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jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sat, 10th Jan '09 9:48 PM

MEMBER BACKGROUND

This thread is an invitation for you to join me in telling a bit about yourself and your Christian experience or perspective, (as in the movie Twister, when Bill told Dusty to tell Melissa "why you are the way you are").

I grew up in the Baptist church, here in Texas. I accepted Jesus as my Savior and accepted his salvation very early in life. I can't even remember a time I didn't want Jesus in my heart.

(I've also always been pianist for every church where I've been a member, starting at age 14. I even was allowed to be choir director at my last church - but only because of some weird circumstances that caused them to be desperate! I've also taught Sunday School several times.)

When I was 29, I joined a Methodist church that was non-denomination in practice. They were "spirit-filled" and charismatic, which made them the "black sheep" of the denomination. I had never experienced the moving of the Holy Spirit like this and fell in love with worshipping the Lord with my whole heart. It was at that time that praise and worship music really took off, and I felt like I was in Heaven singing not only hymns but those P&W songs where you could close your eyes and just sing to the Lord (yes, I can play those with my eyes closed, but only because I've played all my life by ear - it's just a gift God gave me, nothing I did.)

I actually haven't joined a church since I moved in August because of all the driving I do in the week and the need to get this place in order. It's very difficult moving and setting up a house alone when you drive 3-4 hours a day. (I can't seem to convince the dogs and cats to unload boxes and set things up while I'm at work!)

My beliefs are somewhere mixed between Baptist and Assembly of God. I am charismatic in belief - in that I believe the Holy Spirit can speak through a person and reveal God's will to people. I believe it's ok to "speak in tongues" and I used to not believe in being "slain in the Spirit" until I was.

Days before my sweet dad died, family members and pastors knelt in the floor of my dad's livingroom with my dad and prayed for my dad to be healed, but for God's will to be done. As we prayed, I was slain in the Spirit. I was actually embarrassed and went into scientific mode, trying to observe everything I could immediately (much as I did the moment my dad died). I know I totally missed what God wanted in those moments. As someone who had not believed in that, I lay there in the floor - totally unable to get up. I tried and tried with all my might - and just could not. I feel so sad that what God meant for me that day I totally missed in my desire to experiment with it and understand it in my mind.

I am one of those people you've heard of who were given money by God. And again, it was an experience I'm not proud of myself about.

When I was divorced and my son was in the Marines, I worked as accompanist at several schools in the D/FW area. All my friends were teachers. I NEVER wanted to be a teacher. I loved just playing for their choirs and for instrumentalist solos. But that didn't pay much. My teacher friends, whom I helped in any way I could, nagged me to get my teaching certificate and be a teacher. I fought the idea tooth and nail. Finally, I lay in bed one Sunday night after church and I prayed.

I prayed a smart aleck prayer that went - "Look God, if YOU want me to be a teacher, YOU are going to have to pay for it, because I CAN'T AFFORD IT!" I figured, that settled it once and for all, because I couldn't afford to go back to college.

The next week, I was up at church and the pastor met me in the hall and asked if I had gotten my check. I said no, it wasn't pay day yet. He told me to come with him, and I followed him to the office of the financial secretary. He handed me a check which was someone's personal check for $500.

The pastor told me that during the altar call at church the past Sunday night, a visitor, a crippled man named Nick who walked with a cane, had come to the front and handed him the check, saying "I don't know why and I don't know her name, but God just told me to give that woman there playing piano $500, so here it is," and he pointed to me. And then he walked away.

Now, that was 3 hours BEFORE my smart aleck praying of "YOU pay for it." Three hours.

