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JJ's Story

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posted on Jul, 6 2005 @ 07:14 PM
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Hey all. I'd like to encourage all Christians here on ATS to post their stories, their testimony, on how they came to Christ. It seems a lot of people don't understand our reasoning behind believing. If we put our stories in a short, "5 minute testimony" and then answer any questions regarding any holes such a small story would have, people might come to understand why, at least, we believe as we do.

As for my story, I was a hard core anti-Christian evangelist, though I didn't use the evangelist term at the time. I believed Christians were inherently ignorant, and it was my mission to enlighten them. I was living near an uncle about 6 or 7 years ago who is a very devoted Christian, and open to discussion. Happily, I tried to enlighten him, but he kept referencing the Bible, much to my dismay. Scientific topics, reference the Bible, moral topics, reference the Bible (abortion was a big one), political topics...Well, you get the idea.

Deciding to combat him where he seemed to stand, I picked up a Bible. I knew it was riddled with contradictions (as I was so apt to point out to people), so I had to find them and point out the fallibility of the Bible to enlighten my uncle. I figured I'd read just a little at a time, and started at the very front of the new testament with the book of Matthew, the tax collector. Four hours later, I finished Matthew with tears streaming down my eyes, wondering why I would ever want to take this message away from someone. I began to believe in a God, but I didn't believe in the Deity of Christ.

From then I embarked on a three or four year journey of research. I believed in God, and the message conveyed in the Bible was a beautiful one, but I couldn't believe in Jesus Christ as a Deity. It took me that time to dig into historical things and dig through the Bible, and it wasn't a sudden revelation, but something that began to develop where, after the 4 years, I had come to believe in Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. That was about 3 years ago, and the need for truth still lies in me more than following blindly. As a result, I dig into those questions that many Christians shy away from. Even if I don't have an answer, I seek one. Now, however, it's to prove my stance wrong. That's also why you'll usually find me on those threads that pose rather tough questions towards Christians. If I'm wrong, and I really don't believe I am, I want to know.

I'll be happy to answer any questions. If I don't reply, this thread may have fallen off of myATS's radar -- just send a U2U to me and I'll reply on the thread ASAP.




posted on Jul, 7 2005 @ 09:48 PM
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I got a question for you... do you attend any services? or attend any type of bible study class?

/trying to figure out if it's okay to post my story inthis thread



posted on Jul, 8 2005 @ 08:37 AM
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NOTE: This was originally written last night but for some reason I couldn't post on BTS (other forums were fine), it kept timing out. So you're getting it this morning


I actually just got back from a weekly Bible study at my church for 20-somethings that is a really great place for fellowship and digging deeper into the Word. I actually didn't start attending church regularly until about 10 or 12 months ago. Before, I figured I could do it on my own, I listened to ministries on the radio, Christian music and the like, but I had no idea how powerful simple fellowship with like minded believers could be in the growth in my faith. When I am weak, often I find that they are strong and help pull me up, and when they are weak I am often strong and do the same. Both are extremely powerful.

The small group Bible study really took my faith to the next level, too. Rather than just hearing a message then continuing with my Sunday, you start with scripture and a concept within, and actually discuss real world implications, what it means, and often discover areas in your life where you can apply the things you'd just gone over. I think if you were to go through the history of all my posts here, you'd be able to place when I started attending Emerge (name of Bible study), because I really began to grow in ways that impacted all aspects of my life.

Be my guest, feel free to post your story here, or, if you'd like, start a Jehosephat's Story thread. I mind not, I suspect I'll be able to learn a lot about my faith through other people's stories of how they came to know Christ. Any way you share it is absolutely A-OK with me!



posted on Jul, 8 2005 @ 05:27 PM
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My story

I grew up a sort of Agnostic/Deist. Both of my parents had left thier churches after leaving thier homes. I grew up with a strong moral background tho. I had allways concidered Religion to be one of the worst things ever to happen, mainly based on wars of religion. Also most people who I met that were religious were either very "cloistered" in thier faith, or were evangelicals who had a great message, but never could discuss it becasue of thier extreme ideology couldn't. in a sense I was a given all the wrong examples of what religion should be.

Then around 1998 I started talking to a girl via the internet, and we actually has some good discussions on religion (her dad was a babtist minister) they were very open, non-condecening, and I found out it was a differant viewpoint that ended up being a barrier. Then during the summer of 1999 she decided to travel 1000 miles with a friend, from canada to visit me. I thought she loved me, but she was coming to witness for me.

