Scott D. Livingston

Scott Livingston   My name is Scott D. Livingston, and I serve as the Director of Economic Development for League City. I am responsible for helping to achieve economic diversification by strategically implementing economic diversification by strategically implementing the City's economic development plan including attracting new businesses, business retention and expansion, and downtown revitalization efforts. I was also responsible for attracting more than $4.3 billion in new investments, 30 industrial and non- industrial projects, and 600 new jobs as the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of LaPorte. I also facilitated the development of LaPorte's Town Center.

   I would like to share these verses tonight. So for example, Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, I recognized my sinfulness." Romans 6:23 says, "The wages of sin are death, but the free gift of God's eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." I memorized that verse. I recognized that the free gift to salvation is in God's hands. I just have to ask for it. Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it by grace, we have been saved through faith. And it's not a result of our works; it's a result of God's grace." That's Ephesians 2:8-9. John 3:16, the classic, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son." Again, now we're talking about redemption. Remember, I talked about some themes. God is in hot pursuit of His creation, including each and every one of us. And of course, Romans 10:9-10, says, "If we confess with our mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we'll be saved."

   So at a young age, I memorized the scriptures, and they came to life in my heart. And I think what happened is that the prayers that my mom used to pray and the lessons from my Sunday school teachers, and I'm talking about being a squirrelly young kid sitting in class, and I remember my Sunday school teachers trying to do everything they could to try to keep us still and keep us quiet. Well, I'll tell you what, a lot of the things they taught, sunk in. Maybe they don't realize that but it changed my life. So for those of you who are in ministry, and those of you who are teaching Sunday school class, keep staying on top of it because those kids are hearing the things that you're teaching. So, after I accepted Christ as my Savior, I realized that little by little, I overcame. It wasn't immediate, but little by little I overcame this fear of death because I realized that I would live again for all eternity.

   This life is just a dress rehearsal, and I will live again, and I'll live abundantly. And then, the fear of darkness went away as well because I realized that to God, darkness is as light to him. "There is no darkness to God," says on Psalms 1:39. I had fear of the unknown. I think that took the longest to overcome, but there are some steps that I took. I'll share those in a second. But it says in Psalms 1:39 that "The orders are steps, and He knows everything that's going to happen to us even before it happens." Also says in Jeremiah 29:11, "That He's given us a future and a hope." And it says in Psalms 37, "The orders, the steps of a righteous man." So, on and off, and particularly up until about the time I was 21, I grew and learn more and more and more how not to be fearful of the unknown.

   And I would say that I probably peaked out around the age of 28, where I really grew in my faith and realized that God had this and I just need to relax and let Him fill me with this Holy Spirit, and do everything He wanted to do in and through me. But on my journey, after I accepted Christ as my Savior, again, that started the process of not being fearful of death, darkness, and the unknown. Part of that journey is when I was twelve years of age. I remember being in my grandparent’s property up in Northeast Texas, and I would take the Bible up and on top of the hill, and I watched the sunset. And I used to read Psalms 102. And I won't read the whole thing to you tonight. But basically, there are selected portions of that song, that talk about that the heavens will perish, but God will remain. And I remember standing on the top of that hill watching the sunset, and every season that I go to the top of that hill, whether it was spring, summer, fall, or winter, I would recognize as a 12-year old that the seasons would change, I would get older.

   But the earth was still there, God was still there and I could realize, I think the Holy Spirit was telling me, "Hey, I'm going to be 85 years old one day. I'll still be on top of this hill watching the seasons change. I'll be getting older, but this earth is still going to be here." And at the age of 12, I felt like the Holy Spirit said, again, this life is a dress rehearsal. What we're doing on this earth, what we're accomplishing has the benefit of what it's going to do for eternity. But I shouldn't get all hung up on what little I accomplish in this life. Because the things in this life are going to pass away, but the things that I do in this life will last forever. The Bible says in Second Corinthians chapter 4, verses 16-18 that the things of this life are temporary. But I learned those things at the age of twelve through the Holy Spirit.