So, the next week I was off to a local university and signed up for classes to become a teacher. Kicking and screaming. But certain of being in God's will. I know $500 wasn't much, but apparently it was loaves and fishes because I never missed a meal or a bill.

ladyvol
Ladyvol  (Level: 205.3 - Posts: 5487)
Sat, 10th Jan '09 11:48 PM

You wanted some background so here goes...LOL...I accepted Christ at the age of 17 when I was a senior in high school at a youth revival in Lenoir City Tennessee on a Sunday night close to 9 p.m.....reminds me of the song I Can Tell You The Time...My mom was raised a Baptist and my dad was Church Of God so I grew up in both denominations. I believe in the teachings of both although I lean more towards the Baptist. I believe in speaking in tongues but I also believe that if you are given the gift of tongues that you should have an someone there to interrupt what you are saying. It says this in Corinthians...I believe in annointing the sick and I believe once in grace always in grace. I also believe that you can back slide so far that God will not take you back...(This is the Baptist in me).....I have taught in VBS and I also have been involved with the Christmas plays at church. I love to sing but since I lost my hearing my singing isn't what it use to be. It's hard for me to carry a tune now...
Right now I'm sorry to say I don't attend church like I should...It's hard when you work crazy hours like I do and also extremely hard when your family won't attend with you.
Both of my parents taught Sunday School and were very active with the young people in every church we ever attended...They are my role models and I am so glad that I had the raising that I had...
I know we aren't suppose to question the things that God does but sometimes I can't help myself. It's human nature to ask why? My favorite Bible story is the story of Ruth and Boaz. It's a love story and the scripture passage in the first chapter of Ruth they read at my wedding. I remember telling my mom that when I got to heaven after I saw Jesus I wanted to sit down and talk to Paul...then have a big family reunion!
That's all I can think of right now but more will probably come later...
Vickie


jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sun, 11th Jan '09 12:05 AM

I absolutely agree about speaking in tongues and interpretation where 2 or more are gathered. I don't know what to do about when it's just God and you in prayer.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sun, 11th Jan '09 2:01 PM

My background I'm sure is going to be very different from the rest of the group. I think my story will be more about what has kept me out of Church. I wasn't really "raised" in any church. My parents both still self-identify as Christians, but they don't read the Bible any longer and they don't go to Church, except my dad's new wife makes him go on holidays. My dad went through a brief religious stage when I was younger, and we got shuffled around Protestant Churches from probably every background, everything alphabetically from Anglican to Quaker. Seems like I never set down roots anywhere. We quit going all together when for the most part when I was about 12 maybe. My mom would take us to Church about once every three or four months, when she went through a religious phase, which lasted about two years, and I saw some interesting things, but she just quit going one day as well.

In response to earlier comments on this thread, when I was young I went to a church where people would get what you would call "slain in the spirit", but I tried to do it (I was about eleven) and didn't get nothing. I tried to talk in tongues too when I was about the same age at the same Church, and they told me just to make sounds and it would come. It didn't. I decided then that I didn't believe in that stuff, though now that I'm older I'm a bit more open minded to "thinking" about such things I would reconsider.....

When I was younger I never really considered myself a Christian, I just went with them, I didn't read the Bible and I didn't understand one word of what they were talking about. I didn't believe in God at all, I figured from talking to friends that He/She was a bit like Santa Claus, something my parents wanted me to believe in to get me to behave. My parents were the abusive kind and they weren't good role models to teach me about anything, especially anything "holy".

The only other contact I had with a "religious" figure was my creepy babysitter, a Mormon, who was always yelling at us and hitting us with the "wooden spoon". She was scary, and it made me like religious people even less, but she made me pray at night which is the only contact I had with that for the most part when I was younger. Unfortunately, he didn't get me the girl in class, the bicycle I wanted, or the buried treasure I prayed for like I saw in the movie Goonies, so after trying prayer I decided it didn't "work".

My uncle briefly took me to a Foursquare Church, I was starting to understand the material as I was a bit older by then, maybe early teens, and I started to put down roots in a Church! Unfortunately that was cut short when my uncle went to jail for very bad sex crimes, and I no longer had anyone to take me. My parents were no longer going by this point. I didn't think about religion much again, and avoided the Christians at school because some of them were mean AND (I thought) crazy for believing in Santa Clause....until my mom started to put pressure on me to go to Church when I was about eighteen.

