Personal Testimony of Dr. Daniel Estes

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June 30, 2022 by

For Career Development for the English Major class (ENG-2020) in spring 2022, Dr. Kevin Heath asked students to form groups and choose an entrepreneurial project to aid the community, the campus, or the major. Four students collected testimonies from faculty and staff at Cedarville University to be included in a booklet intended to encourage faith conversations on campus and affirm Cedarville’s faith ideals to its broader audience (including alumni, parents, and incoming students).

 

Testimony Project: Dr. Daniel Estes

My very first Bible class on campus freshman year was Dr. Estes’ The Bible and the Gospel. During that class, he asked each of us how he could be praying for us at the beginning of the year. More than once during the semester, I got a morning email from Dr. Estes saying he’d prayed for me specifically for those requests and encouraging me with the truth of Scripture.

I was so blown away that Cedarville’s professors cared so much about us! Even in a Gen Ed class with several dozen students, Dr. Estes made daily time to pray for us and encourage us. He models intentional kindness, and it’s so cool to see how the Lord has led him to be who he is now. That’s a part of why I’m so excited to introduce Dr. Estes’ testimony to you.

What really encourages me about Dr. Estes’ testimony is that it shows how extraordinary every single conversion is. A lot of us growing up as Christians struggle with a feeling that we need to dramatize our testimonies to match larger-than-life stories we hear. It takes such a burden off us when we realize that the extraordinary part of any conversion isn’t us or our stories, but God’s love as He brings us from death to life!

Dr. Estes’ testimony (and his life) shows just how impactful of a witness a consistent, lifelong walk with God can be. I hope it blesses you like it has already blessed me! 

  –Rachel Rathbun

 

         For many years, I regretted that my testimony about coming to faith in Christ was undramatic compared to the thrilling conversion experiences other people related. I have come to realize, however, that every account of salvation tells of the miracle of God’s grace. In my case, I was blessed to be born into a godly home with parents who deeply loved the Lord and who taught me about Him from my earliest days. For our family, the Lord was not someone we visited once a week when we went to church, but He was involved in every facet of our lives every day. When I was 7 years old, the Lord took all the pieces I had heard and brought them together in my mind. I can remember one night after supper going up to my bedroom, kneeling beside my bed, and asking the Lord to forgive me of my sins and to come into my heart. 

         That was the beginning of my story of walking with God. Throughout the decades since then, the Lord has brought into my life a succession of godly people who have helped me to grow in my faith. I can point to many pastors, teachers, friends, classmates, and colleagues who encouraged me and inspired me to live in a Christ-honoring way, both by their exhortations and their examples. As I have made it a practice to read and study the Bible each day for my own spiritual nurture and for ministry to others, God has taken His truth and impressed it deeply in my life as He has formed me bit by bit into the man He wants me to become.

 

         The Lord’s path for me has been full of surprises, and one of those is how I came to Cedarville. During high school, several people encouraged me to prepare to be a pastor, and that seemed to be the direction the Lord had for me. After college and seminary, I served as an associate pastor for six years, and I would have been happy to continue there for my entire career. The Lord, however, had something else in mind for me. One day, when I was visiting the Cedarville campus, I was approached by the chairman of the Bible department, who strongly urged me to apply for a newly approved faculty position. Although by this time my roots were planted deeply in my pastoral ministry, I consented to interview at Cedarville. One of the requirements for faculty candidates was to teach a class, and when I completed that hour I knew this was what the Lord designed for me, for I had such great joy in communicating His truth to college students. Since then, I have enjoyed thirty-eight years at Cedarville, teaching the Bible to my undergraduate students, pastoring my students and my faculty colleagues, and researching and writing in Old Testament wisdom and the Psalms.

         For me, the essence of the Christian life is pictured in the frequent biblical metaphor of the godly walk. As one writer has noted, the godly walk is long obedience in a single direction. I have learned the delight of walking with God, as I stay on His path and at His pace rather than going off on my own way. I am also learning the discipline of walking before God, or under His gaze, as I seek to please Him in all I do. Each morning, I make the commitment of the psalmist my own commitment to the Lord: “Teach me your way, O Lord; I will walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name” (Ps. 86:11).

 

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