   When I was in college, I had the benefit of being involved in the navigators, and I learned a lot of things. One of the most important things I learned is Matthew 6:33. It says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will be added to you." And then in terms of priority, I learned to put God first and everything. I also learned the importance of Mark 8:34-38. And I'm just going to summarize, but it basically says, "To put God first. Because if we're ashamed of God, that He'll be ashamed of us. And if we gain our life, we could lose our life. But if we forfeit our lives and sacrifice ourselves for God and put Him first, then He will reward us, He'll take care of us, not only in this life but the next life." So again, that's a crude summation, but you can look it up. Mark 8:34-38. Also, when I was in college, I had the God-driven opportunity for me to work with a ministry called a Christian Ministry in the National Parks.

   It's an interdenominational ministry that I was very privileged to be a part of. And it just so happens, I was in Yellowstone National Park for a couple of summers. But the idea is that it took a step of faith. So I was in the Student Center and I was saying, "Okay, God, what do you want me to do for my summer or fall in my sophomore year?" And I was walking down a hallway, and I saw someone with a little table set up. And it basically was a table that had a picture of a mountain and across. And, I thought, "Man, that's what I'm going to do." And so, I got involved with that ministry. I learned so many things, stepping out on faith, working with other people, learning to pray, and allow the Holy Spirit to move and allow the Holy Spirit to put teams together. And I saw a guy do all kinds of fantastic things that summer. Just one little quick story, I remember running out of gas. And I thought, "Well, I'm going to get all the way Yellowstone Lodge, I don't know how I'm going to get back to the fishing bridge. But I'm not going to worry about it. God's told me to go out for her to Yellowstone Lodge."

   There was a guy who I would say was backslidden. I think he would say is backslidden but he gave me $20 in cash because the Holy Spirit told him to give me money because I needed it for something. And so, God knows how to take care of His people. That was just one little example of that experience in Yellowstone. But it is through that group that I started to understand more and more about the Holy Spirit and about tongues. And that was during my time in life where I had my first experience to speak in tongues. And I was a little bit thrown off by it, because people said, "Okay, now all you have to do is practice." Well, I thought, well, that's kind of weird. If it's up by and driven by the Holy Spirit, why do I need to practice it? So I didn't practice it. But that was my first experience in speaking tongues and I've learned a lot since that time. Once I left college, there was a verse that really stuck to me at Psalms 37. And it basically says that, it talks about delight yourself in the Lord and He'll give you the desires of your heart. That was a very important verse.

   Also in Psalms 34, it says that "The young lions suffer, but they lack no good thing and those who seek the Lord." That's in Psalms 34. And I use that verse, if you will, to find my wife. And that was a huge blessing in my life at Psalms 34. One of the things my wife and I had an opportunity to do is to serve overseas in a developing country. We went on two different occasions. We were there for 5 years in total. And a verse that God gave us before we went overseas for the first time was found in Isaiah 41. And it says that "God has chosen us. He told us not to fear. He's with us. He will strengthen us. He will help us, and He will uphold us with His righteous right hand." And that gave us a lot of confidence. We were involved in community health education, small business development, and education. It was a really significant learning experience because we learned how to step out on faith. And remember, I used to have major problems with fear, death, darkness, and the unknown. A lot of unknown situations and that first trip to India, but I learned how to overcome them.

   When I came back, we got involved with teaching evangelism and doing evangelism and so forth in our church. And we learned about a tool called "Share Jesus" without fear. To make a long story short, you can look that up to "Share Jesus" without fear. It's a program. But one of the most important things I learned from that tool is the importance of being focused on the other person, not myself. For example, not saying, "Oh, I'm going to go do x, y, and z and push it onto somebody." The idea is okay, it's like peeling back the layers of an onion. It's like having a conversation with someone and then using what they say or using situations around you to drive the conversation to the point where you can say, "Hey, are you interested in spiritual things?" Or, "Hey, listen, hey, I went to that church over there, and this is what I learned. Are you interested in spiritual things?" Maybe there's a funeral. Hey, I used to be fearful of death but once I accept Christ as My Savior and I understood that I would live again, I'm no longer fearful of death. Are you fearful of death?

   So the idea of peeling back layers of onion was important. The idea of being other person-focused was important. And then the idea of putting me on that hot seat before I ask them a similarly related question revolutionized the way I look at evangelism. And then use that to go out into the marketplace, go out to county fairs, and then use that same model and see lots of people coming to faith in Christ. My wife and I, after our first experience in India, came back to the United States. I got involved in economic development and community development. And then, late in 2008 and 2009, we went back to India. And one of the things that God put on our heart, it was Habakkuk 2:14, where it basically says, "For the knowledge of the Lord, and the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the entire Earth." It was a promise, then, and it's a promise now. And one of the things that we did, we were really fortunate. We had nine types of community development projects going on in India. I went over there as a businessman. However, in order to build relationships overseas, we realized that it takes time to build relationships, and people would say, "Hey, come to our home, come to our wedding, and come to this festival." And we would do it. And we realized that it was important to have those life-to-life moments if you will so that we could also do business.

