Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Story of How I Came to Church
Part 1 - Coming to Christ

I’ve given my testimony before, actually when I first started my blog and it is in my sidebar, but I am sort of re-writing some things (for a purpose) so bear with me if I repeat some of this story that you may have already read. There are really four sections to this story:

1. Coming to Christ
2. Wandering in the Wilderness
3. The Christian Bookstore and John the Baptist
4. Coming to Emmanuel

I am going to post 1 and 2 today and the others will follow in the next several days... and that is a promise because it is already typed out! It is just so long I don't want to bore anyone who happens to read here.


Part 1 - Coming to Christ
I grew up in a Catholic home, the 6th of 7 children. Most of my school career was in parochial schools and my family was very faithful in Sunday church attendance. When I was in the sixth grade, we had to go through classes to prepare for confirmation. This was when I turned away from the Catholic faith. Even as a sixth grader, I knew something was amiss in the doctrine of the Eucharist. I rejected it. I remember thinking that I hoped God would understand that there was no way I could accept His teaching. I thought I was rejecting God and the Bible because I was trained to equate God and the Bible with the Catholic Church. I didn’t know any better. My father died the next year when I was in the 7th grade and that also made me more convinced that God was not real and if He was, He wasn’t concerned very much with me.

Fast forward 8 years to 1986. As far as Christianity and religion goes, I really had not been exposed to anything other than Catholicism, expressed in two types: traditionalism and the mealy-mouthed social gospel. My upbringing had been a mix of the two. I was at this point, however, a proud agnostic. I was attending the local university half-heartedly… but wasting my life and killing brain cells with an enthusiastic fervor.

Waiting tables at a nearby Big Boy restaurant, I used to get a lot of “regulars” that hung out there, drinking coffee. God brought me the message of salvation through two such regulars, Joe and Charlie. They would sit for hours talking about Jesus God and the Bible. When this carpenter in his 40s named Joe told me that Jesus Christ loved me, I dismissed it at first because I thought I knew what his message would be. I assumed that all people who talked about Jesus would be bringing me the “do your best and hope that it is good enough” message that I was raised with.

Not so.

It was explained to me that I could come to Christ just as I was and that He would forgive me and cleanse me of all the filth that encompassed my life so that God could look at me and see me just as perfect and lovely as Jesus. Jesus could do this for me because He had paid for all my sins on the cross and rose from the dead to prove that my sins were gone and powerless. All I need to do was receive His gift of righteousness by faith, by entrusting my eternal welfare to Him. Seeing that I had nothing to lose (!) I did believe in Jesus and was born again at the age of 20.

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9 Comments:

  • Praise God, Rose! Even if I'd read it before it still rejoices my heart to hear about God's grace in others' lives! It just reminds me all over again how good He is! Thank you for posting! Looking forward to the rest!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 10/23/2008 7:56 PM  

  • David,
    Thank you for saying that. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/24/2008 1:35 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Hi Rose,

    You said: All I need to do was receive His gift of righteousness by faith, by entrusting my eternal welfare to Him. Seeing that I had nothing to lose (!) I did believe in Jesus and was born again at the age of 20.

    That is what it means to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the One who guarantees your eternal destiny. “You entrusted your eternal welfare to Him.” And you received the gift of righteousness by simple faith. To be clothed in His righteousness is to be accepted in Jesus . . .”God could look at me and see me just as perfect and lovely as Jesus.” Rose that is what grace is all about!!! Getting something we do not deserve, and can NEVER deserve.
    1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? To John to believe in Jesus as the Christ is saving truth 1 John 5:1a Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. The truth that Jesus guarantees our resurrection and eternal life is saving truth (John 11:25-27). That is what the Revisionist were trying to put in doubt the fact that Jesus had given them the gift of eternal life (1John 2:25,26). But John reassured them they could KNOW that they had life (1 John 5:13). Not only are we saved by believing in Jesus as the Christ but our Christian fellowship is based on that fact. We cannot have true fellowship apart from that truth because that is the only way it can be by grace. If our works are added in anyway we can no longer KNOW we have eternal life.
    Rose you have a lovely story to tell, and am glad that you are my sister in Christ clothed in His perfection.
    Brother alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 10/26/2008 7:11 AM  

  • Alvin,
    Bless you brother. Thanks for reading this and for your words of encouragement.

    Ya know, when I think of coming to Christ and "entrusting my eternal welfare to Him" I think I was in a pretty good position to do this. Here's why: I hadn't really cared much about my eternal destiny up to that point. I was just sort of vaguely hoping that if there was a God, He would "understand" me. When I say "I had nothing to lose" I really had nothing to lose - no righteousness of my own. I would imagine that religious people or "good people" may have a harder time "giving up" their religious standing to come to Christ than someone who really has no perception of any standing of their own.

    I think this is why Jesus found 'sinners' and tax collectors more easily converted than the self-righteous types.

    In fact, just typing this has brought something to mind about this that I am going to post about when I am done with the testimony posts.

    Thanks again Alvin!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/27/2008 9:08 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    There was something I was thinking about today I would like to ask you. You said Seeing that I had nothing to lose (!)
    At that time were you convinced that Jesus had saved you forever, or was it sometime later that you became convinced?
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 10/27/2008 10:28 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    To try to articulate what I'm saying better.

    When you said "Seeing I had nothing to lose"

    the more I thought about it was like you had made a decision to believe, kinda like this:
    Seeing I had nothing to lose, I would take a chance and believe in Jesus
    I'm not wanting to put words in your mouth, but I'm wanting to know when the light came on and you KNEW you had eternal life. Do you see the difference, Was it then or later?

    Some people can't seem to remember that time, and that's ok as long as they KNOW they have eternal life and will never perish based solely on Jesus promise now. So they are not deciding to believe Him, or hoping that it is true. But they KNOW, the light has come on it's like a revelation . . . WOW!!! iT iS tRUE!!! It is a GIFT!!!

    By Blogger alvin, at 10/28/2008 6:04 AM  

  • Hi Alvin :~)
    I appreciate your question and it made me think a lot. Let me answer as best I can.

    Salvation was presented to me as "placing your faith in Christ." I don't remember praying a prayer or any MOMENT that I can point to and say "that is the moment I receieved eternal life." I was nevr told to "say a prayer to receive Jesus." What I know is that at the beginning of August, I was not saved... and in the middle of Septemeber, after weeks of talking about Jesus and thinking about the message of salvation, I was hearing and reasoning through it, I believed in Him and *was* saved. I don't remember the moment it clicked. It was somewhere in there. At the end of Septmeber I knew I had eternal life becuase I knew I believed and trusted in Jesus for this.

    When I said "seeing that I had nothing to lose" I mean that trusting in Jesus was not "giving up" anything that I had or anything that I was doing. Why wouldn't I want to receive a gift that was so free? Yes, I must have believed that the gift was real and that it was free and that Jesus was able to impart it when I held this reasoning that I had "nothing to lose."

    Does that answer your question?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/28/2008 1:28 PM  

  • Amen Rose!!!!
    Wonderful testimony!!!!
    Praise the Lord!!!!

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 10/28/2008 11:24 PM  

  • Alvin,
    I am glad you are around. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/30/2008 9:34 AM  

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