Pastor Guy's Story
journey to faith.
For over 35 years I have been driven by a passion to experience, understand, serve and proclaim Jesus. But before that, unbelief was king. I was not born into a Christian home. For me, deep wounds came early. Imagine scenes of alcoholic rage and confused children ducking for cover. It’s amazing how quickly a young heart can become like stone. Well before high school, my life was a wasteland of bitterness, cynicism, and pain. My freshman year at college, I was literally a hopeless atheist. At that time, my friends endearingly referred to me as “Mr. Apathy.” I had given up on God, people, and even myself.
That’s when I came face to face with the unflinching love of the community of Christ. A group of young Christians began to reach out to me. They showed me kindness unlike anything I had ever known. I was difficult and rude. I criticized their faith and mocked their Savior. They were patient and understanding. I told them they were pathetic and needed faith as a crutch for their weak minds. They invited me to come with them on the weekend ski retreat. I went. They shared the radical message of the Gospel, through their actions as well as their words. Love and truth hammered at my heart. Cracks formed. I pushed back against their love, and argued against the gospel, terrified to feel my fortress of self crumbling.
Someone challenged me to read the Gospel of John with an open mind. Soon I was captivated by the character and words of Jesus. The Gospel painted a portrait of Christ that moved my heart and challenged my mind. I saw grace, truth, courage, sacrifice, compassion, wisdom, and love. I felt both comfort and challenge. I heard the outrageous claims of Christ: “If you have seen me, you have seen the father” (John 14:9); “I am the living bread that came down from heaven, if anyone eats this bread he will live forever. This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). As I read, I was presented with a relentless call to respond in faith: “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be called children of God” (John 1:12); “These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
In reality, I was being confronted by two amazing portraits of Jesus. One was in the Gospel of John; the other was in the love of the Christian Community. Each picture reinforced the other. The love of my Christian friends paved the way for me to grasp the love of Christ as presented in the Gospel. No wonder that Christ captured my heart as I opened the Gospel and read of His words, works, life, death and resurrection.
There are many dimensions to the Gospel. Each one pulses with power. It was the reality of the resurrection that finally shattered my hardened heart. Hope shook me to the core. Moving from the empty despair of atheism to the joyous hope of Christian faith is a revolution of the human heart.
Jesus is alive? There is a God who has a purpose and plan? God really does intervene in this physical world? The claims of Christ are true? My sins have been paid for? Jesus, the risen Lord, loves me, comes to me, and walks with me? He will never leave me? Yes! Yes to all of it! Yes, to my great God and Savior! Yes to Jesus the risen Lord!
Apathy gave way to passion. My heart was set on fire to follow Jesus.
That fire is still burning strong.