Micah Wilder

MicahWilder I FOUND JESUS ON THE MISSION FIELD  

   We are grateful to be here where Adams Road and we are from Florida. So we are a long way from home or from the other coast. As a Ministry, we've been touring the country for about six years and this is actually our first time in the state of California. So we praise God.

   We have received a very warm welcome from the body here so we appreciate it. My name is Micah and I am privileged and honored to be able to share what God has done in my life and how he transformed me from a very religious man to a trophy of His grace. I grew up in the state of Indiana in a very strong and faithful religious home where I was taught that it was through my works and my religious acts that I could make myself right with God. Paul writes to the Romans in Romans 10. He says that they had a zeal for God referring to the Jews but not according to knowledge and that they were ignorant of the righteousness of God and that they sought to establish their own.

   That describes me as a young man. I did not believe that God gave me His love freely and I did not believe that I was saved by grace as a free gift. I believe that I had to earn my way into God's love and prove myself to God and show Him that I was worthy enough to be saved. I was very much like Saul before he became Paul. I was a very zealous religious young man. In Galatians, Paul says that he was advancing in Judaism beyond many people his own age how extremely zealous was he for the traditions of his father's and that was very much the type of young man that I was. When I was a teenager, we picked up and left the state of Indiana move right to the heart of Mormonism to Alpine Utah, which is a city that is no exaggeration about 99% Mormon. My mom was actually a professor at Brigham Young University. If you guys are familiar with BYU, it's a private Mormon school in Utah. This demonstrated the type of zeal that our family had for this religion. So I graduated from high school and I went for a semester to BYU and when I turned 19, I did what's customary in the Mormon Church and that's to go on a two-year mission trip. Have you guys seen the Mormon missionaries raise your hand? Don't be shy. Okay, we wore white shirts, name tags, ties. I'm sure you've seen them riding their bicycles and they might have even knocked on your doors. You might have even spoken with them. Well, that's tradition in the Mormon church because you want to go out and convert people because we were taught from the time that we were children that there was no salvation outside of the Mormon church, and the only way to be saved was in and through the religious acts and works and ordinances that were provided through that particular religion. We were not taught about the sufficiency of the blood of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins.  

     When I was 19, as you can see that I went into the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, and went on my two-year mission trip. I actually was sent to Orlando, Florida, and what you may or may not know is that Orlando is a very Evangelical and bible-based area. I didn't understand this at the time. So I was a little naive as a young Mormon missionary, but I was convinced that I was just going to get to Orlando and convert everybody. I was going to be the greatest missionary ever. I got there and I was being very zealous and trying to convert people into my faith and riding my bicycle and knocking on doors. I've been there for a few months and I got a little what you might say overzealous in my attempt to convert others because I actually attempted to convert a Baptist Minister and his whole congregation to the Mormon Church. I was unsuccessful, but it did open it an opportunity for God to begin an amazing work in my life. As I sat down with this Baptist minister to share with him the Mormon gospel, it opened up an opportunity for God to speak through this man and to share the true gospel with me for the first time in my life and that's what happened. As I sat down with this Baptist minister after presenting the Mormon gospel and telling him that there were works and ordinances and commandments that had to be followed in order to be made right with God. His response was the gospel of Jesus Christ which was the only way to be made right with God. It was through Jesus Christ and through the blood that he shed on the cross of Calvary. Like I say in Titus Chapter 3, "The one that goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared." He saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness but according to His own mercy. This was the love of God that I did not know. It was a love of God that I always wanted, but my god only loved me as far as I could prove myself to him. In Romans 5, "The God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners." Christ Jesus died for us, but that was the good news that even though we've all sinned and we've all fallen short of the glory of God that we are justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus and that's the good news that Jesus Christ paid the price. He paid the debt that I owed as a sinner and He made a way for me to be made right with God and then I can have peace with God by His blood on the cross. When he shared this with me, he also shared Ephesians 2:8-9. It says, "By Grace you have been saved through faith, that is not your own doing it is the gift of God not a result of works so that no one could boast." I did not understand the grace of God as of religious young man and this Pastor for the first time told me that salvation was a free gift Jesus Christ and paid the price for me on the cross. He was asking with open arms for me to lay my religiosity and my works and my sin at the foot of the cross and allow Him to take it, and that He had done the one work, the one act of righteousness that could bring justification of life to all men. My response to this Pastor was to completely and totally reject the gospel because I was a religious man and I was like Saul and I did not know the power of the message of the cross. It says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 for the message of cross of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved." It is the power of God and to me at that point in my life, it was foolishness. I ended up arguing with this Baptist Minister and contending for my faith, which was a faith of works and we ended up kind of getting into this confrontation. As I was leaving his office, I was extremely frustrated and even angry. This Pastor stopped me and he said Elder Wilder, “I challenge you to go home and to read the Bible as a child and I promise you that if you will do that the God will change your life and you will open your eyes and see this for the first time in your life.” You will discover the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. That's the seed that was planted in my heart as a young Mormon missionary of 19 years old and started to change my life because I took that Baptist ministers challenge and I started to read the word of God as a child for the first time of my life. I started to pour over the pages of the New Testament and every day that I did, God washed me with the water of His word and consumed me with this amazing love. I didn’t know that my religion could never offer me this. He availed to me His grace in a way that I had never before seen. In the Book of Romans Chapter 8 it says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ," and then Paul goes on to say that I'm sure that nothing else in all creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. This was a love that I did not know. It says in 1 John that His love was manifest in Jesus Christ and that God sent His only son into the world so that we might live through Him. This is love, not that we have loved God, but that God loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. So as a Mormon missionary for about 18 straight months, I read the New Testament and God slowly changed my heart. It was not any testimony that happened overnight. It was certainly wasn't one verse or chapter even one book. It was 18 months of pouring over the word of God, and God slowly transforming me and showed me what Jesus Christ had done and like He says in the book of Colossians Chapter 2, "Jesus Christ cancelled the record of my sin debt that stood against me.” This was set aside and was nailed to the cross. Jesus paid the price and all I had to do is accept Him by faith. In Ephesians 1:7 it says that, "In Him, we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of our trespasses according to His riches and His grace. I came to understand the cleansing and amazing power the blood of Jesus. Now, that He cleansed me of my sins and brought forgiveness to me for the first time in my life. It wasn't because of who I was, but what He had done for me. It was who He was that Jesus saved me. Jesus was the sacrificial offering for my sins to be my substitute on the cross and to satisfy the demands of God's law that stood against me. He took it from me and all my work was as filthy rags to God; because I was not accepting Jesus Christ alone by faith.

