Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Little History and the Start of My Amen Journey

If I had to chose a start for my "amen journey" I could say Huntsville, Texas. That was the town of my birth and the place Sam Houston called home. I could also say Velasco, Texas. That is where my parents and I moved to in 1941 and that is where I lived with my parents and my sister until I left for college in 1955. Velasco was founded in 1831. In 1836, following the battle of San Jacinto, it was made the first capital of the Republic of Texas. On July 27, 1957 it was incorporated with Freeport, the town on the other side of the old Brazos River as it was called. In my early years, I had the privilege of living in those historical towns. I guess when you stop and think just about any were you live in Texas is historic. I would choose, however, Velasco as the start of that journey. It had special historical significance for me. The reason is found in this picture. This was the meeting place of the First Baptist Church of Velasco. It was the second building on this site to serve as our place to meet and worship together. The first building burned to the ground. I still have memories of that. It was in this building on a Sunday morning in the summer of 1946 that I accepted God's gift of grace - Jesus Christ. Some describe that moment when you make your faith in Christ public as "walking the aisle" or "going to the front." Those phrases bothered me then and still do. I really didn't think in those terms. There was one thought on my mind in that moment. It is found in John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall be saved." There had been another thought that had gripped my life. It was one of resistance. For a number of months I had been under deep conviction about the state of my life. I knew that God was calling me. But I was also being subjected to something I didn't understand at the time. Satan was violently opposing that call. I hate to even write this but it is true. In the days before God's irresistible call prevailed, I began to use God's name in ways that still cause me to shudder. Nine years old and I was using God's name in cursing. I began to think, how can I ever be saved after talking like that. That was Satan's plan. I have to admit he evidently had a place to attack - my self will. That has been a problem for me through out my life; but that is a story that will have to wait for another time. Finally on that Sunday morning, God's grace prevailed. One of many things that is so amazing to me about His grace is that I didn't have to have all the answers or understand His sovereign work in the life of a lost sinner. I didn't have to understand the great, comforting truths of election and justification. I could just believe in Him - just as He said in that memorable verse, John 3:16. But that is not the only thing that is amazing. It is amazing, too, that this is all some want to know - that they are apparently content to live much of their without having God open the vast treasure of the gospel of Jesus Christ and fill their life with the wonder of Jesus; to live without, as our pastor Matt Chandler has said, "reflecting the grace and mercy He has shown to us" or not willing to stop "trading water for gold in the desert." I can't say that this has not described large portions of my life because it has. I don't know the span of life that God has given me; but I do know that deep within my heart I want to take the time God has given me and allow Him to open the eyes of my heart to understand the vastness of His love and grace. I want to stop trading living water for gold in the desert I want Him to fill my life with a love for Christ beyond anything I can imagine. I want to live beyond myself as His instrument of love and grace to others. That is the kind of "amen journey" that I want - one that never says "amen" in the sense of closing; but "amen" in the sense of "yes" to God. That is what I know I am powerless to have unless He does that in and through me. That is where the struggle will occur. If you are reading this, then you have just received my prayer request. I will pray this for you. You can pray this for me. This will let us walk together on the "amen journey."

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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