   So we did business, but we also did community development, because we go to these communities, and people say, "Where are you from? What are you?" In other words, they want to know how we fit into things. Are we a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Hindu, an atheist? They want to know how we fit into the society. And then they'd say, "Why are you here?" And then we'd say, "We were doing business." And anyway, they saw us as rich white businessmen who had money, discretionary money. We didn't have much, but we told them what little we have, we'll share with you. And we did. And we invested it nine types of community development projects. Animal husbandry, organic farming, orphanages, schools, and God blessed it. And one of the things that God did is that through those projects, again, people would say, "Why are you here?" And we would always have an opportunity to share why we were overseas in that country and we would tell the people that we love them. They'd want to know whether or not we're Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or animist. We tell them, we're Christian. They'd say why, and they would just pull it out of us.

   They want to know who we are and why we were a Christian. And before you know, we have an opportunity to explain to people why we accepted Christ as our Savior. There were some people who chose to accept Christ, some that did not. But we found fantastic opportunities to share the gospel because people want to know about Jesus. A couple of stories about our experience overseas, I remember that some friends and I were in a village, and it was on a holy day. It happened to be a Muslim holy day. And we were there on the day that they sacrificed a ram. And we were there and they surrounded us. And, I guess some people felt sorry for us as being foreigners and they pulled us into their house. It was like one of these Old Testament or New Testament stories where angels pull you to safety and come to find out these were people with peace, and they had for understand [?] their home before, but we spent the entire afternoon talking to them and learning about their lives and sharing our lives and sharing the gospel.

   But that was an example of how God provided for us when we stepped out in faith. On another similar type of experience, we were in a village, and, they were having a similar festival. And on this festival, they are sacrificing rams. And they said, "Well, here's our sacrifice. Where's your sacrifice?" And that really kind of threw me off, but they wanted to know, "Okay, you Christians, how come you guys don't sacrifice? You're not following the rules." Well, they're Muslims. And so they had a sacrifice. Of course, they do it every year and they basically, if you will ask for forgiveness. They atone for the sins for themselves and for everyone in their family for that year. And they said, "Where's your sacrifice?" And I guess they thought they would throw me off and I wasn't expecting the question because I was there as a guest. But I thought to myself, I said, "Well, the reason we don't sacrifice animals is because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for all the time. And once you do something perfectly, you don't do it again." And it says that in Hebrews chapter 10, that "Jesus was our perfect sacrifice."

   And I told them that. He was the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. One and done. He did it and we stopped doing it ever since. But by faith, we looked back at the sacrifice that Jesus made. He sat down at the right hand of God after He rose from the dead and descended, and its finished work. And so now by faith, we're saved not by killing goats, and so forth. And it's not by our worth; it's about looking to faith what Jesus has already finished. So again, that was an example where they wanted to know something about Christians, and they pulled it out of us. It was a great opportunity to share and that was the Holy Spirit working in and through us because we're available. We were available.

   One of the things that sadly happened, this was in late 2012, is that we were being used by God in a powerful way. We saw God moving in hundreds of communities. Lots of people were coming to the Lord. Lots of people were interested, they were very interested in the community development projects, but they're also interested in the Gospel that they had never heard before. And because of this, people getting saved, people were getting healed; people were being delivered, people being baptized. And I think that caused some issues, particularly in the spiritual realm. And it was interesting to note that we were attacked and betrayed not physically but by many of the same people on our same team. So what that meant is, we ended up being sent home and coming home abruptly and had to leave everything overseas. So that was something that we found to be earth-shattering. In fact, I've heard people say, it's almost like losing a child. And so I don't in any way, shape or form mean to decrease or minimize what it means to lose a child. But for us, it was the most powerful sense of loss that we have ever experienced. That was in late 2012. That was nine years ago. When we came home, we were shattered. And we say, "God, what are we supposed to do?" We ended up going to an economic development conference in the capital and we thought we needed to be there.

