The Love Here Is Real

Matt S. - Lebanon, OH

I grew up in church.  Our family seemed to never miss a Sunday or holiday when I was a young boy.  I remember giving my heart to the lord when I was ten years old.  Walking to the front of a local church, very nervously.  Many years later, I found myself in a not so good place, doing not so good things.  I met a young lady who loved me as I was, and things seemed to be better, but I was longing for something.  I just never could fill the void I had inside.  My troublesome past always seemed to catch up to me.  I took a job traveling the country to escape my world of problems.

She and I married and had our first daughter.  We wanted to give our daughter a better life, but we really didn’t know how.  Five years ago my mother began telling me of a church she was attending.  She seemed different, so my wife and I attended one Sunday.  It was a small church at the Opry House here in Lebanon and there was only about thirty or so people there.  I realized very quickly I knew the Pastor Anthony.  We are cousins.  He was teaching on no condemnation and his message was great!  My wife an I really liked it, so we went from time to time when I was in town on Sundays.  Months went by and we heard that the church was growing and was moving into the old Ridgeville church.  After a few Sundays there, our daughter was so excited to go to church after being with Miss Jennifer that we couldn’t say no to going.  Once again we only attended when I was in town.

A year or more went by, things at work were going really well but I was out of town more and more.  We didn’t attend much anymore because I was never home.  We heard once again the church was growing and had bought a new facility here in Lebanon, and that is when things began to really change.  My wife attended Sunday service without me one week when Pastor Anthony approached her after the meeting.  He said he had noticed I had been gone a lot lately and he had been praying for us.  My wife and I learned we were expecting our second child just a couple weeks later.  I remember her being around 7 months along and asking me how we were going to do this if I was always gone.  As we hung up the phone that night I wept to my knees.  I told God I was sorry for not listening to him.  I told him I was sorry for walking away and that I would be obedient to him the rest of my days if he could take this pain away and bring me home to be with my family again.  WOW does he work fast!  I received a phone call not even 24 hours later from a friend I hadn’t seen since grade school, asking me if I would consider working with him and his father in law.  A few days later I accepted of course.

We were so excited to tell Pastor Anthony what had happened.  He prayed with us and we just knew he had a helping hand in getting us to this point.  A few months went by and Pastor stopped preaching one Sunday morning.  He called me by name, asked me to stand.  Said he didn’t want to embarrass me or make me feel awkward but the lord had a message for me.  The message was not to look right or left but only to the author and finisher of my faith. He told me to not look back, to run forward and dive into his goodness and that only then would I lead the people that I was called to lead.  He didn’t know it but I needed that so badly that day.  I was sitting in church wondering what I was supposed to do next.  Wondering what my purpose was.  Well, my assignment has since been given and great things are to come.

Since then I was baptized in this church, a symbol of a new beginning for my wife and I.  I was baptized with the holy ghost.  I started hearing from God again because of this church (both the Pastor and people).  I have seen miracles happen inside this church.  Just recently my wife was giving our daughters a bath and tore something in her right knee when she stood up.  Pastor Anthony and Jennifer came over to check on her and she was in this giant brace and not getting along very well.  After she saw a doctor he told her she was going to have to have surgery on her knee.  We both knew we weren’t going that route we were looking for a God kind of healing.  Well Pastor had a guest minister in named Pastor Tracy Harris that Sunday.  We went expecting.  While in the spirit my wife was called forwarded and he laid hands on her.  The next night we went back for round 2 because we just couldn’t get enough of the word, and while he was preaching he stops to say ” somebody’s right knee was just healed”.  It was my wife!!

She goes back to the doctor and they take an MRI and the doctor is confused, he’s ready to schedule surgery.  He saw the original X-ray and her tendon was torn.  Well praise God, not anymore!  She looked to God for her healing and it came!

We are so thankful for this church and our Pastor and his wife and our new family here.  We really are totally different people now because of this place.  The love here is real.  The people are real and the anointing our Pastor has is real.  If you are looking for a church to call home, I encourage you to try Faith Building Church because the Word will radically change your life.