Monday, April 02, 2007

My Story, Part 2: I'm a Bible Thumper now! :D

So, the years following my joining the church, I didn't really change any, except ofor the worse...not what is to be expected from a new convert, eh? I finished up elementary school and started middle school...I was a typical kid. I had started getting into things I shouldn't have, like using foul language, hanging out with bad kids.

In seventh grade, I started going to the student center at church for Sunday school as well as Wednesday night activities. During this school year, I started becoming aware of the urgency of evangelism, towards the end of the year. I think God was working on me, preparing me for what was the come.

Every summer, the student center at FBCO hosts "Camp Orlando". It's a week-long trip. We stayed in cabins, and they had someone come out and preach 2-3 times each day; it was almost always the same person each day. During the day, aside from the 'fun stuff,' we met with a small group a couple times each day. We would talk about all sorts of spiritual things, like what needed to get out of our lives that wasn't pleasing to God, what people we needed to stop hanging out with, and other such things.

One night, the camp preacher was talking about how important it was to live in a way that glorified God, if we were going to call ourselves Christians. I don't remember all that was said, but it really hit home for me. I felt an incredible conviction of my sin, and cried out to God asking for forgiveness, and asking for Him to help me live in a way that pleased help me stop doing things that were sinful. Literally, immediately, it just 'clicked.' I stopped cursing right away; it hasn't been the slightest struggle since. A passion grew in me to read and understand God's word, to pray more. I suddenly desired fellowship; I wanted to talk about the things of God. The following school year, people even noticed I was a different person. I evangelized the best I knew how, whenever I got a chance.

Later that summer, I spent three weeks at Appalachian State University, taking a class through Duke TiP. There, my faith was tried. I wasn't quite sure exactly how to go about sharing the gospel, but I certainly knew I needed to. I developed a certain reputation there. While there were a lot of things I could have said and done differently, had I had more knowledge, God used that time to grow me, and hopefully seeds were planted, despite my ignorance about many things.

The first time I was ever 'persecuted' happened to be that first week at TiP. It just so happened that right after it was over, I went to read my Bible, and read the beattitudes for the first time in my life.

"Blessed are ye when men shall revile and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you."

Also that summer while I was gone, my Mom's Mom (the one I'm named after) died, after a long battle with emphysema, a lung condition caused by her years of smoking. She had lived with us since I was two, so this was a very hard time for me. How thankful I am that I was able to press into God during that time.

At the time, I didn't relize the reality that I had just been saved at camp; I was told I had recommitted my life. However, looking back, in view of what scripture says about salvation, I have no doubt that until that night, I was still a hell-bound rebel in the Kingdom of God. I don't go to FBCO anymore, so I don't go to Camp Orlando either. However, God used that year at camp to finally get it through to me to repent of my sins and start living for Him, to submit to His Lordship. For that, I am ever grateful.

No matter how much our Lord changes me, there is still so much more left. Since that summer, I have learned a lot more, and grown a lot in my walk with the Lord...but there is still so much more to learn, so much more growing to do. How I long for glory, when we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!

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