We finally had a major talk face to face and over the course of our converstations I found out that she didn't really feel the same for me, and mainly that was because I wasn't religious. It is hard to describe what happened, but I was overcome with emotions, and had my own sort of epiphany. I realised that everything I had done in my life ment nothing, and was waste, because I did not belive. I even thought I heard God talking to me. Right there I started bawling my head off mainly becasue o fall the emotions running through me, but also I finally understood what it ment to have God love me.

The next day we figured out a church near where I lived "That sounds like a good name" and the following morning we all attened. It was a mission church that held services in the elementry gymnasium. The regular Pastor wasn't there, but one person who was a professor at the seminary (anceint history) and retired Army Major made me feel really welcomed.

One the way back to my home I asked my friends a question

Me: So, ALL my sins are forgiven now? Every single one since I was born?
Friend: Yes
Me: *sticks head out car window* WAAAAAAA-HOOOOOO!

That oppresive weight of my Epiphinay was lifted, and I felt like a little kid in a candy store I was so happy.

Soon I was taking bible classes and the Church members were amazed at my growth in faith. I was batized, and later confirmed, and even served on the Church council for a while.

Later that same professor I talked to earlier told our new Pastor (our first was called away) That I was one of the churches most knowledgable members of scripture. And I only had been churched for 4 years.



posted on Jul, 9 2005 @ 08:42 AM
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Or should I say the quick & coming clean. I have it written out but it takes a few pages so I'll go over the highlights....

I was an off and on sunday school attender as a kid. Church was boring and was sick of the repetativeness, preferring cartoons or games most morning. So I guess I resented church if I had any feelings about it at all. Years later I got a curiousity for mythology, satanism, wicca, and so forth. I had friends in a lot of the different branches, including one of my better friends at the time who later told me he was satanic. There are some interesting stories on him itself. Anyway I'm sitting there pondering "when die, I cease to exist" which wasn't new but this time it was different. I'd planned my suicide a few times using multiple methods so that it couldn't possibly fail. I did not want to survive it. My head was reeling with this idea of ceasing to exist and became very angry. I did something very stupid. I challenged anything that existed whether it was Zeus, God, Satan whomever to show itself and I would believe.

Well out of the three one showed up in what can best be described as a waking-dream saying "if all you need is to see to believe, then here I am. Bow down and worship me!". Again, more to the story, just running through it for the sake of time and space. Funny thing about meeting the devil, you never have to ask who he is, what he wants, or he got there. The two successive ones followed suit with this message yet were in different form and forum. I blamed myself for whatever reason for having these: my imagination, self-programming, maybe that I was touch off the charts on the EEG. Anyhow, after the 3rd, I decided not to sleep again. Dumb idea #2.

Bible background. I could not read the Book without my eyes jumping all over the page, burning and itching. Often I'd get upset and slam or throw the Bible because it was ticking me off. About day 7 without sleep, I went to a pastor for help. Apparently when you're without sleep for so long, you tend to get a bit 'drunk' from lack of sleep. I did not know this since I'd never been drunk before. My friends would tell me I did stuff I couldn't remember such as swearing at teachers and beating the snot out of my locker. So, around night 8ish rolls around and I'm laying there in bed doing my best not to sleep. Sweating, in fear, waiting for a return visit. It was painful, I needed sleep. So I did as the pastor said, though I thought he was a nut at the time. I was desparate, needed help and would do just about anything to be rid of the damned creature. As instructed, I prayed to God, asked for forgiveness, and accepted Jesus Christ as teacher and saviour. BAM! Tears running down my faith, there was a filling up of something (I didn't know about the Holy Spirit at the time) very strong and comforting, and a total release/relaxation of the body. I slept like a brick, and it was good.

The next night I had my final confrontation with Satan. He noticed a change and was quite pissed off about it. After a series of attacks and a defection of a blue-ish half-dome shield when he tried to strike, I said something to the effect of, "There's nothing you can do to me now, I'm under God's protection". Again enraged, he disappeared. That morning I awoke more refreshed than ever.

But wait! There's more. It didn't end as a one-timer event. I bumped into the devil a few more times, married someone who used to practice dark arts, and still have various interactions with God today. There was a 'sleeper' period that was totally my doing where I tucked the book away. Long story there too.

Well, that's the short version. I normally don't like to post testimony on ATS/BTS because I tire easily of people saying "you're a nut", "it was sleep paralysis", or "you had a psychotic episode". They're all bull. Sorry, but I know better.

Thanks JJ for starting this thread, I enjoy reading what you and Jehosephat had to say and look forward to more.

Pray, train, study,
God bless.


