and want to serve you so that your love for God will continue grow and you will treasure Him above all else.   As the verse in my fathers letter challenged me; I want us to be a group of Christ followers who, "Seek first the Kingdom of God". 

 

   

Finding Christ When You’re Older 

Larry Smith

 

I grew up near Plum Creek in a large family where church was not much of a priority. I would go to a Lutheran Church on and off with my dad, but I can’t remember my mom ever going to church. At times we were more regular at Sunday School. During this time, I did not really think or care about God. I may have prayed at times, but I didn't have a relationship with God.  

 

As I got older, after my dad and mom passed away, I began to pray a little bit more, but a relationship with God still did not mean much to me. Then my nephew, Donnie, was diagnosed multiple sclerosis, and I began to pray more. I still did not understand the power of prayer, or who God is.

 

A few years after Donnie died, three of my brothers passed away and I began to think more about God and life. This made me begin to question what happens when you die.  

 

Sometime after I met a man who was a Jehovah Witness - he began to meet with me and teach me from their Bible about doing good works. I still did not understand what the truth was.  

 

It was not until Pastor Derek became my neighbor that I finally had someone begin to explain to me the truths of the Bible. During our Saturday morning meetings, Derek taught me that we must believe in Jesus Christ to have a relationship with God and that it is not based on doing good works. He showed me that I need to have faith in Jesus in order to be right with God - that no matter how many good things I do, they are not enough.  

 

It was then that I came to believe in Jesus Christ and trust him to forgive me and make me right with God. Derek began to bring me to church, which I really like. I've met a lot of friendly people here too.  

Since then I have come to understand more about Jesus. I have come to understand that the Bible is about Jesus. I have also learned more about how to pray, how to read the Bible, and that I need to have more of a relationship with Jesus. Because of Jesus, I have noticed myself not getting angry as quickly. He has mellowed me out.

 

I Didn’t Know Jesus 

Robert Farrow

 

I grew up in Norry, in a family that did not go to church unless there was a wedding. I was told about God, but I did not go to church. I started going to church on Sundays when a lady driving a bus picked up the kids in the neighborhood.

 

I began attending bible school but I didn't know Jesus. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was about eight years old, but I still didn't know Jesus. I received a sprinkle baptism when I was twelve years old, but I didn't know Jesus. I went to church on and off in my 20s, but I didn't know Jesus.

 

Recently, I started attending Sunbury City Church with my wife. I became part of a missional community alongside friends and I began to to understand and to learn. I began reading my Bible, which was gifted to me by my friend, Chris. So I began building my relationship with God.

 

Today I can say I know God and I am thankful for his mercy.