Devotions

Testimony #5

Reach | Testimony #5
Tamela Rigg | Women’s Ministry

I vaguely remember my early childhood days. We moved around a lot due to my father being a musician. My parents divorced when I was in fifth grade, my father received custody of me, and my mom received custody of my brother. From fifth grade through ninth grade I moved 27 different times; therefore relationships and friendships were difficult and have been throughout my life. My father had remarried numerous times, and during one marriage I was exposed to the Gospel and Billy Graham.  

In ninth grade, the court awarded my mother custody of me. This was the first stable home I had until I graduated. I also had an Aunt that showed the love of Jesus and gave constant unconditional love throughout my childhood. But during this time, I was exposed to pornography which affected my view of a relationship the way God would have it.

I married at 19 and thirteen years later had a very difficult divorce. I was confused, depressed, and had suicidal thoughts. I was successful in a career and had all the luxuries in this world but was not happy. I always prayed and knew of God but did not have a relationship with Him. I knew I needed to take care of some childhood issues before I could begin to heal and to be in a healthy relationship. I had been to numerous therapists in my past, but this time God was in it and provided an amazing lady who helped me. I started to attend the River Church in Holly, and every word was a pierced knife into my heart and what I was feeling. I would cry every time I went to church but then saw God so tenderly begin to heal me. My father past away in 2005, and at that time many more childhood memories came back to me including sexual and emotional abuse. This explained why I did not remember most of my childhood. God has been molding, healing, and changing me every day. I am grateful that He saw this strayed sheep and constantly pulled me in and held me close to heal me. 

Matthew 18:12 says, “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?”

There is an amazing story of how God weaved my new husband into my life. God gave me someone who would tenderly and humbly help me love again the way God would want it. God graciously heard every word I prayed for a husband. We have diligently sought to be obedient to God’s calling in serving Him in many ways. 

Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Testimony #4

Reach | Testimony #4
John Rigg | Assistant to the Reach Pastor

Music has always had an impact on me throughout my entire life. Whether it was listening to my mother’s 45 collections or tuning into my favorite station on my transistor radio, music moved me, and it altered my thinking. I even spent a short time playing guitar in a garage band as a teenager entertaining people at weddings and special events, and it was who I was. So, it was no surprise to me later in life, that God would use music to reach me, to rescue me.

I was 40 years old, and the life that I had created for myself was not working out as I had planned. My wife of 19 years, had just announced to me that she no longer wanted to be married and was leaving. We had two sons, teenagers at the time, and my fear was that this was going to blow up their world, and it did, along with my own. During this time of great confusion, I constantly evaluated my life to somehow figure out where I had gone wrong. In my mind, I was a good man, husband, and father, yet everything was falling apart, I was seeking answers. So, like so many others that self-guide their lives, I made wrong decisions, developed unhealthy friendships, and patronized places I had no business being in; a bad situation was getting worse.

One day a friend, seeing the state of my life, suggested that I try attending church. He invited me to tag along with him and his family on Christmas, although he did not regularly attend himself, he said it could help me. In my mind, it could not hurt, so I went. Over the following weeks, I went alone again and again. Each week the Pastor would talk about the love of God and the great lengths that Jesus had gone to ensure that my eternity would be spent with Him in Heaven. But I already knew that, at least in my head. You see, as a young boy our mother would take my brother and I to church most weeks, sign us up for Vacation Bible School and church camps, yet the love of God was only knowledge to me. That is why at age 16, I left the church and began my journey of making my own way in the world.

So here it was, years later, I sat in church listening to the worship band and watched the words on the screen. God, knowing the impact that music has on me, spoke to me. The lyrics that day were from a Matt Redman song entitled Heart of Worship. 

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
All about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus

It was at that moment that the power of the Gospel message that I had heard my entire life, left my head and pierced my heart forever. The life that I had been living was a life without God, and it was all about me and what I had made of my life. In an instant, I saw my sin for what it was, disobedience. Now broken even further than I thought possible, I confessed my sin as I sang along with the band, “I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about you.” God heard me, and through the sacrifice of Jesus, forgave and saved me from myself. I now live in the power of a changed life, a life that once was distant from God, but now is drawn in by the realization of His grace, and relentless pursuit of me and the entire human race. 

Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Testimony #3

Reach | Testimony #3
Aaron Larvick | Worship Team

I do not remember the first time I came to church, but I am pretty sure that my family was going to Faith Baptist before I was born. I grew up as your pretty average church kid, going to Sunday school, VBS, camp, and the rest of your typical things. I was baptized when I was six, but I did not completely get it. I knew that Jesus had died for me and that if I asked Him to save me from my sin than He would take me to Heaven. That was my mindset all the way into middle school.