JAK

posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 03:45 AM
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I'd like to encourage all Christians here on ATS to post their stories, their testimony, on how they came to Christ.


Whether a Christian or no, great posts, fascinating topic and a generous thread placing such personal experiences for all to see.


Jak



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 02:17 PM
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I am just going to copy and paste my testimony from the Christian message board I frequent. I have also edited to add a few things.

I have had quite the life, and unforunately, Jesus was not really part of it until recently. I grew up with a mother who was baptist and a father who was not very religious. In fact, he never went to church during my childhood. He regretted that on my behalf later in life. My father was saved about 8 years ago, and told me he wished he would have been when I was young so maybe I would have made different choices.

I accepted Christ as my savior at age 12, but grew far away in a few years following. I had such a hard childhood that not long after I accepted Christ and learned about Christianity from the perspective of a growing boy who was getting old enough to decide for himself, I walked away. I turned to Paganism in general which later led to Wicca. I worked magic, I "played" with OBEs, Astral Projection, ghost communication and psychic training, as well as reiki healing.

When I was late teens, I learned that my grandfather was 1/4 Blackfoot Native American. This seemed to help me understand my being drawn to Native American art and beliefs, as well as culture. I started to study, and then practice Native American beliefs.

At age 20, I married a Lutheran girl. We are still married and more in love every day. We let each other be as far as religion was concerned. I let her do her thing, she let me do mine. She did hint now and then she wanted to me to change, but there was no disagreement in religion, in fact, we rarely discussed the topic.

In November of 2003 my grandfather passed away. I felt lost as he was very important to me. I stopped beliving in anything. I had, at that time, no religion whatsoever. Then, in September of 2004, I lost my father. He died at age 49 by a freak heart attack. He had no health problems that seemed to point to this. It just happened.

I went to his service. The services were very hard for me as he was a volunteer firefighter, as am I, and they had the full honor gaurd there with all the bells and whistles of a fallen brothers funeral. After the services, my uncle, who was saved only a year and a half ago, said things to me that pushed me over the edge in a need to seek answers. I saw my fathers church family and remembered his haunting words, "I wish I would have been saved sooner so I could have brought you boys up in Gods light".

I got on the plane headed home and began reading a book my mother gave to me after the service. It was written for firefighters. It was a firefighters Bible. There were verses particular to what firefighters do, and testimonies from firefighters. I looked up to him so much, I volunteered at 16. Then, I volunteered in NY when I moved here, away from my family in Idaho. This little book hit chords never struck before.

I started reading the Bible, asking questions of saved friends and getting on message boards looking for answers. I also started listening to a radio sermon every day by Pastor Bob Coy of the Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale.

On Monday, October 25th, 2004, I accepted Christ as my savior yet again. Only this time, He has shown me the things I needed to see that make me know how evil this world can be, and how sinful we are, and how much we NEED Him to be saved.

On April 3, 2005, I was baptized to show God, my family, and my brothers in sisters in Christ that this time, I mean it, and I am really ready to serve God, and await Christs' return.

That's my story, and here I am.

In Christ
Tim



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 02:28 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
I finished Matthew with tears streaming down my eyes, wondering why I would ever want to take this message away from someone. I began to believe in a God


you began to believe in a God because of sympathy alone???

you thought the story was great and emmotional, so this made it "true" for you???





posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 02:28 PM
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I have recently returned to the fold. My wife of 25 years, who has the patience of a saint, has cured me of my evil heathen ways. She explained to me after a recent NDE that we would not be together in Heaven unless I did.

Its not as noble as the rest of yalls battle with Satan, but I couldn't stand the thought of being separated from her for eternity.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by they see ALL

Originally posted by junglejake
I finished Matthew with tears streaming down my eyes, wondering why I would ever want to take this message away from someone. I began to believe in a God


you began to believe in a God because of sympathy alone???

you thought the story was great and emmotional, so this made it "true" for you???




Not entirely. I still remember that night pretty well. It was a combination of many things. Sympathy played a role; I had tried to take the Truth away from others. It was also the message, though. I was floored by the words of Jesus, by the message. I thought I had known it, but I knew nothing. The impact of that crushed me and brought me to a point where I accepted God. This information in conjunction with all of these bizzare coincidences convinced me that there was a God, and that He wanted me to know Him. However, as I said, this opened my heart to a God existing, but I had a very hard time with the divinity of Jesus. It took me years to come to know that, and a lot of research and digging around.

