The Day I Discovered Hope

Before becoming a follower of Christ, I was skeptical and critical of anything I considered to be “religious.” And, because I thought those calling themselves Christians were more intolerant and hypocritical than other religions, I was especially critical of Christianity, or at least what I naively thought was Christianity.

I wasn’t an atheist; I believed in a god, but my god wasn’t a judgmental god like I believed the Christian God to be. I cannot blame my negative attitude towards Christianity on my parent’s because they were two of the most non-judgmental people I knew. Nor could I blame my cynicism on the church I grew up in because I rarely went to church as a teenager (when I formed these opinions) and, when I did go, I didn’t really listen to the sermon. I was probably drawing pictures on the church bulletin or daydreaming, which is what teenagers did to “tune-out” before cell phones came along.

The truth is that I had formed a belief about an impersonal non-judgmental “anything goes” god because that was the type of god that suited the lifestyle I was living.

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My Former god

BUT, at the age of 21, while staying in a hotel for a week, I did the unthinkable – for the first time in my life, I actually read the Bible!

One night, while searching in vain for something to watch on TV, I noticed a Gideon Bible on the dresser next to the TV. I don’t remember what motivated me to turn the TV off and pick up the Bible; maybe I was looking for more reasons to ridicule Christianity, but I hope it wasn’t something that shallow.

I began reading the Gospel of Matthew and quickly discovered that the Jesus of the Bible was nothing like the pious preacher-man that I had created in my confused mind. The Biblical Jesus seemed to hate religion more than I did. And, unlike me, He actually knew why He hated religion and could coherently articulate His disgust of all things religious.
He told the religious leaders that they were, “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “fools;” He said that they were, “unmerciful,” “unjust,” “faithless,” “self-indulgent” and “self-righteous.”

I was cheering him on like a 12 year old boy cheering for his favorite superhero as he’s beating-up the bad guys. Then, it suddenly occurred to me – I was one of those bad guys! In my anti-religious zeal, I had become everything that Jesus accused the religious people of being; everything I claimed to despise – I was literally my own worst enemy!

Jesus defined religion as any worldview that “…replaces God’s commands (His word) with their own man-made teachings.” (Matt 15:9 NLT) His overall message was that religion doesn’t draw people closer to God, as it claims to do; it misrepresents who God is and therefore leads people away from God. Because it masquerades as hope (for this life and eternal life), religion is the ultimate tool of deception. Something the Apostle Paul later warned new Christians about;

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete…” (Colossians 2:8-10 NASB)

I did not commit to follow Jesus (“God’s commandments”) that day; I was (and still am) stubborn so it took me a few years of “research” (living for myself) before choosing to live according to God’s ways. But, I did steal the Gideon Bible and continued to read it over those 2 years (don’t judge me; I made a donation to Gideon’s a few years later when I got a conscience).

Over the next two years of searching for truth, I read my hot Gideon Bible and other books on faith and religion, but never stepped foot in any church. I was more skeptical of so-called “organized religion” than I was before reading the Bible.

Then I met a man at work that, with his thick black beard and gentle demeanor, looked and acted like I pictured Jesus or one of the Apostles looking and acting like. He was a quiet man in his early thirty’s and he knew the Bible better than anyone I’d ever met. And, like the Jesus, he associated with “sinners” and even the worst of them liked and respected him.

I began asking him questions about religion and the Bible and he gave me answers that helped to clear up my spiritual confusion. I also asked him what kind of church he attended and he answered me without elaborating. I was surprised that he didn’t try to convince me that his denomination had the correct doctrine and all others were mistaken. His reluctance to build-up his denomination and tear-down others caused me to think that maybe his particular denomination was the “right one.”

The following Sunday morning, I got out the Yellow Pages (for younger readers, that’s a giant phone book) and found the closest church of his denomination. I was reluctant to go in when I drove up and discovered it was just a small storefront church in a strip mall full of boutique shops and restaurants. After sitting in my car for several minutes, I finally decided to venture in.

As it turned out, I was early and the whole congregation (about 15 people) were having a Bible study. I thought about making a run for it, but a man quickly shook my hand and began introducing me to people.

It was a very casual atmosphere; a small group of “normal looking” people sitting with their chairs in a circle drinking coffee and eating donuts discussing the Bible. They asked me to get a cup of coffee and a donut and join them. I reluctantly agreed and nervously poured a cup of coffee and sat down.

