Love, Relentless Pursuit, Grace, Truth and Hope that flows from the only one person. A love that breaks through the hardest of hearts, to reveal the grace available to all of us provided at the cross, an undenying truth that prevails in spite of the lies of the critics, a pursuit that defiles all tie bound events and a hope that surpasses all despair and pain. What story am I speaking of? The story of a journey to eternal life beyond, grace that is greater than all my sin and love/forgiveness provided on the cross to all of mankind. To tell you my story is to tell of Him (Jesus).
Lets take a step back in time to 1989, I was 12 and my grandfather passed away to went to his eternal home in heaven. During the funeral service a song was sang that pricked my heart and made me ponder about the love that was available to me. The song was “The Old Rugged Cross” and the story was that of Jesus being crucified, the grace that is offered to all who believe Jesus Christ is the son of God who redeemed us from our sins (refer to John 3:16.)
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
So the journey of a lifetime began and I began reading to read in a KJV Bible from the Books of Genesis to Numbers. For whatever reason that I don’t recall, I stopped reading at Numbers but God did not stop pursing me and making available His truth time and time again.
Let me fast forward a bit to the year 1991 when I was able to play sports for the school I had attended. It was Jr. High (7th/8th grade) and I enjoyed playing basketball and my height, at about 5 ft 6″ at the time, helped out a lot as I stood in height above most of my teammates. Before every game all the players would get together in a huddle and recite the Lord’s Prayer.
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Those words echoed in my head and wouldn’t let me forget there was truth, grace and a kingdom available me. I played basketball on through my Sophomore year in High School and the combination of the truth of “The Old Rugged Cross” and the “Lord’s Prayer” had provided a picture of the love of Jesus Christ for all of mankind. I encountered a stumbling block in my mind that I didn’t see the love in Christians that I attended school with most of which I knew since Kindergarten. Then there was a teammate that embodied the love, truth and joy to which she lived out in her daily life. She made an impact in my life as she treated others with respect, kindness, encouragement and obedience that flowed through her from God to others around her. “There is something just different about her”, I had thought on many occasions and I was drawn to the authencity she displayed in her life.
Relentless Pursuit and Grace…
Time went by and life continued. I was still in search for the love of God but it was not my primary focus of my curiosity so the years passed and I still had not made a commitment to God. It was 1996 and I was a Senior in high school. I had met this handsome man at work and we began dating in March of 1996. As time went on I learned that his Dad was a Pastor and I was not a Christian. “Mmmm, how would they like their son dating me” and I was uneasy in meeting them. Tim and I had started going to church together and truth of God was made obvious to me again and again but I didn’t move from the pew seat to go forward. I was still searching for the love that God had for me inspite of my shortcomings (sins).
The family meeting with Tim’s parents was inevitable because Tim was going to be a permanent fixture in my life. Numerous thoughts went through my mind –
- Fear – What if they didn’t like me?
- Acceptance – I am not a Christian not was I raised in church.
- Openness – Were they stern, unappoarchable and ridged like other pastor families I had know in the past?
The day had finally arrived and the 2 hour trip seemed like eternity. Upon arrival, I was greeted with friendliness, hugs, laughter and non-judgement love by his family. Getting to know Tim’s family shown me the love and acceptance that Christians could possess. After 20 years of being part of the family, I can characterize them as authentic, loving, friendly, humorous, compassionate and kind bunch of folks that love Jesus and allow Him to display that kindness to others. The time had come and God pursued me and wouldn’t let me forget the love that I have received from Tim’s family. All the truths of God from the bible reading, hope in an eternal future with Jesus, relentless pursuit of God to answers all my looming questions and the LOVE of God that is so warm, comforting and peaceful all come together one Sunday morning at Valley Grove Baptist Church and I committed my life to Jesus in 1998.
No looking back…
If you have made this commitment to Jesus, What is your story? We would love to hear your journey.
What if you haven’t committed your life to Jesus? Life is full of questions. What is holding you back? Ask God to help answer the looming questions. He will provide the answers just as He did in my journey to find Jesus. I invite you to join us at Temple Baptist. We are a broken bunch of folks, loving God, a pastoral team that preaches the truth from God’s Word and a lot of friendly folks willing to take you into the fellowship. We have saved a seat just for you. Come join us.
The songs below, one of which started my journey to find Jesus and the other that prompted me to write this blog. Enjoy!