Devotions

Category Archives: Frightful

Testimony – Ben Heddy-Kennedy

Back to Reach • Testimony #7
Ben Heddy-Kennedy | Operations Staff

I was raised in a close-knit family. Growing up we did a lot together, but the church was not one of those things. My uncle is a music director at a church, so we attended his church on special holidays, but that was about it. Things changed when I started middle school. A friend invited my sisters, a couple of other friends, and me to The River Church (Goodrich) all-nighter. It sounded like fun, so we all went. Sometime in the middle of all the craziness, the youth director got up and spoke about Hell, Heaven, and Jesus. I raised my hand, met with him, and repeated a prayer he said. I do not think it sunk in at that point. I believe that was a turning point for our family. My parents rededicated their lives, our whole family started going to church together, and I attended both Sunday and Thursday youth group times.

Ninth grade is a transition time for all kids, but it was a real tough time for me. I felt alone and even depressed. I got serious about reading the Bible and prayer. It was then that I got serious about following Christ. I tend to be on the shy side and hang out behind the scenes, but I knew I was not alone. The youth core group Bible studies and 5th quarter became part of my routine. That middle school prayer now made more sense.

My favorite verses are 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” I recently saw these verses and felt they dictated my view on life. We need to be people known for working hard. It is important to get down to it and get it done. I take a healthy pride in being part of the Operations Staff at Church. Recently, when I was setting up chairs for a concert, I thought about how I was doing something important and all the people that would now have a place to sit comfortably. I must admit, bathrooms are not my favorite, but I make sure people can trust they are clean. I know what I do makes a difference for others and eventually even the Gospel.

We are all part of the Body of Christ, and each one of us needs to be diligent in what the Lord has for us.

Testimony – Richie Henson

Back to Reach • Testimony #6
Richie Henson | Production Director

Growing up in the church as the son of a pastor, it became easy for me to do the right thing in front of the right people. I spent much of my time presenting a Christian facade while struggling with depression and anger on the inside. During my high school years, this reality became exceedingly difficult to maintain. I struggled with keeping it all together, and I knew that my current situation was not sustainable. June of 2013, while at Ponderosa Pines summer camp, the speaker began to talk about the importance of putting your faith in Jesus and that it is not enough to rely on your good choices and actions. I began to realize during this week that I had never really made a choice to follow Jesus. I had never made a conscious decision to put my faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

On Thursday night, the topic of feeling overwhelmed came up. This resonated with me so deeply, and I knew God was reaching out to me. I felt that the world was overcoming me at every turn and I could not see a way out, but Jesus was offering me a way out. Jesus was offering me grace and salvation that could radically change me and make me a conqueror in a fallen world.

1 John 5:5 says,
“Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

My whole life had been about creating perceptions that would not let people know I was broken and overwhelmed. I broke down and sought help and guidance to accept Jesus as my Savior. From that point, my life was transformed as I began to see the world through the perspective of victory in Jesus. I was finally able to release my insecurities and anger as I grew in true community with other believers for the first time.

The world is a rough place. It is full of sin and disappointment, but Jesus’ saving grace provides us with the opportunity to walk in freedom as conquerors.

Testimony – James Mann

Back to Reach • Testimony #5
James Mann | Children’s Director

I was born into a Christian home and lived a cookie-cutter Christian childhood. I was saved at the age of five, and I was baptized, at Faith Baptist, later that year. I was the child that could tell you everything about the Bible and recite countless verses that were learned in Awana. When I was nine years old, my life flipped upside down. My parents got a divorce. My dad ended up moving to Florida to work with my Grandpa. I was bitter and angry, not only with my parents but with God as well. How could God do this to me? Was I not doing everything He told me to do? This began my downward spiral away from Him.

    

My parents only stayed separated for one year. They ended up remarrying each other, and my mom and I moved to Florida to join him. Florida was the furthest I have ever felt from God in my entire life. We tried to find a church that we could call home, but after many attempts, we just gave up. This was when I started living completely in the world. I was not doing anything too crazy, but it was not what God intended for my life. Florida was the most difficult six years of my life. My Grandpa ended up passing away, and our family realized there was nothing left for us in Florida. We packed everything up and headed home to Michigan.

