Finding Jesus

The Road to Faith

I was born in 1955 into a family of blue-collar workers. At the time, Germany was in reconstruction mode after the devastation of WW2. “Work hard and grit your teeth” seemed to be my family’s motto. Life was tough, supplies sparse, and my parents both worked, leaving my sister and me to ourselves most afternoons after school. There wasn’t much talk of faith or prayer, or even time for addressing our emotional needs.

Meeting My Best Friend

I was 21 when I read the Bible for the first time. Someone had suggested I read the Gospel of John first, but I knew so little about the Bible at the time that I didn’t understand the Gospels were four separate accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. So I started at what seemed the more logical place, at the beginning of the New Testament, with the Gospel of Matthew.

A Love Story

In the Bible, God often uses metaphors or word pictures to describe our relationship with Him; for example, a shepherd and sheep, a father and child, a vine and branches—and a bride and groom.

Although the Bible contains 66 books, commentators have often noted that it is really one book with a consistent theme. It is a love story. Like every love story, this one has a beginning, some ups and downs, and a dramatic conclusion.

The Difference

Picture a forest—lush, deep, inviting. You enter and look around, expecting that rush of wonder that you’ve experienced before in nature, but this time the birds are not singing, there is no breeze to rustle the leaves, and the stream is not flowing. Everything is still, frozen in time, lifeless. You are in the forest, but it might as well be a picture hanging on the wall.

Soul Renovation

Oddly enough, whenever I’m at the dentist’s office, there always seems to be one of those home makeover shows playing on the TV in the waiting room. The sound is muted, but you can follow along in the closed captioning if you’re interested—not that the dialogue is particularly exciting.

Forbidden Fruit

In his classic autobiography Confessions, Saint Augustine, a theologian of the early church, narrates an incident which happened when he was a teenager. There was a pear tree near his family’s vineyard loaded with fruit that wasn’t even attractive in appearance or taste. Yet he and some friends stole pears from the tree. They did so not to eat them themselves, but to throw them to the pigs. He says that he and his friends committed the theft simply because they had pleasure in doing something that was forbidden, a tale as old as that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Different but Deeper

I was raised in a Christian home by dedicated Christian parents. We prayed before we went out, whenever we got in the car, before we cooked, before we started our homework, and of course, before going to sleep. The bookshelves were full of children’s devotional books and Bibles, and we watched Bible cartoons in the evenings.

A New Identity

One of my favorite movies is the 1967 classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The movie was released at a very sensitive period in American history when race relations were highly volatile. It went on to become a major hit and acted as a great agent for social change.

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