Stowmarket Baptist Church Preaching The Doctrines of God’s Grace

Our Pastor - Stephen Nowak

Although I had exposure to Christianity I never remember hearing about my personal need of a Saviour and that God commanded me to repent of my sin and personally trust in the Person and work of Christ. By the time I was 14, I was already involved in all manner of foolish and sinful practices. Although I had every opportunity to get a great head start in life I wasted all the opportunities given to me. 

When I left school all I wanted to do was skateboarding, I had been in a few national magazines and on television and got to travel all around the United Kingdom. By the time I was 18 due to accidents I could no longer continue as my knees were too damaged.  I always had a love of water as my father was in the Royal Navy and had began to do a bit of surfing by then. When I was 18 I moved down to Newquay, Cornwall so that I could surf all the time. I began to travel with my surfing to Europe, Africa, Sri Lanka, Canary Islands and finally Mexico.

I completely fell in love with the waves, people, food and lifestyle of Mexico and decided to settle down there. I bought some land with an old house on it that needed some work done on it before I moved in. Outwardly it seemed as If I had everything, lots of surfboards, friends, easy life and parties, but inwardly because of all the drinking and drugs and unanswered questions I felt unfulfilled. I grew up having many questions about life, death, God and the meaning of it all. These were not answered by unconverted so called Christians in England and all of the Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus that I met on my travels. I began to think that I needed to forget about all these big questions, as I did not believe any one could answer them.

Suddenly at the end of May 1997 when I was nearly 24 a friend of mine died in front of me as we were completing construction work on his well. He was a backslidden Christian for all the time I knew him and had never told me the gospel. A few days before he died he had repented and recommitted his life to the Lord. He told me the gospel, but I was not interested as I thought there was too much to give up. He died because of an earthquake that caused the well to literally cave in on top of him. When he realized that he was not going to escape alive he began to pray. He prayed with such peace, joy, fearlessness in the face of death, resignation to the will of God and absolute assurance of the salvation that Christ had given him. This made a massive impact on my life; I saw and felt something that I never thought was possible in this life.

Within days of his death I was humbly, honestly and fervently praying that if there was a God in heaven, who could hear me, loved me and could reveal Himself to me, I wanted to know Him and have a relationship with Him. I prayed this prayer once or twice a day for a few days not knowing if Mohammad, Krishna or one of the Hindu gods was going to reveal Himself to me. In the providence of God I ended up on the 9th of June in the evening with the Bible in my hand and for the first time desiring to read it. I did not know where to start so I prayed to a God I did not know that if He wrote that book He would speak to me through it. Somewhere in the back of my mind I had remembered that the book of John was a good place to start so I began reading from chapter one. I was instantly amazed at what was said and was convinced that if God had ever spoken to humanity then these were the things He would talk about. I read on enthusiastically into chapter two. There doubts began to arise because I thought if God were to become a man He must have much more important things to do then go to weddings and turn water into wine, but I continued to read. As I began to read chapter three an awful sense of my need to be born again overwhelmed me. I realized that I would never see the kingdom of God unless I was born again, I realized I truly deserved to go to hell, but there was hope if I was born again. The problem was there were no clues as how to be born again, so I panicked. I remembered that there were some missionaries from America who lived about two miles away, so at about 10pm I ran as fast as I could to their house. A missionary named James Rynn just happened to be sitting up late outside his house reading the Bible and praying. We sat down and talked and he explained to me the gospel, he then asked me if I wanted to pray and ask God for forgiveness. I told him that I needed to pray alone as this was between God and myself alone, he told me that if I did not come back within 24 hours he would come looking for me.

I walked slowly home along the beach, went up onto my balcony at the back of my house and began to pray. I confessed my sins and told God that I truly believed that Christ died and rose again for my salvation. As I prayed I felt a huge burden being lifted from me and an overwhelming sense that God’s promises that James had told me were true.

The next day was the beginning of a new life for me. My hunger and thirst for surfing, parties, drinking and drugs had been completely replaced with a greater hunger and thirst to get to know this living, all powerful and gracious God. I began from that day to read my Bible, pray and look for any opportunity to serve Christ.

Since then God has restored the years that sin and selfishness had stripped from my life and I know that He has a gloriously perfect plan for the rest of my life and for eternity. My prayer is that you too will be convicted of your sin and in light of judgement day will see your need of the salvation that only Jesus Christ can give you.