Acts 4:11-12, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
This passage is a great summation of who I was, I was that builder who rejected the stone and didn’t truly understand what it meant to be saved.
I grew up in a typical Catholic home, was baptized as a baby, did my 1st communion, confirmation, and went to church mostly every Sunday. I believed myself to be a decent Catholic, but underneath I wasn’t a good Christian. I was taught as a child to always trust in God by my Mother, but the conversation of Christ wasn’t ever fully discussed. Who he was, what it meant to be a Christian, what his death meant for the whole world. All I got from church was that I needed to confess my sins occasionally, go to church, and to take the blood and body of Christ for my sins every Sunday.
And as a kid you don’t question, you just go along. As an adult, I started to feel lost, as though something was missing. I began to ask myself questions of why we did certain things, said the prayers we said, and why we were committed to rituals. Up until this point I never really picked up the bible to really try to read and understand it. In college I took a few courses on world religions and bible studies, but never paid much attention to what I was reading.
This time, I told myself, I needed to start from the very beginning with the Old Testament. Now I was completely dumbfounded. Here I was opening a world; where, God punished sinners with blood, famine, and plagues for not obeying his laws, for eating the wrong food, or worshipping other gods. And there it was, an angry God, a Jealous God. Exodus- You shall worship no other god.
I was more lost than ever, I didn’t understand what I was reading. I didn’t understand what certain passages or stories meant. So I prayed, I wanted to know ,and then I was invited (many times) by my sister-in- law to Grace Life. At first, I was hesitant, I fought it. What does some guy speaking out of school have to say that I should listen. Then one day I gave in.
Suddenly, the words Pastor was preaching started to make sense of what I was reading. I would go home making more sense of what I was reading. But, there still was a void. There were several moments when Pastor would ask the congregation after a sermon if you don’t know Jesus, then come talk to me. Again, I was hesitant, but being the persistent man he is, I finally took him up on the offer.
I asked if we could do a bible study so that I could learn more and get some answers. At first, I realized that I was a much bigger sinner than I could have imagined, but as the sessions progressed questions were being answered and then the 3rd meeting. Who is Jesus, why should I worship this person when the bible states it clearly to worship no other? Because Jesus and God are one in the same, at that moment the door was opened. After a short conversation and some bible references, he told me to go read through John.
John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Right at that moment after reading John 1:14, I saw the light and the light is the Word. God and the word became flesh in Jesus. Continuing on through John, I was being peppered with verse after verse reaffirming that God is Jesus. That next week, our final meeting, I told Pastor I wanted to be baptized.
This was back in November. At the time, I thought I was ready to publicly accept Jesus, but God had other plans. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Going through this with my wife we decided to postpone. Fast Forward 8 months later, at that moment when I first thought I was ready to accept Jesus, he knew I wasn’t ready. He has taken this time to test us, and shake us so that we may give ourselves fully and unconditionally to him. It is through the grace of God that he has given us the guidance, strength, a great church family, and Pastor to help us through all this.
John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 1:17, “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
John 5:23, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”