St. John Lutheran Church
September 6, 2015

Stained glass windowGrowing up in a Christian home, a church, and around faithful Christians, you would think that I would have accepted Christ at an early age.  While I was baptized, marked by Christ, entering into His family shortly after birth, my faith didn’t become personal until much later.

Throughout school, I was always the quiet kid.  Not popular, but not unpopular, it wasn’t until high school that I branched out – thanks to the love and encouragement of a dear friend, Davonna.  She encouraged me to be an individual and to open up.  Showing her love to my entire class, God had a different plan for her.  Two days after I turned eighteen, Davonna disappeared – later we would find out that she had paid the ultimate price as a victim of domestic violence.  It wasn’t until the last days of my senior year that her fate became known.  The light that God had given me – the encouragement to step outside my shell – was now gone.

North Central College logo - From: www.noctrl.eduCoupled with financial issues that prevented me from going away to college and attending the local Junior College where I was with people I didn’t know, I became quite angry with God.  Adding to this were a number of issues that made me keep God at a distance, in a box.  And I prayed.  I don’t know why, but I prayed.  And God answered my prayers by having me enroll at North Central College, which is a private United Methodist college in Naperville, Illinois.  Had I known that it was Christian affiliated, i would have gone elsewhere!

I arrived on campus, grateful for the new start, and determined to make new friends.  Being a transfer student, I was in the minority in the dorm I was in – it turns out there were just a few of us transfers and tons of freshman.  I was on the one floor with the transfers while the other male floor was housed with freshman.  Not seeing any activity on my floor, I ventured down to the freshman floor and met some new people – also looking to establish friendships.  As we decided what to do, the suggestion to go to the concert on a hill by the fieldhouse.  The bands were Christian as were many of my new friends, it turned out.  The Fellowship of Christian Athletes played a major role in this endeavor and I was invited to come.  When classes started the next day I went to Marketing class.  I struck up a conversation with a girl, Emily, who had seen me at FCA

, and the invitation was extended.  She was nice-how could I say no.  So I decided I would go once.  I wasn’t and athlete and I wasn’t the type of Christian they seemed to be.  I was happy to have God in my box, put away for when the bottom fell out.

FCA - The Fellowship of Christian AthletesThe next Thursday I went to FCA, heard the story of a young lady who had felt abandoned from God and who had attempted suicide.  I felt an instant connection to the feelings she had, realizing that Christians weren’t perfect.  The worship leaders include one of the friends I met in my dorm…a matter a fact a lot of these friends were there.  But I didn’t consider myself an athlete.  I didn’t play Baseball, Football, or participate in Track or Cross County – which it seemed most everybody there did.  I wasn’t going to go back.  However, the next day Emily said she was glad I went and hoped I would come back.

The next Thursday I went back and God continued to speak to me.  Then the invitation came, would you like to join a Bible Study.  And I knew that at this point that I needed to live my life for Christ, said yes to the bible study, and let Christ take control of my life.

Over the next years I never really yielded fully to Christ, holding back, until a friend called me on the way I was living my life.  Through the next years, I would have a journey that taught me a lot about Christ, leading me through times where I was tested, to a church that was on fire for Christ.  As I continue I am finally beginning to realize what it is to live for Christ, fully, everyday.

Here are pictures of my home church, St. John Lutheran Church located in Wheaton, IL.

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