It Begins Somewhere.

It was a spring evening like many others. Moderate temperatures and a bit damp after rains. The weather was clear and I was a fifth grader under a pine tree in Tennessee with my Gideon Bible. I was a Webelos Scout, preparing to 'crossover' to Boy Scouts and was reading the 23rd Psalm. At 11, I really didn't know any other important parts in the Bible. As I looked up at the sky, for the first time, I was in awe of God. My faith journey had begun.

What about you? What has been the starting point of your spiritual story? It often starts with a moment of awe and wonder. Maybe it was the birth of a child. It could be a healing experience or like me, an experience in nature. It could be at any point in your life - there is no requirement for certain!

As adults, the journey may begin with a sense of need following pain in our lives. Divorce, illness or job loss all hit home. As we near milestones of aging, or parents aging, we begin to ask, “What more is out there?”

For Zac, it came after finding incredible success in life, mostly through taking advantage of others in business. When he heard about a great Teacher coming into town, he went all out for a chance to hear what this man had to say. With a bit of negotiating, he managed to get a great spot to see and hear. But when the Teacher stepped up, rather than spending anytime with the crowd, he looked at Zac and said, “Let's go to your place.” Zac didn't know what to say but he suddenly became aware in the presence of this great Teacher, his life fell far short of meaning much. In front of the crowds, Zac owned up to his faults, agreed to pay back those he cheated and chose to reorient his life after the Teacher. (For the full story, check out the Book of Luke 19:1-10).

Sometimes, we can get hung up here and start to focus on all of our faults and failures. Because of past experiences, we think we have to “clean-up before going to church.” Not so! Reflect for a moment on Zac's story, for it is a story many of us know well but may not realize it as our own story too.

I am not going to play around. Going on with God will require change and it may not be easy. It may be uncomfortable. It may mean leaving a way of life as it did for Zac. You might find it necessary to try a different church – not church hopping for what “feels good” but where you see faith lived in others.

It is a good place to be, in awe of God and I pray you will always have those moments. But the Teacher's invitation was to follow. In 2010, will you?

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This is the beginning of a series of articles I am working on regarding the spiritual journey. I've not been posting much this past fall for reasons related to my own life work.

Now, I recognize such talk is taboo for some. Please understand, I'm referring here to more than just "navel-gazing" (though I think mine is rather cute). For others, you may have your own thoughts that think maybe I've not gone far enough. Fair enough but keep reading. As I have studied, researched and of course, lived, I have come to respect and love these differences in the human experience of following God.

Understand, this is a beginning for me too. The magazine I write for requires a 500 word limit. I'm convinced that a good writer, as well as a good communicator, communicates best when they communicate simply. I've learned, doing such work is not easy. My hope and prayer is that these articles and the postings which follow, would help you even as they help me, understand better the life work God has set each of us to do in this life. After all, it does begin somewhere.


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