Back then I had a difficult time forming a sentence that didn’t include at least one or two cuss words; not that I ever tried to form such a sentence, but I thought cussing might be inappropriate in Sunday school so I was trying really hard to be on my best behavior. I was doing great until I spilled my coffee all over the new carpet. The cuss words spilled out of my mouth quicker than the coffee had spilled out of my Styrofoam cup. I won’t repeat what I said, but sometimes people say SOB instead of saying the actual words like I did that day – not quietly either!

If those people had judged or lectured me about the evils of cursing that day, it would have confirmed my preconceived notions about church people being harsh and judgmental. But they didn’t do any of that; to my surprise, most of them laughed, but not at my spilling coffee or my cussing; I think they were laughing at the shocked “I’m going to hell” look on my face.

The few minutes that followed erased years of negative beliefs about Christians being self-righteous and judgmental. Several people jumped up and got paper towels and cleaned up my mess. The man that introduced me to everyone poured me another cup of coffee. And the Pastor’s wife assured me that it was okay, others have spilled before etc (I wanted to ask her if they cussed too, but I didn’t).

I don’t remember what the Pastor spoke about that Sunday morning 29 years ago, but at the end of the service he asked if anyone would like to come forward and pray with Him and commit to follow Jesus. I looked around at the 15 or so people in the room to see if anyone was going to take him up on his offer, but found that most of them were looking at me. I finally figured it out and accepted his offer.

Today that once-tiny storefront church is a thriving congregation, but I never went back. Not because I was embarrassed about spilling my coffee and cussing in Sunday school, but I began helping a friend run his restaurant on the weekends so for the next several months I didn’t go to church anywhere. But, the commitment I made that day wasn’t just the emotion of the moment; it was real and permanent. I bought a new Bible and began reading it daily, just like I do today. I promised myself that I would believe the Bible over any church’s doctrine that contradicted it. I made this vow to myself because even then I understood that this was the dividing line between genuine Christianity – hope – and hopeless religion!

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on October 18, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 106 Comments.

  1. Thank you for the link and suggesting I read this post, I’m glad you found the truth that was hidden behind your misconceptions.

    Personally, I have no problem with religion as a concept or the way that Christianity is promoted by any denomination.
    I just don’t believe. I don’t have the ‘faith’ that must be the foundation for any relationship with God.

    That’s the way it’s been most of my adult life. My accident and the consequences have not helped me find any belief in a caring God, especially now that I am more aware of the suffering good Christians I have met are subjected to.

    I don’t think there’s an answer to the ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’ question.

    That’s an example of what stops me finding faith. I’m the kind of person who needs answers. Solid, scientifically proven answers. It’s just the way I am.

    Maybe not forever

    Thanks again

    Steven

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    • Thank you so much for your comments, Steven. I hope and pray that you discover faith in Christ (not religion). You may or may not believe in God, but I’ve heard testimonies from former atheists and agnostics that uttered a simple prayer (for faith to believe) that went something like this – “God, if You’re there, give me the faith I need to believe.” God is okay with doubts and questions, Steven. I am praying that He gives you the faith you need.

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  2. Amen… Matthew 10:8
    Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
    101 Comments …
    Thanks For Stopping By …
    enjoyed this story.

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  3. Haha! My mum stole a bible too. That’s how she became a Christian.

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  4. I can relate in so many areas.. excellent life-story! Thank you. I was not raised in church, & also wanted to behave. 🙂 I was raised with truck-drivers and bikers, with all the attitude, and cussing. One day it was horribly freezing, and generally I don’t drive with bad weather. I’m in MN. My husband dropped me off at the church, and my friend, the preacher’s bride, and my godly mentor, says sweetly, “I’m surprised you ventured out, did you drive?” and BOOM… I didn’t even think twice, but blurted out “H-no”. I can laugh out loud today, because the same response. No judgement. She didn’t even hear it…true grace. Me, I freaked, laughed with my inner freakout. The kids ALL heard it, and had a few giggles too. It was a grace, and it took time for the Lord to get some of the Egypt out of me. 🙂 Thank you for reminding me of those stories.. we really need to reflect back.

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  5. I just LOVE the humor that seasons your powerful words! I was a die hard drug & alcohol user and abuser who thought I was serving God when I made Him second to my #1 ‘god’ of addiction. I paid a heavy price as I faced unspeakable suffering that caused my ‘certain’ death 3 times before I ‘got’ the walk. It’s NOT ‘religion’ that defines our service to God…it’s a transplanted heart!

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  6. Wow…first, thank you for liking my blog post. That’s an encouragement for me:) But getting to read this was amazing!! I got goosebumps and shivers (or Godbumps) as I was reading. I was just talking with a friend about how God does not change so that He can reach us. Rather, He changes us so that we can run into His reaching arms. C.S. Lewis said that “Every story of conversion is a story of a blessed defeat.” So thank you for sharing how God has had the victory in your life! God’s Word is so powerful and your testimony is so powerful! Thank you for encouraging me today as I wait for God to take a hold of a friend who is very lost. Hearing how He worked in your life spurs me on to hope. Christ truly is our unshakable hope…thank you for the reminder!

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    • Thank you for your kind words. I love the CS Lewis quote! I am reading “Mere Christianity” right now for about the seventh time. I also like another quote of his that might apply to your friend. I don’t have the exact quote handy so let me paraphrase; he said, when a person begins questioning his faith and even the existence of God, he’s probably closer to the Spirit of Christ than he’s ever been before.
      When I was full of doubts and questions, I would have laughed if someone told me that I was closer to the Spirit of Christ than I was when I was going to church and being “religious.” But I now realize that Lewis was right – doubts and questioning is a phase everyone must go through to become grounded in faith. It sounds like you’ve also experienced this.

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  7. This is an amazing story of your life! I found that through goose bumps and laughter, I know exactly how you were feeling! 🙂 Thank you for liking my posts on my site too, I really appreciate it!!
    If you ever have the desire, I would love to post your story as a Moment on ComeToJesusMoments! Thank you again and God Bless…

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  8. Thank you for your story. I love hearing about people’s conversions and how God has changed their lives. I too am disabled and terminally ill with cancer (stage 4 – inoperable) and have devoted my life to trying to spread God’s Word to others.

    I have shared my testimony in my blog as well (http://christiansareus.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/i-am-second-live-second-1-lies/). I created my blog to try to help guide new Christians in the way that the Bible teaches.

    I really appreciate your commitment to Christ and, even through tough times, you keep your chin up and your hands folded and keep trusting God for as long as you are still on this earth. Although, our promise of eternal life in perfect bodies is very alluring at this point… 😉

    Thanks again for sharing.
    Mark Davis

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    • Thank you, Mark. I’m sorry for your diagnosis! I am glad you are growing better (spiritually) instead of becoming bitter. You know, the only way this life, with all it’s trials and heartache, makes sense to me is if it’s all about eternity. I think you would probably agree that this is the message God puts into us when we face a life-threatening illness.

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  9. Wow! You have an amazing testimony! I am so thankful that our paths have crossed in the blogging world! You are an inspiration to me, and I was encouraged by the reaction (or non-reaction) of the little group of people in the church where you spilled your coffee. I would like to think that my church would have the same response 🙂 I would like to think that I, would have the same response!
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and “liking” some of my posts. God bless you on this journey through life!

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    • Thank you, Becky. I don’t know your church, but I’m guessing that your church and most churches would react that way. Obviously I wouldn’t have thought that before that day. Thanks for your comments.

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      • Ahh, well thankfully my church makes every effort to share the gift of God’s grace, and encourage people to come just as they are. So much so, that the name of the church is “Grace”. Simple, and so true, because really, that is what we have all been given.

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      • The name of my church is “Grace”….and it is a BIG factor in all that is said and done there. Come just as you are, and we will love and accept you just as you are, because after all….where would any of us be without grace!
        I guess what I was trying to say was, unfortunately the common perception of the day is, you have to be “cleaned up” before you can come to church. Hopefully, it is changing though.

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  10. Bill this is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for taking time to comment on my blog or I might never have found yours. Truely inspiring. May I post it on my page? I’m sure it will touch others too.
    With regard to other gods, I wrote a blog today that addresses the same thing. So apropos for such a time as this. Great job!
    Kari Grace

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  11. You have a very inspiring testimony. I enjoyed it very much and it reminded me that my actions is the biggest way to deliver God’s word by living it. Thank you for liking my blog and I look forward to reading more. Thank you again

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  12. awesome stufff….amazing to say the least..!