That was the story of the day my heart first opened to know Christ. After that initial opening, the research began. The confirmation. It still goes on today. I believe fully that I am right, and Christianity is the only way to God. However, if I'm wrong, then I'm going to be wasting my life. I want to know. So I challenge my faith by going after those tough questions, but I go into them fully believing there is an answer, and that the Holy Spirit will lead me to it.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 02:45 PM
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niiice story junglejake...

maybe you could put all your research into a single post / thread???

i would like to see what convinced you to believe...





posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 02:52 PM
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Oy...I could try, I could definately try, but it wasn't like I was writing it down all the time and keeping notes. I was forming an opinion.

Actually, since coming to ATS, all of y'all have been a great blessing to me. I have come to understand my faith even better day by day in the debates we engage in here. Like I said, I would enter into those tough theological questions knowing there was an answer, but not knowing what it is. As a result, I'd start reading through many things, cross checking it, and then composing it into a post here on ATS. I had the full knowledge that if I left any holes or gaps, someone here would see through it and point it out. The intelligence and skepticism of people on this board has forced me to really come to understand so many fascets of my faith that I may never have come to understand otherwise.

If you were to go through my post history, you would probably be able to see my growth as a Christian. A little while back I went back to some of my old posts just to see what I was like 2 years ago. I have to say, my writing style has definately improved, but so has my knowledge of my faith. Above Top Secret is almost like a blog of my coming to know Christ as savior -- when I joined, I was still having problems with the divinity of Jesus. Today, I do not.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 02:56 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
Oy...I could try, I could definately try, but it wasn't like I was writing it down all the time and keeping notes. I was forming an opinion.


no problem...





posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 03:35 PM
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Here are some examples.

This thread I spent a lot of time looking into, and was suprised with the answer I came to:
www.abovetopsecret.com...

This thread had me looking into things about the afterlife:
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Then there was this thread that helped me to grow in understanding of what, exactly, Jesus meant when He said that, surely, if they persecuted the master they will persecute the servants:
www.abovetopsecret.com...

(One of my first posts on there has a very amusing statement: "Can't let myself get addicted to this ATS-crack again". I said that in December of 2004...Looks like I'm hooked again
)

This site has also immensly helped me to express my faith. I used to be embarassed if people found out I was a Christian because of what my opinion of Christians was before I became one.

If you have any specific questions, They See ALL, I can abandon my typical summary of the evidence I find and actually point to the websites, give bibliographies of books, and describe experiences that brought me to understand whatever it is you're wondering about. If it's a question I don't know the answer to, I could even go step by step through the process of finding an answer, from any prayers to what I google to sites I go to for links and information.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 03:40 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
If you have any specific questions, They See ALL, I can abandon my typical summary of the evidence I find and actually point to the websites, give bibliographies of books, and describe experiences that brought me to understand whatever it is you're wondering about. If it's a question I don't know the answer to, I could even go step by step through the process of finding an answer, from any prayers to what I google to sites I go to for links and information.


okay...

you are a great member...





posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 01:05 AM
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Then why is it that most Christians when they find out my beliefs are Pagan, they always want to either pull back in terror, try and ruin/hurt me, or try to save me? They call me a Satanist!?! They do not even understand that we dont even believe there is a Satan.

I dont get it, millions of Pagans have been hunted down and murdered in the name of Christianity. I used to be a church consultant and been to over one thousand protestant and catholic churches, I know what its all about, instead I choose love and understanding. Empathy and tolerance. I get none of that from Christians. I had a Pastor as a boss when I was a consultant and he told me over and over of how Islam will be the people that will worship the antichrist because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as their savior ahmen. He also told me he meant a Wiccan woman once and her address was 1313 _____ Street and she wore the sign of the devil, the Pentagram!

He has no idea what he is talking about, pastors a church, and teaches his flock hatred and ignorance. I just dont get it. Why would he not educate himself more and know it is a reigion of love and nature not Satanism. He would have found out that Pagans were being scammed from the time some leaders decided the could control the people through fear of hell and needed to get rid of the religion that was there first (Pagan) through a smear campaign. That smear campaign turned into a witch-hunt that spanned nearly 2,000 years and cost the lives of millions! That was just the Pagans, let alone the people of Islam!

What gives?
see
do

Blessings Be

[edit on 27-8-2005 by LoneGunMan]



posted on Aug, 28 2005 @ 12:48 AM
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It is satanism, you woship nature, etc etc. My neighbor is a wiccan; I know.
Not believing in Satan doesnt mean he doesnt exist.
Hating Wiccanism isnt the same as hating Wiccans; although I dont know what that guy was teachin.



posted on Aug, 28 2005 @ 01:54 AM
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Originally posted by LoneGunMan
Then why is it that most Christians when they find out my beliefs are Pagan, they always want to either pull back in terror, try and ruin/hurt me, or try to save me? They call me a Satanist!?! They do not even understand that we dont even believe there is a Satan.


