What I believe

For my entire adult life I have been what most people call an evangelical Christian. These days I don’t call myself anything.

I still maintain some beliefs many evangelicals hold. For example, I believe the Bible is God’s Word, His message to mankind, and that it is inerrant, at least in the original manuscripts.

Furthermore, I believe that Jesus Christ is God, the second Person of the Trinity, which includes God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

I also believe there is a real Hell and a real being called Satan who is responsible for the evils of this world. I acknowledge that his fellow fallen angels, commonly known as demons, are real too.

After this, I could not tell you what I believe. I lean one way or the other on some things, but nothing else is firm.

I suppose my aforementioned beliefs actually take in a lot. At the core I still hold to the faith of my spiritual fathers.

Otherwise though, I consider myself lost. I experience little power in my own Christian life, nor do I see much in the evangelical churches I have attended.

I have attended other types of churches. My visitations are limited because I don’t have a car.

There is a Catholic church near my home I go to sometimes.I like their services because the ritual and music honor God and give Him glory. But I am uneasy about becoming a Catholic because I know down deep I could not follow the doctrine or the Pope, at least the current one.

One Sunday morning I got up early and walked to the 8 am service of the denomination of my childhood. I grew up a Lutheran, albeit a more liberal one than the Missouri Synod church I went to that Sunday.

After that one service I was bored to tears by the liturgy. I couldn’t imagine how I had endured these services all those years of my youth.

(In retrospect, I didn’t in high school. My buddy and I skipped church and went to Dunkin’ Donuts.)

After I wrote that last line a young college student sat next to me at the Starbucks here. He had a huge Bible. I commented on it and it began a long conversation.

I read all of the above to him. The young man said,”Well, it’s well written.” I’ve heard that before.

He’s a Presbyterian. He goes to a church I am familiar with from a friend, who knows the pastor. This young man is also a friend of a colleague.

At first blush he is a really great guy–the kind of kid that makes me understand why I work on college campuses.

He encouraged me to get back into church. Out of the mouth of babes (I guess).

I told him I did not understand my issues well and was searching.

As I was waiting for a bus in the cold and snow last night, a song from a rapper I knew nothing about was playing at the bar behind me. I looked up the lyrics because from what I  could understand of them, they spoke to my soul.

“I keep my head high
I got my wings to carry me
I don’t know freedom
I want my dreams to rescue me
I keep my faith strong
I ask the lord to follow me
I’ve been unfaithful
I don’t know why you call on me.” (J Cole “Apparently”)

These lyrics connect with me because they are filled with confusion mixed with hope, just as I am.

I want to keep my dignity in my trials, but my dreams are gone. Yet, I am still trying to stay in my faith.

And yes, I have been unfaithful to the Lord in many ways, but unlike this lyricist I do not ask the Lord to follow me. In fact, I would not want anyone to follow me, much less the Creator of the universe.

I need to be following Him. But as this vocalists says, “I don’t know why you call on me.”  On the surface I tell God,”Why don’t you leave me alone.”

I know He won’t though. He’s the Hound of Heaven. And down deep I don’t want Him to stop bothering me, but to see me safely to the end of the road.

“This is my canvas
I’ma paint it how I want it baby, oh I
This is my canvas
I’ma paint it, paint it, paint it, how I want it”

This blog is my canvas–for now.  I want nothing more  than to glorify God through it and perhaps as I write discover Him more.  If I accomplish those things at all, then it will be worth the time I spend here.

I chose to write here because I was encouraged for the first time in a l-o-n-g time yesterday. I believe God fulfilled a promise to me.

The Scripture is Hebrews 11:6:  “And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (RSV)

I have begun to believe this verse and have acted on it. I did get a reward, and one that I did not expect.

I was encouraged by this event to keep believing this verse. I told my new college friend that I think most Christians pass over this passage and see it as a “given”, but don’t really believe it. (I am one of them.)

So I am starting on an adventure with this promise. I used to have a whole slew of them, but tossed my notebook away in disgust long ago waiting for them to be fulfilled.

All I have now is this ONE. It’s enough. If God keeps this one continually, my life will change exponentially.

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