Candlewood Church Staff Member Matt O’Malley Shares His Personal Faith Story
Stories are powerful and when you share the story of how God transformed your life, it can help transform other people’s lives and impact where they spend eternity. That’s why at Candlewood Church in Omaha, Nebraska, we encourage people to write out their personal faith story as a way to share their faith with others.
Jesus transformed Matt O’Malley’s life in a powerful way. Read his personal faith story below:
Matt’s Personal Faith Story
I grew up in Council Bluffs, IA in a family that loved me. I attended a private Catholic school, drove a black 98’ Mustang and was lucky to claim a few football championships before graduating high school. Life was good, but nothing far out of the ordinary.
Pulling into the parking lot on move-in day my freshman year of college was the when my life really began to change. I was on my own and finally responsible for myself – free to do what I wanted. High school was moderately tame in terms of having “fun”, and I was ready to cut loose in college. So, as I had many nights before, I was getting drunk in my dorm room after sundown with my friends. After all, that’s what college was supposed to be about. Little did I know that my choices would ultimately leave me empty, in need of something more than the world ever gave me.
During my first year on campus, I lived only a few dorms away from my RA and his roommates who, let’s just say, were very different. I had never met someone my age, or any age for that matter, who lived a life on fire for God the way these guys did. Their passion for people around them was contagious, and it caught my attention; but I was nowhere near ready to drastically change my lifestyle just yet. For me, this Jesus thing would have to wait.
Making a Choice
By the end of my first semester I had compromised in my personal and academic life more than I’d care to admit. I was skipping classes, selling pot and drinking more often. I was ashamed at who I was becoming so I felt compelled to make what seemed like major changes in semester # 2.
The first to go was smoking pot. That was easy. Then came the drinking. This was not so easy. With most of my friends, that’s all we’d do together is drink. Then, came partying all together. I knew it was time to get rid of ‘big sin’ in my life, but I was still nowhere near becoming a Christian – or so I thought.
Later in the second semester, I was invited again for what seemed to be the hundredth time to visit an outreach on campus that my RA and his roommates attended. After many ignored invitations the semester before, I finally decided to visit, just to appease their persistence. I had nothing to lose.
[This last bit is the best part]
That night, March 4th, 2009, I was in for a big surprise that would change my life. There was an older man who reached out his hand and introduced himself to me after the campus service had finished. At one point in our exchange, after talking for a few minutes, this man began sharing with me the message of the Gospel. I listened intently to every word he said and by the time our conversation ended I was shocked; I was cut to the core and humbled by this call to be Born Again. I knew God was speaking to me.
I had been to church hundreds of times, was educated in a Catholic school and had truly never heard this Gospel message as I did that night. What this man told me went something like this: For every humbled soul, a perfect man named Jesus died to pay our outstanding debt of sin we were unable to pay. Jesus came in order to become our substitute on the cross to defeat sin, once and for all, for those who put their faith and trust in him. For me, this clicked immediately, and I knew I needed to accept the Gospel. So, I did.
A New Life in Christ
Were there any fireworks that night? No. Did I look or feel different? No. But there was a change in my mind and heart! I decided to humble myself and allow Jesus to be Lord and to obey him in my life. I decided from that day on to walk in faith, trusting what God has for me and those around me. Ever since that campus service I’ve been able to experience what Jesus himself promised us:
“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Listen to this: God has given us ‘new life.’ But this life is only found in his Son Jesus. Not in ourselves. Thank you for choosing to read a simple tract – because I wrote this in hope that anyone who reads my short story might be changed with the good news of the Gospel as I have!
Connect with Candlewood Church
Today, Matt is on staff at Candlewood in the Omaha church location. Individuals on staff commit their time to support Candlewood ministries. They are given responsibilities in our effort to glorify God, serve the community and encourage believers.
If you have questions about Matt’s story or about starting a relationship with God, we’d love to talk more. Connect with us today at Candlewood Church Omaha. Please call us at 402.991.5152 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.