FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – “Seven years ago today, this very day, I was in court facing 15 years in prison,” Brandon Kiesling said. “And I stood before a judge who had every right to send me away without blinking an eye.”
Kiesling, a Master of Divinity student at Southwestern Seminary, shared his experience of grace, which God used to bring him to faith seven years ago, with friends of the seminary on April 5.
Kiesling used and sold drugs in high school, but since they did not affect his job performance or schoolwork, he dismissed their severity. However, his life soon tore apart when he encountered methamphetamines and his first arrest came in 2003, his junior year. Another arrest came in November. With the bond set at $100,000, he sat in jail in disbelief, and he soon stood before a judge, expecting no mercy.
Kiesling saw a veiled example of what he could receive if he placed his faith in Christ through the judge’s behavior toward him on that spring day in 2004. The judge granted him a suspended imposition of sentence, allowing him a clean record if he cleaned up: “I was shown grace when I deserved judgment,” said Kiesling.
When Kiesling put his trust in Christ the following Sunday, he experienced true forgiveness from God without having to clean up his life first.
“I realized God had a plan for my life, and mine wasn’t working, so I got on board with His plan,” said Kiesling.
Kiesling received his call to ministry the following year. After earning his B.A. in Biblical Studies, he and his wife, Alicia, traveled from their home in Missouri to Fort Worth so Kiesling could attend seminary.
God has placed a fire in Kiesling for sharing his faith, granting him the opportunity to lead six people to Christ during the past year.
Catherine was one whom Kiesling and professor Matthew Queen met when they shared door-to-door around the seminary. She started out the conversation shouting from the other side of her door as the two men stood on her porch but the conversation ended in her enthusiastically accepting Christ.
“I got the opportunity to see God’s word transform a person right before my very eyes,” said Kiesling.
The Fish School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern enlisted Kiesling to serve as an evangelism team leader. In this role, he shares his faith on a weekly basis and mobilizes fellow students to join him.
Last fall, Southwestern Seminary students and faculty saw 127 people receive Christ through evangelism initiatives.
“The gospel is changing lives,” Kiesling says, “not only around this country, but on this very hill where we stand today.”