Nicholas Ellis- Keeping it Real
Green Pond, Manchester:
He grew up attending church regularly with members of his family, but somehow, he never saw the need to give his life to God. He found joy in a life of partying, drinking, and having numerous run-ins with women, but over time, it left a void that could only be filled by a true relationship with God.
"I did it all - drinking, smoking, partying. I loved women and I never resisted. Life was good. and in my mind, I was a real top 'shotta' - real big man. I was enjoying life, and without those things, I wasn't happy," began Nicholas Ellis.
He added, "Surprisingly, after years into this particular lifestyle, I had a longing to go back to church ... . I looked at people going to church and they seemed so different. they had this calming spirit, and I wanted that."
Ellis, who had made a vow at the age of 13 not to be baptised until the age of 20, realised the risk he had taken after making his step and gradually gaining a better understanding of God's Word.
"The deeds of good and bad became clearer to me and I wanted to do good. I never really got baptised until age 20, and it was after that that I saw that I had truly run a great risk because while I was out there in the world, there was no guarantee I would live to see the age. I could have lost out before getting the opportunity to make that step."
Four years into his Christian walk, Ellis believes his temptations have increased and a true fortifying of God's word is critical.
"This may sound funny, but when I got baptised, I actually thought temptation would have lost its power, but it actually increased. However, having come into knowledge, I realise that yielding to temptation becomes harder when you constantly pray and study the word of God. I have learnt to leave everything to God and allow him to help me not to turn some thoughts into actions."
Relying, too, on his church members for support, Ellis says his main struggle is establishing and maintaining a relationship that will not compromise his Christian beliefs.
"When I was in the world, I had no reservations, but now that I am in the church, I have to put thoughts and urges under the power of the Holy Spirit."
Singing his favourite song, Standing on the Promises of Christ, to ease the pressure of a hard day and reading Psalm 119 to remind him of God's love, Ellis states he has no regrets about his life decisions.
"I have no regrets about how I lived because it has taught me a lot and it propelled me to where I am today. And for those persons who are being daunted by the happenings of this world and thinking that God doesn't love them, just cast your cares upon Him through earnest prayer because he cares for you."