You are on page 1of 4

My Testimony by Dean Gavaris

I’m glad to have the opportunity to write and share my testimony with you.

I was born in 1951in Springfield, Massachusetts to second - generation Greek parents. I grew up
on Long Island. In 1971 when I volunteered at the Long Island Council of Churches I was a few
months shy of age 20. I had been at Hofstra University for a few months and was growing
frustrated with my social service major.

It seemed we learned a great deal about helping people but only within the specific guidelines of
the rules of the Nassau County Welfare Department. I wanted to help more.

When I passed through the basement stores at Roosevelt Field I noticed the Council of Churches
sign and walked in. Anne Lawther greeted me with a smile .I volunteered to help and was asked
to work on an Emergency Food project. We purchased and distributed non-perishable food to the
poor of Hempstead, NY.

I worked hard at helping but I felt frustrated at what was going on inside me. The anger and
confusion and lack of purpose wasn’t really helped by helping others, it was only masked for a
while. Helping made me feel better about life.

I remember one lady who came in from North Carolina. She was poor but happy. When I handed
her the bag of groceries she said ‘Praise the Lord!’ That seemed really strange and it angered me
inside. I was helping her but she was thanking God! She should have been thanking ME!

Anne talked to me about knowing Christ personally. I grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church
and I thought I knew God. Inside, though, I was miserable.

After the contract with Nassau County expired, I stopped going to Hofstra and took a job in bill
collection with a large bank. At Franklin National Bank I met a 7th Day Adventist who told me I
should be worshipping on Saturdays.

Anne simply had said I needed to trust Christ and be born again. She had given me a little
booklet explaining the ‘4 Spiritual Laws’ (God loves me, I’m a sinner, Christ died for my sins, I
need to repent and trust Christ). The first three I agreed with – I had never heard of the 4th one)

Attending church regularly didn’t change me inside. I was still the same on the inside no matter
how I looked on the outside.

One evening in the fall of 1972 I went to a movie at the theatre at Roosevelt Field. It was a
documentary called “Marjoe”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe /
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe_Gortner
Page two

It really upset me. All this Christian stuff seemed to be a con job. But why did Anne seem so
happy and at peace?

I went home late and opened the Bible I had bought. I turned to about the middle and read Psalm
121: I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the
LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you
will not slumber..”

I had considered suicide. A pair of scissors was also on my desk. I read the little booklet again
and thought I had nothing to lose by asking for God’s help. I prayed that simple prayer. I was so
tired I fell asleep. It was about 1:00 am.

The next day the clock radio went off playing a popular song that week – Johnny Nash’s “I Can
See Clearly Now”. I thought, ‘yes – I can see clearly now!’ I for the first time seemed unclouded.

I felt God had really changed me. It was Sunday so I walked from Westbury to Hempstead to a
small Baptist church near the Emergency Food Store on Jackson Street.

I arrived late and the preacher already was speaking. He pointed to the back door as I was
coming in. He said that if we come to Christ we need to have the old torn down and the new
would replace it. I listened intently.

A few months later, Anne invited me to Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in Malverne, NY. It
was there that I met Lorena and seven years later I asked her out. (Slow response type of guy)

In 1978 I enrolled at Nassau Community College and graduated in 1980 (at age 29) with a
business degree. Lorena and I married in 1980. Jeremy was adopted in 1986.

In 1980 as we prepared to marry, Lorena had asked me what I thought God wanted me to do for
the rest of my life. I thought of Bible School and so we traveled to NJ. After three years at
Northeastern Bible College I still had a desire to help the poor, but this time not so I could feel
better but so they could know the peace and purpose I had.

I got involved in directing a crisis center for pregnant women and have been at it since the mid-
1980’s. I was ordained in 1993.

