Faith Story….A Personal Experience with Jesus.

This is the story of the journey to my faith. This is the story of who I was, who I am today and is at this point only the beginning. I know there will be those who laugh at my story, those who will mock my faith and who will question the motives of anyone who would venture to a relationship with Jesus. React as you will, not that you need my permission to do so, but go ahead…comment…laugh, ridicule, mock, question my level of intelligence or merely shake your head in disbelief that yet another person has put their faith in a belief in the “unknown, unproved existence of an all knowing, all powerful sovereign deity”. I stepped into faith in Jesus from the other side….I Once was lost, but now I’m found. YOU may not “need God”……but someday, you will. This is the journey to my “I Do”…..

“I have struggled for some time to put to paper my “Faith” Story, as I failed to find how my story would be moving to anyone. I never experienced any form of life altering realization, I had never experienced the “A-HA” moment found so often in Faith stories, but it was so eloquently and plainly stated by good friend and Associate Pastor Ryan Phelps,  that this is not MY story, but HIS. Just the same as my being saved is not at all about anything I did, or any realization I came to, but about what Jesus had already done for all of us.

I was not raised in any firm faith or belief in anything. My Grandparents would bring me to a Catholic Church on the weekends in the years that I spent living in their home as a child. I saw the beautiful building, the ceremonial “thing” that was happening. I heard the organ and the singing of the hymns and heard a message that was more a droning voice than a proclamation of anything that applied to me, or anyone else in that matter. I heard and saw all of this….but never saw or heard the Gospel. The GREAT news of the saving Grace of our Lord  and Savior.  My Grandparents, though wonderful to me, showed great passion for whatever was being said in that Church but there was no mention of it at their home. There were plenty of Crosses on the wall, a HUGE picture depicting the last supper but nothing tied all of this together for me to make sense of it all….as if this did not apply to me.

I spent most of my childhood, teenage years and adult years living to please myself in every manner of speaking. Drugs and alcohol were no means to an end…they were there to make me happy. Music filled every waking moment. Music was my god. I worshipped it, lived for it and would’ve died or given up anything for it. Although it was always inherent in me to do unto others, and for the most part I tried to live by this, it was more in terms of “do good and you will have good done to you”…..I did so selfishly.

In my late 20’s I came to meet and VERY shortly after marry my beautiful wife Amy. God could not have planned or timed this any better…..His timing, reason and logic as perfect as they are. I was at my lowest having dealt with some years of Mental illness in my family, no career prospects , I had just dragged myself back from California where I sought after my musical dreams. I was feeling worthless, addicted, low and although I had no real Faith in God, still found plenty of times to blame Him for what I had become and where I found myself in life.  Amy and her family were Christians…her Grandmother Milly may be the most warm hearted, accepting and loving woman, and devout Christian I have ever come to know. In Milly, I found Christ reflecting as I had never seen before. I was a tattooed, chain wearing, body pierced “freak” entering her house.  I was timid at the prospect of meeting her but her immediate acceptance of me was astounding. Milly had no shortage of praise for God and loved Jesus in a way that when she spoke His name she would weep tears of perfect joy.  It was what Jesus did in Milly that I wanted Jesus to do for me….what I always thought music would do for me.

Through the encouragement of good friends and neighbors Drew and Casey Nyssen, I finally dropped my guard enough to come to Gracepoint Community Church, completely skeptical, and attend a service  and the one thing I had always run to, sought solace in and even hid behind was the first thing I heard on my way to the auditorium that morning…..Music….BEAUTIFUL music. Jesus knows what he is doing as he seeks for us to hear Him….He knows my heart and I knew it the moment I set ears on this music that was praising His name….He was having a conversation with me in a way He knew I would have no choice but to respond to…. and I sang. I didn’t sing the words to a song…I sang praise to Him for knowing me and calling to me in a way I would have no choice but to respond to.

Amy and I were Baptized together in the summer of 2009. We made the conscious decision to dedicate our lives and our family to Jesus. There is no bigger honor to me than to be loved in the way that only Jesus can love us and to reflect that love to others much in the way that Milly showed us how. Struggles still exist, but now there is comfort in the struggles. Imperfection still exists, but there is no longer a desire to be imperfect. Sin still rears its head, but now there is a defense against it and the great counselor is there to walk me through it.  Although music is still a big part of what I do, I prefer to use it to bring glory to Him and not to me. To lead others in musical praise of the greatest sacrifice this world has ever known is not only an honor but a privilege. To take the “do unto others as you would have done to you” phrase and cut it down to just “do for others” is what Jesus has done to my heart.

