Spinoff of the religion thread: Were you "saved" and if so, how?
I thought it would be an interesting spinoff from the other thread about Christianity/God/religion. Seems that there are a few here who are strong believers and have been "saved" (for lack of a better term) or who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Would you mind sharing your story? Were you a non-believer and then something happened to change your mind? Was it a gradual transition? Did you convert or have a baptism or whatever happens at church to make it official?
I'm curious about this. I'm agnostic. Sometimes I envy believers. It would be so nice to have that rock solid belief, especially with respect to the afterlife. I would love to believe that I will see my loved ones again. But, I've always figured I'm just not wired that way, because I can't imagine making that leap of faith.
So, I'm especially interested to hear how people went from non-believer to born- again.
But I warn you, I am a bit of a tale teller, [not that it isn't true, but I er, talk a lot and tend to ramble so I will try to keep it focused. ]
As I have said earlier, I was unchurched growing up. My parents wouldn't darken the doorway of a church. So I picked up from them-churches-bad, full of hypocrites, etc, etc. My sister was always open to it, and frequently went with the neighbors. NOT ME! I went thru my twenties, in the early 70's and if you remember, the motto was sex, drugs and rock and roll. I got a good job with the phone company, and in a few years, bought Dr Pepper. She was the sort of horse that is a million dollar buy. I kept her for 29 years, without a single drama. She had one mild colic, and a mild bow. That was it. Anyway, when I started riding, I started hanging around with people who didn't get stoned every night. Just had different interests. I became immersed in eventing. I got to go to Kentucky for the World Championships in 1978, without enough knowlege to walk the course! I walked some of it, don't know if I even had a camera, can't find the pictures anywhere.
Anyway, by now, I had bought the small house I am still in, and my sister and her daughter moved in. She began to go to the Christian Church 1/2 mile away. I didn't go with her. Eventually, I went there in dispair, [I have always suffered somewhat from depression.] I listened to a couple of sermons, and realized that I did need Jesus in my life as my Savior. I got baptized, and became a member. I had scheduled a trip to Australia for the World Championships in '86. I asked the pastor if it was right for me to go away like that or should I stay, and give the money to the poor. I can remember him trying to keep a straight face when he said it was ok fro me to go to Australia. I was over the moon.
Now here's where it gets good. Just so you know I have MANY faults, here is one doozy. I went on the tour that COTH put together. Met nice people. Everyone else got to go on to NZ, but I couldn't get the extra week. We flew down on Quantas. The stewards[!] all wore shorts, as did seemingly all Aussies. And they had CUTE BUTTS! The first day there, we took a bus to a port city up north so we could go out on a catamaran, and swim with the fishes. Two of our flight crew was on the bus and boat. We got to chatting, and I mentioned I had never had lamb. They invited me back to stay with them in Sydney for a day or two. For the whole 10 days, I kept thinking about what I was gonna with that guy when I got my hands on him. A little voice in my head kept saying, 'But you are a Christian now, you shouldn't do that." I waved it away, hey! I was on the other side of the world, and I was gonna have FUN! When I got to Sydney, to my horror, [and God's amusement I think, ] I found out he was gay.
Well! That gave me something serious to think about on the very long flight home. Was I just paying lip service, or was I invested in Christ.
And let me tell you, it is much easier to be pious about sleeping around when you aren't!
Erm, in 6 months, it will be thirty years since I .... but why go there?
From that time to this, we have had a couple of dynamite preachers, and a couple who would put me to sleep. And the last year and a half, I have been working as a secretary for the church. They cannot afford to pay me, but it gets me out of bed, I have to take a SHOWER, and I have to LEAVE THE HOUSE. I have a pension, and now I have the truly God sent mystery shopping.
What I have learned from Christianity is that God loves all of us, even Hitler, Pol Pot, or Charles Manson. He sent His Son to die on the cross so that mankind might be saved from hell. Christians are commanded to tell others of the gospel. We do not need to belabor the point. If you do not want to hear, then go your way, and I will go mine.
I like to think of it as me passing by a burning house. Do you want me to knock and tell you your house is on fire, or not bother, and let you burn in your house?
It helps tremendously if you are not a pew sitter, constantly looking at your watch, but really listening. Last Sunday, Mike the Sunday morning driver, brought three boys in. They were new, I have never seen them before. The oldest was maybe 11 or 12. They sat in the front row. The oldest boy was without a bible, so he moved back a row, and picked up a pew bible. It so happened that it was a King James, and he couldn't follow Jake, the pastor. He frowned, and moved over to get another bible, and found a New International. He found the passage by himself, and smiled when he could follow. I was amazed. His little brother, when Jake asked a retorical question, shouted out an answer. It wasn't right but HE WAS LISTENING!
A 7 year old boy sitting in church listening to the pastor, not coloring on the bulletin. I was amazed.
There are many wonderful people who aren't christians, but they aren't going to heaven.
I hope I haven't wasted your time, but it is interesting. I still get discouraged sometimes. But I know that I am going to heaven, and it does make it a little easier down here to get through the day.
I grew up in a Christian home and rebelled hard against it. I did not like rules and that was all I got out of church was a bunch of rules on how I was suppose to act. When I was in my 20's, in a bad marriage, with a baby was when I went back to church. The church I went to was much different than the one I grew up in. I was free to be myself and work out my own salvation. The church focused on a relationship with Jesus, much like having a friendship with a person. I didn't feel bogged down with rules of don't do this and do that. I was free to be myself and follow Jesus at the same time. I thrived in this church. I did change things about myself but it was not because the church told me I had to, it was more a conviction of the heart to change.
I have now been a Christian for 18 years and I have so many stories to tell of how God has worked in my life including bringing horses back into my life.
