I grew up in a family of church CEOs. CEO stood for Christmas and Easter Only.
My belief at the time was that there probably was a God, but He wasn’t important. I never liked going to church. You had to dress up, sing a bunch of boring songs, and then listen to someone talk about passages from the Bible—a book I knew nothing about.
Then my sister became a Christian through a ministry called Young Life when she was in high school. When I came home from college, I noticed some odd things about her. She was reading the Bible and going to church on nonholidays. I couldn’t understand this. Why would anyone want to read the Bible and go to church?
Fast-forward a few years to when I started playing ultimate Frisbee with a group of people. They would invite me to go out to dinner after playing, and I became friends with many of them. I soon discovered that these people were like my sister—they also had this desire to go to church and to read the Bible.
My friends would sometimes talk about the Bible or people in the Bible. Since I did not know much about the Bible or any of its stories, I was usually very quiet during these conversations. “Luke is my favorite book in the Bible,” I remember one person saying. I didn’t even know there was a book called Luke in the Bible, I thought to myself.
After observing my sister and my friends, I decided that I should go and find out what was up with this God thing. In a way I was also looking for CliffNotes to the Bible so I would have some general understanding of what my friends were talking about. Someone at work told me about Hope Church. Hope was small at the time, and I didn’t know anyone who went there. I thought it would be a safe place to go, because if I went to church with friends but didn’t want to keep going, then I would have to answer questions about why I didn’t want to go anymore.
After a few weeks of attending Hope, I had lunch with David, the pastor. At lunch, David and I talked about my church life growing up, why I decided to start coming to Hope, and some questions that I had about God. After lunch David gave me a Bible and suggested that I read the gospel of John. That is when my stirrings really started blossoming.
I read John in October of 1999. That is when I started to believe, and I wanted to know more about God. I didn’t ask Him to come into my life then because I really didn’t know I was supposed to do that. I certainly would have if I had known.
After reading John, I had to find out more about Jesus. David encouraged me to read the rest of the Gospels. I also joined a small group and started attending an adult Bible class. The people I met helped me with my doubts and increased my faith.
However, I felt behind, especially when people would talk about biblical figures like Abraham, Paul, Job, and David. I had heard these names (with the exception of Job), but I could not tell you anything about them. I didn’t even know if they were part of the Old or New Testament. I was a slow reader, and I knew that it would take me a long time to get through the entire Bible.
I talked with someone in children’s ministry, and she mentioned that the children learn a different Bible story each week. I asked David if I could help out in the children’s ministry so I could learn along with the kids.
I was partnered with two other men who were the small-group teachers. The kids thought that I was a teacher as well. However, most of them knew more about the Bible than I did. I enjoyed spending time with the kids, and it was a way to help me learn those Bible stories that I had never heard as a child.
Throughout my journey with God, my relationship has had its ups and downs.
However, through it all, Jesus became the most important person in my life.