As I write this, I realize that His story through me could go on for hours and although at times I have been known to be wordy, I will summarize like this……Before Jesus came into my heart I made a sacrifice to please ME in any way possible, But WITH Jesus in my heart I know that my sacrifices are for His Glory and His alone and in this there is infinite joy……even in suffering.”

Thanks for reading and I hope this serves as an encouragement to those who may be searching for that “something more”. May you hear God’s words in your own heart and if you do not now, be open to hearing it in the future. When you are lower than you thought possible, He can and will take you higher than you ever thought possible. He never said it would be easy or fun but His promise is that it will all go away after all is said and done.

God Bless

Posted in Baptism, Born again, faith, faith story, Fathers, Help, Men, Uncategorized, Who needs Jesus, why believe in God | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Problem With Men

We, and by We I mean the current 30-40 yr old generation, grew up with NO real male role models. We grew up in a time that was high on immortalizing Sport Heroes because of their stats, not their caliber as a Man…Music heroes, glorified by their separation from the Norm, showcased more on their ability to party than to be Men of character…..We grew up Idolizing movie stars, action heroes, who Fought, shot, and thumped their chest while building body counts…..This is NOT to say that there weren’t good examples of being a man in all of those theaters, there were good men, but they were not glorified, they were not front and center, they were not shown in the same light. As we grew up, we were directed AWAY as a society from the Good male role model by the thing we gravitated most towards…entertainment. I am not saying the entertainment industry is to blame…they are not responsible for OUR decision as a society, but they found what SOLD…Sold products, sold airtime, sold merchandise, and they pounced at the chance to make more by selling more….A generation who idolized, what I WOULD consider the furthest people from being acceptable role models, followed in what they though were the footsteps of those who were merely trying to entertain us. They weren’t trying to tell us how to live, or who to be, or what to strive for, but we bought into it fully.

This mentality, started back in the 70’s, has succeeded through today in every way shape or form. We (by way of buying into the dumbing down of this society through faith in media and entertainment) put characters from movies on pedestals, glorify violence, swim in the escapist mentality and often times put down those who would attempt to come along to try and steer us back in the right direction because…well…that’s not entertaining, exciting, nor does it feed into the fantasy of our societies mentality anymore. Effort is made to shield us from the things we need not be witness of, but it is futile and is more often than not, seen as censorship. The more we see as a society, the more we crave. YOU may not feel this way, but the mentality of the general masses has SHOWN us unequivocally that this is how we are as a collective society.

I do not have a solution, but can only offer a suggestion. It starts with MEN….yes….MEN. Not boys with dreams of being anything more than MEN. A MAN will protect his children from the things seen and heard and witnessed that can harm a child’s mind. A MAN will be a role model for not only HIS children, but all children that may come into contact with him. A MAN will stand for what is right, not in children’s eyes, but what is MORALLY right….Foul language, disrespect of women, bad mouthing others (these are things we are all guilty of, finger points back to me), making judgement verbally to others, inability to leave a bad day at the door…there are countless ways we as men in this country have failed generations of children and I and many others have witnessed this first hand. We cannot be perfect, but WE can be BETTER. Want the cycle of violence and decay to end in our society….THEN BREAK THE CYCLE. LET THE CYCLE END HERE!!!!!! Lower your voices and show compassion even in the hardest of times, love your wife / partner with respect and selflessness and rebuke your children with loving kindness and not out of anger…..a punishment should not be administered out of anger…just my OPINION. Teach that what they see on TV is ENTERTAINMENT and make it age appropriate for crying out loud….NEWS, SPORTS, Movies, All of it, entertainment. Its okay to teach the mentality of “you can be what you want to be in life with HARD WORK, you’re NOT entitled to what you want in life.” And if you feel compelled, teach that even YOU as a Father are only a child in the eyes of God as well….If kids see that we serve something bigger than us then they feel a bit more even in the playing field and will come to accept, through consistent teaching and example, that we ALL answer to someone for our doings.

Again….I am not offering this is the SOLUTION to all problems, just stating my own personal opinion of my observations in my time with you all. And this is NOT in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM a disclusion of women….I am not a woman therefore I can only speek of my experiences as a man.So men, BE A MAN and TAKE RESPONSIBILTY…EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN, YOU CAN STILL BE A ROLE MODEL. Without great Leaders there are no good paths to follow. Let OUR children see good paths that they will want to travel as they too become men.

God Bless.

Posted in Fathers, Help, Men, Opinion, society, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment