I was raised in a church home with Mother taking us most every Sunday, but I came to accept Christ on my own through Young Life in High School. Unlike a lot of Christians who have made a conscious decision to accept Christ into his/her heart, I cannot tell you the moment I said, “Jesus – I am yours.” But since High School, I have been a follower of the teachings of Jesus.
My original studies came from reading the Gospels as they were translated in the “The Good News” version of the Bible. I have always been practical in all my readings, often missing the deeper meanings of John Steinbeck and even Mark Twain and the same failings followed me in my Gospel readings. I was not unlike the disciples, to whom Jesus explained many teachings by way of parables or stories – and then had to explain what the parables meant. My eating habits may be vegetarian, but my reading has to be “meat and potatoes.”
At the ancient age of 47, I chose to formally pursue an education in theology. Intellectually, it has been a gold mine for me. Academically, not so much. I have learned that everything we need to know about God – in all three forms of Creator, Messiah and Spirit - starts with the Bible. And reading the Bible is a good thing. But understanding the Bible is another thing – an undertaking that opens an awareness that is never finished. To know the Bible is to know God – who is unknowable. Yet that doesn’t mean the journey should not be taken. Reading the Bible will help us understand it as far as our existing knowledge will take us. But it is only through advanced study – of the culture and the geography and the history and the people and God help me, the languages – can our knowledge of those who wrote the Bible and, in turn, the Bible itself, expand.
My goal in reading the Old and New Testaments of the Bible is to explore how much Jesus Christ loves me and why. It is that encouragement that then moves me to be a better man, a better person and, most important of all, a better Christian.
Not everything I study at Seminary takes me to that goal. Some of the studies, in fact, seem to be an obstacle to my learning about Jesus. There are times in my studies when I’m ready to say “Furget it!” And the word I use isn’t “Furget.” But whatever the final outcome of my studies may be, it is my prayer that the knowledge that has been gained - a knowledge that comes at a price of personal sacrifice, of family time, finances, and, for very brief moments, self-esteem - will not be a light hidden under a bushel but will serve as a torch to light the path that all I know will trod upon, sharing a peace and love that is available to everyone for the asking and bringing to each of us a heaven on earth.
I share this mostly to encourage you to seek and walk this path and also in the hope that you will hold me accountable to these ideals as I try to walk it with you.
Thanks for being a part of my life.
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