Taught of God
Hello, and thank you for reading this. I grew up in a loving, yet somewhat eccentric family. My dad held a normal blue collar job as a sewer maintainer, and my mom was a nursery school director. We three kids grew up around motorcycles, acting, and singing—hence the eccentricity. Sunday mornings were mostly spent at the Congregational denomination. Dad would go out dirtbike riding and Mom and we children would go to be religious. One memory I recall from childhood was waking in the middle of the night crying and screaming for Mom. This occurred more than once and it was because I had the realization that one day I would have to die. As a little kid this scared me greatly.
Well, the world eventually weaned me away from religion, and although I remained a kind and thoughtful young man, my tongue and actions became very loose and offensive. I was only arrested once, but it could have happened more than that with the situations I found myself in. The world was basically helping me to satisfy my curiosities about life. I deemed myself a major thrill-seeker. However, about two years after high school, I started asking some real questions. Through my hungry curiosity and some drug-induced experiences, I began seeing that there was more to life than the monotonous routine that I saw so many caught up in. My uncle was involved with eastern religion and spirituality, yet without an open heart. He couldn’t answer many of my questions, so I sought others who could. Quite often I found my conversations and experiences were ending up being focused on God stuff, or spirituality. Through a friend, I ended up working for a month at an Ashram (eastern religious community) in Massachusetts. As my hunger kept me seeking, I soon found that this place was empty also. What I remember were people spilling out their lamentations, looking for human comfort and acceptance, that meditation made my legs fall asleep, and the greatest memory being the fallibility of the guru, because he fell from grace while I was there. That was a real eye-opener.
One conversation that really stuck with me was a conversation with a born-again Christian out in Wyoming. He told me that if you have never tasted a peanut butter milkshake, you have no idea how good it is. This was a comparison to the sweetness of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Even though I was a scoffer and a skeptic at the time, God was gaining me little by little. Unbeknownst to me, the nourishing of that seed kept taking place as I kept satisfying my curiosity with spiritual conversations.
After about four years of seeking God and seeing our human frailties, I was ripe and ready to receive the truth about our human existence. I was now about 23 years old. A friend from high school was driving by me on the street. He stopped, got out of his car, and started sharing more with me about Christ. Previously he had shared some with me, and I had attended a few non-denominational services with him. But this time, on the street, he asked me to pray with him to receive the Lord Jesus. I prayed a sinner’s prayer with him, and at that point Jesus made His home in my heart. I couldn’t believe it, after being such a scoffer, I was now one of them, a born-again believer. I do remember saying to the Lord Jesus that if you are better than the pleasures I get from the world, then you can have me, but if not, then don’t bother me. He not only showed me how much better He is, but He showed me the big fat lie that the world is blinded by. He showed me the treasure of eternal life, and exposed the rust-filled glitter of the dying riches of this world. What a discovery this was for a curious thrill-seeker such as myself. He took my childhood fear of death and its slavery and liberated me completely, (Hebrews 2: 14-15). Hallelujah! Now I look forward to eternity with Him! His love has conquered me!
In December of 1995, I was waiting tables and met a brother reading the Word at one of the tables. I went over to say hello. Later, after a few nights of fellowship, he baptized me. He poured into my spirit the very meaning of human life, and my heart leaped for joy. Even though I was saved, I had no idea my human spirit was made to contain God, and that this Christ I had received not only died for me, but is transforming me and countless others into His bride for the eternal marriage. These kinds of words not only fully satisfied my longing to know the truth, but I felt that I no longer needed to seek out religion and the spirituality of building up myself. I saw the need and privilege to be able to bless God by enjoying this blessed One living inside of me, and living in the Bible. I found out that this brother had been studying and enjoying the ministries of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee for the last 22 years. At that point I began to meet with the church in Newington, and three years later by the Lord’s mercy and bounty, I am still growing here. One verse that still blesses me abundantly is John 6:45, which states “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” This simply says to me that even though I enjoyed the ways of the world for a time, God was teaching me all along that I needed to receive and believe into His Son. Now I worship Him in spirit and truthfulness.
Praise the Lord!