Many times in discussion I listen while he speaks. His journey has been rich with blessing and humility. The big guy helps draw me near to the One who saved us both from death. We help each other to remember the past, giving Glory to God for the future.
He said I could share the letter from another that tells a part of his story in the mix.
I came across this question “Why a Christian?” in an article by Jill Carattini of the RZIM Ministries yesterday morning. I found my first instinct to respond theologically and biblically very western and intellectual – first satisfy the intellectual curiosity before addressing the heart issues. There is nothing wrong with my instinct. However, if I look at my own personal experiences and awakenings in my heart, my response to CHRIST is something very personal, mystical and dramatic. I have shared my encounter story with Jesus on the Wallop Island beaches of Virginia Atlantic Coast. There were movements and responses in my heart during that encounter that I can’t explain intellectually or in words. It had more to do with the heart though there were cerebral aspects to the encounter. No one had prepared me for an encounter like that. If anything, my mind was closed to such mystical and miraculous happenings. So to the question “Why a Christian?”; a simple, honest answer for me would be, “I am Christian because I have seen the LORD with my own eyes and the new life that I experienced in that encounter is real to me. I feel like Linus – I’m sort of a built-in-friend. HE will always be my center. All that followed has only helped grow the faith and the freedom from HIS lordship and friendship in my life.”
Here is a note I got from the Big Guy yesterday soon after I had come across this “Why a Christian?” question. Thanks Big Guy for blessing me with the opportunity to share this with the larger group.
J, you often refer to your intellect as something that hardened your heart and challenged your belief in God (my words) and I'd like to share one with you. It is an interesting idea so bear with me.
Something that has hardened my heart and increased my pride since I was young is my physical stature and strength. From a very young age I was able to do things that other kids my age were not able to do -- I could dribble a basketball like a professional at age 2; I could lift my bodyweight by age 14; I broke records during track meets in junior high: The list can go on and on.
Before my new life in Him, my strength was something I relied on for my peace. I had a goal during my senior year of college to be able to lift more weight than the weight room could provide. After tearing my labrum and getting surgery, I couldn't do it. My bodies failure drove me even more mad for success in the weight room, and shortly after my rehabilitation I was back in action! Finally, after many months of dieting, excessive eating and working out my body, I accomplished my goal. At the 24 hour fitness in Colorado, there was not a free weight in the building that I could not lift with one hand repeatedly while bench pressing.
This has already taken a toll on my body. My wrists often hurt, my back will tweak sometimes and remind me of the price I paid for this amazing physical feat, and my shoulders are both in poor condition. And for what? For my personal pride? For the other people in the gym witnessing my abilities? For my friends at the time?
Christ paid the ultimate toll on his body. He was brutally beaten, bled, was ordered to walk many steps while carrying his "execution", and then was mocked as He hung in my stead to His death. His physical body gave out, just like mine is currently doing, so that WE may have ETERNAL FREEDOM IN HIM! His blood wiped our slate white as snow, like you've said below. He did this not for show, but for His love for me.
I took my training to the extreme for me, and Christ took his mission to the CROSS where He made up for everything that I could not. He is all, J. At the time of the above story I didn't know Him, didn't care for Him, and even used his name in vain daily. His name in vain used to be one of my favorite curse words to use. Now, His name in vain makes me cringe, and I say a silent prayer to Him praising His glorious name instead.
Christ is ALL. Nothing less. He is everything and His love is stronger than any other.
Love in Him forever,
The Big Guy
I know that each of you may have a personal story of the hearts to the question “Why a Christian?” I pray that you share these personal stories with strangers. To paraphrase Paul, “Let us not be afraid or ashamed to share how the GOOD NEWS of JESUS CHRIST has saved you and transformed you. It is the POWER, MERCY and GRACE of GOD for salvation of all those who hear IT and believe!
“Through Jesus Christ, all of us share the same Spirit and have equal access to GOD the Father. That’s plain enough, isn’t it? We are no longer wandering exiles. This Kingdom of Faith is now our home country. We’re no longer strangers or outsiders. We belong here, with as much right to the name Christians as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all – irrespective of how we got here – in what He is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now, HE is using us, fitting us brick by brick, stone by stone, with JESUS CHRIST as the cornerstone that holds all part together. We see it taking shape day by day – a holy temple built by GOD, all of us built into it, a temple in which GOD is quite at home.” Ephesians 2:18-22. Thus a Christian is built into GOD by being built into CHRIST by the presence of GOD’s HOLY SPIRIT becoming built into HIM. And when GOD is thus built into a person, this person will then know he is not alone but is the built-in son of a FATHER who loves him.
I am privileged to have a FATHER, A KING and a FRIEND in my CREATOR and I am humbled to be a son, a servant and a built-in friend to my CREATOR! This is truly the greatest privilege of being a Christian. I pray that each of you are privileged in a similar manner.
CHRIST peace be with you.
Always your friend in HIM,J