God’s grace in the life of Lance Skifter (“Skip”)

April 11, 2008

Lance Skifter is no longer at Bethel Grace, but God used our church significantly in his life, and used him to bless us greatly too… Most of us know him affectionately as “Skip” or “Skipper”. Many of his good friends are here, so he and his wife still visit from time to time… This is Lance’s testimony of God’s grace in his life:

“I was raised in a Christian home by godly parents. I attended church (at Bethel Grace since I was 8 years old) every Sunday and AWANA or Youth Group every Wednesday night. I went to Brethren Christian Elementary (in Long Beach) and Brethren Junior High School (in Paramount at that time). Although I attended church regularly, went to Christian school, could talk about all the Bible stories, and memorized many AWANA verses, my life never produced any good fruit (Matt. 7:17). 

 Throughout my high school years, I would go to church and act like the kids at church, then I would go to school and act like the kids at school. My main focus growing up was to be accepted by my friends. I guess you could say I became all things to all people, but in the wrong way.

 The evening of my high school graduation I took my first drink of alcohol. That was the start of a downhill slide that lasted nine years. In January 2001, I got married and by January 2002, we separated. My ex-wife announced that she was a lesbian. She moved out of our bedroom and into the spare room with her girlfriend. My drinking problem only escalated over the time of the marital problems and after the separation. The problem became so bad that I was drinking a case of beer every day (yes, every day!), and I was smoking a pack-and-a-half of cigarettes every day. My drinking caused me to lose my job and get evicted from my rental house in Riverside, CA. 

  My mom asked some family friends to pray for me and that family invited me to live with them until I got on my feet. As I drove on the 91 freeway to their house in Cypress, I rolled down the window and flipped God off, yelling “I’m not going to church! You’re not going to get me!” This was on a Thursday. That Saturday (no church, yet), I spent three hours face down on the floor in the bedroom crying, asking God to forgive my sins and rejection of Him for so long (1 John 1:9). I found my Bible and started reading at Matthew and did not quit until Galatians. The next day I went to Bethel Grace, and I have been going to church and serving faithfully since then. That was November 2002.

  Shortly after I came back to Bethel Grace, I moved in with Glen and Penny Rudy.  The Rudy’s were instrumental in my spiritual growth. Seeing their lives on a daily basis reflect their beliefs was a huge encouragement to me. Jeff Saltzmann was leading the college group Bible study when I came back and his teaching was a huge factor in my spiritual growth as well. When Jeff took over as Interim Pastor of Bethel Grace (February 2004) I was asked to teach the college group Bible study, a role I served in for the next two and a half years. What a blessing that was! Teaching on a weekly basis caused me to dig deeper and deeper into God’s Word and to grow to love Him more and more.  

 

  God has been so faithful to me and as I look back I can see Him working in my life even when I wasn’t acknowledging Him (2 Tim. 2:13). I am so thankful that He saw fit to choose me before the foundation of the Earth (Eph. 1). He has blessed my recent marriage (to Erin Jackson, February 3, 2007), and has used me in ministry for the past five years. The LORD has placed a desire in me to serve Him with my life, and I am so grateful that I can love Him because He loved me first (1 John 4:19).

 

  In August 2007 I moved to Simi Valley, CA to attend Eternity Bible College  and be trained for pastoral ministry. I’m also serving as youth pastor at Faith Christian Church (where my father-in-law, Glen Jackson, is senior pastor).

 

  My life is far from perfect but I am so blessed to serve a God who loves me despite my shortcomings. There are still hardships in life but they are so much easier to face and to get through when you know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” With an eternal perspective the light and momentary trials of this world are not burdensome at all. Let us fight the good fight and look forward to the day when we shall hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

 

For the King’s Service,

 

Lance Skifter (“Skip”)”           

 

 

You can find Lance and Erin’s blog in our Blogroll, or by clicking here.

 

 

 

Lance and Erin Skifter

 

Lance with his Best Men, Andrew Callaway (former BGBC Youth Pastor) and Glen Rudy (right)

 

The Ospreys (the single guys) – Bethel Grace Turkey Bowl, 2004

 

 

Lance baptizing Alex, a Junior Higher in his youth group, Spring 2008

       

For more testimonies of God’s grace, click here

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