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  13. What a wonderful testimony! Your story has so many lessons in it! Get to know your Bible so that if anyone asks questions, you can answer them with enough knowledge that they will continue seeking. Jump right up, if someone walks in, and shake their hand, look them in the eye and make them feel welcome! Overlook the spilled coffee and the cuss words! Have the attitude of Jesus!!!! So that someday amazing people like you will meet us in heaven and say… thank you for serving the Lord… Not so hard… you say? Then why are we all so caught up in our own lives, in our own focus that we don’t all get to be a part of wonderful testimonys like this one!!! Something to think about! God bless you and all the people you have mentioned here!!!! Loved it! Thank you for sharing!

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    • Thank you for your insightful comments, Diane.
      It’s funny, I didn’t share that testimony with the intention of teaching “lessons,” but I think I have learned the most important life-lessons from people that were not intending to teach lessons at all.

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  14. Enjoyed reading your testimony! I, like you, didn’t come to know Christ until later in life, I was 29. It is great to hear how God has worked in your life. He is the God of transformation and is definitely transforming me day by day. I am definitely still a work in progress and will be until He calls me home.

    I am so glad that you know the Lord is right there with you! I had a dear friend that God called home in July that had ALS. His faith was so strong and unwavering, he was truly an inspiration to everyone around him. His name was Terry Barbeau and he used to say that his wheelchair was a better pulpit than any he could have had while he was healthy. He shared his love of the Lord with all he came into contact with and I know it was his amazing faith that allowed him to make it each day with such a devastating disease. Blessings to you you! Keep the faith – God is waiting for you and will surely tell you “well done good and faithful servant”!

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    • Thank you, Shelly. Your friend Terry like he was a great guy; I’m sorry he’s no longer with us. I think he was right about his wheelchair being a pulpit – I think all of our life-struggles can become pulpits. They’re not pulpits we choose; Terry and I certainly wouldn’t have chosen ALS, but God can use our struggles for His good and even for our good.

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  15. Thank you for visiting my blog! May God use you mightily to draw many to Him!

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  16. Hi, haven’t seen any new posts from you. I am wondering how you are.

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  17. Great testimony! Thanks so much for sharing, I enjoyed reading it 🙂 Keep up the good work!

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  18. Beautiful to read. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  19. Great story! I had also created a comfortable “religion” for myself and didn’t want anything to do with Christians. Very similar testimonies you and I, although I never swiped a bible. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Ken. I think “religion” (regardless of what it calls itself) feels natural for us; it’s like the default position for humanity. I still fight falling back into religious attitudes.

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  20. For all the “smirky” connotations that often accompany the words “hotel room”, I’ve heard some great conversion testimonies that take place in just such locations–I’m thrilled for you! And I got a chuckle out of you stealing the Gideon Bible–my guess is, Jesus was clapping His hands with delight!! God bless you BIG–love, sis Casddo

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    • Thank you, Caddo. I think you’re right – I suppose God and the people at Gideon’s didn’t view my Bible theft as badly as I did at the time; I later learned that Gideon’s is happy to replace Bibles that are taken and read.

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  21. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for stumbling across my blog!

    ~Kathie Phillips
    KidMinspiration
    http://kidminspiration.com

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  22. Thanks for your honesty, I have been a christian for years but I am still leaning on christ and growing in Him daily. Like today, I went to the mall with my kids and a man was just cursing me for no apparent reason, didn’t cursed him back but I said some words that christ would not have approved of. But that’s the hope we have, to lean on him always. God bless you! And thanks for stopping by my blog!!

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    • Thank you, Seyi. The walk of faith is definitely an ongoing process; receiving the grace that comes through Christ is only the first step on the right path, we cannot expect to be perfect anytime soon:-)

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  23. Planting Potatoes

    thank you for sharing your testimony – it has blessed me today! and I can relate!

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  24. Wonderful testimony. My first bible ever was a Gideons bible, it was the perfect size i took it everywhere I went.

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  25. What a wonderful testimony. Complete with theft and cursing. LOL! I love how God is able to reach people. As the Bible says, we love Him because He first loved us! It is my prayer that more Christians will truly study their Bibles and strive to develop a relationship with God that transforms them to be more Christ-like. The lost people of this world do not need condemnation, they need to experience the love of God. We need to show them that love of God as believers who are sinners like they are, but sanctified by HIM.

