Monday, June 10, 2013

Baby Steps

Some of you have asked about the writing group at church. We write a story each week, based on interviews from people who attend our church. "Thad" (not his real name) happens to be our neighbor. Below is the story that appeared in this Sunday's handout about him and his journey.

Thad (not his real name) is a seeker.  He’s seeking truth. He’s seeking knowledge.  He’s seeking understanding.  But most of all, he’s seeking God.

“T” grew up in the old Northeast area of the city.  “Our family had it better than some,” he said. “My mother made sure we had what we needed.  We had new clothes for school, new shoes, and gifts for birthdays and Christmas.  Not everyone was that lucky in our neighborhood.”

But one thing his mother didn’t give him was a church background.  That was left up to his other relatives.

Summers were spent with his grandmother in Louisiana.  “She made sure we went to church every Sunday when we were with her,” Thad said, “But summers in Louisiana can be brutal.  It was hot in that little church with no air conditioning, so my brother and I would get fidgety.  If we cut up enough, we got sent outside.  That’s where we wanted to be in the first place, so that was fine with us!”  He grinned, remembering times past.  “We never did learn anything Bible-related.  We never read the Bible.”

Thad can remember almost every time he picked up a Bible.  “Once was a ‘please-God-get-me-out-of-this’ moment.  I got down on my knees and prayed while I was holding the Bible.  I didn’t read it, but I held onto it.”  The second time was after he got married.  “Someone told me some weird story about the book of Revelation.  I read part of it, but it scared me so much I never picked it up again!”

But God had other plans.  

Before Easter, Thad noticed a sign in his neighbor's’ yard that advertised The Walking Dead series (This was a series of messages at church aimed at people who were "dead inside"...not the actual zombie show).  And as he drove around the Northland, he noticed the same sign over and over again in the yards of the houses he passed.

“I didn’t know what to think,” he said.  “I watch The Walking Dead.  I knew that CHURCH couldn’t be talking about ZOMBIES.  I had to see what the real story was.”  Thad came to church for the first time on April 7th, and he has attended every Sunday since.  He has even started reading the Bible.

“Every Sunday I listen for the scriptures that are used, the ones that go with the message.  Afterwards, I go home and look them up to see how they fit in with what I heard that day.  And the best thing is, I GET IT!”  It wasn’t always that way.  “Whenever I tried to read the Bible before, it was confusing.  I didn’t understand the language, much less what they were trying to say.  Now I have a Bible that I can understand.”  Thad admits he’s still a little scared to read the Bible.  “This book is the key to everything,” he says.  “I just don’t know if I’m ready for it all.”

He also found that God shows up, even in small ways.  “I had just bought a Bible the day before, and I was showing it to my friends on Sunday before the service started.  Roy chose that very Sunday to talk about getting your fingerprints on the Bible - for the first time since I started attending.  I had to think that something was going on!”

He hasn’t exactly been secretive about it, either.  “I talk about what goes on in church with my wife and daughter after I get home every Sunday.  It’s gotten to the point where my wife asks me what the service was about every week.”  And others are noticing as well.  “My mother-in-law teases me about going to church since I’ve never been before.  Another relative wanted to know if I was sick.  I guess he thought I had to be dying if I was going to church!”

Thad stresses that he’s taking “baby steps” with his faith.  “I don’t want to do too much, too soon and then burn out,” he says.  “I want to be in it for the long haul.”  Those “baby steps” include signing up for church news on the internet as well as a baptism class.  Joining a Journey Group and serving are down the road a bit.

Baby steps, one step at a time, can lead to great strides.  Just ask Thad.

The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we’re going? (The Message)

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