I kind of laughed at her, but she made a big deal out of it. So I prayed a very unholy prayer: I said something like, I hate you God, you've let me down my whole life, I have no reason to believe in you whatsoever, (skipping a few cuss words). If you don't do something to MAKE me believe in you now, I'm walking away from your dumb fake religion and never coming back. I think I prayed variations of this a few times, and then the last time I said something like "this is the last time I'm going to ask you to help me believe in you and I mean it." And I did too. I was kind of hoping nothing would happen. Unfortunately later that night I had a brief religious experience, that I guess an Athiest might call psychosis, lol. As someone who has worked at a hospital with people who are really suffering from psychosis, the two occurrences seem very different to me, even though I will admit there is "something" small the same about them.....

To make a long story short, I found someone who could describe my religious experience to me.....William James in his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience called it a "mystical" experience. I thought neat, I'm going to find a "mystic" church. So I started to go to the quaker Church near my house, even though they said they weren't really into that sort of thing, I kept going anyway. On my third week there the pastor stepped down because of infidelity, and they told me to come back to the Church at a better time.

I then started to go to Church with my girlfriend of the time, who was a Christian and had been raised one, an Assembly of God church. She broke up with me because she felt tempted to have sex with me. Fine by me, but she started to act strange, giving me mixed messages at Church, acting like she wanted to be friends to my face, but I was hearing rumors she wanted me to leave that Church for some reason. I kind of ignored it, because to my face she was nice and it was just a rumor, but she had a friend on the police force and hit me with a restraining order! I laughed but was deeply hurt. We went to court, her parents stood up for me and said I was a very nice young man who didn't do what she was claiming, the judge gave her a talk about not abusing the court system, I got the hint and quit going to "her" Church anyway even though I wasn't required to do so.

Anyway, I got frustrated and for the next ten years my attendance was sporadic at best, and I just self-identified as an agnostic because I wasnt' sure where I stood on the matter, pretty much the definition of an agnostic alright. I did read the Bible through four or five times, and continued to study Christianity in my spare time, when I had the time. Although I studied a number of other philosophers as well, and can't say I always understood the material, lol. Needless to say a few Christian Intellectuals brought me back to the Church after a long extended absence, along with me finally understanding some major portions of the religion on my own.

I recently found a Protestant "mystic" Church near my house that thinks the same way I do and I've been going when I can.....it's a half hour away which doesn't help, but the pastor is very nice and doesn't expect me to make the drive all the time anyways. Very approachable man. I'm kind of an intellectual person, and need that kind of Christianity in order for me take it seriously, and he gives me that. On top of that, I'd have to thank a few Christian Intellectuals out there for getting me take it seriously again. Anyways, its been a few years since I read the Bible, I've spent more time in the last few years reading about the Bible instead or reading the works of famous intellectuals....so I'm looking forward to reading it with you guys. You might have to be patient with me, I've been gone quite awhile....

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sun, 11th Jan '09 2:30 PM

Us patient with you????

Good grief - I can't believe how much patience you have with us, after all you've been through. God must really be tugging on your heart with love for you to work through all that and still feel ok with giving Him the chance to show you more.

I had forgotten once when after my divorce, I was so very angry with God. One morning I was cleaning house, and I totally lost my mind. For 3 hours I wailed and cried and cursed and yelled at God and blamed Him for everything I could think of on earth that I didn't like....

After 3 hours, I was absolutely emotionally and physically exhausted.

At that point, though of course it was not an audible voice, i clearly heard in my heart the words, "Do you feel better now? Are we ok now?"

There's nothing we can do to shock God or challenge Him in a way He can't handle. It seems to me He knows our hearts and minds much deeper than even we do, and He knows this stuff in life just hurts like heck. He created us with mechanisms in our mind and makeup that help us cope through it.