Christian pregnancy ministry is just that – an opportunity to share the need to trust Christ with
those in need, and to bring them the truth about the life within them. I’m now in my late 60’s.
Jeremy is on his own. The pregnancy center has been flourishing for more than three decades.
Christ is still the center of my life. Real joy and peace is in my heart. Since my future is secure in
Christ, I can enjoy every day knowing I am making a difference.

So, that’s my story. I hope you too will trust Christ not only for eternal life but for the abundant
life He promised to His followers. (John 10:10)
Page three

What kept me from trusting Christ was my idea of who I was.

* I thought I wasn’t all that bad. (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans
3:23)

* I thought what I was doing was going to get me closer to God (“And all our righteous deeds
are like a filthy garment..” Isaiah 64:6).

* I thought I could earn favor with God (“For it is by grace you have been saved, through
faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can
boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9)

I never realized how much God loved me, and how much He desired for me to know Him
personally.

Trusting Christ personally changed my whole life on the inside. Now I have that smile too and it
isn’t phony.

May I respectfully share a message of hope with you?

God loves you and cares for you very much

Amidst a world of fear and anger, self and rebellion, joy and sorrow -you can have the joy and
peace of knowing Christ in a personal way, and being assured of heaven.

First, know that the God who made YOU, loves you very much ."I have loved you with an
everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Jeremiah 31:3. The Bible
says, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish, but have eternal life" John 3:16. Most of us have heard this before.

But did you know that ..God showed His love for us at the Cross: ‘But God demonstrates His
own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ Romans 5:8. So,
everyone is good and seeks after God? No. That’s why we need to personally trust Christ to take
away our sins and to allow us into heaven.

THE SCRIPTURES SAY: "There is not a single man who is righteous , there is not one who
understands, or who seeks for God. All men have turned away from God, they have all gone
wrong. No one is good, not even one." (Romans 3:10-12)

But can't good works assure me of eternal life? We may give to a charitable cause... or volunteer
to help others. These are important and good; yet they can't get us into heaven... they are no
solution to our problem of sin. They in no way give us the abundant life Jesus Christ wants us to
have.

WHY? Because... WE ARE ALL SINNERS BEFORE GOD: Romans 3:23 tells us
"All men have sinned and are far away from God's saving presence."
Page four

THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN IS SPIRITUAL DEATH: "For the wages of sin is


death (spiritual death), but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom.
6:23)

WE CANNOT SAVE OURSELVES: "For by grace have you been saved (from eternal death)
through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, that no
one should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9)

No one can climb his or her way to heaven. None of us are worthy of obtaining eternal life.

In John 3:3, we read about a very, very religious person named Nicodemus. Yet, Jesus said to
him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he can not see the kingdom of God."

Do you know how to be "born again"? By going to a particular church? Being baptized?
Good works? The Golden Rule? Just feeling sorry? NO!

By acknowledging your sin and rebellion to God, trusting in His finished work on the cross, and
asking Him personally to take over the control of your life, you can be assured that your sins are
forgiven..and that you have eternal life!

The Bible tells us.. "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that
He might bring us to God..." (I Peter 3:18)

The purpose of Christ's coming to earth was to give us the way to obtain eternal life, through
trust in Him."If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say
that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar." (I John 1:8-10) "He that believeth (trusts) not the
Son (as personal Savior) shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36)
Christ, the Good shepherd, also came "..in order that they (you and I) might have life, life in all
its fullness." (John 10:10)

IF YOU WERE TO DIE TONIGHT, WHERE WOULDYOU SPEND ETERNITY?

If you are unsure that you have eternal life, pray a prayer similar to this, and be sure!
You personally can know the peace and comfort of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
You no longer need to fear death and an eternity separated form a loving God.

“Lord, I confess I am a sinner. I recognize that I can do nothing to save


myself form an eternity in hell. Thank you for dying on the cross for my
sins. I now trust in you (Jesus Christ) to be my personal Savior and Lord
of my life, and hereby commit my life to you for all eternity.”

Thanks for listening. Let me know what you think. Email me: dean@gateway.org