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    • Thank you, Rebekah,
      You’re right about not condemning people; condemnation pushed me away from what I thought was God. I know I would have been more receptive to listening if it was a “good news” message; after all, the word gospel means “good news.” It is good news to me that I don’t have to condemn others because, as you gathered from my post, I’m in no position to be condemning others:-)
      “…when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.” (Acts 8:12)

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  26. Thank you. What a wonderful story and great encouragement for us to love as Jesus loves rather than judge as Pharisees. I grew up in the judging atmosphere more than the loving one and I’m sorry to say that it has taken me nearly20 years to get that. How many people have been put off by my self-righteousness? Thank goodness God is bigger than all our mistakes and able to cover them all. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for checking out my blog. I’m glad you liked it.

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  27. This was a blessing for me to read and a great testimony for all to read. Thank you for sharing this with us here. Ya know, men at most times do not share the deepest things in their heart, whats on their mind, or past expereince with such detail. 🙂 Many blessings to you and your family.

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  28. Your praise and testimony brought joy.

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  29. An outstanding testimony!

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  30. Powerful story of God’s pursuit of you. I think stealing the Bible was the best thing you could have done in that hotel room. It is why they put them there. God’s Word does God’s work. Thanks for sharing.

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  31. Bill, Thanks for sharing your story. I never really knew how you started your journey. I am so proud of you for all that you have accomplished and all that you are still accomplishing today. You are the best person I know (well except for Mary) Love to you, Ellen

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    • Thanks, Ellen! You must run in a rough crowd to think I’m a good person:-) You’re right about Mary though; I’ve been married to her for 27 years and still think she’s the best person I know – she has to be for putting up with me all these years:-) We’re looking forward to seeing you guys for Thanksgiving. Love you.

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  32. Awesome testimony! I guess I might be judging people unintentionally, or maybe intentionally. But I do want to lead them to Christ. Anyway, learned a lot from this post 🙂
    -Myriad

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  33. I sit here,propped in bed, wondering, pausing, looking at this “Leave a Reply” box. I wonder, I question, I seek knowledge. I have never been able to read the Bible, I went searching once with a hebrew scholar friend in LA He thought i would enjoy reading the bible, we couldn’t find one. I have stayed in hotels all round the planet and have glanced at the gideon’s gift to the room but never was inspired. A couple of weeks ago i attended a Synagogue for Rosh Hashanah, it was liberating. I sat for three hours, focussing on my breathing while absorbing the atmosphere and as many words as I could. It was the fellowship that touched me. Like when I attended my first open AA meeting, 22 years ago. For the past 29 years I have searched for my truth. In 1990 I attended my first 12 Step Al-Anon meeting, in a Cafe in Santa Monica. Even though i now live in Aotearoa NZ the friends of the fellowship remain my rock. Their names are David, Dan, Nataljia, Erik, John and many many more. I love exploring ancient wisdom. The pre-christian agnostics. Egyptians, Greeks they all give me blocks to build my home on this planet. One of my fav expressions I have heard . . . “Religion is for those who don’t want to go to hell, Spirituality is for those who have already been there” I love the way you own your beliefs, we share a similar path with our bodies. My Cathedral is a large Totara grove along our country lane, 500 year old Totara trees that I talk with, Tane Mahuta is the native God of the Forest. I love that. I can lean against the trunk of an ancient Totara and be held by Nature, which to me, is the great Nurturer. Thanks for your Blog and your Beliefs.

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    • Thank you for your very insightful comments. Your “cathedral” sounds spectacular – I’m picturing an ancient forest like those shown in “Lord of the Rings.” Contrary to what many people believe, Biblical Christianity isn’t a worldview that’s centered around a physical church; as the Apostle Paul taught the ancient Greeks, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things…” (Acts 17:24-25)

      For me, the spiritual search was more about discovering truth. I wasn’t looking for spiritual comfort – a belief-system to fit what I “felt” should be true; I wanted truth even if it was the polar opposite of what I felt. In his book “Mere Christianity,” CS Lewis wrote, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for Comfort you will not get either comfort or truth- only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”
      I dismissed all so-called “pagan” beliefs because they didn’t ring true to me and therefore they offered me no hope.

