Next comes the tears and the P.O. Box! Oh yeah, he's gonna want my dough to "help save the souls of the world!" For a gift of only $100 dollars he's going to mail me a nail from the Cross of the Crucifixion with my dead grandma's name carved in it! Then comes his "holier than thou" speech and the promise that "if I believe all my problems will go away, and that if I pray for a million dollars, the check will show up in the mail the next day!" The most HYPOCRITICAL thing is that this guy has been an addict, thief and liar who lived with hookers, spent 11 days in a padded room and was married four times! Now he has the nerve to talk about righteousness?! "People like 'him' are the reason that keep people like me from church and worship in the first place. It is a den of hypocrisy and double talk!"
I am proud to say that I am a Christian.
I was "reborn" on August 2, 2009.
I believe that JESUS is the SON of GOD.
I believe HE came here, died to grace us with eternity and forgiveness for all the evil and sin we commit as men and human beings... imperfect. I attend worship at Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park. We don't dance with snakes. No one gets smacked upside the head during worship.
I smoke and swear occasionally. I get angry and envious. Sometimes I act like a complete idiot. I am an actor in a business fraught with sin. I do comedy that sometimes gets a bit "blue." I yell at my kids. I get impatient with bad service at restaurants. I have dreamnt of fast cars, big houses and making it big! I sin! I sin! I sin! I do all of this because I am human, not Jesus. I am not perfect... nor do I strive for that impossible goal. I don't judge others for their beliefs. I do not think I can earn my way into heaven or that I will stand in paradise 100 spaces in front of you. I believe we will all stand before our maker to account for our time here. I fail and sin because of my humanity!
Christians are believers in CHRIST as a savior. Most of us do not live on high looking down at the silly fools below. Those who do embarass us too. I would like to start with my definition of what being "reborn" is. It used to make me envision angry, uppity people screaming "Heathen, you will burn in HELL!" Nothing could be farther from the truth.When we were born most of us were baptized in a ritual our parents arranged or as part of a tradition. I had no choice in the decision when I was a wee baby. I had committed no sin. I was helpless, oblivious and unable to comprehend good and evil. Being "reborn" is being baptized again "by free choice." When I was 3 months old I didn't have a vote in the matter. A relationship with GOD through CHRIST is a choice each of us has. It is the beauty of his grace. It is there for the taking. We can take it or leave it. If there was no choice he wouldn't be a GOD of love and grace. He would be a dictator. Rebirth is a ritual cleansing of the old spirit and a commitment to a life of trying to be more "Christ-like" and accepting JESUS as The SON and path to GOD.
When I professed my confession of faith and was baptized by the water of rebirth, I came out a different man. I knew I had to make things right with many here on earth. By accepting JESUS I was forgiven of all my human defects and sins. It felt invigorating to come up out of the water as a new me. Years of pain and baggage was lifted from my shoulders and heart. I will never forget it. I know I am moving on to eternity so death no longer terrifies me like it once did. I am...free at last....
I am an "Evangelical." That conjures up yet more visions of angry people screaming about sinners and REPENT! That is enough to freak-out anyone. To be "Evangelical" means that I share my experience with people about my life with CHRIST when the moment is right. I try to live my life as an attraction to right living, not as a promotional pitch for getting saved. I do not walk the aisles of the L passing out literature and flicking holy water on the passengers. I just relate the peace and love I feel by living my life as close to the way HE would want me to. I fail and I sin and that's where the skeptics jump like wolves on a wounded rabbit. "The sun shines and the rain falls upon both the good and evil."
I know that the thought of a man coming down from God to live with us and save us from ourselves through his death can be a tough story to embrace. But is it really? Everyday we see man discover new technology and distant galaxies. Some of us have had near death experiences or encounters with angels or loved ones past. If we have a bad Italian dinner we don't stop eating pasta, but if we have had a bad religious experience we usually chuck the whole concept as silly. That is completely ridiculous! The problem is that people want GOD to be Santa Claus or a YES man, not as a light or guide in their life. Everyone believes in love and you can't set that on the table or see it so if you you don't believe in GOD because you can't prove it, you must not believe in love either. Right?
I know I would not be tapping out these words if it wasn't for the GRACE of God. Many people who have gone through what I have are dead, incarcerated or insane. I am free of the bondage of alcohol and addiction! That is a miracle. I have finally realized the thing that I was chasing and the hole I was trying to fill with chemicals was a meaningful relationship with my creator! I talk to him all the time and he helps direct me into making good decisions, not just the ones that are best for me. The hole has been filled. The fear is gone and the comfort in knowing that I am never alone makes living life to the fullest even better! The Bible does not end with "they all lived happily ever after." It does promise that we can make it through any of lifes difficulties through our faith. I truly believe Every Day Is A Gift!