Thank you for telling us, and I deeply am sorry for some of those things you've experienced.

I ask you to please be patient with me....

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sun, 11th Jan '09 5:14 PM

Thanks for the kind words Janice!

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sun, 11th Jan '09 7:04 PM

Sorry about all the extra information, but I wasn't sure that people could understand my differences or my approach without some background of that kind, especially in understanding which kinds of people I read or whose message I appreciate. I guess y'all will find that out later....

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sun, 11th Jan '09 9:31 PM

I think in this instance, love really DOES mean never having to say you're sorry - at least when you're taking the chance on trusting us and sharing your heart with us.

lettermanfan1
Lettermanfan1  (Level: 88.3 - Posts: 486)
Mon, 12th Jan '09 6:58 PM

I so appreciate reading about your walks of faith. All the different broken roads leading us to God.
I was brought up in the Church of Christ. My mother was a faithful Christian her whole life. My dad was the exact opposite. The C of C is a very conservative church, with no instrumental music, nothing charasmatic, and very legalistic. I was not taught about grace, the unearned favor of God washing me clean in Jesus' blood every day. I thought I had to be sinless to get to heaven and I thought I had to do it myself. My teenage thoughts were, "Well, if I die in a car crash my last words will probably be a curse and I will go to hell, so why bother?" I left the church when I was 18, going back sporadically, being a pew warmer, but never having a relationship with God.
My husband, youngest son and I moved to the Orlando area in '99 after being life long Californians. We went to church for our son's sake. We found our church, Metro in Oviedo (www.metrocc.org) our first week here. I remember everyone being so friendly and real, the message and praise so uplifting. We got in the car to go home, sat there for a minute, then I said, "Wow. I hope these people weren't just having a good day!" They weren't. This is where I found God at last. I know I will never be separated from Him again. In the last 9 1/2 years, many things have happened in our family, the worst being the loss of my mom to ovarian cancer. I have often thought about what that would have been like without Jesus. I can't even imagine the anger and loneliness.
Well, that's my story.
I do want to comment on a couple of comments from you, especially about tongues. I, too, believe it is possible. However, speaking in tongues without an interpreter seems useless, and speaking in tongues while alone doesn't seem to edify anyone.
I don't believe in The Rapture, as I feel this is really an interpretation that is definitely up for debate. However, I have read the "Left Behind" books, and enjoyed them. But, if anyone tells you they know when Jesus is coming back they are teaching false doctrine. Jesus himself said "None but the Father knows..." and I believe everything Jesus said. However, I am not closed minded to the possibility of The Rapture. I really believe it doesn't matter what happens at the end as long as I am walking with the Lord when it does, and telling everyone I know that Jesus is the only way.
I've been thinking and praying alot for John Travolta's family this week. How are they being comforted? They seem to worship a science fiction writer. I feel overwhelmingly sad for them.
I am very excited about this group on a secular site. Who knows who we might reach for the Lord! Let's start with Smaug! lol
Blessings,
Leah


oldschoolgal
Oldschoolgal  (Level: 159.6 - Posts: 45)
Tue, 13th Jan '09 11:57 AM

I appreciated all the comments you folks made. Stout....lad, you've been through so much yet kept on trucking. That's commendable. I was raised in a Christian home and never strayed from that (except to marry a scamp whom I thought was exciting at the time). I accepted Jesus into my heart at age 9, and He has been with me all this time. I did marry the wrong man and stayed with him 20 years until he couldn't stay at home for running around with different women. I was so heart broken that he sought other women and got a divorce, but we remained in touch for the next 20 something years (mostly because of things involving our 4 kids) until his death 3 years ago.

I remember one time I was so distraught after my divorce that I came home from work and threw myself down on the bed and cried out, "Lord, please give me a sign that everything will be all right. If it is, let that phone ring right now! Well, guess what? The phone rang, and it was my ex (not saying anything significant), but God did answer my prayer! And after all these years, I realize everything is all right. I finally left my large legalistic church and joined a smaller one (I'm Baptist) where I'm very happy. We're like one big family there and I have some positions of service that I would never have had in the larger church.