      Thanks again for your comments. I really enjoy your blog; you’re a gifted photographer.
      I hope you’re doing well – health wise. ALS is a real challenge, as you well know.

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  34. Thank you for sharing your finding your way. I find it hard to read the Bible. The pastor says read a chapter a day, but the wording is hard for me.What version are you reading, and what do you think about the different versions?

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    • Thank you, Amy. I agree with your Pastor, reading one chapter per-day is a good place to begin. If you read one chapter a day from the New Testament, just on the week days, you’ll read the whole New Testament in a year. In my opinion, the New American Standard (NASB) is best for my reading, but my wife and daughters prefer the New International Version (NIV). Both are good and literal translations like the King James, which many find difficult to read. The New Living Translation and the Message Bible are paraphrased versions; I sometimes quote them in my posts because sometimes they’re easier to understand for people that don’t read the Bible, but I don’t read them and I don’t think adults should (the man that wrote the New Living Translation, did so for his young children.
      Since the Holy Spirit is our teacher (gives us “eyes to see and ears to hear”), ask Him to help you understand before you read. He will.

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  35. You continue to inspire and teach me – if I keep reposting your blogs, people are going to think I’m writing them! Thank you!

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  36. “The Biblical Jesus seemed to hate religion more than I did.” Perfectly said!

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  37. Thanks for sharing so honestly, Bill.

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  38. I got a kick out of the notion of a “hot” Gideon Bible – I have to think they were thrilled you took it! I will share your story with my Aunt and Uncle who are very involved in the Gideon organization. They will certainly be touched to hear your story!

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  39. Bill — You have an amazing testimony & such a great way of telling your story! I always look forward to reading your blogs, but today’s was especially wonderful. It just goes to show us that God’s Word is powerful and sufficient on its own to change our hearts. It’s great that He placed nice Christian people in your path who would accept you and encourage you. Thank you for continuing to give God the glory in every situation.

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    • Thanks Debbie.
      You said; “It just goes to show us that God’s Word is powerful and sufficient on its own to change our hearts.” That is true!
      I am thankful that I had people that “accepted” and “encouraged” me back then, but more thankful that Mary I have friends like you who do that now!

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  40. Thank you for your inspiration and story of hope.

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  41. Actually, I think the Gideons are quite happy when someone is interested enough to “lift” one of their hardbacks. The “cost of doing business”? : )

    Thank you for another up “lifting” blog.

    Immediately after getting saved, a friend of mine promptly went to the hardware store, bought a new water hose, and presented it to the doctor who lived next door, (to replace the hose he had denied destroying with a lawnmower years before). He said the doctor’s eyes filled with tears upon receiving the replacement.

    Bryan

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  42. Thanks for the story of your journey – I would imagine the Gideons would be willing to replace a lot of hotel Bibles if it was due to folks taking them to read.

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  43. What a great testimony. Thank you for reading and liking my post today. I enjoyed reading your post and have added you as one I will follow here on WP.

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  44. Love your testimony. Indeed it is the relationship with Jesus Christ and not the religion. God bless you.

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  45. I know people who have been Christians for years, but they never take time to read the Bible. I have to share your story with a few of them. They hear the Bible read in church every week, but I’m sure you would testify that it isn’t the same thing as reading it for yourself. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Thank you, Katherine. There are sadly many churchgoers, probably the majority, that don’t read the Bible. In fact, some denominations don’t encourage their members to read it and a few even discourage Bible reading at home because they believe only those who’ve been through seminary can interpret God’s word. But, as you know, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is our teacher and the one that interprets God’s word.

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  46. What a wonderful testimony! If people focus on Jesus when researching Christianity and if we really copied his behavior in our hearts -there would be a revival. He is so approachable.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

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  47. Lovely story.
    Been privileged to see one or two lovely congregations too.
    And so true people easily form misconceptions and generalizations about Christianity only to end up doing what they claim Christians do -judging harshly and condemning.
    And truest of all: many times, our opinion of God is affected by what WE want Him to be like. Meanwhile, the Bible stands there, being criticised almost blindly or read with a biased mind. So, we never receive the truth which will PROVE to be right in the long run, with an open heart.
    Lovely thoughs, Hope.

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  48. Thank you for the re-blog, Robin.

    Like

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