This weekend at The Vineyard we talked about the reality that your story is unfinished. You don't have to settle for who you are now if you don't want to. 80-90 people publicly decided for the first time to trust Jesus to change their story. It was a good weekend.
I read a few responses in my message this weekend from a question I asked on twitter/facebook this past Friday. I've compiled the entire list to share with you here. It's amazing to see what we once were compared to what we are now. Feel free to add to the list in the comment section below:
Steve – I was once broken but now I am whole.
Stephanie – I was once bound, but now I am free.
Harmony – I was once forgotten, but now I am cherished.
Cindy – I was once in darknes, but now I am in the light.
Trevor – I was once bound by the delusion of worldly grandeur, but now I am working for crowns that do not decay.
Barbara – I was once hell bound, but now I am heaven bound.
Sarah – I was once self-centered, but now I am a servant leader.
Adam – I was once lost, having no hope, but now I am a pastor, living my life to serve and obey his will for me.
Chris – I was once lost, but now I am lost with a light to follow.
Cris – I was once sick, but now I’m healed.
Mary – I was once lost, but now I’m found.
Allison – I was once a mess, but now I am less of a mess.
Martin – I was once on autopilot, but now I am on manuel guide.
Karla – I was once religious, but now I am in a relationship with the Creator of the universe.
Vellanee – I was once hopeless about my future, but now I know the promises God made for my prosperity shall be kept.
Christine – I once found my identity through what others thought of me, but now my identity comes from what God thinks of me.
Laura – I was once wondering if God was listening, but now I am seeing his hand at work all along.
Rich - I once was skinny, insecure, introvert, lustful, given to much beer, angry, resentful, envious, teary, sorry for myself, short sighted (metaphorically), materialistic, possessive, easily offended, and vain, but now I am buff, confident, extrovert, sexually mature, two beer an evening for the health of it, peaceful, respectful, contented, full of laughter, compassionate, eternally focused, relational, generous, teflon, and...still vain (wardrobe and aussie assome volume styling mousse).
Tracey – I was once hopeless, but now I am excited to see what God has next for me.
Carla – I was once indifferent to God and his word, but now I am learning the truth.
MaryKay – I was once “religious” but now I am cultivating a relationship with God.
Leslye – I was once empty and full of hurt on the inside, nothing filled the hole in my heart, God’s spirit and love has filled that once empty hurting heart with peace and contentment and care for others.
Kris – I was one a mound of dirt and now I am a flower.
Laurel – I was once unaware but now I am conscious.
Dan – I was once alone in my inner world, but now I have opened that world to trusted friends.
Tina – I once drifted, but now I am directed.
Amy – I was once dead, but now I am alive.
Cindy – I was once enslaved, but now I am empowered.
Janett - :/ but now :D
Heather – I was once miserable and unhappy with lots of things in my life, but now I am at peace and thankful for everything I have been given.
Kristina – I was once prone to sadness, but now I am prone to joy.
Sawajayne (twitter)– I was once navigating by an old worn out map, but now I’m rolling with GPS.
Vegas710 (twitter) – I was once suspicious, but now I am trusting.
Karlalovesjody (twitter) – I once believed in making my own way, but now I know God will guide me – I only have to listen.
Pomorev (twitter) – I once was aspirationless, but now I am full of purpose.
Kande – I once was restless, but now I’m at peace.
Cindy – I once was hopeless, but now I have hope and someone in my corner.
Annie – I was once defined by my past, but now I am defined by my King.
Stew – I was once cynical, but now I am hopeful.
Jeff – I was once lost, but now I’m found.
Daniel – I was once religious, but now I am His.
Dave – I was once a screwed up mess, but now I am a screwed up mess with hope.
Barbara – I was once disoriented, listening to mu doubts and fears, but now I am focused, listening to God’s directions.
Laurel – I was once doing, but now I am being.
Kathi – I was once so far gone I didn’t believe I needed to exist, but now I am serving a faithful and mighty God.
Angie – I was once driven by fear, anger and control, but now I am set free.
Rita – I was once darkness, but now I am light.
Andrea – I was once all about hearing myself talk, but now I am a reflective listener.
Anna – I was once looking for love from men but now I am fully complete in God’s love and married to a man who loves God as much as I do.
Jon – I was once a talk-the-talker, but now I am a walk-the-walker.
Erina – I was once lost, but now I am faithful in heart.