Vicki, I know different churches believe different things within the same denomination but I have never known a Baptist church that believes you can backslide so far that God doesn't let you back. We believe such a person was never "saved" in the first place, and that God will always forgive if one is truly sorry for their sins.

I don't know exactly what the Church of God believes, but I've had some dealings with its members and have never been disappointed in them. They seem to be the happiest Christians ever. I don't understand speaking in tongues and I have never, ever heard of being slain by the spirit. I've heard of being filled with the spirit. Baptists even believe that. I don't understand why when a person is saved, they don't get it all then. I believe if one lives the Christian life and stays in their scripture reading and prayer, the spirit is there with them in a might way. I don't discredit speaking in tongues, but of course, it's never happened to me.

What does the church of God believe about Jesus? Some of you members let me know.

To you whose mother died of Ovarian cancer, my sister-in-law is dying of that as we speak. She is in a hospice facility in Canada where her and her husband (my baby brother) are missionaries. Please pray for her comfort during this time.

My sister's child died 18 months ago at age 19 of mesitheolomia, the incurable cancer caused by asbestos. She was such a fine Christian young lady and a trouper until the end. She is mentioned on their website,and her name was Erin Bradley. She got a lot of money from the asbestos industry and left a large chunk to her church. That was sweet.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Tue, 13th Jan '09 8:12 PM

Leah - great idea about others - and starting with Smaug....except the only problem is that only people who join here will ever read what we write or read or learn.....

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 14th Jan '09 12:55 AM

Linda: I have prayed for your sister-in-law. Curious Linda and other Baptists....have you read the writings of the Baptist Philosopher Dallas Willard? If so, what did you think?

Janice/Leah: I don't really feel that "converting" others on the site is really a priority for me right now. I'm sure my views on that topic will be a little more clear as we get into the revelation thread, as strangely enough the two happen to be related. Well, it will give me a segue a little later on perhaps at any rate. I hope I don't wind up always the contrarian in here, lol.

lettermanfan1
Lettermanfan1  (Level: 88.3 - Posts: 486)
Wed, 14th Jan '09 7:39 AM

I was kidding about Smaug (or whoever). However, we never know how God is gonna work through us, do we? He might just lead an unbeliever to our group! "He who has ears, let him hear".

bookworm483554
Bookworm483554  (Level: 174.8 - Posts: 25)
Wed, 14th Jan '09 8:41 AM

I am touched by all of this sharing. Thanks for being so open about the difficulties you have gone through. I have been a Christian since the age of ten. I married a wonderful Christian man in my twenties but we had a very short marriage and he passed away under mysterious circumstances so I don't know if it was a suicide or an accident. The next five years I struggled with deep depression and then one day God came to me and spoke. It wasn't an audible voice but it was so loud in my head it might as well have been. It was quite a long conversation and I won't record it here except to say that it touched something deep inside me and the depression went away. The sky looked blue again and the grass was green and I could go on with my life without this heaviness and desire to die. Since then life has had its ups and downs. I married a man I met in church ten years later. God told me not to marry him but I thought I knew better. He doesnt go to church anymore and has no idea what marriage should be like or how you work at it. I struggle with my faith and my life as a result but I have a great church where people care about me and I about them.
I just want to comment about speaking in tongues when by yourself. I believe the Bible talks about praying in the spirit. Paul talks about praying with the spirit and praying with the understanding. It says that when you pray in the spirit you do edify yourself. This is something you have to take on faith.I believe that the Bible shows that speaking in tongues is a way of praying when you don't know how to pray in your own language. The Holy spirit is praying through you directly to God and praying his perfect will for a situation. It is also a release for great emotion. This is what I have been taught in my church and at the Bible school where I studied. I don't want to argue about it or cause any contention but this is what it is in my life and I am very thankful for it.
I live in Canada and am a teacher of English as an additional language. God has been so good to provide for me over the years.
I'm glad to be part of this group of accepting searching people. I can't participate in the study on Revelation though. That book has always puzzled and terrified me except for a few familiar verses like Behold I stand at the door and knock. I will keep posting now and then but will wait until you switch to another part of the Bible to participate fully. Thanks for understanding.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 14th Jan '09 9:27 PM