   I got to the point with only three weeks left of my two-year mission trip for the Mormon Church that I actually became a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. All praise and glory and honor to God because I can tell you I was not looking to walk away from my religion, but God pursued my heart relentlessly until I just had to give up. I was so broken in my sin that realized that Jesus was the only thing that can heal me of my sin.

   And now, found myself in a very difficult predicament because I'm a born-again Christian and a Mormon missionary and it doesn't work that way.  Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 5, “If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come.” I was a new creation, and I had to change. I could not hide that. I remember just praying to God saying, "Well, what am I supposed to do now? Who do I tell? How do I come forward with this to my family, my friends, and my religion?" The door was opened for me, and it was very terrifying. I was in the mission system for about three more weeks before going home. You have this opportunity where you're supposed to stand in front of your missionary peers and your leadership and share your testimony of what you've learned during the course to your mission trip. Everybody always knows where this is going. I remember it was my turn to get up and share what my testimony was and I remember standing at the pulpit in this Mormon chapel, and trembling with fear, but Paul says in Philippians 4, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." By the power of God and by His grace, I was able to share a very simple testimony. Joseph sitting back here to my left was one of the Mormon missionaries who is sitting in the audience at the time that I share this testimony. So you might be able to guess what happened to him. Praise God. I got up there and my testimony was simply. During the course of mission trip, I found that Jesus Christ was all that I needed.

   His grace was sufficient for my eternal life. I knew for the first time in my life that I was saved not because of my works but because of the free gift of Grace that he was offering me. When I share that there was a very awkward hush over the audience, and two days after I publicly share that testimony I received a phone call from my Mormon leadership and they said that they wanted to have a chat with me. I very quickly realized why they wanted to sit down and talk with me. I can of course laugh and smile about it now, but this is probably the single most terrifying moment of my entire life.

   The world no longer had a hold on me. My mom was a tenured professor at BYU. My dad was a high priest of Mormonism. I had two older brothers that were Mormon missionaries. I had a girlfriend who was Mormon. I had a scholarship to BYU. I mean, this was my life. This was everything that I wanted to be and God called me out of that cult into relationship with Him. When Jesus says, “That what does a profit man to gain the whole world and lose His soul.” Mormonism had the whole world to offer me. I knew that I did not have salvation security through my religion. I can only have that through faith in Jesus Christ. Before I had to go into this meeting, I remember just pleading with God to give me strength and grace and help me.  I was reading the Bible and somehow by the grace of God, He led me to the Book of Matthew Chapter 19 verse 29, and it's Jesus responding to the Apostle Peter and “He says, “That anyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. And that was the word of God that he laid on my heart and I realize so quickly that if I lost everything in the world for the sake of gaining Christ was worth the cost; because I was getting something that far surpassed anything that the world could offer, and that was a relationship with my Lord and my Savior. Jesus says in John 6, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. Jesus Christ satisfied my thirst in a way that nothing else in the world could do. When Jesus was with this Samaritan woman, He said, “If you drink of this water, you will thirst again, but if you drink of the water that I give you, will never be thirsty,” and I had found that I'm not thirsty anymore because I have Jesus. He's all that I need.

   So I went into this meeting and sat face to face with the Mormon leadership and God just put words in my mouth. I told them that I didn’t need the Mormon Church or any religious organization. Nothing will be standing between me and God the Father. Paul says in 1Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who offered himself as a ransom for all, which the testimony is given at the proper time. I knew that Christ had bought me and paid for my salvation with His blood. The Mormon leader was furious and when I shared Jesus. He told me that I was filled with the spirit of the devil and deceived by Satan. They threatened me with ex-communication referred to me as an antichrist, which is the worst insult he gave me. This is true by the way. She said, “I sounded like a Baptist.”

   I don't know what that means. At that point, I was kicked off the Mormon mission team. I had to go back to Utah and face my family, my girlfriend who was at Brigham Young University during my mission trip. She and I had been corresponding through letters, and I was sharing the gospel with her as I was coming to know it by reading the word of God. God led her on an amazing journey, and she also came to know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

   She is now my wife, and we have three wonderful and amazing little boys. My older brother Matt is over at the piano and you might be able to guess what happened to him.

   I shared the love of God, the simple gospel, and invited my family to read the Bible as a child and allow God to do a work in their life as he had done in mine. I praise the Lord because as that seed was planted, there were many people that watered, but it was God and God alone that did the growth. My brothers, and my sister, as well as my parents, have all come into relationship with Jesus Christ. So my mom and dad are actually here tonight and God has done an amazing thing in their life.

Micah's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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