Josh Calvert’s Testimony
“I knew who Jesus was, I knew that he died on the cross for my sins. But I didn’t truly know Him. I didn’t grasp the weight of what I was saying.”
Josh Calvert 0:00
Hey everybody. I’m gonna go a little over what I was supposed to. I hope that’s okay with y’all. Okay. Okay, good.
Good morning or afternoon now it’s 12:05. My name is Josh Calvert. I’m 24 years old. I’ve been attending church since I was eight years old in third grade. If there was a Sunday school class or Wednesday night, I was there. When we had competitions to see who could find Bible verses the fastest. And, you know, Psalm 54, four was called out or some other verse, I was the winner every time. When I was eight, lying in bed, I prayed the words, Jesus, I accept you as my Savior. You see, at third grade Wednesday program, we were learning about getting saved. I knew who Jesus was, I knew that he died on the cross for my sins. But I didn’t truly know Him. I didn’t grasp the weight of what I was saying. I went through baptism classes, because that was the next logical step. I was dumped in a water in the water on a Sunday morning. And I loved the attention that I got from everyone afterwards. But ultimately, when it came down to it, after the spiritual high wore off, nothing changed. My life was exactly the same. Yeah, I still went to Sunday’s and Wednesday night programs. And if you asked me it was if I was a Christian, I would have said yes. But if you were to see me on the outside, at other activities at school or anything in my life, you would never know that I was a Christian. I became a bully. When I got to middle school, my behavior was atrocious. And I developed an addiction that twisted and warped all of the relationships that I would form from that point on. If you asked me if I was a Christian, I would have said yes, because I had said some words when I was eight. But everything in my life set differently. Fast forward to eighth grade, in early high school encounter, which is now the winner thing had just started up. It was an amazing weekend filled with worship and messages. And I remember one of those messages was about what Pastor Matt has called cultural Christianity. I saw that my life had not changed since I was eight instead of prayer, and fueled by the emotional and spiritual high of that moment, I said another prayer. Father, forgive me, I accept you as my Savior. I understood what I was doing a bit more, but I still didn’t fully grasp it. Once again, I was dunked in water soon after. Again, I loved the attention that I got from it. But there was no real life change. The spiritual high were off and I went back to my debaucherous sin loving lifestyle. I began to struggle with depression and anger issues in high school. I continued to stray farther and farther, eventually getting to the point where I wouldn’t even call myself a Christian. I began working here at Central and 2016 at the end of my senior year. It was also about that time that I stopped actually attending church only being here when it was required of me for my job. I worked under Mr. Bubba for a bit, and I was on my best behavior. But once Joe Bennett became my manager, I began to show my true colors. I was consistently argumentative. I had an extremely poor work ethic. I hated everything. And I had even gotten to the point where I despised the gathering of God’s people. I then found myself in a relationship that lasted for two and a half years. And during the whole thing, I was only getting worse. I’m honestly not sure why I was allowed to continue working here. And I should have been let go multiple times just based on my attitude alone. But for reasons that I’m only beginning to understand, the Lord kept me here. In October of 2020, my significant other decided that she did not wish to continue on continue our relationship, and it destroyed me. My self worth had always come from relationships I was in and to lose the one that every bit of my self esteem was built on, destroyed me. My depression was worse than it had ever been. And I didn’t want to continue. But God being rich and mercy use the whole situation to begin to soften my heart to him. I continued going to work every day, even though I didn’t really want to. And at work, I would have long conversations with Joe, where he would offer comfort in the form of the gospel. And I would leave to visit my mom and dad soon after work, who would also comfort and share the gospel with me. I began listening to Sunday sermons again, Pastor Matt had just had just started at that point. Although I would just sit in my office and watch online, my heart was getting softer. Then I don’t know if y’all remember in 2021 the water pipe burst that flooded a good portion of the downstairs. Well during cleanup after that, I was in the hallway all the carpet had been torn off. I was scraping glue off the floor. And I know this is a God thing but one of the Few people that were in there, scraping glue off made with me it was a pastor Greg back there. He talked to me about how I was doing, where I was in my life, and most importantly, where I was in my walk with the Lord. It was at this point that I really started to reflect on my walk with Him, if you could really even call it that. I began to read and study the Bible. The Study Bible, my parents bought me. I started to read the Gospel of John, reading about Jesus and I was moved to tears, the Lord softened my heart even more. I was reading through the Gospel of Matthew and I came to Matthew 13:20-21. