Baptism of Matthew Almquist
I grew up like many at Hope – in the church. My parents were strong Christians and church was a big part of my life. I was passionate about my faith as a young child, insistent in prayer and rooted in faith. However, as the years went on, the voices of the world grew louder and louder and I started to follow many of them. I went to church through middle school and into my freshman year of college. My family left our church and we went to plant a new church on the other side of town. Not long after, several events occurred that left my family feeling deeply hurt by “the church”. It was decided we would take a break from organized religion.
This break lasted through the rest of high school for me. I felt comfortable with where I stood in my faith, and I liked being comfortable. It took until my freshman year of college at the University of Minnesota to realize how much faith I had lost through high school and how far I truly was from God. I wasn’t as much worried about where I stood in terms of Christianity as I was worried about how little I could do without God. God was slowly opening my eyes and showing me how utterly hopeless we are on our own.
I joined a Bible study through Cru where the leader convinced me to go to Cru’s winter conference. Admitting I had nothing better to do, I tagged along. For the first time, I saw college students passionate about their faith, worshipping with all their hearts, and talking about how they can give their lives to God. These students had something I hadn’t felt in a long time, a passionate love for God that knows no bounds. I rededicated my life to Christ and decided it was time to give many parts of my life over to God that I had been holding back for years.
Eleven months later, I can saw with all confidence I am a different man than I was then. Through many people and experiences in my life, I have seen God’s work displayed before me. I have seen my desires change drastically. I have seen lost and hopeless people find meaning and hope in Jesus Christ. I have seen both earthly and eternal destinations changed. I have seen a family hold together through the loss of their son because of their faith. God has chosen to work through all of these and more to fan a fire in my heart and show me the eternal consequences of everyday decisions. There is far too much at stake to live a life for anything other than fully devoted to God.