"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

True confessions

  Maybe I’ve been going about this writing business all wrong. When I first started to blog many years ago, I felt like it was important for me to be totally transparent about my walk with God so that readers would realize that they are not alone. That we all make mistakes and make screwy decisions at times, but that doesn’t change God’s love for us. He is always there just waiting for us to ask Him for direction and guidance. Just waiting to comfort us when we come running back after a colossal failure on our part.

  Maybe I’ve been going about it wrong. Maybe by opening up myself to the world with my thoughts, emotions and opinions, I have in turn opened myself to divulging things that make others question my dedication to God and to His work. Maybe by being totally honest about how I react and feel at a given time, others have wondered if my faith was pure and how any church in “their” right mind could have possibly licensed and ordained me to the ministry.  And if you have been reading my blog for enough years, you may recall the horrors when people in my Baptist church discovered that I actually had several tattoos and then when they saw me make the Sign of the Cross during communion. Maybe if I weren’t so honest with my readers about my journey with God, I wouldn’t have been criticized by some brothers and sisters in Christ and asked to remove some things I have written. But, that wouldn’t be me.

  This I do know…. I am not your standard, typical Christian when it comes to my living my life. Some folks would say that I’m a quirky Christian.  But, never mistake the fact that I am a Christian. God is the most important thing to me and I honestly wish to follow Him with all of my heart and being. But, I see Christian living as a very practical thing. I choose to follow God. I choose to do His work here on earth. I choose to act as I feel God leads me, not necessarily according to some particular doctrine or church creed and, certainly not according to how people thing I should. It’s just between me and God, as long as I don’t cause harm to Him and to others along the way. And, yes, I do often make the Sign of the Cross during Communion and at other times because it is part of my way to worship.

  So, let me make this as clear as I can. Let’s consider this my Statement of Beliefs…. (i.e., the gospel according to Jimmy).

     I am a Christian. I love the Lord our God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I believe in Jesus and in His love for me and want to tell the world through the gifts given me so generously. God is not my daddy, my papa and certainly never would I address Him as dude. He is my Father. God is to be treated with the reverence and awe deserving the Creator. I believe, as a general rule, churches are far too involved in entertainment and not enough involved in true worship and ministry. I don’t care if you do hymns or praise songs as long as they are scripturally sound and not just words and repetition for the sake of a nice tune. You can spin from the chandeliers and spit quarters from your mouth as long as God is honored (well, maybe that's a bit much, Jimmy). I believe in the literality of the verse “being all things to all men so that we may save some.” Churches need to think outside the box to reach people. I have only been in two churches in my life that have truly, truly done this. One is the Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta where I was first introduced to a weekday ministry program for the community and I fell in love with it. The second church is where I currently attend, the Heritage Hills Baptist Church in Conyers. An amazing church with amazing people who constantly think outside the box of “church.” These two churches are reaching out to their respective communities in ways I could never imagine…..and winning people to Christ. After being hurt very badly in a prior place of service, I have begun to feel healing and that I can trust people once again. Part of my life of practical Christian living is to just be nice to people, treat them with love and respect, stay away from ‘churchy’ words that alienate and confuse, meet their needs where possible, don’t badger them into religious discussions until the Spirit tells me they are ready and just believe in them.

  Did any of my ramblings make sense to anyone besides me? Just some things I needed to put down in writing for my own peace and understanding, and if you can get anything at all from it, then, well, all praise be to God.

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy. 

3 Comments:

At 10:17 PM, Blogger CWMartin said...

It made perfect sense. The closer you get to Christ, the harder it is to deal with the churches of man. Hang in there!

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger Alisa said...

Last year,I found your blog while I was perusing Blogspot. I truly believe God led me to it.

Your blogs have brought me laughter, encouragement and food for thought. I have never once questioned your dedication to God. Your honesty is what has kept me looking forward to reading your next post.

What I appreciate most about your blog, is that in revealing yourself, it causes me to take a deeper look at myself; at my walk.

A saying I learned as a new believer: It doesn't matter who you please if you displease God and it doesn't matter who you displease as long as you please God.

I am grateful you are transparent; that you are vulnerable and that you are just plain you.

 
At 11:24 PM, Blogger Fred Blackman Jr said...

That's good brother... Praying for you...

 

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