My new faith journey
God has spoken to me recently and I have discovered this.. I need three things to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.. 1) Jesus Christ because He is the Son of God that came to Earth to die for our sins and it is only through Him that we can be cleansed from our sins and be right with God 2) The Bible which will is the only truth source that can show me how to trust in Christ as my Lord and Savior and 3) Prayer by which I can communicate to Christ and God the Father
Everything else is a tool that can be a help or a hindrance in the relationship with Christ and it is through Christ, the Bible and prayer that I need to recognize what is what.
The past: In the past 37 years, I have let my experiences, the church and people be both a help and a hindrance. In the end though, the hindering overpowered and I unconsciously walked away from Jesus about 5 years ago. I didn’t realize I was doing it and I didn’t really care until recently
Recent events: Desperate to get back to the relationship that I once had with the Lord or what I thought I had with the Lord or what I saw other people have with the Lord, I decided I needed to leave the church that I grew up. I had 30 years of baggage and felt like I was in the middle of spiritual warfare when trying to deal with it all. And with both my husband and I, we had some differences with the church that even if we had met with church leaders to gain clarity on their position, we felt confident that we would still leave for what I can only describe as “irreconcilable differences”. I still hold the church in high esteem. It is an amazing church but it was no longer right for our family.
Past 3 months: In August of 2014, we began attending Grace Community Church in Marietta. I had visited several times. Already knew a couple of people that attended. And I immediately fell in love with the Biblical teaching and the people there. We started attending the Connections class and we decided that we would like to be members. I can’t see us attending any other church at this point.
Membership application.. page one.. all going great. Got to page 2 and it said something like If you died and went to Heaven would Jesus let you in? My immediate thought.. I have no idea.. And then it had a huge blank section for me to talk about my faith in Christ. I shut the application feeling overwhelmed and knowing that I was in trouble if I couldn’t answer those questions. I decided to hold off on the whole membership thing.
About 2 weeks ago, I was walking in the church on my way to meet the church secretary. (Note: that was my ONLY plan for walking down the hallway)... The senior pastor, John Harris, stops and asks me if he can help me with anything. Now I come from a mega church.. 1) you don’t just run into the senior pastor in the hallway and 2) if you did, you wouldn’t stop and talk to him. So this is a little surreal and even more surreal if you know me and know that I am TERRIFIED of pastors. So I later joked with my friends that it must have been the Spirit of God talking through me because the next thing out of my mouth was me not only speaking to the senior pastor but requesting a meeting with him to talk about the membership application and my relationship with Jesus.. Wait? What? We decided I could meet with him and the discipleship pastor, Randy. Okay deep breaths.. I can do this. I NEED to do this because I have no idea what Christianity is all about. And I am determined to not be in a church for the next 30 years with a stamp on my membership application and feeling like a complete fraud.
Then something happened.. I discovered that I don’t need a meeting with pastors to tell me how to have a relationship with Jesus. It’s all right in front in me. It’s all right there in this book..the Bible. I discovered that I needed Jesus and I needed him right then and I needed to read the Bible. So I have started.. I have started my new faith journey. I don’t have it all figured it out and I still plan on meeting with the pastors. But I have left the baggage on the side of the road. And man, there was a lot of it. And I am looking forward to the future. The future that is filled with Christ’s love for me and my love for Him and a lifetime of learning daily how to trust and follow Him in all that I do. I am excited. I am beyond excited. And a little scared.. so maybe I do have a little baggage left.. the baggage of “I don’t want to screw this up again” but maybe that’s not baggage.. maybe that is me wanting to make a commitment to not walk away again. To not let things or people or the church take my focus away from Christ. Cause if there is one thing that I have learned from all of this, it is DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF JESUS.. not for a second.
Hebrews 2: 1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.