Don’t miss any of this testimony — read Part One and Part Two first!
Life In Ministry
by Stephen Smiley Upon release from prison I lived with my grandparents, and they cared for me and taught me how to be a son and respect authority. They met a guy at a food bank and told him my story, and he just happened to manage a camera store and provided me with a job. I loved working there so much and even better, my trainer, who would teach me everything I needed to know about photography, eventually became my wife! We have been married 13 ½ years now and have been serving Jesus together the whole way through. You see, when I stopped trying to get God on board with my plans, He blessed me greater than I could ever imagine, with His plans for me. In 2007, we felt led by God to sell hour house, quit our jobs, and move from Southern California to the Northwest in pursuit of flipping houses with a family member. God confirmed all this through prayer and His perfect word, and so we did it. After living here and attempting the new career, the market crashed, and we ended up homeless, jobless, and with just a little bit of savings left in the bank. We knew coming here to the Northwest would be a step of faith that could fail, but we knew we had to trust God by taking that step of faith to come here. Now we were faced with another choice, do we stay or go? We were plugged in to our local church and loving every minute of it. God what do we do now? Late Thursday night after I felt God was leading us back to California and I was at peace with it, even though I would have to eat yet another slice of humble pie, because I had failed in this adventure. But God… He had a plan. My Pastor stopped me in the foyer after church that night, and asked me if I wanted to be a youth pastor for middle school kids. I just about fell to the ground in amazement of what I had just heard. After I heard him ask me I then told him everything that was going on with us and that I was going to tell him we were leaving in light of our current situation. But now with this new information, I would need a few days to pray and seek God and make sure I could really hear His voice and make the right choice. Saturday night as I was searching the Scriptures, I came across a verse in Acts 20:28. Paul was talking to the Ephesian elders in regards to shepherding the sheep in which The Holy Spirit has made you an over seer. This jumped off the page at me and I just knew it was the answer from The Lord! So I took the job and stayed here and it was the best decision ever! That was almost seven years ago, and my wife and I have been serving Jesus our King ever since. Not long after I was hired on as youth pastor, April was hired as a part time book keeper as well. Once again we had the pleasure of working and serving Jesus together. She and I have always been excellent in our working and serving environment and never get tired of each other, and we are so thankful for that. During these past seven years we have had the opportunity to go on several short term mission trips to Russia, Colombia, Mexico, and even to four prisons in Texas. Every week we get to hang out with junior high kids and teach them the Bible and what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We go on three separate three-day trips to somewhere fun with the kids, where we love on them and hang out together and of course, study the Bible, pray, and worship God through His Son Jesus Christ. We also do other fun more simple trips that are from a few hours to an all-day event. I have been able to reach kids through the gift of music by giving those lessons in drums, guitar, bass, vocals, etc. April also does a weekly girls’ Bible study in a local coffee shop that has been very fruitful. I could go on and on about all God has done for us and never stop writing. But for now I must close and say a few final words. No matter what you have done, no matter what you are doing now, God has a plan for your life, and this plan is in His Son. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him, would not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you are reading this right now and you are lost, lonely, addicted, or whatever, cry out to God and tell Him you are a sinner and want to be saved, forgiven, and sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ. He will do it and even put His Holy Spirit in you to comfort you and empower you to live for Him. How do I know this? Because I was lost and lonely, too. Jesus has come into my life and I have been set free from my sin and darkness, and now I am a child of light, a child of the King, and ready for Heaven, and everything about me has been changed and is being changed as He conforms me into the image of Christ!
Bio :: Stephen lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife April. He is serves as a youth pastor at Coastline Christian Fellowship. From time to time he also has the opportunity to preach to the church congregation. You can find these sermons here.