Brandon Barnard

Teaching Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church

From the time I was born, I was brought up in a church environment. Jesus was talked about in my home and my parents loved him. Because of their love for Christ and their love for one another, Jesus became someone I wanted to follow. I was actually eight-years-old and in the parking lot of a Long John Silver’s when I first prayed to receive Christ in my heart. Without a doubt, I see clearly now that it was God’s grace that drew me to himself.

My love for Christ has grown over the years and I can point back to multiple times in my life where the grace of God overwhelmed me, showed me the disobedient, rebellious heart that I was and can be apart from him and how radical the love and grace of Jesus really is. There is a story in the Bible about a prodigal son. Most people have heard it and many identify with this younger brother who outwardly rebelled and wandered away from the Father with arrogance and intentionality. But there was also an older brother in the story that many people do not talk about.  That’s me. Although very far from perfect, a good part of my life has been lived following the rules, supposedly doing the right things. Although never stated, I secretly thought God might be lucky to have me. Even now that thought devastates me. I was so confident in my good works and my own self-righteousness that I failed to see how wicked my heart really was.

Thankfully by God’s grace and through the Scriptures, I realized that I was just as distant from the Father as the younger, outwardly rebellious son was. And now, I am continuing to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, striving to preach the Gospel to myself everyday and praying for that same Gospel to bear fruit in my life in ways that points other people around me to Jesus.