Vern’s life took a dramatic turn when he finally met people who preached the life of Christ – and lived it.
“I was crushed. I thought, ‘It is impossible he’s right!’” The 55-year-old man sitting across the table grinds a fist into his palm, and you can feel what he was feeling that day, some twenty years ago, when his pastor dashed all his hopes of victory over sin. It’s a spontaneous interview, but Vern Nicolette tells his story with almost no prompts or questions; his path to Brunstad Christian Church, where after years of searching he finally heard a gospel about coming to the life Jesus lived, is a vivid memory, and he is eager to share.
Sick of superficial Christianity
“I was seeking something. I was raised a Catholic, and in college I became an active Christian. I read my Bible on my own and together with a Bible study group on campus. We were a mixed bag. There were those who were Christians from childhood, and there were people like me, Catholics or others who were seeking for something we couldn’t find in other denominations.
“But by my undergraduate year, I was pretty sick of Christianity. The Christians weren’t fun to be with. It wasn’t because they were ‘under the law, boring Christians,’ but because there was such superficiality about them. ‘Everything is OK! God is so good!’ ‘Jesus did everything for us!’ No matter what question was asked, the answer always came back to that. This Christianity confused me. The lifestyle of the Christians was more ‘ungodly’ than the others at college. I couldn’t grasp that concept.
“It would take another ten years after college before God answered my questions about Christianity.
Compelled to read my Bible
“I spent the first seven years trying to process my spiritual experience in college. I visited churches. I couldn’t find any life there. I gave up going to church altogether, but I felt compelled to read my Bible. There was something there, even though I didn’t know what it was. As a young analytical engineer I was not willing to acknowledge that God was working in me. But He was.
“One day I opened my Bible and it was like heaven opened. My heart changed when I read what I read there. I had this deep sense that God was real. I started to believe God’s Word just as it was written and I got faith for many things. I read about victory over sin. But nobody else talked about it or preached it, and I began to doubt myself. ‘Is it really possible? It says you are called to a victorious life, but I can’t find anyone living this life, or who even has faith for it!’ Everywhere I looked it was the same stuff: forgiveness for sins and not much more than that – nothing about the life in God’s Word.
“My pastor asked me to speak at a men’s weekend, and I spoke about victory over sin and about Joshua and Caleb taking the land. I described the ‘land’ as the stuff inside of me, my lusts, my honor seeking, and how we could overcome those things just like Joshua and Caleb took the land.
“The pastor stood up and said, ‘But Jesus did everything. It would be great if we could live that life, but we really can’t.’ I felt a crushing in my spirit. I thought, ‘It’s impossible he’s right!’ I had such a conviction. ‘It can’t be right, it just can’t be right!’ Everything was written so clearly in the Bible.
“Little did I know my life would soon take a huge turn. My questions would be answered.
I heard their preaching, saw their lives
“In 1993 I came into contact with Brunstad Christian Church. I heard their preaching and I saw their lives, and I became gripped, and incredibly excited!
“I met many people; some were in their twenties, I was 35. Even though they were younger than me, their lives spoke volumes; the purity, the goodness. Everything they preached lined up with God’s Word. They preached the life that was written about in the Bible, they had faith for it, and there were results – fantastic results!
“Jesus said you will know a tree by it’s fruit, and I said to myself, ‘OK, the fruit here is far better than anything I have ever seen, so I am staying in this church until I find a tree with better fruit, if such a tree exists.’ I haven’t found anything that even comes close!”
Vern Nicolette laughs and there is a radiance coming from his eyes. The 55-year-old has become an incredibly happy man. After twenty years in Brunstad Christian Church, he can say:
“The most important message they preach is that everyone can come to the life that Jesus lived here, the life that is written about in the Bible. They don’t just talk about it; they live it. The promises in the Bible – they are all true. Victory over sin is the way to that life, and that life is for you!”