In 1992, after my wife Jan survived a complicated illness that brought her to the brink of death, I began to reevaluate my life, my ministry and my doctrine. I had earned my degree in theology, pastored a church and was, at that time, on the faculty of a college level Bible school. My concept of God was based on a belief that His posture toward me was directed at building character in my life. Character is important. It is developed by our life experiences. But God is working in our lives for so much more: to establish us in faith, belief, and trust in His loving nature. His power is available for our wholeness and strength. However, at the time, I believed that He was the source of trials. For a “higher good” that I could not see.
My relationship with Him was largely based on performance. I had a very strong prayer life, and studied the Word way more than the average. My life was devoted to Him, my family and the ministry I was involved with. But in the secret place of my heart I was afraid of a misstep—always looking over my shoulder—never sure that I measured up to His expectations. I was concerned that His “training” would involve taking Jan from our children and me. I was afraid that He thought I needed this “lesson” to perfect me.
This kind of thinking is not what many Christians would admit to, we all believe in the love and mercy of God. But I have come to realize that there are many Christians who have questions in their hearts about their position before God. There is something at work against us. It is not always a direct assault of satan. We have an enemy who wants us to live in a place of defeat and fear. When the “test” of a real “life or death” trial comes to us we are in a good position to be attacked. But it is my belief that we have given satan the very weapons Christ took from him on the cross when we build a relationship with God based on works. Performance. (Col. 2: 13-15)
The only source of assurance we can have is what we believe. We may not be attacked by the enemy as much as we are attacked by our own thinking. Our view of God is based on a subtle life long process of doctrinal input from many different sources. We become, and live out, what we believe about God. We are created to conform to His image. If we believe God is angry, we become like the God we believe in. And I was angry!
Jan sailed through the trial of her illness with a noticeable grace. But when the hospital loudspeaker called a ‘code-blue’ on Jan, I lost it! This is the short version of a very intense season of soul searching. It is an understatement to say that her near death shook me to the core of my heart, mind and soul. I could never stop believing in Jesus Christ, but I was ready to give up ministry. I blamed myself and, though few of us admit this, I blamed God for His “severe mercies”.
Thus began a journey into His grace. It soon became a passionate pursuit. I radically altered my view of God. I began to think: “If I can come to the point where I am about to abandon church and ministry, as I had known it, then I could abandon the belief system I had developed in my church background and education.” I studied the Word and read many books discovering in the process the wonderful truth about God’s gift of grace had never understood it.
We at North Bay Revival Center are dedicated to helping you discover (or restore) the glory of Christ in you, to establish you in your identity in Him, and to help you realize your full potential as a precious child of the living God. We want you to become aware that the Gospel message, which is as old as the Cross, is as radically true today as it was then. We trust that it will rock your world as much as it has ours!