God’s Grace

ephesians2-8-9I did absolutely nothing to earn my salvation. God orchestrated the steps. He is always swimming upstream.

My journey toward Jesus began with an invitation to attend Thursday Night LIve, a youth ministry of First Baptist Church of San Mateo. A college student was outside my middle school handing out fliers for free root beer floats. That hooked my friends and I, so we decided that we would meet up at the church that night to check this group out.

I almost didn’t go that night. Dinner was unusually late and I was afraid of walking into the meeting without my friends. However, I somehow found the courage to walk into the room and quickly found my friends. I missed about half the meeting, but in the end I got my free root beer float and decided to come back the following week. In fact, I kept coming back because I noticed something different there. The people seemed to have a warm sincerity and genuine love of life.

So God used the program of Thursday Night Live and the youth leaders to begin drawing me to himself.  And later that year I would commit my life to Jesus at a camp that they would invite me to.

Yep, my gift of salvation had nothing to do with me. I didn’t earn it. I didn’t do a thing to prove my love or devotion to God before I could receive it. It was God ordained. God pursued. However, God did use some extraordinary people, who were obedient to his leading and direction to pursue me. People like Doug Patterson who was willing to stand in front of my middle school and hand out fliers about the Thursday Night Live program. And folks like Danny Waller who took an interest in a junior high kid and was bold enough to share God’s plan of salvation with me. As well as the generosity of First Baptist Church of San Mateo and/or an anonymous donor who was willing to scholarship me to camp.

I am forever grateful to God and his grace in my life. And I am forever grateful for those who reflected the love and grace of God to me.

4 Responses to God’s Grace
  1. Donna Smith Reply

    I don’t remember Thursday nite live, but I was in Campus After Dark with your brother Kent. They really had a great ministry. So glad you are still walking with the Lord and being an amazing example to those around you, and to those who read your posts. (also, is Doug Chastain the person you referred to above?) May God continue to bless you. Donna Squier Smith

    • Bryan Hardwick Reply

      Hi Donna –

      Often confused, but no immediate relation to Kent and Chris Hardwick of Belmont fame. I do have a cousin Chris, but not the same one from the FBC circles. I want to say it was Doug Patterson, but my memory is failing me.

      • Dan McElroy Reply

        You’re not old enough to have a failing memory, Bryan. It was indeed Doug Patterson who worked with Thursday Night Live back when you were in middle school.

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