Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Journey: Part 3

God as Jesus

Why is it that the person and character of Jesus can be so much easier to relate to?

I can actually recall a specific moment where the cross and the death of Jesus made more sense to me. My family and I were at a Christian film festival one Easter weekend. I have no idea what film we watched, but afterwards the pastor of the church hosting the event presented the gospel and spoke of the cross in a way that my nine year old self had never heard. He said that for each time the nails were driven into Jesus' hands and feet, one of my sins was forgiven. Like "BANG! Lying." Or "BANG! Disobeying your parents." Now I know it sounds trivial and not theologically correct or whatever, but it was my first realization of what Jesus did for me personally. And after being dead for a good, long time, he actually became alive again! He fought death and won. Just for me. So I went up at the alter call and repeated a prayer to accept God’s forgiveness and "ask Jesus into my heart." Of course that phrase didn't really have any effect on me until later in my life.

It's not like the world looked different to me at that moment, or that I felt like a new person, or even that I changed everything about my behavior immediately after that, but I can confidently say that was when I became saved, because that was the first moment that Jesus' death and resurrection actually meant something to me.

I was baptized on Easter of the following year; my first public announcement of my relationship with Jesus. Thankfully, my church provided a Sunday school class for fifth graders to learn about and understand baptism before actually going through with it. I look back with the knowledge I have now, and know that my baptism is not what saved me, and sadly, not all the kids I was baptized with were actually saved. I was baptized as an act of obedience and as a public (kind of public, it was just all of our families really no more than like 50 people J) declaration of my faith in Jesus.

More to come!

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Journey: Part 2

God as an Idea

I grew up in a Bible-believing family, with parents who were fully committed to following Jesus and teaching my sister and me the Bible. For me, my family's heritage and religious background plays a huge role in my own spiritual journey. Because my parents grew up in nominally Christian environments, which held more to religious practices and old cultural superstitions, than an actual relationship with the person and character of Jesus Christ; those sentiments were subtly present in my upbringing. I don't know much about when my parents actually came to understand the gospel, but I think I can assume that their conversions came through a series of life experiences.

My story is similar, since it's hard to identify a clear moment of repentance, or when I came to realize my own sin and my need for a Savior. I grew up knowing that I was a sinner and needed to be forgiven in order to live in Heaven after I died someday. I probably raised my hand multiple times in my early life when asked by a Sunday school teacher if I wanted to receive the gift of God’s forgiveness. I was a good little church kid though, by some standard. I had memorized Bible stories and verses and I was at church in my Sunday best every week. I didn't really think I needed God’s forgiveness at all. It's hard to realize you need anything at a young age, you just kind of do what your parents say without much thought to why.

There's more to the story though. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Journey: Part 1


Happy Easter to you all! I pray the message of the cross and Christ's resurrection reaches you with a fresh exuberance this year!

Recently, I was given an assignment in my mentoring relationship to write out my full spiritual autobiography. You might have heard this referred to as a testimony in some Christian circles. I've done this numerous times in my life in many different settings. When on a mission trip to a foreign country, my testimony had to be short and easily translatable into the native language. At camp, the focus was on specific instances where God met me, or when He was real to me. The testimony I shared at my baptism was only of my experiences in my short ten years of life.

The truth is, coming to faith was more of a journey for me than an event. And continuing as a follower of Jesus is a permanent journey that will, by God's grace, take me to the end of my days here on earth.

So over the next few weeks (maybe months, I mean lets be honest about how often I blog J), I plan to share the significant portions of my faith journey so far, specifically writing about who God was to me at each point of my journey.

Every faith story is uniquely different. But maybe some truth will be spoken into your life about the transforming and redeeming work of Jesus on the cross. And hey, I would love to hear your story too!