While at church today, Erin told me that if something ever happened to her, she wants me to hook up with a “nice church girl,” then proceeded to make me aware of the hot chicks that just walked in. She then said she’d hook up with a “nice church boy” if something ever happened to me, to which I responded by telling her there’s no such thing as a “nice” church boy. I say this as an introduction to today’s Sunday post. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back for another Sunday blog with the church boy.

Today’s journal entry assignment, correlating with “Appointment” number 2 was to make a list of what I like about being in God’s family. I limited my list to 10 items, all of which are hand scrawled into a numbered list in my composition book. For blog purposes, however, I’m going to include a short comment after each. In no particular order:

1) Faith Has Eased Worry and Strain:
As I stated in my last “Church Boy” blog, in order to exercise faith, I first had to tell myself it was okay that I simply could not do these things on my own. When I welcomed Jesus into my heart, I, in many ways, said “Take it away!” and “away” he certainly took it, lifting a great weight off of my shoulders, my chest and my stomach. You can’t handle this life on your own, and by acknowledging that fact, I’ve been able to ease a lot of the mental stress I had on me.

2)The Blessings!:
No secret what all has happened in my life ever since I finally decided to start taking steps toward being a true believer. Heck, even the baby steps were rewarded with blessings. Just look at the last 2 years of my life! Even the tiniest changes I made in my life toward developing my faith resulted in a flood of blessings coming my way.

3)Breaking free of some of the chains:
No shame here. I was a huge fan of porn. Still sort of am. But I finally realized that hey, I sort of am developing a problem, here. Had I not had the ability to determine the difference between an actual need and an addiction created by the flesh, I would still be a slave to it. I’m not perfect, and I do stray from time to time, but I’m joyous and thankful that I’ve been able to bury it as well as I have, and still strive to finish it off (no pun intended).

4)Realizing being a believer is who I was the entire time:
Living in the bible belt, it’s easy to think that “everybody’s a Christian.” Don’t believe me, go work in a restaurant on a Sunday when it seems as if 3/4 of the population of Kingsport comes in and acts all “churchy.” To the unbeliever or someone like myself who, at the time, was just in doubt, it’s so easy to think that these people represented true Christianity and it’s a no brainer to decide you want nothing to do with it. Now that I am a believer, along with reason number 5, listed next, I see now that true Christians are sort of outsiders, outcasts and against the “norm.” I’ve always been that guy, I thought, but now I really am!

5)Leading by a true example:
Since becoming a believer, I’ve noticed even more how supposed Christians tear each other down just as quickly as the do non-professors of the faith. It’s pretty sad that the large amount of non-believers don’t give God a chance, not because of personal issues or conflict of faith, but because they don’t want to be a part of these people who claim to be followers of Christ. I’ve taken it upon myself to not put myself above anyone and while it’s very difficult to do, I cast stones as infrequently as possible. I hope that one day people will see my example, know my faith, and maybe come to Christ because of it.

6)Getting to think of others:
This makes it sound as though I were a terrible person before this took place in my life, and while I can assure you that it isn’t exactly how it sounds, my attitude toward a lot of things has changed. Sure, I hooked up a homeless gentleman with some free food and drink from O’Charley’s once, and sure I’ve given a few homeless folks money, a gentleman who needed money for gas, an old lady who needs something from the top shelf, even delivered Christmas baskets to families in need for a couple of years during the holidays. I can honestly say that I didn’t do these things to get recognition or just to show how good I was, I just did it because they needed it and I could. Now, I have an even better reason to do it: To share the love given to me by Christ, and to show his compassion to those around me.

7)Eternal Life:
Last week gave us an awesome bible verse from the book of 1 John. Leading up to the highlighted verse (5:13), we’re told that those who have Christ have life, those who do not have Christ, do not. “I have written this to you who believe in the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Eternal life! Written in the book! As Showbread says “The author of life knows my name.” What a statement! Eternal life through the Son of God! I’m only renting this space on earth. Showbread also says on their newest release “Who Could Know It” (blog about it soon), in their song entitled “You’re Like a Taxi”: “When I die, whatever you might say, don’t say I’m gone, gone is not the word for someone who finally found his way back home

8)The answers provided and emotional support provided by God’s Word:
The bible is not there to help me decide which shoes look better with the jeans I have on, nor is it there to tell me what car to buy once my CRV craps out. I have, however, found on numerous occasions that through the stories of those who came before me, through parables and the highly illustrative moral sagas in the bible have come through to answer some of life’s questions that I have been confronted with or have been pondering on for quite some time. It isn’t a dictionary with a certain place to look and certain answers to be found, but it is a source of help and support that seems to hit the right way at exactly the right time.

9)Surprising others:
One of the coolest things I’ve noticed since I have embraced my new life is how people get surprised by my profession of faith! I can’t blame them, because for the biggest part of my life, I faked my way through church and spent college trying to find myself spiritually and gave God the short end of the stick when it came to my spiritual life. When I asked a friend of mine about Showbread, his first reaction was total shock that I’d even be interested in a Christian rock band on purpose. I’m apparently full of surprises, and it’s always pretty cool to hit people with that curve ball, especially after they think they know me well :-)

10)Having a void filled:
I don’t mean this in a metaphorical way, either. There wasn’t a metaphorical “hole” in my heart, mind, soul, whatever. While my heart has been filled by the Holy Spirit, the voids in my life were all things I thought I either didn’t have or wouldn’t have, mostly on the account of my faith. Without it, I wouldn’t appreciate the wife I have, the house I have, the family I have, the job I have. I wouldn’t be in a place right now where I am 100% happy with what I have and what I do and have enough left over to make some pretty serious decisions in the near future. What a feeling!

“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.”
-Ephesians 1:5

Enjoy today’s haiku:

All these photos have
a picture of her on them.
You’d think I loved her!

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