Good morning everyone!

I’m Paul. I am 27 years old and work as premier banking manager at a retail bank in Cambridge. I have been part of the church services here for the last couple of years. It 's wonderful for me to be able to share with you today how God has touched my life, brought me closer to Him and changed me to be more like Him.

From an early age, my parents took me to our local Baptist church where I was part of Sunday school and this is where my understanding of God began. I still remember my first children’s Bible, the colorful pictures in it and reading the stories with my parents at home. At this time I can say that I knew who God was, I knew about Him, but had not formed any relationship with Him.

As I got a bit older, my main interests became spending time with friends, doing things that I thought were fun. At this time, I would attend church but not feel close to God, I couldn’t see the relevance of Him in my life. But even so, when I look back there were still ways in which God had an impact on my life. Geography was one of my favorite subjects at school, the nature and the beauty of the world still spoke about God to me.

Sadly, even though I was aware of God and knew that He waited for me, I turned my back on Him and I lived my life for what I thought I wanted. This caused my relationship with Him to be non-existent and I put bad friendships before him. I always considered myself to be a moral person and tried to be a good son, a good brother and a good friend. And even so, after trying to make everything ‘perfect’ in my own ways, there was always an empty space in my heart that was waiting to be filled by God. And this is how my search for God began.

I started to reread parts of the Bible and I was at a point in my life where everything made perfect sense. The Bible stopped becoming part of history and just words on a page, it was clear to me that I was a sinner and I truly accepted that Jesus had died for me and that I needed His forgiveness. I clearly remember one evening when I was driving home from Cambridge and I started to talk to God. It was late there weren’t many other people around or cars on the road and I found myself reflecting on the last few years of my life and how I lived away from God. I reached out to God and asked him to help me. I started to talk out loud with God and I was brought to tears when I realised how much I needed God in my life to make me complete. I called out time and time again for repentance from Him. This was the most important moment in my life as it was the time I considered myself a Christian.

There was also a verse that really touched me in Matthew 16:26 which says:

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

This highlighted to me how valuable my soul was in comparison to the riches in life and how God’s grace saved me not through what I had done.

Through him I sorted out my past, he blessed my present and reassured my future in glory as my Saviour. I knew God was for me and I was happy to follow him. He gave me salvation, direction, and power to become a saved person. He worked in my life. The most valuable thing for me is continuing to grow and deepen my personal relationship with God. He has changed me forever and my friends, family and work colleagues can all see the difference in me in the way that I live my life, my actions, my words and in all that I am. Whatever life brings I will face it with God.