I am what you might call a radical Christian. I love my Lord Jesus Christ with all of my heart and soul. I believe Jesus died on the Cross, to deliver me from all of my sins and sicknesses. I believe He was born of a virgin and sits at the right hand of God the Father. I believe He repaired the breach between God the Father and us, so that we could receive God’s love, and He could receive ours.
I was born into a Christian family and was in church my first Sunday of birth. I believe my Christian roots go back at least 500 years, but I know in my immediate lifetime that my grandfather and great-grandfather were both Baptist preachers. Both of my grandfathers loved their families and were not afraid to share their humor and joy with us. One of the favorite stories my grandfather told me was a story about three men who had gone to heaven. They pass through the gates of Heaven and there is singing and rejoicing and praising God. As they walk through the streets of heaven, the enthusiasm and joy and singing and praising God is everywhere, until they come to one street. The Angel of God turns to them and says, “As we walk down this next street we must be very, very quiet.” The three men are silent yet curious as they walked down this street, but not a word is said. On the next street the rejoicing continues. Finally, about three streets later, curiosity got to one of the men who asked the Angel of God, “Why did we have to be so quiet on that street back there?” The Angel of God replied, “We had to be quiet on that street back there because that is where the Baptists live, and they think they are the only ones up here!”
I think I have appreciated the humor in this more and more as I have grown older. Whatever our background is, we competitive humans have a tendency to think that whatever is ours is better than what everyone else has, especially religion. It is sad to see that Christians would rather focus on differences instead of what we have in common. Let us not focus on, “Who has tongues, who has teaching, who has preaching, who has the Virgin, etc., etc., etc.” Let us focus on what we have in common, and that is, “Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.”
I guess you wondered why I call myself a radical Christian. A born again, sold out, child of God. Well, it sure would be nice to say that the reason I am sold out, is because after I went to church my first Sunday of birth almost 50 years ago, I never missed a Sunday in church. But, that is not the case. During my junior year in high school my parents went through a divorce, and I rebelled against everything, including God. I wandered lost in the sins of the flesh for many years. Many times during these years people would ask me if I was a Christian, and I always said yes, but I never took this opportunity to share my faith. Finally, the first Sunday in September 1987, God called me, and praise is to God, I answered the call. During the next four months I saw miracles occur in my life. I saw the power of God at work in me and my surroundings every day.
And then my life fell apart. My wife of thirteen years filed for divorce. If I had been out drinking, carousing or chasing women, that would have been fine with her, but for me to be turned on for God was more than she could handle. However, when God is doing miraculous things in your life that is above and beyond anything possible for man to do, you have no choice but to give God the Glory.
There are many times since then that I have thought things might have been different if I had not become a radical Christian. I might have kept my ex-wife from kidnapping my three children and going to Europe if I had stayed the way I was. The enemy might never have attacked me and I could have gone merrily on my way. However, once you have experienced the glory of God, seen the power of God, understood the Grace of God and basked in the presence of God, there is no place you would rather be. So I praise You God for calling me to be Your servant, for I have forsaken all things to follow You. I love You God, I love You Jesus, and I love You Holy Spirit. Thank You, thank You, thank You for calling me into Your service.
So why do I love Jesus so much. I compare myself to the prostitute who anointed Jesus’ feet with her hair, tears and perfume. Jesus said she loves much because she has been forgiven much.
Luke 7:37-38 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil. And stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
Luke 7:44-48 Then Jesus turned to the woman and said to Simon, “do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. “You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.” “You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.” “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Thank you Jesus for allowing me the opportunity to love You much. Thank You for loving me.
The year after my ex-wife took my kids to Europe was my year of death. It was the year I went from being an upwardly mobile yuppie on the high road to success, to a humble servant of God. I went from thinking I knew everything to knowing I knew nothing. I went from reading the Wall Street Journal every day, eight to ten business magazines every month, and at least two business books per month, to just reading my Bible. I realized that God would take care of me every day and I learned to trust Him in everything. My year of death was a year of sadness that broke me more than I thought I could handle. But every day, God would give me a nugget of truth that would sustain me for that day. Some days He would open my eyes and heart to understand an entire book of the Bible, and some days all I could handle was a line or verse in the Bible. But one day was the strangest of all.
I was as low as I would ever go. I love being a father more than I love breath of life. I could not imagine going through the rest of my life without having my three children with me to love. So I went out into an empty field and prayed for the strength to push a knife through my throat. For two to three hours I sat in this field and cried and prayed for the strength to die, and God sat there with me. Then when I went into my house He turned me to scripture. I read, “I showed you a piece of the Glory in the beginning, and now I am going to allow you to go through a period of testing, but the glory on the back end is more than you can ever imagine.”
I did not highlight this passage in my Bible that afternoon, and I have never found it again. I have found scriptures that say about the same thing but never this particular one. But God gave me hope for a better tomorrow, and He always has taken care of my needs today. Love God and trust Him in all things. It is not always easy, but it is always worth the effort. Life is an experience that will always test us to become our most for God. I compare life to the development of a pearl. A pearl starts out as a small grain of sand inside of an oyster. It grates and irritates the oyster, much like life grates and irritates and grinds on us, until we both become those beautiful pearls. Please count me worthy Lord to grow into the pearl you want me to be. Please allow me to grow through life’s troubles and continue to praise You all the way. I love You Lord.