Peggy - I was once in total denial; thinking that all the bad things that happened was because I was just not good enough - not worthy enough, but now I'm living in the light of God's presence. Knowing that whatever this world sends my way that the awesome Creator of the universe can and will use it for good.
Lisa – I was once alone and in need of no one but now I am never alone and forever in need of a Savior.
Dave – I was once blind but now I see.
Pamela – I was once beat up physically, mentally, spiritually but now I am restored, healed and full of joy.
Emily - I once was trying to live my life by my plans...now I try to let my life be according to his plans. I once was in the darkest of despair but now I am with his help becoming more & more ok with the crazy way he takes hurt to make me a better person.
Tiffany – I was lost but now I am saved.
Robb – I was once broken, but now I am healed.
Jim – I was once trying to be in control of my life, but now I am letting God take control a little more each day…it’s a work in progress.
Cheryl – I was once full of myself, but now I’m full of the Spirt.
Steve - I was once an idiot who thought that women were a means to an end, or a peripheral distraction to some ethereal or lofty pursuit. But now I am married to a lady (in every sense of the term), and I'm growing in Grace...the Grace of God...and of my wife...and I'm grateful for both, knowing that He's the Author (and Finisher) of such...
Angie – I was once angry and bitter, but now I am happy and blessed.
Mo – I was once scratching to stop from slipping into a bottomless pit but now I am dancing in the field of freedom.
Lauren – I was once lost, but now I am home.
Laura – I was once filled with fear and control, but now I am at peace and free.
Monique – I was once an adulteress, but now God has given me a second chance at a second marriage where I am faithful.
Dawn – I was once hiding and filled with hurt. Now I’m happy and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Monique – I was once in the dark held captive in bondage, but now I’m free – the chains are gone.
Michelle – I was once afraid to die, but now I am afraid not to.
Lee – I was once trashed but now I am treasured.
Timothy - I once was the isolated kid sitting in the corner to myself, watching and wishing that the others would like me. Trying hard to fit in to the same story that everyone else was in, but now I thanks to God I challenge people to be different, because one man died on the cross to show me it is okay to be different.
Ryan – I was once a douche, but now I am the obvious created image of God.
Christine – I was once full of discontent, but now I am satisfied
Mark – I was once a pothead, but now I am drug free.
Kimberly – I was once insecure, but now I am known.
Dan – I was once arrogant and prideful, but now I am super humble. Oops.
Sharon – I was once motivated by fear, but now I am motivated by love.
Matthew – I was once a child of divorce, but now I am a dad who gets to model commitment to my girls.
Jeff – I was once unloved, but now I am loved.
Leslie – I was once merely existing, but now I am truly living.
Maggie – I was once made fun of for my dyslexia, but now I am perfect in God’s eyes.
Mike – I was once perfect (or so I thought) but now I am aware of my brokenness and hopeful that God will use that.
Roger – I was once untrustworthy, but now I am hopelessly in love with one woman.
Tahnee – I was once full of rage, but now I am forgiving.
Debbie – I once wanted to die, but now I surrendered to God and he saved me.
Kathy – I was once afraid of God, but now I know he loves me.
Tom – I was once scared of the future, but now I know he loves me.
Andrew – I was once bored, but now I have something that excites me and fascinates me.
Cris – I was once a nagging bitch, but now I am a loving wife.
Vanessa – I was once a whore, but now I am a pure spotless bride.
Jonathan – I was once a fake – a real hypocrite, but now I know God has loved me in spite of me.
Jerry – I was once a pretty good guy, never really feeling a need for anyone to save me. But now I am aware of how holy God is and how unworthy I am to be in his Presence. I’m thankful that I’m riding on Jesus’ coattails to heaven.
Sybil -I was once hopeless, plagued with depression, social phobia and anxiety, surrounded by broken and dysfunctional relationships, dying; wanting to die daily, seeking help and insight from every corner of the world, looking for validation; only to find emptiness, discomfort and judgment because my mind, my body and my spirit were unhealthy and kept me in a cesspool of despair without much vision for anything else. BUT NOW I AM now a child of God and in love with life, free from death, at peace and full of hope; with so many dreams and goals that my days aren't long enough! I'm able to see bits of Heaven on Earth and God's love in others who come when I need them most. I wouldn't want to mislead anyone- renewal wasn't a quick overnight success for me. However, it has been the most amazing journey!
Anonymous – I was once suicidal, but now I am excited to have eternal life.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (The Message Version)
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.