Everyone who is a true Christian has a testimony to share with the world about their personal experience of deliverance. For the Apostle Paul, his story of deliverance can be found in Acts chapter 9. Since this is the first post on this site, I want to take time to tell everyone how God delivered me by His Grace.I grew up in a small town in Georgia (Douglasville). I was part of a divorced home at an early age in life, and during that period of time, I was confused about many things. My Grandparents were faithful during this time of turmoil to take me to church on Sundays with them. It was during this period of time that I can remember hearing about God and learning my first Bible verse (Genesis 1:1). Although the details are a bit fuzzy, I do recall during the invitation at the end of a service walking down the aisle and talking to the preacher. I do not recall many other details regarding that event in my life.After a custody battle that led to more confusion, my sister and I went to live with my Father. After the dust settled on this transition, we joined a church in Douglasville that my family had been apart of for many years – Pray’s Mill Baptist Church. During our counseling time prior to joining the church, I told them that I was saved earlier at another church, and I needed to be baptized. Therefore, I was baptized into the church body at age seven upon my profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I was at church every time the doors were opened. My Dad had made a promise to God to keep us in church, and he was faithful to that promise. I was always involved with choirs, R.A.’s, youth functions, and Sunday School through my early years. When I went to High School I began to take a left turn in life. I did not go as far as many of my friends did, but I did start drinking alcohol on a social basis with friends. I would always be in church on Wednesday and Sunday, but I had no true desire to be there since I was having “fun” doing other things in my own personal life.Through a series of events in my life, it became clear that obedience to my parents and doing the “right” thing was easier than the other way of life. Therefore, I started being very faithful to all church events and getting myself more involved as opposed to being on the outskirts of the youth group. This lasted for over a year until Graduation in 1996. After Graduation, I went off to college near my hometown, and it was during this time in my life that I became more and more faithful to church events such as evangelism ministry, choir, and I even started teaching a youth Sunday School class. It was in 1998 that I went with a group of people from my church to Zimbabwe Africa on a mission trip to share the gospel. Everything in my life seemed stable and my faithfulness to church was more committed than ever before.
From 1998 – 2002, my life was full of church, church events, and service opportunities. Inwardly, I experienced a great turmoil on several occasions regarding my personal salvation. Each time I would consider the possibility that I was not a Christian, I always passed it off as “spiritual warfare” rather than genuine conviction. On February 2nd 2002, I felt that God had called me into the gospel ministry. I made this known to my church publicly. On June 12th 2002, I preached my first sermon before my home church on a Wednesday night. Although it may have seemed to the rest of my family and friends that things were great, inwardly I was struggling with my salvation. There were key moments in my life where I can recall great turmoil and grief over the subject.
While sitting at my desk at work on June 24th 2002, I was listening to an audio sermon. It became clear at that moment that I was not a Christian. Although I had been to church practically all of my life, I had walked down to the front and prayed a prayer, and I was baptized when I joined Pray’s Mill, I was not a true Christian. At that moment at 25 years of age, I realized that I was a sinner who deserved the wrath of God. I also knew that Christ was the only means of salvation and true deliverance from the wrath of God (John 14:6). I called upon the Lord for salvation, and I was converted. It was a wonderful moment in my life. It was the greatest single moment in my life. At that moment, for the very first time, I knew that I was a child of God.Immediately I called my family and told them what had occurred. I also called Kari (who was my girlfriend at the time) to let her know. I then went down the hall and made my way into my boss’ office (Ron Mooney). I told him what had occurred as well, and he was very grateful. We shared tears of joy together in his office. At that time, my boss was a fairly new Christian who was trying to run his printing company according to biblical standards. Business was not good and he was a bit confused about things, but I think during those moments together he saw God working in his company and that brought confirmation to his heart that he was going in the right direction.
Following my salvation, I was baptized in obedience to Scripture. I immediately began to pray and ask God for clarification regarding my “call” to the ministry. I went through a brief time of confusion regarding whether or not I was truly called into the ministry to preach the gospel since I had felt this “call” on my life prior to my salvation. I surrendered my entire life to God and was willing to go work in the business world and be a layperson in the church if that was His will for my life. It did not take long before God confirmed that He had called me to preach, and there was nothing else that I could do in life that would fulfill that calling. I recall reading Jeremiah chapter one during my morning devotion one day and God profoundly convinced me that His calling on my life was prior to my life on earth. That time of devotion in my personal life was a key moment of confirmation. God’s call is not something that was planned the day the individual senses the calling. It is something that God plans out even before the foundation of the world.
After marriage, my wife and I started praying about Seminary. We visited The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY in June of 2003. We had also planned to visit Southeastern and Southwestern prior to making a decision, but God confirmed in our hearts on our first visit to the campus in June that He wanted us to attend Southern. In January of 2004, we moved our possessions from Douglasville, Ga to Louisville, Ky in a U-Haul. It was only 4 months later that I was called to pastor Van Buren Baptist Church.Today, we are continuing to serve at Van Buren Baptist Church. Although life has changed much over these four years, it has been a wonderful time of growth, education, sanctification, maturity, and marital bonding. My wife and I have experienced the birth of our first child in June of 2005, and we are awaiting the arrival of our next child in March of 2008. I am currently scheduled to graduate in December and I also have plans to continue my education here at Southern in the Doctoral program.
This is my life’s story of how God has delivered me by His Grace and blessed me as I have continued to serve Him. There are times when we need to stop and remember how God has delivered us from the curse of sin and the wrath of God! He did it based upon His own good pleasure and for His glory.
To God be the glory – great things He has done!
Pastor Josh Buice