For as long as I can remember I have been in church. Growing up we went to church every Sunday. My family went to Sunday school, youth, or was a part of whatever was going on in and around church at the time. This was part of my daily life and because I was part of a church, I felt this made me a Christian.
Everyone has a different faith story. How we come to Christ is unique to each of us. I love to hear the many ways God reaches out and pursues people even when we are busy ignoring Him. He never seems to give up on us. And I am truly grateful to Him for not giving up on me. Here is my faith story:
I was raised in a christian home and in church. Both of my parents were part time staff at our church, my dad was the music director and my mom was pianist and church secretary. So when I say I was raised in church, there are times i was literally at church all week. I received Christ at the early age of nine. Our church was having a series of revival services and I felt the leading of the spirit to go forward when the response time was offered. I did not go at first, but told my mom, and she in turn told my dad. After lunch that day, my dad took me into his room, talked with me about Christ and what it meant to accept Him as my Lord and Savior, and encouraged me to make my decision public at the next service. So I did.
Here’s my story in a compact version, as we talk about in the Leading Your Child to Jesus small group. As David Staal reminds us in this book, brevity can have an impact too. So, in 4 sentences, which is a model designed for even the littlest ears, here’s my story:
I was 4 years old when I asked Christ to come into my heart. So, my life before Christ was not a long period of time. Although I was a little boy who had to wear braces, due to being crippled and my birthmark turned cancerous, and we were very poor, I still remember being very happy! I just figured every kid my age had “stuff” they had to deal with.
I have shared before that I started my faith journey with Christ when I was 14 years old…in reality, I really started it much earlier than that as my parents took me to church, Sunday school and Vacation Bible School from the time I was born and also taught me about the stories in the Bible and we prayed before meals. But it wasn’t until someone shared with me their own faith story of knowing Jesus and following Him that I realized I didn’t really know Jesus…I only knew about Him.
Growing up, I went to church weekly and even attended Catholic school for 12 years, so I knew a lot about God, rules, being good, and doing the right thing. But striving so hard to be good puts a premium on perfectionism. It also led to a lot of guilt when less than perfect, judging the performance of myself and others, and trying to control all things, which is just not possible! Working for that “Junior Holy Spirit” badge and my “crown for doing good works” put me under a lot of stress and joy disappeared from my life. Finally, a friend said I needed a relationship with Jesus, not just keeping the rules. I had to really explore that through Bible Studies, books on Christian Living, radio teachings, and finally go thru a situation that brought me to my knees, as I knew it was beyond my control.