I stand before my congregation today - a lost and broken sinner, full of regrets and destroyed by the sin that I chose to follow. But that was the old Tyler Liggins. Galatians 2:20 says that "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." That means I am a new creature in Christ and that's why I'm looking forward to my baptism today!
I am glad to share with you this moment in time that was foretold before I was born or ever walked on this earth. I want to share a part of my soul with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I didn't grow up like most kids. I came from a broken family with one brother and one sister and a great mom (although I didn't think she was great at the time, but I've come to realize that she is great!) During my childhood, I travelled a lot and have seen some beautiful places, but I was quite neglected - no hugs, no love and no sense of love. Whenever I was hurt by someone or was hurting within myself, no one was there to teach me the right way to face my troubles at school or my troubles in my relationships.
Because of this, I got very resentful and started to lash out at my family and at this world. I didn't really know how or where my anger was coming from. I just walked along a path of darkness, blindly stumbling around because I couldn't see the true light in this world - Who's Name is Jesus Christ! I didn't have Christ in my life to show me the way.
But when I was 11 years old, I went to a Lutheran Camp out in Mission BC. I remember feeling a lot of love there. One time I was in the chapel by myself and I picked up a Gideon Bible and started to read it. It spoke to me and so I decided to steal it and shoved it in my pocket. Later on I felt bad about it and returned it to a counselor. But the counselor gave the Bible back to me and told me about Jesus and encouraged me to accept Christ. He even baptized me. I read Psalm 23 which was a big revelation to me:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His Name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
But when I got home after this camp experience, I felt even more distant from my family who had no faith at all. So I put my Gideon Bible away. But since then, I have gone through many valleys of the shadow of death and I have now finished attending my New Christians Class with my brothers Ken, Mark, Steve, Pastor Jim, Lisa and my sister Margaret. After all has been said and done, I will praise the Lord until the end of time for that day He filled me with His never failing faith and hope and love in Jesus Christ that to this day, still shakes me to the soul.