For those of you who don’t know me, I am Bill Steinmetz. I am married to Amy and we have three children ages 14 to 22 as well as a 3yr old grandson….Amy and I have been members at Hope for almost 16 years.
My testimony is, I believe, pretty typical of someone who did not grow up “in the church”…I was saved @ age 16 and started on a faith walk. However, it was short-lived as I fell away during my college years and into my twenties. I did attend church on and off but I felt things in my life were going pretty well (for the most part). To me this meant I always had a good job, I worked a lot, and was able to buy the things I wanted. Overall, I thought I was leading and living a good, albeit pretty self-centered life…
Fast forward to 1996 when I met Amy. Although I was not really growing in my faith and pretty distant from God I felt meeting her was a blessing from Him. We were both recovering from failed marriages but beyond that we just seemed to have a real connection. It became obvious pretty quickly we were going to be married. That happened one year later and we started to grow our family. At this point, nothing about my faith walk was really different.
A couple of years went by, with no change, and then Amy saw an ad for VBS here at Hope. She signed our oldest, Vincent, up and through one of the daily parent handouts, she learned of another Hope ministry – called Hope for Moms…and that fall she started to regularly attend. And God started to really work in her life… and He blessed her in so many ways (she still maintains many friendships from that ministry). Through her, God started to work in my life as well…we started to attend Sunday service and became members six months later. And not long after that, I started to serve as an usher…
So the rest is history…I had fallen away but as He promises, God never lost sight of me, and through the prayers of others and my amazing wife, I got back on track….well, all of that is true…except the part about me getting back on track…truth be told, I was still a sideline Christian…I was attending church a little more regularly, praying a little more frequently, which isn’t really saying much, as my prayer life was non-existent for all of those years, I was serving a bit, and giving once in a while. My mind set about the giving was I at least wanted to make sure I was covering the cost of Amy and the kids involvement in Hope ministries. But I was not obedient at all… I was still the center of my life…I was full of pride…I was giving into temptations…chasing material things…my temper was flaring up with my children, and this is just the abbreviated version.
And there were some very obvious things that were starting to take their toll on our family…Vincent was starting to demonstrate significant behavior problems at home and at school. On top of that, Amy and I were becoming buried in debt. And then things got worse…Vincent’s behavior issues became out of our control. And that’s when I hit “rock bottom”. God tells us in Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” well, yeah! That’s pretty much what happened.
And as He had been all of the time, God was there… to pick up the pieces…and wrap His arms around me and to tell me He loves me. This time, it came in the form of my dear brother Jim Pavone, who at dinner one night, after we shared the latest in the Vincent saga, invited me to join him at Charlie Martella’s bible study…and because it is hard for me to say no to Jim Pavone, there I went. And from there God really went to work on me. He kept me in His word, He showed me the power of prayer, He revealed what the Gospel is truly about, and my life changed. I realized that no matter how broken I was, Jesus fixed all that at the cross. I just needed to accept that and live my life in response to His amazing mercy and grace.
And He continued to bless our family…revealing scripture about what kind of parents He wanted us to be and strengthening Amy and I in our parenting approach, but most importantly, as He promises us in Philippians 4:6, 7 bringing a peace that defied our understanding. And reminding us in Romans 8:28 “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”
He also put it on Amy and I’s heart to get serious about paying off our debt and working toward tithe. In Malachi 3:10 we read “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. ” We heard that verse during A sermon from Pastor Kirk where he also shared some Financial Peace principals that showed us the way to move forward…and things began to fall in place.
And then an attack from the evil one. The company I was working for was acquired and I was going to lose my job. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record. God continued to bless us. First blessing: despite the temptation to reduce our expenses to only the most critical including paying only the minimum payment on our credit card payments, we took a step of faith and continued to pay extra. Second blessing: I then received a completely unexpected severance check that basically wiped out all our credit card debt. This gave us our first opportunity to tithe! And then the Third blessing: I was offered a job that would assure I would have no interruption in employment in between. Yea, God!!!
Fast forward to today. I share all of that (with those that are still awake and listening) as the reason Amy and I are part of the Walk by Faith campaign. Although I tried, it really is hard to put into words the difference Hope has made in my marriage, in my family, and for me personally. I just wonder how many more lives can God impact through us @ Hope, and the new and expanded ministries that Pastor Kirk will share in just a moment as part of the 2020 Vision if we all just take a step of faith? I really don’t know where God is going to lead Amy and I or what revelation He has in mind, but it is because I have this incredible Hope in Him that I am ready for action. We are praying all of you will join us…
It’s never too late to make a commitment to the Hope 2020 Vision Campaign. Contact us today with any questions.