David is taking the opportunity to share what Jesus has done in his life by getting baptized during the next Baptism Weekend, and you can get a first look at his story here:
Hello, my name is David Smart. I was born in Howard County Maryland, where I have lived all my life. I have been attending Grace Community Church since before I was even born. I grew up in totZone and kidZone back when we were at the Rumsey Center and I went through Light Company and CpR here.
Growing up going to church each Sunday and living in a Christian household where your father reads you bedtime stories from the Bible or Aunt Vera’s each night, I knew a lot about God and the Bible on an academic level from a very young age. But that is where it ended for me – it was just head knowledge, like history, with no connection to my everyday life.
Before I accepted Jesus, I was selfish, discontent, quick tempered, lonely, and depressed. I wanted people to be impressed by me and think of me as “the best there ever was,” but inevitably I was always rejected for being overweight or not smart enough. I hated who I was and I saw no hope for change. I considered taking my life a few times in 1st grade, and I even tried to take my life once, but my younger brother stopped me.
I do not know what changed in my mind that day in kidZone, but I know I was ashamed and I did not want to end up in Hell. So, it was sometime during 2nd or 3rd grade (I cannot pin down an exact date anymore) that I admitted my sinful state to God, prayed for God to forgive my sins, and accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for me. And although at the time, it was still a purely selfish decision, I now love God for who He is and not just what He offers to me.
When I accepted Christ, He immediately became was my Savior, but He was not yet fully the Lord of my life. My depression turned to peace in an instant, but I am still even now in the lifelong process of allowing the Holy Spirit to change me into the man who trusts fully in God’s promises and clings to His statutes.
Today I have compassion and patience because Jesus showed mercy to me, a sinner. Today I have contentment and joy because the God of the universe loves me and nothing can separate me from Him. And today I have hope because the Holy Spirit is molding me more and more into the image of Jesus Christ.
Jesus has also given my life new purpose. Two years ago God called me to go on a short-term trip to Southeast Asia, and, starting with that trip, God has been giving me a heart for the unreached around the world. Before going on the trip, my attitude was that “there are plenty of people here in the United States who are just as in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so why do I need to go anywhere else?” And I am not saying that is untrue, people here do need Jesus, but spending time in an unreached area opened my eyes to how different the situations are. Here when you look around, there are other believers everywhere, but over there when you look around, you realize no believers have ever even lived there. Here those who do not believe have at least met a believer or can find believers if they are interested, but there no one has ever met a believer and there are none to be found. I don’t know yet if I meant to go long-term, but either way I am praying for and supporting those who are going… and in the meantime I am in a class with 95 percent international students.
I thought that I had been baptized as a child soon after I first accepted Christ, but about two years ago my dad told me that never happened. For a while after finding out, I resisted getting baptized because I thought it was pointless to do so when I have already lived so many years as a believer. But during one of the previous Baptism Weekends I realized that although baptism is not necessary for my salvation, as my faith is, it is a great way to declare what the Lord has done in my life, which is my joy to do, and perhaps my story will encourage someone here today to become a disciple of Jesus. So I’m here today to joyfully declare to you all that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, because He changed my life and I know He can change yours.
Baptism at Grace
During all worship gatherings on Baptism Weekends, we celebrate the very reason we exist as a church: Christ’s mission to make disciples, baptizing and teaching in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20). We share testimonies of how Jesus changes lives now and for eternity. And the best part… we baptize with a joy that’s out of this world!