I have been quite busy over the last month. On top of having a wife and three young kids, I have also been involved in a church history class which includes a lot of reading, and I’ve been pretty involved with helping a great friend and his family move from Massachusetts to near us. So that is the main cause for the lack of posting lately.
For the last four years or so, I have basically been an agnostic, having fallen away from Christianity and having been very much turned off by the church I had been a member of, and by many Christians I had known. When we moved down to Texas last June, we decided as a family that we wanted to try to find a really small church with an accessible pastor (polar opposite from the church we went to in Minnesota). We found a church that fit what we were looking for. Still for months, I wasn’t really all that interested, but we kept going. This last December I, for some reason, decided I would try and read through the four Gospels in the Bible and see what Jesus was all about, as it had been a very long time since I really read them.
After about a week of reading, I actually started to enjoy it. I liked thinking about it, discovering new things, and asking questions. I posted a lot of questions on Facebook and on my blog here as I worked through the Gospels. I also took some time to look into a few other religions, mainly Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism. None of them were appealing to me at all.
In Mid-December, I decided to call my good friend Kory. I hadn’t talked with him for quite a while. I didn’t talk to many of my Christian friends during those four years. The conversations were always the same, and I was tired of them. But, I was excited to talk to Kory again, and ask him some of the questions I was having through my Gospel readings. The phone call was good. It was great to connect again. I learned that he and his family had had a rough last year, and their current situation out in Massachusetts wasn’t going very well. As a joke to him (but, serious to me) I told him that he should move his family down to Texas to be with us.
Through a series of interesting events for them, everything they were trying to do in Massachusetts fell apart, and they began to actually consider moving down to Texas. Kory flew down to stay with us for a while to see the area and scope out the job and housing market. He loved it down here, and began to try hard to make it work. Long story short, he ended up getting a job offer for a job he wanted, and signed a lease on a rental home within 2 hours of each other on the same day.
Through his stay with us, I kept reading. I also decided to take a church history class. I have so far read through the 16th century, and it has been really interesting to see how the church/people were always least corrupt when the Bible was available to them, especially when it was available to them in their own vernacular language. It has also been great to see Christianity throughout history and be able to put it all together in my mind. It all seemed like such a mystery before.
I have also been praying for faith. Since I started reading the Bible back in December, I have been slowly feeling more convinced that the God of the Bible is real, even though I was and had been resistant to it for the last 4 years. I was seeing a lot of things happen that were pretty incredible to me. A few weeks before I even had the thought to call up Kory (sometime in November), I had told my wife that the one thing I lack most in Texas here is a really good friend that I have some history with. And now one of my closest friends has moved here and lives less than 20 minutes away. I also got to see how so many people from our church and some others who very generously donated furniture and gift cards to them, and how we found some almost impossibly good deals on Craigslist for things they needed.
It’s not as if anything I’ve said here is proof that the God of the Bible is real. But I feel somehow convinced that he is. But it’s also not as if I feel fully and completely convinced. Most Christians would say they deal with doubt. Even many leaders of the faith in the Bible, and prominent church leaders and religious authorities throughout history deal with doubt. So while my faith is quite potholed with doubt, I am drawn to want to trust in Jesus. I’m going to keep moving forward and see what happens.
Many years ago, we were interested in doing Bible translation, and my wife and I just started to scratch the surface of looking into the possibility. But, then I fell away from the church, and the desire left. Over the course of the past month or so, I’ve been thinking a lot more about it. I have seen the power of the Bible in my own life after I started reading it last December. I have seen the importance of it throughout history in my church history class. Where the Bible is read, studied, and loved, there genuine faith and love for God exists. Many people in the world have no access to a Bible in their own language. I have been growing more and more interested in looking into this again. I talked with my church about it, and they were thrilled, and we are going to work together to come up with a plan to help us grow our faith, build our passion for missions, determine if missions and Bible translation is what we should do or not, and if so, equip us to go. We will begin making the plan together very soon.
So for all that has happened in the last few months, I thank God for it, and trust he will continue to confirm himself to us as we continue on. I also am thankful for great and encouraging friendships I have been able to experience lately, and for the Godly example of our church and the people there. A new season of life is beginning, and we are very excited about it.