Why I Believe, What I Believe

This is an essay I had to write for my worldview class, answering the questions, "What do you fundamentally believe to be true? Why do you believe it to be true? and How did you come to believe that?"

My Worldview: What I see as essential to Life

In order to answer the question ‘what do I fundamentally believe to be true?’, we must start at the beginning and first ask what is truth? I believe that the very essence and meaning of truth is found in the character and being of God (“God” being embodied by the Trinity; the Father, Son [Jesus Christ] and Holy Spirit). Jesus says in the Bible that the very reason He came (becoming both fully human, and God - through the Son, Jesus Christ) was to testify to the truth. “… In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” (John 18: 37 NIV Trans.) Truth is, what is. It can be defined as reality.

The next question to ask is, well, what is reality? It is what is really, real; what actually happened. A lot of people have a different definition of what reality looks like to them, and truth could then be seen as relative. Truth cannot be relative it must be absolute. Relative truth is someone’s perception of the truth. It doesn’t change that fact that truth is truth. It’s absolute, because if everything were relative, we would have no starting point, no definition to explain why evil exists, or why good does. If truth were relative and we all had our own reality, there would be no purpose or meaning to life and chaos would reign supreme. (The chaos we see now, is the result from evil being present in this world and corrupting what was made originally good).

All around us, I see order everywhere in the design of things, from the way the seasons change and in every aspect of nature, to the basic instincts that every human possesses. Something or someone must have designed this. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1 NIV Trans.) Random, mindless, relative, invention does not produce order. That is why I believe there is a God. And through God, I find truth, and through truth; reality. If I want a correct worldview, or a correct reality, I must find it in the character of God.
To find truth in God’s character, I must come to know Him. I understand that we can find it by the studying of His word; the Bible, and through His Holy Spirit, which dwells in the believer.

That is why I base the fundamental truths in my life off of the Bible. It is the authority in my life, which directs how I should live and what I should believe.
If I could sum up everything I believe in one statement, it would be that – Jesus is life. Period. He is the very reason I can get up in the morning and have purpose. It is because of who He is, what He represents, and how He has shown Himself in my life that my life has any meaning at all. Anything outside of Jesus is simply details. Small details that can be traced back to Him.

The Lord sought me out, and found me. This is why I believe that all of my life should be centered around and in Him.

“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'”
(Acts 17:27-28 NIV Trans.)

He also not only gave me life, but life abundantly and to the full.

My life verse is: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV Trans.) He came bringing me full life – not a life where I need to operate in survival mode, but a life that is rich, full, abundant and complete in Him. I want to spend the rest of my life learning what it means to have life abundantly in Him. What more could I ask for?

Because I fundamentally believe that Jesus is and should be the essence of life its self, my worldview reflects that. Any opinions, beliefs, ideals and actions that I take, I try to run through the filter of what it means to have Jesus as the center of life. Do I always succeed in imitating the Lord, and making correct decisions based off of what I believe? No. But this is what I strive for – to be like Christ and let Him have permission to effect, control, invade, change and then empower every area of my life, till my desires and will meet His. How I look at the world is directly effected by this belief.

The process of how I came to believe that all of this is true, would take a book to share, not an essay limited to three pages. In summary, I would say there are three main reasons why I believe that Jesus is life. It started with the way I was raised, and then grew to be my beliefs, through logic, (it just made sense) and through the wooing of the Holy Spirit. You can believe something and “know” it intellectually, but at some point a divine leap (through the Holy Spirit) must occur, between faith and logic.

One such instance of this happened this summer. I read in scripture what it means to be baptized by the Holy Spirit, to be filled with Him, in such a way that it over flows into your life, through the gifts of the Spirit listed in Corinthians. I believed it to be true because I believe the word of God to be true and had witnessed it in the lives of others. To my logical brain, the gifts of the Spirit made no sense, speaking in tongues? Prophesy? I was a big skeptic.

For months I questioned, thought and prayed about what it would mean to have an impartation of the Holy Spirit (apart from the initial impartation we get a salvation). It finally came down to faith. Did I really believe what the Bible said? I chose to believe what the Word said, and prayed that the Lord would give me more of Himself – and the power to live a more abundant life in Him.

He came, and being baptized in and learning to walk in, the Holy Spirit has been one of the sweetness times of my life. This was the leap between logic and faith (belief), for me. (2 Cor. 3:16 NIV Trans.) says it well “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” It wasn’t until I chose to believe, that I finally understood. After I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I understood it.

I know it to be true because, scripture tells us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”(Psalm 38:4 NIV Trans.) Many, many times I have tested and seen that the Lord is good. He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do!

I realize, I hold this to be true a lot from personal experience, but the experience was based off of true reality. (There isn’t time to even begin to attempt to prove why I believe the Bible is true, that would be another paper entirely!) But if the Bible is true, because it is the word of God, and His character is true, than I can and do believe what the Bible says is truth, and try to live by it. Jesus is life and He came to give us that life abundantly.

If you have never sat down and asked yourself what your world view is, I would highly recommend it! The world and yourself need to know why you believe what you believe, because it will and does effect how you see and live life!