   We met a prophet. He was an economic developer from South Texas. He was trying to figure out what God wanted to do about economic development. But he knew that God wanted him to go to that conference for several reasons, one of which he came to find out was to meet us. And he encouraged us, he blessed us, he told us, I understand what you've been through, but I can see what God has for you. He encouraged us, he blessed us, he says, "You're exactly where you're supposed to be. Don't worry about it." We found that very encouraging. Something else during that period, around 2012 to 2013, there was a song written and performed by Chris Tomlin called, 'Here for You'. You guys can look it up on the internet and what that song means to me is the gifting and the callings of God are irrevocable. The idea is to grow where you're planted. Do what God has put in your DNA to do spiritually, and continue to let God live in you and work through you.

   That was the message that God gave us years ago, through that song. It was a powerful song. It encouraged us. And it meant again, that the gifts of God are irrevocable. And we just need to do what God told us to do. Let God do what He's designed us to do and let God continue to work in and through us. After that, we end up getting involved in League City, we moved to League City, got involved with church in League City called City Mark. I'm not trying to promote it, but, if you want to understand a little bit about how I think and so forth at city mark. Online, and it's a church. And the reason I mentioned it is that they believe that we always need to put people first, not above the Bible. But the idea is, we need to always have a gracious, redemptive attitude toward people because that's the attitude that God has toward people. It's a very gracious, redemptive-driven church. We've seen hundreds of salvations of baptisms in the last year alone. And I've learned a lot through that church and it's exciting to be a part of a church that is that gracious toward people and has that exciting Holy Spirit vibe about tongues.

   Recently, I understood more about tongues I've ever understood before. Douglas Raine is my mentor and I called him up and I said, "Look, we got a new pastor over at City Mark." And he's bringing in some new ideas at least new to me. Help me out. How do I reconcile? I've been struggling with tongues ever since I was in college. I didn't quite understand how it all fit. I talked to Douglas Raine. And of course, to me, it was complicated. To him, it's very simple. And that's what I love about Douglas Raine. Anyways, he said, "Look, saying Jesus loves me, and then start speaking in tongues with Jesus loves me." And the reason that's such an important thing is this, when I grew up as a Southern Baptist, the idea of speaking in tongues almost seems like a presumptuous sin. It almost seems like we're forcing something. And the idea is, "Well, the Holy Spirit is supposed to be doing something that we just let them do it."

   But one of the things our pastor said is, "No, wait a minute. Anything that God ever did required us to act first." Like when Moses split the Red Sea, he had to take a step first. God told him, but he had to act in the physical first. And so I think speaking in tongues, at least for me is the same way. We can sit here like this all day long waiting for the Holy Spirit to bubble up. But in my experience, I had to start moving my tongues and speaking in tongues, and trusting that that was God doing it through me. Now, when I thought back to my college experience, I thought, "Well, this is just gibberish. I'm just making it up. It's the same old language." Well, one of the things I noticed when I started speaking in tongues when I'm saying Jesus loves me is it didn't sound the same way. And I thought, "Oh, wow, this is neat. This is fun." So guess what? I sang a different song. And then the tongue sounded different.

   Then I sing a different song from my college years and not only did the tongue sound different, my spirit went nuts. I started crying. And I realized that this was a spiritual phenomenon. And I sing another song and had a different tongue experience. So I began to figure out that something is definitely going on behind this step forward, and start speaking in tongues and agree with what the Holy Spirit wanted to do in me. If I have a few more minutes. I see it 7:30. I like to go for about another 5 minutes if I may.

Man 1: Take your time, brother. You got another 5, 10 minutes easy.

Scott: Perfect. Okay, great. So as I'm growing in my faith walk, I want to tell a couple of stories to you guys. And I think it'll mean something to someone, okay? This happened over the last few weeks. I donated blood for the first time. I'm a weenie when it comes to needles, okay? Now I got over shots because when I served overseas, I had to get lots of shots. But I'm still weenie when it comes to drawing blood. I hate that. Anyways, I feel like God told me just suck it up and get over it. And I wanted to find out if I had antibodies. So I went in. Okay, I went in, and they prick my finger, they squeeze my finger. I thought I was going to faint. They told me, "You need to go eat and come back." They said, "Fill out the survey on your phone." And so they sent me home. When I went home, I thought, "Man, I don't know if I've got the courage to do that." So I went to go look for my phone and I said, "Okay, I'm going to fill out that survey. And let me see if I can handle it." Guess what? I couldn't find my phone.

