Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Testimony I shared with my congregation at New Day Church

I remember I was sitting down for lunch with my grandmother at log cabin. I'd taken her to my church here at new day for the first time last week, and naturally the topic had been pornography addiction. But we were talking and she knew very well that for years after the divorce of my parents I had struggled constantly with depression, addictions, and just not understanding my place in the world. I had to be hospitalized several times, even institutionalized because of depression. I had mulled the idea of suicide over, more than once. Knowing all of this, and hearing from me about all the wonderful things that were happening in my life. She said, “You know maybe God wanted you all in. He didn't want you luke warm. So he gave you all of that, from the very bottom to the top.”

I personally think that the story of man from creation to apocalypse is a macrocosm of our individual spiritual journeys. We;re born innocent, like adam and eve in the garden of eden. Then we rebel. We rebel from our parents, society, school and so on. That insatiable inner need for pleasure and satisfaction, through rebellion leads us to a lot of dark places. It did for me anyway. Drugs, alcohol, lust, parties... its fun for a while. For a season. Eventually we come out of that, and realize that we want to be good people and live good lives. Unfortunately the rebellion tends to then take on a new form, which is trying to be good and do good without the help of God. In the old testament no matter what humanity did, it was always beset by sin and falling short of Gods expectations. In this constant inability to be truly righteous people sin grows and festers, and drags us down so low.. We call out for help, and Jesus Christ answers. Through the sacrifice of the lamb of God humanity was offered the chance to be whole righteous people, still plagued with sin, but with a helper to guide us on our way.

In my life after my initial rebellion I tried to find my morality and justice in the works of man. Emerson, Thoreau, Carnegie, Thompson, and so on. I endlessly journaled on my own inner turmoil and addictions. I was sure I could figure a way out of sin through depth of character and philosophical morality. This was not so. It was ironic that I always wanted to find a perfect morality, a perfect truth, a perfect justice, a perfect system, a perfect belief yet I utterly ignored the one source I had been raised on, christianity. There was always the greatest hunger in my soul, the greatest need in my being to be a leader, a righteous warrior in the story of humanity.

Eventually I came around to the idea of spirituality, but I didn't want to go all the way to God. I took on alternative spiritual beliefs, started attending groups and things got better. But I'm sure God said watching me at that time, well close Justin, but not quite. Like Luke Skywalker when he received his training from yoda, I was starting to learn, but I took off to fight darth vader before I was ready.

What followed was yet more trouble that lasted for years. All the fun of sin was gone. I knew full well what I was doing was wrong. God took me to rock bottom. And there I was. So I started praying, everyday begging God, saying God I can't do this anymore. I don't want this anymore. Bring me out of this darkness. For two years I prayed this prayer. And God gave me the courage, to go back to the groups that had helped me, and to come to new day and listen and learn. In the beginning I was so broken I couldn't do much of anything but sit there and listen. And that was enough, if you can't run, walk, if you can't walk, crawl. And slowly but surely the light in my eyes returned. I took the step to hand my life over to Christ. And as soon as I showed my obedience, and said ernestly, I can not do this without you lord, come into my life and use me. As soon as I did that, Wow! The change was miraculous. I still can't fully explain whats happening. Jobs, money, a car, groups, church, new friends, physical health, mental health, and much more. I'm so thankful to God for bringing me so low, because now I have something I never had in my spiritual journey before: thats drive. Incredible drive.

God is now the center of my life, and not by my doing, by his. I hope for great things in the future. Lately God has given me the gift of having the ability to make a living from what I love to do which is writing, through a blog I have on the internet. Further, I feel a strong calling in my heart to ministry. I'm very excited to tell you that recently I received a full scholarship and am now attending Christian Leaders Institute for a degree in ministry.

The name of the church new day, is very fitting. Because this is a new day for me. It's a new chance at life. If I can give any advice to everyone about their spiritual journeys, its this: If and when God gives you that insatiable drive to do the right things.. hit the ground running. Get involved. And hold on like theres no tomorrow.