However, near the end of middle school, I became part of a Christian leadership school called Teenpact. After participating for a while as a student, I began working as a staffer. Once I was placed in a position of higher influence, I realized something, “How can I be pouring into people that need Jesus if I have made my walk with Him about myself?” That is the thing, you cannot. At this point, I had to lower myself and have a relationship with Christ that was not about me getting into Heaven but was about living a life worthy of my calling and bringing Him glory through every aspect of who I am. 

As I have now spent two years of my life traveling around with Teenpact, I have seen the Lord work in ways that I did not know was possible. I have seen people healed from conditions that they were born with that have never been healed before, prayers answered in incredible ways, and students at a young age realize that we all have purpose and direction that is rooted completely in Christ.

Through this growth, I have felt a calling on my life to pursue full-time ministry specifically focusing on music and worship ministry. I have placed my life in His hands and His control. I am no longer living for a fun time with like-minded people but rather a God who deserves every ounce of me. I believe, “Anything less than everything I am is not enough for Him.”

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:2-5

Testimony #2

Reach | Testimony #2
Joyce Lyman | Worship Team

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

What do you say about someone who has been in church their whole life? As it turns out, and as I have learned, God writes everyone’s story differently. I have been attending The River Church since I was about eight. It was during my days in Awana that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I then decided to get baptized at the same time as my cousin, with my uncle baptizing me. Having all of this happen at such a young age sort of hinders me from knowing what life was like before knowing Jesus. I continued to stay in all of the kid’s programs, expanding my knowledge of the Bible, little by little. 

Looking back, I can see how well God took care of my sister and me through my family’s struggles and as we went into middle school and high school. I was always one to keep my feelings to myself, but then God showed me how to express my emotions through music. He allowed me to participate in the choir for seven years, until graduation, which gave me opportunities I would never have received otherwise. During that time, God also worked through others to mentor me and prepare me for leading worship in the church. I have such an indescribable feeling of gratitude and zeal towards the Lord’s work and His people. It is such a joy to me to know that I belong to a big, loving family that truly cares for me. 

At this point in my life, I feel as though God has called me to work in worship ministry. Where? When? How? Those are the questions I will see answered in God’s timing. With the faith, I have come to know and the trust I have built up, I pray that I am able to follow what God has in store. 

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)

Testimony #1

Reach | Testimony #1
Mateas Stack | Student Ministry

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 

Long before I knew this verse existed, my mother ingrained the gist of it into the brain of her four kids, “God has a plan.” Quite honestly, I had no idea who God was or why in moments of trial she said this; quickly I classified it as a cliché.

That sounds like a decision made by a bitter old person, but I can assure you I came to that conclusion at age seven – when my father unexpectedly passed away. I recall my mom collecting us in her arms and only saying those four words repeatedly. I was immensely confused and angered by the confidence she had in that statement and remained that way as we relearned how to be a family. 

In the midst of moving and finding a new normal, I would hear her phrase and think, “Is she not paying attention?” I questioned her as she began dragging us to church, a place where more weirdos shared that phrase. Out of respect, I went along with the weirdness, until life’s deleterious fist struck again. This time my grandfather was taken by cancer and my oldest brother in murder. It became the ugliest time of my life. 

During this time, my mom consistently brought us to church. I hated it. I hated coming into a room, as my life unraveled, to a guy screaming excitedly about God and His Son, Jesus, being awesome. Nothing made sense, I took everything and processed it through a lens that was angry, broken, and hurt. I hardened my heart and distorted God into someone maleficent. Despite my pleas, my mother still made me go. 

Over the next span of time, God softened my heart, and I invited Jesus into my life at age ten. I still was not sure what that meant exactly, but I knew He was supposed to help me and I began feeling a change.         

After this, I became a Sunday Christian with no deeper growth. I ignored the change I felt and kept unhealed pain close to my heart; nevertheless, God pursued me. On March 7, 2015, He won, and I truly began to see Jesus and His love for me. I was baptized the next week and have since begun living out my faith.         

Today, I am pursuing full-time ministry. There are days I struggle to find God’s truth in the midst of my feelings, but He never fails to meet me where I am at and take me in the direction I need to go. Romans 8:28 is no longer a cliché or a source of anger, but has become a beacon of clarity knowing that whatever hits me is going to be worked together for good. Rarely do I know how, but I know it is worked to bring us closer to Jesus and the purpose He has brought to our lives.



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

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