I was raised in a Christian Family in Allegan, MI. I attended First Baptist Church of Allegan from the time I was an infant until I moved to Kalamazoo for college. Through my Christian family and my time at church, I became very familiar with the Christian Faith, the Bible, and with Jesus etc. I accepted Christ as a young child at church. When I was in 6th or 7th Grade or so... I decided that I should be babtized. I learned about Baptism in more detail at Lake Ann Baptist summer camp. I was in their TeePee Village group that year I think.
My high school years I began doing a lot of thinking, questioning, and reading. I asked a lot of questions to myself about what I believed about God and Faith and life etc. I wanted to make sure I was not following a lie, and wanted to base my life on the truth nomatter the truth is.
I learned a lot about other faiths, and the arguments for each.
I decided to try this approach...
I began to pray that God would reviel himself to me if he is real. To help me to come to know who he really is, and to reject anything that is part of the tradition or faith that is not truly of God. I figgured I'd get silence if God was not real. I hoped to get answers if God was real. I also started reading the Bible a lot to see what the Bible claimed about God.
I was really astonished about the writings in the Bible about the life of Jesus. The first hand accounts of his life in the Bible were raw and real. He was very different than I thought of him up until that point. I guess I pictured "Sunday School Bible-Story Jesus". The man I read about was anything but meek, mild, wimpy, lovey-dovey, sing songy... etc.
Here was this tough carpenter, who worked with his dad doing very tough manual labor. He had to be tan, strong and rugged! (Sorry folks there goes your white emaciated Jesus!) He spoke with such athority that EVERYONE stopped to listen. Including those who usually told others what to do. He had such integrity that the only fault his enemies could accuse him for was claiming to be the Messiah. (Which of course is not a fault if he actually was...)
Long story short... As I prayed, I had answers. I don't want to put the specifics on this blog, but I had some very specific answers to my prayers given within 24 hours of praying etc... I began to pray instead "if you are there" and started praying asking to know who Jesus and God really are.
It's been a journey so far. God has given me very specific life guidence when I prayed for him to show me where he wanted me to go. I hope to keep following his lead. :)
Here's one specific example of answered prayers... I had narrowed down my college choices to WMU or KVCC (to start at least). I prayed that God would help show me where he wanted me to go by allowing my scholarships / financial aide to be enough if he wanted me to go to WMU... Otherwise I'd go to KVCC. Seemed like common sense right? Doesn't take faith to make that decision right? Well when we totaled up the financial aid and scholarships... I had within $1 of exactly the amount I needed for WMU. I think I had $.84 left over. Well I took that as a strong sign that I was being told to go to WMU!
Check back and I'll write more about my Faith experiences at Threads Church in Kalamazoo, MI, and more.
Oh, and if you think I'm trying to say that I have it all figgured out... I don't!
I've learned that God never really lays out the long term plan for you. Usually I just find the next step Just before I have to take it. It's a dependence thing. He doens't want to give us the plan and let us do it our way. He wants us to walk with him and follow his lead.