Sorry to hear you won't be participating in the Revelation, but I understand and look forward to your participation in future studies. Canada, eh? My first major in college was English with an intent to teach, but changed courses along the way....how do you like it? Interesting perspective on the speaking of tongues....sounds reasonable to me!

bookworm483554
Bookworm483554  (Level: 174.8 - Posts: 25)
Wed, 14th Jan '09 10:44 PM

Thanks for your understanding. I do love my job. I just want to say that I admire your courage in still seeking God after all you have been through. I am so glad those verses in Hosea touched you.(This surprised me as I thought it was more of a ladies passage) I have actually been mediating on them myself a lot since I wrote the post and feeling closer to God as a result. God bless you and all those here in the group and I'm looking forward to many future encounters.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Thu, 15th Jan '09 6:57 AM

Book - I wanted to chime in and say I absolutely agree with your explanation about speaking in tongues in private - and how they are prayers led by the Holy Spirit, sometimes when the emotion is overwhelming or we don't know what to pray or our 'spirit is grieved" and we don't even know exactly why.

nanpaulhus
Nanpaulhus  (Level: 139.0 - Posts: 340)
Mon, 27th Apr '09 8:20 PM

Hi folks. This is an old thread, but i want to add my spiritual bio anyway!

I was raised in the "church" as they say. I was the one that didn't leave the fold, but stayed around and helped mom and dad as dad pastored his first church - a "home missions" work (starting a new congregation) in Roselle, Illinois. I have been with them through each of their churches one way or another. From there, dad took a church in Crofton, KY, then Lewisburg, KY. I left Crofton to attend Indiana Bible College at Seymour IN (it is now located in Indianapolis) and they moved to Lewisburg while I was there. I got married at the Lewisburg church. I now live in Dyer, TN, where dad at 80 is still pastoring, with mom at his side at age 77.

I am a fourth generation Apostolic Pentecostal. So, speaking in tongues, being slain in the Spirit, Praise and Worship music, all of that was part of my vocabulary before the term charismatic became of widespread use in the 1970's.

I agree that speaking in tongues is meant for in private, OR while in a group where it is widely accepted as one's personal prayer language, is a way to communicate with God intimately and also a way for him to help us pray when we ourselves are beyond words. There also is place for "tongues and interpretation" as well as other gifts in the church today, as I understand it. *Other gifts would gifts of healing, miracles, word of knowledge, etc. This is why Paul says it is not edifying to speak (speak OUT) in tongues if no one is going to interpret it. This is according to several sermons or lessons I have heard, and not all were by ministers of my faith / religion / belief. Apparently Paul was talking to a congregation that was having difficulty with gatherings where several people would "take the floor", speak in tongues - but without an interpreter, therefore not with a message from God - and then yield the floor to the next person in line. This could take up a lot of time. And indeed, why would we want to sit and listen to this for minutes on end each service. I agree with Paul! A waste of time! Unless there is a message to be delivered, then undoubtedly an interpretation WILL follow, and certainly not an interminable line of these, although I have seen two back to back before.

So, you know that I went to IBC. I should add that my degree is not in theology but in music - AND it is not even accredited! The school was in its early stages then.

I have played piano since 14, also, for many of the churches I've attended. Taught Sunday School as well, those years... and for every age from nursery up through young adult/career class (as old as 25). But never adults! I have been priveleged to direct two choirs and a few cantatas.

I started with the discussion forum from the bottom and will work my way up - can't wait to jump right in!

nancy


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