Tuesday, 30 July 2013

My Testimony

The first time I attended Church was Christmas 2011. My fiancée, now wife, attended the Mother and Toddlers group at the Church and our son was to take part in the Nativity. I was dragged along by my partner and we attended the service.

At the beginning of the following January I was persuaded to attend the Family Fun Night that they were having, and myself, my partner and the Children went. We had a great time, it was fun relaxed and I felt instantly included.

The feeling of inclusion was a new one for me. I am naturally a very shy, introverted person and I usually feel uncomfortable in new places where I hardly know anyone, so to go the Church, full of new people and feel comfortable was a new experience and I can say that I have never felt uncomfortable in my regular Church or any other.

That night after we had got home from the Family Fun night I picked up my tablet and downloaded the Bible and started reading at Genesis. I promptly stopped reading the Bible and put it back down (a tip for anyone about to read the Bible for the first time, do not start with Genesis it will scare you off, start with the Gospels, preferably Mark) and we on attending a Sunday Service.

Well we attended one and we have been going regularly since then. I have also attended an Alpha Course, continued reading the bible and numerous other books on Christianity. My knowledge on Theology was growing, my knowledge of the Church and Christianity was improving and I was making good progress but I was still hit with doubt.

I had never had a ‘Damascus-moment’, a flash of light or heard the voice of God. My belief and faith had grown slowly over the past year as I attended Church and read the Bible and other books and because of this I felt like I had been missing out, like I wasn’t a ‘proper Christian’.

Then I thought back through the past year and a bit and I realised I had felt God. It was on an evening in the April after I first attended Church and I was sat in the hallway of my house, my kids were going to sleep in their rooms and I was doing the sleep training exercise where you move a bit further away each night and I had made it to the hallway and as I was sat there waiting for them to drift off I put my head down and prayed.

I prayed for God to let me know I was on the right track. I prayed thanks to God for bringing me into the Church and then I asked Him to help keep me motivated and show me that I am doing things right. As I sat there praying I realised that I felt lighter than I had before, I felt like a weight had been taken for me. I never realised that I was carrying a weight before this moment and it was only when it had gone did I notice it.

I believe with all my heart that it was God showing me at the moment what it is like to be in his presence, it is light and peace, and I would love to say that I felt that wonderful feeling for the rest of my life but, alas, we are people of the world and problems and stress and tiredness have made the feeling disappear but I know that when I am alone and deep in prayer that feeling will come back.

So that is my testimony, what yours?

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Hope Effect

A few weeks ago I was reading Christianity Today and came across an article about sponsoring children in some of the poorest places in the world. The article looked at whether sponsoring a child made a difference or if it was just a money making scheme for the companies who arranged the sponsorship. The article, wonderfully, found that children who are sponsored on average achieve more than similar children who aren't sponsored.

The article explored the reasons behind this and found that sponsored children not only achieved more than those children not fortunate to go to school but they also achieved more than other pupils who weren't sponsored. The article put this down to the increased feeling of Hope that the child experienced by knowing that someone out there loves them, the child suddenly felt like they could achieve anything, as their hope increased so did they dreams and the belief that they could achieve these dreams and ambitions.

The feeling of hope is something that I have been feeling myself lately. Ever since I became a Christian and accepted God as my Lord I have felt an increased feeling of hope. Knowing that God has a plan for me has made me feel like I can achieve anything; that the dreams and ambitions that I had kept hidden (because I thought they were unrealistic) can now be brought out into the light because with God’s help I can achieve anything.

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I also believe that hope can solve a lot of the problems we have in our own communities. When I walk through the vandalised parks and past groups of teenagers stood outside shops I have to ask myself, what hope do they have for the future? Do they dream of being successful and do they believe that they can achieve they dreams? More and more I am coming up with the answer, no.

If you spoke to a lot of the children hanging around street corners and in parks and asked them what they wanted to be when they leave school what type of answers do you think you would get?

If you asked the same question to children from better off families, would the answers given be different?

 The article on Christianity Today

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Expanding the blog

Well I lied to you during my last post.

It wasn't an intentional lie but I have lied and I apologise. In my last post I said I would post regularly, keeping you up to date with my journey into Christianity and I haven't done that. I wanted to, but ether was always something more important to do.

One of the more important things I was doing is devising a new-look for the blog. Whilst investigating Christianity I have found a load of great resources that can help guide a "layman" along the open path to the Lord Jesus and I am going to use this blog to bring those resources together.

I will be creating a list of websites and articles that I believe are useful, as well as posting reviews of books that have helped.

I will also be looking for help with this. Do you know of an effective blog I can link to? Is there a book that blew your mind? Would you like to review it for me? I would love to hear from you so please feel free to comment and keep checking back for the updates.



P.s. I will try to blog more as well.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Dealing with Sin

Hello Readers (If there are any),

It has been a long time since my last post and I thought I would come here and confess why.

For the past few weeks and months I have been discovering my Christianity, I have been reading numerous books, blogs and articles on Christianity and i have been trying to grow spiritually. I feel I was making very good progress but then something happened which I wasn't expecting or planned for.

I found myself becoming more and more tempted to sin. I found myself having thoughts about doing things I know is wrong and the more I tried to fight them the stringer the urge to sin grew in me. I, rather naively, thought that once I became a Christian and accepted God into my life then the urge to sin would just disappear, that I would be good and pure and I thought that because I was having these temptations and thoughts I must not be a good Christian and maybe I was fooling myself into thinking I was.

I now know this is wrong. Being a Christian does not mean that you do not have the temptation to sin, it means you recognise sin is in the world but have the strength to resist. I no longer doubt my Christianity but will be working harder on resisting. I will also be updating this blog more.