It’s Not Real, Is It?

22 03 2015

The year was 1971 and for every young person in my little town who was acting up, being rebellious and just doing the Rock _nnormal things teens did back then, there was one wearing a cross, toting a modern language Bible and telling as many as would listen about the love of Jesus. This was the emergence of what was being called “The Jesus Movement” that started out in California and was now sweeping the nation. It was an awakening, if you will, of many that drew attention to one’s spiritual needs over anything else. Being churched most of my life, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to these “Jesus Freaks” at first; I mean what’s so tremendous about a bunch of Johnny Come Lately Long Hairs who got religion? I figured this trend would die over the summer and everything would be back to normal; but it didn’t. As a matter of fact the movement built up steam with many joining their ranks; one was a young friend who eventually won me to the Lord.

Brian was a fellow musician who after turning to Christ he became a 16-year-old version of Billy Graham. If he wasn’t studying the Bible or something relevant to it, he was on the hunt, looking for anyone and everyone he could to tell them about Jesus. It got so bad that if certain people saw Brian coming their way they’d scatter like mice before he could corner them and say something like, “Do you know God loved you so much He sent His Son to die for you?!!” Yep, Brian could be an aggravation to some with how zealous and passionate he was for his Lord, but to many more of us he was an inspiration and model of what a Christian should be. When I moved away from my hometown, I let Brian know that if it hadn’t been for his persistence I might never had come to know Christ the way I should; it was a touching moment between two who had become Brothers. We hugged and went our separate ways. Nothing could have prepared me for what I found the next time we were together.

The bar was smoky and loud, packed full with patrons who had come out for a night of drinking and revelry. The rockabilly band on stage was cranking out high energy tunes to keep the crowd near a fever pitch. And up there on stage with them, my man Brian. It had been about four years since our paths crossed and I had heard some changes had taken place, and I’m not talking about him playing with a bar band, I had to find out for myself.

After a cordial greeting and some small talk, I got right to the root of my concern. “Dude, I’m hearing you’ve walked away from Christ, quit going to church and won’t meet with anyone who still does; what’s up with that?” He stared down at the drink in his hand for a long time before shrugging his shoulders, then looking up at me he said, “It just wasn’t real.” Why was he it saying it wasn’t real? “What wasn’t real?” I asked. “None of it, a new life, changed ways, happiness; none of it’s real, just another religion, just another philosophy, nothing more.” His words were like a knife straight to my heart. I saw there was nothing I was going to say to change his new attitude so I became angry inside. I wanted to yell, “Damn it, you’re the one who got me believing in first place, how dare you say now it wasn’t real?!!” But we really didn’t say much more and we parted ways, not to meet again for another 20 years.

Often I thought of Brian’s words and how they echoed in my mind, “It wasn’t real, It wasn’t Real, IT WASN’T REAL!” Is he right now, as I thought he was all though years ago when he first told me about Jesus? Is what I believe as truth nothing more than an ancient myth? I wasn’t sure on anything Brian had told me now, but I knew if I didn’t get resolve on this issue, it would haunt me the rest of my life.

I’ve spent a few years now studying the Bible, where it originated and who exactly Jesus was; this type of study is called Apologetics. (There’s an 8-cylinder word you can stick in your back pocket in case you ever need it.) And after indepth reading of much material, I came away fully believing the Bible is the inspired Word of God and Jesus is who He said He was, the Son of God sent to be the atonement for a lost world. Case closed, right?

No, something was still missing, not in evidence, but in me; but what was it? What was I still missing? What did Brian miss too? It finally came to me in the few words that now captivate my belief in my Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through “FAITH”, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.

All the studies and proof in the world won’t do me a bit of good if I don’t have Faith in what I believe, in whom I believe; that’s where it must start, that’s where it must stay.

As for my friend, my spiritual father Brian, well near as I can figure it seems he missed a valuable lesson we all must learn when we choose to follow Christ.

Max Lucado puts it like this, “Lower your expectations of earth. This isn’t Heaven, so don’t expect it to be.” In other words there’s no promise that once you become a Christian, life is a bed of roses and everything will be perfect. That’s one of the reasons I call this blog “Traveling the Rock Road.” God even makes a point to tell us what to do when this life kicks the stuffing out of us;

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” It may sound tough, it may sound a little callous, but truthfully it works. Just like a body builder continuously lifts heavy weights to build muscle, so too can hard times produce a stronger grip on your faith, with the end result being true joy, eternally,

Awesome!

I’ve only seen Brian a few times since that night in the bar, but I never miss the opportunity to let him know he’s still important to me, and to God. Does he believe it or will he ever turn back to following Christ? I wish I could tell you yes, but I really don’t know. All I can tell you is this man is prayed for often; by who you ask?

Just a weary but happy “Traveler of the Rock Road,”

See you again soon!


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4 responses

23 03 2015
randy vollmar

WOW, we are doing a FIGHT CLUB at GRACE COMMUNITY for the men who want to challenge themselves PHYSICALLY & SPIRITUALLY and at 62 the physical is kick my butt. The 4 surgerys in the last 2 years HAS NOTHING to do with that, but this weeks challenges are, to read JAMES and memorize EPHESIANS 2:8.9.& 10. TIMING sometimes its ALL IN THE TIMING. FIGHT ON WARRIORS, and prepare “TO STAND”. Thanks JOHN

28 03 2015
rockroad

Thank you, Marine!

23 03 2015
gnitnub

great read !

24 03 2015
Rick Adams

Nice, well done.

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