Know Christ for yourself, youth minister urges
The goal of Christian life is to know Christ for oneself and aspire to be like Him. The same is true for Lanzford Howell who, since 1990, has forged a relationship with the living and true Christ which he continues to nurture to this day. Howell said he always felt the need to be a servant of the Lord, and try as he might, he could not deny the Lord's prompting which eventually led him to surrender to Christ while still a child.
"I still vividly remember the Sunday morning, as a very small child, when I went to church and met the pastor on the outside and told him that I want to be a follower of Christ," he said.
Howell explained to Family & Religion that the initial stages of his new-found faith in Christ was based on what he was taught and his convictions about those teachings.
"There came the point in this walk when I felt a greater need to have a more profound experience and a greater encounter with God. I remembered calling and expressing to someone that I am at a point in my life where I needed to know God for myself and not based on what others had to say about Him," he said.
Little did he know that Christ would manifest Himself to him when he least expected it. It was during one of his regular morning family devotions that Howell had a rather unusual experience that changed his entire Christian outlook, conviction of Christ.
"It happened while prayer was in progress and my thoughts were on the activities planned for the day. I suddenly had an encounter where, without my doing, my mouth opened and the words 'the Lord has called me, I have to go' came out, which was repeated a few times, and then these words 'here am I, Jesus' came after," he recounted.
CHRIST AT THE HELM
Though a bit frightened, his first impression was that it was a dream.
"I was in awe at the experience, especially upon realising that this was not a dream, as I had first thought. My relationship with Christ changed and since that day I have been experiencing Christ in a more profound way."
Currently serving as the Youth Minister and Christian Education Director at the Christiana Church of God, where he worships, Howell advises others, especially young people dealing with a myriad of issues, that the best way to handle life's challenges is to do so with Christ at the helm of your life.
"When you cultivate a personal relationship with Him, He will teach you how to trust Him to take care of your needs and always remember that no one that trusts in the Lord shall be ashamed. Our beginning is not the determining factor in what will constitute our future. If we are willing to trust God with our lives, He is able to mold us and make something beautiful out of us," he concluded.