Thomas Smith

As a young Cap­tain on the East coast of Flori­da, I spent most of my days out in the ocean char­ter fish­ing and div­ing. Even though my heart was far from God, I can look back and see how he was draw­ing me to Him. Each day on the ocean for many hours, I would line up the steeple and Cross of a large church against spe­cif­ic ocean­front con­do­mini­ums. These bear­ings pro­vid­ed loca­tions to under­wa­ter reefs and were used dai­ly to drop and pick up divers. We would drift hours each day along these reefs con­stant­ly check­ing our posi­tion with the tow­er­ing Cross. I had known about Jesus Christ as far back as I can remem­ber, even though He was still a stranger to me. That began to change as my curios­i­ty about this steeple drew me into the park­ing lot of Coral Ridge Church for a clos­er look.

One Sun­day evening, the wind kicked up and I reluc­tant­ly decid­ed to can­cel my after­noon char­ter. On my way home, a Sun­day evening ser­vice was just begin­ning at the church that I had used as a land­mark. Out of curios­i­ty, I sat down in the back of the church in shorts, t shirt, and san­dals. As I leaned back in my seat I noticed and was struck by a large Cross behind the altar; this Cross was with­out Christ on it.

Why is the Cross emp­ty? It should have a fig­ure of Christ nailed to the cross. As I was think­ing, sud­den­ly, Dr. D James Kennedy stepped up to the podi­um point­ed to the cross and spoke the words. ”Have you ever won­dered why Christ is not on this Cross? You can imag­ine how quick­ly I sat up and lis­tened to every word of the gospel that evening!

God used some faith­ful peo­ple to fol­low up with me again and again. I thank the Lord for those who are per­sis­tent and do not give up eas­i­ly.

After five years of dat­ing, Lin­da and I both gave our hearts to the Lord and I mar­ried the most amaz­ing per­son that I have ever known. We began our mar­riage togeth­er to raise a fam­i­ly in the nur­ture and admo­ni­tion of the Lord. God has blessed us with 2 sons, Bri­an and Lee, and 4 daugh­ters; Kel­ly, Kait­lyn, Whit­ney, and Susan­na.

We have been mem­bers of Grace Bible Church for the past 15 years. We have been blessed to be a part of this body of believ­ers. We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to learn and serve as we grow in our rela­tion­ship with the Lord.

My prayer for us as a church is that we will pro­tect and share the true gospel with those around us.

Sola Scrip­to­ria, “Scrip­ture alone” God’s inspired word to us is com­plete in its suf­fi­cien­cy and author­i­ty. Sal­va­tion is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (our foun­da­tion). When we place our faith in Christ then God’s glo­ry alone becomes our pur­pose and ful­fill­ment.