Personally I think satanist is a bit to extreme of a term to use. But the word satan means "Deciever" and has become such a strong symbol of the opposite of Christianty that people think of it as a being. You really need to see it from thier point of veiw and understand they see you are lost (to them and thier beliefs) and they truely do what to set you on the right path. Not to metion some firmly belive in the power of Christ, and the blessings all belivers recieve.

You may not belive in satan, but you are certainly doing a good job of deciving yourself. And you have set yourself up to belive that Christians hate you, and are intolerant of you based on a limited exposure and experaince. I have sat down and have coffee with a wiccan, and we both understood eachotehrs beliefs and even discussed our own religion and explained it to eachother. I dont agree with her practices, nor will I support them. And she understands what religion has done to make my life better. One thing she has admitted to me that she is jealous of is the fellowship I have with fellow members, and the support they offer me. So maybe she will eventually realise she made a wrong choice? I don't know But I would ahve never gotten this far if I spounted hate towards her. Nor would I have learned about wiccan as much as I do now so I can understand their side to.

Instead of telling people they are going to hell, we should be showing them what the promise and grace God really is.



posted on Aug, 29 2005 @ 09:19 AM
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Hey LoneGunMan, I'm sorry you've had the experiences you have had to bring you to believe what you have said. You're holding all Christians accountable for the actions of a few, though.

A lot of church members live in a bubble. All their friends are Christian, they go to church events or Christian events exclusivly, they work for a Christian company (even at a church), associate with Christians, marry a Christian, have Christian children, etc. They're in this Christian bubble where they don't necessarily see what's really happening outside of their circles. In some ways, this life is nice. You're sheltered.

A problem, however, arises when someone like yourself, a professing pagan, comes into that bubble. They don't know how to react; they're unprepared. You hit them with that knowledge, and it really freaks them out. Many people in the church don't really believe paganism exists. Those that do think they're wacky, bizzare psychos who wear leaves for clothes and spend all their time dancing in fields and worshipping the fruitfly I just crushed. When a normal person who is actually helping them with the church tells them that, it shatters their illusions. People react in bizzare ways when their world view crumbles around them.

However, I would like to ask you to really look back at your experiences. We, as humans, tend to remember the extreme and forget the non-extreme. For instance, if I were to ask you what you had for lunch on March 2nd, 2004, I'm pretty sure you couldn't say. If I were to ask you what the best meal or worst meal you've ever had was, though, I'm sure you could tell me. We don't remember the norm, we remember the extreme. I'm thinking that you experienced what you told us several times at several different churches, and forgot the people who just took it in stride and continued to talk. As a result, you have this impression of churches and Christianity based on your negative experiences while ignoring the positive ones because they didn't make that big of an impression.

After all, what are you going to remember more.

"Hi, I'm LoneGunMan and I'm a pagan."
"WITCH! He's a witch! Burn him! Burn him!"

or

"Hi, I'm LoneGunMan and I'm a pagan."
"Cool. So what I'm going to need you to do is ..."

or even (and this I personally believe would be along the lines of a "correct" Christian response)

"Hi, I'm LoneGunMan and I'm a pagan."
"Really. That's interesting. How did you come to believe in many gods?"



posted on Oct, 11 2005 @ 12:24 PM
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I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior on April 10th, 1979, at a youth retreat called “Easter Camp” and was baptized shortly thereafter. I was 12 years old. I remember trying to talk to one of my friends at school about the Lord, only to be shot down! That was the end of my evangelistic attempts.
I still went to church on Sundays, lived a pretty ordinary (sinful) life but God remained dormant in my life (or so I thought.) I was what my pastor calls a “Sunday Christian.” The only time I ever thought about God, prayed to Him, or even read His Word, was on Sundays. I realized that that had to change.
In October of 2002, I was 36 when I went to a “Ladies Retreat” with some friends and family. It was then that I re-dedicated my life back to Christ. When I made the commitment to read the Bible and to pray every day, that is when things started happening. The more I prayed about specific things and people, the more I realized that God really WAS out there! It’s not that I ever doubted Him, but I never thought that He really interacted with people.
He really IS the living God who loves and cares for His people! He really does “talk” to you if you know how to listen for His voice.
“…and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” John 10:4 NIV



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