Well, I’d like to ask you to take a few minutes and consider what I want to say here. I love Jeeps and the whole off-roading thing, but there is something that is much more important to me. About 16 years ago, I fell in love…with a man! NOW HOLD ON THERE! Before some of you decide that you don’t know me as well as you thought you did, I must tell you that man is Jesus Christ. NOW HOLD ON THERE AGAIN! I know, maybe this isn’t your thing. If it’s not, I can relate. I spent over 30 years of my life thinking that “church people” were just a bunch of hypocrites that really didn’t believe all that stuff they were saying anyway. Well, sadly enough, that is the case with many professing Christians. I am embarrassed to see what goes on in some churches around the world. Someone once said “I would’ve come to Christ…if it were’nt for all those Christians”. I also thought that Jesus Christ was some kind of fairy tale for weak people. On that count, I was wrong. I thought I had a strong “spiritual” foundation for a number of years. I was into many different things related to the new age movement, and was very attracted to eastern philosophies, native american indian worship, 12 step programs, psychology and any number of different spiritual paths. Just so long as it wasn’t Jesus…who said He was the ONE WAY to the Father. That was ridiculous! I believed that all spiritual paths led to the same place, and that God really wasn’t “restricted” to only one manifestation or being. How arrogant of Jesus to say that NO ONE could come to God except through Him!
I remember one day, shortly after we had moved into a new neighborhood, a man and woman came to my door. They were from a local church and wanted to welcome us to the neighborhood and invite us to church. Well, I stuck my chest out and told them that I had found God in the 12 step programs I had been involved with for several years and didn’t need their church. I was a hopeless mess due to about 10 years in my previous lifestyle, but “God” had turned me around. Now I had a “higher power” that worked. I remember the woman smiling and saying how wonderful that was. The man however acted offended. What was his problem? I’d found God, and if he didn’t like it…I’d kick his behind off my porch!
Well gang, the years wore on and although I would SAY I was close to God…I began to see that I really wasn’t. I came to a point in my life where I was developing a real hunger for the things of God. If there was more of Him to go around, I was ready. I didn’t know who He really was, or if any certain religion was right or wrong…I was just tired of where I was spiritually. I began to go to a park in the neighborhood I grew up in. I said, “God, I don’t know who you are, but I’m looking for the Supreme God of the Universe. If you’re out there, I need to hear from you. I just sat there for a couple of hours and listened. No lightning bolts- No voices from the Heavens. I left after a couple of hours not feeling much different than when I arrived. As that day went on however…there was something definitely going on. I sensed something that I hadn’t sensed before. I didn’t understand it then. I just felt like I was on to something. I began to go back there again and again, just to listen and be still. God began to change me. He brought me in contact with several people who were true Christians. People who truly Love Him. I got a look at their lives. A good look. They weren’t like what I thought they were. They were some of the remnant of people that are sold out to God. Not kooky, weirdo folks that give Christianity a black eye. They understood the peace and joy that God promises to His people. Not that they didn’t have problems…but the life they led in the midst of their problems really impressed me. I had known lots of “spiritual” people, but these folks were different.
Well, time passed and I asked a LOT of questions. I found out that the historical evidence for Christianity was overwhelming. So much so that I would be a fool NOT to believe and place my life in the hands of Jesus Christ. The day came when I found myself doing that very thing. If you doubt this, I would challenge you to really take a good, hard look at the evidence for Christ and be open minded enough to go where it leads. This isn’t politically correct today, but heck, I never cared what people thought about me before, why should that affect my decision now? The bible teaches that God is perfect and Holy. (I’m so glad…if He wasn’t, I guess I really couldn’t trust Him!) It also teaches that we are born into sin and fall short of the glory of God. As sinful men, we simply cannot enter into the presence of a holy God. That’s why He sent His Son. It’s like a death row inmate awaiting execution and being released because someone very important came up to die in his place instead. All I would have to do is accept the deal. Wow. It’s not every day that someone would step up and say “take me instead, let him go.” The penalty of sin is death, and Christ loved me (and you) enough to die in my place. My sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness was laid to my account. Christ bridged the gap man had created between himself and God. The day came when I found myself praying. I said Jesus, I believe that you who was without sin, died on that cross for me, and rose again, so that I would’nt have to die for my own sins.(and boy had I committed some sin!) You paid my price for me and I accept it. I’m so sorry for the sins I’ve committed. Come in and live in me. From this day on, with your help, I’ll live for you.
My life REALLY began to change then. I had experienced the new birth that the Bible speaks of. Better yet, I met Jesus Christ personally! The Christ I had mocked and shunned for over 30 years was real after all! The Bible that was so meaningless before, began to come alive for me. God was speaking to me right through this book. I would have never believed it before. I have problems today, but folks, there’s a difference. I no longer have to go through life without hope. The day I gave my life to Him, I entered into eternal life with Him. Forever…that’s a looooong time! He has promised me a future with Him and others in paradise…forever! A new body without sickness, pain or sorrow…too cool. Our time here really is but a moment compared with forever. He has been so faithful to me. When things get tough or stressful, I can literally go to Him. He is as real as anyone else in my life. I had some help early on from some people who know Him well. They helped me to get to know Him personally…for myself. I’ll never be the same.
I used to think that all religions were the same. Well, even a cursory look at the religions of the world will decisively prove that can’t be true. While many religions have some common grounds, their concepts of who God is vary GREATLY. How would it be if God told the Muslim people one thing about who He is, and then went to Asia and said, “forget what I told them, I’m really like this…”, and then told the people of India that He is someone else…it makes sense that God has revealed Himself in only one true way, since He is the one true God. How great to finally know Him personally. It’s amazing to me that the God of the universe wants to live in close fellowship with us.
I don’t know where you are in your life. Maybe you have come to know Him too. Maybe you would like to know more about Him yourself. If you need someone to talk to about Christ, I’m right here. I don’t have have all the answers, but I’ve got a few. Maybe you’re not up for this right now. That’s OK. IF YOU HOLD DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL BELIEFS, I’LL RESPECT THAT. I only ask that you consider Christ in light of the evidence. If you see me at an off-road event and want to talk about Christ, He’s my favorite subject. Feel free to e-mail me anytime. I hope and pray this message will help and encourage you. My life really has changed. Yours can too.