THE BOUNDARIES OF MY OWN RELIGION

“I completely missed that Jesus is both compassionate and God’s only Son who is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life.’ It was never loving for me to tell others that all roads led to heaven.” – Antoinette Davis

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John 14:6)

“For 33 years, I thought of Jesus as a good teacher,” said Antoinette Davis. “I didn’t get that He was both man and God at the same time. I didn’t know that He is all-powerful and has the power to forgive sin. I had no idea what to do with the Holy Spirit or Christ on a personal level.

“The seeds of faith were planted in me during my elementary school years. We lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, where my dad worked in the oil business. The pastor at the church I attended spoke biblical truth and was a great role model. I became a believer when I was about eight years old. Jakarta was also my first exposure to extreme poverty, and that experience gave me a heart for homeless mothers and children that I have to this day.

“My mother had a unique worldview and believed that all faiths and religions were right. She was adamant that we never said that there was just one way to get to heaven. As a result, I had a weird definition of Christianity and made God into who I wanted Him to be. I used that point of view to justify some of my out-of-bounds behavior in high school and college. I grew into a prideful person with very little concern about Christ. I lived in the boundaries of my own religion.

“My husband, Barry grew up in a Baptist church and had better biblical insight than I did. After graduating from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, we joined a local church, and after a few months we were serving in various areas including the children’s ministry. I taught Sunday school for 13 years, yet I didn’t know anything about Scripture. My heart was hardened to Christ’s message that, ‘no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ (John 14:6)

“Barry and I joined a different church, and that’s when I was finally hit by the truth: I didn’t know who Christ really was. I completely missed that Jesus is both compassionate and God’s only Son who is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life.’ It was never loving for me to tell others that all roads led to heaven when the Bible says that is clearly untrue. At 33 years old, I realized my great need to educate myself about God’s Word. I got baptized that year and started from scratch in learning about the gospel.

“It’s sad to me that I lived for so many years not knowing what I was missing. There was so much more in God’s Word, and my heart finally became softened enough to understand it. That began a season of the Lord showing me His glory, and that season continued when Barry and I moved to Watermark when our children got older. Life became so much richer when I was living out my faith.

“Barry and I always had a heart for Fort Worth, since we went to college at TCU. So when Watermark started a campus there, we wanted to share what God has done in our lives at Watermark with our family and friends in Fort Worth. We’ve spent a lot of time inviting people to come join us on Sundays, and I think that made me much bolder in sharing my faith. I’ve learned that it is not my job to convince or convict. It is my responsibility to share the truth about Christ and what He has done in my life.

“One thing my parents modeled for me as I grew up was to love your neighbor. My dad often lent a hand to neighbors while they were painting a garage or doing some other household project. My mom regularly brought meals to neighbors when they needed it. That pattern continued in my marriage, especially as I understood 1 Peter 4:10 and God’s call for us to serve ‘one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.’

“Several years ago, our daughters and I started assembling Easter baskets and delivering them, along with children’s storybook Bibles, to women and children at local ministries. Over the years, this has grown from a small project to a large effort that many of our friends and people from our church community participate in. We delivered 1,300 baskets last year alone. One local charitable organization is not allowed to give out Bibles because they receive state funding. But they were happy to have us come in and give out the baskets and Bibles. For some families in shelters, this is their first exposure to the gospel.

“God has taken my heart for serving and given me His passion, direction and awareness that outreach really begins at home. I see the same thing happening at Watermark Fort Worth. A strong foundation has been built among the core of our community as people are equipped with God’s Word. As a result, whether it’s reading to children through Read2Win, or inviting the homeless to join us on Sundays, people are sharing what they’ve learned about Christ and serving others. That’s a really healthy place to be.”

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