Thursday, February 26, 2015

Did you find a Bible?

One of the craziest things about the Bible, "the book" is that every time I start reading it, and really focus on one verse at a time, it's like something very special starts happening.  They aren't like any other words I've ever read.  There's power in them.  There is a unique presence in the word of God.  That's why I hand out Bibles, and that's why I leave Bibles at laundromats, diners, and coffee shops.  Everyone ought to read the Bible.  The words are powerful.  They jump right off the page.  

John 16:33 ESV 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Did you find a Bible?  Stick around.  I'm not anyone special, I'm just a young guy who believes that God is real.  That God actually exists.  But when you think about it, how else did the universe get here?  How else could human kind, the plants, the animals all be so complicated, yet harmonious?  

Before I began following Jesus, it was like I kept running into dead ends in my life.  Dozens and dozens of them.  I worked jobs that I didn't really like.  I felt like I wasn't where I was suppose to be in life.  I would try to force good things to happen in my life, even when I could tell they were crumbling in my hands as I tried to form them.  I tried to create the perfect relationships.  I tried to drink to have fun.  I tried to apply for jobs that maybe I might enjoy doing.  Yet it always seemed like something was missing in my life.  Do you know what I mean?

It always seemed like there was a blank spot in the middle of my chest.  What was wrong with me?  I tried to speed up my life as much as possible, so I wouldn't have to really stop and think about what life was all about.  Yet deep down I wanted peace.  I wanted peace of mind.  I wanted that spot in my soul to be filled.  

In fact I did try to fill that spot, I tried to fill it with friendship, with family, with alcohol, even drugs, and sexual acting out.  But I would always wake up the next morning feeling empty as ever.  

What is a person like me to do?  Jobs, driving here and there, living in central Wisconsin, just sort of wondering.  I went to college, got an education, yet it was all so empty.  At times I felt a sort of spiritual connectedness.  But I honestly didn't really know what I needed.  I pursued what society told me to pursue, fun, success, fame, girls, and on and on and on.  But it never led me anywhere good.

The missing piece in my life, the engine that was missing, was Jesus Christ.  Now I was raised Catholic, but I thought it was just a bunch of made up fairy tales.  I didn't think it was actually real.  In fact I'm still surprised that this Christian stuff in actually, truly, real.  But it is.  God is real.  He's revealed himself in the books of the Bible.  Now you have to understand, I'm one of those people who would be the last to say something like that.  I did not want some God telling me what to do.  And I was a well read person, Thoreau, Orwell, Huxley, Tolkien, Lewis.  But none of that helped me.  None of that really transcended life.  I thought of other religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, but there seemed to be no presence in those religions.  They were all maps to how to live a more moral life.  

But Jesus Christ and the message of the Bible is not simply a better way to try to be a good person.  Jesus Christ did not simply claim to teach the truth, he said "I am the truth."  Jesus did not simply point to the way, he said, "I am the way."  Jesus did not say 'do these things and you'll live" Jesus said, "I am the life."  

When we believe in our hearts, and really make a choice to trust that Jesus Christ is exactly who he said he was, the Son of God, then we receive eternal life through him.  All our mistakes and failings and setbacks are forgotten.  We are reconciled to God.  That empty hole in our chests is filled with the love of God.  The Holy Spirit given by God leads us in a new way of life.  I used to be a drug addict, and an alcoholic, with nothing, and Jesus Christ gave me new motivations and hungers, to seek recovery and to have it.  

So if you found a Bible, I encourage you to study it diligently.  Begin to experience a spiritual awakening in your life.  Begin taking steps toward Jesus Christ.  Begin to pray daily, and study the word.  Find a good Bible teaching church in your area.  If you've got addiction or alcoholism problems, seek out fellowships like alcoholics anonymous and narcotics anonymous.  God works through many organizations and people.  Will you let him begin to work in your life?  It's your choice.  But believe me, this is the easier, softer way.  

Trust in Jesus.  

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”