My personal statement on my faith
You may have noticed the Gold Cross in the browser icon for this site. I did not place it there out of random chance or happenstance.
My roots in life are planted in my faith and in my beliefs. From birth, I was raised and grew up in a church environment. Over the years, I have experienced wonders which can be described as supernatural or not of man. From age 16, I grew up in my teen years and adult life in a Pentecostal Church of God. This is where I really grew and ministered to people through different mediums such as running the sound board, or displaying the song lyrics on screen during worship service.
All of this was part of my life and played a huge roll in the decisions I made in my life. I had married out of responsibility to be a present Daddy to my unborn child, and also a husband at the time to her Mother. At first, the marriage was happy and good, but over the years, it fell apart no matter how much I tried or prayed, it just could not stay together. Mistakes were made and I feel like I was released from the marriage based on biblical reasons which I will not go into here. This was a huge strike in my heart and a life changing event for me. That very same year, I lost my Father to kidney failure and other things related to it. I never really had a strong father/son relationship with him, we never went hunting, and maybe fishing twice. I know the reasons why and I do not fault him for any of it. To me, he was Dad and the final word in decisions and sometimes the strong disciplinarian. Through him though, I learned to be reverent in the house of God and respect it and others. I know he loved me and would do anything for me and I would have too. Having lost him the same year that I divorced and in the middle of my life changes, I again had another huge strike in my heart. Much like a huge sledge hammer knocking a big chunk off of my being.
Over the next few months, I witnessed different things in the church which made me not want to be there and question the appropriation of funds given in offerings. If you are reading this - and you are the former pastor of the church, I am sorry to say that those actions I saw, affected me and caused me to lose my trust in it.
I eventually left the church. Having experienced the many life changes I went through, I explored different options and churches all within the Christian faith and those that taught biblical principals. I found it difficult and very hard to find a church home that I could feel comfortable in.
Fast forward to when I met Mandy and we married each other. I know she is a Christian woman and we both desire to find a church home now that we are in Portland. As I have mentioned in a previous post, depression has put a hamper on many things in our lives. I have heard the begging, and pleading for us to find a church home, I see the posts on Facebook, I hear the news, I am very well aware of the state the U.S. is in and where the world is heading.
For a while, we attended a Nazarene church, but something just didn't feel right. We eventually stopped going. And by the way, having grown up in church, I even attended the same church as a kid, it is a stark contrast between Pentecostal and Nazarene services. This leads to something else - a theory I have:
I believe that the reason we have so many different denominations of Christianity, is because not everyone is the same. Some people are more outgoing and boisterous and need the Charismatic church, others are down to earth and appreciate the peace and calm services, others are in between and just as long as it isn't too wild, they are happy. There are plenty of different styles and mixes, but that is what makes it more fitting for each person.
Back to my faith - This is what I hold to my heart -
- I believe in God, The Son (Jesus), and The Holy Spirit as the Holy Trinity - 3 -in - one - something we may never fully understand the how until we go to Heaven.
- I believe that the word of God (The Bible), is a living breathing book spiritually and can breathe life into one's soul. It is a very powerful book.
- I believe that through God, all things are possible (Except Sin), and that He has the complete power to heal, strike down, or even bring to life a person through his Son. While He can do this Himself, he sent his Son to die for us.
- I believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day and later ascended to Heaven.
- I believe in Christ's return and the Rapture.
These are just some of the basic things I believe.
One of the things that I experienced in the Pentecostal Church of God is the general feeling of 'Sam is out of church, he must have backslidden" or "Look! Bill is at the altar, he was gone for a long time, he even went to that church across town for a while, he's getting right with God! Hallelujah! "
I for one resent those thoughts and notions. We are not supposed to judge others and if we do, we are to judge as we would be judged. I believe that you can maintain your faith and spirituality without the church. I believe that there is a very basic fundamental process behind the church:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
It really is this simple. In the beginning when Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and Adam did as well, I think that God saw what was going to happen into the future to even today and beyond. He knew the sin and corruption which would happen in this world. From this point on, it has been a battle between God and Satan for everyone's soul. At the right time, he sent Jesus to save the world. Jesus' command is simple - we are to go out and bring people in to the church, train them up to become disciples and send them out to do the same. Together, there is a process put into place to convert as many souls and people to come to Heaven.
Sadly, not every church does this, and many fall into the power of money or glory bestowed upon them by the congregation. The focus is lost and the church now becomes a huge cathedral of sorts.
I am not saying that churches should not be beautiful, or ornate, but I think the primary focus is discipleship. When Jesus was on earth, He was teaching and performing miracles for people. Not because He had to, but out of the love and compassion in His heart.
The church needs to teach people Christianity, and the ways of Christ and His teachings. The church needs to equip it's congregation to deal with the spiritual battles that lay within Christianity. The church needs to encourage it's congregation to bring people in.
Let me address an issue here - Not everyone and I mean this, is cut out to be the person who brings someone in. Other areas of ministry happen. Something as simple as letting a visitor sit where you normally do, or saying an extra kind word to someone is a ministry. Having a positive attitude at work all the time and being human too, are all ministries. Giving gifts to someone just to see them light up with joy, that is an extension of ministering to someone. I was a sound man for several years and the Multi-Media projectionist for years, even sang in the youth choir and preached one sermon. That was my form of ministry.
My point in all of this is - I am still a Christian and I still have my deep faith and convictions the same as everyone else, I just do things differently anymore. There is no right or wrong with this. Until we find a church home, this will probably be this way.
I do not ask for conviction or people telling me that I should find a church NOW! or, pray more or read more etc...Before anyone does this, please look at the other fingers pointing back at you while you point at me. ;)
i had read this before and it was good to read it again.
Once you have experienced God as you have it will always be with you.