GREG

By Kyla Daw | BRAND NEW STORIES

The reason I love this concept of “I Am Brand New” is because at the age of 28 years old when I became a follower of Jesus, that term took on such a literal meaning for me. Every single belief, every single song, every single message, and every single book, chapter, and verse was all brand new.

I have great parents who have supported me through everything I’ve ever done.

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I grew up living very much what’s considered a normal life for a kid in Canada. I have great parents who have supported me through everything I’ve ever done. I have two brothers who I fought with but now get along great with. I played hockey and every other sport imaginable and had a lot of friends. I spent my weekdays in school and my weekends out with those friends. There are so many stories of those who suffered through situations involving alcohol, drugs, addictions, abuse, bullying, etc. To be honest I’m not one of them, but despite the number I’ve times I’ve even told myself this: I am just as brand new and loved by God just the same as all of those people.

It wasn’t matter of “we don’t go to church or believe in Him” because of this or that, it literally was just never a topic that ever came up.

Christianity or religion in any form was never an issue in my home. We didn’t go to church, we never even talked about God or anything to do with him. It wasn’t matter of “we don’t go to church or believe in Him” because of this or that, it literally was just never a topic that ever came up. I had known a couple of friends who were Christians but never really delved into any conversations about it with them. I was quite simply clueless to religion of any sort, and didn’t feel the interest or need to change that fact.

I came into Christianity just having gone through a divorce, my “normal Canadian married life” had crumbled right in front of me. Believing I was free, I had fallen into steady routine of plugging away at work Monday-Friday and letting loose on the weekends. I was having fun and yes, even felt like I really was free. I still have trouble understanding sometimes how I felt so free, but so trapped at the same time. The people I was surrounded by had a great time with me, but I had never felt less proud of myself as a human. A great time on Friday night was followed by a headache and the thought of “I spent how much money?” or “I did what?” on Saturday morning. There was so much contradiction. It was easy, and fun, but unproductive and damaging. Not to mention feeling like I wasn’t able to be a good husband, and maybe never would. It was a night’s sleep between wanting to keep doing this forever, and knowing something had to change soon.

I love hearing testimonies about how God has worked through people’s lives once they have surrendered it all to him. The death-to-life stories regularly bring a huge lump in my throat. One of my favorite parts to think about when it comes to my story though is how God was working through my life, setting things up and most importantly sending me the right people before I even realized it. In October 2013 a former co-worker who I’d known was a Christian but had moved away had come back for a visit. We chatted and caught up, and while there was zero discussion on anything related to Christianity he stayed on my heart for a while. That conversation sparked the idea that maybe something spiritual was the answer. Did I do anything about it? Of course not.

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Not long after a new co-worker named Amanda came on the scene. Once again, oblivious to a lot of it, I didn’t even know until later on she was also a Christian (more on that later). And finally, my former wife’s grandmother, a wise woman who despite the divorce still loved me. All of these people whether they knew it or not had their part in me stepping foot into a church and looking to Jesus for answers. By the time I had decided to go for the first time though, I knew that this wasn’t going to be some experiment. Something in me knew that it was going to be an all-in experience.

After a couple of nice services at a United Church in a nearby small town, I now found myself (at the recommendation of Amanda) in the back row of Third Day Worship Centre, a far cry from the 175 year old United Church where the average age in the congregation was about 80. People were excited for God, passionate about Jesus. The music just as exciting and passionate. There were kids of all ages running in circles praising the Lord. The preacher was about as animated as any speaker I’d ever seen. Oh, and don’t forget the 300 people speaking in other tongues, followed by me cringing over and over as many of them hit the floor under the power of God. At this point for me, the words brand new are a huge, huge understatement.

I could’ve sworn that somebody put my specific situations onto a piece of paper, handed them to that Pastor and he decided to write a sermon based on me alone.

I’d be lying if I told you in that service that I understood any references to the Bible, but as I’ve heard in many other testimonies, I sat through that message and could’ve sworn that somebody put my specific situations onto a piece of paper, handed them to that Pastor and he decided to write a sermon based on me alone. I walked out having learned that if what he was saying was true, God had something else in store for my life, something better, and I needed to know what that was. One more core-rattling service later on New Years Eve 2013 and I was lead to the Lord.

I was brand new.

I’ve learned that if you’re anything like me and knew absolutely nothing about Jesus or the Bible, you honestly couldn’t be in a better spot. Religion hasn’t watered down the word for you. The world hasn’t taken the gospel of Jesus Christ, twisted it to fit their 21st century mould and shoved it down your throat. When you dive head first into something so brand new, it’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll understand everything right away. There are always times when you want to compare yourself with others, and I promise you will at some point or another feel like everybody else is a more knowledgeable, better Christian than you. It’s naïve to think that you won’t get confused, or baffled. There’s breakthroughs, and revelations, and deliverance’s. There’s also conviction, misunderstandings, and at times even frustration. The great thing is, they lead to even more breakthrough. I can’t stress enough how important it is, and how blessed I was to have mentors and new people in my life who live by God’s word according to Him, and all of it – not just the parts that are convenient to how we want to live. It can be and will be confusing, and there’s always more to learn. It doesn’t matter if you’re 1 day brand new or 50 years brand new.

You hopefully haven’t or won’t be given the false hope that following Jesus will be easy. True freedom comes with a cost. A lot of my non-believer friends probably think I’m weird. Serving the Lord consumes your entire life and all of your time, and it should. Not everything, in fact probably not much will be hunky dory right off the bat. I realized very quickly that when you turn away from something you’re so used to, the enemy will do whatever he can to get you to turn back around to it. Being born again is truly that, you are starting from scratch. You are learning to walk, talk, and live all over again. The term “brand new” comes up with a few definitions but can be summed up one way – completely new. Think of the time it takes for a baby to walk for the first time, and then think of the joy we all share in when they finally do.

In nearly two years brand new has meant so much change for me. Fridays at the bar have now turned into Friday nights as a leader with an amazing youth group. Nights of drunken blabbering have now turned into fellowship with truly great friends. Backpacking for my own pleasure has been replaced by a mission trip and crusade for the glory of God. That Sunday morning headache? Try Sunday morning (and Sunday night!) worship. Feeling like I may never be able to be a great long term partner? By the time you read this I’ll be married to an amazing, beautiful woman of God who just so happens to be the same girl who suggested Third Day Worship Centre (now my home church) in the first place.

By the time you read this I’ll be married to an amazing, beautiful woman of God who just so happens to be the same girl who suggested Third Day Worship Centre (now my home church) in the first place.

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The best part? When you’re re-born, being brand new is just the beginning. You’re brand new, free, loved, and He will show you each and every day exactly why.

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