My name is Ewan Mackenzie, I am 22 years old and I was born and brought up here on the Isle of Lewis. From a very early age I was taught about The Lord. My Dad is a Christian and he and my mother ensured that my brother, sister and myself were brought up with Christian values. This meant church every Sunday morning and evening and Sunday school in afternoon. I will be honest and say I did not like Sundays when I was growing up.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the Sunday routine, I saw something in Christians that I loved. I always wanted to be a part of that family, but I wanted to do it my way and simply could not accept that it was through faith in Christ and by His salvation blood alone that we are saved. I simply couldn’t understand that. I could never read the King James Version of the Bible because it was a completely different language to me so I used that as an excuse not to delve deeper into the truths of the Bible. I decided to simply enjoy my life and that if it was God’s plan for me to be saved, it would happen. It’s not until I was saved that I realised this was probably one of the most dangerous thoughts I ever had as a non-believer.
Many changes came into my life through the close of primary and into secondary school. My Dad had fallen ill with heart and back problems and was therefore no longer able to come to church. This I found hard to adjust to because growing up, he was the reason we were going to church and so without him going, I did not see the point. My mum continued to take us out as often as she could but through my mid to late teens, my grandmother took ill and required 24/7 care. Through these circumstances, we lost the routine of going out to church and Sundays became like every other day. I enjoyed having a complete day of rest and for a time, I never missed anything to do with Christianity.
I was never one for going out at the weekends regularly, though I did enjoy the odd game of pool in the Caledonian Hotel Bar. I only really went out ‘Stornoway style’ if it was a special occasion, and with no need of going into any detail, I can easily say that these nights were by far the worst nights of my life. Even as a non-believer I hated them, but I went with the crowd anyway.
I had started a part time job in Spar during school years and had remained there after school. Working there is an Elder, Donald Macleod (more commonly known as Speedy), from Knock Free Church in Point (a beautiful kingdom to behold for any who are from there, it seems). Through his ministry there and through the lives of many others, my life was starting to change. When I went to Spar, there were only two Christians working there, both of whom I can say the Lord has used mightily for His cause. In my first 3 years in the shop, at least 11 Christians had worked there at one time or another. For that, I am so thankful because they were all used to make the Lord known to myself and many others.
I had reached a point in my life where I was becoming unsettled. I had all that I could need, and yet I was not satisfied. Pleasures would come for a moment, and as quickly as they would come, they would go. Outwardly I was happy, but inwardly there was a storm brewing in my soul. I said that I had not missed anything to do with Christianity, and for a while that was true, but then I found myself every now and again seeking a purpose for my life. I knew Christ was the answer, I just did not know how He could help me. I found myself praying this prayer, ‘Lord, make me want to want you.’ I did not have a desire for Christ, but I wanted one!
As time went on, I noticed more and more Christians coming into my life. Through their lives, the Lord spoke to me. He was not using the ministers or the Bible at this point; He was using the lives of His people as sermons preached to me (and many others I’m sure). This really affected me because I saw in them exactly the peace that I needed in my life.
One day, by Gods grace I was sitting in my room with an ESV Bible open in front of me (I Praise the Lord for the modern English translation!). I began reading from Genesis Chapter 1, and question upon question came into my mind. So I went down stairs and started firing these questions at my Dad. I would run back upstairs and read a bit more and run back downstairs and ask him even more questions. This went on for about 45 minutes. I am pretty sure by the end of it he was exhausted. I was not. I was desperate to know more. I started realising that I did not just want God but that I needed Him.
I started going back to church and I loved it. I had heard all the stories about Elijah and Moses and David when I was young but I never took them in, so hearing them now was amazing! And the greatest part was I was starting to see Christ in these stories!
One week, Speedy came into work with leaflets saying a preacher called Alistair Begg was coming from America to preach in Knock Free Church. I was very interested so Norman Macleod a friend asked me to go with him and we went morning and evening. I enjoyed the services and the fellowship though a lot of it was over my head. One thing Mr Begg said was a quote from the author C.S. Lewis. The quote was ‘I Believe in Christ as I believe in the rising of the sun, not simply because I can see it, but because by it I can see everything’. I thought ‘wow!’ That is such a beautiful quote. From then I really felt God was close to me, and I was earnestly praying for assurance of faith.
Two weeks later, Mowgli (another friend), Norman and myself went over to the communion services in the village of Gravir. Speaking there was Rev Dr Iain D. Campbell on “coming to Christ.” It was amazing! Then we went to a fellowship where Mowgli was giving his testimony. I could feel The Spirit with me. Then Mowgli said as he was finishing, “I was listening to a service online the other day and this quote stuck with me. ‘I believe in Christ as I believe in the rising of the sun, not simply because I can see it, but because by it I can see everything.’” And from then, all I felt in my heart and soul was peace and joy. I had been telling him to listen to the service because he could not make it that night and to my knowledge we had not spoken about it since, then he came out with the very quote that spoke to me, and from then I had my assurance. I was at such peace with Christ in my life.
Since then my life has been incredibly blessed. Today I am thankful for Gods providence. I know I am fortunate to have a great family and great friends and I am so thankful for the ministries we are under. I believe we have truly been blessed to have Rev Iver Martin and Rev Kenny I. Macleod over us.
On a more personal level, I have come to realise that the best sermon preached is a sermon with no words. It is simply the life of the Christian, living each and every moment for Christ. I believe if we do that, others will see Him so clearly in our lives.
When my Dad used to drop us off for school, he never let us leave the car without saying, “believe in Jesus.” Nowadays, anytime my Dad and I part ways, he rarely lets me leave without saying, “enjoy your God”.
The Christian Life is full of hills and valleys. The important thing for us is to see Gods glory in them. All I would say to the non-believers is two words. Consider Jesus. He will work in and around every aspect of your life to reveal Himself to you, if you truly seek Him. May we all keep reading and keep praying, in the knowledge that God will strengthen us as His people, and add more to the flock.
‘The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him; my fathers God, and I will exalt Him.’ Exodus 15:2
Believe in Jesus, and Enjoy Your God.