The Church - Part 1

I grew up in the country, building tree-forts and playing sports. It was a great upbringing with many fond memories and great friends. However, I always knew that I was different from everybody around me. I did not have a TV or know about popular culture. I went to church 3 to 5 times a week and traveled to various camps and conferences on the weekends. Despite the difference, it was an idyllic childhood. This all changed in the year 1991.

In the 1991, my family and many others across all of North America were excommunicated from our church. People my family had known their whole lives stopped talking to them. People stopped shaking hands with us and would not eat with us. Our friends were no longer allowed to play with us. Being 11 years old I did not understand the big picture and bitterness and anger began to grow.

My teenage and early adult years were spent doing normal things gradually drifting away from Church, not because of my experiences as a child, but because I was struggling with what I actually believed. On the one hand I wanted to be cool and have people like me, on the other hand I knew that some of the things I was doing were wrong. My upbringing as a Christian was clashing with my growing desire to do what I wanted to do. This struggle intensified until it all ended in 2001.

On September 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers changed me life. It was that event in history that brought me to the realization that I was not immortal. Some day I was going to die and that day could come without warning. I did not know what I believed, but I knew that decision time had come. I could no longer go along with living in the moment, since that moment could come to an end at any time. Did I believe the things that the Bible said, or were they all a fabrication? The answer was obvious but did not come without a struggle. I knew the Bible was true, there was nothing else like it.

My life began to change slowly after that point and I began to get more involved in the church. I don't know exactly when it happened, but I realized that I was going to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. There was no turning back. In the year 2005, I began to get reacquainted with friends who I had not seen since the events surrounding 1991. We still had a lot in common and continued pretty much were we left off, but the bitterness and anger that had been laying dormant since 1991 now began to simmer at the surface.

This anger and bitterness did not result in yelling or fighting, but in pride. It resulted in feelings of spiritual superiority and a conviction that they were all wrong. I started to get to know more and more people from my old church and eventually married someone who I had met from there. The bitterness and anger evaporated and understanding and love began to surface. This change of heart is in what large part brought my wife and I together. We both had a love for the church which is why we had shirts made that said, "that they may all be one (John 17:21)," made for everyone that came to our wedding.

Since January 3, 2010, the day of our wedding, I have known the goal and purpose of our life and that is to let our lives be used to bring the church together as one, fulfilling Jesus' final prayer before He went to the cross.

p.s. This is part 1 of a series that will talk about unity in the church.


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