    

Once we got here, we began to attend church almost immediately. We went to The River Church. I was hesitant from the beginning. I fought with my parents for six months. They wanted me to join the youth group, and I did everything possible to get out of it. Finally, the Student Pastor at the time contacted my mom and said they were going on a leadership retreat. My mom just mentioned it to me but did not say anymore. I did not know what it was, but something inside me told me to go. So, I asked my mom if I could go. That was my first time doing something with the church in nine years. My life changed at that moment. At the age of 17, I decided that I was done living the way I was, and it was time to get back on track. It was not an easy transition. God challenged me in many ways and forced me to lean on Him. He performed many miracles in my life. I realized that if He was not in control that I would have died before the age of 18. It was at this point that I decided to jump completely into this new lifestyle. I wanted to join the ministry field. That is when I fell in love with children’s ministry. He made it clear to me that I am meant to be a Children’s Pastor someday, so that is the path I decided to follow and I love every second of it.

Testimony – Bill Kinney

Back to Reach • Testimony #4
Bill Kinney | Operations Staff

From a very young age, I went to church with my family and regularly I would hear the Gospel. I even raised my hand at the altar call several times as a young boy. Eventually, the pastor told me I only had to do it one time. My grandfather was a pastor and a true man of God. I would even help my grandparents serve food to the homeless at the Pontiac Rescue Mission. Then the teenage years came, my parents split up as many do. I started attending a church and heard stuff I did not like: how you would have to wear the right clothes and have the right haircut. I now know God does not focus on those things. That put a bad taste in my mouth about religion. I walked away from the church.

I tried to hide from God, doing all the worldly things you can think. I even road with a motorcycle club for a while. It was a very hard life. I went from job to job and even state to state trying to find what was missing in my life.

Now after a lot of wasted years (like 25 or so) of running and trying to hide from God, I kept hearing God call me. Once I answered God’s call, I started to change. This time I could feel the Holy Spirit in me. All I wanted to do was please my Heavenly Father. I now know what that pastor meant that you only need to ask the Lord to be your Savior and Lord of your life one time. It is a relationship with God. He enters you. You can feel Him in every part of your life! All I know now is serving the Lord is all I want to do for the rest of my time in this world. It is way better than any worldly thing you can imagine. 

Ephesians 2:10 is one of my favorite verses, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Testimony – Michelle Moshier

Back to Reach • Testimony #3
Michelle Moshier | Nursery & Pre-K Director

All it took was seed:

I remember as a little girl having neighbors up the road who introduced church into my life. My neighbors who have become my “second parents” took me in as if I was theirs. I did not live with them, but I did spend most of my days there. I just wanted to be away from the people in my home that made me feel unloved and unwanted. My childhood home remained broken as I grew up. Something was missing! However, God had a much bigger plan in mind.

Jeremiah 29:11 says,‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” It is my belief God put that neighbor in my life to sow a seed of God’s love in my heart. Unfortunately, it became buried for years as I felt alone. I thought I was not good enough for love. Something was missing! I did not feel God’s presence, nor knew His best interest for me. My broken family led me toward making poor choices as I became a teenager. Such a mess! I would not change a thing. I heard the phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle” many times not quite knowing what it meant. In 2005, my husband and I were blessed with our third son. By age two, he was diagnosed with Classic Autism. We struggled with our emotions then and still do now. God did not give us more than we can handle with His help.

In 2009, we moved to Michigan. We were searching for something! Then my life started changing. My mother-in-law and I decided to start a Bible study weekly at her home. I took this seriously. I was eagerly searching for other ways to deal with my life. During this time, I started attending church with just my children, even volunteering in the nursery. As my marriage became a struggle, the devil swooped in and stole my joy. My thoughts were that I was not worthy since I was unclean and damaged. How could God love me? I needed a drastic change. Then in October 2009, I got down on my knees in the kitchen and accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was scared at first not quite knowing what it looked like to “be saved.” So I took every opportunity to learn the Word of God and build a personal relationship with Him. My children and I were baptized shortly after that. My marriage was restored. Now we have been married for 14 years and attend church as a family. I did not believe that was possible. I am currently working in the children’s ministry. I have always had my Protector and Comforter right by my side fighting for me. I have found I am worthy of His love. God knew what was best for me all along.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.”



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