   And I thought that was interesting. I went back to work, couldn't find my phone. Guess where I found my phone? I found it. It's the same place they're squeezing blood out of my finger. And so, that was God's way of telling me, "You need to complete this." And I've noticed that in my life. A lot of times God will lead me to the point and keep me accountable until I finished what He's challenged me to do. Here is another story. I was up in East Texas. This was back in spring break. My wife and I saw something at a little shop. It was something that she wanted, and the store was closed. And so because it was in the window, we could see it but we couldn't get in. So for weeks, I thought, "Man, I need to go back and get it. You go back and get it." But it's five hours away. I called the shop owner. They were closed. Call them again, come to find out his son had died. So he said, "Call us back in a few weeks." So I did. I call them back in a few weeks. I couldn't get hold of them. And I thought, "You know what? I got one day to go up there." And so I called them the day before. I found them on the internet, found his mobile phone, and call them. He was shocked to hear from me.

   And I said, "I got one day to come up there. You're going to be open." He says, "Yes." And guess what? It's the same day. Talk about divine appointment. Anyways, God said, "You need to take them flowers." And I was like, "Why? Why do I need to give a stranger flowers?" I took flowers, whatever. I'm not going to ask. So I called the flower shop. They were beside themselves. I'd spend so much money on flowers. I showed up, bought the flowers, walked in, gave it to the man, his wife, they were beside themselves. I had to pick them up off the floor, figuratively speaking, they couldn't understand. I said, "Well, I know you lost your son. I know what it's like to have loss. I want to celebrate that you're opening and I just want to encourage you." And I wrote this on the card. I didn't tell it to them. And I told him that Jesus turns graves into gardens and He gives new life to everything He touches. God turns graves into gardens and He gives new life to everything He touches.

   They couldn't get over it. It was definitely a message from God. It's something they needed to hear, but it's something I needed to hear also. So that was a fantastic message. Not only for me to hear, but for them to hear as well. I'd like to share an excerpt from a poem by C.T. Studd. And I think the name of the poem is called, 'Only One Life'. Maybe you guys have heard of this but there's an excerpt. It goes like this, "Only one life will soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last." Again, only one life is the name of the poem by C.T. Studd. And the course in the poem goes, "Only one life will soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last." I think that's an important poem.

   So I'm at the conclusion of my testimony and what I like to do is share a few verses with you, and challenge your response. Hebrews 9:27, says, "It's appointed on the man and a woman wants to die and after this comes a judgment." Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is debt but the free gifts of God's eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, He's already paid the price." John 14:6 says, "I'm the way, the truth, and the life. If you have seen me, you've seen the Father."

   Also in Mark chapter 2, "Jesus claimed to be equal with God because He said He has the power to forgive sin." And in Mark chapter 2, after He said He has the power to forgive sin, He proved it by healing the paralytic. And John chapter 10, verses 30, Jesus specifically said, "I'm the Father or one." And John 8 verses 24:58, Jesus said, repeatedly, "You're talking to the I am. And in Galatians 3, the Bible says that Christ redeemed us from the curse, and he became a curse for us. Also, in John 1:29, it says, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" He is and He was our perfect sacrifice. There is no other sacrifice that can equal to, or be greater than Jesus' sacrifice. No matter how many times we try to make a sacrifice, they'll never be good enough. Okay, surpass His sacrifice, because He is God who laid His life down for us.

   Also, Second Corinthians chapter 5, verses 14 and 15 say that because He died for us, we should live for Him. And then, finally, Romans 10, 9, and 10, that, "If we confess with our mouths, Jesus, Lord, and believe in our hearts, that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved." So the idea is God can do everything in and through us if we will accept Him as our Savior by faith. Allow Him to come into us, to fill us, and to work in and through us for His glory. We may be imperfect, we may need plan b, plan c, or plan d, but God will order our steps. And it says that the righteous man may fall seven times but he'll get up because God is the one that holds His hand. So He will accomplish anything and everything through us if we invite him into our hearts, accept him as our savior, accept Him as our Lord, and allow Him to work in and through us for His glory.

Man 1: Amen.

Scott: So thank you for the opportunity tonight to share my story.

Scott's Hearing His Voice Testimony

Click on PDF and set the printer to print both sides in color using landscape and fold.