You might ask, how does someone go from not reading any kind of book for six years and then start reading the Bible? Allow me to share my story.
I remember from a very early age, I knew I enjoyed music and wanted to be around music. From 8 years old, I wanted to either sing or play the drums. At 12 years old, I learned I would never make a dime doing either one. I remember the listening to disc jockeys on the radio and said, “I can do that”. I spent the next several years perfecting that craft and getting myself to the point where I was working at radio stations in the Greater New York City area during the week and then playing records in nightclubs on the weekend.
This was the career I had thought would get me everything I was looking for. I thought it would make me happy, I’d make some money and make some friends as well.
As I reached my mid-twenties, life’s questions became a bit more challenging. I had reached some level of success with my career but felt there had to be more. I was making other people happy but feeling empty inside. I was making money, but it vanished just as quickly as it came in. When life was going well, I have a lot of friends around. When jobs and money slowed down some of those “friends” were hard to find.
I became very depressed and longed for meaning and purpose in life beyond where my career could take me. Even though I was feeling depressed and often wrestled with suicidal thoughts, I had a deep sense that God was keeping me alive and had some purpose for my life. I began searching for Spiritual answers. I wanted to learn more about who God is and what claim he would have on my life.
I felt that my religion didn’t really cost me much. As kids, we used to compare notes on which priest had the shorter services. I hadn’t grown much beyond that stage. I’m sure others attended the same church as I did but had very different experiences. I thought, maybe it was time to get a little more serious.
I grew up in religious school through high school and learned to kneel when you’re supposed to do kneel and stand when you’re supposed to stand. I even learned to look holy when you’re supposed to look holy. Although I always had a sense that God existed, my church attendance was more about pleasing people rather than connecting with God. I went because that’s what I was expected to do.
During this time, at the invitations of a couple of friends, I visited churches from another Christian tradition. I told my mother about a visit to an Episcopal church. You need to know this service was very formal with incense, choir, processionals, etc. Her response was, “that’s nice but I’d be happier if you went to a real church.” (Forgive her, Episcopalians, please, for she…)
The next church was an Assembly of God church. I didn’t think my mom was ready to hear about that one yet. But I was!
I remember being fascinated by the thought that they actually looked happy to be there. The music was very well done and when people sang, they looked like they knew what they were singing about. Did I mention, the people looked happy to be there? When they came in they hung up their coats like they were ready to stay for a while. In my church experience, no one took off their coats; they weren’t planning on sticking around that long.
I was also struck realizing they were talking about Jesus in a way that I don’t think I ever really heard before. I wanted to learn more about this but wasn’t exactly sure what to do or where to start. There were a lot of churches. How could I know which church would lead me closer to God?
As I processed these observations and questions, I thought, most of the churches I knew said the Bible was the Word of God and that Jesus was the Son of God. I reasoned, “Why don’t I buy a Bible and see what Jesus said?”. I did. It changed my life.
For the next nine months, I spent a little time each night reading from the four Gospels. Some nights I’d only read a paragraph, others I’d read up to three chapters. I tried to go further into the next book but felt that I needed to go back through the Gospels again.
I was captivated as I followed the stories of Jesus’ teachings and miracles. I was especially struck by how Jesus interacted with various people, including those who opposed and even sought his harm. This was someone I wanted to learn more about. This was someone worth following.
In future posts, I plan to explore the impact reading the Bible has had on my own life and some tips to help the Word of God come alive in your own life. Please, feel free to share this post Why not subscribe so you can I can let you know as new posts are published. Thanks. I look forward to staying connected.
Photo credit: yelo34 DepositPhotos ID: 25457531