Ten days is too long between posts, especially when you are telling your life’s story.
I’m a freelance writer, so I spend quite a bit of time typing on my Mac and PC. Yeah, I know—”What a profligate! He’s got two computers.” Well, my heart bleeds Macintosh, but being rural and remote, my satellite modem requires a PC (thank you SO much Microsoft for being an investor and REQUIRING Windows-only compatibility), so there you go.
Anyhow, business has been good and the blog has suffered under that windfall and the book completion. Unfortunately, the book has suffered, too. I’m hoping for completion in time to catch the next Christian Booksellers Association convention in July. We’ll see. My final draft may not be so final!
Where was I with my life? Oh yeah…I was at camp.
After my first summer at camp, I knew campining ministry was the way for me. I felt God leading that direction, but despite being promised a full-time position after camp ended, the camp didn’t take me on, supposedly because I didn’t have a degree. By that time Fred was no longer running the place and things had changed. Oh well.
I didn’t go back to college. It didn’t fit anymore. I didn’t fit anymore. I took a job as a fitness instructor (I was pretty buff back then), but that felt miserable many days, and even though I helped some people dramatically lose weight and get fit, it still wasn’t what I felt God calling me to do.
My life changed dramatically when Apple debuted the Macintosh. I’d always been a computer freak, and this new computer blew my mind. I saw the future. Tagging along with a buddy’s dad as his tech expert, we went shopping for a Mac and I so impressed the store’s sales crew with my knowledge that they offered me a job. Within a few months I was making a small fortune selling computers. I was soon buying all the fun stuff I could lay my hands on: a car, more drum equipment, and a guitar to supplement my drumming. Heck, you can’t work in a camp and not play guitar, right?
Camp. Even though I was doing very well financially, I couldn’t get past camping. I was volunteering for a ministry into my old high school, and working with youth still tugged at my soul. I had to get back to camping.
On a retreat back to Lutheran Memorial Camp, I once again encountered my old friend Fred. He’d been asked to come talk to the youth group I was helping with and he gave another Spirit-filled message to the youth. And then something odd happened. I was chatting with some other leaders when I felt God tap me on the shoulder and say, “Turn around.” I did and I was looking at this woman in the center of the room. Fred was looking at her, too. God told me to go pray for her, and as I started to walk to her, Fred did, too. Without saying a word to each other, we started praying for this woman who needed healing. Something happened right there.
I talked with Fred about it afterwards, and he said that the Spirit of God was all over me. He could see His Presence on me. As I walked back to my cabin that night, it was almost the same night as the one when I’d accepted the Lord. It was uncanny. Same kind of night. Many of the same people. Same place.
As we were going to bed, I started talking with the youth in my cabin and I was on fire. I gave probably the best message about the Lord I’d ever shared. I could just feel Him welling up within me like no feeling I’d ever had. Something was indeed happening.
It was three in the morning when things finally peaked. I woke up and just felt electrified; I was speaking in the most beautiful language, but it was not English or any other one I recognized. I couldn’t stop speaking, so I ran outside in my longjohns into six inches of snow and just started dancing around and praying in tongues. I can remember that as if it were yesterday. The love of Jesus was just pouring over me, a mix of electricity and warm oil on my head. I could actually feel that oil cascading down around me. It was astonishing.
From that day, I entered the charismatic brotherhood. I am harsh on the charismatics here at Cerulean Sanctum because I believe they have lost all propriety and discernment, but I can say with all certainty that the warm glow that Wesley’s heart felt among the Moravians is a real blessing, no matter what some people may say or however it may be misrepresented by the less discerning. There are fillings and more fillings on top of that if we are open to being used of the Lord and believe that His Spirit still works in mighty, supernatural ways.
While some people were behind me on this new part of my journey, I had to go elsewhere to explore where I was moving. A lot of folks had no idea what I was talking about after my experience. I gracefully left the Lutheran Church and started attending an Assemblies of God church that was pastored by my neighbor. It was a bit of a drive, but I found nourishment there and another way of thinking about the Christian life.
Let me say this here for people who are searching. I do not advocate jumping ship with churches. But I also believe that young people raised in one denomination need to explore others, if only to see a wider flavor of Christianity. The river is wide and we sometimes stay too close to our own tributary. I like to believe that one of the reasons I have been able to walk with the Lord as long as I have is that I was able to take the best parts of the denominations I have been affiliated with over the years as I moved from place to place and forge those best ideas into a stronger theology. I’m a mongrel in the faith, and if you talk with any dog breeder, you know that mongrels have far fewer genetic weaknesses than do purebreds.
Now a person of forty still dallying with different denominations is in for trouble, but young people need to see something other than what they grew up with. Later in life I finished college at Wheaton College, and I was always struck by how timid the young people at the school were in their willingness to consider the strengths of other denominations and the weaknesses of their own. (Trying to get a Presbyterian student at Wheaton to darken the doorway of an Episcopal church for even one Sunday was like pulling teeth.) Not me. I took advantage of being in “The City of Churches” to see what other churches were doing—and it did me a whale of good.
Anyway, I hear the clock chiming 1:30 AM and once again, I am turning into a pumpkin. Thanks for reading this self-revelation. I’ll try to wrap it all up —fat chance, I can promise already—in the next installment of my spiritual journey. But I have a few ideas for new “real” blog posts coming up, such as
*Living a life of abandon to God and each other.
*Will persecution be good or bad for the American Church?
*Developing a Christian worldview for the 21st century.
Keep coming back folks. I know there are more and more great blogs out there. I hope you’ll continue to consider this one one of the better ones.