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who has heard the word and it once receives it with joy. But since we’re they have no roots, they last only a short time. when trouble or persecution comes because of the world, they quickly fall away. The Lord helped me to understand that I had been the seed on the rocky soil. I’ve sprung up quickly during spiritual highs at camps, but soon died off as I came up against the troubles of the world. The Lord broke me with this realization. God created everything and everything belongs to him. He is holy, He is perfect. And in light of His perfection, I realized how utterly disobedient I was. I had been living a life of debauchery and selfishness. I deserve eternal damnation for the life that I had been living. Yet Jesus lived the perfect life that I never could. Hebrews 4:15 tells us for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. But one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet is without sin, in every way that I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Jesus has gone without sinning. He was perfect in every way that blows my mind that he would die on the cross for me, a sinner. in every regard, I should be the one to bear the judgment for the sinful life that I’ve lived. But God being enriched and mercy because of His great love, which which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us to live together with Christ, by grace, you have been saved and then lived once again. God has made us alive together with Christ by taking our place on the cross. He died the death that we deserve, in order to make us right with himself. He took every bit of judgment that we deserved on himself, for God made Christ who never sinned to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be right with God through Christ. I find myself wondering, why would he do this? Why would he choose this? After all that I’ve done? My mind goes back to the first verse that I remember learning as a child, John 3:16-17, for God, look so loved the world, that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not die but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. He was beaten, tortured, crucified, and finally died, taking the judgment every one of us deserves for the wretched lives that we’ve lived. Jesus was dead and buried in Joseph’s tomb. But that’s not the end. On the third day after his death on the cross, Jesus, God in the flesh raised himself back to life. In this one series of events, the certainty of eternal death was circumvented. The debt that we owed God was not overlooked, but it was paid for in full by Christ on the cross, one perfect sacrifice to cover our sin forever. God’s wrath towards us forever satisfied. Through him, we have new eternal life. I urge you look deeply inside. Truly ask if your life is marked by Galatians 519 through 21, sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Up until two years ago, my life was marked by these fruits of the flesh. If that’s you, too, I have good news. You aren’t doomed. There is one way out. REPENT of your sin and believe the gospel. God has given us such a short amount of time in this life. Don’t waste it imprisoned by the things of this world. Find freedom in Christ. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come. Please turn to Christ
Pastor Matt Shackelford 9:45
amen. Well, folks, we are going to transition now and witness baptism but I want to call all of you to this. This is there’s nothing mystical about this. This is not baptism to earn salvation as you heard in the testimony. Josh believes that baptism, the baptism that he needed was to be placed into Christ. That’s the baptism that saved has been placed into Christ. It is Christ alone the same as Christ’s work. And so today, this is a celebration of the inward reality of what has happened in Josh’s life. And today we’re going to celebrate the gospel. This is his pledge of allegiance before all of you of what God has done in his life and to whom he now belongs. And so pastor Greg, would you take it away?
Greg Sukert 10:29
All right, well, church family, it is my joy to present to you our brother in Christ, Josh Calvert. And typically at this morning, at this time in the baptism, I would normally ask two questions, but I’m gonna throw a third in there. And it’s this. Have you considered preaching? Yeah. All right, because that was some good gospel hope that he proclaimed to us this morning. And, Josh, it’s such an honor to be with you, my brother. I’ve seen Christ just work in your life. And it’s been a pleasure going to the campus sharing the gospel and to you of them and to the metaverse and beyond the world to proclaim Christ. So with that, my brother, I want to ask you this, these two questions. Are you trusting in Christ alone for salvation forever? Yes, absolutely. Yes. And then before your church family, how long will you follow after Christ until the end of my days and beyond? Amen. Well, Josh, based off of your profession of faith, it is my joy to baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, crucified with Christ and raised to watch and newness of life.