I was raised in a Methodist church. The largest Methodist church in my city with about a block of parking, a huge church. Where I’m from people often refer to it as the “Six Flags Over Jesus” church. I was baptized and confirmed here. My parents were married by the minister and had been official members of the church since it began. The more members the church had, the more it seemed to me to be full of people who sat in church and lifted their hands when they sang and really loved Jesus. But I quickly realized the only time they truly seemed to love God was here. Sunday morning and Sunday night during services. I saw them gossiping about other kids (which happens naturally when you’re in your pre-teens of course), but more than that I saw the “popular” kids really tormenting those of us who weren’t as popular. It got to where I, and others, never wanted to go to that church. I dreaded it – I pretended I was sick, or that I had too much homework Sunday night to go to Youth services. The more I encountered these “Christians” I assumed all Christians were like this – hypocrites. People were so rich in this church and yet would just pass the offering plate to the next person, not leaving anything. They didn’t want to donate their time or money to spreading the Word even in our own community. It always felt wrong to me, I always wanted to do more.
As I pulled away from the church, I pulled away from God. For several years I didn’t go to church, didn’t think about God, didn’t open my Bible. I prayed sometimes, “God please don’t let me fail this test” mostly. After I started college, I’m not sure what it was but I felt this pull to read the Bible. I did. I started to read it more and more, but there were also plenty of times that I fell away from it. I’ve continued reading it.
People sometimes talk about their moment – the moment they were saved. It’s a moment that they can recall their entire life, something they will never forget. I didn’t have that. I might have when I was a kid, but I’ve blocked out so much of my memory from being a child up through my two years in high school that I can’t remember it if it happened. For me it was a gradual realization that I am a Christian. I love God. I love doing His will, even though I struggle at it and fail. I’m so blessed to know that God will never leave me or forsake me. I’m so blessed to know and to experience His love now! I can’t tell you how excited I get when I see the Holy Spirit working in my life and working in others. It’s impossible for me to look at nature and not see God. The thought that this world was created by chance with energy and dark matter is ridiculous to me. I can’t see how people could fall for that! I don’t know why people don’t want to accept this wonderful loving Father who’s already sent His Son to die for you and for me. This God who created everything who sings and rejoices over every one of us!
I’ve turned away from my faith once in my life and it’s something I regret, but knowing that God has put my sins as far as the east is from the west let’s me know that this is the right thing. I will live eternally in Jesus. It’s hard to be a Christian; it’s hard to do the right thing. You can’t be popular with people and with God. It can’t happen! I just know that I live for Jesus. Jesus rescued me! I could shout it out from the rooftop! (I mean really, I could!)
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:28
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