In the Year that King Uzziah died...

I’m still in the first week at FLI (Focus Leadership Institute), and I’m beginning to see just a glimpse of how much I will be challenge in the next 4 months. But instead of feeling overwhelmed like I expected, I am unbelievably excited!

Sure, the syllabus is intense from the academic standpoint, but I can’t wait! A lot of the things I have already begun to study on my own or have been curious about.

The best part is that they are not just focusing on education, but transformation. They have warned all of us, it’s not going to be easy, but so worth it. FLI’s goal is to give us the tools to be better leaders, but also bring us to the place were we could gaze upon the face of God. For that is where transformation occurs.

Isaiah’s commission in Isaiah 6 is sort of their theme scripture for FLI, as well as their commission to us:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on the throne, high and exulted, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him were seraphs, each with six wings .... And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.”

At the sound of their voices the door posts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe is me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the alter. With it he touched my mouth and said “ See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here I am, send me!”

When you gaze upon the face of the Lord (spend time in His presence) You can’t help but be changed. You see yourself clearly, a sinner and a man totally unworthy to be in or near His holiness. Yet like Isaiah, He cleanses us. He not only atones for our sin, but takes our guilt away as well! So we can be free to serve Him, when we here the call. The only way to hear the Lord’s call though, is to be in His presence, attuned to and listening for Him.

I want to hear the call again, and say with everything I am “Here I am Lord, Send me!” I have no idea what type of transformation the next 4 months will hold for me, but I pray I am a willing vessel to His refining fire (or flaming coal!).

I’ve loved this passage for a while from a different point, because of a commentary that Oswald Chambers did on it. It’s just as challenging and Oswald looks at it this way:

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord…”

Our soul’s personal history with God is often an account of the death of our heroes. Over and over again God has to remove our friends [or ppl we are attached to], to put Himself in their place, and that is when we falter, fail, and become discouraged. …When the person died [left] who represented for me all that God was, did I give up on everything in life? Did I become ill or disheartened? Or did I do as Isaiah did and see the Lord?

He goes on to talk about how our vision of God is dependent on our character, and that determines whether or not truth can be revealed to us. Before we can say “I saw the Lord…” There must be a transformation in us to rid us of our personal biases so we can truly see the Lord. God has a way of taking those people/circumstances/distractions out of our life until we only see Him. It has happened to me on many different levels in the last year, and I want to see the Lord!

I am waiting for my Isaiah moment!

The Journey Begins!

We are off! WHOOOO WHOOO. Good Bye, NY - Hello West! Hoping to make it as far as Springfield Il, today to stay the night with my uncle. It’s by far the longest day of our trip.
I started the first leg of my journey west to CO last night by leaving my parents place in upstate NY to travel across western NY about 4.5 hours to pick up my girl friend Christine who is driving out the rest of the way with me. :) As I drove away I was overwhelmed by excitement. I think it’s finally hitting me that I’m going!

The waiting is over! I’ve prayed and wrestled so long for this – that God would give me a His dreams for me, replacing my shattered ones with something beautiful – He promised me He would, and He is SO faithful – beyond what I can even begin to imagine! I drove through a rainstorm and crested a hill to see the most beautiful sunset. It was surreal moment, way better than the movies - as I drove off into the sunset! It was definitely a mountain top experience as I looked back on the valleys of this past year and the steep climb to the top – the painful so longs and goodbyes, the long nights of questioning God, the intense wrestling of my soul and will into His – worth EVERY bit! I know there will be rough times ahead as well – that is life, but I feel like a bird set free – my heart sings, YES this is it! This is what you have been waiting for, made for! For the sheer joy of it, I rolled down my window and let out the biggest WHOOP, I could muster! The guy in the truck next to me gave me a funny look, but oh well, maybe he needed something to laugh at right then!

I hoping to take a picture that adequately represents each state as I go through it:
Here is my one for NY. I grew up trying to avoid these cows and had a good laugh when I drove around the corner and saw Eaton’s cows crossing the road again. Perfect way to capture the farm country I grew up in!

As many of you know my Betta fish is making the trip with me. Meet Abraham.
Abraham had to come with me for 2 reasons. (1) Because a year ago (this week actually,) the Lord asked me if I believed He was big enough to work in my life, when my dreams/plans for me derailed. The scripture “Abraham believed God and it was accredited to him for righteousness” became my theme. The past year as been learning to live out that belief. Abraham the Betta, got his name from that lesson,- which the Lord is continuing to teach me! He is my reminder to believe. (2) Abraham (in the Bible) also left his family, friends and comfort zone to follow the Lord’s leading.

My fish Abraham is not at all impressed that he gets to see the world from a mason-canning jar secured in a basket, but I think he’ll get over it in time! :D

The Lord is blessing the trip thus far – through big and little things, like sending help from friends exactly when it was needed, to everything fitting in my car!!!He is good to me and I DO believe that He is who He says He is and will continue to do what He says He will do!

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I'm a fun loving, people person, with a passion for ministry and the Lord. My greatest desire is to see people come to realize who they are in Christ and how that effects every area of their relationships and lives.I want to know Him more.