I was a very militant and avid atheist until 4 years ago. God literally took a hold of me, showed me how He views things and away I went. I still shock some of the more "religious" sorts with my outspoken assertive feminism (heck, I shock even non-Christians LOL!!).
Within a month of being saved I quite literally heard a voice in my head that I did not recognize say "quit smoking". I did. Just like that. It was not hard and I walked around with a half pack of Marlboro Light 100s in my purse for over a week LOL!! That was Feb. 19, 2009. I have not smoked since nor wanted to. I used to smoke a minimum of a pack a day and would plan my day around when/how/where I could smoke.
If you honestly seek Him, He will come get you. I think we all look for God in different ways. I happened to read those Rapture books, the series by Lahaye (?) so I knew a basic idea of salvation I suppose.
The Knotted Pony
Proud and upstanding member of the Snort and Blow Clique.
FWIW, I'm not coming out! I'm just very curious about people's beliefs and their stories and since it is Off Topic Day and there's a related non-trainwreck thread going on, why not ask? I had a very good friend in college tell me I was going to hell because I wasn't a Christian. She was born-again, but it never occurred to me to ask her about her "birth" or "saving" or whatever you would call it . . . her mom was born-again, maybe that's why she was?
I had another friend who grew up Jewish and married a non-Jew and ended up going to some church...7th Day Adventist, maybe? I don't know that she ever believed in the church's teachings, but went along with it because of her asshat husband.
I met a great Rabbi in my YTT program and loved her, she was one of the coolest people I've ever met.
So I wonder about people's faiths (like on the other thread) and how they came to believe. Since I didn't grow up with church, and I don't know a lot about religion, I'm trying to learn and understand other people. I've heard of people being "called" to something but I don't really get how that happens or what it means....
What a neat thread. Hopefully COTH will indulge us for another day so I can post my story in the morning. I am looking forward to sleepily reading others responses as I drift into a Christmas dessert coma.
The born again thing still squicks me, even as a Christian. I consider myself to have come back. It really IS just a feeling for me. It took me more than ten years to flesh it out and land in adult catholic class. I wasn't going to mention it because it's woowoo, but my last straw was recurring, incredibly real dreams about demons after me. Coming to Christianity is a very individual thing...
My story isn't really dramatic. I grew up in a very Baptist family. We went to church most Sundays and were pretty active in the church. We lived in a very rural area - and to me that church was what church is supposed to be: a community of believers. I am sure that as a child I missed the short comings of some of the church-goers. But the church came together to help people out: they put us up when our house burned down, they threw wedding and baby showers, they supported each other. The men of the church built the church addition - it wasn't fancy, but it was safe an let the church add on. The church held Halloween get-togethers for the kids. (We even had a haunted hayride... something many Baptist churches today would scream about ).
I was saved as a kid - it was something I took seriously then, but it was also something most kids in our church did. We moved when I was in middle school and found another good church, and when I was in high school and my parents got divorced I went a lot.
Then I went to college and drifted away. It wasn't that I stopped believing in God, but I hated getting up in the morning and didn't feel that I needed church to believe. I think I spent years kind of 'going through the motions' of praying and reading my Bible but without really putting thought behind in.
In the last couple of years, I've been drawn back to trying to learn more about God, the Bible, and my religion. It started before my mom died, but her death gave me a stronger push to try to be more spiritual. I'm still not a regular church-goer - mostly because I've -really- had trouble finding a church where I feel comfortable (although we did have one when we lived south of Houston). I'm not a perfect Christian (no one is), but I try. And the truth is that the more I study, read, and pray, the better I feel. I still struggle with things like depression or being overwhelmed, and somedays my prayer is nothing more than, "Please help me get through this" - but I still feel better.
I'm not very good at finding the words to describe the feelings in my heart or my beliefs. So I hope this made a tiny bit of sense.
My family went to church for as long as I can remember. When I was 12 I decided that if I was going to believe something, then I'd better take it seriously. I started reading in the bible every day and thinking over what I was reading. Pretty soon, I signed on personally and formally to ... stick with him and join him in his way of dealing with life. Adult baptism was the formal public declaration of that, but the commitment was one on one with him.
(and that 'him' is the gender - inclusive version, BTW. I just don't click personally with slashes in my pronouns)
My parents never attended church-if you asked them, they would say that they were Christians, and we had a family Bible, but we never spoke of God, or saw anyone read the Bible. I would occasionally be invited to Sunday School, church, Bible study with friends while growing up, and would attend, but by high school, had pretty much decided I was an agnostic. (to my parents horror, I might add).
Grew up, married, had 3 kids. Made a friend at work who also had 3 kids. At some point, she was saved. Kept inviting me to go to Bible study, would roll my eyes, but I could not deny I had seen a big change in her life, her attitudes, and I finally went. The love in that room was so thick you could cut it with a knife. So I stayed, and eventually asked Jesus to be my Savior.
A few months later I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I didn't believe in that, either, even after salvation, but decided I would ask for it, and since it wasn't real, nothing would happen , right? A good friend had told me, as I was learning how to pray, that at first to pray for 15 minutes-spend 5 thanking God for all I have, then spend 5 minutes talking to him, then 5 minutes listening. So I am in the bathtub-the only place a mother of three small children has any peace- doing my 15 minutes of praying, and I found I was praying in tongues. Surprise!
And that is my story. 28 years later, I still believe, still speak with God. Too much has happened in my life, prayers answered, healing, for me to ever turn away.
Last edited by mishmash; Dec. 26, 2012 at 12:06 AM.
Reason: To add: I don't judge other peoples salvation. Only God knows their heart. I try to love all, and let God sort it out in the