A Return To God

(Read A Return To God, Part 1 First)
After that day, I was no longer a passive onlooker. I was determined to do something -- anything. So I began praying for my mother each morning in the shower. Although I truly wanted to participate in my mother’s healing, my prayers were cluttered and I would lose all focus within seconds. I also realized that I had no personal connection with the recipient of the prayer -- I was awkwardly pitching “my mother’s God.”

About this time, my wife, Debra, shared her desire to attend church as a family. We had two young boys at the time, and it was important to her that the family shares some moral and religious foundation. I knew that Deb was a “spiritual” person, and I never tried to interfere with that, but it took her years of patience to find this right opportunity to hit my heart with her request. I appreciated her concept and committed to supporting the family effort (from time to time). Deb found a large, seeker-based church called Saddleback, where I could hide on the fringe.

While going through the motions at Saddleback Church, I discovered a remarkable thing, I could pray for my mother and keep focus on my heart -- no clutter, no financial statements, no “to-do” lists in my mind. I didn’t understand why, but there was something special about that place. So remarkable was the feeling, that I would occasionally pop in for a prayer on my way home from work. Of course, the message from the pulpit was still “mythology” to me, but the feeling and focus were good nonetheless.

Then one week, Lee Strobel, a Yale-educated lawyer and Chicago Tribune journalist, presented his message on fact-based belief in the God of the Bible. A self-professed atheist for many years, this guy was right up my alley. As an investigative journalist with an analytical legal mind, Lee set out to disprove the Bible and the story of Jesus by collecting the evidence and putting it on mental trial. Well, the multi-year effort brought Lee to Christ, and the results of his investigation became the basis of his best-selling book, The Case for Christ.

I was stunned that spiritual faith could be supported by factual evidence. This wasn’t some “Jesus freak” who needed some extraterrestrial reason for living -- this was an intellectual, success-driven guy who set out to substantiate his “belief” in atheism. It turns out Lee only scratched the surface that day, but it was enough to spark questions I hadn’t entertained for over 20 years.

Taking the lead, Deb discovered an evidence-based class for skeptics at Saddleback Church. It was a fast-paced course taught over 4½ months by a number of experts. Deb used the opportunity to challenge my mind, and, in the spirit of Lee Strobel’s investigative approach, I accepted the challenge.

As it turns out, I was utterly amazed by the evidence, and I completed the entire course. As a result, I was ravenous for more information. I studied the Bible as an “intellectual exercise.” I delved into history, ancient manuscripts, archaeology, geology, paleontology, cosmology, comparative religions, prophecy, and statistics. After six months of deep study, I felt my intellectual barriers to Christianity crumble.

Shortly thereafter, I prayerfully converted by newfound BELIEF into life-changing FAITH. On Mother’s Day 2000, with the support of my wife, and with my precious mother by my side, I completely turned my life over to Christ. It was that day that my wife became my spiritual partner. It was that day that my mother became my spiritual mentor. It was that day that my mother’s 20 years of patient prayer for her prodigal son were answered. It was that day that my mother’s painful trial with cancer was given meaning.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK? - We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus

Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

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