My Life with Jesus by Michael Reyes
   I had grown up in church as a kid. I would go to church with my parents or with my sister and grandparents. I had knowledge of Jesus, Christianity, and so forth. In late summer 1994 I went to a church where my friends had been receiving Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. One Sunday or Wednesday night on the drive home from church I looked up to the moon and at that time to me the 'man in the moon' looked like Jesus. Something recently set me to where I didn't want to go to Hell. That night at home in bed I cried and prayed to God begging him to save me from Hell.
   I was baptized September 11, 1994 (photos, certificate). As far as knew I was born again Christian totally and if one were to tell me otherwise I'd wouldn't believe that one. Nothing challenged my Christianity I didn't really read my Bible or pray that much. I was a kid so I guess it didn't hit me that those things were pivotal in being a child of Christ. I didn't talk to people at church or school much if at all so that probably also kept me ignorant.
   In 1997 I began to have what I would find out to be a problem with sin. I checked out a book from the church library which made a small address of the sin. I was not too concerned about it at the time but it had begun to bother me.
   I had a girlfriend for a brief time in 1998. Her parents said she was too young to have a boyfriend and we had to break up. She meant more than she should have to me. I wanted to call her but I never could get up the courage. That bothered me a lot to where I, along with the previously mentioned sin, became depressed and hate filled toward myself. I didn't have the strength to do things I wanted to do nor stop things I didn't want to do. I also began to get some bullying laid one me after not too long which lead me to hate other people.
   Finding music that helped me get my tears out really helped me to make it through 1998 and 1999. In 1998 I made a new year's resolution to read my Bible everyday but I failed at it. I made the same resolution in 1999 but failed again except I kept trying so starting February 27, 1999 I read at least one verse from the Bible everyday for the remainder of the year and everyday even up to today. I was able a few times in 1999 to call the girl spoken of previously, not as much as I would have liked to, but it didn't fill the gap I thought it left.
   I did pray and read the Bible like I said but I didn't feel in touch at all with God (Drown'n in Time). I visited a church a singular time called Gateway. In the Sunday School class there the teacher spoke about perpetual sin. How being caught in perpetual sin could mean you are not a Christian. That and the rest of my unrest made me realize sometime not long after that I was not a real saved, born again Christian like I had thought I was for so long. It was really scary knowing that I was not a Christian, the scariest time in my life, I knew I would go to Hell if I died. Due to my praying for saving from Hell in 1994 the fear didn't cause me to pray that again basically because that wasn't real.
   A week or two after my realization it was now September 5, 1999. In the AM of that day I wrote a lyrics to what I realized years later to be a very prophetic song, Death's Door. That morning I went to church. The Sunday School lesson was about Esther Chapters  2 and 6. After Sunday School but before the church service I sat alone in a pew and bowed my head. I knew that Jesus Christ died for me and that I needed him as my savior and lord so I prayed for him to be. There is when and where I truly became a born again Christian. No one in particular led me to Christ. The Sunday School lesson didn't really add to me receiving Christ but I remember it because of the name Bigthana, which I for some reason took on as a spare name of my own for a while after being saved. Jesus showed Himself to me in my life and that along with what I knew to be true taught in the Bible is how I came to receive Jesus Christ as my savior and lord.
   At the end of the prayer I asked God to let me know I am truly His this time, that this was real. I did feel a slight tingle through my chest when the prayer was over but that was not what I considered an absolute proof. I didn't tell anyone about it or go forward that Sunday because I wanted the proof of its reality. The next day at school I was sitting in my General Music class and there I realized that I had totally lost my hatred towards others. This is what let me know it was real.
   I got in trouble at school that same week (for saying some things and a teacher thinking due to my style of walk that i was on drugs or something. I was in trouble once before earlier that year, around the same time as the Columbine shootings and my parents said if it happened again it would be bad time). On Tuesday night my parents and I talked about it. Towards the end I told my parents that I had prayed to receive Christ that Sunday, which I had. The timing was extra good because it also got me out of trouble. My mom told me that she had just recently prayed for assurance that all her kids were saved.
   That following Sunday I went forward at Church to publicly announce I had been saved.
   I was baptized October 10 (which is my sister's birthday also).

Click to see Certificate of Baptism
    God worked in me removing my depression and anger. I used to want to hold on to these things at least in lyrics I wrote because it gave them more emotion. In January 2000 I began to go to a new church (Lifeway Baptist Fellowship) which had people my age and taught the Bible in a way which appealed more to me. In late Feb. 2000 I went to a weekend called Disciple Now with the church and got to know the people from Lifeway (UH, }The Joemeister{, Joenan, ONJ). Disciple Now was the first place I remember hearing about quiet time (time alone with God in the Scriptures, prayer, and meditation.), I honestly don't remember any church that I went to in the past mentioning it in that way at all. They gave us little books for it which I used all the way through. This Disciple Now is of course most famous for it being where Joe began.
   At Lifeway I grew in knowledge of God and learned many things about fellowship, worship, and service. My biggest expression of Christ was in my Theater 1 class where we were to do an autobiography speech performance about the famous person we most admire. I, after having the reputation for the craziest speeches, decided to do mine as Jesus. People were worried but it went well. Another thing I did was the Scripture of/for the Week where I would present some Bible scripture along with my Lesson of/for the Day each Friday.
   I did begin to write more Christian lyrics. I tried recorded a pretty bad sounding Shouting Out Our Secrets on Piemerican Disc. I also sang a song I wrote called Far at Lifeway on January 12, 2003. I was an A/V guy at Lifeway for a long amount of time teaming with the likes of }The Joemeister{, Joenan, and ONJ. Towards the end of my time at Lifeway I helped my dad, the song leader, to pick songs and organize along with still doing A/V. After I left Lifeway I went to True Life Church I learned much there and served some.
   October 29, 2004 I met Lori online. From knowing her and in the time I have known her I have grown spiritually more than any other point in my life. Knowing her really lead me to start praying for others. God has increased my faith in Him and helped me to be so much more thankful for what He does in my life. I can really see Him work in my life. God has taught me and given me much love, kindness, and patience.
   February 19, 2005 God showed and gave me deliverance of the sin that had been plaguing me for years, which was mentioned earlier. That was one of the greatest things that ever happened in my life. God gave me some new friends who helped me and whom I helped. God has recently lead me through some hard emotional times and times of fear and uncertainty.
   The difference that Jesus has made in my life is that He has given me peace, joy, and love. I know I would be dead without Him in all ways possible. For His wondrous love and everything He has done I praise His name of Jesus.

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